Friday, August 28, 2009

Moo 2

Same disclaimer as original Moo post. This is mainly about breastfeeding, so if you won't be able to look at me in the face after hearing some personal stuff, please skip today's reading.

Chaselyn is over 9 months old now. And I'm still breastfeeding. And I am proud of myself for that. It was my goal to make it to the 1 year mark so that she could transition from mommy milk to cow milk without having to go the formula middle man. And I think I just might make it. It hasn't been easy. But it's worth it to see how healthy and chubby she is.

Let me start first by giving an update on my previous post and give some ideas as to how that worked itself out. First we had the head turning (read nipple pulling). Chaselyn still has this issue. But as time goes on, she has learned to let go before turning her head or trying to get up. Now she still looks around, but she lets go first. Second, with the leakiness. That stopped not too much later. I haven't worn the protectors in quite a while now. I can't remember exactly when it stopped, but I guess my body kind of got itself under control. For those of you entering this stage of life, I recommend the Lansinoh brand. But it's a very personal thing. And finally as for the timing issue. Once Chaselyn got on a schedule, I didn't really have to make decisions, I just had to be prepared. It's still a time commitment, but it's generally more regulated. She's sleeping good from about 8-5 now, so I'm more rested. But as far as fixing dinner and having a hot meal, I still haven't figured that one out. I thought that would change once she was on baby food, not just milk, but it didn't. And I find that I don't really mind too much.

So, what are the new issues? The biggest one is stress! I am often consumed by the state of my milk production. As Chaselyn began to eat more and more baby food and less mommy milk, I was relieved. I thought that I could relax since I was producing more than enough than what she required. So, I got lazy. I didn't pump as much. I relied on some of the stored bags to get me through. And now, I'm paying for it. I have no spares left. Everyday I have to pump 3 full 5 oz. bottles so she can get through the day at daycare. On Tuesday I went to bed with only 2 bottles in the fridge. Determined to not make my baby have formula, I diligently set the alarm clock for 2 am so that I could pump and then maybe with another pumping in the morning before we left for school I owuld have enough. Unfortunately, I woke up at 5 to the sound of Chaselyn crying not to the alarm I was supposed to hear. She was easy to soothe back to sleep, just a paci and some back pats and she was good. But me, I was crying. I missed the opportunity to pump earlier, and I was sure that my sources would be depleted. But I pumped and there was luckily enough to fill the 3rd bottle. Praise God! All that to say, if you're not there yet, keep pumping even when you think you're getting ahead. Just get further ahead. It's not worth the stress to have to worry every night before you go to sleep if your baby will have enough milk the next day. Also, be aware that when your monthlies do come back, your milk supply may drop just preceeding the event. It happened to me, I checked online, apparently it's very common for it to happen.

Issue #2 - Teeth. Yep, that's right. I have honestly never felt so conflicted than when I realized Chaselyn's teeth were coming through. I was so happy that she was growing and reaching such an important milestone, but I also dreaded the thought of those little chompers settling in for a nice meal on my already very tender nips.
But, I had to go through with it, and I'm happy to report that the same God who designed the whole milk production system also designed babies to not bite while they nurse. Again Praise God for His infinite wisdom! Not to say that there's no slip ups, but they're few and far between and for Chaselyn these incidences usually only occur when she's mostly asleep and twitches herself awake. I can't lie though, when they do accidentally bite you, it's hard not to throw the baby out of your arms. It HURTS! And your instinctual reaction is to remove the cause of the pain.

Another major issue that I've run into is how to introduce other foods. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and yet there's no real clear answers. I desperately wanted someone to lay it all out for me. At age ______ introduce ____ ounces of ________ food, and then try ______. Instead I found a myriad of different options. As a very by the book type of person, I went nuts when there was no by the book guideline. But, it seems to have all worked out ok. Chaselyn's now working on finger foods on a limited basis. And loves it.

This next one kind of goes along with the first. Whoever said "Don't cry over spilled milk." Was obviously not a nursing mom. Spilling isn't the problem so much as spoiling. Just to add to my stress level every now and then, my subconscious decides to forget about milk of a while and instead I leave it sitting in my bag, on the cabinet, or some other random place that's not the refrigerator. The thought of loosing milk is absolutely heartbreaking. Not too long ago, Stanton with a sheepish look on his face said "You accidentally left your milk on the counter and it spoiled." I nearly cried. Then I thought about it, what milk, it wasn't the weekend, I didn't pump. He didn't mean my mommy milk, he meant my cow's milk (I drink 2%, he drinks skim). Well who cares, I can go buy some more cow's milk any time. Crisis averted. But there have been other occasions where it was the Mommy milk and I had to hold back the tears as I poured the precious liquid down the drain.
Some things that I've learned.
1) Masking tape and a marker work just as well for dating as any fancy labels for bottles.
2) It never gets old to be the one who can comfort your baby best.
3) Breastfeeding is not for those on the fence. It takes a lot of determination and sacrifice. And even that sometimes isn't enough.
4) I'll never understand how single moms can make it.
5) I can see the amazing work of God everyday, and that is good for the soul.
6) Babies are not nearly as fragile as they appear to be (just don't hit the self-destruct button on the top of their heads).
7) Our idea of "normal" changes on a daily basis, which would make it seem that there is no "normal".
8) It's hard to squeeze in enough quality time between getting off work at 5 and Chaselyn going to sleep around 8.
9) Even when Chaselyn is throwing a fit, it's amazing to try to remember before she was born and think about how empty life was.
10 A friend said it best "The days may be long, but the years are short." I can't believe we only have 2.5 months until Chaselyn's first birthday.

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