Thursday, July 23, 2015

Reagan 15-18 month highlights

January 23-April 23

We took you for your first haircut just after your 15 month birthday. You bangs hung all the way down to your mouth so it was definitely time! The nice lady talked us into a bob cut which I wasn't so sure about at first because she had to cut off your pretty soft curls in the back but I love it now! You weren't very happy about the whole experience and had pretty much melted down by the end but that's okay!

We love watching you learn! You enjoy watching Baby Einstein Puppets on the computer and today (1/28) I watched you mimic what the puppet was going to say before he even said it! And it warms my heart when I see you fold your arms and bow your head when we say prayers together :)

We saw Dr Loznak for your 15 month appointment. You continue to grow and climb to the top of the growth charts. She said it's time to taper back on milk and let your bottles go...that's gonna be tricky for Daddy and I!

Daddy got a job with Fidelity so we are going to returning to Utah! It is a bittersweet choice for us because we love Michigan but sweetheart, we are doing this for you so that you can be closer to your family and have the relationship with your grandparents and cousins that we did.

You have a sweet little friend from church named Georgie. You guys are so cute together and for Valentine's Day you got him a pair of Canadian leaf shoes since his mom is from Canada.

We had a fun trip to Utah in February when you were 15 months old to welcome home Aunt Nessa from her mission in Uruguay. You were sick AGAIN! Almost the whole trip, we are starting to wonder if you are allergic to Utah...

 On February 27th, Daddy, Uncle Tyler and the doggies left for Utah. It was sad to see them go and hope we are making the right choice.
 Since then you've been such a good girl to play and watch movies so I can get the house ready to sell. You also love to video chat with Daddy every night. You squeal and wave when you see him on the screen.

You love to mimic us. You are big into "uh oh" and know when you are in trouble :) Like when you pushed your changing pad frame off the dresser and broke it...Also, you came to YW with me for my lesson since you were having a sick day from nursery. We were watching a video and you were being noisy to I held my finger up to my mouth and said "shh." Well you little stinker looked right at me and did it back to me over and over again!

You still love to wave at everyone and say "hi" or "hi-ya".

You growl at us :)

At 16 months you have got 4 animal noises down. The tiger, kitty, puppy and wolf.
Aunt Leslie came to stay with us for a long weekend in March to help so mommy could work. It was great to have a visitor! We went running and enjoyed the sunshine, took you for Easter pictures, and enjoyed sushi together.

When we were in Utah when you were 15 months old, Grandpa Allan taught you how to go down the stairs. Well in March when you were 16 months old it was finally warm enough to go to the park. I took you to the slides and much to my surprise you turned around backwards and went down on your tummy just like on the stairs!

Just before your 17 month mark I saw you stand up from the floor by yourself for the first time. Walking won't be long now!

On April 3rd at 17.5 months old I saw you take your first 2 steps! That was all you were up for but I'm sure more are coming soon!

We met Daddy in Chicago for an Easter weekend. It was so great to be together! He missed you so very much. We had beautiful weather for walking the city. You even got to take your first subway ride!

We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel and had a great city, river, and Lake Michigan view.


The Easter Bunny even found you, all the way in Chicago!

It was sad to drop Daddy off at the airport but we sure had fun!

Of course mommy couldn't resist getting pictures in your pretty Easter dress!

You crack us up when you say "whoa!" Daddy also taught you to pretend to sleep with a fake snore and all.

You and I went to the MSU Small Animal Day and we got to see baby farm animals and even pet a few! You looked so cute in your overalls and seemed right at home on the farm which is music to your mom and daddy's ears :)

Turns out trying to pack and sell a house by yourself isn't as easy as I thought...but at least it's entertaining with you helping me!

 You still love your books Miss Smarty Pants :)
But apparently only at home because when I took you to the library this is all you were interested in...

You sure love riding the penny pony at Meijer!

We could never get enough snuggles from you!


There was never a more perfect shirt for our Smoochie!

 Sunday morning breakfast with the Tabernacle Choir


We sure love you sweet girl, can't believe how fast you are growing and changing! There was never a sweeter baby than you!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Breastfeeding Diaries

This is a post I did as a guest blogger on a blog called The Girl in the Red Shoes. She has a section titled The Breastfeeding Diaries where moms share their experiences with breastfeeding. I had been following this blog for a year or so before Reagan was born and learned a lot so I was glad to add my story to the others.

Hi there! I'm Stephanie and I'm a wife, sister, daughter, mormon, nurse, dog and cat mama, and the lucky mommy to the amazing Reagan! I'm also a regular follower of The Girl in the Red Shoes and especially the Breastfeeding Diaries. I gained so much from reading fellow moms stories and feel blessed to share a bit of my own experience.

 I had a pretty easy pregnancy until the last few months when my sweet baby would not/could not turn out of her breech position which resulted in a scheduled c-section. It wasn't part of my "plan" but it was what was safest for both of us and turned out to be a very positive experience for my husband and me. I was lucky to have a great physician and nurse who worked with me to have the most natural c-section possible. We had a mirror in the OR so I could watch her birth which was followed by skin to skin within 1 minute of her birth right there on the OR table! She rode back to the recovery room right there on my chest.

Like many other moms I didn't do any formal preparation for breastfeeding but knew that I wanted to do it and knew that I had a very supportive family to help me. I didn't really think about it but figured we would both just know what to do. Well thank goodness for my angel labor and delivery nurse who was my first coach and teacher as soon as we got out of the OR. What would I have done without her?! She got me started and then I was lucky to have a lactation consultant visit me each day after. She provided so much reassurance and direction in those first days. Yes it toe curling while she latched hurt but I knew it was worth it and was pretty sure it would be temporary. And it was!
But thank goodness for lanolin!

I'm so grateful for the family support we had in those first few weeks. Breastfeeding advice from my mom and sister was essential and my husband was so supportive to whatever we needed. 

In those first weeks and months of uncertainty as a new mom I was certain about one thing. This girl loved to nurse! Sure it was for nourishment but it was also many times for comfort. I remember feeling like we were attached 75% of the day and at times it could get exhausting but now that I look back I wish I would have cherished every moment  just a little more because those babies grow SO quickly!  
But all that time together did teach me how to multitask...

Outside of a few bouts of thrush which required treatment for both of us, my biggest struggle while breastfeeding was a low supply. I had no idea this was coming and had no idea who much of a mental struggle this would be for me. I started pumping about a month before returning to work and quickly realized that my supply would not be enough. So we began supplementing with formula. And you know what? It wasn't horrible! In fact we could not have fed our baby without it. But I still tried "everything" the internet, other moms, and the lactation specialist could suggest (outside of beer since I don't drink alcohol). I tried extra water, extra calories, oatmeal, lactation cookies (ughh), fenurgreek, prescription domperidone, extra pumping sessions, etc. But ultimately nothing helped. I'm sure that my return to work played a big part in the low supply but there wasn't much I could do about it. I had amazing coworkers who watched my patients so I could get away to pump twice every 12 hour shift (ideally it would have been 3 times but in the hospital world that's not gonna happen). But I kept at it. I pumped twice a shift, EVERY shift for almost a year even though I saw my supply dwindle down as the months went on. When I got down to bringing home 1 oz after a whole shift I knew my pumping time was coming to a close. But I wanted to continue nursing her as long as SHE wanted. Sadly, that time came at about 14 months old. She had been showing declining interest for many weeks and I remember one morning specifically when I was trying to get her to nurse and she looked up at me with a "what are you doing mom? I'm done" kind of look and I knew. That was one of the last nursing sessions we shared. I was sad to be done but knew that it had happened as naturally as possible and on HER timeline. But oh how I LOVED nursing my baby! I cherished that time with her and was sad to see it end but not devastated as I was worried I would be. It was an amazing time to reflect back on those early days of nursing a brand new baby that I could hold in one arm and to watch her grow into this big toddler who's legs hung over the arm of the nursery chair that we spent so much time in.

I think the biggest pieces of advice I could offer to other moms would be...
First, seek out the help that is available. Whether you think you need it or not. Especially in those first few days after birth as you are getting started on this journey.

Second, as a mom who spent plenty of time pumping, I cannot say enough good things about the hands free pumping bra! I honestly can't imagine pumping without it. 

Third, the best thing I did for my mental health while combating a low supply was to just "let go" of the stress and anxiety about the amount of milk I was or wasn't producing. The stress certainly wasn't helping the low supply. One day after months of struggle I just came to grips with the fact that I was doing all that I could and giving my best to my baby. That's all she asked of me and it's all I should ask of myself. My world really changed after that.

And last, ENJOY these times together! Because they will be over so quickly.
I'm grateful for this chance to share my story and hope that it will help even one mom. I look forward to reading your stories and look forward to the blessing of nursing another precious baby of mine in the future!