Monthly Archives: February 2010

I am a nursing mama….one of those nursing mamas

When you were a little girl did you imagine the kind of mama you would be?  I did.  I have to admit I do not remember all of my musings, but I do a few…  I thought I would be one of those mamas that would take my maternity leave and then be thrilled to leave my kids at daycare while I went to work.  Wrong.  I hate leaving my kids and we are praying about how we can change things…but that is not for this post.

Back to the type of mama I thought I would be.  I remember one time I was dressing my baby doll, I was probably 7 or 8, and I put her on her head to get her pants on.  My mom saw it and told me “you can’t do that with a real baby.”  Well, I have found she was kind of right and kind of wrong.  You don’t put them directly on their head, but they start moving a lot earlier than you expect, so you have to dress them while they put themselves all over, sometimes I think they will end up on their head.

What I did not ever consider was whether I would nurse my babies or give them formula bottles. I was not nursed and only those “natural people” we knew did any of that.  You know what I mean?  The ones who used honey instead of sugar, had healthy tasting snacks.  Those people.

Fast forward many years.  I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 15.  You can not control most risk factors for MS, it is most prevelant in women, in climates like Michigan, in Middle Class families, etc.  It is wierd.  But there is at least some research that at one point said those who were breastfed as babies were less likely to develop MS.  So I decided since I could not control many of the other risk factors, that I would “at least” nurse my children.

Fast forward more years.  I went into remission from the MS and my husband and I decided we would like to start a family.  And our first daughter was born.  The first 2 weeks of nursing were hard, really hard.  And then we got into our groove and it was great! 

Caitlyn was exclusively nursed or given pumped milk until 9 months old.  My milk then dropped significantly due to my bonus pregnancy with Sue, so we supplemented.  Man I hated it.  I cried.  I felt so bad that Caitlyn was not getting to nurse as much as I had planned.  But she was happy to nurse part-time until 11 months old, when she weaned on her own.  At the time I thought I had failed her, but later learned it is normal for nurslings to wean when mama is about 18-20 weeks pregnant as the milk changes taste.

So fast forward 20 weeks and 3 days…and Sue arrived.  I really thought since I had just weaned a baby that nursing this time would be like old hat.  But I felt again like all thumbs; like I had never done this before.  It caused some stress.  Okay, I’ll be honest, I felt like freaking out.  Thankfully the lactation consultant and my midwife calmed me down.  They assured me it was normal, that I was not the only learner here…nursing is natural for babies, but there is still a learning curve.

Then the next two weeks were hard again.  I kept saying to my hubby, it gets better right?  And he said over and over, yes, in about two weeks. And you know, it did. 

And this time I pumped milk like a crazy woman.  I wanted to make sure I had plenty and I did.  Sue did not have cows milk regularly until 20 months old.  Now, I have nothing against cows milk, but I had the stash and my Sue is very small for her age.  She thinks gaining weight is optional.   She can out eat her sister and still sits around the 3rd percentile for weight.  Breastmilk is great for just such a child as ounce for ounce it has the most perfect caloric load for a little one.  The milk can be used completely by the body, everything it takes in can be used, rather than taking in fillers that are eliminated.

Now fast forward to 27 months old.  My Sue still loves nursing.  Does she get much nutritionally, no.  It is a comfort thing for her.  She is an incredibly confident, confident child, but a couple times a day she likes her mama minute.  When I first found out baby number 3 was coming, I was incredibly sick for several weeks.  I wanted to wean Sue soooooo bad.  But she would have none of it.  She would cry so pitifully.  The only way to deal with it was to put her in her room, and it just seems wrong to “punish” a child for wanting to nurse, so we made it through mama being sick with the baby and now we are back to nursing some days, other days she gets too busy, and that’s okay. 

I am again just about 18 weeks along.  It will be interesting to see what happens with Sue.  Will she wean like sissy did?  Is she even getting enough milk to realize the change in flavor, I doubt it.  So I don’t know how we will proceed.  I really don’t.  But I know that right now my heart is not ready to force her to wean. I have held a strong belief in child led weaning since I was pregnant with Caitlyn.  And that has not changed…so it is as much a “dilemna” for mama as it is Sue.  And I am very glad there is nothing really forcing me to make any decision at this moment.  So I continue to think about it, weigh my options and pray.  We’ll see.

Please feel free to ask questions about nursing, pumping, etc.  I love to help mamas with nursing, whether it is a challenge they are facing or trying to decide what is best for them.  I love it.

And just so you don’t forget what my cuties look like, here they are:

More pregnancy advice you may not need or want…

Upon announcing pregnancy, every woman opens herself up to advice, whether it is her first pregnancy or her third…I am guessing even when you have been pregnant more than 3 times, but wouldn’t personally know.

I thought today I would add my 2 cents worth to that pile of advice:

Remember pregnancy is a gift.  It is.  One that some days you will treasure, and some days you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.  Enjoy the days you can, endure the days you can’t enjoy and give yourself a break to sometimes feel crummy and whine.  It’s okay.  It really is.

Drink your fluids the best you can.  This is not my strong suit, but I do try.  With my first pregnancy I was very dilgent with giving up caffeine.  I tried so hard.  I also worried about the dye in my food…then morning sickness hit and it didn’t matter what went in, it all came out, so it became just survival mode.  Once morning sickness improved at 14 weeks I got better about my fluids and eliminating some foods, but not perfect.  I decided I had to pick my battles.  I had to pick what things I was going to obsess over and what things I would just do my best.  I realized there were restrictions I needed to follow, so those, I would really stay attuned to. Beyond that, I could make some good choices, but I had to be able to live with that…  Some of what I worked on was limiting caffeine, over the counter medications and artificial sweeteners.  I would say with my second pregnancy I did not worry at all about caffeine, I was trying to keep up with a infant/toddler and be pregnant, I chose to have caffeine for that.  With this pregnancy, I am limiting my caffeine a little more, but not entirely by any stretch.  I know that will come naturally as the baby gets bigger and its movements get stronger; caffeine makes my babies kick even more, so to spare my internal organs some beating, I cut out more stuff that makes the tenant antsy.  It is a natural choice and honestly feels less like being deprived!

Be flexible in your decisions.  I decided while pregnant with Caitlyn I wanted an unmedicated birth in a birthing center.  Due to complications at the end, I was unable to be in the birthing center and did end up with an epidural.  Now with Sue, all went as planned and it is a good thing I didn’t want meds, she was born 2 hours after getting to the birthing center, there was no time for drugs (and it really was as awesome and empowering as the natural birthing books I had read said it would be!) 

But probably even more important than the birthing portion, be flexible with things after the baby is born.  I didn’t think I would ever be a co-sleeper, but I was part-time.  The girls were in their cradle probably about 40% of the time, the rest of the time, it was just so much easier to have them next to me for those night-time nursings.  With Caitlyn, I had decided I wanted to do cloth diapers.  We lasted about 2 months–and then became Pampers parents.  I still wonder about that and keep kicking around the idea to try again, but hubby is not real interested…we’ll see, but I think Pampers will continue to get our investment at least part time!  I also swore we wouldn’t use binkies.  Yeah, I was wrong.  Caitlyn used hers for 10 months and Sue still hoards them.  They saved my sanity and in my experience, did not harm the nursing relationship in any way whatsoever.  (Sue still nurses too and we are closing in on 27 months old)

All of the above is nice, but honestly I think the thing that matters the most to me, is treasure the time you are pregnant as much as you can.  This is the closest you will be to your child.  You alone feel all the kicks, all the movement.  You can sometimes invite the daddy to feel from the outside, but it is not the same.  You get this close bond.  And for the time being it is yours alone.  From the minute he or she is born, you have to share them.  The daddy expects to hold them, the midwife needs to check them, the nurses need them…and it just continues.  It is your job from the minute they are  born to help them grow into their own person.  And ultimately to strike out on their own.  The thought of them leaving me used to terrify me, now I have come to a place where I want them to grow up and be on their own (not yet of course, and they don’t have to hurry) some day.  And I will relish the job of teaching them so many things, but while I carry each one, that is my time to hold them the closest and that I treasure, and I hope all the pregnant mommies out there can too.

What advice have you gotten with your pregnancies?  What was the best advice you got?  What were some of the ridiculous things?  What was that thing you thought, “if I hear this one more time, I am going to scream!”

Winter wonderland and daddy

I am not an outside type of person.  Not really much at any time of the year, unless I can be out jogging…and definitely not an outside person in the winter.  I like to look at the snow and look at the Christmas decorations and I am glad to live in a state with seasons, but otherwise, none of it is really my thing.

My husband enjoys it more and thanks to him, my kids are experiencing it.  In the summer he sets up the little kiddie pool, in the fall he takes them out to rake leaves and in the winter he takes them out to play when we have snow. 

This winter, we haven’t had much of that white stuff.  It’s been cold, awful cold, but not exceedingly white.  But oh my girls look for that snow. 

And when it comes…”can we go outside?”
“can we play in the snow?”
“Oh girls, that is something you do with daddy!”

Monday of this week was one of those days, we got quite a pounding of snow (between 6 and 9 inches depending on where you lived).  The girls had a rough afternoon so were in their rooms about the time daddy was done snowblowing and wanted to take them out, but I decided it would be okay to let them out to play, anything to get rid of some energy.

So the process begins to get them ready.  Caitlyn didn’t need much help at all, she was ready to go as soon as she heard the words..really, we have never seen her get her coat and stuff on so quick!  And Sue was very cooperative with getting all the stuff on, that is snowpants, boots, gloves and coats for both of them.

When you ask them what they did:

Caitlyn says, “we wore our boots and we made snow angels and angels and angels.  We didn’t finish the snow man, then we come in and have hot chocolate.”

What strikes me each time is how excited they are to go out with daddy…and how much they are crying from being cold when they come back in.  Caitlyn stays out just as long as she can stand it, but then is a basket case when she comes back in. She cries and cries at how cold her hands are.

And this week daddy had a good idea, hot chocolate.  Well with a 2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old it isn’t really HOT chocolate, but I made up some chocolate milk and warmed it a touch.  When Caitlyn tasted it, she declared “this is chocolate milk.”  Ah well, we tried.

They were not interested in pictures this week, but the other day we got some:

 I am glad they are having fun, but I have one thing to say—“Spring, please come soon!”
What do your kids/nieces/nephews like to do outside?  Do they have fun in the winter?  Do you go with them or are you the designated “undresser”, like I am?