Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Truth About Breastfeeding

I have been lucky to be able to breast feed both of my babies.  I know that not all women are able to do so for a variety of reasons.  I also know that the social pressure and the "breast is best" motto has really got to hurt when you are unable to do so... and are unable to afford the high cost of donor milk (20-35k per year).  Mommy guilt sucks.  Mommy guilt also sucks, big time, if you don't WANT to breastfeed... which is the category that I fall into.  I struggle daily with my desire to wean/supplement with formula and my guilt around giving my kids what's "best" and taking for granted something that other mothers would love to be able to do.  But please, hear me out.  Here's what I have heard (and continue to hear) about the positives of breast feeding... and my take on the situation:

"Breast is best"/Breast milk is better for your child than formula --  I'm not going to argue to the science here.  Breast milk has been shown time and time again to have more health benefits, both short and long term, than formula does.  However, that being said, my children are not going to be mutated, fat, stupid and lazy if they are given formula.  Jacob and I were both formula-fed babies, and we are both well-adjusted, intelligent adults living very happy lives.

Breastfeeding is convenient.  HAHAHAHA.  This one, in my mind, is truly laughable.  Yes, it may be easier to whip out a boob than to put water in a bottle and mix it up with some formula, you don't have to carry as much around in your diaper bag and you don't have to do any sort of pre-planning in terms of feeding... HOWEVER (and please remember, as the title said, these are MY truths) it would be so much easier to bottle feed a baby while trying to grocery shop, while your partner is driving the car on a road trip, when you're at a social function with (non-nursing mom) friends and family (pulling my boob out in front of my father-in-law doesn't equal a good time in my book), etc. etc.  Additionally, if you breastfeed you have to plan your wardrobe around the activity... I am constantly having to think about what shirt/outfit will allow me the easiest access to my chest.  Want to wear a cute, high necked dress?  Not going to happen unless you want to retreat to a private place and get undressed every time you need to feed the little one.  Don't want the entire world to see your baby-flab tummy?  Gotta wear multiple layers so you can pull one up and one down and keep your mid-drift covered.  Final note on the "convenience" point, pumping breast milk at work is, like, the complete opposite of "convenient".

Nope, actually, I have one more thing to say about this one... sleep.  As a breastfeeding mother, when my baby has to eat.  It's up to me... day or night.  Sure, my husband could give the little one a pumped bottle, but guess who had to pump that bottle, and who will need to pump again in order to keep up supply/relieve the pressure from that missed feeding?  Waking up every 2-3 hours for months at a time, I do not feel the lovey, dovey warmth that I am told that I should feel as I breastfeed my child... I feel tired, stressed and often resentful of my sweet child who needs the nourishment, my husband who's sawing logs in the next room (and well rested in the morning) and my toddler who has so much energy and just wants her mommy to play with her during the day.

Breastfeeding is cheaper that formula feeding.  OK, so this one is pretty legit.  It's much cheaper to produce something for free than to hand over tens of dollars for cans of formula.  However, there are expenses involved with breastfeeding... nipple pads so you don't leak out of the left boob while feeding from the right, creams and gel pads to soothe tender areas, nursing bras/tanks/shirts/etc., breast pump, and the 30 bottles you may have to purchase to figure out which one is the most shaped like your nipple so that you're little one will take a bottle while you're away at work (Dr. Brown's, if anyone is curious).

Breastfeeding is great bonding time for mom and baby.  So... if you don't breastfeed you don't bond?  I call bull shit.  I don't feel like my bonding with my children came during feeding times.  I was too tired and had my eyes closed at 2 AM or they were asleep (though, of course, NOT at 2 AM when I wanted them to be) or staring off into space.  My bonding came from rocking them in my arms, making funny faces and coo-y noises at them, dancing around the living room and just spending time together.  I can also tell you, for a fact, that my husband did not bond with our children due to breastfeeding.  ;)

If done correctly, breastfeeding doesn't hurt.  Again, BS.  Breastfeeding, even when the latch is 100% correct can still hurt... just maybe in different ways.  Even now, 4 months into my second kid, my let down still stings a bit.  Ever since my first was a few months old, my chiropractor has become my best friend.  I constantly feel physically drained, nutrient deficient and dehydrated... I'm constantly focusing on what I'm eating/drinking, how much and how often.  Breast pumps are not exactly soft, pillow-y apparatuses either.  But that's just the physical discomfort... there's the constant stress of: is s/he getting enough to eat? Is working outside the home killing my supply? When am I going to be able to pump today? Can I drink that?  Can I eat that?  Where, while I'm at this event/party/activity/date with my husband will I be able to pump?  Crap, am I leaking through my shirt?  Is this taco going to give the baby gas?  Is this medication going to decrease my supply?  Can I run all 20 errands in the 2 hours that I have between feedings or am I going to have to find a place in public (or retreat to my car) to feed my baby?  Am I wearing appropriate clothing so that I can do so without flashing the old man sitting across from me at the restaurant?

Pregnancy weight will just fall off!  Not much to say on this topic... just wanted to point out that this is NOT the case for everyone.  I had to TRY to lose every pound after the initial birthing weight loss.

So, to sum it up, breastfeeding is a pain in my ass that I really don't like doing... but I continue to do it... because mommy guilt.  I don't know how much longer I'll do it.  My supply had pretty much kicked it by this time with my first, so we'll see what happens with the second...

I can't be the only one, right?  I'm not alone?

P.S.  That linked article pretty much could have been written by me, too.

Four Months!

I'm not really sure when to post Sam's 4-month post... as he won't actually have an official 4-month birthday... being born on the 30th kind of screws over the weird month of February.  So, I guess the last day of the month will have to do.  =)

Weight/Length- You have your 4-month check with the doctor in a couple of weeks... I'll do my best to remember to update this post.  You're getting big though... that's for sure!

Eating- Taking a bottle now just fine.  Thank GOD!  You're eating around the clock... literally.  I'm exhausted. 

Sleep- Awake every 2-3 hours... still.  Like I said, I'm exhausted.  I'm so looking forward to the point when you realize that sleep is good and mommy is happier with at least 6 hours of good solid sleep.  We have managed to transition you out of needing to be swaddled to sleep... but we replaced the swaddle with a pacifier (only for bed).  I figured that I'd rather deal with that later than constantly be worried about you rolling over while swaddled and not being able to roll back/push your head up, etc.

 Clothes- Transitioned to 6 months clothes last weekend!

Personality- Still a happy, happy, smiley baby!  And really a big sweet heart who loves to be engaged and talked to. You LOVE your big sister (who keeps you VERY entertained!) and it's so sweet to see the two of you together.  I hope you continue to grow into best friends. 

-You like to be entertained.  You love to watch your sister and the other kids at daycare playing and dancing.  And, in the dislike pile... you don't like when you aren't entertained (or can't see someone else... I sweat we're not magically disappearing every time we walk down the hall).
- You like to be held and up high (making us walk around with you)... a lot like your sister did at this age.  We've started to put you in the high chair at meals hoping that that will suffice... but you'd still much rather be held by one of us... and grabbing for our plates/forks/napkins/etc.
- You like to put things in your mouth... pretty sure that you're teething because you are drooling EVERYWHERE and chewing on everything you can fit in there.

-You don't like the Ergo... at least, not yet.  I remember that Em didn't like it until she could see over the arm straps.  I think that you may be right there with her.
- You don't like waiting.  We're definitely going to have to work on your patience as you get older!
- You don't like to sleep through the night.  Argh.

-You can roll from front to back!  You mastered that skill a week or two ago.
- You are in the reach and grab stage... my hair stays up in a pony tail at home these days.
- Celebrated your first Valentine's Day... thought that really just consisted of watching the rest of your family eat a heart shaped Papa Murphy's pizza.  =)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Three Months!

A few days late... again.  =) Sam's 3-monthiversary was on Jan. 30th. 

Weight/Length- Not really sure how much you weigh... I'm thinking it's around the 15 lbs mark.  You'll have another official weigh in at your 4-month check up in about a month.

Eating- You are FINALLY getting better at taking a bottle.  You've been at day care 4 full-days a week for about 3 weeks now and you don't fuss anymore when you have to drink out of a bottle.  And you're drinking more, too.  So, I am feeling MUCH better about this back to work thing!

Sleep-You WERE sleeping for 8-9 hour stretches at night about a week ago... now you're waking up 2-3 times per night.  I really want that 0-1 back.  =(

 Clothes- Still in 3-month sizes, but I don't expect that to last very much longer.

Personality- Definitely a smiley, happy guy!  You are very observant and like to watching your sister do a variety of things.  You are also starting to grab at toys so have been not hating your car seat as much these days as there are dangley things for you to play with.

-You love your sister.  Sometimes you will just stop crying the moment that you see her. 
- You like having something to do.  You tend to get bored if you're not actively engaged in some kind of activity, observation or interaction.  You're starting to spend more time on your play mat swatting at things.

-You don't like being left along... even if you're not really alone.  If you're sitting in your chair and can't see someone, you aren't a happy camper.
-You don't like baths... at first.  You aren't a fan of your body hitting the water... but after a few minutes (and some play time with your sister) you seem to enjoy kicking around in it.

- "Celebrated" your first new year... by sleeping through it.  =)
- First trip to a salon... to watch your sister get her hair cut.
- First "full time" day care experience.
- Discovered your fingers and toes.  You have started to grab your feet when you're laying on your back, and have started to suck on your fingers (middle and index together).

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Poop in the Hand is Worth...?

Having two kids has been an adjustment... especially one being an infant and the other a 2 year old.  They both have their own challenges!  Several people have asked me if it's harder having two kids than one.  I don't think that it's "harder" necessarily, but just requires more of you, your time and patience.

I would compare it to getting a new, large, responsibility at work.  It doesn't exactly make the job itself harder, but you have to re-prioritize in order to get everything done and you have to figure out what's the most important thing to focus on at any given time... and then you go home and drink a big glass of wine.  ;)

Case and point... my life today as a mom of two while Jacob's at work:

11:20... After sitting in a quiet room having an hour-long power struggle with an obstinate toddler who refuses to put away her play dough (baby is napping at this point), I decided that it's probably a good time to make lunch as I know that baby will be waking up soon.  So, I clean up the play dough, put it away on a high shelf letting Emily know that she won't be able to play with it tomorrow either as she refused to put it away today.  Then I make PB&J for Emily and I (with toasted frozen bread as, apparently, the stuff that's been out on the counter is now moldy).

Sandwiches are made, half of mine is eaten, Sam starts to scream.  I go into the nursery and feed him, leaving Emily alone in the dining room to finish her lunch.  After feeding Sam (who hasn't been feeling well and has been spitting up more than normal), I realize that he smells kind of gross and decide to give him a bath.  I fill up his tub, get him undressed and into it, and give him a quick wipe down.  Emily comes in with her face and hands covered in peanut butter and jelly.  I tell her to go wash her hands and face with WATER (not just the dry napkin that she's holding).  She goes into the other bathroom and, presumably, washes up (I have yet to check out that bathroom).

By the time she's done there, I'm getting a screaming Sam out of the tub.  She decides that she wants to take a bath so, I empty out Sam's tub and fill up the bath tub for her to play around in.  I take Sam into his room to get a diaper on and get him dressed (yelling questions to Emily so that, by her responses, I'll know that she hasn't drowned... I'm paranoid).  Sam's still screaming.  I think he's tired again, so I put him in his crib and swaddle him.  He's still screaming, but sleepily so I leave to go check on Emily. 

Sam falls asleep.  I take the opportunity to grab my pump.  Since Sam hasn't been feeling well, he hasn't been eating as much, which means that I've been a little, um, "full".  I set up shop outside the bathroom door so I can keep an eye/ear on Emily and start to pump.  I get a couple of ounces in when, almost simultaneously, I hear:


Emily:  Mom, I pooped in the bathtub!  See??!

I quickly disconnect myself from the pump and make a quick assessment of the situation... screaming child or child in bathtub who is HOLDING her own feces.  Hmm.  Tough one?  No. 

I grab toilet paper, take the offending log out of her hand and put it in the toilet.  Lift her up and put her on the potty so that she can finish, empty out the bathtub, grab some Clorox wipes to wipe down the interior and exterior of the tub (it got everywhere since she was passing it between both hands and then touching things), grab some paper towels so that she can wipe her hands off.  Wipe her butt when she's done, take her to the sink so she can wash her hands with soap and then sanitize.  The whole time Sam is screaming from his crib.

Once I'm pretty sure that all fecal matter has been addressed, I go in to get Sam and Emily heads to her room to get dressed.

Sam is pretty much inconsolable by this point so I'm walking, bouncing, shushing, anything that I can think of.  I go into the dining room to get his vibrating bouncer chair and see my lunch sitting on the table.  Oh yeah.  I was eating lunch, wasn't I?

I take Sam and his chair into the master bedroom and manage to calm him down so that I can finish pumping.  Emily comes in, all dressed.  She sees a bottle of lotion on my nightstand and decides that she needs some.  It's the pump bottle variety so, of course, it sprays the wall when she pushes down on it.  I tell her to go grab a towel.  She goes into the bathroom and comes back with a Clorox wipe.  Oh yeah, I forgot to put those away.  She takes the wipe and affixes it to the wall by means of lotion.  And turns around to leave it there.  I manage, somehow, to continue to rock Sam with my foot, while balancing my pumping bottles on my legs so they don't get detached, and reach over with one free hand to wipe off the wall and hand the wipe to Emily to throw away.

Pumping done, I manage to get myself detached, ask Emily to play with Sam for a minute and put the milk in the fridge.   I think come back into the bedroom and have a few quiet moments with Emily and Sam before naptime.  Phew. 

Then it's time for Emily's nap... which coincides with Sam needing to eat.  So, again, Sam's screaming and Emily needs to get down for a nap.  Sam goes into his bouncer once again (getting red in the face and pretty pissed off) while I try to get Emily into bed.  We get the correct water cup, and the correct blanket and try to go potty and FINALLY get her in bed.  I grab Sam, go into the living room, feed him, and manage to get him to fall asleep, too.

1:30... I finish my lunch.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Two Months!

A few days late... Sam's 2-month mark was on Dec. 30th. 

Weight/Length- You have your official 2-month appointment in a few days.  If I remember to update, I will.  =)  I will say that a couple of weeks ago I went to an appointment with a lactation consultant and you were a little over 13 lbs with an empty tummy.

Eating- I have absolutely no concern with your eating when I'm feeding you, but you are NOT a fan of the bottle.  After WEEKS of dealing with screaming and rejecting, your dad can finally get you to suck on a bottle, but you consistently only drink about an ounce.  The couple of times that you've been to day care you've only had about an ounce in the SIX HOURS that you're there.  You are one stubborn little guy!

Sleep-Sleeps going pretty good.  You are only waking up about once per "night" (depending on who's definition of night we're talking about), and a couple of times you've slept through the night.  Last night you were down for the night at about 11:30 and slept until 4:30 and then were awake (briefly) to eat again at 6:30 and then "up" at about 9:00.  It's great when I'm able to catch the same long stretch of sleep that you do.  =)

 Clothes- We have you in 3 month sized clothes now.  You're just too long for the 0-3 month onesies.

Personality- You are a smiley little man!  For the most part you are pretty happy.  When you're supper cranky it's usually because you're tired, need to burp, or just want to interact more with someone.  Usually pretty easy to remedy. 

-You like white noise.  You won't really fall asleep without it.
-You like interacting with people.  Smiling, sticking out your tongue, "talking" with your coos.
-You like your sister.  You will watch her do pretty much anything.  =)

-You don't like being tired.  You fight sleep and it's a bit of a pain to get you to close your eyes sometimes.
-You don't like drinking out of a bottle... you much prefer the real deal.
-You don't like being ignored.  If you're sitting in your seat/laying on the floor you need to be interacting with someone or you get grumpy.

- Celebrated your first Christmas and "saw" your first Christmas lights (you slept through them all).
- First trip to OMSI.
- First overnight trip.... went down to Junction City for Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa
- First days at day care.  Sounds like you do well, but you barely eat anything.  I don't like that.  =P