This past month has honestly been a blur. I went back to work beginning of July, we celebrated Maddy's 100 days, went to LA to celebrate a good friend's wedding, went through one of Maddy's sleep regressions, started sleep training her, and then ZAP she turned 4 months this past weekend!

Going back to work has definitely been an adjustment for me. Before then, we didn't really set a schedule for Maddy so I would let her wake up whenever, feed her whenever, etc. I'm currently working part time and my MIL comes 3 days of the week to watch Maddy while Danny and I are at work. It wasn't until my MIL asked me for a schedule that we started paying more attention to her trends. I normally wake Maddy up in the morning to feed her before heading to work. Recently she's been waking up 1-2 hours before that intended time so we're still trying to adjust. We prepare 3 6-ounce bottles for my MIL to feed Maddy throughout the day and then I do 1 last feeding before putting Maddy to sleep at night. Pumping at work has been a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Of course my first day back to work I forgot a crucial piece to my breast pump machine and had to rush back home to grab it during my break. There are so many darn pieces!!! I currently need to pump 3 times at work and have been using my lunch break as one of my pump breaks so I'm not constantly away from the pharmacy. The electric pump definitely isn't as effective as emptying my breasts compared to baby so I've had clogged ducts TWICE now and it is PAIN-FUL. The first time my ducts clogged, I panicked like no other because I do NOT want mastitis. I took hot showers, I massaged the crap out of my breast, I kept putting Maddy to the same took about 2 days but I finally got it out and was a huge relief.
...and then they got clogged again. This time I've been putting warm compresses, I even tried using an electric toothbrush like a friend recommended to try to break it down. SIGH. Times like these along with my milk production decreasing has made me want to quit breastfeeding altogether but currently still trying to stay strong and push through it. My goal has always been to breastfeed for a year but with Breastfeeding Week this week (August 1-August 7), I've been encouraged by a lot of mamas that whether you're breastfeeding or formula feeding, a FED baby is what is best.

I feel like it was about the time I started going back to work that Maddy's sleep started getting funky. All of a sudden she wasn't sleeping as well during the night (would sleep 4-5 hours less) and would wake up crying. We got the worst of it a week before our LA trip. One of the nights it  took us almost 2 hours to put her down, then she woke up 2 hours after we put her down, then woke up an hour later, then stayed up from 2-6am and refused to sleep and was crying even after feeding. I pretty much threw in the towel at 6am and held her in my arms while she slept for 45 minutes before I had to get ready for work. Let's just say I was DEAD that day. No amount of coffee woke me up. After we got back from our LA trip was when we started sleep training. I know there are many opinions out there and many people do things differently (I mean, even my MIL disagrees with what we're doing), but this is what we decided would be best for our family. A few people have asked me what books I've been reading on sleep training. I have this book called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," but I honestly have barely referred to it for sleep training. I've googled a lot of things online and read about a few different methods and honestly just picked one that I thought was more suitable for Maddy and more realistic for Danny and I to try. We picked the Ferber method and are currently are on Day 14 of sleep training. I've also read online (gosh, Google is such a black hole) that sleep training should take 3-7 days but I'm not sure if that's realistic? I mean, hey, if your baby can be sleep trained in 3 days...AH-MAZING and that's truly fantastic for you guys! I've also read (once again, curse you, Google) how if you exceed 7 days, you need to re-evaluate if your baby is truly ready for sleep training. Maddy has definitely been improving since day 1. Of course if it was still taking her hours upon hours to fall asleep on Day 14 of sleep training, then I may say she might not be ready. It took us over 4 hours before she finally fell asleep on the first day and it has slowly decreased to 1 hour to 40 minutes to 20 minutes to 15 minutes. We definitely have set backs but there have been a couple days where she fell asleep within minutes and we're like WOW! It's obviously still a work in progress since we are on Day 14 but since she definitely is improving, we believe that she can do it and are so proud of her. Of course some days I still get discouraged feeling like I don't think there will ever be a day where I can set her down in her crib where she won't look at me like I've betrayed her and start crying...but hopefully that day will come soon...

I'm loving this period because my crazy girl has been giving us lots of smiles and HER GIGGLES are seriously everything. Her current favorite activity is rolling around and rolling off her designated activity mat. We're still practicing how to sit up on our own but she loves to practice standing and stomping her legs. Currently everything she grabs goes straight into her mouth. This banana teether is currently her best friend. She doesn't quite know how to suck her thumb but is a pro at shoving her fist in her mouth and sucking on that instead. Silly girl. We've also upgraded her to her Britax stroller since she was constantly having a fit in her Chicco Keyfit carseat. Starting to get opinionated already, I see! We were using our Chicco Keyfit carseat with the Chicco Keyfit Caddy Frame up until now as her stroller but she literally would be screaming and crying and being as dramatic as ever whenever she was in it. Once we put her in the Britax and she's been able to sit a bit more upright and see things better, she's been SO much happier. We still use the Chicco Keyfit carseat which she still complains about but this little girl will have to deal for now. We can't get everything we want in life now, can we? The other day at her 4-month-visit, her pediatrician already started talking to us about starting solids in about 2 months. I can't even. Where has our little baby gone?!