He is not a fan of solids. We've put them on hold until he shows more interest and try maybe once or twice a week. So far he firmly clamps his mouth shut and turns his head. However yesterday, he was batting at DH's banana so DH gave him a small piece. He didnt spit it out. Progress!! 7 months breast feeding milestone, so so proud of both of us!
He is sitting independently with pillows around him. He can sit for a very long time before he'll tip over usually tipping because he is trying to reach for an object. Another month and he wont need the pillows anymore. He loves sitting, its like a whole new world has opened up for him. He can play pretty well now this way. Watching him play is so exciting. I just watch and observe instead of playing with him sometimes and you can see the gears grinding in his head about his toys, the way he manipulates them, moves them, and of course, puts everything in his mouth.
As for crawling or rolling....nope. He's perfectly content just hanging out. He moves a TON in his crib at night though so I know something is working in his brain about these milestones but during his awake time, he doesnt do much by way of practicing.
Speaking of sleep, he's started with weird sleep patterns too. He gets up more often now, some nights just the normal once at 5am to eat, and other nights its 3-4 times, every 2 hours. He isnt hungry, just weird night waking and not able to get himself settled. Part separation anxiety, part developmental brain activity. I have gone back to taking at least one nap a day while he is napping, usually the morning nap.
He absolutely HATES it when I leave the room. He screams and cries if I walk away for a few seconds and he cant see me. This is highly annoying to me as I feel I cant even pee or get a bowl of cereal without him freaking out. Separation anxiety setting in, however, not making strange with people. And its not consistent either...he was perfectly happy with all my co-workers on Thursday at the Christmas potluck and I wasnt around for at least an hour. He is so so social, he loves people.
He's started to pull my hair, pat and touch my face and if Figaro gets too close, pull on his hair or tail. I think he just likes the new textures and he loves to explore my face. Its so cute. I am already teaching him not to pull my hair or hit my glasses off my face.
Maxim loves playing peek-a-boo with his Aden and Anais blankets. Those blankets are his favorite, good thing Santa is bringing some Issies for him. He squeals and moves so much when we play this game.
He is growing and changing so much. DH raves about him all the time, it is so moving to listen to him talk about his son. He gets so emotional and open about him, never before has he been this way and I love it. They are quite the pair and one of their favorite things to do together is watch Montreal Canadiens hockey.
I really cant believe we're on the downward slope towards turning 1!! It has gone so fast. Everybody I cherish the cuddles and kisses, knowing that he wont be able to snuggle in my arms for much longer. I say it all the time but he really is wonderful in so many ways and I'm so lucky to be his Maman.
January 2010 - Happy New Year! A very happy new year in 2010 to all!
February 2010 - 24 Weeks! Holy cow, 6 months already! Time has flown by, it really has!
March 2010 - 30 Weeks!! Only 10 weeks to go! Can we say, holy shit, where does the time go?
April 2010 - No posts for April!
May 2010 - 37 Weeks! Its been awhile but I've been super busy too! 37 Weeks today = a full term baby! Woot!
June 2010 - On the Night You Were Born... I found this beautiful book, "On the Night You Were Born" before Maxim was born and I fell in love with the opening words. ~~On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, "Life will never be the same."~~
July 2010 - Long Distance Grandparents. This is going to be a really hard post to write but I have to get it out.
August 2010 - World Breast Feeding Week. August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week.
September 2010 - More Pics From Our Trip. Eventually I'll get a written update in here..Maxim has been a nap time monster for the last 2 weeks so needless to say we aren't getting much done around here during the day or at night.
I suppose....am I supposed to be honest here or...no wait, I must say yes, lest I be judged for being a shitty mother who hates her kid.
This question bugs me almost as much as the nursing/sleeping/pablum questions. How does a parent even answer this question other than "OF COURSE!!!! He's a GREAT baby ALL the time....dont you see the rainbows, unicorns and fluffy puppies shooting out his ass?!?! Dont you see the choir of angels singing boisterously behind me as I describe my perfect baby??" Haha!
What bugs me even more is that babies and kids are measured "good" by stupid things that are completely developmentally normal. Babies can only communicate by crying, non-verbal body language, or random cooing...they dont have words or language to articulate their needs and desires. So when a baby cries they are attempting to communicate their needs and desires.
Crying gets on my damn nerves. Especially when I've done everything I can possibly think of to soothe him and it doesnt work. I think any parent if they were honest would say that unending crying drives them nuts after awhile. Sometimes, I have to consciously remind myself that he is communicating, not getting on my nerves purposely.
My baby is a good baby because he is a good person. Not because he is a perfect angel 24 hours a day, never cries, sleeps on "schedule," "eats good" and all the other things that are supposed to be "good" about a kid. He's a normal human...he has good days and bad days. He has his preferences and mannerisms just like anybody else.
I wish we wouldn't measure good and bad this way. I read a blog post recently and be damned if I can remember what the blog was called but it talked about this very thing that made so much sense, it reminded me and my DH not to judge him as good or bad but normal.
So I hate it when people ask if he's a good baby...because they are expecting the answer yes and dont really give a shit about all the daily hassles and troubles that come with raising a normal baby. If I respond with anything other than yes, then I'm complaining, condescended to or dismissed. I'll gladly take a question about nursing anytime over the good baby question.
It seems that mothers can never be honest about raising their kids because there is all sorts of judgment and less than helpful comments that come with it. I think this is detrimental because new mothers don't get the right information about what it can be really like to raise a child. Its also detrimental to the mother that doesn't have an outlet. We seek support for "safe" topics with other people, we don't seek an ear to listen to our difficulties or the emotional toll that this can bring.
Most days are a joy, most moments are unforgettable, my heart bursts with happiness. Other days are so damn hard, so damn exhausting, so damn hair-graying, I briefly consider drinking and recreational pot use.
And I am so damn lucky. So so lucky and so so blessed.
Even though he's been driving me right up the nut house since Monday, he is a fabulous little human being and you're damn right...he is "good."
I have nothing to add to this blog right now mostly because I find myself boring.
So why write about boring things? My day-to-day doesnt change much. My son is still beautiful, still makes me laugh, still stresses me out sometimes, still makes me smile through it all.
Im feeling very disconnected from myself and my DH. It seems that 1000% of my life and focus is on my baby and that is not healthy at all.
Oh and to add to the misery is the continuing job woes. So glad I spent a small mortgage worth of money on my education to get shit-canned before even getting an interview. So glad I hear how smart I am and how good I am at my work but never get hired for something worthwhile. Even better....it stresses out my DH which is in turn put on me again and adds to the pressure. Again. Its not his fault but its not pleasant. This process really adds to...rather rips to shreds, chews up and explosively shits out my self-worth if you know what I mean.
Today you are 6 months old! To mark this special milestone our day looked like this:
Maman got you dressed in a onesie and diaper for your annual monthly picture with your tall penguin on the chair in your room. Its been so fun to chronicle these monthly pictures and your growth and it is amazing to see the changes.
You practiced sitting, safely tucked between Maman's legs and with many toys to keep your attention and stimulate your imagination.
We took a nap together this afternoon. You rested peacefully on my chest and I immediately recalled the first moment you laid on my chest after your birth. It was as beautiful today as it was then. It makes Maman very emotional thinking about it.
When Papa got home, we had dinner together. You got your very first taste of food today. We tried mashed sweet potato. Not your favorite thing. Then we tried some mashed banana...nope that was a no go as well. You did enjoy your first taste of water but I think that was more because it helped wash down the food. We'll try again tomorrow.
After your bath, Maman put you to bed and reflected on the last month. Not much has changed since month 5 other than you are more sturdy when you sit but sometimes your head still takes you in all sorts of directions. You get very upset when you bonk your head on the floor. You are still only rolling onto your tummy but you did roll back...just twice. You get frustrated very easily when on your belly. You're also pushing your butt into the air so you're practicing some crawling moves. I think it will be awhile yet.
When you are eating, you make sweet little noises and grunts and then come off Maman's breast with great flourish and a big smile. It is hilarious and makes Maman laugh a lot.
We are still waiting to hear some baby giggles and your voice is very soft yet though sometimes you let out a scream that gets our attention! You also have the attention of Figaro the cat and sometimes he'll lay on the carpet close to you and lick your hand or forehead. He gets your attention too, you are curious when he walks by or licks you.
You are teething something fierce but so far nothing has come out. Maman requested that the Tooth Fairy surrender those teeth soon, on the promise that she would get them back in 4-7 years...provided she swap for shiny quarters! :)
Your favorite toys are your rings, your dragonfly, your baseball rattle, and your penguins.You love to be sung to and you love when Maman reads to you as well.
As for your parents, we have hit our stride finally and feel somewhat normal again....a new normal of course. The days aren't as long as they once were for Maman but some days are still very hard. Papa loves coming home to us and has the happiest face for his son. Papa plays the Lion Game with you. Papa pretends he is a lion and crawls around on all four's, growling, pawing and then "attacking" your neck. It makes you smile and distracts you when Maman is trying to get you dressed for bed.We are getting better at this parenting thing though every day is something new.
Maxim, you are our most precious joy, the light of our days, our world. Even when Maman and Papa have bad days, you make us smile. Even on your bad days, you still smile. You have changed our hearts in ways you cant possibly imagine. Maman cant find the words to describe how beautiful you are, how loving you are and how much my heart swells with love for you. All I know is that you have fundamentally changed me as a person for the good, you have changed my heart and you have changed my perspective on life. We cannot wait to see what the next 6 months bring, not hoping things will speed up but savoring every single moment with you.
His blue eyes....in the morning they are a nice and light, mid-day they have a bit of gray radiating off the pupil like mine and in the evening they are the richest hue of navy.
The small of his back....this is where is he most ticklish...if he's nursing and I graze his back in any way, he immediately arches and wiggles. He is JUST like his dad this way...very sensitive to the touch. His dimples..I dont know where they came from, neither DH nor I have dimples but they are cute nonetheless and we'll take them.
His chubby cheeks...I kiss them constantly, I cant even help myself. He gets a million kisses a day.
His little biceps...they are just so cute, he's already got some "definition." I imagine him to be a grown man some day with nice arms that will make his partner swoon.
The little wrist cleavage he has between his wrist and hand.
His pot belly....it just barely sits over the edge of his diaper. He's not a fat baby but his little Buddha belly is just so adorable. I love to blow on it to make him smile and laugh.
His legs...he has the classic baby leg rolls. I smile with pride knowing that I did that...I helped him grow and get bigger outside of my body with my milk. His legs were so skinny, I just never imagined them with little rolls.
His feet...he likes it when I blow on the bottom of his feet and pretend to chew on his toes. He has big feet, he will be tall like his Papa.
His smile. It melts my heart, makes me laugh and makes me sigh happy little sighs when I see it. Especially first thing in the morning, it makes getting out of bed easier.I also check for teeth 10 times a day, he must get so sick of me sticking my finger in his mouth, haha!
Mid - night nursing sessions. He just recently started going back to these around 4:00am, part of a sleep regression thing. He just wants a little snack, comfort, or something...but it brings me peace in the middle of the night, when it is the darkest and quietest. I wrap us up in a blanket so I dont get cold and recline the chair a bit. The other night, I fell asleep in the chair in his room. I woke up and thought only 15 minutes had passed....it was 2 hours later, almost dawn and Maxim was still latched on, sleeping but suckling away.
Bath time. Maxim LOVES bath time and it is the most fun we have all day. He is totally getting into the toys, bubbles and splashing.
Nap time. Its good for him because he gets rest and its good for me because I get a break. I'm able to take care of myself during this time and its pretty frustrating for me if I dont get a little bit of a break. Thankfully, the nap issues are getting much better which makes for a happier, not overtired baby and a happier, less stressed mom and dad.
Night time massage. Sometimes he doesnt always love it but I love it because it allows me to help him relax in a different way and the nights he is really receptive to it, he just totally soaks it in.
His voice. He has the sweetest little voice, he likes to talk and jabber all day. He's squealing and grunting and doing everything he can to learn how to talk. Its so cool, I cannot wait until he says Maman and Papa for the first time.
Reading and music time. I love playing the piano for him and singing to him. His current favorites are Head Shoulders Knees and Toes and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We also play a ton of regular radio music for him, just like in utero. Still responds to DMB and Our Lady Peace....he's also a fan of "Boom Boom Pow" as we discovered this week and Lady Gaga.
When DH comes home...baby boy lights up and loves his Papa. I just love watching DH with him.
Just before he closes his eyes at bedtime. He likes to hold my hand and look up at me as he is falling asleep. Its my favorite part of the day...a time for me to reflect on the good and the bad. How he grew and changed and learned and how I grew, changed and learned too.
Maxim is 5 months old today!! It really does go so fast, its hard to believe he was born 5 months ago.
This month Maxim is extremely fascinated with his feet. I think he's kinda blown away that if he drops his other toys and cant get them, at least his feet are always attached and at the ready, haha! This foot fetish of his makes diaper changes more interesting and he tries so hard to get both hands and feet in his mouth at the same time.
He's found his sweet little voice this month as well. We often have little "chats" throughout the day, especially just before he goes down for bed. We cuddle on the couch and he whispers little baby words to me before he finally closes his eyes. I like to think he is thanking me for a nice day of play and fun, taking good care of him and telling me he loves me so much. Sweetest part of my day, other than waking up to baby smiles :)
He is not very good at playing independently yet and he is ok with the jumper and exersaucer for very short periods of time. He would rather I play with him. He does love the over head toys though and sitting in his Bumbo chair. He still just rolls back to tummy but not the other direction so he gets a bit frustrated after being on his belly. He does a bit of tripod sitting but still needs support. He also loves his bath and the toys and bubbles are super fun for him.
We have a nightly routine of dinner, a stroller walk with Papa, bath, nurse and bed time. He is going to bed between 8 and 8:30 which is a huge difference than a few months ago. His naps are slowly getting better but there are still days when he struggles and then is crabby. If we are out later, he adjusts so well so we dont feel too confined to get him to his bed times.
He is a happy little boy and is looking more like me than DH. He is so sweet and we are so so in love with him. We love every day when he learns something new or does something cute. He is such a blessing :)
Today is our 3rd anniversary :) It is a beautiful sunny day here, 3 years ago it was slightly cloudy and rainy but still full of enough love, hopes and dreams to light the day. I remember every minute, detail, moment as if it just happened. From the sleepless night and busy morning getting ready to the first night we finally shut off the bed side lamps and cuddled in the darkness as husband and wife .
Some parents say that the birth of their children are the best days of their lives...and I admit, that day was really really wonderful, special, amazing, beautiful...
But our wedding anniversary will always be my best day...because without this day, all my other beautiful days since then and in the future wouldn't be possible without the day I married my very best friend. The love of my life, the guy who turns me on, supports me, makes me laugh daily, cries with me, surprises me, challenges me and most of all, loves me without limits, unconditionally.
3 years down, a lifetime to go. C'est toi que j'taime :)
A local farm known for their pick your own berries and fresh veggies opens their doors for Halloween activities including a corn maze, pumpkins, marshmallow roast, wagon rides and a haunted barn. We went there this weekend with my parents for the first time to get pics of Maxim amongst their pumpkins and to buy some home made pie. DH and I tried the barn but totally chickened out and got out early, haha!! My DH is a huge wimp when it comes to scary stuff but it was even too much for me. So here are some pics from our weekend excursion!
So its something that has been weighing on my mind for 2 months now.
As a person educated with a Masters in Psychology, its definitely on my radar and something that I thought about a lot when I was pregnant too. Its something that I can easily recognize in women when they talk to me about their symptoms but it wasnt as easy to pinpoint in myself.
I think I may have a mild form of postpartum depression.
I don't have all the hallmark symptoms and I definitely don't take it out on my son. My symptoms are not even that severe or debilitating. A few things have stood out though since he was about 2 months old though, mostly a quick fuse, short on patience of which I've always had an abundance, guilt about not loving staying at home, some mild depression, feeling out of control, and a lot of isolation which is the biggie.
In fact, I'm not entirely sure its really PPD but maybe just postpartum adjustment issues. I'm trying to figure out if my feelings are outside of the realm of normal. PPD is abnormal though not uncommon, but adjustment issues are very normal and common as well. Adjustment to life as a mother, feeling like I'm losing a sense of my pre-baby self, adjusting to the demands of a baby....when you have a new baby, none of this is unusual but its hard to know when its abnormal. I still dont really know in my case.
The isolation is definitely the biggest factor. I've decided to make it a priority to go out of town with my girlfriends for a day trip every other month. I need more time with my friends that doesnt' involve the baby. So in October, we're headed for a day trip of food, shopping and wine. My one girlfriend is due in November so it will be a last outing before her newborn for awhile.
Since I've sort of concluded that this may be the case for me, I've felt a large sense of relief from it. I haven't talked to anybody about it yet because I'm still trying to figure it out and I don't think I need a medication for it. I dont think I need to do much other than be aware of my feelings, work on my thoughts about it and deal with the isolation. I can get very circular with my thinking which leads to more negative emotions and it doesnt help. I also need to just let go of the fact that my house is going to drive me nuts at times and if I dont have time, I just dont have time. That is where my lack of control is mostly directed. Awareness is the first step to treatment as it is said in my field.
Maybe its not so much of a conclusion as its finally an admission that its happening to me. Its been nagging me since Maxim was 2 months old. Its not something I"m quick to even think about when I see other women with new babies because the newborn months are so hard. Also, I think I'm coping rather well most days which I notice in others hasnt been so easy. My issues are not debilitating like PPD can be for many mothers.
Intellectually, I'm completely aware that even the ones that supposedly should be immune to this sort of thing are not immune at all. Meaning, its hard to admit that something is wrong when you know the ins and outs of it and therefore should be able to prevent it or at least cope with it better than everybody else. Not true. Intellectually I know this. But somewhere in my pride its very hard to admit that this has been a problem. Unfortunately when you work in mental health, this mindset of personal immunity from the ailments you treat is very common so it will be hard for me to admit to others because many of my friends work in mental health.
So admission? Conclusion? I think its both. I'm still working of figuring out completely though. The personal relief I've felt from it since admitting it to myself has already done wonders on my mood and perspective. Next step is to speak with a trusted friend who specializes in PPD and get her thoughts before hashing it out any further. I think she'll keep my confidence about it and be able to help me navigate what is normal vs. abnormal as well.
On September 12, 2009, I had a wedding to attend for DH's cousin in the Toronto area.
I had been feverishly peeing on pregnancy tests for 3 days before and all were negative. All because I had some spotting that I had never had before AF. Maybe, I thought, it was that so-called "implantation" spotting.Why I was peeing on sticks that much, that early, I'll never know...its a crazy obsession that comes over women trying to get pregnant and there is just no logic behind it really. We all lose our ever loving minds when it comes to conceiving a baby.
On September 12, 2009, I was around 12 DPO.
And got my first positive test.
It was a dollar store test but it was just enough to convince me that I shouldn't drink the wine at the wedding.
Not enough to convince me to tell DH about it though.
So off to the wedding we went and I had to keep my secret all day long, even with DH's family there. It was a long car ride, a long day trying to be cool about not drinking, trying to stay level and keep quiet. Nobody knew a thing. It was a lovely wedding, my first gay wedding (one big reason to love Canada...they think gays are alright to marry...Canada 1 USA 0) and the day was amazing. The happy couple put on a helluva party and we all had a great time.
And all day long, I had a secret.
Because really...a line is a line...even on a cheap test.
I really wanted to pee on a more expensive test. An FRER or a digital. The dollar store test was enough to make me not drink but not enough to really make me believe it.
Its funny the mental thing I had about tests. When buying the dollar store tests, I felt slightly embarrassed because I was just imagining that all these people thought I was utterly insane for buying 20 tests at the dollar store because HOW can it be that a dollar store test is even close to reliable?? I felt like a fraud...like I shouldnt even be buying them because grown up people who want to be pregnant buy real tests. But I knew I had an obsession with peeing on sticks and didnt want to blow beaucoup bucks on the expensive tests until I was certain it would be positive.
But the expensive $10 tests?? Waved those babies around like a banner. Well not really, I was still maintaining some sense of my dignity at that point but it was definitely a different sort of retail experience.
So I had a secret and it was fun and sweet and agonizing to keep to myself all at once. When dancing with DH, I looked into his eyes and the blissful thoughs that he was going to be the father of my baby filled my mind. I desperately wanted to tell him during that moment, dancing to "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders, that he was going to be a father.
We got back from the wedding on Sunday the 13th and I told DH we had to go to the grocery store. We only really needed milk but I really needed some more tests to pee on. He asked me why I was buying them and I said, well we are trying to have a baby so I would like to have a few on hand. Since I wasnt charting but had pretty regular cycles and could pinpoint O pretty easily even without the temping, I only had a vague idea of when I should test but on AF was due to show up on the 14th of September so I figured it was close enough.
I got more positives on the expensive tests. I think I had 6 tests all lined up for DH when I finally told him my little secret.
And then it became our secret.
Because I wanted to wait a week to when we would see his family in person and to call my family to share the happy news.
Somehow on Monday, my male friend at work found out without me even telling him. Its a funny story I'll have to share later and it became a running joke throughout my pregnancy. Then we told DH"s best friend...and then I called my best friend. But we swore them all to secrecy.
On September 12, 2010 instead of testing, I am ovulating. I got my first AF back on August 25th, a year and one week since my last AF. I knew it was coming, Maxim has been sleeping through the night for 10 hours straight since he was 2.5 months old. He basically night weaned himself so I knew it was a matter of time. I cant believe he night weaned so early, I honestly expected to be night nursing for much much longer. But I certainly am not going to wake him up, especially when he is nursing great during the day and gaining weight appropriately. My first AF since last year made me feel like I was ten years old again when I got it the very first time in my life. It was an awful, brutal, ugly mess. I hope it isnt that bad anymore and goes back to normal.
Today on September 12, 2010, my 4 month old baby boy giggled at me for the first time. 4 month old. He is beautiful and amazing and more than I ever dreamed of when I peed on the stick one year ago today. More than DH and I ever expected and we are bursting with more love than is possible.
It is truly amazing. One year ago, he was a positive line on a test and just an abstract idea in my happy mind...just dividing cells implanted inside of my womb. Now he is a blue eyed, giggly, smiley, active little boy who is quickly growing into something so amazing every day.
No longer a line on a test, no longer an abstract idea in my mind, no longer in my womb but forever in my heart.
I just dropped $500 on glasses and contacts. How the hell do Canadians live??!! Thank god we have insurance but it will only cover $250 bucks...and $80 of that is going to the eye appointment to get my script updated. Holy shit....my husband is crapping himself....but the consolation is that I buy new frames every 5-8 years it seems so I'll be keeping them for awhile...but still...holy shit...
**Naps suck. I've ranted about naps on every medium possible so I'll just end here. But seriously....I hate my life right now dealing with this. Pretty sure Maxim is hating his too and we're both kinda fed up with each other I think.
**Nap issues are not the worst thing I could be dealing with right now or ever. This too shall pass. Hopefully very very very quickly.
**He is also teething. Amber teething necklaces seem to be helping with the chewing and drooling.
**Maxim has his 4 month check up on Monday and the first of his 4 month vaccines. The doc splits up the two needles so his second will be later in September. The first time he had these shots at two months old, the second needle was much much worse. Knowing what to expect will make this easier to deal with this time around. I cant wait to get him weighed and measured, he has grown so much in 2 months.
**His hair is getting longer but not much thicker...and the back of his head just has very small baby hairs. His eyes are still a deep blue but with gray radiating off the pupil just like mine.
**Our master bedroom is once again cat free and kid free. I have a thing about my bedroom being an oasis. We dont have a TV in the room, the only electronics allowed are the alarm clock, my cell phone and the baby monitor. There are no pictures of family or the baby in our room, other than of DH and I together. The cat hair was cramping my style and we needed new bedding. So the cat is officially out of our room, after some major body slamming by the cat on our door. Maxim (and other future children) will be allowed in there in small doses of course but for the most part, it is the only room in the house we don't have to share and I want to keep it that way.
**I read a few David Sedaris books over the summer and will pick up a few more....I loved Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day...hilarious.
**One of our groomsmen had their baby this week...6 weeks too early :(. She is a little trooper though but it was apparently quite scary for a bit there including bed rest for two weeks in August due to a small part of the placenta tearing away and pre-term contractions. Then last week they had an ultrasound and needed to plan a C-Section due to Vasa Previa. Apparently that is when the blood vessels cross the cervix and if the baby is born vaginally, the babe basically bleeds to death. It is usually diagnosed after the birth (and subsequent death) of the baby but they caught it before, thank goodness. But then it became an emergency (a serious emergency) C-Section on the 6th to get her out when mama started bleeding. The babe wasnt breathing or had much color.. They couldnt even see her for 10 hours and didnt get to hold her for almost 24 hours...can you imagine?! She has to be in NICU for 2-3 weeks but she seems to be improving and doing as well as can be expected. Again...my nap issues are small in comparison....
**Currently reading: The Eye of the Dragon by Stephen King (re-read), The Lion by Nelson Demille and World Without End by Ken Follett.
**Currently eating: Crushed ice...still a pregnancy obsession/quirk/craving of mine. I chewed on crushed ice all the time when pregnant and I'm still on it. My poor teeth...also, sweet corn, grilled asparagus, and bell peppers of all colors.
**Currently sleeping: About 10 hours for Maxim and 9 hours for me....wahoo!
**Currently watching: Design shows on TV like Divine Design and Take This House and Sell It. Also watching Wedding SOS and Rich Bride, Poor Bride.
**September plans: BBQ this weekend, DH is golfing next weekend so I will be with the MIL and then Maxim's baptism which my parents WILL be attending and flying in for the weekend...so excited!!
Eventually I'll get a written update in here..Maxim has been a nap time monster for the last 2 weeks so needless to say we aren't getting much done around here during the day or at night. I'm fairly certain he is teething.
There are many moments as a mother that I'm not proud of at all and scared to admit....
I have yelled at my 3 month old baby for crying uncontrollably. Obviously it doesnt work. It only makes him feel worse, cry louder, and me feel guilty.
I wonder what I've done to make him cry so much and why I can't soothe him back to his happy self.
I growl under my breath sometimes....sometimes its at him, sometimes at DH, sometimes at the cat.
I cuss way, way too much around him (not at him though, but still) and really need to get it under control before he really understands and starts think that "shit" is a good word to say in mixed company.
There are days when I have to consciously remind myself and say out loud "He is just a baby and it's not his fault. I am the adult here and its my job to help him navigate his way in his stressed out little world." There are days when I have to remind myself and my body that he senses my energy and I need to relax in order for him to relax.
Today is his 4th day in a row without a decent afternoon nap despite my every effort. By no nap, I mean he naps one hour in the morning and then only 20-45 minutes in the afternoon...its not enough at all. He is still sleeping 10 straight hours at night but his daytime is totally messed up and he is. Just. Plain. Crabby. He is so overtired by evening its insane. Last night, even my husband lost his cool. He cried for 3 hours straight until I finally turned on my blow dryer which seemed to be the right fix. Finally he fell asleep.
I need to get this boy a white noise machine.
Anyway, last night after he finally calmed down, just before he closed his eyes, he was sucking on his soother, wrapped up in his sleeping bag, his sweet little hands folded on top of mine on his chest, and he looked up at me with his deep blue eyes. His eyes at night are the best, they appear an even richer, darker blue than during the day, like the darkest parts of the ocean.
He was looking up at me with his little eyes and they appeared to plead with me...implore me...beg me..."Please maman...don't give up on me."
I teared up as I watched my son finally fall asleep. Teared up in exhaustion and remorse for the painful evening we had just endured together. Total surrender to his plea.
After ugly moments, there are beautiful, soul stirring moments. Moments that gently nudge and remind of what is really in the heart.
Mutual unconditional love...
Even when the crying and screaming is seemingly never ending. I love him.
Even when he won't take a nap and I can't get anything done. I love him.
Even when he has a massive blowout in the car seat. I love him.
Even when he barfs on my hand at the bookstore. I love him.
Even when I have to put him down and collect myself. He loves me.
Even when I don't always use nice words when he's around. He loves me.
Even when I raise my voice a little too loud. He loves me.
Even when I grumble at him, his dad or the cat. He loves me.
Even when he's on the edge of sleep after a bad night. He loves me.
Baby boy, I wont give up you if you wont give up on me. Promise. Forever.
We're home from the States and my house is in shambles.
You know when you return from a trip and there is just shit piled every which direction while you try to do laundry, get groceries, entertain the cat who was convinced you weren't coming back thus shedding out all of his hair EVERYWHERE in stress and promise the baby you wont put him in his car seat for the next week because 20 hours one way was more than enough for a lifetime for a 3 month old??
Yep...thats been life the last 3 days.
I promise an update and pics soon. Oh and that whole project I talked about...I havent forgot about it and plan to start it in September after summer is over and life is somewhat slowed down around here.
Oh and Maxim is 3 months now and quickly moving to 4 months....where does the time go??
Anyway, a real update soon! Promise! Here's a pic to tide you over...
I cant imagine my 40H bo.obs (yes you heard right...38C to 40H in 10 months...it's a bit freaky) being whipped anywhere...they are simply too heavy and cumbersome to move that fast.But naysayers of public nursing have said that many women "whip it out."
I'm not here to take up a cause about infant feeding. I just feed my baby. Most breast feeding mothers will say that though so I'm not saying anything earth shattering.
Earlier I had mentioned that when pregnant nursing in public freaked me out. Not witnessing others doing it, but me doing it. One of my friends was breast feeding her baby at home and said she never nursed in public because she couldnt just "whip it out" and always had a bottle at the ready if she went out in public. So it made me even more freaked out at the prospect of doing it when one of my friends was one of the naysayers.
At first I just nursed him at home and tried to manage his feedings with the time I would be out of the house. This was more for my comfort since he had such bad latch issues that it would sometimes take more than a minute or so to get him on properly. I also couldnt use a cover during this time because I really needed to see what he was doing down there. During this time, I was worried I would never be comfortable nursing outside the house since it was such a pain in the rear to get him on and feeding him in the first place.
When my parents got here for their visit, I moved my nursing sessions to the nursery while they sat in the living room. I did it for their comfort not mine since I wasnt sure how they felt about it but after the first day of it, I just moved out to the living room with them. I just didnt want to sit alone in the nursery while my parents were waiting for us and since nursing takes a lot of time throughout the day, it would mean a lot of lost conversation, laughs and fun times if I had stayed in exile. I falsely assumed that my parents would be uncomfortable with it when in fact, they behaved quite normally and said that it was a good thing to be nursing my baby. My mom and I had a discussion about nursing in public and generally came to the same philosphy about it.
After the magical 6 week mark, he started latching on right and it started getting easier. By this time, I was not confined to my house anymore but nursing at the cottage in front of DH's family for a few weeks. After the latch improved, I started nursing in front of my other friends at parties, my DH's frisbee games and at the table of the restaurants we went to together. At a friend's party, she offered her daughter's room as a place to nurse and change the baby. I only used her change table, I just nursed on the couch in the living room. A friend offered me a cover at a frisbee game but sort of backpedaled when she said it was to keep the sun out of his eyes and not to cover up the act itself. I dont know how they really feel about it but nobody has ever said anything to me.
My sister-in-law who wants to formula feed when she has children has said that I'm very discreet about feeding him which she meant as a compliment because she said her other friend has no regard for others, sprays them with milk on purpose and other silly things. My brother-in-law was squeamish about breast feeding because of this friend but now he doesnt even react at all when I nurse Maxim. I think my sister-in-law is more comfortable with it as well At a family party, my DH's 11 year old cousin was simply fascinated with the baby and sat next to me during every single feed to ask me questions about breast feeding, burping, napping, and other things about babies in general. She was so curious about everything and it was fun to talk to her about it and teach her a little bit too.
This week I'm attending my 10 year high school reunion. The friend I mentioned earlier who always had a bottle ready for public feeding offered her parents house to pump and feed Maxim "because they wont mind." Nah, thats ok...I'll just feed him wherever we are I told her but thanked her for the offer. She did it her way, I'm doing it my way. She thinks differently than me and neither of us are wrong. Nursing and my extended family like my grandparents will be interesting to be sure. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised to say the least.
So to sum it up after nursing in public for just over 2 months, its not that bad. In fact, its necessary for me to feel normal, to be able to enjoy being in public with my baby. Its not shameful or embarrasing. Its second nature now. I dont make a display of myself. I dont "whip it out." I don't use a cover unless I'm with people I've never met (DH's co-workers for example) and just feel uncomfortable around in general. I act normal so others act normal too. He's just eating and getting a little comfort after all.
Writing about my nursing experience is cathartic as well as a way to document these early days with my son. I didnt think I would write so much or have so much to say about the topic. I wouldn't say that I'm very passionate about infant feeding because ultimately one has to make choices that honor their family. But I am passionate about my baby and he's a big enough cause for me. Thanks for reading.
"Give him a bit of water, it won't mess with your supply."
"Chamomile tea worked for your sister to calm her down."
"When are you giving him pablum?"
"Breast milk doesn't really have any value past 6 months."
"Is he sleeping through the night yet?"
These are probably the most common things I've heard or answered in the last 3 months, especially the first one about how long we will nurse and the last one about sleeping.
The first one always surprises people when I say exclusively for 6 months and then to a year with solids. I'm not sure why the amount of time matters to people because quite frankly, it should only matter to the nursing family. I answer this one as politely as possible and with as much patience as possible. However, I don't justify it with any explanation or reasons why because I don't feel the need to explain myself unless the person is asking with genuine interest. So far I've only been asked by Canadians and my parents though...it will be interesting to answer these questions next week when we travel to the States to visit my family.
The staaaaarving thing came from my mother on their last night here when Maxim would NOT settle down no matter what we did, other than feed him. He was in serious cluster feeding mode and working on his 6 week growth spurt. At that point, I could pump a solid 5 oz from each breast which is a bit oversupply (most women can only pump 1-3 oz per session) and I actually pumped just after feeding him to show my mother that he was in fact not starving (because I barely got an ounce of milk from the pump) as well as to explain that breast fed babies cluster feed (formula fed babies do as well but its slightly different) and that he's behaving normally. She was seriously skeptical though. I stuck to my guns about it though and she respected it.
The water and chamomile came from her too. My sister had serious colic...even I remember it and I was only 6 when she was born. The neighbor lady had apparently suggested chamomile tea and it apparently worked to settle her down. Mom also suggested some water between feeds to "keep him full." Breast fed babies do not need extra water...the breast milk changes to hydrate the baby in the beginning of the feed and then fatten them up when the hindmilk starts flowing. In fact it is potentially dangerous to give young babies under 6 months water as they can not process it properly. Maxim does NOT have colic but he does behave like a normal baby with normal fussy hours. Fussy hours are normal because often the babe is overstimulated and stressed from the day and needs to get it out. I explained all of this to my mother (well minus the water/tea thing because I dont think I would have convinced her anyway since it seemingly worked for my sister). His fussy hours started right around 7 weeks and they lasted until 10 weeks with a predictable period of crying from 8:30-10:00pm. DH is amazing at soothing him so between the cluster feeding and soothing, we survived. Maxim now has maybe one night of fussiness that cant be soothed easily but now his predictable fussy hours are much less.
The pablum question has been leveled at DH from his co-workers almost weekly since Maxim was 3 weeks old. They have always added onto the question that "the baby will sleep longer if you give him some pablum." DH asked me just once if we would be giving Maxim pablum and I said no we would not be giving him anything but breast milk until he was 6 months old and then explained to him why I felt this was best for Maxim. From what I've read, I've decided for our family that pablum doesnt have any real value other than "filling him up." He gets everything he needs from the milk and I dont mind getting up to nurse him.
As for the value of breast milk, I've just explained to those women that the breast milk changes as the baby grows and that it is still valuable past the newborn and 6 months stage. I dont get into it any further than that because then I feel like I am justifying my choices.
As for sleeping through the night, people seem to have this false idea that all babies should sleep 12 hours from 7pm to 7am from the time they are 6 weeks old....wrong. Some babies are wonderful sleepers and some are up every 2-3 hours for many months. All babies are different and yet it seems to be a testament to your ability to parent based on your child's sleep patterns. I have been blessed with a wonderful sleeper, thank my lucky stars. I think he is just as lazy as my DH and I and loves his sleep. My baby wont sleep for the night at 7pm but he does cat nap. In fact, he wont go down any earlier than 10pm and believe me, we've tried. He has been sleeping from 10:30pm or 11:00pm until anywhere between 5-7:30am since he was about 8 weeks old. Every now and then it may be earlier than 5am but not all that often. I dont do anything special other than feed him on both sides before putting him down. After he wakes up for the first time, I'll feed him both sides and then he'll go back down for another 3-4 hours. Seriously, I think its partly because he's been in his crib since day one and most of it I'm sure is because I'm just lucky.
Most of the questions and comments I've gotten havent been that bad and I havent gotten too annoyed. I guess I take it as an opportunity to talk about my normal breast fed baby and to give a little information about breast feeding in general. I try to frame it in a non-argumentative manner because they did it their way, we're doing it our way and neither way is wrong. I think by framing it that way with a firm tone, as in this is what we've decided and we're sticking to it for our baby and gently reminding that he's normal as opposed to...le sigh, you're a douche bag leave me alone. Instead of me getting insulted or annoyed, people have been more accepting and respectful when they see that we've done our research, we know our baby and what he needs and seem confident in our decisions.
Within the first 10 minutes of my son's birth, he was placed on my chest skin-to-skin. It was the most magical moment I've ever experienced. My favorite pictures of us are those first few taken during that precious time. Within the first hour after all the excitement died down, my son and I started to nurse.
After being on IV fluids for 2 days and then gripping the bed rail to push my son out, my left hand was the size of a blown up latex glove. It was insane and it hurt immensely. They wouldn't let me take the IV out of my hand until I peed though. So I was stuck with a hand I couldn't use very well. In addition, my breasts were enormous, filled with fluid. So enormous that my already flat nipples had no chance of protruding properly so they gave me a nipple shield to help with nursing. They also gave me a pump to use and taught me how to do the football hold because they said it would be an easier position given the size of my fluid-filled balloons. My hand was a foreign object on my body though, and it just made it so much harder to hold him properly. When the IV finally came out, it felt amazing and my hand immediately shrunk back down to its normal size.
We were left to our own devices after the baby was born and only got checked on if we called them or had to fill out paperwork. It was nice to be left alone but it didnt help me to get a good start with nursing. I knew very well that the baby was only getting a little bit of colostrum and that his little tummy only held so much at a time but when the nurses did come in and I wasn't nursing, they said he's hungry. Well how did they know? They werent in the room with us the entire day. My DH had his finger in Maxim's mouth at one point and they asked if he was hungry...no he had just finished nursing and wanted to continue to suckle.
We went home and Maxim slept for 6 hours before eating again. We spent the day at home, nursing and marveling at our new baby. The third day after his birth, we had to go back to the hospital to see the nurse for a well-baby check. My milk was not quite in yet but I could tell that it would be in soon because they were starting to feel heavy.
It did not go well. She was nice but a bit of a battle-axe too. My husband is very systematic in his thought processes and he needs lists, instructions and key-phrases for Googling. The nurse was mostly talking to him because she said I wouldnt remember because I was so tired. When he asked for a pamphlet or a pad of paper, she said "You'll just remember it because she won't." DH was so frustrated and I felt so bad for him. She admonished me for not pumping after every feed due to the nipple shield and she said that Maxim was jaundiced (his bilirubin levels were fine prior to discharge) and lost almost 10% of his weight. She gave us phone numbers for the pediatric unit "just in case but I think he'll be fine" for the weekend in the event that we felt the need to go to the hospital for a jaundice eval. She instructed us to nurse and then pump for 20 minutes after every feed, wake him every 3 hours to eat and give him 1 oz of formula until my milk came in and then expressed breast milk. She readily gave us a package of pre-made formula and I was too tired to protest saying I didnt want it because everything she was telling me about his jaundice and weight was NORMAL. I didnt want to give him a bottle, I knew it could possibly mess with his already precarious latch. My DH didnt know either and he likes solutions to problems right away. She also seemed snarky when she asked about my eating and sleeping as if it was my fault I wasn't sleeping well..."so you're eating ok but you're sleep quality is poor." Well no shit sherlock...I just had a baby 3 days ago and for the first 24 hours I was running on adrenaline, no wonder I'm crashing and exhausted...growl...snark...kiss my ass lady.
Anyway, I was so wiped out after an hour of listening to her that I almost fell asleep in the car on the way home. It was exhausting because my tired mind was running a mile a minute trying to keep up with her and then questioning myself. So instead of listening to the voice in my head about what I already knew...I pumped for 20 minutes after every feed and we gave him some formula as well.
That weekend I started to resent the pump....especially when my MIL came over to take the baby away from my DH while he is trying to parent and I'm stuck in the nursery feeling like a dairy cow. Especially when I couldnt enjoy those visits with them right away and they acted as if I didnt matter. I gave in to the formula in the middle of the night when I was so tired from pumping and nursing. It just plain sucked.
On that Monday, a different nurse came by the house as is protocol and we had a discussion about nursing, his weight etc etc. He had gained 4 oz over the weekend but was still jaundiced. She said to keep nursing and giving him bottles after feeds to get his weight up and jaundice out. She gave me tips with his latch and positioning which really helped a lot. She said she would come back on Friday to weigh him again.
She came back and he had only gained 2 oz. I was nearly in tears because I was so frustrated. My nipples were sore and cracked, he wasnt gaining like she wanted to see and he was still jaundiced. I knew in the back of my mind that the jaundice was still normal. Maxim also had a very bad fire-engine red diaper rash. She said its probably thrush, I said it was probably the diapers because I had heard the Pampers dipes were giving babies really bad rashes. She said it was thrush because of my nipple pain and I argued that it was simply a really bad latch. Then I started to question my supply and she gave me information on herbs and ways to increase my supply. But I didnt really think supply was a problem, I really felt like it was the latch. My husband was so confused and just wanted answers on how to do this and help me.
I nearly gave up. I was so frustrated. My breasts were screaming at me, my husband was so confused and I was so tired of pumping. He said that I could stop only if I felt like I had tried everything because he knew that it was important to me to nurse. I said I gotta make it to 6 weeks, it'll get better then. I said I'm not paying for formula, I need to fix his latch.
That night, I said no more bottles. He was going on the boob whether he liked it or not. We worked all weekend to fix his latch. Every single time he went on, he went on wrong and every single time I pulled him off to fix it. It was exhausting. By Monday I threw the nipple shield away because it wasnt helping anymore and I knew it was about breast feeding not nipple feeding. I did block feeding to heal my sore nips, I changed positions, I stopped pumping completely and just nursed. I worked, he worked...we worked hard to fix his latch.
The nurse came back that Thursday and he had gained 11 oz in less than a week!! She was shocked and asked me how I did it. Satisfied and happy, I said he went off the bottles and we just worked really hard together to make it work. I knew after that appointment with her, we would be ok.
The 3 week growth spurt was brutal. The cluster feeding at night was brutal. It was not a fun 6 weeks at all. At times it drove me nuts to just be nursing constantly day in and day out. It felt like a lot of my time was spent nursing. It was but looking back it wasn't as bad as it felt at the time. There were times I felt isolated and alone. There were times I wanted to cry because he was demanding me again.
And there were beautiful moments too. When he would fall off the breast, clearly milk drunk and satisfied. When my DH said he was proud of me. Reminding myself that he wouldn't stay little forever and wouldn't want to cuddle forever. When I got up in the middle of the night knowing he needed ME and only me, it made it easier to think of it that way instead of disrupted sleep.
If I hadn't had the information in my head and had not stopped listening to the well-meaning but bad advice, I would have given up. Without my supportive and amazing DH cheering me on, I would have given up. Hell, without my bull-headed stubborness I would have given up.
I said in my previous post that we were deciding that we would breast feed Maxim. Me and my DH were going to breast feed, not just me. Because while I'm the one with the equipment, it takes both people to make it work in my opinion. The only support I had was him in those early weeks and without him, we wouldn't have made it.
In the stages of "planning" for parenthood before trying to conceive, I contemplated how we would feed our new baby. I come from a family of formula feeders. I figured that breast feeding would be very challenging for me without the appropriate support. My family members are quite ignorant about breast feeding because they didn't do it and didn't have models for breast feeding. So they have all the myths and misinformation about breast feeding in their minds, not the truth and facts. So I debated knowing this and wondered if I would be able to do it without them behind me 100%. My mother would never question my parenting choices but she did question whether or not breast feeding would work. I wondered if I would be able to make it work too.
I don't believe there is anything wrong with feeding formula at all if the family chooses to do so. But I was reading material and debates online about formula vs. breast milk and my mind started to turn the other way about feeding our baby. My husband said that he preferred that we breast feed our baby but that he would leave the final decision to me.
I soon learned that there is a stark cultural difference in Canada versus the United States when it comes to breast feeding. Breast feeding is somewhat protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms however, only Ontario and British Columbia have specific details regarding the rights of breast feeding mothers. In addition, Canada has up to 50 weeks of maternity and parental leave for parents which helps foster a healthy breast feeding relationship. In the States, maternity leave is much shorter in duration and unpaid in many cases. In addition, the rights for breast feeding mothers is based on state laws and not all states recognize the rights in the same manner.
I distinctly remember one of my aunts attempting to breast feed my cousin who was 2 weeks early and "small" (about 6 lbs). I was 20 years old and had never seen it before. I remember feeling slightly fascinated and somewhat embarrassed that I was seeing my aunts breasts in that manner. I also remember the comments from my very ignorant, asshole grandfather. My aunt is small-breasted so he would make comments like "those small tit.ties cant make enough for that baby." "She is starving that baby, that baby isn't gaining any weight." "How does she know how much that baby is getting, does she have a gauge on those bo.obs?" "She should cover herself up, we don't need to see that." I remember feeling sorry for her as she struggled with only her mother to support her and then she eventually gave up after only two weeks. I don't know if she didn't have enough support and information, if she had a low supply or if she decided that she just didn't want to do it.
Witnessing and hearing those things had a profound effect on me and I figured I would never breast feed after that. What was the point if I was just going to hear comments and garbage from people that don't get it? And who will help me if I try? Formula just seemed so much easier rather than dealing with all of that. Also, at that point I was still viewing my breasts as purely sexual and not for feeding.
Anyway, the more I did my own research and reading, the more I wanted to "try it." DH was really on board for it and with his family of whom some women did breast feed, I figured I had a good chance at making it work. I resolved to give it 6 weeks and do the very best I could. I read up on it incessantly, all the potential roadblocks, all the norms of a breast fed baby, everything, so that when the time came, I would have an idea of what to expect and how to arm myself with facts to disarm the potential naysayers.I started to believe that breast feeding would be easier than formula feeding too. I blogged in my pregnancy about a conversation I had at work with a friend that breast fed her babies and she said many times that breasts and breast milk are magical. She is a true advocate without judgment or veiled passive-agressive guilt inducing statements and her influence on me during the pregnancy was huge.
When I got pregnant, my breasts changed immediately. I was a 38 C and went to a 40DD in 12 weeks time. I was blown away and slightly freaked out about the size they would be when my milk came in after the birth. They became vein-y and darker and just plain alien to me. My nips are flat so I worried about the challenges that may have come from that. I kept in mind throughout the pregnancy that I would "try" but that it may not work for me and no matter what happened, I would be a good mother and not worry myself with the comments or opinions of others.
As for breast feeding in public, when I was pregnant, I did not believe I would be able to comfortably breast feed in public without a cover and even then I believed I would probably find a corner to hide myself in so that I could feed my baby in private without all eyes on me. This worried me greatly and I felt that it would be incredibly isolating but I didn't know how to feel about it other than intense fear. Fear that I would hear comments or be told to go away, fear that I wouldn't be able to step out into public without a bottle of expressed milk in tow.
I thought it would be hard but I had no idea how hard it actually is in the beginning. Nobody really tells you how hard it will be or how hard anything when it comes to a baby will be when the wee one arrives and changes your life.
I like...quoting lyrics, the number 5, getting lost in a book, watching people interact, jewelry and other shiny objects, red wine, newborn babies, dancing, anything red, true talent, the rain, the change of the seasons, frost on the trees, watching my husband sleep, and words.
I'm a lot of things...woman, wife, daughter, American, counselor, teacher, friend, musician, human.