Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Weaned

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

So Caroline is officially weaned as of March 1st  (14 months, 12 days of breastfeeding). She was probably ready to be done a few days earlier but I kept saying “Oh, just one more time!” and drawing it out. I am both ECSTATIC and TERRIBLY SAD at the same time. One second I am doing a jig because I am freeeeeeeeeeee and the next I am wiping away tears because mah baybeeeeeeee doesn’t neeeeeeeed meeeeeeeee. As if all the hormonal stuff wasn’t enough on its own, the mood swings are turning me into a total wreck.

In the end, what worked best for us was cutting out one feeding at a time every few days. First I dropped her post-nap nursing session, then the one before lunch, then first thing in the morning, then the one before nap, and lastly the one before bed. She had been occasionally sleeping through the night, so we just sort of phased out the 2 am feeding as we went. E went in to comfort her a couple times but even when I was doing it she wasn’t nursing for more than 30 seconds so obviously she was just ready. I was worried she wasn’t drinking a ton of milk from her sippy but she does drink lots of water and she still eats like a horse, so I doubt she’s going to end up dehydrated or malnourished. The whole process took about 2 months and my supply regulated itself easily as I decreased the feedings. The weaning wasn’t child-led, but it was gentle and mostly tear-free. I’m happy. And sad. SO CONFLICTED.

One of the things I was most worried about is that we were going to lose all of our cuddle time, since she’s such a very busy and independent toddler. But she’s replaced nursing with being a little clingier – more hugs, wanting to be held, sitting in my lap – which I am HAPPY to oblige. It’s nice to get affection from her that isn’t boob-related. Having someone try to rip off your shirt every time they see you is only flattering for so long, you know?

The end of nursing also meant the end of my extra Weight Watchers points and for a couple days I was a little panicked. I needed those points or I’d be starving all day. But then I remembered, oh yeah, the breastfeeding is what makes me so hungry – SO HUNGRY – and now that I’m not making milk anymore I don’t need to eat like a horse. I’ve also dropped several pounds wicked fast in the last week, something my lactation consultant had mentioned ages ago. My body was holding onto extra fat as a back-up in case my caveman food source ran out and I had to keep my young alive through a starvation period. It’s good for the survival of the human race (I GUESS) but sucks when I was trying to “get my body back” and my body refused to cooperate. But now it’s all “Whatevs, your young can totally fend for herself! Look at her, shoving her face full of a pound of grapes and cheese a day! Go ahead and starve, Mom!”

If breastfeeding wasn’t an all or nothing situation with her (it was with Evan too), I think I wouldn’t have been so ready to wean. Her refusal to take a bottle or a cup was SO FRUSTRATING. I felt like I was trapped. I worried constantly about how she would deal if something happened to me. Would she starve? Would she be traumatized for life? I don’t want to sound over-dramatic but having someone THAT dependent on me often felt like more than I was prepared for. I think part of my problem with anxiety came from the pressure I put on myself to breastfeed – but I ALSO put a lot of pressure on myself to wean before vacation. It was all I thought about. It’s sort of crazy how even though I think of myself as being super laid back and low stress when it comes to parenting – and in a lot of ways I am! Eat food off the floor! Rub your face on the dog! – this is such a stressful topic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE breastfeeding and will absolutely breastfeed my next kid and wouldn’t take back the almost 30 combined months of nursing between Evan and Caroline. But I’m not going to let myself be the only food source a baby will accept again. My mental health suffers too much.

P.S. Caroline VERY CLEARLY asked for nursies on Tuesday around dinner time, so I caved and let her latch for a few minutes. I don’t know if she got anything but she remembered how to do it. I’m not going to pump while I’m gone but if she wants to go back to nursing once a day when I get back I’d be fine with that. Probably.

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Leading Lady Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

There’s been a rash of bra-fitting revelations on the internet recently (for a really good laugh check out Mandy’s), where everyone realized wearing a bra in the right size is SO MUCH BETTER. I’ve been thinking about getting fitted for a long time – it’s one of those things I’ve got on my “To Do Now That I’m A Real Grown Up And Stuff” list. But because I’m still nursing I figured I’d have to suffer through a few more months of horrible saggy chesticles before I could upgrade.

And THEN I got an email from Leading Lady that said even though they knew I was weaning Caroline, they loved my blog and thought might enjoy their nursing bras and would I be interested in doing a review?

How about “Yes” and “Hell Yes” and “HOLY COW this might be the best opportunity I’ve ever gotten from blogging.”

I used the size calculator on the Leading Lady site to figure out my size (they even have a cool printable tape measure in case your kids ran off with yours months ago) and told them if we were going for function I could really use something for Stroller Strides but with Valentine’s Day coming up it sure would be nice to have something that wasn’t hideous, pokey, and ripped.

They sent me a Sport Wirefree Nursing Bra and a Lace-Cup Wirefree Nursing Bra. I love them both SO MUCH I actually took pictures of myself wearing them to show you. Then I thought better than to post topless pictures of myself on my baby blog and deleted them. You’re welcome. But I can assure you they make my boobs look awesome. The sport bra really helped control the, uh, bouncing problem I had when it came to jumping jacks at Stroller Strides. It’s the first bra with a full sling (meaning even when you fold the outer part down there’s still fabric across your boob) that I’ve EVER liked – the opening is large enough to nurse without having to yank it all over the place. The lace bra is GORGEOUS and not even the tiniest bit scratchy. It blows the horrible “sexy” underwire nursing bra I bought at a cheap big-box store out of the water. It was so comfortable I even slept in it. I sort of can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Leading Lady before, but will absolutely be ordering from them again.

Leading Lady is a family owned company that’s been selling nursing, maternity and full-figured bras for more than 70 YEARS so they really know their stuff. Their nursing bras range in size from 34B to 48F and their full-figured bras are available from 34A to 56G – which if you ask me includes a lot of women that wouldn’t really like to be considered “full-figured” *ahem ME ahem*. The site offers bras, tanks and sleepwear. They have a great selection – how clever is a nursing bra with a hidden pattern for the baby? You can search by size, type and category, including specialty categories like latex-free and organic. They even have a Breastfeeding A-Z Guide on their site full of really great information. And if you were wondering, I think their prices are extremely reasonable, especially considering what nursing bras from other companies cost. And right now new Facebook fans will receive 10% off by liking Leading Lady between now & Feb. 14, while all fans of Leading Lady can tweet “I Love @LeadingLadyBras” on Feb. 14 and receive a special 10% off code.

Yes, I’m gushing. I promise there was no gushing required when they offered to send me a bra to try (they’re probably super embarrassed by me right now), but I truly can’t help it. I’m so excited to find a company I like so much, has such a great product AND agreed to let me give YOU a free bra!

That’s right, you could win an e-certificate good for one free bra from the Leading Lady collection PLUS free shipping.

Just leave a comment on this post telling me why you NEED a new bra.

For extra entries, you can follow @LeadingLadyBras on Twitter and like Leading Lady on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter or like bebehblog on Facebook . Just leave a comment telling me what you did (or what you already do). So if you did all five things it would be five comments.

Right now they only ship to the US and can’t ship to P.O. boxes so giveaway is limited to those who qualify (sorry Canadians!) No duplicate comments or cheating of any kind. I’ll draw a winner using Random.org sometime this weekend.

 Disclaimer: Leading Lady provided me with 2 bras so I could give an honest review for my post, all opinions are my own. No other compensation was provided. They didn’t even ask me to include product links or make you like them for the giveaway. Leading Lady is good people.

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Support Breastfeeding Honesty

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I talk about my boobs a lot, especially here on my blog. It wasn’t something I set out to do – YES! I know what will make me a raging success on the internet! Talking about my SORE, LEAKING NIPPLES! – but when you are breastfeeding a newborn it just sort of happens. In the past three years, I’ve said the word “breast” more times the day than I’ve said my own name. BREAST.

Back in the beginning, when I was really struggling, I spent hours online reading forums and message boards and websites full of breastfeeding advice. Do this, don’t do this, try this, try that, give it time, see a doctor. Some of it was helpful, some of it was scary, some of it was eye-rollingly stupid, and sometimes it stressed me out. But one thing I found invaluable was real-life stories from real-life women. Living, breathing moms with crazy hormones and crying babies and stretched out abdominal muscles. I laughed at their leaky mishaps, cried when their babies were hungry, and sympathized with their pain. Those stories – not the experts – were what got me through the rough start and into happy, 15 month nursing relationship with my first child. I STILL turn to the internet when I have a breastfeeding question and find often myself answering them for others when they pop up on Twitter or Facebook.

There is some worry in the lactivist community that talking to much about the hard parts of breastfeeding instead of just the warm fuzzies and rainbows will discourage women from ever trying to breastfeed. They fear that too many jokes about bleeding nipples and piranha babies will scare mothers away and into the welcoming arms of the nearest can of formula. It is often implied – and sometimes said outright – that it shouldn’t hurt, it shouldn’t be a struggle, it should come naturally, and if our eyes fill up with tears of pain and angst rather than tears of joy as we latch our babies then we are doing it wrong. Shhhhh…don’t talk about that. We’re trying to recruit more women to Team Breastfeeding.

I say that’s a mistake and a disservice to women. This isn’t shirts versus skins – it’s just mothers and babies.

In fact, I say the opposite is true. I say the honesty has led to more breastfeeding. Talking about your personal experience with breastfeeding should ALWAYS be encouraged, no matter how successful or long that experience was. Every single conversation about breastfeeding normalizes it. It becomes just another thing we talk about when we’re discussing babies, like diapers and spit up and tiny socks and why are their nails so SHARP? I have talked about every single bit of my breastfeeding journey, from my giant engorged porn start boobs to using a nipple shield to dealing with thrush and finally, FINALLY having the kind of idyllic, peaceful nursing relationship the books tell you about. As far as I know, I have yet to scare someone so badly they vow to never nurse a baby.

What I DO know is many of my friends who struggled to breastfeed their first child are trying again with their second baby. They are nervous and worried and cautiously optimistic, but they are TRYING. A mother’s feelings about breastfeeding can be so fraught with both internal and external sources of guilt that stopping or quitting, even if it’s the best choice for their family, can be heartbreaking. I like to think my constant willingness to engage in honest boob-talk had a teeny tiny bit to do with their decision.

I am so so proud of these women, whether they try for one day or for a thousand. They are brave for putting it all out there (heh) again and they are all amazing moms. The bottom line is because mothers have found more information and more support and more honesty about breastfeeding there are more babies getting more breastmilk. And isn’t that what lactivism is all about?

 ———————————————————————————–

This post has been in my drafts folder for a few weeks while I worked out exactly how to say what I wanted. Just yesterday I saw the Support with Integrity Pledge posted on my friend Gina’s site. I’m thrilled to see over 1,000 people have signed it already and vowed to support breastfeeding moms without judgment or criticism. You can check it out and sign the pledge by clicking on the badge below:
Support with Integrity

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3 Months To Go

Monday, January 9th, 2012

I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT MY BOOBS A LOT NOW SO IF YOU ARE MY MALE SECOND COUSIN BY MARRIAGE MAYBE YOU SHOULD SKIP THIS POST TODAY. THANKS.

Yes, that actually was entirely necessary. Jimmy.

Breastfeeding Caroline has been cake. I learned so much the first time around that even when things were challenging I knew how to ask for what I needed (nipple cream) and how to do what worked for me (crying in the shower while hand expressing milk) and it took days rather than months for us to find our groove. I am so thrilled we made it a full year of exclusive breastfeeding, especially because I struggled so much after BlogHer I thought we might not. For me, breastfeeding is both a wonderful bonding experience and a wonderful chance to sit down several times a day. I am never going to look back on my baby’s babyhood and think “Damn, breastfeeding was such a mistake”.

That being said, I have decided to start weaning Caroline. Yes I know she is only a little more than a year old. Yes I know what the WHO recommends. Yes I know I don’t HAVE to. Yes I know there is no medical reason to wean. And I don’t need anyone to talk me out of trying – although I welcome your opinion – because my reasons are totally selfish and for once I am ALLOWING myself to be selfish. I am a selfish, selfish mama who wants her body to herself for a little while after three and a half years of pregnancy, breastfeeding or BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

In March, I am going on an honest-to-goodness vacation with my husband to several tropical beaches by way of Princess Cruises. It is a Big Deal for us, our first vacation since having kids, and the only vacation longer than a weekend we’ve taken since our honeymoon. My folks are going to watch the kids and the dog and the house for us (cue panicked cleaning of closets and kitchen drawers because OMG my parents will be in my house without my supervision) and since they’re doing us such a huge favor I’d prefer to leave them with a baby who ISN’T expecting anyone to whip out a boob to help her get to sleep. Also, right now my body is still making enough milk for a baby who nurses 4 times a day (plus 2 or 3 times a night) and that would mean bringing a pump on vacation to keep my chest from exploding. Let me tell you, there is nothing sexier than whipping out my double electric Medela for a good milking before bed. Even just cutting back on the nursing would be better than nothing, although I’m hoping for a mostly weaned baby.

The problem is I have no idea how to go about it.

Weaning Evan was something I thought about constantly for months but when it happened it was sort of anticlimactic. He went from nursing all the time to giving it up completely in just a few weeks, but that was because of a pregnancy-related drop in my supply. I do NOT want to be pregnant on our vacation – it would put quite the damper on my goal of drinking my weight in pina coladas. But is there a natural way to decrease my supply? I suppose I could just do the OPPOSITE of all the things the experts suggest when you’re trying to increase your supply, but not drinking water, not sleeping, not eating extra calories and not taking care of myself seems like a poor choice. I have read sage can decrease milk supply and I happen to have a bunch of it lying around from our summer CSA but that sounds like an old wives tale. I know nursing moms are told not to take antihistamines because they can decrease supply, but do I really want to take a bunch of drugs while I’m still breastfeeding? (Short answer: no)

And then, despite what I said above about letting myself be selfish there’s the guilt I’m going to traumatize my baby if I stop. Caroline has always been a really independent little girl and she rarely nurses for comfort. She is affectionate and cuddly even when we’re not nursing so I’m not worried about losing all our mommy-daughter time. But she still has a midnight feeding (and sometimes a 2 am and a 4 am and a 5 am feeding) and those are HARD to drop. She still cries and tugs on my shirt if we go too long without nursing. Despite the fact that yesterday she had two mini waffles, a donut, an apple, blueberries, a Babybel cheese and half a yogurt for breakfast she still wanted to nurse for a minute before we left the house. Does she NEED it or does she just like the familiar? How can I possibly know? I’ve got 3 months to figure it out.

Truthfully, the period of time in a baby’s life where they are either breast or bottle fed is SO SMALL in the scheme of parenting (unless you are amongst the very most extreme extended breast feeders) that cutting her off a few months short of where she would have weaned naturally isn’t going to keep her from getting into Harvard some day. (I am going to repeat that to myself over and over and over for the next 3 months.) And when I come home from vacation if she wants to start nursing again I would be totally OK with that. I LIKE breastfeeding, as a thing. In general. When it’s not making me sick to my stomach with anxiety about leaving. Again. So right now I need all the weaning advice and anecdotes I can get.

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Caroline: 12 Months

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I’m not upset about my teeny tiny baby girl turning one. I understand it had to happen eventually. And really, she is still so TEENY TINY I can pretend she’s a baby when we rock in the glider or when I creep into her room to take pictures of her while she sleeps. (Creeeeeeeeepy!)  But mostly I’m ok with her being one because she is super duper awesome and cool. She is way cooler at 12 months old than I have ever been in my life. I mean, she can TOTALLY wear knit leggings.

Caroline still loves food – all food, any food, all day – but especially chicken nuggets and cheese. She learned how to use a sippy cup (today!) but is having some trouble with not letting all the milk/water fall out of her face. I’m going to have to find something REALLY delicious to convince her it’s worth swallowing. Maybe she’d like some hot cocoa and schnapps.

As much as she eats, she has definitely cut back on her nursing schedule, although she refuses to drop the midnight feeding. I KNOW she doesn’t need it – sometimes she goes from midnight until noon the next day without nursing – but she wakes up every single night and is so much easier just to pop a boob in her mouth than to argue. In case you didn’t know, arguing with toddlers almost never works. We are leaving her with my parents (more on THAT later) in March, so my goal is to have her sleeping through the night by then, if only because I don’t want them to refuse to babysit ever again. I’m also debating weaning her before then, or at least mostly weaning her, so I don’t have to do much pumping while I’m gone. (I have SUCH. MIXED. FEELINGS. I think I need a whole separate post for them.) But for now, she’s still a nursing champ.

But besides the waking up, she is an awesome sleeper. If she doesn’t fall asleep when we rock I can leave her in the crib with a book or a toy and she’ll play herself to sleep. Oh my God, do you hate me SO MUCH right now? Seriously, she is at an insanely easy age, so even when she’s having a clingy day she is still a darling child. Today at Target a woman literally couldn’t stop herself from trying to hug her, although when I looked alarmed she was like “Oh no! That was inappropriate! I’m so sorry, she’s just so gorgeous and she’s SMILING at me!”

It’s true. It’s impossible not to love her when she smiles at you. I love her so much I forgave her for breaking my iPhone.

Favorite things include: iPhones, the dog, the cats, her brother, putting trash in her mouth, cheese, cookies, spaghetti with meat sauce, boobs, her fancy patent leather shoes, blankies, forts, sleeping, bath time, dinosaurs, biting things, giving huge slobbery open mouth kisses and throwing herself head first off the couch.

Least favorite things are falling on her face, diaper changes, the vacuum cleaner, watching me leave the house, being buckled in the shopping cart and when I fish the trash out of her mouth so she doesn’t choke to death. Such a TERRIBLE MOTHER.

I don't like this sticker, Mom.

No, seriously, get it off me or I will CUT YOU.

Ha ha, just kidding. *BABY GANG SIGNS*

C'mon, do you want YOUR age in giant numbers on your chest?

Ok, FINE, if you won't help I'll do it myself.

Here you go! I fixed it!

Showing off the baby gun show

OH FOR THE LOVE. Now the tutu AND the sticker?

Dude, do YOU know what's wrong with this woman? --- Just smile and nod, kid, smile and nod and plot our takeover.

12 Month Milestones (from BabyCenter, as usual)

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Imitates others’ activities – Her new favorite game is taking very important phone calls on my iPhone. I’m expecting a year’s supply of cheese to show up on my doorstep any minute.
Indicates wants with gestures – Gestures, screeching pterodactyl noises, same difference.

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Takes a few steps – Runs, climbs, roundhouse kick’s me in the face.
Says one word besides “mama” or “daddy” – She can say “mama”, “daddy”, “kitty”, “hi”, and things that sound like “I got it” and “all done!” but I wouldn’t swear those last two weren’t my imagination. She also puts words together and says “Hi daddy!!” in the absolute cutest way ever.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Walks alone – See above
Scribbles with a crayon – She still put too much stuff her in mouth to let her have crayons…unless I want rainbow-colored poop in the morning.
Says two words besides “mama” or “dada” – See above. I sort of think I’m imagining ALL the talking, but since BabyCenter assures me it IS possible she’s talking I like to believe I just have a super genius baby.

 

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