Yummy Pizza

The other day my wonderful parents (who own a wonderful bakery that you all should visit if you are in the area) gave us a (sort of) new product to try.

They took their delicious foccacia bread, and turned it into little mini-rounds.
Perfect for little personal pizzas.

To make them is super easy.

Start with the yummy bread.

Add sauce.

Add cheese, etc.

Bake for 10 minutes at about 400 and voila!

Tastiest mini-pizza that I have had in a long time. The crust really does make or break the pizza.


Look who's 10 pounds!

10lbs 3oz to be exact.
She is 7 weeks and 2 days old and has mustered up 1 pound since she was born. But that is ok, we are heading in the right direction. She gained 22 ounces in 20 days.

She is in the 50th percentile for weight and 90th for height (23 inches).
Long and lean.
But growing.

The best part:
The doctor said I don't need to worry about waking her up to feed her at night. For the first time in 7 weeks I will not be setting a midnight alarm. Papillon gets to tell me when to get up, rather than vice versa.

Even if she still gets me up twice in the middle of the night, I am super excited!
Papillon and I left the pediatrician's on a cloud of happiness!
(or, at least I did. Papillon also got some shots today, so technically, she was a bit cranky when we left...oh well)

Missed That Memo

In all of my reading about having a baby and caring for a newborn, somehow I missed the memo that informs new moms that breastfeeding is not easy. It isn't natural. Sure, its not artificial and yes, mom and baby both have reflexes that help with the process. But it is a complicated action for the baby that in many ways must be learned and it can be a painful experience for the mom whose body (though meant to do this) has never been required to do this before.

I would have to say that breastfeeding is hands down my least favorite part of parenting. And yet it is simultaneously my favorite part as well. The first few weeks when Papillon did nothing but sleep, and eat; I loved loved loved to feed her. It was really the only way to interact with her, and it was a special thing that only I, her mother, got to do with her. It was awesome.
But it was painful. Very painful. Painful in such a way that I would rather birth a 9+lb baby with no drugs a couple times over rather than go through the pain
of breastfeeding again.

Lest that be a hugely terrifying statement to those of you who are anticipating birth/nursing, let me clarify a bit before I go further.
First of all - labor pain, for me, was a "good pain" (note: "good" here does not mean fun or unpainful; it was still unfun and very painful); a productive supposed-to-be-happening kind of pain. It was also largely a muscles-straining kind of pain. Nursing pain (for me) is more of a burning, stinging, raw sores kind of pain that I could in no way convince myself was "good". That made it worse.
Secondly - I shall say before I go any further, that at almost 7 weeks into this breastfeeding adventure, I am very glad that I stuck with it. The bad parts go away eventually, and the good parts are here to stay. So, in my book, its worth it.

That said that first 2-3 weeks were mostly miserable. My body was not taking well to this new adventure. I had soothing creams, cool gel pads, motrin and all sorts of other things to try and easy the pain. But there were a number of days at the beginning where I would honestly feel sick with anticipation of the next time I would have to feed her.
When I did sit down to feed her, I would wait for her to open her mouth really wide, but rather than seizing that moment to latch her on, I would pull her away. Chickening out at the last moment because I knew it was going to hurt like crazy. This obviously made Papillon upset, which, in turn, made me upset.

Lots of crying happened every 2-3 hours those first weeks.

The worst was the morning that I bled. Papillon was munching away. It hurt, but I was clenching my teeth (a lot of that happened the first couple weeks as well) and getting through it. But then Papillon grimaced and moved her head away. Her little mouth was covered in blood. After panicking briefly, I realized I was bleeding, not Papillon. That made it better momentarily, until I realized....I was bleeding... from nursing...I didn't know that could happen.

Yes, they bleed. And crack. And blister. And those blisters pop. And it's as painful as it sounds. It's painful to shower; its painful to get dressed; its painful to nurse.

The solution (generally) = just keep nursing.

Nurse through the pain.
And keep applying creams and cold packs and taking motrin.But the craziest healer of all...give them air. Now that's a classy aspe
ct of newborn parenting no one mentioned.

So I soldiered through. But my determination was being sabotaged.
Papillon was losing weight. Papillon at her smallest - about 3 weeks.

Not just the kind of weight that all newborns lose and then regain. She was legitimately not eating enough and losing weight. At a weight check at 3 weeks, she was still losing weight, not even bottoming out, still losing; and at that point it was time to change plans.

We met with a lactation consultant who informed us that much of Papillon's "eating" was unproductive sleep-sucking. Two things needed to happen. One, we needed to convince my body that it needed to make more milk (It had pretty much given up making anything since Papillon was eating much of anything). And two, we needed to teach Papillon to eat what I was making.
To help with the first problem, we got one of these: A hospital grade breast pump. That looks like it belongs in a museum.
It came with strict instructions to use it after every single time that I fed Papillon.

We also got some feeding syringes which we would use to squirt a little milk (formula, or pumped breast milk if I had any) in her mouth when she started dozing off while nursing. This would remind her what she was doing so that she would keep up with the sucking.

While these tools were very helpful, it made feedings (now strictly 2 hours apart in the day, and 3 at night.) take over an hour (when you include that crazy pumping machine). 10 feedings a day at an hour plus = approximately 12 hours of nursing. Oh boy.

But I didn't mind the time so much as the fact that nursing now felt incredibly mechanical and hugely unattractive (pumping is hard on ones vanity...).

Well, the pumping machine did its job, but with milk production up came a new pain. "Let-down" pain. Possibly the hardest to explain; its almost a burning sensation, but not really. It kind of feels like a lot of pressure, but not really. Really, its just very uncomfortable. And happens at the most random times.

It was around about 4 weeks that I was pretty much at rock bottom.
Between the pumping, the soreness and Papillon not gaining weight my confidence as a mother was pretty much nilch.

Then it began to turn around.
It was at about 1 month mark that the soreness started going away. The blisters healed, the bleeding stopped and the cracks got smaller. Currently I still wouldn't call it pain-free; but its close.
At 5 weeks we returned the hospital pump. It served its purpose for which I am grateful, but I am pretty sure I will hate pumping for the rest of my life.
At about 6 weeks I stopped using the syringes.
And just recently (here at 6.5 weeks), I think I am finally confident that my nursing is sufficient for Papillon and that she is going to keep growing properly.
The let-down pain still happens. I don't know when, if ever, that will stop. But compared to where we were just a few weeks ago I can deal with this pain (and I am learning to deal with it without applying counter-pressure...which is not really a socially acceptable thing to do in public...)

I still take it personally when people tell me my baby is "tiny". They mean well, but they don't know the story behind her "tiny-ness". She may be tiny (approx 9.5 lbs, thank you very much), but I have worked very hard for every ounce of her. We didn't give up and we have made it through the worst part.

If you have stuck with me through this super long post, allow me to conclude with a final thought and some advice.

Final Thought: This is obviously only my own experience with breastfeeding. Every woman is different. For some its easier. For some (I shudder to think) its harder (Thankfully, I have not experienced an infection or a blocked duct or anything).
The moral of this story is this: If breastfeeding is hard for you, you are not alone. Everyone makes it look easy, but for very few people is it as easy (at the beginning) as it looks. Last week I went to a La Leche League meeting, and while I am not as hard core with the nursing as they are (many of the women there nursed their kids until they were 2, 3, 4 or even 5 years old), it was incredibly encouraging. There were women there who are currently going through what I have been going through, and also women who had been there, done that and survived to say it was worth it.

So my advice if you are new to breastfeeding, or anticipating it sometime in the future:

1) Nurse as soon as you possibly can after the baby is born (Due to circumstances largely beyond my control I didn't nurse Papillon until she was probably about 5 hours old)
2) Meet with a lactation consultant even if things seem to be going ok. They really do know what they are doing, and if things are going well the can at least encourage you and boost your confidence

3) Find people you can comfortably talk to about breastfeeding. La Leche folks, friends who are breastfeeding, etc etc. Anyone who will support and encourage you.
4) And don't be afraid to admit its going badly and/or its not fun. You are not failing just because its hard. And it WILL get better. It may take 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 4 months.
But it will get better.

Waking Up

Papillon spends more time awake these days (though she still sleeps soundly through the night - hooray!). But the process of waking up is still an adorably long one.

Sleeping peacefully.

Grimacing because she realizes its time to wake up.

Starting with a little stretch and kick.

Big stretch!

More grimacing and flailing

Trying to roll over.

Getting the sleepies out of her eyes.

Morning face.


Alternately titled:
Papillon has a ridiculous amount of clothes.

Recently, Mon Amour and I decided to join Freecycle.
I had heard wonderful things about it from a lot of people, but was hesitant to try because I had heard that it was something you really had to be involved in (the more you give, the more you get kind of thing). And I wasn't sure I had the time for that kind of involvement.

But finally we decided to just go for it!
And I must say I have been pleasantly surprised by our almost immediate success.

The other evening, we picked up a couple trashbags full of baby girl clothes, and after weeding through the ones that were a little stained, or that we just didn't like the look of, this is what we were left with: (two sides of one giant stack of clothes)

They range all the way from newborn to 24 months.
Now its official, Papillon has a ridiculous amount of clothes.

But, back to Freecycle.
We also picked up some Day Lilly Bulbs which we have planted.

Picking up free stuff really does inspire one to give away free stuff. At first I thought we wouldn't have anything to give away, then I realized that people give away anything and everything. The strangest thing that someone has offered so far is a half-used bottle of syrup (they tried it, but prefer a different brand). And the surprising thing is...someone took it! That means someone actually drove to another persons house to pick up a half a bottle of syrup. Weird.

The moral of the story being that people will take anything free. So its time to clean out the garage and see what kind of stuff we can give away!


Trying to capture Papillon's smile is tricky business. But on one particularly happy morning, I got one!

Wait for it....

....wait for it....

There it is!

So much happiness she couldn't keep her eyes open.

Smiles and a Serious Face

Papillon smiles rather frequently these days, but the smiles are fleeting so they are easier to capture on video than with pictures.

There are some little smiles at the beginning of this video...and a very serious face at the end.

More Random Cuteness

I love this picture. Equal parts inquisitive and skeptical.

And who doesn't like cute baby fingers?

Family Fun

The family fun continued through the weekend.
Since everyone is so rarely together in one place, it was a well documented occasion.

Us namesakes.

The whole crew (not including the cousins...some one had to take the picture)

Papillon and one of her Uncles. (not actually from this weekend, but too cute to resist posting)

Papillon and one of her Aunts. Said Aunt taught Papillon how to play the "air bongos" this weekend. Its adorable. We may need to get some video footage of it before said Aunt leaves the country for a year.

Papillon and her Grandpa. Despite the face, she really does like him a lot.

Papillon and her out of town Aunt and Uncle.

Papillon and her Grand-Nannie.

The Zoo

This past week my brother and his wife were in town, which meant that my whole side of the family was in the same (ish) place. This does not happen very often, so there was lots of family fun that needed to be crammed into a couple of days.

Some of that fun included a trip to the zoo. A trip to the zoo is mildly complicated when Papillon has to eat every 2 hours and it takes her 45 - 1 hour to eat. But, some how I managed to feed her twice while at the zoo. Go us! And all around it was a very fun trip.

Papillon was awake for a mere 20 minutes or so at the beginning.

Then she slept, and slept and slept.
I am so glad that Papillon likes the ring sling as much as I do.

Our local zoo is quite nice, and so there were lots of animals to be seen.

Though I am pretty sure that more pictures were taken of Papillon than of the rest of the animals combined. She is just that cute.

As are my brother and sister in law. Such a cute couple.

Just Plain Cute

Nothing profound, or even unprofound, to say today.
Just some cute faces.

There really are no words for the cuteness of that little face.

1 Month

Papillon officially turned one month old yesterday.
Here she is with her friend Snoopy. Hopefully I will remember to take a picture of Papillon and Snoopy every month so we can see how she grows. She is a lot longer than Snoopy, but still prefers to be all curled up.

Papillon at one month...

...will sleep anywhere. Swaddled, sprawled out, in her crib, in the bouncy seat, in the car, when its loud, quiet, hot or cold. Sleeping is her special talent

...still prefers to lay on her side. Often times the best way to wake her up is to make her lay flat on her back.

...weighs 8lbs 13 oz. Still 6 ounces shy of her birth weight. We will get there eventually.

...has given us a few small glimpses of a smile.

...eats every 2 hours in the day time and every 3 hours at night (unless I sleep through my alarm..). And it typically takes an hour by the time she eats and then I pump. (still working on getting my supply back after it practically dried up the first two weeks). I get excited when she eats fast enough at night that I can get back to bed in time to get 2 full hours of sleep before my alarm tells me its time to wake her up again.

...loves her sling. We can pretty much go anywhere and do anything when she is in the sling. It just makes her happy (and sleepy).

....also loves the car. It never takes long for her to fall asleep when I drive some where.

Time is flying by. Its hard to believe its been a month already. I still don't feel like I have fully found my "sea-legs", but things get a little better every day, and as long as she keeps gaining weight, I am a happy mommy.

Awake Time

Now that Papillon has a few calories in her, she manages to spend a little bit more time awake.

She is adorable when she hangs out awake.

The other day she sat in her swing for an hour. Never fell asleep, never fussed, just sat there and looked around for an hour. It was fantastic, and adorable.
Here she is all content in her swing.

And on another occasion she just sat on the bed with me and looked around for probably 30 minutes. Also adorable.

She still sleeps like a rock though. The faces she makes when she is fighting waking up are the cutest ever. (Though when I really need to feed her and all she is doing is making adorable sleeping faces...its still mildly frustrating)

Here she is as I try and wake her up in the morning.
Part 1
Part 2
And she is still asleep.

Marge's Mental State

While there is no animosity between Marge and Papillon, Papillon's crying and all around presence has taken a toll on Marge's mental state.

She doesn't eat her breakfast like she used to. She snacks on it nervously throughout the day.
Her hatred of squirrels has increased exponentially. When we let her out in the back yard she yelps like she's dying as she chases the squirrels out of the yard.
And when she is not chasing squirrels or eating Papillon's little socks, she mopes around looking incredibly forlorn.

You can see it in this video.

Poor Marge.
Hopefully she will adjust soon.

Back On Track

Papillon and I recently returned to the pediatrician this to see if all of this crazy feeding that we have been doing has paid off.

Papillon is quite the celebrity at the doctor's office at this point, since we have been there every 3-4 days. So as we sat in the waiting room a couple of the nurses came over to comment on how she looked a little fatter. But they had said that before, and it wasn't true. So we had to wait for the scale.

She was 8lbs 3 oz last time we went, and our wonderful nurse decided to set the scale a 8lbs 8oz before we even put her on the scale. I very much appreciated her optimism but was skeptical.

Low and behold, she was very close.

Papillon weighed in at 8lbs 7oz.

She gained 4 ounces in 3.5 days.

Here she is in a bit of a food coma, with her sweet cheeks on their way back to their original pudginess.

Great Grandparents

Way back in Papillon's 2nd week of life, we paid a visit to my grandparents.
We had quite a lovely time.

Papillon with Nannie (her Great-Nannie technically I suppose :-)

Namesakes, practically!

Papillon and her great-grandparents.

It is such a blessing that Papillon can meet some of her great grandparents!
Hopefully we shall visit them again soon!

Daddy-Daugther Cuteness

We are apparently slackers at at taking picture of us with Papillon, and it was pointed out that there was a particular shortage of pictures of Mon Amour and Papillon.

So, by special request, some adorable daddy-daughter pictures.

And yes, there is a large pile of ironing that needs doing in the background. That was on Friday's to do list...until other things took priority.

But anyway...

Aren't they just the sweetest!