Hold the milk!: Going dairy free for baby

Sleep little baby, sleep

Sleep little baby, sleep

As I have written in previous posts, Amelia is not much of a sleeper. She wakes anywhere from 2 to 6 times a night. Normally, she is not overtly hungry, she is just cranky and uncomfortable. She has a lot of gas during the day and night, to put it lightly. She is exclusively breastfed, so there is nothing else she is getting in terms of nutrition. I’m sometimes a bit too analytical and feel that there has to be an answer for every. single. problem. in. my. life.  It is bugging the heck out of me that I can’t figure out why Amelia won’t become a better sleeper. We’ve tried chiropractic. We’ve tried probiotics for myself and her (which I think help some). We’ve tried the crib. We’ve tried the bassinett. We’ve tried swaddled, unswaddled, pacifier, no pacifier, co-sleeping, keeping up later at night, trying to keep up more during the day, more sunlight, attempted schedules, white noise, Mozart.  It all ends up about the same.

So J and I were at my work Christmas party last weekend and I was talking with some coworker friends/moms/healthcare professionals about the ‘situation’ and one suggested cutting out dairy to see if it would help with her constant waking at night. {Picture me almost literally slapping myself in the face} I had heard this from others but never really took it seriously. The next day I did a little research. Turns out that many babies are sensitive to a protein found in cow’s milk that is passed through mother’s milk. Different from lactose.  Symptoms of sensitivites or allergies in babies can include: wheezing/stuffy nose, vomiting, gas, green stools, fussiness, waking suddenly due to stomach pain, irritability, dry skin, cold-like symptoms that don’t go away……..yep, A had quite the laundry list of them. So I decided to try it. Can’t hurt, right? My baby wakes 6 or so times a night, it can’t possibly get any worse!!!  So I am 5 days in, dairy free.

Do you have any idea in how many items dairy is listed as an ingredient???? We do not eat a ton of processed foods, but I never realized how much dairy I eat. The day before I went dairy free I had made a Mexican Lasagna, a delicious dish brought to us by a friend after A was born. Full of protein….and dairy. 😦  I did get one meal of it the day before, however.  I’ve decided the best way to go about this is with whole foods as much as possible, with lots of fruits and veggies, which really is what is the best for us anyways!  None of my freezer meals I made a few weeks ago contained dairy products so that was good.  All the sources I have read say that it takes anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks to clear your body of the cow’s milk protein, and your baby can hold it another week or so in their gastrointestinal tract. The babies usually outgrow the sensitivity by 6-18 months, but not always. I don’t know if that is what is going on, but last night A did only wake 1 time……just sayin.  And maybe this very intentional and tedious task of eating dairy-free and whole foods will help with the post-baby weightloss! 😉

We went to Amelia’s 2 month well baby check this week and she is 10 lb 7 oz. BEAST! She started at a mere 6lb 2 oz only 9.5 weeks ago so she is showing great growth. 50 percentile for weight and head circumference and 80 percentile for length. Our doc was very pleased with her rate of gain. I questioned her about the *ahem* sleeping issue. She replied with a chuckle ‘Sarah, some babies are just not good sleepers.’ this seasoned, analytical, mom of 3 was not happy with that answer. I have 2 other kids and a life to attend to, I need some rest!!! She did agree that the dairy was a very possible problem.  Hmmmm…..

So of course I am knee deep in dairy-free recipes or modifying mine in order to keep myself and the fam fed. {Side note–nursing sure has done a number on my appetite this time around! I’m always hungry!} The hardest has been desserts; My fav dairy-free dessert recipe thus far (bye-bye anything with milk, yogurt, butter, margarine, chocolate chips as an ingredient) is these No-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, and these and these are next on the to-try list.

It’s been an adventure in only 5 days but hopefully it helps!!!

-The {growing} Costellos

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It’s off to work I go

Well today is officially the last day of my maternity leave.  I work a shortened day tomorrow, 940-420 and then back at it next Monday for my regular 3 days.  Oi.

The yahooligans this morning ;)

“Mom take our picture!!!”  The yahooligans this morning 😉

I’m have mixed emotions about this, as I’m sure all mom’s who work outside of the home do. This winter has been one for the books. It has been below zero, even below -10 for so many days that I can’t even count. We have had so many snowstorms in Eastern Iowa that the 3 littles and I have been confined in the walls of our house for days on end at a time. Jeremiah has had 3 snow days at his school thus far, and it’s not even February. It sure was nice to have him around more, but I assume they will be making them up in May 😦  G and L have not gotten much outdoor play or exercise due to the extreme weather, and J nor I have gotten *any* outdoor runs. The kids have been stir crazy, I have been trying to find activities for them to do, and we have watched a lot of movies.  It has been…..interesting.  Even trying to make outings to child-friendly places has been quite the undertaking with trying to dodge the impending snow/ice/freezing rain/polar vortex and working around nap schedules, meals, preschool, etc etc  (or non-nap schedules for A? More on that later…)

The frozen tundra view from our dining room.

The frozen tundra view from our dining room.

On one hand, I am sad to leave my kids, even for only 3 days a week. It has been nice to spend so much time with them. However, they want a break from me I believe. About 6 weeks into my leave Gabriel said he wanted me to go back to work. Why? So he could go and play with his cousins at an aunt and uncle’s house that they used to go to occasionally when I was working. And so they could spend more time at ‘Nana’s’.  It’s true, they miss their time with other people other than me! I learned a long time ago that I am not ‘all’ they need…..they need relationships and times with other loving people other than J or I. And I’m ok with that 🙂

Amelia and her Nana Sandy

Amelia and her Nana Sandy at Christmas

On the other hand, I need to go back to work. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially….I need to go back to work! I have said before that I feel like I am a better mom to my kids when I work (part time), and I feel more fulfilled as a person.  I feel like the time they are away from me with other people who love them very much is very beneficial for them. I feel like our time apart makes our time together much more important and fun! Not everyone may feel this way, but I do believe that it takes a village to raise kids. My kids like to be busy and active, and this winter has definitely put a damper on that! *Think spring*  I also seem to do a lot better in terms of personal goals when I am working! I really enjoy my work and helping others and my coworkers rock! They are so fun!

2 mo photo!

2 mo photo!

So off to work I go…seeking that balance once again 🙂  And just where did I put that goniometer……….?

-The {growing} Costellos




Reality Check

Yesterday I got a text and was asked to return to work 1 day early in order to cover for a coworker whose family member had passed away. I typed ‘yes, I can do that’ and hit send. Then it hit me. I am going back to work in a week!


For me, the past 24 hours have been a huge reality check. Even though I only work about 27 hours a week in a 3 day period, this means a lot of changes have to come to our home. I’ve always been the kind of person that thrives on schedules, productivity, being ‘busy’ (although I don’t care for that word), and having a direction.  The last 9-ish weeks have been a little different than that. The 3 kiddos and I have spent many a day at home, not going anywhere other than to take G to and from preschool. Although it was nice, those days are probably winding down. I loving aspiring to be a domestic diva, but this terrible awful winter we are having is just about enough to make anyone nuts as we spend so much time indoors! I’m also probably going to have to spend more days in khakis and jeans rather than sweats and yoga pants. I might also have to start making myself look presentable on days other than weekends when we are out and about!

I’ve also been having quite the time getting A on a schedule. I’ve come to realize that she is definitely her own person and she tends to balk at the idea of what I want her to do, having her own ideas at a ‘schedule’.   She definitely does not want to be categorized with her other 2 siblings. Much of what worked with G and L does not work with A.  She’s bound to be quite the go-getter!!!  She also has been quite the challenge at night. About 2 weeks in she settled into a once a night feeding pattern, then she upped it to twice a night. I was ok with that, tired, but ok.  Now it’s hit or miss. Some nights is twice. Other nights (like last night) it was 6 times. No joke. She sleeps sometimes in her rock’n’play sleeper next to our bed and sometimes will only sleep soundly in our bed (something I have NEVER done before).  She refuses to sleep in her crib, no matter what I try.

We have had some good times during my maternity break though:

L teaching A about being a doctor/princess/fairy

L teaching A about being a doctor/princess/fairy. A takes notes……

A meets great-grandma Laura!

A meets great-grandma Laura!

L cleans like a madwoman. I tell her she's just like Cinderella and she wants to clean more ;)

L cleans like a madwoman. I tell her she’s just like Cinderella. She wants to clean more 😉


L looking extra cute at Toys'R'Ua. I got her out of here by telling her we were going to Target next--her favorite store!

L looking extra cute at Toys’R’Us. I got her out of here by telling her we were going to Target next–her favorite store!

Visited the Bettendorf family museum

Visited the Bettendorf family museum-working the pizzeria!

G LOVES his legos and lego table! Here he poses with his latest 'robot and transformers' creations

G LOVES his legos and lego table! Here he poses with his latest ‘robot and transformers’ creations. He has such an awesome imagination.

A just gets cuter and cuter

A just gets cuter and cuter

G loves on A. He is a fantastic big brother!!!

G loves on A. He is a fantastic big brother!!!

Honestly I’ve been wondering pondering freaking out about how I am going to get any rest, go to work and do a decent job at it all while getting up umpteen times at night with an unpredictable little non-sleeper and having 2 other littles to care for.  Ahh the joys of parenthood.

I was telling J about my anxiousness and excitedness about going back to work, but feeling a bit overwhelmed at all of it. He said, “Well Sarah, it’s time to get our sh!t together”.  ‘Nuff said. He’s absolutely right. I’ve spent enough time hanging out and it’s time for all of us to get back to ‘life’.

So, enter this mama on a mission. My mission in the next 7 days is to get organized, mentally prepped to go back to work, and get more sleep. Easy enough, right? HA! I’ve also realized that many of my expectations in my current stage of life are probably too high, and despite my best efforts, things may no go as I desperately want them to go. My house is going to have sticky floors. The kids are not always going to sleep all at the same time. Post baby weight after #3 takes a little longer to get rid of than #1 and #2. I might have to get over the idea of ‘starting bad habits’ and just let the baby sleep in our bed so we can ALL get some rest. Schedules need to be flexible or they just don’t work. The blog might not get written every week like I would like. I might have to be ok with 2 or 3x a week workouts, if I have any energy left. G and L might have to be told 15million times to get their shoes and coats on so we can get out the door. Hey, I’m a work in progress……

So, I started. I started with food, what I know I can conquer. I put away 11 freezer meals yesterday in 2 hours. BAM! 1 hurdle accomplished for the first month back to work. Here’s the list:

Peachy balsamic chicken

General Tso Chicken

Buffalo Lime chicken

Spicy sausage and pepper penne

Crock pot sausage and peppers

Crock pot chicken, apples, and sweet potatoes x2

Crock pot pasta fagioli

Smoked pumpkin chili

Spicy pepper jelly marinated pork tenderloin

Pork roast with apples and onions

Next up, organization and somewhat of a ‘schedule’. I’ve always been a list-lover and a planner freak, so I made myself/the family a list for morning and evening things that HAVE to be done. I realized awhile ago that if we are going to have a ‘big family’, we have to keep up on things or they get away.  We are a few weeks away from putting our house on the market to sell, so things have to be kept up around here. We have been doing a lot of going through things and cleaning out lately so hopefully clutter can be kept to a minimum.

AM/PM lists. See it? Do it! If only G and L could read...

AM/PM lists. See it? Do it! If only G and L could read…

G and L in the morning can be soooo slooooow. We are gonna have places to be, people, so get a move on! Here’s their new morning to-do’s. G does something like this at preschool so I think he’ll get the hang of it. L loves to copy G so it’s sure to work, right?! We’ll see how it goes.  😉

Picture to-do's

Picture to-do’s

So, we will see how the next week goes. I may be a zombie for awhile, but hopefully we can get through it. And hopefully I can nap on my days off!!

“In time, this too shall pass…”

-The {growing} Costellos

Worth it

I haven’t blogged in awhile because, well, I’ve been busy.

Just last night Jeremiah made the comment that I had not blogged in awhile, and asked what my next idea for a post was. I believe I was making dinner, while nursing the baby, while doing countless other things at this time. I looked at him with the bags that are now permanent fixtures under my eyes and said, ‘I’ve been a little busy’.

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Well duh! Of course we’re busy! We have 3 kids under 5, what else would we be or expect to be?! But I’m getting to a point now where I feel like I’m getting a little better handle on the idea of balancing it all.I’m scheduled to return to work February 3 (part time), so learning balance is kind of a current priority.

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The time in my maternity leave when Jeremiah went back to work was somewhat…interesting. I have dealt with the baby blues with all of my pregnancies, but this time I took a preemptive measure in having my placenta encapsulated, and it helped immensely. {Side note: if you find this gross or disturbing, click on the link and do a little reading. To me, what’s more disturbing is being almost incapacitated for several weeks after birth due to the baby blues that your placenta can help to alleviate. Just my opinion!} I can finally say that {knock on wood} I am about 95% of my normal self. My moods have *finally* leveled and I can function most days without a hitch. I’ve started working back into exercise, but some days that is almost impossible due to the 3 littles under my feet. So, I’m doing what I can within the current limits. I have about 10lbs left to lose of the 35lbs that I gained, which is about the same as with the other 2 kiddos. Both times I went back to work with about 5# left and lost that shortly after. Not ideal, but it could be worse.

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Of course, I was (and still am) exhausted a lot. Amelia started off as a great sleeper, but around Christmastime started waking much more during the night and was a lot crankier. She has reflux and spits up a lot and throws up about once a day. We’re talking like 4 ounces shooting out of that little body! {Sorry for the TMI!} G and L never, ever spitup, so this is completely new for me. We are trying some new things to try to help her with this so we will see. She is gaining weight, but is frequently cranky because of this. She insists on being held constantly, so she gets a lot of time in my wrap and Ergo carriers (both of which I love!).

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Today, I woke up tired.  My midwife refers to this as ‘butt tired’.   Amelia was up at 1030pm, 145am, 445am, 545am. I got up at 650am to get kids ready for preschool. We went to my mom and dad’s house while G was in preschool to pass the time  and chat with my mom. I was contemplating how I could get a nap in this afternoon before I had to get ready to go to Jeremiah’s work Christmas party tonight. I was feeling wore thin. Then it happened. Amelia smiled!!!!!  A real, absolutely, positively intentional smile that was for me, her mother. And it was beautiful!

Suddenly, everything seemed worth it. The repetitive lack of sleep, my frustration with her lack of regularity at 6wks old, the constant evidence of spitup on my shirt or pants, the endless laundry because of said spitup, mood swings, the extra 10 lbs, and frustration with my own lack of patience. Worth it. She smiled! She’s a little person!

Amelia is coming into her own little personhood. She is just now filling out her size newborn clothes, since she started off so tiny. She still loves to be swaddled to sleep. She intently looks at people’s faces and the world around her while waving her arms and taking it all in. She is increasingly alert. She is beginning to coo and smile and giggle a bit. She’s still trying to figure out why there are constantly 20 preschool-sized fingers in her face and why it is always so noisy around here.

I feel like today God sent me a little care package. A gift that was meant to say, ‘You’re doing ok! Keep plugging along, and it will all be worth it.’

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Worth it.

-The {growing} Costellos