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Our Baby is 6 Weeks Old!

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Ellie is 6 weeks old! I should have returned to work today… since my 6 weeks of maternity leave is up. I can’t imagine how I would be feeling today if I had to leave my baby all day and go to work!! I’d be a mess! Luckily, Lockheed allows me to take up to 6 more weeks off (unpaid) for the birth of a baby – they call it baby bonding time. I’m going to just take 3 more weeks off, which puts us right at the beginning of the year. I didn’t want to go back to work right before Christmas and I definitely didn’t want to go back after just 6 weeks! It’s going to be hard enough to go back to work in January! I’ll only be working part-time, so it’s not terrible, but it still makes me sad to think of leaving my baby to go to work two days a week! Two other days I’m home, I’ll be required to work from home a little – check e-mail and be available via phone. That’s not a bad deal at all!

I wrote last week about Ellie throwing up an entire meal each day. After discussing some things with the pediatrician, he put her on baby Zantac and told me to go off of dairy. Towards the end of the week, she was still throwing up once a day, but it’s only about 1/3 of her meal instead of the whole thing…. so that’s positive. She still cries sometimes while eating and arches her back, but it seems less intense, so I feel like the baby Zantac is helping. It won’t prevent her from throwing up, but will help calm the acid in her tummy. I’ve started holding her differently when I feed her, in a more upright position which I think may also help. I keep her on my shoulder for 10-15 minutes after she’s done eating and then keep her propped up (on the boppy mostly) for the next hour. All these things I think are helping her not have so many tummy troubles.

When she does throw up and doesn’t want to eat after… she’s usually just exhausted looking and falls asleep for a few minutes:

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We did a weight check today and she weighed 8 lbs. 11.5 oz. That’s only an increase of 3.5 oz from last week. The doctor said that weight gain was acceptable, but wants to have her weighed again next week. He also wants to keep monitoring her throwing up, to see if another week on the baby Zantac and me off of dairy will help… I hope it does!

On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, I took Ellie to Nourish Family Center. On Tuesday Zach went with me because I was a little flustered with how she was eating and crying at the same time, as well as being overwhelmed with her throwing up so much. I fed her and weighed her (this place allow you to weigh your baby, feed her, then weigh her again to see how much milk she drank….) and we got to see how much she eats at once. While there, we spoke with a lactation consultant about how Ellie eats and about her throwing up. We heard some good info and started practicing the good advice right away. On Thursday, I took Ellie back to Nourish for the Breastfeeding Connections support group. Mom was here that day, so she went with me. It was FANTASTIC! There were probably 10 other moms there and almost all of their babies had reflux too! It was encouraging to know that I’m not in this alone! I asked lots of questions and learned lots of tips, tricks and things to look for. It was so good for us to be there that day! This support group meets every Tuesday and Thursday… so when it’s convenient for us, we will probably go at least once a week.

She still has a fussy time each day – most of the time it’s still in the evening, for at most an hour anytime between 5 and 9. She keeps us on our toes… usually something that worked nicely the previous night to calm her down, doesn’t help again. Every time it’s a guessing game… but each time something does work, we definitely remember it and keep it in our bag of tricks.

On her side, in my lap, swaying side to side (usually with a pacifier)… works half the time:

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When she’s really fussy, she ends up sleeping great that night – so even though it’s hard for a long hour, it makes night time sleep much better! Speaking of sleep, she has had some nights this week where she’s gone for 5 hours between feedings… without even waking up in between to cry! Then she’ll have a 3 or 4 hour stretch in the same night. She will still have a 2 hour stretch at random times in the evenings… but I feel like most nights this week I got better sleep than I have over the past month! As she gets older, week by week, I know her sleep habits will improve. Although, I did hear lots of moms last week at the Breastfeeding Connections support group say that at about 3 or 4 months their baby went back to having weird sleeping habits and waking up more often… at least I know that’s a possibility and I’m prepared for that!

She’s also sleeping in her crib much better this week. We moved away from the swaddle because she just seemed so uncomfortable on her back and wasn’t sleeping well. We now put her in a fleece, long-sleeved sleep-sack and she sleeps great! She’ll lay down without much of a fight and I truly think the sleep-sack is part of the reason she’s sleeping so well now. She likes to put her hands above her head and arch her back a little bit. Kind of like this picture:

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We haven’t gone into her room at night to take a picture of her sleeping in those positions in her crib… maybe we need to do that. She also likes to sleep with her arms out to the side, completely straight like an airplane. It’s really cute to go into her room and see what kind of contorted position she’s in!

Last night, I laid her in bed after holding her for a while…her eyes were closed and she was totally asleep. But, as soon as I laid her down, she woke up – which is typical. Instead of picking her back up once she started to squirm, I let her be. I just stood there and watched her. After about 5 minutes of squirming, she closed her eyes and feel asleep! Success! She can put herself to sleep! Okay, I know that only happened once… but I’ll work on doing that from now on and see if we can make it a

habit and not just a one-time occurrence. This morning, I went in and opened the curtains and took her sleep sack off. It was still another hour before she was scheduled to eat again, but I didn’t want her sleeping into the day. She just laid in the crib, looking at the mobile and making cute noises for almost an hour – just as happy as can be!

We noticed this week that Ellie has tears now. Up until now, we read that babies do not have tears. Well, this week a few times during her fussy moments, we saw tears… it was heart breaking… but very interesting at the same time… just means she’s growing up! 🙂

Ellie is also smiling more as a reaction to things. If Zach or I lean in to give her kisses and make noises, she’ll usually grin a bit! It’s so cute!! I can’t wait to see more smiles and start to hear giggles!! She still loves her baths and always seems so relaxed during bath time! And is ever so cute afterward wrapped in her towel!

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Ellie has a great grip. She’s started grabbing things that are near her… it’s pretty amazing to me how strong she is. She still has no interest in toys and won’t try to grab something I place in front of her… her grasping just ends up “convenient” when she squeezes and there’s actually something in her hand.

Her legs are very strong too! She loves to push and “stand” when she’s being burped on my shoulder or when she’s on Zach’s chest. Zach will usually put her on his stomach while he’s reclining on the couch and she’ll push her way up his chest with her legs. Then he’ll bring her back down and have her start all over again. It’s so cute!

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The swing has become our favorite piece of baby equipment! Earlier this week, when she was having a hard time sleeping, we’d put her in the swing and she’d sleep just great! Now it’s become a great tool. When Zach and I need to eat dinner and she’s not content in our laps, she’ll swing and look around and entertain herself. This is also helpful for me when I’m trying to get ready in the morning or make my breakfast. Sometimes when she is fussy and other things don’t work, the swing does work. I make sure to not put her in the swing all the time though. I don’t want her to get used to it or get tired of it. I only use it when other means aren’t working or aren’t available. She also loves the mobile that’s attached to the swing. I move it out of the way when I’m putting her in it and she’ll look up to where it should be with a look that says “hello, where’s my mobile?!” We borrowed this swing from our friends the first week Ellie was born and we’re so thankful for friends who had a swing, aren’t using it right now and are willing to share!

Last night, we attended the “Christmas at the Ranch” musical at our church, with our small group. The musical was nice, but Zach and I both missed Ellie and just wanted to be home snuggling with her. That’s the third outing we’ve gone on where we’ve left her with one set of grandparents to give her a bottle. We were told this week to continue to give her a bottle at least once every other day. If she just gets a bottle randomly, she may not take it when it’s really necessary (like, when I go back to work). So, we’ll keep having Zach or the grandparents give her a bottle every other day until I go back to work.

I think that’s all the “news” from this week…

Of course, just like every week… we took over 200 hundred pictures! If she’s being active, I usually pull out the camera and take a whole bunch of pictures of each of her movements in the same position. But, we also have many pictures of her sleeping too! What do you expect with a 6-week-old? 🙂

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Here’s the link to some of this week’s favorite pictures in the December 2010 album.