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: 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.

January 13, 2013

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post. The holidays have come and gone, and we’re 13 days into this new year. This year, Hubby and I were able to spend time with his side of the family for Christmas and New Year’s. It was really nice to be out of the City and with family. We also got to meet our niece, Stella and hang out with her parents who live in Colorado. Super fun. FYI – She’s absolutely adorable and it makes me even more excited for our little dude’s arrival.

This past weekend, Hubby and I took our first “baby” class – a breast feeding class. It was awesome. I learned a ton, and feel really encouraged. I’m also keeping an open mind about my expectations {especially the length of time that I’d like to be able to breastfeed}. Heading back to work after 12 weeks is going to be difficult and one of the things I was really worried about was figuring out a pumping schedule. Now, I have a bunch of resources about setting up a realistic schedule prior to my return to work and tips about adjusting baby to bottle feeds. Overall, I’m pumped {pun intended}. Later this month we’re taking our two-day birthing class via Mother Me, Inc. I’m really excited!

One of my favorite things about having a kiddo a little later than our friends is their incredible generosity of passing on hand-me-downs for little dude. Seriously! Maternity clothes {thanks, B!}, clothes, toys, bottles, and accessories for this mama has saved us literally hundreds of dollars. I’m so thankful and grateful for the support of our friends. I haven’t purchased more than $40 worth of clothes, and this little dude is set for at least his 6 months. Though there are still a million more things it feels like we should have — we can now afford to purchase the items that we really want because of the support {like our stroller}.

Here are the last two pregnancy update photos …

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xoxo,

PJ