Monday, February 28, 2011

Rare Disease Day

Apparently, Feb 28th is International Rare Disease Day, which is an aptly named (though ridiculous sounding) day of remembrance.

And I checked, MCAD is one of the "diseases" included as a rare disease.  The list is actually incredibly long, but it's worth remembering that since such few people are affected, there should be a ton of diseases and only a small sample of the population is affected as a whole.

It feels weird to see MCAD on it.  Our situation doesn't feel like a disease in the true sense of the word, but rather as a dietary restriction, a behavior modification, a preference.  Cupcake shouldn't be fasting, and if she starts to crash we need to take her to the ER.  That's pretty much it, right?  No lingering daily afflictions, developmental issues (at least so far), strict medical regimens or physical/mental handicaps.  Yet at the same time, I know that if she has a metabolic crisis, she needs very specific treatment that only an ER can provide.  And from my understanding, most ERs are not familiar with Fatty Oxidation Disorder protocol, and that even if the kid looks fine they need immediate treatment.  So it's probably good to raise awareness.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

More awake time?

I've been debating what to do with Cupcake's schedule.  Lately, it seems that her awake/active time is lasting longer and longer.  Our nap system is not schedule based, but rather we respond to her cues.  And so far her naps have been sporadic at best, but one common element is that she now stays active longer between them.

It used to be that after 1.5 - 2 hours, Cupcake would be ready to crash.  She'd do the eye rubbing thing, fuss a bit, and I would know that it was time for her to go to sleepy town.  And as opposed to most sleep training advice, I wouldn't put her to sleep as soon as that happened, because then she'd just take longer to fall asleep.  I'd rock her and she'd to down within 10 minutes, I'd set her on the crib and she would sleep for 40 minutes.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  We had our system down, whether I was happy with it or not.

And it seems that the system has changed.  I'm not sure what's going on, but she just. won't. nap.  And she seems pretty content with it.  But I worry that less naps will affect how she sleeps at night, or that she'll get tired earlier.  Most of all, its important for us that she have a late bedtime, so Nate can maximize his time with her.

Today she was awake for 2 1/2 - 3  1/2 hours at a time, and still only sleeping 40 minute at a time.  What gives?  I was expecting her to nap longer if she was up longer, but that would make entirely too  much sense.  I'm fine with her taking less  naps, it would be preferable in fact, but not at the cost of her total sleep for the day.

Is it teething?  Is she just so distracted now when she nurses that she's permanently hungry?  Is this just a phase?  Are the sleep training books right?  Do I need to help her nap better?  Is her stuffy nose still affecting her?

And why we are asking questions, why does she still poop so much ?!?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Eating out

I'm a firm believer that babies (actually, all children) should go everywhere.  Call me old-fashioned, but short of strip clubs and violent movies, babies should be part of society, and interact with the community as a whole.  It also helps that we live in a certain Brooklyn neighborhood known for its strollers and hipster parents.  I mean, most businesses around here cater to families (as if they had a choice), so its easy to take Cupcake out.

We've been taking her out and about to cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants since she was a few weeks old.  It's good for her to be exposed to city noise and "real" life, and its even better for us to get out of the house.  And we've accomplished this without ever setting food in a fast food joint, Chilli's, or any of those "family friendly" chain restaurants (which really seems code for mediocre food, but they'll let your toddler throw food at the wall).  I'll revisit this last statement when Cupcake gets older and starts to walk, as I'm sure I will come back and eat my words.  But it's my sincere belief that children that are exposed to restaurants and adult life from an early age learn to adapt their behavior to those situations.

Last night we went to a local Ale House for the first time.  I was a bit apprehensive because it's technically a bar, and I feared the music might be too loud.  (I should add at this moment that I have very European sensibilities, and think there's no reason children shouldn't be in a bar.  By this I mean a pub-style place, where they have food and drinks and its a relaxed atmosphere.  Keep babies away from dance clubs, fratty college bars, and smoke-filled music venues, please.)  We needn't have worried.  As soon as we arrived the bartender asked if we needed a high chair.  Oh, I love this neighborhood.

We ordered a beer and burger each.  Cupcake was awake the entire time and we took turns holding her and eating, declining the high chair offer since she can't quite sit on her own yet.  Sure, we left a  bit faster than we usually do (Cupcake began to get antsy as we were finishing our meal), but we had time to finish all our food.  Maybe "hanging out" at a pub is harder with baby, but being there for a bit is no problem.  Food was good, beer was excellent, and spending an evening with the family in an Ale House?  Priceless.

Maybe we just have a particularly chill baby, but I doubt that.  Other kids from our baby group are also perfectly quiet and happy when we meet in coffee shops or grab brunch with them in tow.  And they take them out and about in the city too.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Baby feet

We have reached one of my favorite baby milestones:  Cupcake has found her feet.

I remember when I was pregnant, dreaming about this moment.  How babies spend hours on end staring at their own feet, fascinated by the notion that these strange things are indeed part of their bodies.  Are they?  They taste weird, but I feel something in my body!  Far out! Apparently, in my head, babies are inherently surfers.

Little toes, little feet.  So cute.  Such a joyful pastime, watching her grab her feet and gingerly taste it, as if confirming that it indeed is solid.  And then covering her feet with drool and spreading said drool everywhere.

Usually, she prefers toe sucking when she's on her changing table.  Maybe its the solid nature of the surface, maybe it's that her feet are already up for us to wipe her butt.  Whatever the reason, she will distract herself silly with her own limbs.  She's always liked having her diaper changed, and how I have one more reason to enjoy it.

Incidentally, the first time she rolled over, it was also on the changing table.  It must be magic.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cold is over - no MCAD crisis

We are now back to a sense of normalcy.  After having an awful long weekend of runny noses, sore throats and neediness (and that was just me!) we seem to be over the illness hump.  It's winter, what are you gonna do, common colds happen.

On Monday I freaked out the most.  Nate had the day off from work and kept cuddling Cupcake all day (she really looked under the weather) and I also felt sick.  (In retrospect, I wonder if my own feeling of yuckiness contributed to our fearing that Cupcake was sicker than she really was.)  And we noticed early in the morning that Cupcake still had a slight fever.  It was only 99.5, which she'd had since the day before, but because of MCAD we feeling a little more careful.

I called her Metabolic center, and even though they were closed for the holiday there is always someone to answer an emergency line.  I felt silly calling the emergency number, since we really were at home at the moment without any type of metabolic problems, but I didn't want to wait until it became a problem.  I wanted to double-check that we were doing everything right, and to ask how much Carnitine to give Cupcake.

Note: Our doctor originally prescribed carnitine every day, but when we went to the one month follow-up appointment, we discussed how it's effects are controversial and it's not really necessary to take it unless the baby is in metabolic distress.  Since we are super observant parents who keep anal retentive records of her poopie diapers, feeding schedule and sleep patters, we all felt confident we'd be able to spot a change in her rhythm/behavior, so she went off the carnitine.  Other doctors might have different ideas, and other babies might have different needs.  Also, our diligent record-keeping is unrelated to her MCAD diagnosis, that's just how we prefer organize our information, if your kid has MCAD, you will find your own way to keeping track of things.

The on-call doctor/nurse was wonderful, and after looking up Cupcake on the system was able to reassure us that we were doing fine at the moment.  She asked if Cupcake was lethargic, which is so hard to ascertain with a sick baby, but we finally reached the agreement that while everyone is down on the dumps when sick,  true lethargy would involve excessive sleeping and floppiness.  And while Cupcake wasn't trying to jump off table like she usually does, she was certainly still very awake and laughing.  We also confirmed that her reduced nursing was fine.  This was the actual issue that set alarm bells ringing in my head.  You see, I know that as long as she's feeding regularly, all other issues become secondary.  But Cupcake was so stuffed up that she just didn't really want to nurse that much, and was pulling off the boob much earlier than usual, eating probably half of her usual intake.  The on-call doctor assured us that as long as she was eating something, we could avert a metabolic crisis.  Just feed her more often.  Oh, and her new dose of Carnitine is 3.5 ml, almost twice as much as her newborn dosage.  Crazy how they grow.  And furthermore, Cupcake has made a qualitative jump in the last 4 months and is now curious about all things going into her mouth.  So carnitine?  She seems to love it now, and was actively sucking from the syringe.  Thank Dog for small miracles.  Or maybe my baby is just so awesome that she likes meds when she needs them.

For two days we gave her carnitine, infant Tylenol, and  suctioned her nose before every feeding (which she HATES), and by last night she was looking much better.  The energy was back, she looked alert, hungry and happy.  And this morning she's pretty much back to normal.  Her nose is still a bit stuffy, but that seems par with winter, but mostly, her disposition is back to normal.

I know that going to the ER is probably an eventuality, and we are ready to deal with it.  I'm just glad that it didn't happen yet.  I was convinced that this was it, a feverish baby a reduced appetite is exactly the situation the doctors told us to watch out for.  But it turns out that sometimes, being extra observant is enough, and we got through it without any crazy hospital shenanigans.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Parenthood is tough - I am sick

I've always known that parenthood (motherhood specially) is tough.  It's a 24 hour job, its stressful, you worry so much about your children's health, the sleep deprivations, etc, yet its all so worth it when this little person that you love more than you thought possible smiles at you.  I'm on it.  I know what I got myself into.

But nothing could prepare me for it actually means to be sick and caring for a sick child.  I mean, in concept, I understood that my baby's needs come first.  But its tough.  I'm not taking decongestants because I don't want to mess with my milk supply, which means that my nose remains stuffy.  I'm not able to unwind because we have to entertain her.  And I'm not able to get the adequate sleep and rest that I really need, because her highness needs to feed from my boob every 3 hours.

Every three hours?  Oh, I wish.  Since she's running a slight temperature and has lost her appetite, we are trying to feed her every 2-3 hours as an MCAD precaution.   We called her Geneticist, and we feel better about Cupcake's situation.  We are ready in case we have to go to the ER, but it doesn't look like its bad.  She's still eating (though less), and she's definitely not "lethargic" since she's having trouble sleeping (I blame the stuffy nose for that).

So the stress of my baby girl having a cold (which could result in a metabolic crisis) stresses me.  My own cold stresses me.  How do other people do this?  Today was a holiday so my husband was home to help, but what will happen tomorrow?  I'm guessing that like so many other mothers I know, I will find superhuman strength I didn't know I had and tough it out.  What other choice to I have?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We have a cold

So Cupcake started having a stuffy nose Wednesday afternoon, and today Sunday, she's in full-blown common cold mode.  I'm not worried (by this I mean, that yes, colds happen, snotty noses are common in babies, and I'm not freaking out over it), but it is exhausting.  We've been checking her temperature and so far no fever, so no reason to call the doctor and take her to the ER or anything.  No MCADD crisis as of yet.  But the stuffy nose is messing with her sleep at night, and it's just exhausting.

For one, she's just under the weather.  My normally energetic baby girl is just kinda blah, sitting there without trying to jump off the couch every second.  But she's not lethargic enough that I feel concerned.  In fact, her tiredness is only noticeable because I know her, I don't think anyone else would know she's not quite herself.

The problem is that I also seem to have caught the bug.  I'm not sure if it's the sleepless nights, the excessive baby holding,  or just a strong virus, but I'm also with a stuffy nose, sore throat and feeling achy.  Its making me really empathize with Cupcake, because if she feels as crappy as I do, she's going to need some extra cuddles.  My arms are getting tired, and so are Nate's.  So glad he has a long weekend off from work.

Some things I am learning:

- I'm not freaking out about MCAD attacks.  Apparently when a real cold comes, I can keep my cool and just observe her.

- Babies don't seem to mind rectal thermometers as much as they should.  It looks uncomfortable, but Cupcake was pretty happy with this thing sticking up her butt.

- I am a fan of the Nose Frieda, what a disgusting and awesome contraption.

- Snotty noses and pacifiers don't mix.  Yet pacifiers and a calm baby go hand in hand.  Problem.

- I am finally done with this $(*#*%$ cold weather.  Yes wintry mix due to arrive tonight, I'm talking to you.  Go away.  The groundhog said spring would come early and my sanity depends on the accuracy of his prediction.


UPDATE :  Both momma and baby have a cold, and its no fun.  We took a nap this afternoon while Nate hung out in the house, and I feel slightly better.  I needed my head elevated though, and finally realized that my sinuses were stuffed enough to warrant some meds.  After looking up cold remedies and breastfeeding, I decided to get myself a nasal spray.  I had an entire inner struggle with it:  I hate nasal sprays, yet I saline spray Cupcake when she's sick.  So I had to stop being a hypocrite and subject myself to the same uncomfortable treatment as my own baby.


I really hope this doesn't affect my milk supply.  As it is, I feel depleted because what I need is rest, and what Cupcake needs is more feeding.  And because Cupcake has MCAD, her feeding needs trump me every time.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Online Support Group

So I caved and joined the FODs support group.   I'm not sure if this is the best thing for us holistically, but hey, it's a mailing list so we can be as active as we want to be.

I was hesitant to join because I didn't want the label MCAD to define us as a family.    Like many "disorders" today, once a child gets labelled, they stop being just a kid with their natural ebbs and flows and become victims of the very diagnosis that is supposed the help them.   While I think there are true cases of mood disorders that warrant special attention, I fear that terms such as ADHD, borderline personality, anxiety, etc get thrown around to explain children's behavior that is still within the norm.  And honestly, it does a disservice for those that truly need the label to receive adequate medical attention.

But I also began to realize that by not accepting the MCADD label we were also shutting ourselves out from potentially knowing others going through this.  Specially now, when many people I know are trying to teach their babies to sleep through the night (which we will not be doing for a while), I have been feeling isolated.  I should be good to see/read about other people who have gone through the annoying feeding schedules that MCADD requires, who have done the hospital trips, and who live perfectly normal happy lives in spite of it.

It reminds me of the conundrum I had regarding my migraines.  My father told me that it was dangerous to declare to yourself : "I suffer from migraines," because then you are letting the migraine be in control.  I can see his point.  However, it took my admitting it to finally go to the doctor and receive the medication I needed.  Now that I have the appropriate painkillers, I not longer "suffer" from migraines, I can treat them effectively.  So the labeling works both ways.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

4 month check-up

Cupcake had her four-month check-up yesterday, even though she turned 4 months over  a week ago.  Hey, if they don't care, I don't care either.

I remember the first couple of well-visits.  We had just gotten the MCADD diagnosis, and I would freak out if she was ok.  Was she gaining enough weight?  Was she getting sick?  How would she react to the vaccines?  Would the MCADD cause her motor developmental problems?  Turns out the doctors at Mt Sinai were right, if this disorder is diagnosed on time and appropriate preventative care is taken, Cupcake can develop normally, as any other child.

So, at four months Cupcake is still on the 101% for height.  How is that mathematically possible, I wonder?   On the other hand, she's only at 85% for weight, which means she's a bit of a long baby.    I can dig that.  Except when clothes start being too short for her, and then it gets annoying.

She's doing good, and gaining weight at a good pace.  And finally, her weight gaining pace has slowed down.  I was worried that the way things were, she was going to end up weighing 17 lbs, but no, she's still at a little below 16 lbs.   I'm fine with having a large or small baby, I mean, that's just the way she is, but I have to say that a big baby is exhausting on the arms.

She also got her next set of shot, and this time it was much easier than previous times.  She was fine for most of the day, and only got fussy by late afternoon.  I was feeling sick (sympathy symptoms?) so my mom, who was visiting for a few days, took care of Cupcake the whole afternoon.  She still needed one dose of Tylenol, but it was nothing compared to her 2 month shots.  I think I still have PTSD from that day.


Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm torn over whether to use nursing covers

Before Cupcake was born, I used to be appalled at the mere idea of using nursing covers.  Breastfeeding is natural, I would say.  Who are these backwards women who feel like hiding a beautiful experience with their children.  And even less idealistic, why would you go through the trouble of putting on a cover,if it's so uncomfortable and gets in the way of you kid feeding.  And what's more basic and functional than that?  I thought those mothers were setting back the women's movement, and that I would never belong to their ranks.

Now that I have a four-month old baby, I'm not as judgmental.  It's amazing how actually being in a situation will make you more sympathetic to what other's may be going through.  Duh.  And I feel thoroughly embarrassed by how adamant and judgmental I sounded about nursing covers.  I'm gonna chalk it up to pregnancy hormones, and leave it at that.

Breastfeeding is hard, though.  There's a steep learning curve.  And once you have figured out your vibe with your baby, something changes (growth spurt is usually the culprit) and it becomes complicated again.  As a result, nursing isn't always this easy understated thing.  I much prefer to nurse at home than out in public, if only because I have my boppy pillow at home. (As an aside, the boppy pillow might be one of the greatest items we got, it was so surprising to me.  We use it for feeding, naps, airplane riding, when she was smaller to elevate her head for reflux, it's a jack of all trades.)   So I've had some times when I felt I'd rather go home and feed her than be out.  Not because I"m embarrassed about my nipples, but just because it a bit stressful to have you boob out, while you're burping and have a squeamish baby.

So, after seeing the mom's in my mom group have some really stylish covers, I caved and got a bebe-au-lait.  Cute name, nice prints, awesome wire frame that allows you constant eye contact with your feeding baby.  And I even used it, because  around week 12 - 15 Cupcake started being a very fussy eater, and using a cover was a good way to nurse outside.  I even used it when we went to Texas and had to feed Cupcake at Hobby Lobby, multiple restaurants, the art museum, and in front of Nate's grandmothers.  Happy mom and happy baby.

But now I feel weird about using it.  Cupcake and I have reached a groove again.  She's efficient, doesn't need to bu burped till the end, and I have a good hold.  The cover only makes things more difficult, take longer, AND I've been feeling like I failed my ideals by using it.  Like I should put my money where my mouth was.  Because while I"m no longer judgemental of other moms, I still feel like it's not right for me.  So we'll see what happens to the cover.  Will I use it again?  Was it a waste of money?  Was it an item that was relevant for a few weeks but is no longer necessary?

I'm happy to nurse whenever, wherever.  The way I see it, it's better to have a happy baby than make sure everyone around you doesn't have their sensibilities affected.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tummy time

Cupcake doesn't like tummy time.

I've heard this is actually quite common, that one places their young baby gingerly on a play mat, only to have said baby wail within minutes to be turned back over.  So I just avoided it.  And like many other first-time moms, I felt immense guilt about . Was I keeping my baby from developing? Would she take longer to roll over/walk/crawl/get into Harvard? You know, the common concerns with a two month old. And add to it that I kept reading that many MCAD babies had slower physical development from the norm.

Whatever. Cupcake didn't like it, and I told my abstract concerns to shove it. I was reading my baby, and my baby was saying that she was not happy on her tummy.

I asked our pediatrician about it at the three-month appointment, and she basically confirmed my feelings: that tummy time was another thing to make parents feel like they were "doing something", but Cupcake was strong and had good neck control so it wasn't necessary to force tummy time on her if she didn't want to. Our pediatrician even confided that the tummy time requirements were, in her opinion, just another way to guilt-trip parents. Was that on the record, or just practical parenting advice? No matter, I ran with it.

From then on Cupcake did not do tummy time unless she wanted to.  Which was never for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

Sure, I've read the articles of how since the "back to sleep" campaign was implemented one of the unfortunate side effects was that babies started crawling and rolling over later. I don't care, we aren't in a hurry. Mobility will come eventually, and meanwhile we are just going to do our thing.

Then it just happened that Cupcake could  hold her neck well enough to fit into an exersaucer at 3 months. (It also helps that she's really tall for her age, in the 101% and tends to be as tall as babies a couple of months older). Then she rolled over last week, before she was even 4 months old. And she just strong. Glad we didn't torture her with an activity that distressed her so much when it doesn't seem to have affected her development that much.
Of course I am not suggesting that tummy time is useless. I know the research is out, and it's recommended.  There are very valid reasons to encourage parents to put their babies on their bellies.  My argument is just that not ALL babies need it the same way.  In our case, it didn't seem to make a difference.  I'm just glad I was attuned enough to my child that we were able to provide for her individual needs.

Or course, even now as she rolls over from her back to her tummy, she doesn't like the end result.  And unable to return to her back and restore the balance in the world, she cries to me to flip her over. Which I do.  I figure she'll learn eventually.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Parenting philosophies

It seems that every parenting instinct has a name theses days.  Not just a name, but also a title, a website, and rabid advocacy on the internet.  While trying to figure out some standard timetable for developmental milestones, and also browsing through the many many parenting blogs, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not sure in which category I fall.

Does the fact that we co-sleep, breastfeed and I baby-wear cupcake mean we are attachment parents?  I mean, I related to many of the basic ideas of Attachment Parenting, but then again, we dont really subscribe to the green/cloth diaper aspect of things.  I would like to, but my sanity has its limits.  We also use pacifiers, and have no issues with strollers, swings, and the like.

What does it say about us when we decided to not let Cupcake "Cry it Out".  Is this a reflection of our parenting philosophy, or simply the result of having a baby that never gave us serious sleep problems.

Where do we fit the fact that cupcake got her ears pierced at 3 months?  We messed with the sanctity of what "god" gave her.  (I use the word god loosely, as I am a devoted Atheist yet Nate is a spiritual Christian,  so who knows what will happen with Cupcake when she's older?  That's a topic for many many more blog entries in the future).

And then there's the issue that one's attitude towards a small baby is very different from that regarding a toddler, preschooler, newborn, teenager, adult, etc.

So far I want to address Cupcake's needs as she  needs them.  Because of MCAD we have a feeding schedule (rather than feeding on demand, like La Leche League and similar lactivists advocate).  But she sleeps and wakes on demand.  The only real sleep training we're doing is that we've made no effort to make her bedtime any earlier, so she goes down for the night at around 10 pm.  But I hold her when she needs it, try to give her space when she needs it, change her as she needs it, or at least I try to do all these things when she seems to need it.  Seriously, who knows what she actually needs.

So... do we qualify as Attachment Parents?  And based on how exaggerated and controversial so many of them tend to be... do we even want to?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rolling over

On Monday, Cupcake decided that after days and days of trying, she was finally going to roll over.  She did on her changing table (we reaaaaally need to get a contoured base now), and almost rolled off the edge.  Luckily, we were right there watching her to celebrate the occasion.  We took pictures and were at once excited and terrified.  She looked pretty pleased with herself.

On Tuesday she kept kinda half-assed trying and didn't accomplish anything.  It was fine.

Wednesday.  We went to a friend's house for a multiple baby playdate, and she kept trying to roll.  Maybe it was the sight of so many babies her own age, maybe it was the continuous floor mats.  In any case, she had many attempts, and once again her arm kept getting in the way.  I helped her three times.

Thursday.  She rolled over in front of both my parents while they were watching her on skype.  Just a few times, but she's struggling with her arm pinned under herself.  At some point I left her on her playmat and went to the kitchen to watch dishes.  A little while later I hear her fussing and I come to find her on her belly, none too happy about having to do tummy time.  Its awesome, she gets on her belly but doesn't actually like staying that way.

Friday.  She's officially rolling over.  Every time I set her on the floor, she's immediately trying to turn to her belly.  And once she accomplishes this, she fusses until I put her on her back again.  Why doesn't she enjoy tummy time more?  When will she learn to roll to her back and restore the balance in the force?

She just looks so excited every time she does it.  Like it's a huge accomplishment, which it is.  I wonder if it's a type of roller coaster ride in her head.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tired arms

Cupcake needs to be held.  She needs to be bounced.  She wants to be close to me at all times.  She needs to be held for virtually every nap.  She's getting big, and heavy.  She likes to kick me on the c-section scar.

I'm so tired of holding her.  My arms are burning and my scar is irritated.  The weight is getting to me, and I just don't have any strength left.  I feel spent

I've never been the parent  who could do CIO, but when Friday rolls around, and I"ve been dealing with her all week, I feel tempted.  Of course, doing CIO without an actual plan to follow through is just plain cruel.  I don't know what to do.  She used to be so chill and easy, and now it feels exhausting to spend the whole day with her.

A part of me realizes that I should cherish these moments, that they will never be here again, that she'll never be this little again or need me the same way.  I feel like a terrible mother for being sick of it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Napping and schedules

I feel like my life has been taken over by Cupcake's naps.  Is she sleeping?  Is she tired?  Did she just wake up?  Did she sleep enough?  Is she due for a nap? And why, oh why, will she not go down on her crib anymore?  I mean, I love the idea of cuddling with her, but I've been feeling worn out from having to always hold her.

The good news of all this is that I am now so worried about her sleep that I no longer worry about her feedings and MCAD.  I used to be in a constant state of stress of whether she was eating enough, if she'd go into metabolic shock, her feeding schedule, did I have enough milk, were we breastfeeding right, etc.  Now she consistently gets hungry after 3 hours during the day and 4 hours at night, and we don't have to really think about it.  We have her feeding times, which are now ingrained in our routine.   And its nice to not have this be an issue.

Cupcake will be 4 months in a couple of days, and so far we have avoided any major illnesses or diarrhea or MCAD crisis.  I'm not sure if it's because she's asymptomatic, or if we've just been doing good in feeding her frequently, but either way, it's a relief.

Meantime, we can worry about the same things everyone else does.  Napping, sleeping and crying.  It's not that I enjoy these "problems", but its nice to be able to vent with other moms and all be in the same page about it.


We've been having some problems lately on the baby wearing front.  I am completely pro-carrier, and think these are the greatest thing ever invented since sliced bread.  Actually, since carriers harken back to a simpler time in human development, they were around before sliced bread.  But I digress.

The problem lately is that cupcake is getting gigantic.  Not so big considering she's not even 4  months yet, but definitely big for her age.  So at her 3 month check she was 14.5 lbs. , which means that by now, at the rate of 7 oz per week, she must be getting close to 16 lbs.  Definitely getting tougher to carry her these days.

Which would be where the carriers come in.  However, we seem to be having problems with them.  So allow me to go through my personal experiences with these carriers.

Moby Wrap - I freaking love this thing.  So simple yet so versatile.  Of course, I also got it as a gift, so who knows how frustrated i would have been to pay good money for a glorified piece of jersey fabric.  I wish I has started using it sooner, but I was intimidated by all the fabric, since it has a steep learning curve.  When cupcake was smaller (in size), she would fall asleep in minutes when put in the cradle hold.  As she's gotten bigger, I've struggled to find other holds to help her fall asleep.  The wrap still works, and it's still wonderful to distribute Cupcake's weight evenly on my back, but she just won't fall asleep on it anymore.  Maybe in a few weeks, she'll grow into a new position.  Pros: very safe, adjustable, easy to take in bag, lots of holds, great for newborns, distributes weight evenly.  Cons: difficult to put on, hard to roll so much fabric, fabric stretches after too many uses.

Baby Bjorn - Wonderful, and I cannot say enough good things about it.  Except maybe for the fact that if you have a large baby (as we do), you'll grow out of this carrier sooner.  It has to do with the weight distribution, and the bjorn is a shoulder based carrier.  So, as a woman, I feel myself getting sore by the time we get back home, while Nate can hold her for hours on end and be fine.  I love the bjorn because it's so easy to put on, and because it has the option to put the baby front facing, which Cupcake loves. One of my current issues, though, is that she will no longer fall asleep on it, which makes for some annoying walks if they are around her nap time.   Pros: convenient, sturdy, front and back facing, neck support for infants, adjustable for size.  Cons: shoulders sore after a while, inconvenient to take in bag, better for smaller babies.

Sling medium - we got a really crappy sling as a baby gift, and we used it some when Cupcake was very little.  It worked great because it's very easy to put on, and very easy to take off.  And, when cupcake was tiny and needed to be held ALL the time, it was a good imitator of my arms cradling her.  Otherwise, we had the wrong one.  Ours was made of a stiff fabric, so it didn't mold to her needs.  I've seen some slings made of a stretchy jersey fabric (similar to the Moby) that seems a lot more comfortable.   It served a purpose, but now Cupcake has completely grown out of it to fall asleep, and it never fit Nate.  Once she gets bigger, we can use it again to prop her on our hip, but for now its been rendered pretty useless.  Pros: easy to put on and place baby.  Cons:  distributes weight unevenly, not adjustable, fabric too stiff, only good for two holds.

Sling big - this was also a baby gift, from Peru.  And we didn't use it much because it was too big, and Cupcake would kinda get lost in the shuffle.  We were afraid she'd suffocate under all that fabric.  Now that she's huge and due to sleep regression issues wants to be held a lot more to sleep, I've found that it's the perfect size.  Also, for this specific one, I love the fabric pattern.  Pros: great for older babies, cradles large baby, easy to put on, easy to take in bag.  Cons: distributes weight unevenly, not adjustable, only good for cradling

Ergo - this is our new purchase, which we got because everyone raved about how awesome it is.  So far Cupcake has not taken to it well, and based on many conversations about it with friends, she might be still a liiiiiiitle bit too small in size for it.   But I'm hoping that this one will help us with the dreaded nap issue though.  My friend Kate swears by it, and says her son will zonk out within minutes on the Ergo.  I need a carrier that she can stay on while awake and asleep.  I like it so far, the shoulder straps are nicely padded, and most of the weight rests on a waist belt, which is much better for a woman's center of gravity.  We shall see how she takes to it in the next few weeks.