Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cineplex Stars and Strollers Movie

Stars and Strollers is a program for parents to take their babies with them while they watch a movie. Cineplex arranges for a baby friendly environment with dimmed lights and lowered volume and plays a choice of 2 movies a week. Show times and movies vary depending on the theater.

We went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince today at Silvercity Riverport in Richmond. It was one of the closest theater to us that had the Stars and Strollers program. Harry Potter was playing the week of July 24-30 and at that theater, it was showing at 1PM on Thursday. It was a movie we didn't mind seeing and we had to use our Cineplex admit one vouchers before they expired at the end of the month. Yeah, we just had to wait until the last minute again! Jean-Louis took one of his vacation days and we went to see the movie.

The movie itself was alright. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you would probably enjoy it. If you are familiar with Harry Potter, you are also aware that the movie contain scenes that could be frightening for small children. For this reason, I didn't really think it was an appropriate film to bring Tristan to. But we had to use the tickets we had and I wanted to experience "Stars and Stroller."

So our experience went something like this. Good, ok, bad, embarrassing bad, ok, good. We arrived a little late since we ran out of gas and had to take a detour to fill up. We weren't the only ones late - big surprise. As we approached the room, we saw a change table with diapers, wipes, and creams all laid out outside. Aww, how nice. There were also about a dozen strollers parked outside too. Hmmm. Don't think I would trust leaving my Bugaboo stroller outside unsupervised. In fact, we noticed some people actually pushed their strollers into the room.

So, the first mistake we made was to sit where we always sit when we go to a movie: smack center. When we sat down, everything was rosy. Tristan was curious staring at the big screen. The preview trailers were playing and I noticed right away that the sound was loud. If they lowered the volume, it wasn't by much at all! The other thing we noticed was that the room was very dark still. I brought solid food for Tristan, thinking the room would be a bit brighter. It wasn't as dark as a normal theater because I noticed the lights along the walls were still on. Jean-Louis disagrees and believes there was no change in the lighting.

When the loud noises came from the trailers, Tristan was scared. You know it was the noise since other babies around you were starting to scream and cry at the same time. They played the trailer for Sherlock Holmes. Again, not baby friendly. I tried to shield Tristan's ear. 10 minutes after sitting down, we actually had to use the pacifier on him. It helped but then he wouldn't let go of it and started to play with it. Then it fell on the dirty floor and we couldn't just give it back to him. We decided to feed him his milk from a bottle. I had defrosted some breastmilk for him the night before. That went well but then when the milk was gone, he started to fuss again. When we gave him a toy, he would throw it on the floor, one by one. Tristan has always been a "toy dropper!" I soon realized there is no way you can remain clean in such a public place. I was scared to give him anymore toys after that since he loves to drop and throw things. I had a nasty vision of him chucking a toy at the people sitting below us. I know the theater was filled with mostly parents and babies but you can only be so forgiving, right?

The embarrassing bad moment took place maybe 30 or 45 minutes into the movie. The pacifier didn't work and he was just throwing a fit. And he was the only baby this time throwing a fit so he was loud and clear. Finally, Jean-Louis got up with Tristan and left. Sitting in the center only made us stand out like an even sorer thumb. The two of them ended up hanging out in the hall of the theater and watched the movie there. Jean-Louis said people were laughing at him but I wasn't there. I was still sitting in my seat. After awhile, I left too. We both watched from the side for awhile and then took seats at the very front row where there was no one around. Yeah, the view sucked big time but at least we had some privacy. We sat at the very end of the row this time and it was brighter near the front too. I fed Tristan some solid food. When he started to fuss again, we headed back to the side of the theater. There were 4 or 5 other parents there with their babies too. So, we were not alone :)

Things were already better since we moved to the very front of the theater. I rocked him to sleep on the side and then sat back down in my seat. He sleep for maybe 30 minutes and things were great. When he woke up, the movie was done. Hooray! Now, don't ask me too much about what the movie was about. I was only focused on Tristan and caught bits and pieces of the movie.

To sum up, it was an interesting experience. Babies all around were crying on and off but it wasn't too disturbing and knowing this, we were more relaxed about bringing Tristan along. I think it really helped just knowing this. Would we do it again? Maybe with a very small infant since they sleep well through almost anything. If we had a well behaved baby that was older, maybe we would too but I would only go see an animation or comedy. Tristan is normally well behaved but has been a pain in the butt this week because of the very hot weather and he's lacking so much sleep. Sleep makes such a HUGE difference in his mood.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tristan is crawling!

Today, Tristan took a few steps forward towards me on his knees. He was already moving backwards and gliding forward a bit before but today is the first time I saw him do it using his knees. He did it a couple of times when I called out to him.

The past few days, he would sit up all the time from being on his back or his belly. If he isn't already, he would get on his belly first and then slowly move backwards until he can place his butt down. We would find him sitting up in his crib now when he wakes up from his naps. On the weekend, we actually took down the mobile that was hanging over his crib. The bumper pads may need to go soon too. He sort of attacks them and yanks at them when he cries himself to sleep. In fact, I think it is time to lower the crib height since he is almost able to pull himself up and stand. He tries to do this in his playpen right now. He's starting to progress fast and we really need to baby proof the house more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kushies reusable diapers

Before we became parents, we talked about the idea of using reusable diapers to save on the cost of disposable diapers and to help out the planet. It takes a disposable diaper 500 years to decompose after all! When Jean-Louis suggested it, I was game but I also said that I wanted disposable diapers too and we can swap when the washable ones are being cleaned. I liked the idea of saving the planet but I was also looking at it from a practical point of view. We agreed that we would buy a small pack and see how it goes before buying more. I also told him that he would be the one responsible for cleaning them :)

We bought the Kushies reusable diapers for size 10 lbs to 22 lbs and the flushable liners to go with them. It was a pack of 5 and was so adorable! The diapers go for about $50 and the liners are around $10. We started Tristan on them when he was 12 lbs and after completing 2 rolls of liners, we have decided to stop. Phew!

Here is why. As new parents, we had way too much going as is with just changing diapers and throwing them away. Add rinsing them out, soaking them in a baking soda bath, and then washing and hanging them to the mix and we were kind of going mad. After doing it a few times, we were already shaking our heads. Too much work! It was a waste of a laundry load too to wash just 5 diapers. I wanted to at least get our money's worth and use them a bit more. We used them 200 times and frankly, I don't think that did it but I'm throwing in the towel to stop all the complaining. Jean-Louis complains about them more than me but I have actually taken on the responsibility of washing them!

We only used the reusable diapers during the day since they don't absorb as much liquid as the disposable ones. 3 hours is about as long as you can go without having urine leak out. We also don't put them on if we are going out. That would just be a hassle to bring back a dirty one to wash. Once they were all used up, we would do a laundry and then use the disposable diapers while the reusables were hanging dry. Tristan is probably 18 or 19 lbs right now and instead of buying another roll of liner, we're just going to use disposable diapers now. Sorry, we tried :(

After using them, I would say a 10 lb baby is too small to fit the diapers. When Tristan was 12 lbs, we thought it was way too big on him too. It was challenging to fit some of his pants over them. When he was that small, he was being breastfed a lot too and he had many wet poops every day. That was sure messy! Because the diapers didn't fit as snug as the disposable diapers, we had plenty of poop accidents and we had to use a lot of OxiClean Baby spray so that it wouldn't stain. Surprising, even after 40 washes, none of the diapers have stained. Furthermore, the diapers still remain in great condition. Those are all pluses :) However, because they cannot be machine dried, we hung them and they would become crispy dry and a bit uncomfortable I think.

In my opinion, reusable diapers would be better used later after 6 months when the baby is on solids. Why? Because when they are on solids, they don't poop as much and when they do, it is more solid. Their poops will then stick and collect on the liner, which you can then remove and flush down the toilet. Since most of the disgusting stuff is gone, there is no need of a lot of scrubbing and rinsing. Also, at 6 months the baby is bigger and can fit more snugly in the diapers. They also don't grow as rapidly at that point.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

First theatre movie in over 9 months

Today, we watched "UP" at SilverCity. I think the last time we went to watch a movie was when I was 8 months pregnant? Not sure but it was at least that long ago. I wasn't sure if we could even do it now but we managed to be away from Tristan for 1 hour 45 minutes. We left him at the mall with my sister and her family while we watched the movie there. We have never been apart from Tristan for more than 30 minutes ever so it was a big step for us. In fact, the thought of leaving him with a sitter sort of gave Jean-Louis anxiety Thursday night :)

The movie was great. You can never go wrong with a Pixar movie :) Sounds like Tristan was fairly well behaved too. I had a nasty picture of him crying the whole time and embarrassing my family at the mall. Didn't happen. They aren't strangers to Tristan. Tristan must recognize them by now. We had no idea though since we have never left him that long before. I'm so thankful everything worked out. Phew :)

Leaving Tristan was not a last minute decision. We planned it in advance and chose a short movie on purpose. We love Pixar movies and was planning to watch UP anyway. The movie time was chosen just after Tristan's morning nap and the movie ended just in time for me to breastfeed him. Everything just worked out!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tristan is 8 months old

It's hard for me to believe I have been home for 8 months with him doing all this right now. I'm thankful for being able to take time off to really focus and immerse myself into motherhood and all this baby stuff. My world has really transformed since Tristan arrived. He is a joy in our lives but at the same time I think I am a bit more insane today compared to when I was just pregnant last year. So, lucky number 8. After 8 months of this, would we still be considered newbies? I think we have proven that we can be competent parents. There are always new things but we are getting better at resolving things as they arise.

The biggest change for Tristan now is that he is teething. One of his bottom teeth is half way out now or at least it looks that way. Yes, he is fussier because of it. Last week, was bad for me but I couldn't help but think he was infected with my breast yeast infection as well. The doctor examined him and says he is fine. However, I have been put on an anti-fungal cream :(

Tristan is a bit bigger now and has more hair. He measures 68cm in length now. The bald spot behind his head is almost gone. Yes! Some of his really cute outfits are 6 months and I'm letting him wear them at every opportunity. It would be so sad to pack them up already :( There were a few items he only got to wear a couple of times.

He's not crawling yet but he can move himself backwards. He can pull himself up too and can go from being on his belly to sitting straight up. He rolls and rolls and he is fast too. He's going to crawl any minute I just know it!

We finally put up the playpen because we felt he would be safer in there than on the floor. Right now we give him around 20 minutes in there each day. He doesn't like it much :( I wouldn't blame him. I would much prefer the floor myself.

Tristan is pretty consistent with his wake up time of 6:30AM. I'm starting to get used to it too but some times I end up napping when he naps. After being at home this long taking care of Tristan, I am starting to feel a bit weak. My energy level is very low. If I can even get 1 hour of billable work done a day, then it would be a good day. I need to find daycare soon so I can work more and exercise. Daycare would be great for both Tristan and I. I'm sure he is sick of me too :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Breast yeast infection or Candida albicans

In the last 2 days, my breasts started to hurt again. I kept checking the latch and it seemed alright but it hurt while feeding and then even more after feeding. The pain is a bit unusual in that it was more prickly and burned at the tip. I was disappointed because I was finally starting to feel better being on the antibiotics for my breast infection or mastitis. Pain was going away and then all of a sudden it appeared really sharp, just at the tip on my infected side. In fact, I sort of feel it a bit on the other side too now.

I spoke to a friend the other day and we were talking about breast infections and yeast infections. She asked if mine was a yeast infection and we talked about some of the differences. At the time, my symptoms did point to a breast infection. She was telling me that a high sugar diet for the mom and not cleaning the baby's mouth enough could lead to a yeast infection. This morning, I started thinking about it some more while I was eating my chocolate banana bread and wincing at the sharp pains in my breast. I wanted to do some research so I jumped on the computer after breakfast. From what I have discovered, I am quite positive now that my mastitis (breast infection) has now turned into candida albican (yeast infection) :(

This was the first article I read that made me believe I have a breast yeast infection now:

Yeast infections are more common in warm and sweaty environments. I'm afraid I don't air out my breasts after feeding either. It may be summer but I'm still so cold in the house. Antibiotics can increase your chances of getting an infection too. Eeeks! Tristan is on solids and his mouth is a lot filthier than before. I'm worried he has been infected because he is a lot fussier the past 2 days. It has only been 2 days since I got my piercing pain. His fussiness is also due to teething but maybe the yeast infection is causing it too. Oh boy!

"Antibiotics can trigger an overgrowth of the body's yeast." Breast infections and yeast infections are similar in many ways and you can have both. Under "Nipple pain caused by Candida albicans," there is a good description of what it is and its symptoms. What stood out most to me was #8:
"may occur only in the breast. This pain is often described as "shooting", or "burning" in nature, and is often worse after the feeding is over. It is often said to be worse at night. At the same time, the breast appears or feels normal. This is not mastitis and there is no reason to treat with antibiotics. On the contrary, antibiotics may make the problem worse."
In my case, I did start with mastitis and probably still have some of it present but now I have a yeast infection too. I have to finish my antibiotics to cure my breast infection but now I need to get started on the treatment for the yeast infection. I will try to see the doctor about it tomorrow. Whether Tristan shows signs of being infected or not, he still has to be treated for it.

Apparently, this is something that can commonly happen after breastfeeding has been established and unfortunately many moms end up giving up breastfeeding as a result. I can see how it can be a problem. After being on the pregnancy diet and then breastfeeding for so long, you just want to eat junk food and sweets. I have been totally bad in that regard. It's either ice cream or cake or cookies or chocolate every day for the past few months! I was totally asking for a yeast infection!

Now that I know about it, I will try to prevent it from happening again. After reading about it this morning, I have already washed and sterilized all the bottles, pacifiers, and wiped all the toys Tristan has been sucking on the past few days. I am also cleaning myself with baking soda. Well, it doesn't hurt to try! I might try vinegar instead tomorrow but that may stink. I won't be eating any more sweets or junk food until I am all better. That one will be hard :(

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tristan is teething!

Jean-Louis noticed a small white tooth coming out at the bottom of his gums this weekend. Today, it is clearly visible. He's a big crank today too so I can't stop thinking about the pain he might be feeling as a result of teething.

We felt his gums awhile ago and didn't feel anything and we haven't bothered since. We're not sure exactly when his first teeth started to poke out. Now, that I think about it the last 2 weeks, Tristan has been showing a few signs of teething. Well, he has been drooling and gnawing on stuff for months but he's been doing it more lately. One and a half weeks ago, Jean-Louis got sick and I was scared that he would give his sickness to Tristan and I. When Tristan had a coarse voice, was extra fussy, had a hot temperature and a bit of diarrhea, I thought he was sick. We were measuring his temperature but it was never to the point of a fever. I guess you can say he had a slight fever but now he is better. At the time, I was starting to feel a bit sick myself and had the chills. It turned out I was actually coming down with another breast infection. So we weren't getting sick, but the timing of everything seemed like Jean-Louis passed on his illness to us.

Tristan now has a chin rash. It appeared a day or so ago. He is also sticking his tongue out a lot. What he is doing is actually feeling the tooth with his tongue because he is curious. I find it so interesting that he is such a typical baby. After all, why wouldn't he be? For some reason, I keep thinking he is different sort of like how I think I am different.

I'm not sure whether to give Tristan something to help relieve his pain from teething. The problem is I don't know how much pain he is in or if he is just fussy because he wants attention or is going through separation anxiety. It could be so many things really. Anyway, I would like to resist giving him Tylenol or anything until I know he really needs it. I want him to deal with the pain on his own because this could go on for awhile and I don't want him to be dependent on drugs. Usually, the pain is just hard to deal with for the very first tooth and then for the first molar but every child is different too.

To help Tristan right now, we have lots of teething toys and rings for him. I refrigerate some of them too before giving it to him. I also let him bite on a clean washcloth that I wet under cold water. Now that I know he is teething, I do spend a bit more time comforting him during the day. I'll continue to hold him a bit more until he can get past this hurdle. We are lucky to have sleep trained him before all this happened. Phew!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Symptons of a breast infection

All it takes is a bad latch and a blister. I got a blister from breastfeeding about a week ago and it still hadn't heal when I got my next blister. The blister bursted and allowed bacteria from Tristan's mouth inside. Now, I have enlargement, discharge (bleeding and pus), the chills, and lots of pain. In fact, I'm on Tylenol now and people that know me know how much I hate taking pills. Yes, the pain is quite horrible. Tylenol works miracles for me and allows me to sleep better.

How did all this happen? After 7 months, you would think I have a handle on breastfeeding. I did for awhile too and now, I'm not sure it won't happen again. I'm kind of prone to getting infections on one side. I try to latch properly each time and thought I did too. I think Tristan has a preference to one side and he doesn't open his mouth very big for the other side. He also falls asleep a lot on this other side. I have to pry his mouth open all the time and readjust the latch when he moves. He's a bit lazy too.

I've been reading up again on breast infections from breastfeeding and scaring myself of course. I went to see my doctor today and got a prescription for antibiotics, just in case. I thought she was going to yell at me since I always go and see her about this :( To my surprise, she didn't even lecture me. In fact, she seemed concerned once she examined me. Ah ha! So, I'm not just being a weakling and I do have a chronic size blister. Phew. Hopefully, in a day or so I'll feel better.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What surprised me about being a parent

I was just reading the top ten surprises of new parents on Babycenter and thought about what surprised me most. Here is what they listed on their site:

Surprise #1: Your relationship with your partner will change
Surprise #2: You'll have no idea where the time goes
Surprise #3: You may look different
Surprise #4: You'll join an exclusive worldwide club
Surprise #5: You'll be stronger than you ever imagined
Surprise #6: You'll make "mistakes" you never anticipated
Surprise #7: Your friendships will change
Surprise #8: There'll be times when you hate parenting
Surprise #9: You'll be overwhelmed by love (and other emotions)
Surprise #10: You'll have to let go sooner than you think

The main ones I agree with are #1, #8, and #9. My relationship with Jean-Louis has changed but that's because most of our energy is now focused on caring for and building our relationship with Tristan. We can't spend much quality time together and are less affectionate towards each other. It seems like we exhaust all of our affection on Tristan. Why? Well, #9! We are overwhelmed with love for Tristan. We shower him with kisses and hugs all the time. He's adorable these days and it's great knowing that he is part of us and that he is ours to keep. We are also overwhelmed by other emotions, as #9 suggests. Some of those emotions were confusion, uncertainty, fear and a bit of everything really. There were many more negative emotions the first few months when he arrived and yes, we hated parenting at times. Every now and then when things get too difficult, we wish we were still living the life we used to.

What else surprised us about being new parents? There are so many sacrifices to make. Say goodbye to pretty much everything unless you are willing to be super tired and hungry. In the early days, we would watch part of a dvd in exchange for sleep. For example, instead of sleeping 4-5 hours that day, we would sleep an hour less. We ate more junk food because there wasn't time to cook healthy meals and the house was always filthy. Since Tristan was born, we have only had 30 minutes of alone time outside of the house without him.

For the first time ever, we really felt like we needed some help. I can see why new parents want to be close to their family and friends and have their parents live with them. We didn't have that and being on our own proved to be one of the most difficult journeys we had to go through. If things had been different, we probably would have been happier parents.

For myself personally, I was surprised at how natural it was for me to fall into the role. Also, I had no idea a crying baby would stress me out so much. It is true, when it is your own baby it is so much more difficult. I can't work 25 hours a week and take care of a baby full time by myself. For some reason, I thought I could. Boy, was I wrong! I can't get myself to run more and I eat a lot of sweets. I thought I would be motivated more but I have excuse after excuse not to exercise now. I didn't see that one coming either. So much for running a half-marathon at the end of the year.

Last but not least, babies are a big investment emotionally, financially etc. It will be the biggest decision you will make when you start a family. I would suggest not rushing into it. Parenting is not for everyone in my opinion. I'm still not certain how my career will be affected. Also, the cost of having a child is equivalent to purchasing a home. You spend 20 years or so paying for it and taking care of it. It really is. But then in the end, it is all worth it (right?).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Our experience with sleep training

It has been over 2 weeks now since Tristan started sleep training. It was very difficult for all of us initially but now it has just become part of our routine. The results? Tristan will still cry most of the time when we put him down but then 5-10 minutes later, he will settle down and sleep. When he is interrupted and wakes up, he puts himself back asleep almost right away. He sleeps from 9:45PM until 6:45AM. He naps twice a day for 1-2 hour at a time. He usually takes longer to fall asleep for his second nap. There was even a time when he didn't cry at all and slept almost instantly. The worst was near the beginning when he was interrupted during his sleep and he cried for 52 minutes.

Before sleep training:
Tristan depended on nursing to fall asleep. If that didn't work, we used the pacifier. We also rocked him and played music. In the middle of the night, we used the pacifier and rocked him. In most cases, it didn't take long but in the worst case it took hours. It was not good practice but he did sleep through the night and he napped well in the day too.

After sleep training:
Tristan sleeps just as much as before but probably sleeps better now since he can put himself back to sleep. He does not depend on milk, the pacifier, music or rocking to fall asleep.

Here's our night routine:

6-6:30PM - solid food for dinner
7-7:30PM - bath time (if it's a bath night), change into PJs
8PM - last milk feeding
8:25PM - teeth brushing, followed by cuddles and a little play time with us
9PM - dim lights and quiet chit chat
9:20PM - last diaper change
9:30-9:45PM - put Tristan down in crib

We kept a record of the sleep training for 2 weeks. The following is a graph of the results. There were 2 sleep interruptions which resulted in him waking up and were not plotted on the graph. As you can see below, Tristan will cry more on certain days but most of the time, he would spend no more than 15 minutes crying. Crying time is plotted but some of that time is spent fussing or whining and sometimes even a bit of cooing and playing. He never cries at the top of his lungs the whole time. He cries less for his first nap and sleeps longer compared to his second nap. Since we stopped recording data, he has actually been crying even less now.

Overall, we are pleased with the outcome and Jean-Louis and I both agree that he has done well enough to graduate from sleep training :) Psychologically, it was difficult and stressful and sometimes it still is. So is it worth it? Yeah, I think so. Wait until your baby is at least 6 months old before you start sleep training, especially if you take the cry it out route. Others have recommended waiting that long as well.
Related Posts with Thumbnails