Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Picky Binki Baby

So I know I've been MIA for a few days, but this last week has been busy!

Allow me to break it down for you: my Mom received a kidney transplant and my little sister was her donor, I have been helping to create a new CME for my WFH job, I was getting out late almost everyday at my regular job, we had to finish up some home improvement projects that should have been done months ago, and my baby turned six months old! On top of all this, I have been testing out some new pacifiers for Clara and I'm ready to review them.

The whole reason why I have (what seems like) 8 billion pacifiers lying around my house is because Clara has GERD. While she was staying in the Children's Hospital, some of her doctors informed us that GERD babies do very well with pacifiers for the simple fact that it keeps them from spitting up so much. The constant sucking reflex helps keep the acid down, as well as soothes them when their tummies hurt. Clara had already been using the Avent Soothies in between feedings but, and they were alright, but she tended to spit it out more often than not. I needed to find something she would take all the time, and hoped it would help keep her from spitting up her entire bottle. 

A day or so after Clara was discharged from the hospital, I was shopping at Target when I came cross the MAM pacifiers. I had never seen a paci with that shape before, it was flat! I thought to myself, “What the hell, its only a few bucks. Might as well give it a try.” I bought a two-pack and brought them home. She took to it immediately! Loved it so much I had to go out at buy more just ot make sure we had extras for the house and the diaper bag. We started off with the 0-6 month size and it was perfect for her. As the months went on of using this paci, I have found it doesn't really keep her from spitting up, nothing does, not even her meds. However, it does seem to keep her tummy aches at bay. 

Recently, I decided I wanted to have her try a paci made of 100% natural rubber. I have heard these pacis are better for the environment and better for baby. There are a few brands out there of natural rubber pacis, but what seems to be a favorite among mommies is the Natursutten. This all-natural pacifier is made in Italy, doesn't contain any cracks, crevices, or joints where bactieria can hide, is produced from sustainable plantages, and (best of all), allergen-free! That's right, they have removed the most common protein that causes a latex allergy. As someone that works in the medical field, I find that really fascinating.

The Natursutten is about $12 on Amazon. It's also on Prime, so not a bad price, but most pacis average about $6 or so. I started looking into “knockoff” rubber pacifiers and came across a brand named Sweetie. It is considered a close second to the Natursutten and its only about $9 on Amazon. However, no where on the listing does it say it is allergen-free. So, I ordered both and decided to do a comparison. They were delivered to my house within a few days and we gave it a whirl.

The first one we tried was the Sweetie, since it arrived at my house first. As soon as I took it out of the packaging, I noticed what felt like latex powder coated on the pacifier. I immediately washed it off according to the directions and told my husband not to go near it. Mike has a serious latex allergy, he starts having a reaction as soon as he's in the same room with stuff. Well, he decided he wanted to be a guinea pig for this experiment and rubbed the pacifier all over his arm (I begged him not to, but he's stubborn). With just a few minutes, he began forming hives all over the area he rubbed the pacifier and complained of itching and burning. Insert an “I told you so.” from me. Anywhoo, he treated the hives and went about his day, I put the pacifier back in the baggie is was shipped in and waited for the other one to arrive.

The Natursutten arrived the next day and Mike tested it on his skin, no reaction whatsoever. Like, at all. The pacifier held true to it's claim of being allergen-free! Next step was to give it to Clara and see what she thinks. Long story short, she wasn't a fan. She chewed on it mostly. It looked pretty and hip and eco-friendly, but she wasn't having it. My dreams of converting her to a more sustainable paci were crushed, she will forever be a MAM baby. However, in the week I was trying to get Clara on board with the different paci, I was able to notice some differences between the Sweetie and Natursutten. Though both nipples are round and meant for 6-12 month babies, the neck of the nipple on the Sweetie is shorter than that of the Natursutten, and the tip of the nipple is wider. Now, this has no effect on my life since Clara REFUSED to take it, but that little bit of info might help anyone else looking to purchase a rubber paci.

So yeah, this was my small contribution in trying to make our lives more sustainable, but it failed. Oh well, on to the next thing.

-The Upstate Blonde 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In the Blink of An Eye

In just six days, my own little Clara Lynn will be six months old. That's a whole half of a year!! How in the world did this happen?! For the past week or so, I've been dealing with a lot of anxiety about this realization. It all went by so fast...

At 38 weeks, I was induced for high blood pressure. They assured Mike and I it would be an extremely slow process. The hospital staff insisted she wouldn't make her appearance for about three days. Well, they were wrong. The induction process started around 2:00 PM on Monday, and by 7:43 PM on Tuesday, she was here! My teeny tiny newborn baby girl was finally in my arms and I couldn't have been more in love. My baby was so small she needed preemie clothes and diapers!

The day and a half spent in the hospital were a blur. Recovering from birth, learning to breastfeed, and all around trying to get used to the idea of my body no longer housing a tiny human, I felt (and probably looked) like a zombie. Both Clara and I were continuously poked and pricked, and I couldn't wait to get home. I quickly realized the hospital scene was not for me.

Once we did get home, reality finally hit me. Mike and I are home, alone, completely responsible for this little life. She depends on us for absolutely everything. Better not screw this up! I was terrified (as I imagine all new parents are), I felt like I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It didn't matter how much I had prepared for this ahead of time, it was real and it was scary. Thankfully, I had many friends and family to reassure me that everything will work out and be ok.

First visit to Steve's Diner at one week old!

Fast forward a few weeks, our sweet girl spends a week in the Children's Hospital. This little LITTLE (I mean seriously little, she was a month old and smaller than most newborns)girl is very sick. She's diagnosed with several GI issues and we have to stop breastfeeding, switch to a hypoallergenic, amino-acid based formula, start multiple medications, and pray she starts gaining some weight. I am so thankful we live in an area with such an amazing hospital. The doctors, nurses, care coordinators, and anyone else who had a part in helping my baby were amazing. Everyone was extremely helpful and encouraging. We were discharged and had to completely rearrange our life. I had to set alarms throughout the day to draw up meds, made sure to get up at midnight to give another med, and wake up several times to feed my girl a teeny amount of formula and hope she didn't throw it all up. Anything she kept down would help her gain weight.

Five months later, this girl is THRIVING! Wild child doesn't even begin to describe her. Always on the go, wanting to play with everything and smile at everyone. She is so close to crawling, getting up on all fours and we can just see the determination in her little face. At just under 14 pounds, she still fits 3 month clothing, so she's still tiny, and that's ok. Her growth curve is steady and she is meeting milestones. That's all I can ask for.

It scares me how fast it goes. Everyone always says, “Enjoy it now, it goes by quickly.” It has to be the most accurate saying known to man. My little newborn who wanted me and me only is now mobile and ready to conquer the whole world. At the end of the day, I can't stop her from growing up. All I can do is take it all in, and enjoy each moment. Every giggle and every whimper are precious, I savor each one.

- The Upstate Blonde 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Welcome to My Blog!

Hi! My name is Alanna Waterhouse and I would like to welcome you to my first blog post. I am 24 years old, living in the Rochester, New York area with my husband, Michael, and my beautiful daughter, Clara. I am currently a full-time EMT in a suburban EMS agency and my husband is a Paramedic with another agency in the area. 

We currently have four pet parrots: two Blue Front Amazon Parrots, Patch & Hook, a Yellow Napped Amazon Parrot, Peter, and a Parrotlet, Zazu. We are looking forward to welcoming a dog to our family sometime within the next few years. 
Peter (and Mike)

My baby, Zazu (he's camera shy)

Some of my passions in life include taking care of my family, continuing my education in EMS and medicine, hiking, camping, fitness, and FOOD! I also enjoy getting the opportunity to try new products (for my daughter and for myself), and forming short reviews on them and sharing that experience with my friends and family. 

I am hoping to use this blog as a way to shed some light on my everyday life and some of the products I use. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing! 

- The Upstate Blonde 

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken

You guys were so excited this week when I mentioned I would be making a paleo cashew chicken recipe with our instant pot! We made it last n...