Friday Favorites

A few bloggers I follow list things they’re loving every week. I thought it was a great idea. So, here’s my first “Friday Favorites.”

1. Trader Joe’s Natural Facial Cleansing Pads

trader joes natural facial cleansing pads

One of my best friends introduced these to me on our annual girls’ lake weekend. I have recently been trying to use more natural products, while combating acne. (Seriously, I thought that was supposed to end after high school). These cleansing pads are great! They leave your skin a little tingly but overall clean well and work. Tea Tree Oil is great for fighting blemishes and all sorts of acne.

2. Thayer’s Original Witch Hazel

Thayers original witch hazel
Another skin care favorite, my sister-in-law said she started using witch hazel on her face and loved it. I immediately bought some and have to agree. It is soothing, minimizes pores, feels amazing.

3. Enlightened Ice Cream

enlightened triple chocolate ice cream

Switching gears, I cannot get enough of this ice cream! I’m currently loving the “Triple Chocolate” flavor, but I also love the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Those are the only two flavors I’ve tried (creature of habit), but I will venture out to other flavors because these are seriously amazing! They have more protein than normal ice cream and have fewer calories. I’ve definitely eaten a whole pint in one sitting. The Triple Chocolate has gooey fudge swirls that actually taste like fudge. Yum! I found it to be creamier than competitor Halo Top.

4. WubbaNub

wubbanub

Bennett doesn’t use his pacifiers a ton, but he does like them if he isn’t feeling 100%, needs to calm down, or is a little scared, like after shots or when falling asleep. We both loved the stuffed animal attached. Makes finding it under the crib 10000000x easier. The stuffed animal also becomes Bennett’s friend at night. I’m often watching him on the video baby monitor as he holds his elephant over his head “talking” to him. I imagine he’s sharing all about his day to his bestie before falling asleep. It is adorable!

 

Those are my current favorites this Friday.

Bennett is Six Months

Bennett is Six Months!

I am really loving this stage. Bennett is starting to get more of a personality every day. He’s so fun!

This month’s highlights include: Bennett getting baptized, me spending my first weekend away from him, and finally, he started solid foods.

Bennett’s baptism was beautiful and so special. Family and friends came out to St. James Catholic church and then to our house for a celebration. I didn’t take nearly enough pictures (especially of the decorations – I put gold cross confetti on every table). B wore a family heirloom gown and bonnet my Oma got in Ireland that three of my cousins wore for their baptisms. It was so special!

baby baptism
He looked like an angel <3

We started solids! We started with rice cereal, then introduced a new food every three days: sweet potatoes, followed by applesauce, then pears, then oatmeal, then bananas, then carrots finally avocado. He loved (in order of preference): 1) carrots, 2) pears, 3) applesauce, 4) oatmeal. He did not like the bananas or avocado. I think it’s a texture thing – he’s just not ready for non-puree yet.

Finally, my weekend away. I went on my annual girls lake weekend with my best friends to Smith Mountain Lake. It was so much fun! But, you guessed it, I missed B a lot. Jimmy did a great job solo Dad-ing. He even worked on Benny holding his own bottle while I was gone.

Typical Day:

7 am wake up & bottle

9 am nap for Ingrid & Bennett in their own rooms

10 am – 5 pm bottles on demand, naps every 1.5 – two hours; in this time, errands/I try to squeeze in a workout/lots of playing

5:30 pm bath

7 pm put Bennett down

7 pm dinner & Ingrid & Jimmy hang out time

B wakes up once a night for a bottle – Ingrid gives him and then sleeps until 7 am

Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 6 months

Weight: 28.25″

Length: 20 lbs

Size: 12 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: light brown

Sleeping:  he typically sleeps from 7 pm to 5:30 am. Wakes to chug a bottle. Then back to sleep until 7 am.

Eating: formula bottles: 6 oz each feeding; some solid foods (see above)

Milestones: “discovered” his feet; started solids; spent his first solo weekend with Daddy; got baptized

Memorable outings: his first vineyard trip

Bennett's first vineyard trip @chrysalisvineyards

A post shared by Ingrid (@i.racine) on

Likes: holding his feet, eating puréed carrots, rolling onto his tummy, getting his face cleaned, moving all the time

Dislikes: staying still, getting strapped in the car seat, not being able to crawl yet

Words/sounds: “a” “ahh” “ohhh” “mmhm”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “B”

Interesting Facts: B loves him some vegetables

Funny moments: Every time he takes a bite of a food, he makes a face, then remembers he likes it and gobbles it down

Looking forward to: introducing more solid foods – it’s so fun!

Photos This Month:

Bennett is Five Months

Untitled

Bennett is Five Months!

This is our first month with a video baby monitor. I have NO idea what I was thinking when I thought I just wanted an audio one. Seriously, get a video monitor. It is the best thing ever!

On a more baby focused note, our little man is getting more personality every day. He’s working on sitting up (supported), he loves moving CONSTANTLY, he also loves to roll over onto his belly but then he gets stuck and starts crying.

I’m not quite sure why we’re still calling him “little man.” This baby is not that little. In fact, he outgrew his infant car seat for height this month. (Full disclosure, he had a tiny bit of room to go but I didn’t want him to outgrew it while we were at the beach).

Graco Milestone convertible car seat
Was not emotionally ready for him to outgrow the infant car seat. Slow down!

This month we took him to the beach for the first time! My parents met me off I-95 so my mom could drive my car and I could be in the back with B. I was so thankful for the help on the 9 hour (usually 8 hour) drive. B did great, although he did not sleep much. My parents also brought their folding crib so that made sleeping at the beach a much easier transition.

B loved the sand! He loved kicking it and playing. He was brave about the ocean, especially when Jimmy held him in the water. We only went down to the beach for about an hour in the evenings – the sun/crowds were intense and he naps so often. But, we did get plenty of balcony sitting. B sat in his new “Frog Chair” Gigi got. We called it his “throne.” We sat him on the table and he just looked out over the ocean and the beach. B, my parents, and I stayed a week. Jimmy flew in for four days so he didn’t have to miss as much work.

Bennett also got to meet more people. He got to meet my good friend Sherry and her twins. I found out that B loves watching kids, so I will definitely be taking him to the playground more. Finally, B was able to meet his great aunt Shelia and two of his first cousins once removed, Jackson & Jeremy. We’re slowly getting him to meet his whole family.

Typical Day:

6:30 am wake up & bottle

9 am nap for Ingrid & Bennett in their own rooms

10 am – 6 pm bottles on demand, naps every 1.5 – two hours

5:30 pm bath

7 pm put Bennett down

7 pm dinner & Ingrid & Jimmy hang out time

B wakes up once a night for a bottle – Ingrid gives him and then sleeps until 6:30 am

Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 5 months

Weight: 27″

Length: 17.2 lbs

Size: 9 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: light brown

Sleeping:  he slept the first half of the month in his crib in his “spacesuit” (Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit) in his room solo and then we “swaddle weaned” and he now sleeps in footie PJs

Eating: formula bottles: 6 oz each feeding

Milestones: first beach trip, rolled over for the first time, outgrew his infant car seat

Memorable outings: first beach trip

Likes: sand, eating, sleeping, MOVING

Dislikes: baths, staying still

Words/sounds: “a” “ahh” “ohhh” “mmhm”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “B”

Interesting Facts: B moves constantly all the time, even when sleeping. He also likes talking all the time.

Funny moments: when B first saw the ocean, he made a face like “this is the biggest bath I’ve ever seen”

Looking forward to: next year’s beach trip when he can swim and play more

Photos from Bennett’s Fifth Month:

Bennett is Four Months

Bennett is Four Months!

 

This is the first month I’m a stay at home mom. So far, it’s amazing. I love being there for Bennett all the time. I love seeing him grow and learn every single day.

This month is also sadly, the first month I’m not breastfeeding. Honestly, it is so freeing. Not having the stress and feeling like a failure is great. I miss the bond. I miss providing the best nutrition for my baby (you can’t replicate those antibodies). I miss the feeling of success when I pumped a bottle. I miss B falling asleep nursing. I do not miss late night feedings.

Typical Day:

7 am wake up & bottle

9 am nap for Ingrid & Bennett in B’s room

10 am – 6 pm bottles on demand, naps every 1.5 – two hours

6:30 pm put Bennett down

7 pm dinner & Ingrid & Jimmy hang out time

9:30 pm bed – Jimmy in B’s room, Ingrid in the master

midnight-Jimmy gives Bennett a bottle

4 am (or whenever Bennett wakes up for his next feeding) – Jimmy gets Ingrid and they swap rooms; Ingrid gives B a bottle

4 am – 7 am Ingrid & B try to sleep in B’s room

 Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 4 months

Weight: 16.5 lbs

Length: 26.75″

Size: 6 months and some 9 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: light brown

Sleeping: slept through the night (11 hours straight!) he sleeps in his crib in his “spacesuit” (Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit)

Eating: formula bottles: 4 oz each feeding

Milestones: 1) slept through the night!

Memorable outings: First time at the cottage/first time on a boat

Likes: ceiling fans, his changing table, loves his room

Dislikes: baths, staying still, his monthly tie stickers

Words/sounds: “a” “ahh” “ohhh”

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “Mr. Ahgoo, “B”

Interesting Facts: first month of all day everyday Mommy & Bennett time

Funny moments: I had my friends over – B tried so hard to stay up and hang out, but he just couldn’t make it. He fell asleep sitting up on Sarah’s lap.

Untitled

Looking forward to: more sleep; his first beach trip (next month)

Photos from Bennett’s Fourth Month:

Bennett is Three Months

Bennett is Three Months!

 

People claimed it would get easier around three months. They were so right! We no longer feel like this baby will kill us (which would lead to an amazing Lifetime movie).

Sleeping wise, we finally figured some things out, first of all, we were keeping him up way too late! Benny needs to go to bed around 6-7 pm. Secondly, Bennett does better when Mommy is no where around him. This means, Jimmy starts the night in Bennett’s room (where we have a full sized adult bed) while B sleeps in his Rock ‘n Play.

Feeding wise, we’re stopping nursing at the end of this month. Cue all the tears. I literally gave it my all. Blood, sweat, and tears here. However, Bennett screams and hits me every time I try to nurse him now. His nursing sessions are getting shorter and shorter. The lactation specialists think it is because he knows a bottle is coming (we still have to supplement). I’m pumping for 20-30 minutes six times a day just to get half of what he needs. It is not sustainable. At least I made it to three months. That is a solid foundation.

Typical Day:

3 am nursing

Ingrid & B sleep in B’s room

6 am nursing

Ingrid & B try to sleep some more

7 am wake up & pump

9 am Gigi comes over, Ingrid naps, B gets bottles and naps with Gigi downstairs

noon – 6 pm: nurses every 3 hours, formula bottle after while Ingrid pumps, Ingrid naps whenever she can while Gigi watches B

6:30 pm put Bennett down

7 pm dinner while watching The Wheel of Fortune

8 pm last pumping followed by bed for Ingrid in master bedroom & Jimmy in B’s room

midnight – Jimmy gives B a bottle

midnight-3 am Jimmy & B sleep in B’s room, Ingrid in master

3 am (or whenever Bennett wakes up for his next feeding) – Jimmy gets Ingrid and they swap rooms

 

 Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 3 months

Weight: didn’t weigh him

Length: didn’t measure him

Size: 6 months and some 9 months – holy growth spurt

Eyes: blue

Hair: light brown

Sleeping: sleeps 5 hours straight on the regular *THANK YOU JESUS!

Eating: breastfeeding as much as he’ll let me, supplementing with breast milk or formula bottles 2-4 oz at a time

Milestones: first giggle when I brought him into City Hall and he thought Sandy was hilarious; first Easter

Memorable outings: went to City Hall; first road trip – went to Richmond so Ingrid could be in her friend Meredith’s wedding

Likes:  trying to talk, kicking, his mama, making faces, and trying to suck his thumb.

Dislikes: baths, being naked

Words/sounds: agu

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “Mr. Agu, “B”

Interesting Facts: he sneezes three times in a row once a day, every day

Funny moments: while organizing laundry, a burp cloth fell off the back of the couch right onto Bennett’s head – we all laughed

Looking forward to: his first recognize me smile; and sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep

Photos from Bennett’s Third Month:

Bennett is Two Months

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Bennett is Two Months!

Month two is a little easier than the first month. We’re still having nursing challenges, but he’s finally gaining weight, thank goodness for formula. Fed is best everyone.

Sleeping is still rough but that’s to be expected. He’s up every hour and a half. Eating every hour and a half round the clock. Team Baby is Mommy, Gigi & Grandpa during the weekdays, Mommy, Gigi & Daddy for week nights, and just Mommy & Daddy for weekends. Kai is contemplating running away. I wouldn’t blame him.

Bennett saw his first snow! I insisted Jimmy go into work late so we could take some photos outside. I love snow! Then, while watching the news all day (like I do every snow day), I submitted a photo of Bennett doing his “snow angel” and he got featured! Little celebrity 🙂

Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 2 months

Weight: 11 lbs 12 oz

Length: 22″

Size: some newborn, mostly 3 months

Eyes: blue

Hair: light brown

Sleeping: not well. Towards the end of the month, we got a Rock n’ Play he sleeps better in that

Eating: breastfeeding with supplementation via a bottle. Eats every hour and a half around the clock

Milestones: started babbling, can fully support head, first smile

Memorable outings: 1) first time out to eat (Dogfish Head Alehouse with Mommy, Gigi, and Grandpa) 2) first movie – La La Land at the Cry Baby Matinee with Mommy and Gigi

Likes: ceiling fans, kicking, stretching, smiling, and of course eating

Dislikes: sleeping & baths

Words/sounds: agu

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “Mr. Agu”

Interesting Facts: he sneezes three times in a row once a day, every day

Funny moments: while organizing laundry, a burp cloth fell off the back of the couch right onto Bennett’s head – we all laughed

Looking forward to: his first recognize me smile; and sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep

Photos from Bennett’s Second Month:

My Breastfeeding Journey: Low Supply

I 100% planned I would breastfeed. I read the books (lots of books). I bought the travel pump to take to work, I bought the accessories, I got the clothes, set up my nursing spot, I was ready. Then I had the baby.

Bennett and my nursing journey didn’t start as planned. We didn’t get to start during that magic first hour due to a nurse’s advice to “wait until he’s really ready.” Then, we were separated a lot because of severe jaundice treatment. More here.

I saw multiple board certified lactation specialists. Five to be exact. They did assessments and weight tests to determine I have low supply. I’m producing about half of what my baby needs. That was heartbreaking. However, I knew I wanted to give my son everything I had.

I breastfeed my baby as often as he wants (on-demand) which is usually every 1.5 hours. During the day for as long as he wants. During the night, I cut him off at 20 minutes so I can get some sleep. (Once he started sleeping a bit longer, I stopped cutting him off and let him eat.)  After nursing, I supplement with formula. At first this was with a syringe to avoid nipple confusion (really bottle preference).

Daddy finger feeding with the syringe

Then, we used comotomo bottles.

The first month was hard, really hard. It was also painful.

how breastfeeding really looks at the beginning
How breastfeeding really looked at the beginning for me: 3 am swollen face from crying, semi dark room, struggles, pain, determination

Typically it was only painful when he first latched on because we worked hard on getting a good latch, but it still didn’t feel great. (It did start being easier around 2 months.)

Then there were the challenges:

  1. Sleepy jaundice baby – I’d have to wake him constantly while nursing
  2. Fussy – he gets frustrated during letdown and then when I run out of milk so he whips his head around – again, painful
  3. Not enough milk – this meant pumping and herbs and lactation specialists for me
  4. Learning to latch – standard challenge for all breastfeeding mommies and babies

To try to increase my supply, the lactation specialists prescribed I:

  • Feed on-demand around the clock
  • Feed both sides each time
  • Take fenugreek and brewers yeast
  • Pump after every feeding for 20 minutes
  • Supplement with formula as needed

This plan was literally sucking the life out of me. So, after a month, my husband and I modified it:

  • Feed on-demand around the clock but try to keep night feedings under 30 minutes
  • Feed on both sides
  • Take fenugreek and brewers yeast
  • Pump after daytime feedings for 10-20 minutes
  • Supplement with formula

After a month, the lactation specialist confirmed I was producing more but my baby’s appetite increased too, so, I was still at about half what he needed. She told me to keep with the plan.

To stay alive, at around two months, I started the following:

  • Feed on-demand around the clock but try to keep night feedings under 30 minutes. If I had someone here to help, I would nap after nursing for up to 3 hours and let them give him a bottle of formula while I slept
  • Feed on both sides
  • Take fenugreek and brewers yeast
  • Pump if my baby had not eaten in an hour and was sleeping soundly – this was always a gamble
  • Supplement with formula

If I had listened to the books,  the online forums, and the breastfeeding groups, I would have just breastfed on-demand as much as my baby wanted. That should have increased my milk and given him everything he needed. That is all true if my body worked properly. However, I have low supply. So, I would have starved my baby.

Not being able to exclusively breastfeed like I planned killed me. However, I know I’m doing what is best for my baby. Getting support from lactation consultations at the beginning is key for a good latch and to identify any problems early on. If you do have low-supply, morn the loss of your breastfeeding dream, but do what is best for you, your baby, and your family.

Fed is best.

Bennett is One Month

UntitledBennett is One month!

The past month has been a bit of a blur. Between the doctor’s appointments for the bilirubin, the weight gain problems, and the nursing challenges and the sleep deprivation, I barely remember anything. Team Baby is on full-team press to try to survive. (Team Baby is Jimmy, Ingrid, GiGi, and Grandpa).

Read more about the first month here.

Monthly Questionnaire

Age: 1 month

Weight: 8 lbs

Length: 21″

Size: newborn

Eyes: blue

Hair: dirty blonde

Sleeping: HAHAHAHA only when held or on his Daddy’s chest and that’s for a hot minute. I miss sleeping so much!

Eating: breastfeeding with supplementation via a feeding tube

Milestones: FINALLY passed his birth weight and is no longer jaundiced

Memorable outings: does the doctor count???

Likes: eating, windows, sleeping on Daddy, walks

Dislikes: being changed, waiting a second for anything, sleeping in his bassinet, crib, swing, rock ‘n play, etc…

Words/sounds: grunts all.the.time when sleeping

Nicknames: “Little Man,” “Benny,” “Mr. Piggy”

Interesting Facts: he sneezes four times in a row once a day, every day

Funny moments: his first bath was hilarious

Looking forward to: sleeping, getting nursing down, sleeping, his first real smile, sleeping, oh and sleeping

Photos from Bennett’s First Month:

Sleep, Eat, or Shower: Choose One – The First Month with a Newborn

I knew the first few months having a baby would be life-changing. I just didn’t realize how much; aka: you can shower, sleep, or eat, but you only have time for one, choose wisely. Needless to say, we didn’t have the easiest start to our little family, but we’re powering through.

Bennett was born with sever jaundice. He was born early (37 weeks). We (Bennett and I) have different blood types so his slightly underdeveloped liver had an extra difficult time processing my red blood cells. This led to him being “under the lights” for the first few days of his life. We also had to stay in the hospital longer.


The combination of the jaundice treatment (being away from me), a not great terrible nurse who advised me to “wait a long while” before trying to breastfeed for the first time, and his being born early, resulted in nursing challenges. I ended up seeing many lactation specialists, five to be exact. Who, all determined, I was producing hardly any colostrum and then later, I didn’t produce enough milk. Weight tests before and after feedings determined I was only making about half of what Bennett needed. So, all the lactation specialists and pediatricians advised us to supplement with formula. We needed to get the calories in so he could process the red blood cells and get the bilirubin levels down.

The next couple weeks were spent with daily trips to the doctors to get blood work done for his bilirubin tests and weight checks to see if he was gaining. Bad news for both, for a solid week. Bennett ended up losing almost a pound and his levels did not go down like we hoped. Not being able to produce the food my baby needed made me feel like such a failure. Breastfeeding was something I was passionate about. Eventually (after a lot of formula), we got his bilirubin numbers down (at about 2.5 weeks) and then finally at three weeks old, he passed his birth weight.

Despite everything, I haven’t given up on breastfeeding. It’s a long, hard, and tiring road, but I’m trying. I have modified my six month goal, to a one month goal. Then, I’ll continue to set manageable goals to keep my sanity. The feeding plan is as follows:

  • Breastfeed on demand (usually every 1.5 hours but can be up to three hours) this of course includes waking him up throughout the night. I was not prepared for that. At the beginning, he was nursing for 45 minutes to an hour. Around week three, we cut that time to an average of 36 minutes per session.
  • After breastfeeding, supplement with formula if he is still showing hunger cues and doesn’t seem satisfied. He never is satisfied after nursing. The supplementation started at one ounce, but has increased as he is getting older and growing.
  • After breastfeeding, I pump. Pumping started with 30 minutes after every nursing session. Then we cut it to 20 minutes after every daytime nursing. [I was dying with the previous schedule]. Then, after my body still wasn’t improving, the lactation specialists reduced the pumping to 10 minutes. I know they thought I would give up completely if I kept up with the previous schedules.

So, yes, that is a lot. The whole process takes about 1.5 hours. Yep, by the time I finish the feeding, it is time to get going on another feeding. All day, every day.

Feeding baby via syringe
Feeding via the syringe
At almost one month, we started with a bottle

Naming Bennett

Jimmy and I used our September drive to Blacksburg very productively. I was armed with a list of baby names I didn’t hate (literally spent all my free time going through thousands of names) and a baby name book a wonderful coworker gave us. We went through names one-by-one. Deciding we liked some a bit. Favorite compromise was Gregory. However, it didn’t really meet all our requirements.

Ingrid’s Requirements:

  • be unique but not too weird
  • ideally have family significance
  • “flow”

Jimmy’s Requirements:

  • be normal
  • ideally have Christian ties

These requirements did not match up on many names. There were a few we liked and had jotted down. One in particular, Bennett. During the drive, Jimmy was on the phone with his best friend Andy. I got a call from my brother Kurt, so we were on two different phone calls. Kurt asked how the drive was going. I said there was traffic, but we were working on our baby name list. Kurt asked for favorites. I said “well we think we like Gregory and then I really like Bennett, but didn’t you guys want that name?” Kurt and Kate said we should use it. It was still a little grey area for me.

Then, we’re driving back from Church on Sunday in Blacksburg and Jimmy notices a street sign “Bennett St.” He goes, “what about Bennett.” I said “that was my grandfather’s name!” [it was on our list but he forgot]. He goes: “I really like it.” I reply “I really like it too!” Now, Bennett Street is a tiny two block street in Blacksburg, very easy to miss. We literally saw a sign for our son’s name!

bennettst

Then, on the drive back home, we were getting onto 81 and I said “what about middle names.” Jimmy replies: “William. It’s my dad’s middle name.” I smile and say: “It’s my dad’s middle name too!”

And there you have the naming of Bennett William Racine.

Ingrid’s Requirements:

  • ✓ be unique but not too weird – absolutely! When he says “Bennett” people will know what he’s saying but there shouldn’t be 8 other Bennetts in his class.
  • ✓ ideally have family significance – definitely does! Honoring the late MSGT Leland Bennett, my grandfather. William for Jimmy’s dad, my dad, and my brother Kurt.
  • ✓ “flow” – yep, with or without the middle name

Jimmy’s Requirements:

  • ✓ be normal – nickname “Ben” aka completely normal
  • ✓ ideally have Christian ties – there are quite a few saints named William