Sunday, August 31, 2008

Two Milestones

Amanda's first major cold and the letter "F".

Amanda has had sniffles before but nothing that has interrupted her sleep or interfered with nursing. This cold has really been tough. She's had a terrible runny nose and now she's coughing. Even though the cough sounds bad, I think she's starting to feel better.

One morning, Amanda woke up saying, "F,F,F." Mike said, "Wouldn't it be great to wake up one morning with a new consonant!" Mike walked around saying all the words that came to mind that started with "F". Food, furry, fan, funny. She also uses her "f" to blow on things. Sometimes Mike blows on her face to make her laugh and she copied the neighbor girl who was blowing on a windmill toy. We thought she might be able to blow bubbles, too, but she still thought she should open her mouth to taste the bubble wand.

One more "F" item Amanda found in the yard! "Flags!"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Gotcha Day!

One year ago today, Mike and I met Amanda for the first time. It's been a wonderful year and we look forward to many more! We thank God for the opportunity to love her everyday.
I'm still working on a great shot to share of Amanda in her pretty dress. It's really tricky now that she's mobile.

The Last Days of Summer and Toys

The days are getting cooler and it's time to pack away to summer clothes but not without on last shot of my favorite summer outfit. I love the color and it's short but feminine. It's pretty but when she was crawling she wasn't getting tangled in the skirt.
These are also practice shots of my new camera.
I've been working like crazy to get the house in order for the start of school and one my priorities was moving Amanda's toys into her room and out of the living room. I also wanted them to be more organized instead of just thrown into a laundry basket in the living room.Here's Amanda's new toy corner in her room. It gives us a great opportunity to teach her about organizing. She was pulling things off the shelf faster than I could put them on. Then I said it was time to clean up and she sat on my lap while I helped her put them on the shelf. Then we closed the door and left the room. But seriously, who needs toys when you've got a tri-pod box and a water jug!

Can You Guess What's for Lunch?

Mmmm! This was so yummy!
Amanda's learning to eat with a spoon.

I've been tagged!

However, since this blog is all about Amanda, I'll answer it over here.

Back Wrap Shoulder Strap

Here's the long awaited video of how I get Amanda on my back. Thanks to the purcahse of a tri-pod. To get her off I just untie it and slip it off my shoulders. In the van, I drape it on the seat back and have her stand up against the wrap. That's how I wrap her when we're out and about.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sorry about the snake and eggs!

Those belong on the family blog. (I fixed the link.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Letter

School is starting in the next week and my summer blogging hobby needs to be set aside. Tyler's Math, Spanish, Chemistry, and Typing will be done on the computer and Tony has Math and Science. Needless to say the computer will be well occupied. Tyler will start high school this year so it will be intense and exciting.
Before blogging, my cousin Elisa used to send out a Sunday letter to her family with pictures and an update from the week. I'm going to follow that example and commit to posting on Sundays.
Amanda played in the nursery for a bit during church. She loves to sing when the music starts and sometimes even after it stops. It's welcome joyful noise in our congregation. When the sermon starts, we leave for a potty break and a snack. Our church is very small and the fellowship hall is right next to the sanctuary. I can sit in there and feed Amanda yet still hear the sermon. Today while I was cleaning up, she wandered into the nursery. There were no other children in nursery today.After Amanda's nap, we went for a long walk on the trails in our neighborhood. Tyler spent a couple of days helping a church group clear and maintain the trails. They were in great shape without any fallen trees, washouts, or large rocks. When we got back home, Amanda found this rubber band shooter in the yard. What a country bumkin!Just before bed, Amanda had to show off her adorable new birthday jammies, her tooth brushing and her little potty. The jammies were a gift from the neighbor. We use the little potty in the van but since she's started walking we brought it into the house so she can use it by herself.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Partners in Crime

I don't think you all have met the cat, Chicky (Chicago White Sox). She and Amanda have a precarious relationship. Usually Chicky avoids Amanda. Sometimes she hisses when Amanda comes her way and other times when she's so desperate for food or attention she will climb on my lap while I'm nursing Amanda.Yesterday they were partners in crime.

"Mom, why are there newspapers all over the floor?" asked my fourteen-year-old after arriving home from playing in the neighborhood.

"You left the house without completing your chore of putting the recycling in the garage," I answered.

"So, you threw them all over the floor?" He was aghast.

"I had nothing to do with it. See I have pictures," I replied.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On the Water

Amanda loved her boat ride tonight! It was windy and the water was splashing into our faces as we sped across the lake. Amanda just laughed and waved her arms.
Our captian took good care of us out on the lake and the boat runs great.
I asked Mike to take me out in the boat first before he would take the boys out fishing, so he came home early tonight. Amanda had just woke up from her nap and we all went out together. My sister said there's a lot more days of fishing left before the lake freezes over! By the way, it was 80 degrees F. in case any really believes Minnesota is always cold.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Because I prefer pictures to words on blogs...

Amanda's new life jacket. It just showed up at our house before the boat. I think it was a cousin hand-me-down. This was the first time Amanda walked on the deck. Usually she gets nervous when she sees the ground through the cracks and crawls carefully, but she couldn't see her feet, the deck or the ground below. The life jacket was in the way.It's a little bulky so if Amanda falls over, she needs help getting up.Everyday after Amanda's afternoon nap, we go exploring in the yard, to the beach, for a walk or visiting. Look at all that nice green grass! That was basically weeds and sand last spring because adoption was a greater financial priority than grass or a boat.
Amanda just loves her Daddy because he's big and strong and so much fun!
I consolidated my notes about adoptive nursing and infant potty training from the last year into journals so when you use the labels you won't have to slog through a whole post where I might have mentioned those things in one sentence. I will keep updating those posts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Adoptive Nursing Journal

Please feel free to ask any questions or share your experiences.

6-26-09 I never did get that cycle I was expecting after stopping the BCP. I didn't think much of it since I was only on the pills for about two weeks, my cycles are irregular, and pumping has interfered with regular cycles before. Then we found out the due date was actually July 14th and not June 14th. Pumping had been very painful and I thought that maybe I had a yeast problem. Since, I had another month of waiting, I decided to cut out the foods that can contribute to a yeast problem; cheese, lots of fruits, dried fruits, sugar, potato chips, etc. I can't eat bread so I wasn't eating any yeast anyway.

Right away my stomach hurt and I was nauseous. It was annoying but I still thought it was part of the yeast die off. After a week and a half I began to wonder if I was pregnant. I hated to take another pregnancy test and see a negative result. I also thought that would mean we wouldn't be able to adopt the FL baby. But on Tuesday night I finally took a test and it was positive. We were blown away and still had a hard time believing it. We are even more excited that we still have to opportunity to adopt the FL baby.

My plans for nursing the Florida baby are a bit revised considering the circumstances. I'm going to try and nurse her just a few times a day with the Lact-Aid and let Mike feed her a bottle the rest of the times. I'm very sore but hope I can tolerate and enjoy it. It would be wonderful if I can nurse her without the supplementor in March after the new baby comes home. That would be amazing!

6-6-2009 A dear sweet adoptive nursing friend sent me the medicines I needed to start the drug protocol. I started with the birth control pills which are supposed to trick your body into thinking it's pregnant. The plan was to stop taking the pills after placement and start taking the domperidone to help build the milk supply. Then my friend told me I needed to take the domperidone with the BCP pills so I started them this week.

I ended up having the same trouble that I did with the Reglan. The domperidone's purpose is to speed up digestion for diabetic patients and alleviate nausea. However, for me, it was triggering low blood sugar type reactions, nausea and constant hunger. These are problems I already have to work very hard to manage and could not keep up with the drug. My friend said the BCP could me making me nauteous, but I was on the BCP for two weekes before starting the domperidone.

In addition, stopping the BCP would trigger withdrawl bleeding, i.e. a period. My periods tend to be extremely painful and the idea of dealing with that and a new baby and the travel was not appealing. So, I'm stopping all the drugs and just sticking with the herbs, fenugreek, nettles and blessed thistle. They never caused me any trouble and helped slightly with the supply.

I was producing about a teaspoon a day before starting the BCP. I expected a drop in supply because of the pills and I traveled two weekends which meant I missed out on pumping regularily. So, now I'm only get a few drops each time. It's such a slow process. At least I have the comfort of being able to offer donated milk and still enjoying the nursing relationship with the Lact-Aid.

5-16-2009 So, after only of month of being active with American Adoptions, we have been chosen by a birth mom in Florida who is due June 26. It is the just the encouragement I needed to keep pumping. There's really no time to start the drug protocols now and I don't want to be messing with my hormones during this potentially stressful time. Maybe I'll give it a try for the next adoption.

5-2-2009 I've been pumping every three hours and once during the night for 15-20 minutes. I've already experienced changes and fullness. I'm only getting a few drops at a time but I know that can take two months to just get 2-4 oz. oz. per day. My secret to getting up in the middle of the night without waking my spouse? Drinking a large glass of water before bed.

I had a dream the other night that I was holding a friend's newborn baby boy and it made my milk let down and leak through my shirt. I can't wait to be holding my own little baby.

4-16-2009 So, I've been debating with myself about how much time I would invest into adoptive nursing. I don't regret the time I spent with Amanda, but my supply was never very great and it was a lot of work. How much would I really be able to do with the next baby? Maybe just nursing for comfort, maybe just using the Lact-Aid with no preliminary pumping, maybe just being happy to have Milk Share so this baby could have breast milk. But then Sara left me a comment below about starting to prepare to nurse our next baby and it really inspired me to think about preparing again.

I just didn't think I'd have the time to invest in pumping to build up my supply. I already feel like my days are very full and wasn't sure where I would fit that in or what Amanda would do while I pumped. But now that we're active I thought I'd better start pumping just to get my self conditioned to nurse. Without any preliminary pumping it would be very difficult for a baby to get latched on. So I started last Saturday.

I was amazed to see drops of sticky milk already or still present even though I haven't nursed Amanda in two months and I haven't had much of a supply since I stopped pumping last fall. It took 14 days the first time to see milk after not nursing for 11 years. Then 7 days the second time after stopping pumping for six weeks. And now there was still milk present this third time of inducing lactation.

Amanda has been great. We pile on my bed with toys and books. She's fascinated with the pump and uses the shields as mega phones. I should have known it would be fine. The only time she gets into trouble is when my attention is diverted and I can't interact with her. As long as I can talk to her and make eye contact, she will stay close to me and engaged in whatever I'm doing. Hopefully, nursing the new baby will go just as well.

As I've begun this process and my body begins to respond, I am reminded of how helpful and meaningful providing milk for my baby is to me. It has really brought the reality of having another child in our home closer to my heart and it helps me to open a place in my day for this child. No matter how much milk I am able to provided, it is something very special I can do.

I am looking into the induction protocol that Sara mentioned. I'm not sure if I will try it because of the unpredictability of our match and travel dates. But like every thing in my life, I will just take things one day at a time.

2-3-2009 I nursed Amanda for the last time today. She had been nursing less and less over the last month. We nursed a bit more when she was sick because she wasn't drinking enough fluids, but things started really winding down after that. The less she nursed the more difficult it was to get her latched on as I was returning to my pre-nursing size.

1-13-09 Since Christmas, we've been only nursing twice a day with the Lact-Aid; once in the morning and once at night. I wonder about weaning her before another baby comes home, but that could be months yet, so why rush it. Besides, keeping Amanda nursing keeps me "in condition" to nurse the next baby. We both enjoy the quiet time to snuggle and connect. So, until further notice, we carry on.

10-31-08 "Is it worth it?" I have been asked that question regarding adoptive nursing. Absolutely! "Will I do it again with our next baby?" Probably not. It was great to devote more than a year because I waited so long for Amanda, but as we consider the next adoption, I know I won't have the time to try to induce lactation and pump to build up my supply. I will certainly let the baby nurse for comfort and I'll probably do a couple of feedings per day at the breast with the Lact-Aid.

I still believe breast milk is best and want to provide the best for my babies, which is why I am so thrilled to have found Milk Share. It's a great site that connects breastfeeding moms who want to donate their extra breast milk to babies who need it. The generosity of these women is amazing. It would take me 2 1/2 hours throughout the day to produce 6 oz. Some women can produce 10-20 oz. in 20 minutes.

Amanda is still nursing with the Lact-Aid. She's a busy girl and I love that quiet snuggle time with her three times a day.

9-25-08 After about two weeks, my milk production ended but Amanda is still nursing about three times a day with the Lact-Aid. I wonder if I had spent some time with a lactation consultant, would Amanda's nursing been more effective?

It's been fun nursing a toddler. The other day she raced me to the nursing chair. I've entertained thought of quitting because she caught another cold and was having difficulties breathing and nursing, but today was better.

8-22-08 After one year of pumping for Amanda, in addition to the five months of storing milk before we got the call, I have decided to stop. I am very tired and my back really hurts. I will be starting school with the boys soon and I could really use the extra 2 1/2 hours a day. I was only getting between 5-6 oz day. I will keep nursing Amanda for as long as she is willing. I'm sure my milk supply with drop but perhaps she will still be getting some of my milk.

8-17-08 Every month I wonder how long I will continue to nurse Amanda. If she was my biological child there is no doubt I would nurse well into her second year of life if possible. However, adoptive nursing is a bit more involved and expensive. Every time I have to reorder the nursing bags, I have to decide. I always get the bulk pack to avoid shipping charges which mean several more month of nursing. Plus, I have to decide how long I will keeping pumping in order to provider her with the measly 6 oz. per day of my fresh milk.

It was becoming very difficult to nurse her a few months ago, but my nursing friends assured me this was normal phase that happens when babies become more mobile, eating more solids and experience mom's alarmed reaction to being bitten. It was a nursing strike not weaning.

So, I began nursing her when she was tired and it was quiet in the house. I had always nursed Amanda upon waking, but now I nurse when she first wakes in the early morning and then before naps. That means she's nursing about four times a day.

As Amanda has become more mobile and active, I really cherish those quiet times during nursing. I know she's happy to nurse when she prepares herself by sucking her thumb while she's waiting for me to get ready. As for the pumping, fresh breast milk is still so much better than pasteurized cow's milk and it's important for me able to provide some of Amanda's nutrition. It's a part of my femininity that works and I'm not ready to give that up.

7-7-08 Amanda is nursing five or six times a day (She had been nursing less but it must have been a passing phase.)

6-9-08 She nurses about 4 times a day, loves to drink from a sippy cup and loves to eat.

5-15-08 Adoptive nursing, baby wearing, elimination communication, and cloth diapering have been practices that have helped with bonding, since the amount of time you spend with a person is directly related to the strength of your bond.

4-12-08 She still takes 6 oz. of formula or breast milk 5 times a day in the nurser. I'm able to pump about 6 oz. a day.

4-5-08 I finally talked to a new doctor about trying [Reglan] to help increase my milk supply. [Reglan] is used to stimulate peristalsis in diabetic patients. One of the side effects is fluid retention and milk production.

I was on 30-40 mg of [Reglan] for one week. I saw an increase in milk supply after the first day, but but only small gains as the week progressed. I have been able to pump twice as much as I had been pumping after each feeding. I was only getting 1/2 oz, but now I get a full ounce, sometimes 1 1/2 oz.

I have been setting my alarm to pump at night for two weeks. After starting the [Reglan], I didn't need the alarm any more, because I was waking up with a churning stomach. I also started taking a good multi-vitamin and fish oil again. When I quit taking the [Reglan], I began taking fenugreek and blessed thistle again. I had run out of the supplements and hadn't bought more because they are expensive. However, I feel so much better taking them than the medicine.

I may decided to try the medicine again, but our court date in on Wednesday and I'd like to be well rested and digesting normally. It's going to be exciting and nerve racking enough. Everything is fine, we have no concerns it's just a big deal and very formal.

Amanda still takes most of her feedings with the nurser. She had graduated to the 7 oz size. She takes 5 1/2-6 oz. of formula and pumped milk per feeding plus whatever she is getting from me when she nurses.

2-5-08 She's taking about six feedings a day of 4 1/2 oz.

2-1-08 The Happy Feet come while she's nursing. She is usually kicking her feet and rubbing them on the side of the nursing chair. She seems to want to be in constant motion. It might be my fault because when I was teaching her to nurse, I would jiggle her feet to keep her awake for the full feeding.

1-24-08 Nursing is going fine. Amanda nurses with the supplementor and won't nurse without it. She will cheerfully take a bottle on occasion. She will reach for it and hold it. I'm still pumping after she lays down for naps and before she wakes in the morning. I'm pumping close to six ounces a day. I happy to be providing her with some fresh milk every day.

12-14-07 I usually pump after she goes to bed and early in the morning to keep up my milk supply. The boys are really enjoying her attention and smiles. She adores them and follows their voices around the room. Evening feedings are quite a challenge, because she's trying to nurse and take part in the conversations.

11-6-07 I've been on a pumping marathon to try to increase my milk supply. Amanda's dainty little suckling just doesn't have the same effect as a double electric breast pump. Amanda nurses with the supplementor and then after I put her to bed, I go pump. I've started to see an improvement already so I'm going to just keep going. It is so time consuming, but I realize it is really important because she will only be little for a short season.

10-27-07 Then just yesterday, after a long day in the car, Amanda became inconsolable in her seat. I knew she was hungry and tired but she wouldn't take the bottle. Finally, we pulled over, I filled the supplementor, and took her out to nurse her. She nursed right away and fell asleep so we could make it the last half hour home.

10-25-07 Amanda traveled well, but it's been a tough week. Sunday was the last day of stored breast milk and she seems to be having a little difficulty with the change to more formula. The doctor said that it was to be expected. Yesterday we had our first visit from our social worker and a doctor visit. She's 10 lbs 10 oz and 22 inches long. The doctor says that she looks very healthy.

10-18-07 We're nursing great with the supplementor but I'm on my last few days of stored breast milk. She's only getting about 2-4 oz of fresh milk from me per day, so we'll be buying formula this weekend. I pray my supply continues to increase, but using formula makes for easier traveling.

10-9-07 The days we going fine, but Amanda was still waking up ever two hours at night until about midnight and then she'd sleep until 5 am, nurse lazily and go back to sleep until 7 am or 8 am. I kept scanning the books trying to figure out what I was supposed to do what was normal when would this get better. Finally, I put all the pieces together. A baby Amanda's age can go 6-8 hours at nights without a feeding. When she woke at night I could never really test if she was hungry or simply wanting comfort because once I defrosted the stored breast milk I made sure she drank it because it was too precious to go to waste if she feel asleep half way through a feeding.

10-1-07 I have very fond memories of nursing my boys and when Tony was a baby, I learned that adoptive mothers could also nurse their babies because it just took stimulation to produce breast milk.

I was concerned that Amanda would have difficulty nursing because she was three weeks old. After placement, back at the hotel, when Amanda began to fuss, I knew she wasn't hungry because she had a bottle at the agency, so I thought I'd give nursing a try. She immediately latched on and suckled a bit before falling asleep peacefully. I was so thrilled! That was the moment I really felt like she was ours; she was home.

When we had decided to adopt, I was delighted to know there was a possibility of nursing our adopted baby, too. I researched adoptive nursing and induced lactation on the Internet and bought a Medela Pump In Style electric breast pump. I was told that the more time I had to work on building my milk supply the better, so when we were called about a six week old baby in February I panicked. I hadn't started pumping yet. How important was breastfeeding to me? We decided we were still open to this little boy and sent off our profile.

While we waited to hear the outcome, I decided to start pumping. I thought it would be worse to be unprepared for a baby than to pump for several months without a lead. My friend had pumped for nine months for her cleft-palate baby so I knew I could go at least that long. I began pumping every three or four hours for about 10 minutes at a time. Sometimes at night if I happen to wake up.

It took 15 days before I saw one tiny drop. Drop by drop, day by day, duct by duct, I watched my supply begin to build. After about a month, I was saving about 2 oz. per day. After 2 months, I was saving around 4 oz in the Medela breast milk storage bags. I had been told I wouldn't be able to provide solely for the needs of my baby, but every drop I froze meant I would supplement with my own breast milk instead of formula once the baby came. In May and June, I was saving between 8-10 oz. per day.

In July, we connected with a birth mom who wasn't due until December and I knew I didn't want to pump for six more months, so I quit. That situation fell through, but we knew it was all in God's timing and I was comfortable with the stock of milk in my freezer.

When I got the call about Amanda, I was guarded so I didn't start pumping right away. But I started pumping a week and a half before we went to Texas. This time it only took seven days to produce a few drops of milk. I also ordered a Lact-Aid which is a supplemental nursing system that that allows formula or breast milk to go through a small tube into the baby's mouth while nursing.

That first night in the hotel when she woke up to be fed, I used the Lact-Aid and things went so well. Amanda nursed perfectly and then slept for three hours at a time. She even slept all the way from Abilene to Dallas and then nursed from the Lact-Aid in Subway. The second night was a little more challenging. We were having trouble with the flow and temperature so she would get frustrated. So, after a stressful night we put it away until we got back to MN. (The filling and cleaning procedures listed in the instructions were time consuming. I've been able to streamline the process and order more units.)

She would nurse while Mike was making the bottle and then nurse herself to sleep. I also tried to pump to help stimulate my supply. At home, she takes my stored breast milk in the Lact-Aid and things are going much better with that. I use bottles at night when she wakes up or when we go out. I'm still concerned about my supply because the stores in the freezer are being used up quickly, but I'm so glad she is getting the benefits of breast milk.

Nothing compares to the joy and comfort of nursing together.

We have a winner!

Joshy guessed correctly! It's Mike's "new" boat; a testament to his renewed confidence in my love and support. We tried taking it out last night but it was getting dark and the lights wouldn't work. Maybe on Wednesday. Doesn't Amanda look tiny?!

Infant Potty Training Journal

Please ask your questions and share your experiences.

6-26-2009 Amanda is using the potty sign to avoid other unpleasent activities, too. Like eating undesired foods or getting her hair rinsed. She is using it to tell me when she needs to go more through out the day, too. We got a potty training video from Pull-Ups in the mail and we watch it while I'm working on her hair. That has sparked quite a bit of interest in telling me she has to go potty. Great for the potty training- not so great for the braiding!

5-16-2009 Most of the day, I don't see the potty sign from Amanda. But, as soon as I get her diaper on before bedtime, then she starts waving the potty sign frantically! Of course. The frustrating part is that she often needs to go despite being set on the toilet moments prior. It is always a challenge when kids figure out what tricks to use to avoid bedtime.

5-2-2009 Amanda has begun using sign language to tell me she needs to go potty more often these days. She's been using the sign while going potty or shortly afterwards but I was very excited when she told me before she had gone.

1-13-09 Things have been going pretty much the same. Amanda will use the potty if I get ther there when she needs to go. If not, she goes in her training pants. I just do my best to watch the clock and get her there frequently. Sometimes she gives some indication she needs to go by grunting or squatting. Hopefully as her language develops more she'll start telling me, but it's still worth it. It saves me washing diapers and wiping icky messes.

10-31-08 Toileting is going along just fine. Most days we don't have any accidents. She still doesn't tell me when she needs to go, but she will hold it until I take her to the potty. I take her at least every 1/2 hour. She prefers to sit on the potty herself. I face her and she holds onto my legs and I hold her back. This makes clean-up easy. I still hold her over public toilets, though. She still wets and occasionally dirties her cloth diapers at naptime. We use flat folds and Super Whisper Wraps. At night, we use disposables.

9-25-08 The little potty is back in the van. The regular toilet is just easier and Amanda doesn't try to wear it like a hat. We've had days with lots of success and days with lots of misses. I just keep attending to her and taking her to the potty after a certain time or if she appears to be squatting or tooting. I keep saying the words and making the toilet sign, so hopefully she will start using those. She can say, "Football" so "potty" can't be far behind.

8-19-08 Some one used the word "independence" when I described my new experiences with potty training. It made me think. I brought the little potty in from the van and placed it in the kitchen. I kept Amanda in the kitchen, bare-butt, while I did my chores. I could keep a closer eye on her and watch for signs that she needed to go. Just like a puppy, she would back into a corner. She seemed very happy to be placed on the little potty instead of being carried off to the bathroom. We had lots of successes today and a few misses. I don't enjoy cleaning out the little potty each time, but it's better than wet pants, carpet or a diaper.

8-17-08 I think I have washed out more dirty diapers since we stopped using formula than in the whole last year. I was telling Mike that I tried cloth diapers with my oldest boy when he was about a year. I was so grossed out that I cut the plastic pants and diaper off and threw them away. His BM's were very similar to what Amanda's have become. Mike said, "I guess this is your opportunity to show your fortitude."

Life has changed and the success of two months ago has vanished. She is even having more wet accidents. Diet change, mobility, less babywearing and an over confident mommy have put us back to square one. About the time she began crawling, she began protesting sitting on the potty but she doesn't communicate that she needs to go potty.

One day last week, I woke her at 5 am and 7 am and was able to catch all the BM's that day. but the next day, I didn't wake up before she did and she was dirty. Today we've already had a dirty diaper upon waking and an accident in training pants and it's only 8:30 am. I'll just keep trying.

8-10-08 We're getting used to a new normal. Amanda's bowels have settled some but things have changed. She's having BM's more frequently and always in the morning before she lets me know she's awake. That's been happening for months and I have no idea how to resolve that pattern. I've tried waking her up as soon as I'm awake (between 4:30 am and 5 am) which helps but if I wake up much later than that, I have a dirty bum to clean up. Since Amanda isn't used to laying down to have her diaper changed, this means using a squirt bottle and toilet paper while I hold her over the toilet. Amanda is a happy as ever and it's great that she's having more healthy stools compared to the hard, constipating formula stools.

7-7-08 Going diaper-free while during waking hours.

6-23-08 I took Amanda to the grocery store last Saturday wearing only bloomers and cotton pants (and a shirt and shoes). Not the grocery store that's five minutes away but the one that's a half hour away. She stayed dry and pottied when we got to the store. Then, she stayed dry all the way home.She's been staying dry when we've gone out and about to church, the neighbors and the chiropractor.

And I've been struggling with keeping her protected but convenient for potty breaks. So, I decided since it was summer, I would put a waterproof pad in her car seat and bring an extra change of clothes. She's no more likely to have an accident or miss, as they are called in elimination communication, than any two or three year old who is being potty trained.I've ordered some pull-on training pants from the EC Store to use at fancy places like church where somebody else might be holding her. But for the most part, she'll be diaper-free when she's awake.

She still wets her diaper at night and nap time, but I'd have to sleep with her in order to catch her before she wets when she wakes up. That won't be happening anytime soon.By the way, Mike said we could adopt again when Amanda was out of diapers! Hee, hee, hee!

6-18-08 Amanda stayed strapped on my back the whole time. She stayed dry, too. It was close to an hour.

6-9-08 She uses the potty regularly and often stays dry when we are out and about.

5-15-08 Adoptive nursing, babywearing, elimination communication, and cloth diapering have been practices that have helped with bonding, since the amount of time you spend with a person is directly related to the strength of your bond.

4-5-08 Yes, Amanda is potty trained. If I take her to the toilet, when she needs to go, she will go in the toilet. Some days I'm better at getting her there in time than others. She is also beginning to show that she has some bladder control, because sometimes when I take her, she gives a little shudder of relief.

Yesterday, we went for a walk and ended up visiting at the neighbors. On the way back home, I remembered that she was undiapered. She was front facing in the wrap, so I spread the wrap out of the way and squatted by the side of the road. She didn't go, but stayed dry until we got home. It had been over 1/2 hour.

Dressing for EC'ing-Before Amanda was crawling, she wore infant gowns at home. When she was awake I'd pull the elastic bottom up around her waist and tuck a cloth diaper into the elastic. At naps, I put her in a cloth diaper and waterproof cover. Once she started crawling, I began putting her in little cotton pants that were easy to pull down when I took her to the potty. I have three white cotton, long sleeve body suits that snap at the crotch that she wore under long sleeve shirts. (Onsies have too long of a tail) I left them unsnapped when she was diaper-free, but I snapped them at naps to keep her warm.

I have began taking her to the potty when we go out, too. I have experimented with cloth and a pull on cover, cloth and Velcro cover and disposables. I finally figured out a convenient system. I put her in a disposable diaper backwards! That way I can pull her pants down to her knees, unfasten the diaper, flip is towards her feet and let her go. Then I lay her over my knee and refasten the diaper and pull up her pants. Today was the first day we tried the new system because she was at a sitter's house. It worked well. It was also the first time that she went potty for somebody else. She went potty twice for the sitter in the 3 1/2 hours she was there.

2-5-08 She's been having some issues with diaper rash after using disposables so we've started using the cloth when we go out, too. She has stayed dry and I've taken her to the potty at church and gym. Unfortunately, she has also dirtied her diaper upon waking. She is often very quiet and doesn't let us know she's awake. It's a problem that started at Christmastime when we traveled. I try to catch it and have her go in the toilet, but it's been challenging.

1-24-08 "Potty training" is going well. My mom was here on Monday and witnessed me taking her to the potty and then hearing Amanda go. She was impressed. Mike is always amazed when I take her in there and she goes, too.

10-30-07 The last two nights Amanda has protest loudly after being put to bed, which was unusual. Both times she pooped immediately after being put on the potty. I'm just so thrilled she prefers to use the toilet.

10-18-07 I'm still taking Amanda to the toilet through out the day. She goes #1 often in the toilet and in her diapers, but she can go for days without going #2. Sometimes it's so long between times I wonder if I'll recognize the cues. We still have had only two dirty diapers in 3 weeks, the rest land in the pot. I wonder how things will change when she's taking more formula.

10-13-07 We have a bunch of infant gowns that we use during the week. They work the best for toileting and diapering, but when we go out I figure she should be dressed pretty.

10-12-07 Have you ever seen those naked babies in developing countries and wondered about the mess? Elimination Communication is the name give to the system of knowing your baby so well that you know when they are going to eliminate and taking them to the toilet instead of letting them fill a diaper.When I read about this years ago, I wondered how it was possible but I was anxious to give it a try. Why on earth would I want to do such a thing? Because I like spending time with my baby and I can. God has given me a wonderful capacity to learn new things and I won't let that go to waste.

So, here's the scoop. I planned to use cloth diapers to cut costs in both the cost of diapers and the cost of disposal. I was able to get a good sense of when Amanda would eliminate and began sitting her on the potty between my legs. The were certain things she would do; twist and turn while nursing, latch on and off, grunt and get red in the face. We've had great success for about a week and a half. I haven't had to wash out any dirty diapers. They've only been wet.

We are on such a good routine of eating and sleeping that is doesn't mean extra time or energy. She usually nurses through half a feeding. We sit on the potty while she burps. I sing to her, talk to her and she looks in my eyes and smiles. She also gets practice sitting up. I noticed that she was getting stronger and supporting herself more. After a bit, we finish the feeding. I use warm water to encourage her to urinate before going to bed and upon waking. So, that's two or three trips to the potty in the hour that she's awake. Then she's in bed for two hours.

During the day, I put her in cloth diapers for naps, but as soon as she wakes up I remove the diaper and just have her sit on a cloth diaper. If she urinates before going to bed and I wake her up her diaper will be dry. More often her diaper is wet and she often awakes from her nap because it's wet. As soon as I change it, she falls back asleep. When we go out and at night we still put her disposables.

I am not trying to "potty train" my infant. I'm simply following her cues so that I don't have to wash out a dirty diaper. The added bonus will be that when she is capable of controlling her bowel and bladder the potty will already be a normal part of her life.

P.S. I have had to wash out a dirty diaper since this original post, but far fewer you'd expect.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's in this picture with Amanda?

Does that give you any more ideas? Can you guess the object that Amanda is standing by and playing with? More clues coming soon!
We are pet sitting for Max this weekend. He is one of our favorite dogs. He's very easy to care for and loves the kids. He was so gentle with Amanda. The first time we let him upstairs with her, every time he walked in her direction she would sit down. Perhaps she thought he would bumped her over, but he was very careful and avoided knocking her over. He has three little boys at his house, so he's very good with kids.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I made yogurt!

Yesterday, following a recipe and intructions from Ruth Yaron's Super Baby Food, I experimented with making yogurt! I began by placing a quart of whole organic milk in a canning jar into a pot of water. As I was heating the milk to 185 degress to scald it, the bottom of the jar broke and leaked out into the pot of water. I had placed the jar directly in the bottom of the pan. So, for the next try, with less milk, just in case, I placed the jar on top out my steamer basket. I removed the feet and center ring so it sat deeper in the pot.

Then I raised the temperature slowly to 185 degrees F. When it reached that temperature, I added ice cubes slowly to the water in the pot. There was a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the jar in the milk the whole time. Once, the temperature of the yogurt fell to around 100 degrees, I added 1 Tbsp of store bought yogurt. Then I dumped the cool water and refilled the pot with water from the tap that was about 120 degrees. Then I covered the yogurt and thermometer with plastic wrap, placed it in the pot of warm water and set on on the warming element of our stove on the lowest setting. (I had tested this spot a while back and found that it stayed at about 110 degrees.)

I kept an eye on the temperature and it actually stayed around 100 degrees for the three or four hours that it sat there on the stove. I tested it when I began to see a little bit of clear liquid around the thermometer. Then I put the cover on the jar and put it in the fridge.

This morning Amanda had fresh, whole milk yogurt in her oatmeal! Isn't that wonderful?

My next goal: Get fresh milk from a farmer so that it's not homogenized, meaning the cream rises to the top. We soak our wheat flour in cultured milk for our pancakes so if I can make my own yogurt, that would save us money and reduce waste.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's for Lunch?

Broccoli florets, great northern beans, and mozzarella cheese.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Milk Transition

Update: We're getting used to a new normal. Amanda's bowels have settled some but things have changed. She's having BM's more frequently and always in the morning before she lets me know she's awake. That's been happening for months and I have no idea how to resolve that pattern. I've tried waking her up as soon as I'm awake (between 4:30 am and 5 am) which helps but if I wake up much later than that I have a dirty bum to clean up. Since Amanda isn't used to laying down to have her diaper changed, this means using a squirt bottle and toilet paper while I hold her over the toilet. Amanda is a happy as ever and it's great that she's having more healthy stools compared to the hard, constipating formula stools.

We're beginning the process of transitioning from formula to whole milk. We thought we'd start with goat's milk because that's easier to digest. Amanda will drink the milk mixed with formula or breastmilk in the nurser, but she's been having runny stools. So, needless to say, she'll be in diapers until her tummy settles down. Hopefully, that is soon. We're only mixing a little bit in at a time. Any other tips or experiences?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Amanda!!!

At 12 months, Amanda is 19.8 lbs and 27 inches long. She says, "puppy, deer, potty, mimi, bye-bye" in addition to last month's words. We put away the bottles and she still nurses 4-5 times per day. When the formula runs out she'll begin having whole milk in her nurser. She loves eating avocados and garbanzo beans all by herself. She is walking more than crawling. She is a rough and tumble little girl and laughs and squeals with delight at her brother's crazy antics.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Amanda's Walking!

This week Amanda has been practicing her walking. She started out taking about six steps at a time and she's adding more steps everyday. Obviously, she falls down often, but it doesn't seem to bother her. She just gets right back up and tries again.

Tyler has been volunteering at the local church and we stopped by to visit at Vacation Bible School. They rented a bouncy house for the kids to enjoy and Amanda gave it a try.

Keeping toddlers safe and busy while helping older children with school can be a challenge. Last week, Amanda did well when we pulled her play pen close to the table and filled it with special toys. When she gets older, we'll give her beans and measuring spoons to play with in the pen. However, nap time will always be the most productive school time.