Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lullabies: 0 Lady Gaga: 1

So tonight, as every night, I was singing my son to sleep. Except it was more like trying to hold a conversation while wrestling with a crocodile, not happening. This kid is noisy! And he just wouldn't settle down, so since he wasn't paying attention I started singing what I like. I kid you not, he put his head on my shoulder and didn't move again until I put him into his crib by "You taste like whiskey when you kiss me, oh". I was surprised, because I expected the faster tempo to rouse him more. Who'd have thunk?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Parenting Resolutions

So in the spirit of the new year I am going to start a post about my parenting resolutions. I don't have a long list because I am only going to write them down as they occur to me. My only resolution so far, because I just thought of it, is this:

1. I will never tell my children they should be ashamed of themselves.
2. I will never spank my children

Ok, that was two. I thought of the second one in the moment.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nostalgia

I miss co-sleeping. There was just something about having my little guy wrapped in my arms every night that was indescribably special. I got to cuddle with him all night long. I felt every breath he took. And we woke up together in the morning looking into each others eyes.

And I miss nursing. We both got it right away, it was always easy for us. He did wean himself pretty early though. He was six or seven months old when he lost interest. It was natural at the beginning though. He didn't want to nurse immediately after being born, and I was a little worried at first. But within an hour or two he was nursing like a pro. Moms and soon to be moms of the world, take note, breastfeeding is one of the most amazing, intimate things you can do with your newborn. I know that it isn't politically correct to say breastfeeding is better, but having done both I think it is.

Breastfeeding and co-sleeping facilitate each other as well. Middle of the night feedings didn't require either of us to really wake-up, and the first feeding of the day usually turned into the first nap of the day and I got to sleep in quite a bit. And he was so small then. He couldn't even roll over consistently, much less crawl off the bed. Now he moves around in his sleep too much to share with me. And he's not much of a cuddler. I hope he will like cuddling eventually.

I think the right answer to breastfeeding and co-sleeping is whatever best suits you, but I think it's safe to say that you can enjoy both for as long as you want, but especially early on, without it affecting you or baby long term. My son gave up the pacifier on his own around the same time too. Maybe I'm just lucky.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Growing Up

I can't believe how quickly Hunter is growing up. He has been army crawling for weeks now and yesterday he started pulling his knees up underneath him for the first time. He took to feeding himself puffs with absolute ease and only gets more proficient at getting them in his mouth. From the get go he picked them up with his thumb and forefinger, no raking for this kid! He started sitting all by himself too, and can get to sitting from his tummy. And then, two nights ago, he woke me up in the middle of the night and when I went to get him he was standing up. I had to lower his crib mattress! I can't believe all of this has happened at once! One of the most awesome things that has improved is his sleeping habits. We used to have trouble with him waking up when we put him down, and we could only get him to fall asleep in our arms. And then one night I put him in his crib (I may have already written about this) because he wouldn't stop squirming and he fell asleep on his own! And now he does it all the time! I still rock him to sleep a night or two a week, but usually we can just put him down and within twenty minutes he's out. And when he does fall asleep in my arms I don't have to put him down gingerly anymore. I put him on his side, or as best as I can, and he rolls over on his tummy and stays asleep. It's simply amazing how quickly the time goes. I can't believe he's almost eight months old. Before I know it we'll be celebrating his first birthday. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sleep Trials

Hunter is getting so good at falling asleep on his own. And we never resorted to crying it out. When I put him in his crib, awake, if he starts squalling and doesn't settle down within a couple minutes with a toy or his musical mobile, then I pick him up and we go back and try to rock. But recently he hasn't been interested in rocking, and he squirms a lot and is sometimes pretty fussy. And yet after a little playing in his crib he falls asleep all by himself.

What I find so extraordinary about this is that so much of the reading that I did on sleep training was that if you don't let your baby learn to self soothe you'll be rocking him or her to sleep forever. What seemed more important to me was that my son knew that in his distress I would be there to comfort him. He has never cried himself to sleep. I don't want him to learn that I won't come when he cries, or condition him not to cry because it won't bring mommy. I want him to know that when he needs me I will come, to trust that I will be there for him.

I know there are people on both sides of this fence, and I worried about the criticism that I was going to make Hunter dependent on props, but being loving, comforting, and consoling has accomplished our ultimate goal: he falls asleep on his own. And I'm not scarred for life by letting him cry and not responding. And if he does have a night when he wants to be rocked to sleep, who am I to deny him that? There are days that I want cuddles too. I'm more than happy to rock and cuddle him those nights. There are nights that I don't want to put him down at all, even after he falls asleep. The relationship between parent and child is so special, and I feel like sometimes we get wrapped up in the rest of life and get too rushed with our kids. They are going to grow up and leave us before we know it. Childhood is the practice of leaving mom and dad and standing on your own two feet. So why are we in such a hurry to put our children down? Yes, I do it too. Sometimes things just need to get done. But there are also times that I let him fall asleep in my arms, and hold him until he wakes up again. Because sometimes we both need it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Homemade Baby Food: The Beginning

Today is Day 1 of homemade baby food, and so far it's been a hit. I picked up a perfectly ripe cantaloupe on Wednesday, and while I probably should have gotten to it a day or two ago, the inside was perfectly fine. I am not a huge fan of cantaloupe, though I can appreciate it enough to eat it, and with David away at NCO school I knew that this one was destined for Hunter's belly. Cantaloupe is extremely easy to puree because it doesn't require any cooking. It is a bit on the watery side, but to counter that I added oatmeal (much preferred in our house to rice cereal) and it fleshed out very well. I have some broccoli in the microwave cooking at the moment, and then it too will meet the food processor. Hunter is very impatiently waiting for it, but he also didn't have a very long afternoon nap today. The cantaloupe will be eaten in the next two days, because it has a very high water content and therefore will not freeze well, whereas the broccoli will be portioned into ice cube trays and frozen. I considered making some blueberries for him, but then I remembered just how easily blueberry sauce stained the clothes of my childhood and decided that I had no wish to try to work similar stains out of baby clothes. And I kind of want to eat them myself. I also bought some bananas today, but I don't feel the need to prepare those in advance. They also make easy travel food, and we are going to the zoo tomorrow.

Broccoli is done! Time to wrap up this post so all I have to do is add pictures.

This is the processed cantaloupe, sans oatmeal.

Hunter not too sure about the broccoli.

So I mixed the broccoli with some carrots that I bought specifically for baby food and forgot about earlier. It tastes good to me, but then I like broccoli. And yes, those would be penguin shaped ice cubes.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fail

I know, I know, I said I would post videos and I haven't. We have had a crazy couple of weeks, it's hard to justify the time to sit down and write. We have been going through a relapse of sleeping through the night, which is probably related to the fact that my milk supply started drying up, which was really upsetting to me. Not only am I very emotionally attached to breastfeeding, but I couldn't understand why it was happening and my sleep deprivation was starting to reach a hallucinogenic state. Hunter was so fussy at the breast, he would latch and let go over and over and over. Solid food wasn't a problem though. I brought him to the pediatrician who recommended I see the lactation consultant. They gave me a referral. Great. Except I found out the next day that I didn't need a referral and that there were walk ins the afternoon I was already at the hospital for the appointment and apparently pediatrics isn't on the ball about things like that.

So started the cycle of disappointment. This is how women give up on breastfeeding, because my frustration had me crying, moping, and swearing up and down that I was done. I called my doctor. I guess it was lunch hour, so I left a message. That was Thursday. I haven't heard anything. I called three La Leche League numbers. I had to leave messages at all three places, but at least they got back to me within two days. I called and left a message at the Ft. Carson lactation consultant's office. Nothing. Finally, in desperation to just get someone on the phone, I called the WIC lactation consultant, who thankfully was willing to walk me through my issues even though I'm not enrolled in the program. As soon as she heard that I was on Seasonique, she told me, "If you had called yesterday morning I wouldn't have known what to tell you, but I spent all day researching Seasonique and I can tell you that even though the drug company says that it is safe for breastfeeding, it will dry up your milk supply because it is heavy on estrogen." It was my birth control. The whole time it was my birth control. I should rectify my previous statement, it was after this conversation that I called my doctor and left a message stating that I believed my birth control was drying me up and I needed to talk to someone about what to do.

The WIC consultant asked me which was more important to me, breastfeeding or being on birth control, because even if I switched to a progesterone only pill, there was the possibility of it messing with my milk. And I decided that breastfeeding is more important, so I stopped taking the pill. I wish I had a doctor's opinion before I did it, but I felt it required an immediate decision and they didn't get back to me. Since then my milk supply has gotten better and Hunter has started nursing without as much fussing as well. And, just to make me feel better, today at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, when he was hungry, he would have nothing to do with the bottle, it was boobie or nothing. We are still fighting sleeping through the night issues, but they have improved as well. He even self soothed himself back to sleep once last night (not the second time he woke up though).

Not being able to feed my son made me feel like a failure though. There was something deeply emotionally rooted inside of me that was devastated and after more than a week of trouble I was having serious problems dealing with those feelings. Thank goodness my parents were here for a large part of it, because having extra hands was a huge blessing. We are working through it, and I am gaining my milk supply back, but I understand why many women give up for the same or similar issues. Especially when there is so little helpful information out there. Breastfeeding is a process that extends far beyond the newborn stage, and it is a real shame that there isn't more help out there for the established breastfeeder. Without the help of one woman who happened to have done relevant research the day before, I would still be in the dark. Coincidences are divine.