Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Birth Plans and Breastfeeding.

One thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately is how important it is to have a birth plan. An actual written plan. I’ve had a lot of people tell me it’s not worth it. Don’t bother. Don’t waste your time. Whatever happens, happens.

I understand that whatever happens — happens. Ultimately, at the end of the entire birthing experience — all I really want is to find myself at home with a happy, healthy little baby in my arms.

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Update On Co-Sleeping/Sleeping (Help?).

In my “Recent Drafts” folder, there are atleast 10 different posts about co-sleeping. I’ve been trying to write about it for months. I’ve promised updates on our “sleep,” or sometimes, lack of sleep.

So, here goes.

A quick bit about our history of sleep. From day 1 to, oh — I don’t know — day 3? Baby slept in his cradle next to our bed. And from day 3 until he turned a year old — he slept in our bed. People (mostly people we know in real life — all of my co-sleeping support was online) would tell us we were “ruining” our baby and that he’d never sleep on his own again. But when it’s so easy to go to bed at night at the same time as your baby, why go and try to do something else that just doesn’t work? We’d cuddle in the living room on the couch, usually nursing, and then we’d climb in bed together a little bit later and he’d nurse himself to sleep. If he woke at all during the night it only took a quick latch and nurse and he’d be right back to sleep!

As he neared a year old, it got harder. Even though he still mostly slept through the night, his sleep was different. Some nights he’d want to nurse (or comfort nurse) the entire night. If I tried to move away he’d scream. That in itself was hard enough. But around the same time he became a wild sleeper. Arms and legs swinging all over, smacking me in the face and kicking me in the stomach. Usually resulting in me laying there frustrated and my husband resorting to going and sleeping on the couch.

And when we found out we were pregnant again?! A pregnant mama needs sleep and rest, but also needs to avoid being beat up all night, every night. And the endless nursing on newly pregnant boobies? OUCH. So at just after a year, we decided transition to crib needed to happen.

But right around his birthday, he got sick. The cold, then the stomach bug, then another cold, then teething and cut THREE teeth in ONE night. It was miserable. But once he was feeling better, we stuck to our decision.

It wasn’t easy. He didn’t enjoy our new routine. But he adapted quickly.

Dinner’s usually around 5:30. In the bath at 6. After the bath, the usual “lotion/pj’s/book/gentle playtime/say goodnight.” And the thing we found that worked the best? Daddy put him down, instead of me. I say goodnight and walk away, and Daddy winds up his little musical piggy (that was mine when I was a baby) rocks him for a quick minute in his arms, and then lays him down on his belly, rubs his back for a quick minute, and then walks out. He doesn’t go to bed with a bottle or a pacifier. He’s never been fond of pacifiers, and I quit the bottles before he turned a year old and never looked back. I don’t even allow a sippy cup in his crib. He doesn’t need it.

For a while, he was sleeping 6:30pm to 6am. That was WONDERFUL. Nowadays (at almost 14 months — actually, tomorrow will be 14 months) his sleep is not as great. He’s still ready to knock out by 6:30pm. Which is hard, thanks to Daylight Savings time it’s so light out at 6:30 still. We’ll be looking for dark shades soon. So we let him stay up until about 7 most nights. But lately? He’s awake by 4am. This week, even, he was up one night at 2am, and one night at midnight. MIDNIGHT, you guys.

If he wakes up at midnight or 2am, I can usually put him in bed with me (or on the couch) and eventually get him to fall back asleep for a few hours. But if he wakes up at 4 or 5… that’s it. He’s UP and ready for the day. Unlike Mommy — who can’t deal with being up at 4am if I want to even dream of making it until dinnertime that day.

So how do I get him to sleep later than 4am? Lately he’s only napping ONE time during the day. Sometime around noon. The one thing I can say is that he’s starting to nap on his own… meaning not NEEDING me to nurse him to sleep (yes, we’re still nursing some) and sometimes he’ll even lay on the couch and nap by himself for a bit. It’s been suggested to try to get him to nap atleast one more time during the day — so I’m going to try. We’ll aim for 2 naps and see if he’ll go for it. But also, he’s just SO ready for bed by 6:30pm. I can’t keep him up ANY later, the other night I tried and he fell asleep right on the couch.

But this mama can’t handle being up every day at 4am. I NEED him to sleep atleast a little bit later than that! Now that I’ve hit my 2nd trimester (TODAY marks 14 weeks — going to try to start putting weekly pregnancy updates in here as early as today if I can get to it) I’m feeling a little better. It was a rough first trimester, as it was with my last pregnancy. But still, I don’t know if I can handle 4am every single day.

Any advice?

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Mama Time.

My pediatrician tried telling me from Day 1 that I needed to take more time for myself. Try telling that to a mama who had more issues than you could believe from the very beginning. We were seeing the doctor every single week. Weight checks. Jaundice. NICU. Blood draws on a 4 day old baby.  “Don’t breastfeed.” Liver specialist.  “Use formula.” Heart specialist.  On and on and on…

And you expect me to think that taking a moment for mama is ok??

I’m happy to say that I’ve been a very selfless and dedicated mom this first year. We co-slept for a year (that’s a whole other story in itself, where we stand with that right now). I’m still breastfeeding at almost 13 months — throughout ALL of our issues, we’re still going at it. I’ve never used a babysitter and have only been out without the baby a handful of times – at most. My husband and I haven’t been out together alone not ONE SINGLE TIME.

Because this is what I signed up for. I did not have a baby for someone else to watch. I had a baby because I wanted one. We wanted one. He’s very, very attached. Sometimes he doesn’t want to be put down. He doesn’t take any type of “soothing” anything. Not a pacifier or a blanket, or anything else for that matter. The only thing that soothes him is usually me. And do I still use nursing to soothe him? I sure do. Do I plan on stopping anytime soon? Nope, I don’t.

But I have to admit, just a little, that I’m in need of a little bit of mama time. I’m anxiously trying to save up a few bucks here and there for some necessary time for myself. I have money put aside for a haircut for myself. I don’t care if it costs $50 — it’s well deserved. And I have money put aside for me to be able to go to Starbucks and grab an expensive coffee drink — I don’t care if it costs $5 for ONE drink, I’m going to get whichever one I want. Then I’m going to drive to the nail salon, BABY FREE, and I’m going to get a pedicure and my eyebrows done, and I’m going to enjoy it. And after that? Maybe I’ll drive BACK to Starbucks, get another $5 drink, and sit in a corner and read a book. For an hour. Because I haven’t done anything like this since before the baby was born. Over a year ago.

Because I deserve it.

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One Year Old Baby.

We’ve officially made it to a year (and over). So here’s my usual “what’s baby doing now” post.

At 12 months:

  • Stats: Weighs 21.9 pounds.
    Height: 31 inches
    Head circ:  18.7 inches
  • Wearing 12 month clothes.
  • Wearing size 3 (disposable) diapers, and still doing cloth most of the time.
  • Taking 2 naps a day (most days).
  • Completely off of bottles and formula. Has been since about 11 months.
  • Drinking whole milk, but only 5-10 oz/day. Mixing an ounce of cranberry juice with about 4 oz of water occasionally.
  • Still nursing EVERY day, a few times a day and during the night. (!!!)
  • Still eats VERY well. 3 meals a day, plus 2 snacks a day. Loves things like teddy grahams, plain cheerios, kix, and the occasional fruit loops for snacks.
  • Still co-sleeping. We started transferring to the crib (which is in our room) 2 nights ago. The first night he slept 3+ hours in it before coming to bed with us, last night, almost 4 hours in the crib before coming to bed. Is having a hard time sleeping because of the awful cold/cough that he has, which we thought was going away but yesterday got worse again.
  • Free-standing often and cruising as much as possible on ANYTHING, but not officially walking.
  • Still mostly only saying “dada”. With the occasional “ma”.
  • Just cut his 8th tooth! EIGHT TEETH! The Baltic Amber teething necklace makes a WORLD of difference. I didn’t even know he was cutting this one until it was THROUGH the gums by a bit!

I guess that’s about it. My child is currently asleep in his crib and has been for about 1 hour. There are many things I could do right now. Clean the house. Take a shower. Sew. Do more blog posts. Read one of the three books i’m on right now. Watch tv.

Or maybe I’ll just close my eyes… Just for a few minutes…

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Extreme Parenting.

Extreme is such a harsh word … But that actually ends up being a perfect definition.Or better yet, harsh.

I knew motherhood would be hard. No one had to tell me that. But what they should have told me was that I was entering into a harsh world. Where people judge either for every step they take .. every breath, even. You literally cannot make ONE decision without getting ready to be judged by 33 people — and boy, you’d better be ready to defend your choice! Or they will literally eat you up and spit you out without even thinking about it.

Isn’t that sad? Becoming a parent shouldn’t be like that. Shouldn’t we be there to support each other no matter what? If that mom and baby are safe and being taken care of — whether or not it’s the exact way you would do it or not — shouldn’t you be happy and just support them? You would think so, but unfortunately, that’s not the way it is.

I knew before I had the baby how I would do certain things. I would breastfeed. I wouldn’t cloth diaper. I wouldn’t co-sleep, but I wouldn’t CIO, either. I had a good idea of how I wanted to take care of my baby.

Things obviously didn’t work out the way I had planned — but I’ve adapted well, I think.

I don’t consider myself to be an extreme parent. I consider myself to be an educated one, though. Do I know about both breast and formula feeding? Yes, because I do both. Do I do both by choice? No. I’d rather be an exclusively-breastfeeding mother — but that hasn’t worked out the way I had planned. Did I do everything in my control to try to? Yes. I didn’t give up at 6 weeks because I was told to. Or because I “thought” I didn’t have enough milk. Or because I wanted someone else to feed the baby or because I wanted more sleep. Do I force my thoughts on other moms? I don’t do that, either. But I do try to help educate the best I can — because there is a lot of information out there that women don’t know — and if I can help just one woman — then I’d be happy.

Am I a little bitter that some women can breastfeed and don’t — while I did everything I could and still couldn’t succeed? Yes, I’ll admit that. I’m very bitter. But this isn’t completely about my choices.

Moving on.

I’ve decided to cloth diaper — part time. I go through about one box of disposables each month. I feel like we have a great balance. And I like it that way — it works for me. It may not work for others, but it works for us. (I’m also not extremely “green” — but I consider myself to be “semi-green.” )

We co-sleep. Sometimes I’m in love with it and other times I can’t stand it. But do we do it? Yes. Do I judge people for not doing things the way I do them? No.

Point being, nothing went the way I planned it — but I like where we’re at, anyways.

I like to share my knowledge and information on these subjects. I feel that I’ve learned a lot in the almost 12 months I’ve been a mother. Do I know it all? Of course not. That’s why I continually do research and talk to other moms and expand my knowledge — being a mother is an ongoing process. You will never stop learning.

But I don’t feel the need to put others down. I don’t say, “You suck as a mother because you give your baby formula.” Nor have I ever said, “I hate you as a person because you let your baby cry-it-out.”

I wish that more mothers educated themselves. And if we could form one big support group — for being mothers — instead of being against each other and their own parenting ways — wouldn’t everyone be happier — including our babies?

It makes me sad that everyone feels the need to be so extreme. Let’s focus on being extremely supportive and extremely educated  — instead of extremely against each other because our parenting choices aren’t exactly the same.

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Co-Sleeping: Our Truth.

I have tried so many times to write this.

I swear, I will not delete this post. I will leave it up here and work on it little by little, until I actually post it.

With that said, where on Earth do I start?

Co-sleep. Definition: To sleep in the same bed or room as a parent (definition taken from http://www.dictionary.com).

I was one of those parents, before my baby was born, who said, “I will NOT allow my baby to sleep in bed with me.”

Taken from www.cosleeping.org

[  Cosleeping (sometimes spelled co-sleeping, and also known as bed sharing or “having a family bed“) is the practice of having your infant in your bed with you during sleep. Cosleeping promotes breastfeeding and bonding, and it is safer than crib/cot sleeping when practiced correctly. Cosleeping beyond the breastfeeding years is common in many non-Western cultures, and even in the West many families choose to extend cosleeping through toddlerhood and well into middle childhood.  ]

I really was dead against it. A week or two before I went into (early) labor (at 36 weeks 3 days), I had my husband set up our cradle in our room, a few feet from our bed. It was adorable and I couldn’t wait to use it. When my water broke on January 27th, at 7:30 am on my DAY off — the day that I planned on washing cradle sheets and baby clothes and packing my hospital bag, as I was in the hospital, I sent my husband home to wash those sheets, so that when we brought our baby home, there would be a place for that baby to sleep.

When I gave birth around midnight on the 28th, and brought that baby boy home on the 30th, we set him in his cradle and hoped he would sleep. And from what I can remember (it’s all so fuzzy!), he did sleep in that cradle. For a few nights, anyways.

Then the nights got harder. Weight issues, nursing issues, sleeping issues… I would sleep in the living room, baby in the pack n’ play, and said cradle went untouched. Then the doctor said, keep nursing as much as possible. And nurse, I did! When I went back to sleeping in the bedroom, I’d try to get up every time he needed to eat, and nurse him in our bed. I’d force myself to sit up, and try to stay awake, but my eyes would close and I’d fall asleep sitting up. One day I saw the “side laying” nursing position online. I immediately tried it, and it worked like a charm! But you know what? It worked SO WELL, that while nursing in that position, both baby and I would fall asleep. And stay asleep.

I got sleep. He got sleep. It was amazing.

Months went by. More nursing/weight gain issues were always our first concern. But, as I’ve gone into detail about in so many blog posts before, I refused to give up. So I discussed with my husband, how co-sleeping helped — baby had access ALL NIGHT LONG and he took advantage of it!

But it started to wear on me after a few months. As much as I loved the sleep I was getting, and loved that he was nursing all night and keeping our nursing relationship alive, it was getting hard. So around 3 or 4 months, even though I wasn’t ready for it, we started trying to transition to the crib.

The only way I could get the baby to sleep was to nurse him down. So I’d bathe him, put him in pj’s, read a book, give a small bottle, and nurse him to sleep. I’d put him in his crib, and sometimes he’d sleep. I even remember a point, where he slept ALL NIGHT in his crib! Even a few times, until 7 or 8am! But I missed him.

That didn’t last long, and he ended up back in bed with us.

A few months later, maybe around 7 or 8 months, we tried again. Same story.

And now, at 10 months, we tried AGAIN. At 6pm, when he’d get tired, we did the same routine. I did it for about a week or two, before realizing it just wasn’t working. We’d lay him in his crib and he’d MAYBE sleep 2 hours. It was hard to get him to even FALL asleep. I’d nurse him in his glider, and the husband would transfer him to the crib. But upon hitting the mattress, he’d wake up IMMEDIATELY and start screaming. We even resorted to laying him down and giving him a few ounces in a bottle to trick him into falling asleep. We did that for a few nights, but he’d still wake up an hour or two later. And sure, it gave me an hour or two to do whatever (mainly sit on the couch and watch a little tv or whatever), but it wasn’t working for me.

Then one afternoon, I did the unthinkable. I was trying to put him down in his crib for an afternoon nap, and I LET HIM CRY. For about 5 minutes. He was so exhausted he DID fall asleep. But even after putting him (AND ME!) through that — he slept for all of 45 minutes. I was not about to let him cry for 45 minutes of sleep.

So I moved on to something else. I took the crib mattress out of his crib and placed it on the floor. I’d do bedtime the same way, only he’d lay on his mattress, and I’d lay next to him. I’d nurse him to sleep and then gently roll away. Same damn story. He’d sleep for an hour or two, and then wake up anyways!

Conclusion: He just WILL NOT SLEEP without me by his side.

Where are we now? Baby boy is 10 and a half months old. I try to put him down on his mattress on the floor at night. It works for an hour or two. During the day, I can get an hour nap out of him. But at night? An hour?

When he wakes up, by 8 or 9pm, I don’t even bother trying to put him down again. Maybe it’s my fault. I’m lazy. It’s probably my fault. But sleeping with him was just so much easier. And he DOES still nurse, a LOT. Throughout the night, he nurses numerous times. Usually he’ll fall right asleep and sleep straight through until midnight, and then nurse off and on until 5 or so.

I’m so torn on whether or not I’m ok with it. Honestly? It’s hard. It’s trying on my relationship with my husband. It’s getting harder for us to sleep. The baby is ALL over the place. Kicking, sometimes screaming. Rolling all over. Arms and legs flying. So sure, HE sleeps good. But we don’t. My back hurts from the position I sleep in to accommodate him.

Part of me wants to sleep cuddled up with him for as long as he will allow it. The other part of me wants him to sleep on his own. Give me some space to spread out. Give me some time with my husband. I don’t know how to get him to sleep on his own, though. And if he DOES start sleeping on his own? We he want to stop nursing?

I’m so torn. Why does this have to be so hard?

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Pumping: Is It Time to Stop?

Today, my baby turned 10 months. I figured that was a good milestone and I should update with another installment of my breastfeeding journey.

So, where are we now?

I’m happy to be able to say, we are indeed still breastfeeding.

Unfortunately, he is on formula. He takes about 4 formula bottles a day. Along with 3 solid meals each day. He usually takes his bottles at certain times, he seems to like them on that schedule. But his nursing? There is no schedule. The older he gets, the better he is at letting me know what he wants. If we’re sitting on the floor together, he will crawl up to me and reach for me, or pull on my shirt. How could I possibly say no? Of course, I stop what I’m doing to nurse — sometimes it’s 5 minutes and he’s back on his way, or sometimes it’s for an hour.

But with a 10 month old baby who is CRAZY mobile, formula feeding, solids feeding, and breastfeeding … Pumping is pretty much impossible. I don’t work, so I’m with him 24 hours each day. I don’t ever leave him with a babysitter. He’s never spent a night away from me. If I go somewhere, he goes, too. So finding time to pump is … well, there isn’t any time.

I open up the kitchen cabinets, whether it be to grab him a snack, or grab a bottle, or whatever. And I see all of my pumping stuff. There’s a lot of it. It takes up a lot of space. Heck, if we’re being honest here — I still have the rented hospital grade pump sitting in my living room. I’m spending $70 a month to rent it and I haven’t even LOOKED at it in a month! I really do plan on returning it soon (I have two other pumps that are mine, so it’s not like I’ll be without a pump). Every time I look at my pumping stuff, I’m torn on whether I should store it away, or I should take it out to use it.

So this morning, I decided I’d pack it up. I’ll pack up my Pump In Style, I’ll pack up all of the parts, bottles .. EVERYTHING. It’s all clean, so why not pack it up and get it out of the way. I swear, when I pulled it out of the cabinets I started to cry. I literally stood there with tears falling from my eyes.

Why? I’ve never been particularly successful at pumping. The most I EVER pumped in one day was 15 ounces. That’s not enough when you are exclusively pumping. But I did it for months on end. I finally stopped really pumping on a regular basis (8-10 times a day) a few months ago. At that time I really began focusing on 1) breastfeeding, and 2) my VERY active baby.

But when I was pumping those ounces… whether they be one or fifteen — I was doing it for my baby boy.  Every ounce counted. And with all of the weight issues we had, every ounce that I could SEE him drinking, meant SO MUCH to me. So pumping meant a lot to me. My life REVOLVED around it. Of course it sucked a lot of the time. Who wanted to wash pump parts numerous times each day? And spend time trying to keep their baby occupied just so they could sit for 15, 20, or 30 minutes and pump? I have to admit, it was a LITTLE bit of a relief when I started to focus on breastfeeding more and pumping less.

But recently, I’ve began to feel like maybe my milk isn’t there. Of course, he’s nursing ALL THE TIME. It feels like he nurses nonstop from about midnight to 5am. We still co-sleep (I have a blog post on that coming soon), and I feel that co-sleeping DOES help our nursing, because it’s there for him ANYTIME. Do I sometimes feel a little tied down? Sure. My baby won’t fall asleep without being nursed to sleep by me. For EVERY nap, and EVERY bedtime. But I’m totally ok with that right now. Our nursing relationship has never been perfect, but I still manage to have that. But as much as he nurses, and the older he gets, I just started to feel “empty”. I never feel “full”. I haven’t “leaked” in months. It just feels.. different.

So this afternoon, after packing up all of my pumping stuff, i pulled out two bottles, and the other parts, and I pumped.

One ounce. I got one ounce. Hey — I still make milk! What a relief! You know what? I’m not ready to pack up the pump completely. I’d like to pump once a day. Even an ounce a day that I can give him in a bottle, and an ounce a day that I can SEE. I can’t pack it in completely, yet. Slowly but surely, I’ll get there. I’m just too darn attached. If it’s the hard to stop pumping, how will I ever give up breastfeeding?? Yikes. I will one day.

But not yet.

 

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Breastfeeding For Love — Oh Yeah, & Nutrition, too.

For anyone who has been following my breastfeeding journey, I owe you an update. For anyone who hasn’t — you can check out my breastfeeding page, where all of my posts about my breastfeeding story are listed so you don’t have to go through my entire blog to find them. With that said, this post is about where we are now.

It’s been about 4 weeks since my visit to the LC. I was optimistic and hopeful after the visit, that we could do it. We could wean from formula, and 7+ months, we could go back to only breastfeeding. I tried hard. I set up a corner of my couch with my Boppy pillow, a comfy blanket, a table next to me with the tv remote, water, tea, my pump, a book, and anything else i thought i might need. I followed the LC’s advice. Pre-feed a couple of ounces (usually of breastmilk) and then try to nurse. I did this EVERY 2 hours. I’d pre-feed with about 2 ounces, and 2 weeks later was even down to just 1 ounce, and then we’d nurse. I really thought it was working. He was happy, and seemed satisfied. We nursed often, and he was getting all his pre-feeds of breastmilk — i was barely using formula! I was ecstatic.

Then, it slowly went downhill. With nursing SO often, i barely could find time to pump. I tried pumping before, after, even during nursing. I was TIRED. Then his behavior changed. He started getting really fussy. Cranky. Always upset. NEVER happy. My happy boy was GONE. Of course there were other factors — he was teething and cut his first tooth the day he turned 8 months. But i knew it in my gut — that didn’t really have much to do with it.

I had no breastmilk in the fridge. I didn’t have any for pre-feeds, so we went back to using formula. Then, the pre-feeds weren’t enough, so i had to top off after nursing, too. Then he just decided he didn’t WANT to nurse. And we were back to square one. He knew, if he cried enough, he’d get the bottle. And that’s what he did. So, back to formula we went. I couldn’t get back into the swing of my pumping schedule. Going back to pumping every 2 hours seemed like torture.

That brought us to where we are right now. He’ll be 9 months next week. I’m barely pumping once a day, if that. But our schedule looks something like this:

He wakes up around 6am. He gets a bottle of formula. Then, i offer to nurse before breakfast, sometime between 8 and 9. After breakfast, we either play, or if he seems tired, we’ll nurse/take a nap. He’ll have another bottle around 10:30, and then lunch around noon. After lunch, we’ll lay down in bed (we co-sleep, still), and he’ll nurse down for his nap. Late afternoon, he’ll take a bottle — 3, or 4pm, usually. And then sometimes nurse in between there, too, depending on how things are going. Between 5 and 6 we have dinner, then bath, pj’s, and sometimes playtime, before cuddling up to nurse and he’ll usually fall asleep. Then we’ll either head to bed, and he’ll wake up enough to nurse back down for the night.

So, even though most of his nutrition comes from formula bottles — he nurses a LOT still. And ALL night long, anytime he wakes up, he wants to latch and “snack” himself back to sleep.

Basically, i let him nurse anytime he wants. I’m ok with that. And right now, he’s ok with it, too. I may not make enough milk to satisfy him, or ever be enough for him to “grow” from. He doesn’t nurse to eat, he nurses because he loves it. Now that i’m not so stressed about making him EAT, or pumping enough for however many bottles, our focus has shifted. It has shifted from FORCED sessions, to beautiful and loving sessions. Where we curl up on the couch, and he nurses — he looks up at me and looks me in the eyes. Sometimes he smiles at me, but mostly he just stares into my eyes. He reaches up his hand, and touches my face. Sometimes he grips my arm, or puts his hand around my breast. He strokes it, and i can just FEEL how much he loves it. This morning, we were playing on the floor, and he crawled into my lap, and pulled at my shirt. I immediately grabbed him and sat down to nurse, and he was so HAPPY. His way of saying, he wanted it. I LOVE that.

I haven’t come to terms with the fact that i feel my body let me down. But i am coming to terms with the fact that although our nursing relationship may be different than many — it’s beautiful in it’s own way. My baby boy wants, loves, and needs it. It’s his comfort, it’s his love. He can’t go to sleep without nursing first. It can calm him through ANYTHING. He nurses sweetly, and enjoys it, and that puts me at peace. With the entire thing. And from what i can see now, my supply is steady at where it’s at — and he has NO intention of giving it up anytime soon. And i’m DEFINITELY ok with that.

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This is a Blog Hop.

Go here to check out the post i got this from, and join in on the fun!

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Crossroads. (Breastfeeding Update)

So here we are. We’ve made it to 7 and a half months of breastfeeding. I wish with every ounce of my heart that i could call it “exclusive” breastfeeding, but it isn’t. And thanks to the hospital, it never has been. My BIGGEST regret? Not having a real birth plan. In huge bold, capital letters #1 would be, “Do not, at ANY cost, feed baby any formula without permission from the mother.” Because thanks to them, he had formula BEFORE he had a chance to attempt latching at the breast. I’m not bitter, i swear.

Moving on…

Where are we right now? Well, this month baby boy will be 8 months old. 8 months! I can’t even believe it. And i am proud to say, he nurses a FEW times each and every day. Lately, we’ve been on a schedule like this. He wakes up around 7 or 8, and has a bottle of breast milk, usually 5 ounces. Around 9 or 9:30, he has breakfast, usually a bowl of yogurt, applesauce, pears, and/or a piece of french toast (which he LOVES!). Sometime between the time he finishes breakfast, and lunch, he’ll have another bottle (whether it be at 10:30, or 11:30…), and it’s usually about 4 ounces of formula. Yesterday, sometime after this bottle, we snuggled into the big reclining chair, and he nursed/napped while i watched some of a movie. When he woke up, we had lunch. Lunch is usually a veggie of some sort, yesterday it was puree’d chicken/prune/butternut squash. He had another small bottle around 1pm, and then we laid on the couch around 1:30, and he nursed/napped again. [I get criticized for nursing him down to sleep and staying with him while he naps. He likes it, and so do i, so we do it.] He had a late afternoon bottle, and then napped right through dinner, but woke up and had some peas/sweet potato later in the evening. Another bottle, and then he nursed, slept on me on the couch until we went to bed, where he nursed down for the night, until he woke around 2 or 3am (we c0-sleep) and nursed off and on until i got up at 10 minutes of 5am. So, he really DOES nurse throughout the day. Every day. I can tell, he doesn’t EAT. Although you know what? I don’t know what it feels like to NURSE a fully EATING baby. I don’t think he has ever really nursed a full MEAL. I’d like to see what it feels like, what it’s supposed to look like. Because i really don’t know.

I’m still pumping. I feel awful, the last week or so i’ve managed 3 pumping sessions per day. That’s NOT enough. But usually i skip one BECAUSE i’m nursing/napping with Bug. So i feel it’s ok? I’ve been pumping anywhere around 7 ounces a day, which is below keeping my “fridge stash” at a steady 10/day. Yesterday i came close to 10 (i think 8 3/4) and then skipped my last session to snuggle on the couch and nurse instead. But i’m still averaging giving him 10 bottled ounces a day.

So here, at almost 8 months, he’s still getting my breastmilk. That’s an accomplishment, right?

The other day while “surfing” around the internet, i came across a place here in Connecticut. They’re a “breastfeeding medical center”. They don’t call themselves lactation consultants, but almost everyone there is an IBCLC. They take you in for appointments to assess you and baby, most appointments last a minimum of 2 HOURS. I’d REALLY like to see one of them. But — i still don’t have insurance. I don’t regret quitting my job, but i do miss the security of having health insurance. Hubby will most likely be getting us on insurance in October, so it’s less than a month more to wait, and baby is on insurance so he’s covered. But i’d like to make an appointment to see one of these IBCLC’s. I so regret that i haven’t done it sooner. I saw the hospital’s LC for about 10 minutes, when he was re-admitted for jaundice just a day after we initially took him home from the hospital. She watched me nurse, and then said she’d  give me her number so if i needed anything… but she never did. So i’ve never had a real meeting with an LC.

What do you guys think? Is it worth it, at this point? Our pediatrician says no, at this point. But i’d like to continue to breastfeed for as long as possible. Past 1 year, definitely. Maybe 2 years. Maybe they can see something i don’t? Maybe they have a suggestion to help with my supply that i haven’t tried? I feel like i’ve tried it all, but maybe there’s more help out there. I suppose i can call them… it’s the least i can do, right?

I’m not ready to give up, and i really feel that he isn’t, either. But should i just accept where we are and continue until it fades away… or do we keep working as hard as we can, to make any progress?

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The Need to Help Others

I know what i want to do with my life.

I want to be a mom, obviously. My husband has been the most amazing thing EVER. Before we got pregnant, it was pretty much set in stone, i’d have a baby, and then go back to work. Then i got pregnant, and even though it KILLED me to think about, it was still pretty set… i’d have the baby, stay home for 6, 8, or 12 weeks, and then GO BACK TO WORK.

Then, at 12:24am on January 28th, i gave birth. I took ONE look at this little baby boy in my arms for the first time, and just knew that i could not go back to work.

Now, i know that i want atleast one more baby. I’d REALLY love to have two more babies. And my hubby really stepped up after the baby was born. He went out and got an even BETTER job than he’d already had. Soon, we’ll have insurance. He’s bringing home enough money for ALL of our bills, including paying medical bills, AND we’re saving some/updating things in the house, too. And as he says now, he “never wants me to work again”. Unless, of course, i want to.

But the one thing i would LOVE to do — is help other women. Pregnant women. Women who just gave birth. Women who have preemie babies. Women who need help breastfeeding. Women who are going through what i went through (and am still going through).

I have all these ideas in my head. Volunteering somewhere. Forming support groups. Just all sorts of things to connect on those levels, and give the help and advice that i didn’t get, but can give now, after having gone through it myself.

It’s just a thought, right?

(Have an update on breastfeeding entry in the works, coming soon.)

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