Tag Archive | baby

My Breastfeeding Journey part 1

My little Munchkin, only a few weeks old.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I am going to try to post something breastfeeding related each day. Today I am going to start with mine and Munchkin’s breastfeeding experience.

Before Munchkin arrived, I tried to prepare myself as best I could. I read a bunch of pregnancy books and went to a birthing class. I read a breastfeeding book and attended a class. Hubby and I discussed our parenting philosophies and we were pretty much on the same page. We didn’t see anything wrong with “cry it out” or spanking because that’s how our parents did it.  Our children were never going to sleep in bed with us. . . Of course that all went out the window as soon as Munchkin made it earthside. There was no way in hell I was letting this precious little baby cry it out or sleep by himself.

I can’t remember exactly what made me decide to breastfeed. My sisters and I weren’t breastfed and didn’t know anyone who did. It was just something I was going to do because it was healthy for the baby and it was free. 😉

While at the hospital, Munchkin seemed to be nursing well. He was producing wet and messy diapers. They sent us home Christmas day(Thursday). The following day I woke up to incredibly swollen breasts. My milk had come in over night. Munchkin would not nurse. He’d throw himself back away from my breasts screaming. It was awful. I called the dr’s office to make an appointment for Munchkin. I told them he wasn’t nursing and he hadn’t had a poopy diaper since we got home. They said it was fine!? I had to insist on a Saturday morning appointment. When I went in, the pediatrician who saw Munchkin(not the one we were going to see on a regular basis) freaked because he had lost too much weight. He freaked us out and sent us back to the hospital. I won’t get into the details (you can read them here), but it was a very traumatic 4 days for everyone. We didn’t get much support in the breastfeeding department. We did have a very nice hospital lactation consultant, but she had other patients to see and couldn’t devote much time to us. She did get us a pump and showed me how to use it.

Once we got home, I tried and tried to get Munchkin to latch and for a while the only way he would latch is if he was half asleep. This was only on occasion and eventually he stopped doing that too. I became an exclusive pumper. I hated it. I was determined to give Munchkin breast milk though so I stuck it out. I made it to 16 months and then my supply dried up, which I later found out was due to the fact that I had become pregnant. 🙂

I wouldn’t have made it all those months without the support of my husband. He really was great through the whole ordeal. The first 6 weeks I was in agony every time I pumped. My nipples were cracked and sore. The first 12 weeks, I pumped every 2 hours around the clock. Then I went to every 3 -4 hours. I pumped and pumped and pumped. . . Some days it felt like that is all I did. I struggled to keep my supply up. I had to supplement with formula for the first 2 months. You know the expression “Don’t cry over spilled milk”? Well I definitely cried when I spilled, which did happen a few times. I worked so hard to pump what I could.

Somewhere in there I discovered hands free pumping. I was finally able to interact with Munchkin while I pumped. I could also eat, drink, use the computer, well you get the idea. This also resulted in my supply increasing. I was able to relax while I pumped and I wasn’t sitting there watching the clock.

I found a Yahoo! group called Pump Moms. They were an incredible resource for me. I learned so much from those women. One of my favorite things I learned about is a fantastic book called Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson. It is all about diet, herbs and lactation and your health. I absorbed so much information from that book and highly recommend it to any breastfeeding mama.

I finally joined La Leche League when Munchkin was 10 months old. I think that is my only regret, that I didn’t join them sooner. Like waaay sooner. I wish I had joined before Munchkin had been born. Then I would have had a support system when I ran into problems. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

The up side to all of this is that I learned an amazing amount of information about lactation, supply, breastfeeding and all the issues that can go along with it. It made me want to pursue becoming a La Leche League leader and a lactation consultant. I want to be able to help other women breastfeed whether they can afford it or not. So this is the next task on my list.

Sleep, or lack thereof

Sleeping Peanut

Sleeping Peanut

I miss sleeping. These last few months, yes months, have been lacking in the sleep department. Not that I was getting much to begin with, but it was more than I am getting now. First it was due to packing and then the actual moving and then the settling in.

These last few weeks Peanut has been teething so his sleep is off track. He nurses frequently at night for short periods. Just to soothe himself back to sleep. I don’t fully wake up, just enough help him latch, but it is still enough that I don’t feel rested. I have been falling asleep with Peanut at nap times which is fine, but I would much rather use that time to give Munchkin some one on one time. He really needs it right now. He has been all off kilter too. He hasn’t been wanting to go to sleep at night unless he can snuggle up in the big bed with Peanut and I. He has been waking at night and needing a snuggle. This means I have to get out of the bed and climb into his bed with him until he falls back to sleep. Sometimes though,  he wakes up quietly and he climbs into bed with us. This is usually not a very graceful procedure. I have to try to guide him to the opposite side of what Peanut is sleeping on. I end up not being able to move as result of this.  I am not sure exactly what is causing his waking, but I know it will pass. We have been through this many times before.

It seems as though I get one child sleeping, doze off and then the other one wakes up. The kiddos haven’t been completely settling down until sometime between 1 and 2am. I haven’t been going to bed until 3 am because I NEED at least an hour of quiet to myself to keep my sanity. Munchkin wakes up at 7/7:30am. Despite the fact that he has room full of toys across the hall with which he could entertain himself, he finds jumping up onto the bed, crawling on top of me and saying “Hi Baby” in a very loud voice at his brother, is the best way to tackle the morning. Peanut, who has been sleeping peacefully up until this point, is now wide awake. As soon as he sees his brother, a huge smile creeps onto his face and he starts squealing happily. He loves his brother very much. It’s not the worst way to wake in the morning, although Hubby I am sure would disagree. He fights it. He refuses to get up in the morning. He tells Munchkin to go play or go back to sleep, even though those “requests” haven’t worked the past 100 times. So, hubby rolls over and pulls the covers up to his ears in an attempt to avoid the whole situation. He does remarkably well at ignoring everyone and usually ends up snoring again. . . .Grrr. This. Irritates. The. Crap. Out . Of. Me. I handle all the night-time stuff, including when we are BOTH sitting on the couch trying to watch a movie. He goes to bed a few hours before me and then gets to sleep later han me. Hmph!

You really need to check out Amber Dusick’s illustrated blog. I saw it a few nights ago and burst out laughing because it is so my life. Especially this sleeping one.  http://www.amberdusick.com/woodmouse_loves_crafts/2011/06/what-it-is-like-to-not-sleep-at-night-illustrated-with-crappy-pictures.html (I can’t seem to make the link pretty. . . )

I can’t imagine how this would all be if we weren’t cosleeping/bed sharing. I probably wouldn’t be getting any sleep at all if I were running in between bedrooms. Hubby would surely be dreaming about cars or electronics or well, you know. . .

The Move to Mississippi

Its been a while since my last post, but things were crazy with the move and trying to get organized.

It took us three days to get from Massachusetts to Mississippi. It went as well as could be expected. We drove until 2am each day. Munchkin broke the portable DVD player. I was upset by this because it meant there was no distraction for him. We got it from a very nice family on Freecycle, so at least we hadn’t paid for it. Munchkin kept sticking his foot in Peanut’s face. We resorted to taking his shoes off when we put them in the car and then he would proceed to remove his socks. At one point we heard him say “Aaaaawwww” and looked back to see him sticking his toes in Peanut’s mouth. K told him it was not cute, so stop saying aaawww. I realized he was actually saying aaaaahhh, as in open wide. I told K this and she just about peed herself laughing.

We stopped pretty much every 2 -3 hours. Between us needing bathroom breaks, gas, diaper changes, Peanut needing to nurse and Munchkin needing to get out of the car before he drove us all crazy, the stops ended up lasting almost an hour. . . It felt like we would never reach Mississippi.

On the first night, we stayed at a Motel 6 in Pennsylvania. It was kind of sketchy. The only thing it had going for it was an LCD TV, not the we watched it. The room was really small and we did NOT shower. . . The second night, for only $10 more, we stayed at a Comfort Inn. It was soooo nice. Very clean, we showered. There were lots of drawers and doors for Munchkin to play with. They didn’t mind the dog and cats. If I have to stay at a hotel again, I would definitely stay at a Comfort Inn again.

Each night when we got to the motel/hotel, Munchkin would be passed out cold. As soon as we laid him down though his eyes would pop open. He’d sleepily look around, realize we were someplace strange and hop out of bed to explore and run around like a crazy person. Hubby would get irritated and tell him in his grumpy voice to get back in bed. It landed on deaf ears though as Munchkin continued running around and jumping on the beds and laughing hysterically. I had to tell hubby that he needed to give Munchkin a few moments to get out his sillyness because he had just spent over 12 hours traveling. He’d grumble and stalk into the bathroom.

The dog and the cats did very well considering all the commotion and strangeness. The cats stayed fairly quiet in the car. I know having them in the same crate together really made a difference. Once we got them in the room, they would walk out of the crate, explore and then find a place to settle for the night once we were all in bed. The dog shook and drooled for the first few hours of the trip. He used to get car sick all the time, so this was a big step. After that though, he did totally fine and jump in and out hubby’s truck nonchalantly. We had brought a bed for him, so we would lay that down for him in the room so that he had a spot that was his.

When we finally reached the house in Mississippi, it was 2am. After unpacking the cars, blowing up the air mattresses and getting the kiddos changed and settled, it was 3am.  It was really nice to know that come morning we weren’t going to have to pack the car back up and drive some more.  It was probably around 9am when the kiddos woke up. Munchkin ran all over and explored the house, loving the fact that his already loud voice echoed through the rooms. The critters seemed pleased with the house as well.

We drove down to McDonalds so that we could use the wi-fi and get some food. This ended up being the routine for about a week while we got unpacked and waited for AT&T and Direct TV to install our services. We ran into issues with the moving company. Our bank wouldn’t release the funds because it was such a large amount. . . Thank goodness for my mother-in-law. She put the charges on her credit card and then we wrote her a check. If she hadn’t helped us out, our stuff wouldn’t have been delivered until Wednesday(it was currently Friday)! There was no way we could have dealt with that. Around 5 that evening we finally got our stuff. All I wanted was to get our bed off the truck, but of course it started raining. One more night on the air mattresses. Over the next few days, one of hubby’s cousins came over and helped with the unpacking. My father-in-law also arrived because he had some stuff to bring down. He helped unload the heavy items.

So, here we are a month later and still trying to unpack and organize. This is not an easy task when you have 2 small children who need your attention. I wanted to do some exploring of the area. I had to bring K back up to Tennessee to my mom’s and stayed there for a few days. She was soooo excited, but I think she and her husband were worn out when we left. 🙂 I attended my first Mississippi La Leche League meeting too and met some great mamas. Needless to say, there has been a lot going on. I know it will all get unpacked eventually, but I wish it would be sooner rather than later.

Anyways, that was our move in a nutshell. Not too bad, but definitely not something I want to do again anytime soon!

Some trees on our property

Choices. . .and stuff

I figured since I have a little time, Munchkin is napping and Peanut is nursing sleepily, I would write.

I have been thinking a lot about choices. There are easy choices, like what do I want to wear today; And there are hard choices, like the one to  make this move. Everything we do is all about a choice and that choice leads to another and so on. That is what makes choosing so complicated. You always have to be thinking ahead to what the next choice will be.

Something seemingly simple like dinner can get quite complicated. What should I make? How long will it take to prep and cook it. Will everyone like it? Do I even have everything to make it? After this process do I even have the motivation left to make it? :p

This move was a really big choice. I am starting to freak out a little about it. All the severe weather in the south isn’t really helping that either. (My heart goes out to all those who have lost their homes and loved ones.) Is this really the right choice for us? I have believed it is for some time now. I feel like we have been stuck in a rut. My husband needs a career change. I want to feel like I have a purpose. I mean I do with raising my babies, but I want to provide more for my family. I really want to learn to be more self-sustaining. I want to have a garden and grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables. I want to raise chickens for eggs and possibly for eating. Goats would be great too. We could have fresh milk and maybe I could learn to make butter and yogurt too. I want our kids to have more space to move around, I’m sure the dog would enjoy it too. I’d also like to have some space so I can work on my sewing some more. I really enjoy it and have a great sense of accomplishment when I finish a project. It’s just our space is quite limited and my sewing table ends up being the catch-all. . .

I worry though. Will my husband get a great job? He wants to get his CDL once we make this move. Will I be able to keep up with all I want to do?  Will I be able to find an amazing group of women to confide in and have fun with like I have here. It has taken me over two years to find people I fit in with. I am a little on the strange side 🙂 I am sad that I will be leaving friends and family, but excited to forge new friendships and meet new family as well as reconnect with my mom.

. . . 9 hour break. . . .

Well, my blogging time got cut short. It’s now midnight, so I have completely lost my train of thought and can’t seem to find it again. Oh well, not the first time my thoughts have been derailed and won’t be the last I am sure.

Munchkin’s sleeping habits have always been crazy. So it’s always been really hard to plan around his sleeping. We will think that we have a schedule because things are going smoothly for a few weeks and then, whammo! something happens and everything is different. Peanut has been pretty consistent for the last four months, but I think he is starting to teethe. Munchkin started right around this time too. He had all his teeth by the time he was 12 months old, well besides his two-year molars. He just finished growing those.

So, my nine-hour blogging break was due to having a two-year old who didn’t know what he wanted or wanted to do for the rest of the afternoon. He was incredibly unhappy. It was frustrating for both of us because he couldn’t communicate what he  was feeling and I was having a hell of time trying to figure it out. . . On top of his unhappiness, Peanut did not want to be put down or ignored. Needless to say, nothing got done and we had sandwiches for dinner. Come to think of it yesterday went pretty much the same way and I ended up alternately wearing the kiddos. Yes, Munchkin still absolutely LOVES to be worn. I don’t mind, except it is a lot of up and down with him. 🙂

Well, I am going to fold the now wrinkled laundry that is in the dryer and hope that the clothes that have been sitting in the wash all day, don’t need to be re-washed.

Night!

My little Munchkin will be 19 months on the 23rd. I can’t believe it. All ready it has been such a journey. Watching him grow physically and emotionally is so rewarding. I am so glad that I have been lucky enough to be able to stay home and raise him and not miss any of his milestones.

He is now running, jumping on the couch, climbing up on his slide and spouting out almost coherent words. He gives the best hugs and real kisses(not those sloppy open mouth ones-though I guess I do miss them). He high fives and does fist bumps. He has also found out he can screech at the top of his lungs. He loves to spin round and round until he is dizzy and falling over. He has the absolute best laugh. Did I mention how much I love being his mom?

We found out in May that we are expecting baby number two. He or she will be here the beginning of January. I am excited, but also nervous. Am I really going to be able to divide my time equally between a dependent newborn and my ever energetic toddler? Will my little Munchkin think that I am replacing him? Will he accept his new little brother or sister? Ugh, mommy anxieties. I know in my head everything will be fine, but in my heart I worry. I don’t want my little Munchkin to feel left out or like he is being replaced.

Due to the unpleasantness that I felt in the hospital for little man’s birth, this time around we are having a home birth. I found a wonderful midwife. Munchkin is going to be here as well. I am hoping that it might make a little more sense to him that way. I know he will only be two, but I think on some level it will click. Plus, the thought of being in a hospital and being away from him for two days is just too much for me to bare.

I guess thats it for tonight.

I will keep you posted on the pregnancy and how the birth goes.

How I became a cow. . .

I had this whole plan worked out for when Munchkin was born. I was going to breastfeed. He wasn’t going to have any bottles or pacifiers until at least six weeks old. We were going to cloth diaper bc my washer and dryer was going to be hooked up.  We were going to move to another apartment when he was about 6 months old.

That was the plan.

Well, the thing about plans, in my experience anyway, is they don’t usually work the way you want.

Munchkin nursed well in the hospital. The first night we were home was ok. The next morning when I woke, my breasts were so huge. Remember that scene in Look Whos Talking where Kirsty Alley goes in the bathroom and is like holy crap? Yeah, that happened. My milk came in full force. My poor little guy couldn’t latch properly. He would throw himself back and cry when he did latch. I called the Dr’s office because I was concerned that he wasn’t eating much and he hadn’t had a bowel movement since we had left the hospital. They told me not to worry and to just come in the next day when I had an appointment scheduled.

We went in Saturday for our appointment. Munchkin got weighed and the Dr examined him. He told us he was concerned because Munchkin had lost more weight than they like to see and he was dehydrated. He sent us back to the hospital so that he could get IV fluids and be watched. I was a mess. I felt like a failure. What kind of mom was I that couldn’t even keep my baby sustained for a few days on my own?! I was so worried, so upset, I couldn’t talk to anyone. Every time I tried, I would break down and start crying. I’m sure the effect was exaggerated due to my raging hormones.  My husband had to do all the talking and he hates talking to people.

The Dr came in once we were situated in the room. She told us that we had to give him formula. I informed her that I wanted to be able to just breastfeed. She got a little hostile and said he needed food now and that was that. Obviously she is not a breastfeeding advocate. This further added to my distress. They took Munchkin out of the room so that they could draw blood and place an IV catheter. When they brought him back he had a catheter in his temple! All his other veins were collapsed from getting blood and being dehydrated. My poor little guy had bruises on his arms and hands. It was awful. I cried some more. The Dr also said she wanted to do a spinal tap to make sure it wasn’t an infection. I was hesitant, but she pushed. So he had another test and this one I should have said no to. But I was a first time mom and didn’t know what I was doing.

Begrudgingly, I gave him bottles of formula until a lactation consultant was able to come up and see me. She was also irritated with the way the Dr had pushed the formula. She brought me a pump and showed me how to use it.   The LC tried everything to help get Munchkin to latch on correctly so that we could nurse. But it wasn’t looking promising.  I pumped every 2 hours around the clock at the hospital. May I add that my husband was there with us the whole time. He was just as worried and super supportive and helpful while I sat there holding the pump parts up to my breasts as I pumped “liquid gold” for our son.  We ended up there until Tuesday. Munchkin was feeling better, I had the pumping thing down and my husband and I couldn’t wait to go home.

This began my relationship with the pump. When we got home my schedule consisted of pumping every two hours during the day and about every three hours at night. I kept up this schedule for about three months. My nipples felt like they were going to fall off. My left one was cracked and bleeding. It was awful. I tried air drying. I tried using the lanolin ointment, but that only made it worse. Turns out I am allergic to it. I tried neosporin. I even treated for Thrush with Gentian Violet. I had purple nipples for a week! Finally the Dr gave me a special cream and within a few days they were starting to feel better.

Along with my nipple issues I had supply issues. I struggled to make enough for Munchkin to eat. I had to supplement with formula for 2 months. I was so excited the day that I finally made enough for my little guy to stop drinking formula. I had tried taking Fenugreek, but that caused horrible gas in my poor baby. He would scream in pain. I tried Mother’s Milk tea, but didn’t really see much of an increase with that. I made diet changes, added oatmeal into my diet and just started eating healthier overall and drank lots of water. I started taking a whole food prenatal vitamin and a calcium supplement. These changes helped my supply.  I read a great book called Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson. It was a  really good read about being healthy and making more milk through lactogenic foods and herbs.

I bought every size flange they make to find the right fit for my nipples. I had to buy a small bottle of olive oil to keep in my pump bag. Coating the flanges reduces friction. I bought a hands free puming bra. It looks silly and my sister called me Madonna for a while every time I donned it. I am so glad I bought it though. Being able to relax while pumping helped my supply as well.  I can eat, use the computer, take care of the baby and scratch all those annoying itches that start as soon as you don’t have free hands to scratch them.

Slowly I have been able to decrease the amount of pumping I do. I am down from 10 -12 a day to 5 a day. I now produce about 30 ounces of milk. Just enough to keep Munchkin full.  It has been a long hard road. I definately don’t love pumping. I do it for the love of my baby. I want him to have the best possible nutrtion. So I am 7 months in, with at least 5 more to go.

So, that was my journey to becoming a cow. My sister lovingly calls me Bessie. My husband threatened to buy me a bell. My sister will text me to see what I am up to and all I have to type in reply is “Mooooo!”