Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the end of an era

this might be a little TMI for some of my [male] readers. if you aren't interested in hearing about a mama's struggle with her nursing days coming to an end, i say you skip this one. your welcome.


"it's starting to happen" -- that's typically the follow up to my "yes" answer when people ask if i'm still nursing. yes. i am still nursing. but that inevitable "it" is starting to happen. by "it" i mean the slow but steady decrease in my milk supply, coupled with this wave of denial that comes over me almost daily. "it" started making "it's" appearance about a month ago. 

when i was pregnant, i knew i'd love nursing my baby. strangely enough, it was one of the things i used to look forward to most. it wasn't easy at first. in fact, it was a lot harder those first 2 weeks then i expected. (i'd have these really vivid dreams about nursing and it was like my boob and the baby's mouth were magnetic. it was so easy... if only that were the case in real life, right? although, not sure how i'd feel about my nips being magnetic...) it got better, and i loved it just as much as i expected. sure, there continued to be things that stressed me out about nursing -- like the smaller feedings almost guaranteeing me a middle of the night wake up call. or the back of the car feedings, or the days where he just didn't feel like eating as much as i had to offer (not cozy!), or the dreaded pump. but all of the good that comes along with it far outweighs the stress. like the instantaneous bond you have with your baby. no one really ever explained that bond to me and i do believe it is different for every mama and bambino. for me, it was the first big accomplishment we did together (aside from the actual giving birth thing!). we were both new at the whole concept and the feeling of pride i felt for the both of us when we finally "got our groove" is a feeling i'll never forget. i can easily recall that saturday night where just he and i were home, up on our bed and i was desperate for him to have what my doula kept referring to as a "good feeding"... many times before a feeding, he'd have this freak out when i tried to latch him. it was absolute misery knowing my baby was starving yet i couldn't get him what he needed most. the pressure to feed your baby.... yah, no one prepared me for that. it's a lot easier said than done to relax in those moments  -- and relaxing is really the only thing you can do to get things movin' down. (tip for new mamas/mama's to be: the best advice i got came from lindsay -- it can be stressful and hard to "let down" sometimes - especially when your baby is screaming and you are doing everything you can to just get the latch right... take deep breaths. i still do it. it usually takes one, good, deep long breath for me to let down now in environments that are super stressful -- say, an airplane or nordstrom's nursing room with 3 other mom's that are happily nursing away and in your mind, wondering how long your baby is going to take to latch.) the bond was ours and ours alone. i had the most perfect excuse to take a few minutes to be alone with my baby. no one could ever argue with the boob. 

i always said i'd nurse as long as i could - thinking that would be about 5 or 6 months. i never wanted to put an end date on it and i sure as heck didn't want to put a marker on it just because i felt i had to. but once i got to about 7 months, i thought, "ok - if i can get to a year, that would be good for him". but then at the 8th month, i got hit with a not so fun 'condition' that's made nursing super hard on me. i've been dealing with it for almost 2 months now, and i don't want it to be the reason i stop. i'm coming up on 10 months now, and i'm proud of that. i am not sure why i am struggling with it ending so badly - especially because it hasn't been comfortable for me for going on 8 weeks now. it's the end of an era i guess. am i the only one that has struggled with actually making the choice to just stop? how do you just stop? i know there is a lot out there and i obviously have avoided actually reading up on it. i know some of my friends have told me their babies weaned themselves... i always pictured it that way, and that could be what's happening already. i pretty much have a little man hanging from me these days with how long he is (90th percentile). part of me thinks maybe it would just be easier to do it now - before he gets even older and it is even harder to break. i joke that i don't want to give up my daily 500+ calorie burn but i am starting to feel it's bigger than that. i feel guilty. like i'm a quitter if i stop now. has "mom guilt" completely become my new driver in life? (why do i feel another post coming on this topic alone?!) i'm sad too. it seems so definite when you stop - because, well, it is. you can't go back. 

i know there are lots of opinions out there. i obviously need to do some research. & maybe i'm just not ready yet. that's ok too. but it will end, at some point, and i guess in true jordan-fashion, i'm mentally preparing early. 

if you have anything you are willing to share - please do. your experiences, thoughts and tips are always welcome.

thanks for listening. as usual. 

yours truly,
guilty lactating mom 

Monday, August 27, 2012

the game changer


once wyatt figured out how to sit on his own, things started really lookin' up. apparently finding the strength to sit on your own largely involves the size of your dome. wyatt's 80th percentile cranium didn't really allow for this game changer until about 7 months. i didn't realize what all the fuss was about up until that point either. i learned pretty quickly.

  • grocery store trips are my new fave. my little guy is the absolute best shopping buddy now. who knew? the kid that once cried and screamed through safeway now oohs and aahs through the produce section, laughs as i push him past the puppy food and "arf arf arf" at him, and does what he can to help me through check out - like be in charge of my wallet.
  • restaurants were never horrible with w, but now that he gets his own seat and i can latch a set of toy "keys" to it, life is even better. of course, the germaphobe in the family (rhymed with "sky") has to wipe it down to the max before he cops a squat. at least one of thinks about it. 
  • bath time is so much easier without the infant tub. i will say, i do miss our bath times together, but it's been so much fun watching him explore in there and find his own limits. this week he's taken a few gulps of bath water, but he's learning through every mini panic attack. and i'm always there to "save him". i noticed that with tonight's big drink, he didn't cry and the panic eyes only lasted about a second. the familiarity that came with it was obvious this time. and as soon as it happened, it was over and he was back to exploring what the tub had to offer. 
  • swings are popular in kansas city, and our trip a few weeks ago introduced him into the fun they bring. he was a natural - and i immediately wanted a big toy in our back yard. too soon? 




now that the "just sit there and look cute" phase has passed, he's off and crawling -- and fast. (notice that all of the things i listed keep him safely encased!) i know walking is just around the corner and if i am really being honest, i'd rather he just start walking. he leads with his noggin' (surprised?) and is constantly bonking it.

i find myself constantly holding my breath with this kid. i guess that part will never change, now will it?

sigh.

i guess those deep breaths just make room for even more glitter and confetti hearts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#blw anyone?


i'm over the moon for the 9th month. i know you aren't shocked. i love how this little man child teeters between baby and little boy within seconds of each other. i can't get enough of watching him learn new things - soaking up the details that surround him, things i haven't taken the time to notice in years. tonight he spent several minutes looking up at the faucet during bath time - you know, where the water comes out and fills the tub. i can remember looking up at that when i was little too, completely mesmerized and intrigued by the thought of where all that water comes from and the journey it must have taken to get to me. i saw a flash forward of a 4 year old little boy asking, "mom, why does the water come out?" or "where does the water actually live?". i can't wait for that. as you know by now, i pretty much can't wait for anything that has to do with him.

we're trying a lot of new things these days -- he's flying free in the tub now, like a big kid. we retired our baby bath tub and put a lot of faith in his ability to sit on his own now. he has his moments of over-confidence, but he's learning. i probably say "stay on your bottom" about 100 times during every bath time. i love that he knows what that means and listens to me when i say it. for now. he absolutely loves water. he splashes, scoots, and grabs and i can tell he's in his happy place.

he's "cruising" -- a term i just recently learned. he walks around the couch, his crib, his downstairs play zone with ease now. he laughs when i tell him he's "crusin' for a bruisin"... my dad used to say this to us. i love having those moments where i connect with my parents and find myself doing something that i learned from them. it's in those moments i remember they are always with me, even when they aren't.

we've made our way into entertaining meal times - and while many refer to it as baby led weaning (#blw in social media terms), i see it as simply feeding your baby normal food and letting him have fun exploring the sensation of touching, feeling, and chewing it himself. it works for us. he's independent and opinionated so naturally he wants to do this on his own too. the concept is straight forward and easy. i like easy. dump a few things on his tray and let him go to town. it's messy but of course it makes for great photo ops. case in point above. he loves avocado - one of the first we tried. we've also done nectarines, cheese, yogurt, and strawberries. we did yogurt tonight, and surprisingly he appropriately used his spoon. apparently we can do meat now, but that weirds me out. any tips on how to introduce meat the blw way are definitely welcome.

everyone is right when they say each new stage is better than the last. i could freeze time right here, but knowing how it just seems to get better and better is my reminder to ride this perfect wave.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

travel tips >> the 9 month old side kick


well, i survived. we survived. traveling with my little buddy was ... an experience. i am lucky in that i did get some amazing travel tips from lindsay loo prior to heading to her neck of the woods in KC, and learned a few along the way. i was so grateful for an email she wrote to me, outlining what to do. i learned a lot of "what not to do's" as well. good times.

when you are a working mama, and are getting ready for a trip it can be overwhelming to think about what to take and how to prepare - especially when you are traveling ALONE with your little mini. i basically wrote her a text desperately asking her to just put it in writing - a step by step of what to expect and plan for. it was awesome. here's the jist of what i learned from her, and what i learned the old fashioned way - on my freaking own.

do's and don't do's

  • buy a cheap umbrella stroller like this one. it's a bit boat load smaller, and easier than your fancy schmancy bob and you won't f it up by gate checking it. aside from that awesomness, it's simple and easy and wyatt loved it. may have felt a little janketty in comparison to the big daddy, but hell - it was $30 and didn't come with shocks and rubber tires. what do you expect?
  • definitely take the time to ask what items will be at your final destination so you don't have to pack them. lindsay reminded me that she had a car seat, pump, diapers, baby food, a pack n' play, and sound machines so no need to stuff those into an already jam packed suit case. 
  • put your ID and ticket in your back pocket or easy to grap spot in your diaper bag. 
  • add your mini to your ticket before you get to the airport. one less hassle. that said, i did do this and my "customer care rep" did it wrong and put me in an exit row with a "lap infant" (that's what they will call your nugget) which caused a major head ache at check in. awesome. 
  • book an aisle seat. seriously, trust me. i was told they "prefer" people with "lap infants" sit in a window seat, but boy are they wrong on this one. i had to ask grams and grampsie next to me to high tail it out of their seats a few different times because wyatt was full on tail spinning out of control. it was super fun. one time gramps had his table down, a DVD player going, an eye mask on, headphones in and a beverage to maneuver on my way out. super fun for him too. 
  • check your bags - obviously. 
  • carry on should include only your essentials. lighten the load as much as possible. buy a few fun toys/books for the babe so you can "surprise" them with something new to look at. i know wyatt's totally into light up toys that have spinning stuff on it and books with mirrors or fur. his faves:
  • puffs rock. he loved them. his faves right now are the orange/mango/sweet potato flavor by plum.
  • drug your baby if you are so inclined. i did on the way there because he's teething and they say it helps with the whole plugged ear debacle. i didn't on the way home and didn't notice a difference at all. who knows.
  • ok listen up nursing mama's - i know you carry your milk stash with you at all times and assume you're all good in this department and a bottle is not necessary. ok, maybe that was just my assumption. lindsay reminded me to take one "just in case" ... that "just in case" did happen on the way there. he was a mess, i couldn't let down and thank the Lord above i listened to her. the only thing i would think twice about next time was taking the formula vs. a thawed b-milk bottle. i took powder thinking it would be easier through security, but they checked me anyway and saved zero time in the long run. next time i'll just take a thawed bottle rather than try to do anything one-handed again during a "crisis" like screaming-child-at-take-off.
  • change them right before you get on the plane.
  • don't go on early even though they let you. totally not worth trying to pass minutes that long before take off.
  • put your essentials in a zip lock and put it right into the seat pocket when you sit down - diaper change stuff, toys/books/snacks, and bottle. 
  • pack extra clothes for you and him -- "just in case" -- i would recommend one pieces for your little one. so much easier to maneuver a busy body in that rather than a riding t-shirt and bunchy pants. this lesson i learned on the way there. for you - wear dark pants and just pack an extra shirt. (there really isn't that much room to take extra pants for you!) 
  • this one is straight from lindsay: "try to make every little thing you do/play with him take as long as possible... it's all about passing the minutes! for example... if he's eating puffs, each puff, make him find it in your fist... make a game out of it..." 
  • drink lots of water! surprisingly, you won't have to pee as much as you think and it's good for you if you're nursing. plus, i did pee holding him, so anything is possible there. 
  • make friends with your flight attendants fast. i love alaska. (needless to say, michael wasn't an alaska airlines flight attendant!) one of the attendants held wyatt and showed him top secret switch boards in the back of the plane that easily killed 4.5 minutes. 
  • let people help you.
  • don't wear any jewelry. 9 month olds like to tug on earrings and necklaces, a lot. not awesome when you are a sweaty claustrophobic mama trapped in the window seat.
in the end, it was all worth it. going to KC with my little guy and spending some quality time with the bowens was the absolute best. seeing our kiddos play together was so special. i grew up with this girl and it was fun to see that our bambinos will grow up together too. 

i think that's it for now. i'm sure this list of friendly tips will change drastically the next time i fly solo with the kidlet, and i'll surely provide you with some updates. until then, happy flying!

Monday, August 6, 2012

dear wyatt >> t minus 3 months


my little munchkin boy, you are 9 months today! i could seriously cry. you can bet that in 3 months from today - i will be. you will be a year old in 12 weeks. what the?! (that's for you lisa!) i'm still walking on sunshine. you light up this crazy life of ours like nobody's business. how the heck did we get so freaking lucky? you are seriously amazing. like the coolest kid i know. (i'm totally not bias.)

things i'm loving about you right now, per the usual monthly letter to you...

  • you are obsessed with flicking things with your left thumb. so random. so cute. things you flick? your fishy water toys from grammie, rubber ducky in the bath, your spinning toy on jumpie... anything that spins really. anything that doesn't too -- like my fingers when you are getting cozy at bed time.
  • pulling yourself up in your crib, the pack n' play, your standing toy from the dumond's, your baby gate, daddy, me. anything that allows for it, really. 
  • making more sounds - like da.... have a feeling you're going to say dada/daddy a lot sooner than mama. it's ok. i forgive you. 
  • you're a cuddle bug. l-o-v-e.
  • you're loud. you love the sound of your voice. no idea where you get it... 
  • you're dramatic. again, no idea... 
  • you are independent. case in point - you feed yourself those plum pouches now. you push my hand away when i try to help you. 
  • you still have no teeth, so you flash this toothless grin and it melts me. every.single.time.
  • you are so nosy. you stare at people constantly. it's hilarious. 
  • you love attention. from what/who ever you can get it from.
  • you have zero stranger danger. see above. 
  • books are your fave right now - especially peek-a-who. (other mama's / soon to be's - get this dang book. who knew a little book with a mirror and cow print would be such a hit!?)
  • fart noises entertain you - especially when you are making them yourself. only you can make fart noises cute, monkey.
  • you are finally figuring out that getting a reaction out of us is pretty funny. you're going to be that kid that does anything for a good laugh. 
  • you're a ham. you love watching videos of yourself. again, i have no idea where you get it. 
to say that you are your mama's son is an understatement. people may think you look like your daddy, but you sure as heck have your mama's personality. i totally get you. 

thanks for being the sprinkles on our cupcakes, the warm, gooey center of our cinnamon rolls and simply... 

the best part of us. 

happy 9 months buggy!
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