newborn

How to Cope with Sleep Deprivation 

I will start by saying that sleep is super important. As far as your health goes, assuming you have the choice, it is far better to get enough sleep than workout. Note, it's not that you shouldn't work out, it's that sleep is even more beneficial for your health. This is coming from someone who loves to workout daily.

That said, having a newborn implies sleep deprivation. Add grad school on top of that and a rambunctious 3 year old and there is no way that you are getting a full nights sleep. Today I finally took my final for my last summer class. Considering that spring semester ended the day after Hailey was born and the summer semester started two days later, I haven't had a break from school since January. To say that I have been looking forward to a month off from classes before the fall is an understatement.

No matter what kind of schooling you do or what you major in, there are some classes that are more difficult than others. This last one was intense! Couple that with jam packing the information into a short 6 weeks of classes and well, I'm praying for a B by the skin of my teeth. In order to get even that I used a few tactics to combat my sleep deprivation.

1. Naps:

If you can't sleep at night, try to get a little shut eye during the day. Even a 30 minute power nap can recharge your battery for the rest of the day. Nothing combats sleep deprivation like, well, sleep. I can't get a nap every day, but when I can I try my darnedest to take it. Sometimes I just lay there with my eyes closed without actually  getting to sleep. But even that can help relax and restore.

2. Caffeine:

I'm a breastfeeding  mama so the amount of caffeine I can consume is limited. If your baby becomes jittery or agitated when you consume too much caffeine, it can keep your baby up. This can decrease your sleep even more. Otherwise, caffeine early in the day can help with your exhaustion. Since I sometimes have long drives for work, last time I had a newborn I would have coffee during the drive. Long monotonous drives can make you tired otherwise. I expect I will be doing this again when I start work again this time.

3. Exercise:

If you have to be up anyway, exercise is actually a good way to get energy. This may seem counterintuitive since you would think that you are expending energy. But, exercise can actually help you think more clearly and feel more energized. I like to exercise in the morning, but 5 minutes of increasing your heart rate can definitely give you a boost. Feeling drowsy mid afternoon? Go for a quick walk or jog or just dance to a few songs in your living room. You will definitely feel a lift in energy.

4. Keep busy:

Yesterday, the family took a trip to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. On a day that I would otherwise be exhausted after days with the kids and studying before they wake up and after they go to bed, I was able to keep up with them because I was busy. The monotony of day after day at home with a newborn can add to our exhaustion. The same can be said for any monotonous routine.  Take the kids to the park or zoo or grandma's house. Anything you do to change up the routine can help with your sleep deprivation.

That said I am looking foward to tomorrow morning when I can wake up and feed the baby and then relax until T gets up. Maybe even do a morning workout again! I can't wait!! As for tonight, I will be going to bed early to reclaim some of my sleep.

How do you combat sleep deprivation?

Happy weekend!!

Cheers,

Emily

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Getting Work Done With a Newborn 

Having a newborn is exhausting. With round the clock feedings, it's easy to feel like a glorified beverage dispenser. Add a toddler to the mix and you are on duty 24/7. And yet for the most part, I managed to stay active on my blog , complete one graduate level math class and am in the midst of another one. Also, I haven't given up socializing to do it. Hailey, Tyler, and I have attended 2 baptisms, a baby shower, a gender reveal party, a graduation party, and 2 bbqs all in the last month. We also visited the zoo and the park. I'm not magic, I promise. So how do I do it?

First, I prioritize. Family is first. So I make sure that we spend time together and go on outings. We are lucky that my husband is home during the day, so we really get to make use of my time away from work. After that is grad school work, after all I'm paying for that education so I want to do well and learn the material. Third is the blog. While I love blogging and sharing my knowledge and experiences, family and school come first. I work hard to stay consistent, but if something has to give, it's that. I mean how much sense would it make if I prioritized blogging about being a mom over actually being one? And how useful would what I say really be?

Second, I try to get as much sleep as possible. No one likes a cranky and exhausted mommy and a sleepy mommy is inefficient. So as I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I have a schedule of who is on duty at night. While I still have to wake up for the feedings. I am able to pass the baby off to my husband to put her to sleep and I can go straight back to bed for her middle of the night feeding. Then I am on duty for her early morning feeding. I also take a nap every once in a while. Without sleep, us moms get foggy, cranky and scattered. We snap at our loved ones and forget what we need to get done. It's better to have more sleep than more hours to get stuff done. With more sleep, we can use the hours we have better!

Finally, do things while you feed the baby. When you are feeding the baby you are stuck in one place for a good amount of time. Use that time. For me, I often use that time for studying or writing blog posts. Sometimes I use it for social media. Other times I stare wonderingly at my baby girl. But with 8 feedings a day I have plenty of chances to do all of these options. You might like to use that time to read, catch up on tv, or pay bills. Whatever you can do whilst sitting or with one hand is a good option!

Obviously, there is no pressure to get everything done when you have a newborn. To be honest, the house cleaning has been lacking recently. The toys are sometimes left out and the mopping and dish washing has been inconsistent. But, I'd rather have quality time with my family than a pristine house.

I was lucky enough to have a very smooth delivery, so I didn't feel like I needed a great deal of recovery. Therefore, I was comfortable mentally and physically to get back into things. However, everybody and every delivery is different. It's important to not push yourself beyond your abilities. No matter how smooth the delivery, it was still a delivery. Your body underwent a major event and you now have a new baby to care for. It's totally ok to cut yourself some slack. If you do have something you need to get done, use these tips to help you get it done.

Next post we will be talking about a fun Fourth of July craft project. See you then.

Cheers,

Emily

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Update on Life With a Newborn 

If you read the last post, you know that Hailey was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism. Since then, Hailey has had several more appointments and blood draws.  Based on the adjusted dosage, her thyroid hormones went from being too low to too high. Having too much of the hormones can also be an issue. Thus we had to adjust her dose again. As of her last appointment on June 15, her hormone levels are officially in the normal range. Yay!!!

Because Hails is so small and growth at this age is so quick, we will be at the endocrinologist regularly to make sure that her hormone levels stay normal and adjustments in dosage can be made.

On June 16, we had Hailey's one month checkup with her pediatrician. In most respects, she is doing well. She had grown half an inch from her birth length and has good muscle tone. The pediatrician was however concerned about her weight. At 5 weeks old, she still wasn't even a full pound above her birth weight. While this can be because of the instability of her hormone levels, the pediatrician wants to make sure that she is now growing on track. Therefore, on the 29th she will be weighed again to make sure she is now growing at the correct rate.

Thus, our goal at the moment is to help her put on weight and keep up with her endocrinologist appointments. As far as milestones, she had been picking up her head for a while and even rolled over from belly to back. The fact that the surface she was on isn't 100% flat may have helped.  She loves hearing T talk and playing with her toy monkey.  Here she is at 6 weeks!

Hailey at 6 weeks

Hailey at 6 weeks

In other news, T is adapting well to having a baby in the house. Some days he is vying for attention, but in general he has been a good boy and is super affectionate with Hails. He loves to help with pamper changes and doing tummy time with the baby. Whenever he sees that she is awake he will constantly talk to her and show her his toys. He also makes sure everyone else talks to her as well. He loves copying all the sounds that she makes. When she cries, he repeats what we have said to her to try to calm her down. Hearing my 3 year old say, " it's ok baby girl, I know I know, mama, just calm down and it'll be ok" is priceless. All in all he is being a helpful big brother.

As far as mommy care, things are progressing slightly. We have a specific sleep schedule that helps us parents try to maximize our sleep.  If my husband is home, after Hailey's 9pm feeding, I change her, put her in her pjs and pass her to him to get her to sleep. If he's at work I try to get her to sleep myself. Once he gets home however, he's on duty if she wakes up. Then after her midnight feeding, it's his job to get her back to sleep. I immediately put myself back to sleep after I feed her. For her 3am feeding I'm on duty again and hubs can stay asleep. Then I have her from 6 am on. My assistant, the T monster is usually up between 7-8 am to help. The hubs is able to stay asleep usually until around 9:30-10ish unless we have somewhere to be earlier. This works for us since a) the hubs is a night person and I'm a morning person (he is generally up late anyway catching up on shows), and b) his work schedule generally has him going in later in the day except possibly on weekends. I am also sometimes able to take a nap during the day if the boys entertain themselves and Hailey is napping. We are super lucky to be able to switch off like this.

Other than some weightless arm and leg exercises and some walking, I haven't really been exercising. I just had my 6 weeks checkup however and I am now cleared for everything!! Yay!!

In the past few weeks, we have been able to take the kids to the zoo and the park and a local fair. They have also attended a baby shower, gender reveal party, and a baptism. We'll be attending another baptism tomorrow. We have had two bbqs at the house including one for Father's Day. We also had Tyler's dance recital. This was an absolute blast.  While Tyler did little to none of the choreography, he never stopped moving.  He definitely doesn't have stage fright.  He also loved watching the other classes.   Thus, at only 6 weeks, Hails has had a pretty busy social calendar. Here are some shots of the past few weeks.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

bath time

bath time

T at the local fair

T at the local fair

T sharing his prize with hailey

T sharing his prize with hailey

gender reveal party

gender reveal party

A day at the zoo

A day at the zoo

1 month old

1 month old

Father's day

Father's day

father's day

father's day

Check out the Multitasking Mom Facebook page for a clip of T from dress rehearsal for the recital. He definitely has spirit!!

I think that brings us up to date! Check out the blog next week for a 4th of July craft and tips on getting things done with a newborn/baby around.

Have a great weekend!!

Cheers,

Emily

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When Perfect Isn't Perfect

On May 12, 2016 my daughter was born. She was perfect. The doctors said she was perfect each time they checked her out. I saw her and all I saw was perfection. Then 5 days later we got a call from her pediatrician.  

Her doctor told us that the hospital had contacted him with the results of her last blood test. Her TSH levels were very high. He had made an appointment for us for the next morning with an endocrinologist to check her out and let us know how to proceed. I am always a researcher. I have to know all the facts about a situation.  So I fired up my fingertips and did some searching. Based on the limited information we were given, I.e. Elevated TSH levels, I determined that their concern was that Hailey had congenital hypothyroidism. There are a variety of ways that this can manifest. The thyroid can be deformed or in the wrong place or underdeveloped causing it to produce less hormones or no hormones at all. The hormones produced in the thyroid are essential for proper growth and brain development. This is especially important in the first three years of life.

On the bright side, if caught in the first few weeks of life, and properly treated, the child's hormone levels should return to normal and they should develop properly.

So, on Hailey's 6th day of life she saw an endocrinologist, had blood taken, and began taking a pill that she will likely have to take to rest of her life. The endocrinologist stated that based on her levels, it appeared that her thyroid was not producing the T3 and T4 hormones at all. A week later her blood was retested and her hormone levels were already on the rise. Her hormone replacement dosage was modified and another appointment was scheduled for two weeks later.

perfect

Tomorrow is her next appointment where they will check her growth and determine if her hormone levels have returned to normal. She feels bigger and stronger, but having the confirmation from the doctor will do amazing things for my peace of mind.

Finding out my perfect baby wasn't perfect was heartbreaking. After being told she was perfect multiple times in the hospital, we felt almost cheated. If we were told immediately we wouldn't have been lulled into this false sense of security. Not knowing if the condition has already had an affect on your baby is also scary. The odds that she will develop normally are good, which is reassuring to the math major in me, but nothing is certain.

On the other hand, treatment is pretty simple. You just take a small pill each day much like a vitamin. Giving the pill to an infant is a bit of a process since you have to crush it, dissolve it in water, and then get her to swallow it. I am well aware that there are much worse conditions. Having seen the affects that diabetes has had on my brother (blindness, amputations, kidney failure, etc.) I know that there are far worse conditions. But as a mom, any health issue with your baby can be overwhelming. Watching her give blood breaks my heart every time. Especially since it involves pricking her heel, then squeezing it multiple times to get the blood out drop by drop.

The conclusion is, at least at this point, is that when perfect isn't perfect, you just get stronger. It doesn't mean you don't feel the concern or worry or fear for your baby, you just learn to look on the bright side and try not to assume the worst. Sometimes I fear I will over analyze her development, but I try to take everything day by day. No matter what happens, she's still perfect in my eyes and in the eyes of her family. She is loved.

Cheers,

Emily

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Things to do While Breastfeeding 

When you have a newborn and you choose to breastfeed, you can spend much of your day with a small person attached to your boob. With 8-12 feedings a day clocking in at 20-40 minutes each, this is a lot of time spent sedentary. Here's a list of things you can do while breastfeeding to help pass the time.

1. Talk to your baby - Being in such close proximity, this is great time to chat to your little one. As my 3 year old likes to tell me, they can't talk back, but they can definitely hear you and recognize your voice. Talk to you them about your day. Babies are great listeners.

2. Catch up on TV - You are in one spot for like 30 minutes, prefect time to catch up on your favorite sitcom. You can also split a drama between two feedings.

3. Read a book - For those middle of the night feedings, put on a little nightlight and enjoy a good book. It's quiet, won't disturb anyone, and is a great time to read the latest bestseller.

4. Catch up on social media - You only need one hand to operate your phone right. You can use this time to catch up on Facebook and Instagram and all your other favorite social media sites. Share updates of the baby with friends and family.

5. Write a blog post - You can write a post one handed on your phone while breastfeeding. It may not be as efficient as using 2 hands, but it's a productive way to use your time.

6. Have a sandwich - A sandwich is easy to eat with one hand so you can have it while breastfeeding. What a great time to nourish yourself while you nourish your baby.  Just try not to drop crumbs all over the baby.

7. Read a story to your older kids - It may be hard for your older kids to understand that you can't run around with them while you feed the baby. Have story time with them so you get to have quality time with your older kids and the baby gets to hear the story too. Plus older kids love to help turn the pages!!

What have you done while breastfeeding your child? Share in the comments.

Next week we will be talking post-pregnancy body including stretch marks, fitness, sleep, and belly. See you then!

Cheers,

Emily

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Welcome Baby Hailey 

She finally arrived!! At 3:30 in the morning on Thursday, May 12, my water broke. At 2:40 that afternoon, Hailey was born. She was born weighing 6 lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long.  Hailey came out loud and proud letting everyone know of her arrival.

Tyler was able to meet his new sister later that evening. He was definitely happy to meet baby Hailey and curious about her. He even got to hold her for the first time. On the the other hand, he is definitely not at all clear on how Hailey got here. I don't mean the details of course. However, he has commented several times that now we have 2 Hailey's, one in my belly and one in person. I'm sure as my belly goes down and with repetition he'll come to understand that there's no Hailey in my belly anymore.

Tyler's confusion about the process didn't start there.  When my water broke Thursday night, I rushed to the bathroom so as to minimize the mess. Shortly thereafter, Tyler emerges from his room with his blue bunny sippy cup. He wants water. He reaches over to hand it to me and I fill it in the sink. As he steps a little closer he steps in the fluid on the floor. He starts crying thinking he peed himself just as I am handing him the water. The water drops only adding to his distress. I try to explain that it's not his fault and he didn't do anything wrong, but he remained upset for a while.

On Saturday when we all arrived back home, Tyler went looking for his toy phone. I asked him who he wanted to call. He said the hospital. So we find his phone and he makes his call. He states into the phone that his bunny water broke and he needs them to fix it. Apparently, this is his interpretation of the events on Thursday night. I love three year olds!!

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for, introducing Hailey Jean!!

We are so excited about Hailey's arrival. Being 6 days late, she did slightly disrupt my school schedule as I missed taking a final exam. However, the professor agreed to allow me to take the exam this week so I am still able to complete the class. Also, summer classes began Monday, so no rest for the weary on that front, but breastfeeding does give me a lot of time to read!!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming on Friday!!

Cheers,

Emily

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers