Jacks Growing Independence

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My little Jack is turning 10 months on Aug 14th. That is only a measly 2 months from being a whole year old, and I for one am sad. Why should I be sad? My son is growing and thriving, he is happy and playful. Over the last few weeks, Jack has gotten his first tooth, taken his first steps, starting sleeping in his own bed (well not the whole night), & started to wean himself from breast feeding.

While all of those things I just mentioned seem like good things, and they are good, they are also terrible. Terrible because they all lead to independence from ME. My baby is turning into a boy, and boys grow up to be teenagers and then when they are about 40, they turn into adult men… I’m kidding about the last part, well kind of. And adult men do not and should not cuddle with their mothers.

Until the last few weeks, Jack has needed me in every single part of his daily life. In fact for the first 10 months in utero and much of his infancy thus far, he has needed me to stay alive. So his growing independence is bitter sweet. I am having so much fun playing with him, reading him books and finding new ways to make him laugh. But I am also finding myself missing my baby, he is in the same apartment, even the same room sometimes and I will start to cry. He has only begun to wean so he is still nursing a few times a day but it still saddens me. Sometimes I will offer to nurse him and he will slide off my lap to retrieve his noonie or a toy. REJECTED! That is the only way to describe what I feel when he would rather do other things when I am offering him the milk I have worked so hard to produce.

I am sure that this is just the natural progression of things and that my feelings toward these changes are normal. I can see why people tend to get pregnant again so soon after the weaning of a child. There is a longing in the heart of a mother for her baby to be snuggled up against her in the dead of the night where in those moments, they are the only 2 who exist.

 

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My Breastfeeding Experience: A Difficult Journey

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My Breastfeeding Experience: A Difficult Journey

I thought that Breastfeeding would come naturally to me. I thought it would be easy because our bodies were created to nourish our offspring. I thought it would be this beautiful bonding experience. Everything I thought, turned out to be wrong.

I read lots of books about pregnancy, labor, birth and breastfeeding while pregnant with Jack. It was not even a question in my mind as to if I would nurse my baby. Of course I would, I was not going to give him an imitation when I had the real thing free and readily available in my very own body. I would never drink baby formula myself or even the first two ingredients – corn syrup & vegetable oil so why would I give that to my baby? So the decision to breastfeed for me was an easy one. What was not so easy, was actually doing it!

I had Jackson on a beautiful warm morning in October. My labor was a short but intense 6.5 hours resulting in a medicine free natural water birth. It seemed so easy and natural and as soon as I took my slippery pink son into my arms, he immediately began to root searching for my breast. I put him to breast before even getting out of the tub. I thought WOW! He’s already nursing like a champ, this is going to be great! We nursed a few more times before leaving the birth center to return home.

That evening it was my husband, myself and our new baby all alone. We had no idea what we were doing, and panic started to set in. Our baby cried all night long, he awakened every 30 minutes to an 1 hour around the clock. I nursed him on demand just like the book had said, and changed sides, just like the book had said. But something was just not working.

The evening of day four, my husband brought me a diaper and said “hey this looks kinda weird”. I looked at the diaper and saw my worst nightmare. A light red rust like substance lay there revealing the hard truth, my son was dehydrated. He wasn’t getting enough colostrum and my milk still had not come in. I felt defeated and totally lost. The next morning Jack had another diaper laced with urinate crystals and I was grief stricken. He was still crying day and night, hungry no doubt and it was all my fault. I contacted my friend Brigid who was nursing her sweet baby girl at that time. I asked her if she would be willing to give me some of her breast milk to feed my son, since I was not able to at that time. She brought milk over right away and even tried to nurse him herself, but he would not latch. We filled a small medicine syringe with breast milk and slowly filled his mouth. His face and whole body relaxed in satisfaction and he instantly fell asleep.

I pondered what I would do next? Would I start formula? Would I try to obtain more donor milk? What was wrong with me? Where was my milk?

Another friend visited me that afternoon to comfort and console me. As we were talking she looked over and asked me, “what is that on your nipple? IS THAT MILK?” Sure enough my milk had come just shy of 5:00pm on the 5th day after birth. What a relief! I could finally feed my son like I needed to. But my problems were far from over.

Over the following weeks, I continued struggling to feed my darling son. I suffered extreme nipple damage. Both sides were bruised, cracked and bloody despite the creams, soothie pads, and air drying, I was in constant pain. I cried every time I fed him, tears would stream down my face. It was so unbearable, I dreaded nursing him and he ate so often. Unknowingly I battled nursing a baby with a thick upper lip tie and light tongue tie. I was made aware of this after reaching out to a lactation consultant at a local hospital. Getting it surgically corrected at that time was out of the question. I was not in a proper emotional state to deal with that, so we waited.

And waited, and waited. I waited for it to get better like the ladies at the La leche league said it would. For the constant shooting pain to go away, and i waited to not HATE feeding my baby whom I loved with all my heart.

For two months straight, I took it day by day & nursing session by nursing session trying to keep our breastfeeding relationship alive. I stayed active on the local la leche league Facebook page and attended meetings for support. Finally around the 3rd month, I felt like things were getting better.

I practiced all the healthy habits to protect my milk supply. I never supplemented with formula to sleep, I drank water like crazy, took fenugreek, and ate a million lactation cookies. I also stopped eating dairy in an effort to help Jacks horrible tummy aches and extreme gas.

Jack is 6 months old now and he’s still nursing. It’s easy now and I don’t have any pain. The only problem I have is the occasional love bite, I say love bite because he’s always smiling when he clamps down on me. I’m proud of myself for enduring the pain and fighting for our nursing relationship. I am so grateful to be able to provide the best nourishment for him.

It’s hard for me to think on my breast feeding journey. I feel angry, robbed and ashamed. I feel angry because I wasn’t prepared like maybe I could have been. Angry because things did not happen like I wanted. Robbed because I did not get the deep intimate bonding that I thought I would have. Robbed of the enjoyment of my newborn son. Precious, unrecoverable time spent exhausted, in pain and constant despair. I had waited so long for him and then could not enjoy him, how sad?! Last of all I feel ashamed. Ashamed that I ignorantly allowed my son to get dehydrated before reaching out to someone for help. Ashamed because I hated nursing my baby, that I didn’t even want to look at him sometimes because of the pain I was in.

I do not have birth trauma, I have nursing trauma. This experience has scarred my heart and makes me question having more children. I hope that my heart will heal over time and that one day I will be able to let go and forgive myself.

If you have trouble with nursing please reach out to other wise women who have nursed children, your local La Leche league and lactation consultants in your local area. Know you aren’t alone in your struggle and you can get through it!

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When Breast Feeding Doesn’t Fit Into Your Plans.

When Breast Feeding Doesn’t Fit Into Your Plans.

If you have been reading my blog then you know that my breast feeding experience has been anything but easy. But I want to address something else today- selfishness when it comes to giving our all to our kids.

Disclaimer: I can be, have been and certainly will in the future- be selfish. I am a human and am not perfect.

At 7 months old, Jack still nurses almost all night while sleeping. During the day time hours, he is unpredictable. Sometimes he nurses every 2-3 hours but some days, Jack will nurse every hour. This was not my plan!

My plan was that my life would mostly continue as before except for the diaper changes every 2 hours and feedings every 3 hours and progressively longer intervals as time passed. Boy was I wrong!!!!!

I want to nurse my baby, I want to keep him satisfied and healthy but I do not want to be glued to my couch with my son glued to my boob. But breast feeding was and is important to me so that’s exactly what I did and still do some days.

I do not produce tons of milk. I have struggled since he was born despite doing all the ABC’s and 123’s of nursing tips and tricks. So my son has to eat more often to grow, and to keep my supply up enough to sustain him.

This means I didn’t leave my house hardly ever for the first 3 months postpartum, that I had to be comfortable nursing in public right away and that I had to continue eating as if I was pregnant to keep my milk calorie dense- fatty.

I didn’t really want to do any of that. I wanted to return to Taekwondo and get my pre-pregnancy body back right away, I wanted to be able to sleep at least 1/2 the night and I wanted Jack to fit around my needs and schedule.

I was pretty miserable until I thought all of this through. Just as I had given in and over to the birth process, I had to give in to this becoming a mother process. What a relief! My burden had become blessing and my sacrifice a privilege!

Some babies sleep through the night and keep a decent schedule of eating and napping during the day, but mine didn’t, doesn’t and probably never will. He is the definition of a free spirit for sure. And that is actually a wonderful thing.

Be open to the process mamas. Accept your babies as they are and give them your all. One day, they will need that example of dedication to succeed in their own lives.

Jack’s Always On My Hip & In My Hava! Hava Ring Sling Review

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The Hava Ring Sling Review

What is it?

A long piece of fabric held together by a ring creating an adjustable carrier for an infant or child.

Features:

Adjustable
Multiple carrying positions
Padding along top and bottom edges
Plush shoulder pad
Sturdy ring
Zipper pouch in tail
Available in petite, regular and long
Wide array of patterns and colors
Soft cotton material – also available in organic cotton

Summary:

This carrier is comfortable for the wearer and child due to the padded shoulder and edging. Easy to use design and comes with an instructional DVD to teach you how to wear your baby in this sling. I love that I can put my keys, phone and even a receiving blanket in the zipper pouch located in the tail of the sling. This is very convenient for quick errands in and out of stores.

This is also the only carrier that I can easily nurse while baby wearing. When he was small, I would lay him down in the sling and make it tight across my chest. This allowed Jack to nurse and sleep as he pleased while I went about my day or even sat through church service. As he is getting bigger and older, I prefer to sit him straight up on my hip to nurse.

The sizing for this particular ring sling is very easy as it comes in just 3- petite, regular or long. We use the regular sizing and I love the print we chose called “esme”.
Depending on the print/color and fabric type you choose, pricing is between $69-$89. I give this product a 5/5 rating.

If you would like to purchase a HAVA ring sling, visit Angel Britches here locally in Baton Rouge, LA. You can also visit their website by clicking HERE

To visit the Hava Ring Sling website click HERE

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Snuggly Baby Boutique Diapers

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Snuggly Baby Boutique Diaper Review

What is it?

A cloth diaper for an infant. Specifically an AI2 (all in two- meaning 2 part system) The actual diaper I am reviewing is the one pictured above.

Features:

Affordable
Soft woven cotton outside layer
A hidden layer of PUL
Flannel snap in soaker with layer of velour
Velour inside lining
Snap closure with side hip snaps
Size large 15-30lbs

Summary:

The soft cotton outside makes this diaper pleasing to the eye and to the touch, while the hidden layer of PUL stops any liquid from getting through. This means no extra cover required for this diaper to prevent leaks. The super absorbent flannel and velour lined soaker conveniently snaps in or out to allow for a deeper clean and faster dry time. The inside of the diaper is luxurious velour and is sure to please the toughest baby critics around! The large sizing ensures a closer fit than many OS diapers requiring a snap or elastic adjustment to achieve desired sizing. At $15 this diaper is a tremendous value and affordable on most budgets. I give this diaper 5/5.

This is my second AI2 from Snuggly Baby Boutique and I have to say I have been very pleased. They fit well on my skinny but chunky thighed Jack, and have never leaked. The construction is solid and the fabrics do not seem to hold foul odors.

Both of my orders have been custom prints, and the turn around time is extremely fast. The owner of Snuggly Baby Boutique creates all of her products herself and is easily accessible by email. Diapers can be made from premie size starting at 4lbs all the way to toddler size in which the maximum is 45lbs. There are a variety of types of diapers including: fitteds, covers, AIO, AI2, pockets and more ranging in price from $15-$25. To order from Snuggly Baby Boutique visit her website by clicking HERE.

TO WIN A FREE Snuggly Baby Boutique diaper follow this blog and comment on this post with the weight of your baby and your choice of AI2, pocket or fitted. Drawing will be held Monday May 6, 2013 at 6:00PM.

The follow button is a tiny grey “+follow”. At the lower right hand side from a desktop, if you are unable to do this please contact me and I can email you a direct link. Thank you!

Below is a picture of the grey (color selected by myself) velour inside. And then of course Jack wearing his new Snuggly Baby AI2.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Moby Wrap

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The moby wrap – ^^Thats Jack and his not so crunchy dad!

What is it?

A fabric wrap used to carry an infant on ones person.

Features:

One solid piece
One size fits most (there is a special order extra long available though)
Various colors, prints, UV and organic options available
Machine washable
Can be worn by males or females

Summary:

Our Moby wrap was a valuable item when my son was first born. I would wrap him very tightly from birth and walk with him outside. It seemed to give him a sense of security and comfort. His father or I would walk him behind our apartment buildings under tall pine trees. Needles and cones were strewn all about and the smell of pine was in the air. No doubt about it, our son loved the outdoors and nothing else would satisfy him.

(You see Jack was born angry, he had colic from day one. He would scream all hours of the day and night. This went on for 2 solid months until it vanished suddenly as if it had never happened at all. )

I don’t know what we would’ve done without the Moby wrap? Maybe zipped him up inside a sweater against us? Who knows. But the Moby provided a comfortable way to carry our infant close to our bodies.

The long piece of fabric was bothersome to tie and took too much time. Especially when your baby is crying frantically but the one solid piece is supposed to be a selling point as there are no buckles or rings to break or cause discomfort for the wearer.

My husband enjoyed wearing our son in the Moby and being able to have close intimate contact with him the days following birth.

I also used the Moby to get skin to skin contact by wearing Jack in a diaper directly against my bare chest. This allowed him to nurse freely and boost my milk supply.

Jack did happen to pee all over the Moby and I can tell you how nice it was to be able to put it right into the washing machine to clean it.

As Jack approached the 2 month mark he started to fight being worn in this particular carrier. It no longer seemed to comfort him but rather aggravate him greatly. We discontinued its use at that time.

Moby wraps retail $47.95-62.95
On the manufactures website which you can visit by clicking here

Because of the price and the fact that we were only able to use this product for 2 months I give it 3.5/5

You know how I feel about supported local/small business so to purchase in the baton rouge, la area please visit Angel Britches by clicking here

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”