Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Three Months Nate

Today Nate is three months old. It seems like forever we saw him for the first time. At the same time it seems like yesterday as the memories are vividly ingrained in my mind.

He is only three months and honestly he doesn't do much beyond eat, sleep, poop, and cry. However, all those little moments like the smiles, reactions, and the new noises are pretty neat.

I am looking forward to all the upcoming milestones like turning over, sitting up, crawling, etc. Even though those things mean that I've got to start thinking about babyproofing the house and other changes that we knew would happen at some point.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


There is a lot of information floating around about the flu. Nate is not going to get any flu vaccine as he is too young. They will not give shots to anyone under six months. So it seems that the best defense is to make sure my wife and I are vaccinated. So last week we both went and received the seasonal flu vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine contains the killed viruses. So you cannot actually get the flu from the vaccine. In some people, their immune systems will react and flu-like symptoms will occur. I've been lucky and have never had any issues with flu shots.

The seasonal vaccine contains 3 A-type (H3N2) virus, 1 A-type (H1N1) virus, not the novel H1N1 (2009 H1N1, Swine flu, etc), and 1 B-type virus. The seasonal flu vaccine does not provide protection against the 2009 H1N1 virus which is what all the talk this year is about. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine should be available in October. More info from CDC on seasonal virus here.

The 2009 H1N1 flu has a lot of people scared. The good thing I see is the virus doesn't appear to be very dangerous. The rates of death as a percentage seem to be less than some recent common flu variants and very importantly it does not appear to have mutated. The possible mutation is one of the scary potential scenarios that have been mentioned. A mutated virus could be much more dangerous. The 1918 Spanish Flu which happens to be a A-type H1N1 variant did mutate into the much deadlier version that affected millions. More info from the CDC on 2009 H1N1 here.

We'll still plan on getting vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 flu as we want to make sure that we don't risk Nate getting the flu. Since we are caregivers of an infant under six months we are one of the recommended groups to get vaccinated along with pregnant women, and health care workers. While the 2009 H1N1 seems to be mild I would rather be safe as this flu like any flu can be deadly.

I found a couple other interesting H1N1 resources. Local hospital in Austin is tracking H1N1 info via twitter. For more see A flu tracker, complete with maps from Rhiza Labs can be found here.

My final thoughts. The flu is mainly transmitted via the air through coughing and sneezing. If you are coughing or sneezing please cover your nose and mouth. If you are showing symptoms you can also help decrease the spread of the virus by staying home.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trim those nails

Nate really does not like to have his fingernails trimmed. He fights and squirms when you try and hold him still to cut them and we are both worried about getting more than just the nail when cutting. I've tried using a nail file instead of fingernail trimmers and that may be worse. At least with the clippers the actual cut is quick.

We had been putting off cutting his fingernails, but over the last couple days Nate has had his hands around his face a lot and he has managed to scratch himself a couple times.

We found that a two person operation works best for getting his fingernails trimmed. One person has to distract him enough that you can grab his hand and position the clipper without him squirming (which is not easy). Then if you can make the cuts quick enough he doesn't seem to fight much. Like many things it seems to be more the shock of the event (the cut in this place) vs. it actually hurting.

Even though I worry about it, we've yet to draw any blood cutting his fingernails, but he has drawn a drop or two scratching himself so the benefits of going through the nail trimming process far outweighs letting Nate wound himself. I guess our other option would be to strap his arms to his side, like a baby straightjacket. That just sounds like a bad idea.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Circumcision - would I change my mind if I had the chance

At this point there is no changing my mind, really don't have much choice as what is done is done. I actually debated long and hard. I read articles on both sides. Both sides have some compelling arguments. I actually like the two shows Dad Labs did earlier this year. Their timing was actually pretty good.

Here is the Dad Labs Debate Video for. The guys from Dad Labs and the author of Baby411 (which we have and use for reference often) talk about their thoughts.

Here is the Dad Labs Debate Video against. They talk with an intactivist.

There are some good hygiene reasons for circumcision. Then there are some pros related to sexually transmitted diseases & infection. On the other side there is the why fix it if its not broke and why take away what was given to us. Plus there is the question of pain to infants.

In the end for better or worse one of the stronger arguments for me was not wanting to answer why do I look like this and you look like this?

So did I cause undue pain to Nate? I don't think so, a couple minutes after the procedure he didn't seem any worse for wear. If I was there at the moment of the procedure I might have a different view.

One thing just to think about...Were the Jews on to something a long time ago or not? And is that still valid today?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Road Trip

So Nate took his longest car trip to date today. My wife had a meeting about an hour and a half from home that she needed to make and it wasn't a great day for me to try and stay home to watch Nate. Also I don't think we have enough milk stocked up to feed him for the time she would be gone. Plus tomorrow my wife has another obligation and we'll need all the milk we've got to feed his growing appetite.

I was not on the trip, but Nate handled the trip well. Like many babies the car tends to make him sleepy. Most likely the motion. So most of the drive time he was asleep.

The fact the trip went well bodes well for a longer road trip we are thinking of taking sometime in the near future. Still no cross-country trips, but an overnight trip longer than two hours.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Nate still has many cases of hiccups. He has had frequent hiccups starting well before he was born. While in the womb Sherri would often mention that baby is hiccuping. If I had hiccups at least once a day and often time more I'd get pretty frustrated. However, Nate seems to take them in stride. I wonder if he is thinking why doesn't everyone else have hiccups this often as they don't seem to bother him much.

Hiccups seem to be very normal for babies and the frequency and length should decrease over time. I know it is an old wives tale that hiccups mean you are growing, but Nate is certainly growing and he does hiccup a lot. I can see where the rumors persist.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sleep Advance

I believe we may have just had a minor breakthrough on the sleep front. Of course, we could take a step or two back, but last night Nate slept really well. He only woke us up once during the night. Typically he has been waking up twice at night needing to feed. If we can keep this up on a somewhat regular basis it will go a long way to us not being zombies in the morning.

For whatever reason, last night Nate really didn't want to go to bed. We had tried to put him down a couple times and he wanted nothing to do with sleep. Once he finally decided that he would go to sleep, he sleep for five hours. Sherri and I woke up and both asked if we slept through Nate waking up earlier. Nope, he had actually slept the whole time.

So during the 10th week Nate managed to only wake us up once during a night. The next target is sleeping through the night. We know that may be a little ways off, but if he can keep up his feat of last night it will go a long way to us getting some more reasonable sleep.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nate's Activities - Spitting up

Nate is now in his 10th week. He is starting to become more alert and active, but most of his activities are still centered around sleeping and eating. One of the other things that Nate seems to do plenty of is spit up. We have burp rags scattered all over the house to deal with those issues when he decides to let loose of a little milk. Of course, there never seems to be one handy when we need it. We often are walking around the house with an old diaper or burp rags on our shoulders. I'm thinking we should have clothes with built in burp rags.

Occasionally we worry about all the spitting up and that Nate could have problems. Everything we've read and feedback from the pediatrician is spitting up is normal. Almost every infant deals with some amount of reflux. The muscle that serves as a valve between the stomach and esophagus is still immature. Over the first year this muscle should start working properly and the reflux (also known as GER/Gastro Esophageal Reflux) should go away. If the reflux doesn't go away then treatment for GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) may be in order. Need for treatment is rare. The rule of thumb that we'll go by is as long as he doesn't complain or seem in pain after spitting up and he is still gaining weight then everything is probably fine. Nate is usually happy after spitting up. Usually he seems rather proud of himself or thinks it is funny. So I think he is fine.

So hopefully over time the spit up will go away. Until them we'll have little milk spots all over our clothes (and elsewhere).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Need the rain, but sun is good on stains

Here in Austin, TX we are in the middle of a serious drought. We actually got a really nice rain today. The grass already seems greener and the temperatures were way down as it was rainy or cloudy all day. While the rain was great it makes one thing harder to do - put Nate's cloth diapers in sun.

The sun works a little magic on cloth diapers. The sun has three advantages:
  1. Helps further dry the diapers and inserts.
  2. Fades or gets rid of stains not completely removed in wash.
  3. Reduces any odors left after washing.

I imagine the neighborhood's homeowners association frowns on our makeshift clothesline. However, our little setup is ideal in so many ways. By using the power of the sun you can save energy vs. using the dryer and using less chemicals to get rid of the stains and odors.

Even though cloth diapers are more work we are still very happy with our decision. Using disposables don't have to think about do you hang diapers in sun or not. There are other people that use liners for cloth diapers. I keep meaning to look into those, especially once Nate starts eating solid foods and the stains and odors may increase.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First night in Baby's Room

Last night was the first night that Nate slept in his own room. Since we had brought him home he had been sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom. We had been debating on when to start having him sleep in his crib. There are some arguments that you can let infants sleep in another room immediately. Others believe that mom and baby should sheep near each other for as long as possible.

I don't want to debate pros and cons of each. I'll say that every baby is different and what works for one may not work another. One of key trade-offs is now when Nate wakes up we have to go across the house. This means feedings may not be as convenient. We have a baby monitor set up so as far as sounds go he might as well be in our room.

We are hoping that very soon Nate will only be waking us up once a night. Currently he is waking us up twice a night with time between feedings being 3 to 4 hours. As that slowly increases our sleep should get better.

Nate still is having some gas issues, but it has gotten a lot better. With the combined fact that he was sleeping better over last couple nights and he is starting to outgrow the bassinet, we figured it was about time.

So everything went well. Nate slept well in his crib. Hopefully future transitions will go so smoothly.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Taking Nate Out in a Stroller

Over Labor Day Weekend we took Nate out on a couple errands as well as took him for a couple walks around the neighborhood. We bought a stroller frame that would work with his infant car seat to make the whole process as easy as possible.

When looking for strollers most manufacturers offer these large travel systems. I can see where they are good for some people. They can be large enough to carry everything, except for maybe the kitchen sink. They also tend to be rather heavy, harder to get in and out of car, and not as easy to push around. While they do fold up, we really needed something that would fold up as small as possible. Without getting into the ones that cost a mint the lightest travel system stroller we found was over 17 lbs (without car seat) and most were heavier. My wife is definitely keeping her current car (a Mini). She loves the vehicle and while a second kid may push us to a new vehicle (she's already talking about a Mini Clubman) right now she is not giving up her Mini. When looking for car seats and strollers we had to make sure that they would fit in the Mini. Almost all the car seats will fit in the Mini, but we found that due to some configuration issues it is best to put the seats on one side or the other vs. in the middle.

Sherri's mini 
Sherri's Mini

Looking at some of these stroller travel systems we figured that they just would not fit into the Mini very well. They were designed for the Minivan or SUV driving crowd. We found a great stroller frame from Baby Trend. The Snap N'Go stroller fits our Graco Snugride infant car seat well. The car seat snaps right in quickly and easily without any modifications. The stroller rolls great, really does open and close with just one hand (if needed). It is also light enough to easily get in and out of car, even with one arm. The Snap N' Go is a maximum of 12 lbs without the car seat. The Snap N' Go will also work with almost all infant car seats.

And the big bonus is we can fit it into the Mini. No it is not small enough to fit in the Mini's trunk, but we can put it into car in any of three ways. It can go in front seat, back seat, or most commonly we fold down half of back seat and put in in through the rear hatch.

Once Nate moves beyond the infant car seat, we'll go with some form of lightweight umbrella stroller and put the frame away for a while. Yes, with a travel system you do have the option of using the stroller without car seat which can extend its life, but we figured that the umbrella style will be best fit our needs best as Nate grows. I'm doing my research now and will probably purchase one later this year.

Nate in Stroller
Nate out for a walk

Snap N'Go stroller
Snap N' Go folded up

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Our little ball of gas

So just as we thought Nate was starting to get over his gas issues, he had significant issues last night and this morning. We know that babies have gas, there is just no way around it. However, it was seeming like the gas was subsiding as he was not waking up with gas problems multiple times during the night or making the loud grunt/crying noises associated with his gas.

We have been doing lots of pedaling and pushing his knees to his chest to help with the gas that he does have. That does seem to really help him. We'll certainly try and figure out if there is anything we've done that could have brought on more intense gas and try and correct.

One possible thought is with all the crying he did earlier this week, maybe all that extra swallowed air is finally working itself out of his system. If this was the case seems like a terrible spiraling effect. First more crying, this leads to more gas, which leads to more crying, and repeat. We must find a way to break the cycle.

On another note. We are starting to see some good smiles out of Nate.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Post-vaccination Notes

So a little 36-hour post-vaccination note. The first couple hours after the shots were no different than Nate's typical day. However, after a few hours he decided to express some of his displeasure. He was starting to meltdown. After quite a bit of walking around and swinging we did get Nate reasonably calm. We found that doing some babywearing in the front carrier was quite effective at keeping him calm. The injection sites were noticeably sore as touching near them would set him off.

Nate also had what we believe was a slight case of diarrhea. After a fairly normal night, the day after was filled with more sleep than normal. Now after about 36 hours Nate seems to be back to his normal self. I think before the next shots (at four months) we may do a little research on taking baby Tylenol or other medicine to reduce pain and swelling.