Tag Archive: breastfeeding


Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning – Your Stories

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.


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…and I’m not sure that “I feel fine”.

Wow. So this is it, huh? My little girl is no longer a nursling now at 27 months old. We are moving on to new ways of relating, coping with tantrums and boo-boos, and generally finding and covering new ground together. I just was not expecting it to be so soon.

Back when I was newly pregnant I honestly didn’t think much about breastfeeding or how to feed a baby until a friend of mine had her baby and breastfed her daughter. I remember thinking how great it was that we’d still go for a coffee at Starbucks and her daughter would just get fed right there while we hung out and chatted. How convenient! So THIS is how babies are meant to be fed! A ha!

I am SO indebted to this friend for normalizing breastfeeding for me while I was pregnant and also nursing in public. It meant that when I had my daughter, I knew exactly what I was going to do and so formula never entered the picture for us. Sure… there was that one time at 5 months old when she woke every 45 minutes to an hour and a half, all night long, when I begged my hubby to buy a bottle and some formula in an effort to get her to sleep longer. She, however, would have nothing to do with it. Now looking back I thank my lucky stars that she didn’t like the bottle nor the formula. We went back to nursing and I held fast and desperately tight to my parenting mantra “This Too Shall Pass”. Right? Right? And it did. Things got better.

My goal in the early days was to get to 6 months of breastfeeding until we introduced solid foods. Then as that date got closer, and I realized that if we stopped nursing we’d need to do formula instead, I decided I wanted to nurse for a year. Given she’d need formula that long if we didn’t, and by that point I’d read enough to realize how good mama milk was, I knew that I’d much rather continue breastfeeding than to switch to formula and lose out on all the benefits.

So on we went… nursing on demand. And when she fell down and got hurt. And when she was teething. And when she needed comfort. Oh… and when she was hungry, of course. Or bored. Or sick. I soon came to realize that breastfeeding was my best and most valued parenting tool. Indeed it was my “one thing does it all” tool I often thought. Was my girl having a bad day? Press reset: breastfeed! Was she sick and couldn’t breathe? Breastfeed! Was she tired and wouldn’t go to sleep? Breastfeed! Were we out and about and I had forgotten to bring along a snack for her? Breastfeed! It was just so handy. How did parents do it without breastfeeding I wondered?!?! Honestly, I realized that it fit perfectly with my not-so-energetic personality. I could nurse in bed at night and not even have to get out of bed or fully wake up. Co-sleeping and breastfeeding meant I slept more. Thank God as I couldn’t imagine how much harder it would have been given the sleep deprivation was HARD that first year as it was. And as I stayed at home and didn’t return to work, I never even started pumping either. No pumping, no cleaning pumping supplies, no cleaning bottles, no boiling and cooling water. Ahhhhh! Everything was always “straight from the tap” for my little bean, and frankly I think we both preferred it that way.

When she turned one I realized that we weren’t ready to stop just yet. She was still such a booby baby and I knew that my breastmilk didn’t suddenly turn to water at age 1 so on we continued. I once heard it referred to as that each day she was only one day older, and indeed, that is how I felt. If she needed it yesterday, why would she suddenly not need it today? Or tomorrow? I knew that some day our time to wean would come but hoped that it would come peacefully. By a year of nursing, I felt rather “lactivisty” to be honest. I was so impressed with what all I knew about breastfeeding at that point, having read much about it, that I thought everyone should know the benefits too. I remember how shamefully little I knew or understood pre-baby and hoped that I could share information in a supportive manner for anyone who might need it. I read Kelly Mom, The Leaky Boob, Code Name: Mama, and the Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medical Clinic pages on Facebook religiously. I learned so much about so many issues from mamas and experts alike.

So, given I now knew that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended breastfeeding to two years and beyond, it became my new goal. A woman in my birth club had posted a funny little post about “earning breastfeeding badges” as though it were the Olympics or Brownie badges. They made me giggle, but still… I wanted to earn my “platinum boobs” at that point.

Breastfeeding Length & Badge Earned:

3 months = Bronze Boobs

6 months = Silver Boobs

12 months = Gold Boobs

2 years = Platinum Boobs

So on we continued. Then when my daughter was 16 months old I became pregnant. How exciting! But what would happen with our breastfeeding journey? I had read quite a bit about nursing in pregnancy and tandem nursing. Could we do it? I knew it might be hard. It certainly was tough for a while there while pregnant. I felt aversion some times. The physical sensation was tough. I remember continuing to nurse her to sleep and praying to God to make it through and for her to sleep as I could barely contain myself with the heebie jeebies I felt some nights. I focused my mind elsewhere to distract myself from the physical sensation. But she needed it. She had been nursed to sleep since birth and how could I let her down now?

Somehow we made it through! My little man was born a week before she turned 2! Then tandem nursing began. It was rough those first days… I had no milk and they were both demanding. My little man was HUNGRY. He was born large at 9 lb 4 oz and frankly he wanted milk!! My daughter needed comfort as there was this new crying baby requiring my attention. My hubby was a GOD. He helped me to latch them both on a few times to settle the meltdowns. And a few times in those first few days I had the joy of watching them both melt into my arms and fall asleep one at each side of me post-mama-milk fix. It was glorious! I had my hubby take pictures. I was a Goddess! I was all-powerful!

My daughter also learned to sleep through the night during my pregnancy. We finally night weaned gently using Dr. Jay Gordon’s method of gentle night weaning and she continued to co-sleep with me. She actually settled in quite nicely as the milk really wasn’t there anyway. So she continued to nurse to sleep and then slept through and I’d nurse my little man who was now co-sleeping on the other side of me. I was a human pillow all night long often covered in my toddler’s feet and my little man snuggled up into my armpit on the other side. They were adorable.

I was willing to continue this way for as long as my daughter needed at this point. Why rock the boat? She only nursed first thing in the morning (it was always the first thing she asked for when she’d wake up), then at nap time and at bed time. And once my little man was born, she decided naps were for chumps anyway, so often it was only twice a day for nursing her.

Then… the biting started. I had introduced a “ten count” while pregnant to save my sanity. When I had all I could take of nursing physically, I’d say “milk is over in ten” and then count up to ten and unlatch her. This worked relatively well for a while. Then she started to protest when I’d say it. She would start whimpering while still on the breast. She would cover the breast with her hands to try to stop me from unlatching her. I was gentle but insistent that it was time to stop. It was SO tough. I knew she loved her mama milk SO much and I hated to do something she didn’t like. But physically, I could only handle nursing her for maybe 10 minutes tops.

After a few months she started biting when I’d go to unlatch her. She would nurse and then I’d start the ten count and “YEEEEOOOUCH!!!!”. I told her not to bite mama, that it hurt and mama didn’t like it. She persisted. I eventually started saying that if she bit at the end of a session she would not get to nurse next time. She still bit. I was at my wit’s end. I couldn’t take the biting and I had my little man to nurse and if she damaged my nipples I was in trouble with a 3 month old to feed. What to do? I started telling her that if she continued on we would have to stop nursing entirely. No more mama milk. Well… after about a week of warnings and biting… I decided we were done. Just like that. And I was completely heartbroken. I had hoped that begging her and telling her that mama milk would end would mean that she would finally stop biting me. But it didn’t matter. She kept on biting… even when I would tell her while she was nursing that she was NOT to bite mama. She still did. I wanted to cry each time she bit me. And so one last time on April 2nd, 2012… 27 month into our breastfeeding journey, I told her I would nurse her at bedtime but there would be no more mama milk if she bit me. I made sure she was paying attention. And at the end of the session I told her not to bite before I said “milk is over in ten”. And she bit me one last time. That was it. I wanted to bawl my eyes out. She went to sleep like nothing had happened, but I knew better. I knew something major had happened. Our whole world had changed in one night. We were no longer nursing.

But what would I do if she got hurt? What if she had a meltdown? How would I deal with her if she was begging me for mama milk? It was such an easy fix and such a good way to connect and calm her down. Would she let me soothe her in other ways? I didn’t know. About a week after this night she woke one morning and I was out of bed already. She came to me crying about needing mama milk. I told her we didn’t do that any more because she was biting me. She insisted. So I told her we would as long as she didn’t bite me. She said OK, nursed and… bit me. Le sigh. I thought for a moment that maybe we would go back to nursing again. But… not. It was not meant to be.

For the week or more following the end of nursing, she would ask at the usual times for mama milk. I would dread the question as I HATED saying no to her. I really did. But I hated being bitten more. So I would say to her sadly but calmly “I’m sorry honey, we don’t do mama milk any more because you were biting me. We do cuddles instead now.” She might ask twice and I would reply with the same response every time. Then she seemed satisfied with that answer and would cuddle and go to sleep.

I wondered how she was really doing with the weaning though. Did she understand? Was she okay? I sort of felt that I was taking it harder than she was. I had not expected to be done so soon as she was SUCH a booby girl for SO long. Was she really ready to move on? Then one night as I was nursing my little man in bed for sleep and she was beside me ready for stories, she came over to watch and said that my little man “loves mama milk”. I said “yes, he does” to which she replied “I bite your nipples”. I tried not to giggle and said to her “yes, that is why we don’t do mama milk any more, right?” and she nodded her head and told me “we do cuddles!” very emphatically. I was SO happy and proud of her. “That’s right precious!” I told her “we do cuddles!”. I held her tightly and gave her extra cuddles and love that night. She understood. I couldn’t believe it.

So we are done nursing, but we are far from done loving and cuddling. Nursing through a pregnancy and the first 3 months with a new baby also helped with the adjustment to these changes in her life. She knew that mama was there for her as well as the new baby. And surprisingly enough, she does not seem jealous of my little man either now. She tells me “I so love him” and kisses his head gently. She does not seem jealous of his getting mama milk either. I am amazed. My little girl grew up on me over night and I wasn’t ready for it, but it appears that perhaps SHE was.

If anything, she is even more my mama girl now. She cuddles when she’s hurt or sad. And she is safe in my arms. I know I am going to hurt and grieve the loss of our nursing relationship for some time to come. But we will learn new ways of relating. Nursing my little man is easing the pain a bit as well. I don’t know how I’m going to survive his weaning though with no new baby. I hope that with him we will just slowly ease to a natural end of weaning together with it tapering off until he doesn’t need it, but only time will tell. And we have a long way to go with him being not yet 4 months. Perhaps after more than 4 years of nursing between my daughter and son (to get him to the 2 year WHO goal) I will be more than ready to get rid of my ever milk-stained wardrobe and move onto the next phase. At least my daughter weaned me gently to break me into the idea of what that next phase will look like. But for now…I will continue to grieve a bit longer. She’s still just my little girl, and only a day older than she was yesterday.
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Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):

So… it has been over a year since I’ve posted here. The blog, she languishes…

So much has changed since I last wrote. For one, the first thing that comes to mind as I read the last post is that the whole “CIO” thing? Didn’t last. Nope. Not right for us after all. After maybe a week of sleeping quite well and going to sleep on her own without crying she started waking often and crying (the first couple of times trying the “sleep training” she cried for 15 minutes tops and then went to sleep).  Well, as it turns out, I wasn’t up for letting her cry any longer than that and certainly not denying her nursing at night either.  I started nursing and holding her until she fell asleep in my arms and then putting her back in her crib. Then, after discussing with my husband and realizing he wasn’t in any hurry to come back upstairs into our bed and that he was truly OK with me co-sleeping with my girl and all of that, we quickly resumed co-sleeping and night nursing and no longer trying any sort of CIO.  Within 3 weeks of trying a bit of sleep training, I had decided that we would NOT be doing that again and that it was just not my thing.

I know plenty of WONDERFUL moms who have done some sleep training with their children and they are warm, kind and caring moms. Many of them also have done extended breastfeeding and other attachment parenting types of things. But moms, parents… we need sleep in order to function.  So I don’t fault anyone for sleep training.  I did it too.  For me, and for our family however, it was just not the right choice.  Turns out we get better sleep and are able to feel better during the day, too, when we co-sleep and comfort each other that way.

I did eventually try some night weaning using Dr. Jay Gordon’s gentle method of night weaning but it seemed each time I tried, my little girl would get sick and I felt she needed that night nursing to get better.

Then in early May of 2011 we discovered I was pregnant again!  Yay!  So… what would become of our nursing relationship?  Would my girl continue?  Would I want to?  What about sleeping?  How would that be affected?

We raised the bed up a bit as I got heavier in pregnancy as getting up off the mattress on the floor was getting rather uncomfortable and so we put it on the box springs and that helped.  But we continued nursing to sleep for naps and bedtime.  Then… something miraculous happened and I’m not sure exactly when, but my sweet daughter finally started to sleep through the night.  Perhaps the lack of milk partway through my pregnancy along with my gentle urging that “milk is sleeping” finally did the trick and she started blissfully sleeping until morning.  Once in awhile she’d wake briefly and ask for her water sippy cup using her familiar “drink” sign she amended with a finger in her mouth and a gurgling sound.  Then back to sleep she’d go.  Now if only my bladder had cooperated, but it did not, I was still not sleeping through the night because that pregnant body kept waking me up!

In any case, my pregnancy went really well.  I was never the “burping rainbows and farting unicorns” type of pregnant woman.  Pregnancy was a means to an end for me, but the ends certainly justified the means!  Still, I was blessed with a really uneventful pregnancy aside from a few UTI’s at the end.  I got huge like the previous pregnancy and was pretty uncomfortable.  I had nausea for longer than the first trimester.  And my desire to eat meat was greatly reduced.  But… I was able to continue nursing my daughter through the pregnancy.  I also went the midwife and doula route this time around instead of the OB/GYN route.  It was the most wonderful experience. Hands down.

With my OB/GYN, she was wonderful, but she was not on duty the day I had my daughter.  She also was not often present at many of my appointments and I had her alternate instead who was kind of “old school” for my taste.  In her birth, I had my water break naturally a few days before her due date.  Then the doctor suggested induction and along came the pitocin.  Despite what I had learned prior to birth from our prenatal class taught be a doula, I was so tired at that point having not slept that I caved and just wanted things to “speed up” myself.  If I had only known then what I know now!  But, that was not meant to be.  In time I ended up with gas, some fentenol (sp?) and an epidural which lead to not being able to feel how to push, and eventually a birth with an episiotomy and tearing. UGH.

With my son’s birth, my water broke and things were much different.  I called the doula and midwife.  They told me to eat and rest which I did manage to do a bit.  I went to the hospital and labored for a long time in the shower with the doula helping me through contractions.  Then my husband, doula and midwife all helped me to figure out how to push and I was able to have him with just using the gas to get me through transition.  It was easily the most primal thing I have ever done but I LOVED it in comparison to my daughter’s birth.  I felt so much better afterward.  I had that baby boy on my stomach immediately (as I had with my daughter) and I got to see that they truly waited for the cord to finish pulsing before clamping.  I also breastfed him right away compared with waiting in the case of my daughter until after I was fully stitched up.  It all was a better experience all around and I do have to thank my first experience for informing me of what I DIDN’T want and reading up enough to know what I DID want this time around.  My son and I both benefited!

Anyway, now here we are… my toddler is now 2 years and 4 months and the baby boy is 4 months old.  Things are going well and life is good although we watch more TV than I would ideally like.  🙂  In any case, there is more to update but I hope to be posting soon about my story of weaning my sweet precious daughter right around the time she turned 27 months old (after 3 months of tandem nursing).  So… thought it was as good a time as any to post a quick update.  I hope to fill in the blanks sometime soon and start posting again more often.  It seems like as good a way as any to keep track of so many important memories as well as to carve out some time for me to collect my thoughts.

 

Fresh Start

And so a new year begins.  2011.  My little Ba-Bean has turned one and the day before she did, she decided she could take more than a couple of steps at a time.  Yes, she resolved for the new year to walk longer, better and faster!  Off she went.  For her birthday I started to make a healthy baby-friendly carrot cake.  I say started because she decided not to nap in the morning and to be VERY grumpy in the afternoon so Mommy ended up having to haul her around while Daddy finished the cake.  And I use the word “cake” loosely here.  Because the texture was decidedly un-cake-like.  Could have been the recipe.  Could have been our wonky oven that cannot keep a consistent temperature and always ends up running hot and burning things.  But it rose.  Then it sank.  And it was a very moist dense… cake/bar/pound cake?  I’m not really sure.  But I slathered it with a mixture of cream cheese and whipping cream and we put candles on it and she liked it.  I think she mostly liked the icing.  She loves dairy this kid, much like her Mom.  I think she was also just happy I gave her a big piece all to herself to play with and demolish.  Success!

Then, as my new year resolution, now that baby girl was a year old, I felt ready to implement my custom sleep plan created for us.  I must admit to dragging my feet on this myself, but then the sleep plan took forever to get sent off, and never did physically arrive in our mailbox so I had to wrangle a PDF copy from our sleep consultant.  When it finally arrived in my email, BaBean was suffering from some pretty severe teething (grumpy viking, hear me roar) and caught her Daddy’s cold.  So… sleep train we did not.  Until the day after her first birthday.  We were finally ready.  It was time.

I was quaking in my boots on the inside.  I’m not going to lie to you.  I was terrified she would cry so hard she would vomit and not sure I could follow through if things got that harsh.  I hate hearing her cry at any time, even in frustration.  And she had slept with my for months, always falling asleep at the breast, with her warm little body next to mine.  If it was cold out at night, I’d awake to find her snuggled up firmly against my side under my armpit and I was stuck sleeping wedged between her and the bedrail.  But it was worth it in a way.  I gave her the best start I could.  She had lots of love, and nursing, and warmth at night.  She grew big and strong.  And now she is one-year-old and her independence is growing every day.

She’s not going to be leaving home any time soon.  But she is becoming her own little toddler person.  So we did it.  I followed the plan in the big picture and the main important points.  But… there were a few areas I made my own.  A year of mothering my little girl gave me the confidence to tweak a few points that I felt were in her best interest and that I really felt with my Attachment Parenting vision would help and not hinder allowing her to go to sleep by herself safe in the knowledge that Mommy still loves me and will be there for me if I need her.

I gave her as much time to nurse before sleeping as she wanted (no “brisk feeding” as it was noted to do) for me.  My little girl would get the comfort and nutrition she needed as she knows better than any time constraint or sleep consultant what she needs from my body.  And it worked.  The first nap and first night were the hardest.  But she learned SO quickly.  And she slept.  And fell asleep on her own for the first time in months.  And slept in her crib!  She had NEVER slept in her crib before.  I was SO proud of her I could just burst!

Now here we are at Day 3 of the plan and she allows me to put her into the crib and leave her to go to sleep and not even a peep.  She was ready.  I was ready.  I miss her though.  I really do.  She may sleep well and not wake often or for long, but I am still waking up every 2 hours or so.  And my breasts miss the night time nursing.  Yikes!  I haven’t seen them like this since my milk first came in a year ago!  Crazy.  But it will be good for us.  I can see it.  I am enjoying no longer being her human pacifier.  Now when we breastfeed it is even more enjoyable than before as it isn’t frustrating if she doesn’t go to sleep.  They aren’t needed for that any more.  Our time together nursing is now that much more precious and wonderful to me.  I’m so happy as I want to do extended breastfeeding with her, and this just makes that all the more possible I believe as there is no resentment, just enjoyment.

I’m also not going to lie that I am not “proud” of the actual CIO.  But… I am proud that my little girl took it in stride and was ready.  I feel very glad I waited although it was a really long year.  It made the whole thing so much less painful than it might otherwise have been and feels like I made the right choices along the way.  Hallelujah!

Now if only I could get some sleep too.  Perhaps I will have to CIO myself?!?!  🙂

Being that it is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, it seems as good a time as any to remember to give thanks for all the blessings in my life. I like to think that I practice gratitude regularly, but sometimes it is good to have a holiday that reminds you if you’ve been slacking in the gratitude department a bit.

As a sleep-deprived new Mom, I can admit there are times I am practicing more in frustration management and patience than real gratitude.

But then there are times, even among the frustrating moments, where awesome things happen (and by awesome, I don’t mean surfer-dude awesome, but the original meaning… things that create awe, or perhaps even in some cases, in a new sense… things that create “awwww”).

Yesterday, for example, I was trying to make a lasagna. My daughter needed to let out some steam and move around so I set up some play space with lots of toys in the kitchen and tried to barricade the dangerous spots from her reach. I then set about making the lasagna. Of course I was almost done when I discovered I was short one lasagna noodle and needed to boil one more. Argh. Frustration. Plus every 2 minutes I was picking the baby up and moving her back to the middle of the room where she would quickly tire of the toys and go back to investigating various things. The dog and the cat got in on the action, driving me bananas. Then a diaper needed changing.

So I start the noodle boiling, go change a diaper, come back, get the cat off the table. Again. Then put my daughter in her Exersaucer so I could enjoy a few minutes of her being “contained” for play while I finished the lasagna up and could get it in the oven so I could give her my undivided attention. She started fussing, the cat was climbing all over the counter, the dog was lying in front of the counter and I was losing my mind. I thought to myself briefly “this is why women go back to work so they don’t have to deal with this!” and then just as quickly it occurred to me that actually, women who work have it harder as they have to go to work all day, miss spending time with their babies, and then come home and deal with making dinner and entertaining the baby, dog and cat anyway!

So amidst my moment of “bananas” I suddenly let out a sigh of exasperation only to turn around and look at my baby girl playing in her Exersaucer. And then magic. She gave me the most beautiful smile. Just grinned at me. “Look at me playing Mommy! Aren’t I a good girl?” her smile seemed to say to me. It was just what I needed at that moment and I felt my frustration melt away. “What a good girl you are!” I said “Mommy loves you very much”.

Yes, I have much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for (in no particular order)…

  • my husband who supports me even when he disagrees with me, and who is such a good listener
  • my precious baby girl, who is big and healthy and happy
  • her beautiful smile and contagious giggles
  • the opportunity to stay at home with her and watch her grow and develop
  • my parents who are such inspiration and support to me still and who I can REALLY talk to
  • my extended family – I have a sister-in-law who has done so much for us in terms of bringing us baby clothes, toys and gear from her brother and his wife.  Invaluable to us!  I also have terrific nieces and nephews who are so much fun to be around and such a joy in my life.  My older brother and his wife have also agreed to be our guardian for baby girl heaven forbid something should happen to hubby and me.  That gives me so much comfort.  I have a little brother who has such a great sense of humor and always puts his fun and unique twist on things in life.  I have a new niece and nephew through my hubby and this new niece is such a neat person.  She loves music and to reflect on life and I am enjoying getting to know her.  I have a cousin who is like a sister to me and she has a baby girl too who is just 7 weeks ahead of ours.  It is such a pleasure knowing they are growing up “together” even though we live in different cities.  She also shares a lot of my philosophies on life and parenting and it is great to share ideas and thoughts and emotions along the way with her.
  • my friends – both new and long-term for their support, tips, wisdom and laughter
  • my Belly Buddy who helped me through my pregnancy and has been an ear when I needed to talk (especially when no one else would likely want to hear THAT much detail about all the steps along the way)
  • breastfeeding and that we are still going strong, especially knowing how good it is for her (and me)
  • co-sleeping allowing me to get more sleep than I think I would otherwise and allowing me more bonding time with her
  • our pets (they drive me crazy for sure, but I also have many reasons to love them too – furry cuddles and protection)
  • the fact that my fear of spiders is getting a bit better (I still HATE them, but I have the inner strength to kill them and breathe a sigh of relief every time I do so)
  • that we live in the age of the internet so I can research all things baby, and have been able to meet other like-minded new Moms (both on the net, and some in person – I LOVE Internetworking)
  • cloth diapers (cute AND good for the environment)
  • books (I love continuous learning and have read some fantastic books that feed my mind)
  • fresh sheets and towels
  • music (and especially lyrics)
  • cuddles
  • inspiration
  • creativity
  • empathy
  • Grey’s Anatomy (a girl needs a little escape once in awhile)
  • fashion
  • hot water
  • my financial savvy (thanks Mom & Dad and the Wealthy Barber)
  • Baby Centre (and to the Moms there who have shared their stories with me and each other)
  • Facebook (much as it sometimes annoys me, I also love keeping up with friends and hearing how people are doing, sharing photos and videos, etc.)
  • Skype – for allowing me to converse and see video for free with family and friends far away
  • Excel (God I love my spreadsheets – I have kept a personal budget tracking my spending for 10 + years now on one!)
  • Turkey dinners complete with all the fixings (gravy! mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes! that yam dish with the marshmallows and brown sugar on top!)
  • Roast beef dinners complete with all the fixings (gravy! yorkshire puddings! mashed potatoes!)
  • Pasta (every kind from ravioli to spaghetti to lasagne to KD)
  • Lobster and other seafood (gosh, you’d think I was hungry, but I just ate, I swear!)
  • Sunshine-y days
  • Sunbeams
  • Rainbows (no, I am not going to say “unicorns too”)
  • Showers (the kind where I can wash my hair, not rain showers – although I like rain showers in specific circumstances like when lying in bed at night and listening to the soothing rain sounds outside)

I could go on, but I won’t.  I’m tired, baby will likely wake again soon, and I am going to go and climb into bed and be thankful for my bed, for sleep, and for the cuddles and the smell of my daughter’s skin that come with nursing when I’m not sleeping at night.

OK.  Profit is an exaggeration, and being an accountant, I must add that you really can’t breastfeed “for profit” (unless I suppose you got paid for selling your breast milk, which kind of creeps me out to even consider).  And in order for there to be profit, there must be revenue (income).  As such, I will say that realistically, you can’t profit from breastfeeding.

However, you CAN save a LOT of money breastfeeding.  Especially if you do it over a long period of time, and if, like me, you don’t even buy or own a pump.  That’s right.  I don’t have a pump (and really good pumps will run you around $300 these days).  Which also means I don’t have to buy bottles, storage bags, sterilizer, etc.  Since I AM, however, breastfeeding, I also don’t have to buy formula.

I’m telling you, people, breastfeeding is a HUGE money saver!  Even if you discount the savings with the spending.  In my case, my breastfeeding costs were nursing pads, a few nursing tops and PJ’s I bought before I realized I could just throw a tank top underneath any normal top and voila – nursing top.  That’s pretty much it.

Now if you want to be able to go out and have someone else give a bottle of expressed milk, then yes, you probably should invest in a pump.  But, if like me, you waited too long to introduce a bottle, this probably won’t help anyway as my daughter would not take one.  Why buy the bottle when you can drink from the cow for free?  Isn’t that the saying?  No?  Well in my daughter’s mind it should be.  🙂

Now I know that the government wants more women to breastfeed (both in Canada and the US), and for those who do to breastfeed for longer.  My hubby loves to tell me that I’m only doing this to save the government billions in health care dollars (the accountant in me who understands WHY we pay taxes, even though I don’t necessarily LIKE them).  The funny part, for me though, is that the way I look at it is this:  If I DO save the government health care costs, that is terrific because it means that my baby isn’t sick or hospitalized, and that maybe, just maybe, my breastmilk had something to do with that.  That is worth celebrating.  Plus it means that our tax dollars can go to help out someone else’s sick child perhaps.  It may be a stretch to think that way, but definitely something interesting to consider, non?

So now on to the “fun” part of this post.  How can breastfeeding be fun?  Well, it can be funny at the very least.  Especially if you continue to breastfeed past that infant stage.  When babies get older, breastfeeding becomes a different task than when they are infants.  An infant purely nurses for food and comfort and there isn’t much more interaction than that.  It can be pretty magical when they are content and finish nursing and pop off and fall asleep in that “drunken sailor” fashion.  So adorable.

But when they get older, it gets funnier at times.  Now that my daughter is starting to understand more at 9 months of age, she knows where her milk source hides and will sometimes come up and pull at my shirt.  If she gets her way (as we are still feeding “on demand” right now), she might sit in my lap and use her hands to hold me in place so that she can get down to the serious business of feeding.  It is really quite amusing to see her rather earnest expression.  And in the mornings, she might climb on top of me, lay her head down on my chest, and then have a little morning snack from her favorite “breastaurant” and I get a nice relaxing cuddle from her to boot.

Now breastfeeding isn’t ALWAYS fun.  In fact sometimes it is downright painful and exhausting.  Try feeding a distracted baby with teeth who is pulling away to look around while still clenched onto you.  Those first 2 weeks after birth are also the most painful experience as most mothers who breastfed can attest.  I remember quite clearly still how she would latch on and I would gasp in a breath and hold it for a minute or two until the pain subsided before I could relax while she fed.  Lanolin cream became my best friend.  It took 5 days for my milk to come in and my daughter lost a full pound from her birth weight and was a little jaundiced because of it.  I was so nervous and worried about her getting enough and I understood fully at that moment why some mothers desperately reach for that formula thinking it would be easier and baby would not go hungry.  Then the milk came.  Holy torpedoes batman!  So then I had to go and use hot compresses and massage my breasts before each feed.  I had been told to feed often to bring up her weight so this was a non-stop production and I was completely exhausted from lack of sleep and worry.

Thankfully that experience didn’t last long, and once my milk settled down a bit and the extreme sensitivity lessened, it became more of a joy to feed her and see how satisfied it made her.  That is why I love to talk to mothers before they give birth about whether they want to breastfeed or not.  If they do, I like to warn them about that beginning piece.  Because I was warned and it made all the difference to know what to expect.  I had a time frame in mind of those 2 weeks that were my hurdle to make it through.  I knew that once I did, it WOULD get better and so I hung on to that thought and it worked to keep me going when the going got tough.  I am SO glad I did.  Now I am so enthusiastic about breastfeeding that I love to share what I have learned if it means helping other women reach their breastfeeding goals.  I have become, in a way, a lactivist.  I want to support women who want to breastfeed in any way that I can.  It also makes me grieve for those women out there who really wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t for any variety of reasons.  To me that is utterly heartbreaking.  My heart goes out to you if that was your situation.  Know that you did all you could do and that you are still a fabulous Mom for even trying!

I know that breastfeeding isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  As my Belly Buddy and I were discussing just yesterday, there are things we definitely miss since we continue to breastfeed now at 9 months.  So, what follows is my list of pros and cons.

Breastfeeding Pros

  • It’s free!
  • It’s portable
  • You never have to worry about running out of formula in the middle of the night
  • No heating required – always the perfect temperature
  • No need to clean and sterilize bottles or boil and cool water to mix with formula
  • No need to pack bottles and formula and water when you go out with baby
  • Quality bonding and cuddling time
  • It is the one thing you can give your baby that no one else can
  • It confers immunity benefits to your baby (less infections, colds, etc.)
  • It may even boost baby’s IQ
  • Your body makes the milk just the right consistency for each stage of your baby’s growth (rich colostrum at birth, thinner milk as baby gets older)
  • When your baby goes through a growth spurt, they will cluster feed to bump up your production (no need to buy and make more formula)
  • It’s convenient (if you are like me, you can co-sleep and breastfeed lying down and barely have to wake up when baby is hungry or just needs comfort to go back to sleep)
  • Breastmilk is easily digestible and is very unlikely to result in diarrhea or constipation compared to formula
  • Breastfeeding helps Moms to lose the extra baby weight (I have no butt left to speak of!  LOL)
  • Stops babies from crying (works whether they are hungry, need comfort, or bumped their heads)
  • Women who breastfeed have a lower incidence of breast cancer
  • I eat better for the most part as I know that my nutrition affects my milk supply (always trying to get enough vegetables, meat for iron, and so on)
  • It helps babies to sleep
  • I love doing this special thing for my daughter and for how it makes her feel safe and secure

Breastfeeding Cons

  • Oddly enough, some of the pros are also cons.  By this, I mean things like “convenience”.  It is a pro of breastfeeding because it CAN be rather convenient not having to bring bottles, heat formula, etc.  However, it is also an inconvenience for the mother as she needs to be nearby to feed her baby, especially in the beginning when feeds are so close together.  And let’s not even get into growth spurts where babies cluster feed.  It is an amazing thing, but it does restrict the amount a mother can get out of the house on her own for sure.
  • It can be physically and mentally exhausting having your baby rely on you for breast milk
  • It is harder to get away for extended periods on your own (unless you pump milk for someone else to give the baby)
  • You need to limit your caffeine intake if baby is having problems sleeping as the caffeine goes into the breast milk
  • You need to limit your alcoholic intake as it will enter your breast milk as well (if you are lucky enough that your baby sleeps well for a long period at night, you can likely have a drink without worrying, but I have not been so lucky)
  • You have to watch what medicines you take (so if you have a headache, you can have Tylenol, but not that lovely Advil you are really craving).  I just hope I don’t get sick as not being able to take cold medicines is horrible as I found out during pregnancy – ugh!

In any case, even with its drawbacks, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Breast truly is best!

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So you think you can blog

So I imagine most people think they can write.  If they can put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and get the spelling close enough that spell checker corrects it, then writing happens.  I suppose I am one of those people.  But I don’t have any illusions of grandeur.  I don’t suppose that my meandering thoughts or observations are going to change the world nor lead to a stunning novel or anything of the sort.

I just want to have a forum to discuss things of interest to me, and things that I hope might sometimes strike a chord with others.  Being a new Mom, I am learning so much all the time and I know that what other Moms have shared with me has had such a positive impact on me.  They have provided me with ideas for sleep, feeding, where to buy things, and how to handle different and new situations.  Most importantly, they have provided immeasurable support, and I just want to pass some of that along to others if I can.  To that end, I am going to share a little bit of myself with the world (and lucky for you, there is no one who is going to force you to read this if you don’t want to – certainly not me!).

Breastfeeding is one of those things I have learned quite a bit about over the past 9 months.  I have been SO lucky to have a daughter who latched on that first day and although we went through that rough first 2 weeks together (hello painfully sore nipples!), we came out the other side with a strong breastfeeding relationship.  The more I read about how good it is for our babies, I can’t help but want to share what I know and the things that helped me.  If more Moms who may want to breastfeed can be encouraged to do so, and provided with ideas that may help them, I’d be thrilled.  Sometimes all it takes is just plain inspiration and a goal to get over “the hump” that is the beginning of breastfeeding.  I was blessed to have a friend with a baby 7 months older than mine and she gave me the straight goods.  Knowing what to expect I had a goal in mind that kept me focused.  It ain’t easy, and certainly is no place for sissies.  But oh it is worth it!

I have also gotten in touch with my inner granola.  Being a professional accountant for the last 15 years has not exactly prepared me for motherhood.  The budgeting aspect, perhaps.  But the rest of it?  Not so much.  My previous desk job was not nearly as physically demanding as what I am doing now, and at 39 years old I am not exactly a spring chicken any more.  Luckily for me, somewhere deep inside lurked the heart of a “natural Mom”.  I have started making dinners “from scratch” (and they are shockingly healthy for the most part).  It surprised both me and my husband that I could actually do this!

When I was a single working girl living by myself with my cat, take-out was a staple of my diet.  My life was filled with working (and lots of overtime), shopping, sailing, changing my hairstyle and color practically every month, riding my cruiser bike along the seawall, more shopping, TV watching, reading fashion magazines, eating out, and going for drinks.  That was not so long ago (September 2008).

Now, just 2 years later I have grown my hair out to its natural color, I might have a tiny bit of wine every 2 weeks or so, I haven’t been on my bicycle nor a sailboat since I became pregnant in April of 2009, and suddenly I am a co-sleeping, baby-wearing, breastfeeding, baby-led-weaning, cloth-diapering Mama and wife (with a dog and a cat to boot).

Now don’t go getting the wrong idea about me.  I won’t wear socks and Birkenstocks.  If I could get away with wearing my prettier clothes without fear of spit up and other disasters, I know I would be a much more fashionable Mom today.  It does sadden me a bit when I think of all that time and money spent shopping and now my nicer clothes hang lonely in the closet.  Alas, I have been relegated to mostly jeans and t-shirts, but at least I still have my cool shoes (hello Fluevogs!).

What is more granola about me, however, is my desire to improve the world in whatever way I can, starting with myself:

  • Eating healthier (did you know cauliflower is delicious when sharp cheddar is grated on top?  It also makes for great finger food for my little baby-led-weaning eater.)
  • Breastfeeding (so that’s what they’re for!  I am SO becoming a lactivist, albeit I don’t want to be a pushy one)
  • Co-sleeping (ok, so it may not initially sound like it would make the world a better place, but if I get more sleep it means I will be less grumpy and a less grumpy Mom is… well… you get the idea)
  • Responding quickly to my baby’s cries (I know the people in the grocery store don’t like hearing it… neither do I)
  • Reducing my consumerism (although that one is tough… have you seen the adorable baby shoes and hats?)
  • Reading more and watching TV less (it is all relative – I still can’t give up Grey’s Anatomy, I’m sorry I’m a lesser person for this)
  • Reducing, reusing and recycling more (hello re-usable grocery bags, Tupperware, and blue boxes)
  • Cloth diapering to reduce the disposables and their nasty chemicals going into landfills (plus fluffy bums are so stinkin’ cute – have you seen today’s cloth diapers?  If not, you really must.)
  • Baby Wearing (a weird term, I know, but you will often find me with baby on my hip in her sling while I pathetically try and push the empty stroller which has become the world’s largest rolling purse instead)
  • Cleaning up my language 🙂  (I’m trying to remember that I need to set a good example in all I do)

That is quite a lot of change in 2 short years.  But I am used to change.  In fact, I embrace change.  I always have, especially when I feel the change is for the better.

I am THAT person who has moved 10 times in 15 years (one was to move from Calgary to Vancouver, somewhat on a whim that I “needed to live by the ocean”).  I have changed jobs 8 times in 15 years.  Within that time I have also been married and divorced quickly, followed by 6 different boyfriends, and then finally met the man of my dreams who is now my husband.  Since that point on, we have been on what we refer to as “The Fast Forward Plan”.  Moved in together within 3 months.  Started trying to have a baby.  Got pregnant.  Got married.  Had our baby.

It has been a bit of a blur, but a ride I have very much enjoyed with all of its ups and downs.  As Bryan Adams would say, however, I still believe “The best is yet to come” and look forward to whatever the future holds.

I also look forward to hearing whatever you may wish to share with me… your comments, questions and debates.  I still have much to learn!

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