Posts tagged Breastfeeding

Another chapter has come to a close

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Breastfeeding. It’s been hard from the beginning. We dealt with latching problems, nursing strikes, and even weight-gain issues. Then, supplementing with formula brought its own set of problems, and Nathan developed an allergy to the cow’s milk protein found in all brands of infant formula, so we had to switch to soy. It’s been such a long, and at times tedious but all-in-all rewarding process, but that process has finally come to a close.

Paul and I are both avid supporters of child-led weaning, which is what it sounds like; the child pretty much lets the mom know when he or she is ready to quit nursing, and Nathan has decided he was ready to stop nursing. We lasted 14 months! That is a heck of a lot longer than I anticipated. I had always said I would try to make it for at least a year, which is what the American Academy of Pediatrics urges. Even though I was determined to go at least the minimum recommended time, there were many times where I thought we wouldn’t be able to hold out.

But I refused to just give up. And Paul was such a stong, loving supporter who wouldn’t let me just quit. Breastfeeding was too important, too vital to Nathan’s development for me to just give up at the first sign of hardship.

It was a struggle to work through some of the problems we had, and I think the worst of all was when Nathan wasn’t gaining enough weight. We switched pediatricians to one who was more knowledgeable about breastfeeding, and I even met with two different lactation consultants. Fortunately, the last lactation consultant I met with was able to help me tremendously, resolving most of the problems we were having. 

Nathan was not an easy baby to nurse, but patience and perseverance saw us through, and I am so glad and even grateful to have had to opportunity to provide him with the best possible nourishment he could have. I have given him a jump-start in life with the building blocks for a healthy and strong immune system, given him proteins and antibodies not found in formula, reduced his risk of developing childhood obesity, and it also helped his eye and brain development, to name just a few of the many benefits.

We cut our nursing sessions down gradually. When Nathan started showing a lack of interest during the afternoon feeding, for instance, I stopped that particular nursing session. This went on until we were down to just once a day, and when he started losing interest in that last feeding, that was it. That was the end of our breastfeeding relationship.

Weaning is very bittersweet. On the one hand, I will really miss the bond that we shared and having that time together. But on the other hand, it feels great to not be on-demand anymore.

I am so glad to have had this experience.

For more information on breastfeeding, visit:

Kelly Mom which was my go-to site when I had questions
La Leche League
Breastfeeding.com

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Finally! A Public Effort to Promote and Protect Breastfeeding/Pumping Mothers

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I have never breastfed in public. Not because I don’t think breastfeeding should be done in public, because that’s not the case. I’m just not personally comfortable doing it, but I firmly believe that the mother has the absolute right to feed her child anywhere she is legally allowed to be. In fact, within the past decade or so, almost all states have passed laws protecting that right, forbidding anyone from harassing, embarrassing, or trying to remove a nursing mother from a location she and her infant are otherwise allowed to be, regardless of whether that location is private or public.

Thankfully. Because a baby needs to eat. And feeding a baby is in no way considered indecent exposure, as most states recognize that and have adopted laws explaining breastfeeding is not in any way indecent.  Women who choose to bottle-feed are not asked to feed their baby in a germ-infested bathroom or asked to hide. I mean, women walk around with their boobs hanging out of their shirts all the time, and that’s ok.  It’s so hypocritical to portray women as mere sexual objects in movies, advertisements, and television shows, but it’s taboo for women to use breasts as they were intended: to feed our babies.

Quite the double standard.

Well Portland, Maine, is launching a campaign to raise breastfeeding awareness by placing life-sized cutouts of modestly breastfeeding mothers around the city. They also recently passed a law requiring employers to provide nursing mothers with either paid or unpaid time to pump, and requires employers to make a reasonable effort to provide a room for pumping other than a bathroom.

I think this is simply wonderful!

Before I had Nathan, I wasn’t sure if I was going to breastfeed or not. I live in an area where almost no one breastfeeds, and I have never seen anyone opening nursing in public around here. I didn’t know anything about breastfeeding, so when my OB/GYN asked if I was planning on it, I was slightly taken aback and unsure which choice I should make.

So I went home, and Paul and I did hours and hours of research.

For MONTHS.

I wanted to get absolutely as much information as possible, so I became a sponge and absorbed all the information I could find regarding breastfeeding.

And I came to the conclusion that for me and my family, breastfeeding was the best possible choice I could make.  I know that every family is different, as is every baby. Just because a choice worked for me and my family does not mean it will work for someone else’s, so I am in no way being critical of those who chose not to breastfeed. But for me, it was the only choice.

Even when my milk started to dry up when Nathan was only 5 months old and we had to put Nathan on a formula suppliment, I continued to breastfeed. I pumped numerous times a day, took milk-producing herbs, kept myself hydrated and ate lots of oatmeal. Breastfeeding helps Nathan develop antibodies to fight sickness, prevents ear infections, is gentle on his tummy and easily digestable (as opposed to formula, which caused him to have bloody bowel movements and painful gas), decreases his risk of SIDS, helps prevent obesity either as a child or as an adult, and the essential amino acids found in breastmilk promote brain development and eyesight.

I’m so happy that public awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding is spreading. Slowly but surely, Americans are finally starting to see that man-made formula is not an equal substitute for breastmilk. Formula is great when you’re out of options and the health of your child is at stake,  but it shouldn’t be a first choice. The stakes are too high when something puts your child’s health at risk, and speaking from experience, that is exactly what formula does.

You can visit http://www.llli.org for more information concerning breastfeeding.

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Uniquely Nathan

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Nathan had his one-year check up last week! (Yeah, like a month or so late because I had initially made the appointment for the day before his one-year birthday, but when we got to the office, they told us insurance wouldn’t cover it unless it was on his one-year birthday or later.  Not even a SINGLE day earlier. Go figure.)

And, of course, I have been fretting for nothing. My kid’s perfectly normal! He’s normal! Ok, not that I ever thought he was ABnormal by any means, but I couldn’t help but worry that he didn’t start crawling until he was 11 months old.

And I’ve also been stressing about his refusal to eat any “regular food.” The little guy very vocally prefers his food pureed still, thankyouverymuch. I was so proud when I finally coaxed him into eating a cracker. I have since tricked him into eating (and LOVING) graham crackers and even animal crackers. But he’ll only eat the animal cracker if I take a bite first and tell him how unbelievably mouth-watering it is. He will not eat, or even attempt to eat, anything else.

Yet.

The boy doesn’t understand that Mommy will always be more stubborn than him.

Always.

So I have faith that eventually, I will coax and cajole him into eating more regular foods as opposed to baby foods.  This kid can be mentally exhausting sometimes because it can be, at times, challenging to stay one step ahead of him.

Ok, so back to the doctor’s appointment, he’s totally fine. The doctor assured me that all babies develop at their own rate. She said that while some babies may crawl when they’re 6 months old, it is also perfectly normal for them to start crawling when Nathan did. And take walking, for instance. Some babies can start walking at 9 months whereas others start at 15 months (which is the average) but it could be as late as 18 months. All of that is normal.

And the whole food thing is normal, too. He’s  been used to eating pureed foods, and some kids take a while before they’re willing to accept more textures and tastes. He won’t be eating his pureed foods forever!

Nathan has also gained weight beautifully, as you can tell in his pictures.  We had so many issues with weight gain in the beginning that I almost gave up breastfeeding, but I am so glad that I didn’t. (I mostly have my husband to thank for his unconditional love and support through those hard times.) Now, Nathan is 13 months old and nursing wonderfully. He has never been sick. He has never had any ear infections. He is happy, healthy, and a bit of a chub-a-lub. We plan to wean whenever he is ready, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization.

So I’ve felt like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I know, I know. I worry way too much. But I’m really working on trying to accept things the way they are and not worry so much about that which I cannot control. Nathan is healthy and happy, and that’s what counts. He is unique… he is Nathan.

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Mind Readers and Tinfoil Hats

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I’m going to have to make a hat out of tinfoil and start wearing it every day. Tinfoil is supposed to block others from reading your mind, right? Because if that’s the case, I think I’ll have to make more than one.

I bet right now, you are wondering if I’ve lost touch with reality, aren’t you?

Well, I haven’t. But I’m pretty sure Nathan is so in-tune with me that he is starting to read my thoughts. Not in a coherent way… not like I’m thinking about the color red and so he will, too. More like, if he’s sound asleep and I start thinking about him, he wakes up. Or if we’re all asleep and I have a dream about him, he wakes up. Or sometimes if I just think about his name in my head, HE WAKES UP.

WITHOUT FAIL.

In order to keep him asleep, I have to try to refrain from thinking too deeply about him.

I’ve also noticed that we both get fussy simultaneously. When I am in a bad mood, so is he. When he is in a bad mood, so am I. When one of us is happy, so is the other. It’s like our emotions and feelings are feeding off of each other, constantly linked. His emotions seem to be like a mirror-image of my own.

Other moms have always told me that children are linked to their parents like that. But I never knew it was so strong. It’s like a little piece of my soul has detached itself from me and has formed its own body.

I can’t let Nathan see me become frustrated. If I do, the poor little guy loses his cool. And trust me, it’s not fun when Nathan loses his cool. You’d think the end of the world is rapidly approaching. But even when I strain to hide any negative emotions, SOMEHOW HE STILL KNOWS.

It makes things difficult.

Especially breastfeeding. He’s going through his difficult breastfeeding phase again. He only likes to nurse laying down in bed. If I try to sit anywhere, he acts like I’m torturing him. But then while we’re laying in bed, he’ll stop feeding and fling himself away, flailing his little arms and legs around in a fit of protest against, well, that’s the problem.

I DON’T KNOW.

It’s so stressful when your child doesn’t want to eat. I try to sing to him, rub his little head, give him gentle kisses… but so far, it doesn’t phase him. I try not to let him see how anxious it makes me when he flails around instead of eating, but my little mind reader picks up on it anyways, upsetting himself even more.

I’m trying to make it to a year. That’s three more months. I will consider myself very fortunate if Nathan continues to breastfeed much longer than twelve months. Until then, I’m thinking about making that tinfoil hat.

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