thoughts on motherhood: 4 // breastfeeding

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{me & levi @ 10 months old}

before L was born, i wanted to prioritize breastfeeding. my hope was that we would make it to the one year point before he self-weaned. silly me thought he would want to start weaning around 12 months. little did i know. after a bit of research {google!}, i realized that most babes prefer to breastfeed past 12 months, and that WHO recommends breastfeeding until 2 years old. although there are days when i swear he’s starting to wean, they’re followed by days where it seems nursing is the only thing we do. for the entire day. not only is he still very interested in “milk” {which he signs by opening and closing like he’s milking a cow}, he is still consistently waking up 2-3x/overnight for it. the silly thing is that he was getting better a few months ago, then BAM – he got sick and sleep was heavily interrupted. so he’s regressed.

i’ve read the books, i’ve scoured the internet for gentle solutions for night weaning. there are times when L will cry himself back to sleep, but i can tell {i can tell!} the difference between these wakings and the “i want the milk” wakings. {funny how that happens, isn’t it? how one learns to differentiate the cries of their progeny. i didn’t believe it until it happened to me.} we tried this method, read this book and this book. although we seemed to make a little progress by reducing the amount of time i fed him each night, we never made it to the final stage of letting him cry himself back to sleep because he would just carry on, sleep for five minutes, and then start the process all over again. so, we stopped. stopped stressing about trying to train our kid to sleep through the night just because i envied the other mamas who were well-rested. do those even exist?! i’m skeptical.

so, here we are. 14 months in. no signs of weaning. and i’m still stumbling bleary-eyed in the middle of the night into L’s room to nurse him. some nights are worse than others {like the night he was up 5 times because of teething, and 3 times because he threw up all over himself}, i’m sticking with what my mantra has been all along… to trust my gut and accept that his needs {for now} might continue to interrupt my sleeping patterns.

a few things that have gotten me through the nights {and the next morning} when it feels like sandpaper has replaced my eyelids.

\\  this website has really great advice. it really aligns with my overall philosophy about parenting and breastfeeding.

\\ i decided to break up with my medela backpack {aka my breast pump}. i know just breastfeed on days when i’m home, and overnight before/after work. freedom from my little black backpack that i used for 416 {yes, i counted} days.

\\ i also found this article interesting regarding the different things that can impact the nursing relationship: distractibility, nursing strikes, teething.

\\ i have a little list of all of the places that we’ve breastfed outside of the house. it’s a fun way to remember our nursing adventures.

the bottom line is that i love nursing. i love our special bonding time, and if he’s not ready to give it up, neither am i.

XX

PS. remember this? that about sums up my thoughts about sleep learning.

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thoughts on motherhood: 3

I found this in my drafts from June… I look back on this now and think how far I’ve come since then. Still, I thought it was worth sharing.

Well I’m starting my fourth month of being a mother, and am well into my first month of returning to work. Although I’ve been able to flex my time to work at home some days, it’s still difficult to find time in the day for all of the things I want to accomplish. Taking a shower? It falls low on my list of priorities next to having clean clothes, organizing bottles, and stocking the diaper bag. I never thought it would be so difficult to find time to take care of myself. My eyebrows are in desperate need of a wax, I’m still sitting on a massage gift certificate from Christmas, and am desperate for a hair cut {this postpartum hair loss is no joke}. Instead of spending time scheduling these appointments and carving out the time for myself, I opt for basic daily goals like: brush hair, teeth, face, and apply a little makeup to cover the bags beneath my eyes. I used to think that I was going to be one of those moms that pureed all of my own baby food and cloth diapered. I’ve since dropped both of those things from my list of priorities of things that I need to do. Are there times when I make purees for the little dude? Yes. Is that all he eats? No. Are there times when we cloth diaper? Yes. Are there times when we use disposables? Yes. I’ll take it. Motherhood is teaching me to readjust my expectations to reflect what is attainable with the time that I have. 

thoughts on motherhood: part two

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As my maternity leave comes to an end {I’m back to work full time two weeks from today}, I realized this week that I should probably start preparing myself for what will inevitably be a rather emotional transition. I never thought that I would want to be a full time stay-at-home-mama. Pretty much since we’ve been married, I have said that working part-time would be my ideal situation: I would get to spend quality time with our babes, and continue on my career path that I had spent so much time establishing. Funny how things change. If you ask me today, given the choice between returning to work and staying home with our babe, I would probably choose to stay home. As our pregnancy was a complete surprise, thus very little planning beyond the nine months, I will be returning to work full time {at least  until Hubby graduates in August and subsequently lands a job — then my dreams of part time workery may become a reality}. Our child care is still up in the air due to Hubby’s unknown clinical rotation schedule. Though I know that things always have a way of working themselves out, this only adds to the list of “things for which we cannot prepare”.

I’ve turned into a bit of a hermit since birthing this boy, and I think that it’s subconsciously because I know that I have to go back to work. I want to soak up all the time that I can with him. I want to spend my days cuddling with him, feeding him, putting him to bed, taking walks and watching him become more interactive every day — because it feels like I’m going to miss out on so many of his days. This has really been a struggle for me — the guilt of returning to work,  leaving this babe and the “well I’m the only one who knows how to {fill in the blank} for Levi”. I’m slowly learning to accept that he will be fine; we will be fine. I know that some mamas aren’t able to take much time off after giving birth, some mamas don’t want to take an extended leave, and that other mamas know from the beginning that they will not return to work. The beauty is that there’s a middle ground — and this is where I’ve landed. This is my journey of motherhood: to figure out how to be a mother, work outside of our home, to find a balance between my career and my little family.

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I’ve been reading a lot of “mommy blogs” lately for extra doses of encouragement and inspiration. Although a majority of them are home with their littles full time, a few of my favorites are: Love Taza, Jen Loves Kev, Dear Baby, and Nat the Fat Rat. I particularly love NTFR’s posts on breastfeeding, and DB’s posts discussing working motherhood.

…more to come, of this I am certain.

xoxo,

PJ

thoughts on motherhood: part one

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let me start by stating: mothers rule.

before becoming a mother {just a little under a month ago}, i had no idea about the amount of anxiety i would experience about every. little. thing. i’ve spent more time googling things these past few weeks than i have in the past year. nipple confusion? acid reflux? baby poop colors, textures, and frequency? baby hiccups? baby lip quiver? when to introduce a bottle to a newborn? i’m not being dramatic. on top of the googling, i’ve been reading various philosophies about sleep training newborns and babies. phew.

i found myself worrying about whether or not L would have nipple confusion if we introduced a pacifier. or when we introduce the bottle, if he will like the bottle more than the breast. it all came to a head at about three weeks postpartum. i was sleep-deprived and emotionally exhausted. not only was i adjusting to this new life with our little guy, but i was spending my *spare* energy worrying about things that may or may not ever happen. in reality, L is on the fence about the pacifier, we still haven’t introduced the bottle, baby hiccups are common, and his poop is normal. after an epic meltdown, i felt a weight lifted from my soul – and each day since then has been better.

L eats like a champ and latched on just after he was born, and has been consistent with eating ever since. but since i’m the only one able to feed him, means that he’s attached to one of my boobies every 1-3 hours, 24 hours / day. i find myself in this strange state of exhilaration and exhaustion. i do think it’s a incredible that my giant boobies have finally been put to work {and man, are they a workin’}.  i love the little grunts he makes when he eats, the way his little hand finds a place to rest hooked around my shirt, and the face he makes just after a marathon feed {i call it “milk face”}. i’m so grateful to have this experience and to bond with my little boy in this way. is it work? yes. but to me, it’s worth the sometimes sore nipples and multiple sleep interruptions.

as far as the anxiety goes about doing everything “right” … one of the best things i’ve read so far from the baby books? “do what feels natural”. i feed L when he shows signs of hunger, without concern for whether or not it’s been an hour or three since his last feed. when he’s restless in his bassinet, i cuddle him in bed until he calms down and sleeps. i’m not interested in debating the hot topics {breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, etc.}. i’m learning to trust my instincts. i’m learning what L responds to and what he needs to feel loved and secure. after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

xoxo,

a new momma

i know that breastfeeding is a hot button to press in the motherhood world. i would like to say that my own process has led me to have no judgement for those who have not enjoyed or been able to breastfeed. i am simply sharing my opinion about this topic — my first and only experience with it.

grief

today was my grandfather’s funeral. i am the eldest grandchild, so i was chosen to give “a granddaughter’s tribute”. it was probably the most difficult thing i’ve ever had to do. but i made it through. sharing meaningful memories to represent all of the grandchildren wasn’t easy.

my grandfather was a man who loved his family: his wife, his children, their children, and his great grandchildren very much. a man who would wake up before the rest of the household and make buttered toast and hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows for the grandchildren. he taught us that the red wings were the only hockey team worth rooting for, diet coke was the only acceptable soft drink beverage, and that chocolate could cure any heartache. he’d dress up as chief woki-konza and teach us about native american culture and convinced us that we were part native (which is completely false). he wore the best smelling cologne, and when we parted after hugs, the scent was with us. he told us stories of the war, of adventures of the sea. he had a sword collection that we weren’t allowed to touch without permission. his favorite music genre was german polka. he collected coins & obscure turquoise jewelry. my memories are vivid; i know that they will fade.
grief is a strange thing, patterned in waves of emotion that overwhelm and comfort.
i miss my grandfather. i miss the sound of his voice and his laugh and his smile.