Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making More Milk

When I was pregnant, the only thing I was really worried about was breastfeeding.  I know that compared to many things that might seem trivial, but I was raised in a family that breastfeed their babies exclusively.  Then, I married into a family that breastfed their babies.  Over and over I saw examples of mothers who made sure to breastfeed their babies for an entire year....and I was nervous about meeting the same standards, combined with the fact that I knew breastfeeding is the absolute best nutrition for a baby.  I felt a lot of pressure from myself and from others to breastfeed for an entire year.  So, I read everything I could find prior to giving birth about breastfeeding.  I read "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding", which is produced by La Leche League and is considered the current "go to" on breastfeeding, along with multiple other books about breastfeeding prior to giving birth to Andrew.  I prepared as much as I could, and often shared with others that breastfeeding was my biggest concern about childbirth.  As most of the books prepared for....we had no issues with breastfeeding when Andrew was born.  He latched fairly easily right from the beginning....and I worked to get full feedings in right away.  In the hospital I seemed to have plenty of colostrum, and my milk came in right away and was plentiful.  Andrew gained 3 lbs his first month, and breastfeeding issues seemed to be non-existent.  In fact, I wondered why I was ever worried about it.

For a variety of reasons, we developed breastfeeding issues later.  Andrew didn't nurse for very long after about the first 6 weeks...he'd much rather play around and look around.  I lost all my baby weight very quickly (within 6 weeks), and being small-framed to begin with I didn't have any reserves to draw from.  Hormonal issues, which don't seem to affect anyone else...affected me, etc.  Within 2 months after giving birth all of a sudden I was dealing with supply issues....and it only went downhill from there.  Throughout the next 7 months I searched and searched for resources about breastfeeding....and couldn't find any that fit my circumstances.  To add to my concern, I knew Andrew wasn't getting enough milk yet he was refusing formula.  I kept looking for resources regarding breastfeeding, but everything seemed to focus on the initial process....establishing a good latch, etc.  We didn't have an issue with that-our issues came much later, after breastfeeding had already been well-established.

Finally, when Andrew was about 9 months old, I found the book "Making More Milk".  It was the first book that seemed to be truly helpful beyond the first month of breastfeeding and addressed low supply issues for mothers after the first month or so.  I wish that we would have found it months earlier!  It is an easy read, with practical suggestions that don't make you feel like there is something wrong with you if you are struggling with breastfeeding.  So many other books stress the "natural" part of breastfeeding that you feel like there is something drastically wrong and unnatural about you if you are having issues with it.

Overall, it was probably the most helpful book that I read regarding breastfeeding, and I'd highly recommend it!  Although Andrew weaned himself at 9 1/2 months (started pushing me away and refused to nurse), I continued to pump and offer him at least some breast milk every day.  It hasn't been an easy journey for us, but this book is definitely a great resource for anyone who is considering breastfeeding.

The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk : Foreword by Martha Sears, RN (Breastfeeding Mothers Guide)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

11 Months

Dear Andrew,

You are 11 months old today!  It is amazing how fast you have grown.  Every day Daddy and I look at you and realize that you are not a baby anymore, but instead have turned into a little boy.  You walk all over the house now, in fact, your favorite thing to do is to walk down the hall of our house, go into your bedroom, pull all of your books off of your bookshelf, and then sit there and look at your books.  If you aren't doing that, then you are pulling your towels and washcloths out of the bathroom drawers.  Your favorite book is "Animal Kisses".  You love to feel all of the different types of animal kisses and will look at that book over and over again.  You walk all day long.....all over the house and outside.  This is fun....but it means that Mommy chases after you all day and doesn't get to get very much done while you are awake.  You still don't like to stop walking and playing to eat- but you have been better about eating lately, which makes Mommy feel better.  You really like to eat Greek yogurt and Cheerios.  You say "Momma" and "Dada" and we think you said "bye" the other day.  You also sign "Bye", "All done", and "Milk".  Grandma says that you say "baba" for your bottle but we haven't heard you say it yet.

You love figuring out how things work.  One of your favorite things to do right now is go around the house with Daddy and make everything "work", like turning light-switches on/off, turning the fan on, opening/closing doors, turning the water on/off, etc.

You have turned into a good sleeper!  You take 2 naps every day, and they are usually about 1 1/2 to 2 hours long, and you sleep about 11 hours every night.  You go to sleep without any fuss, and Mommy and Daddy just have to put you in your crib after listening to music and you fall asleep on your own within a few minutes.

You are a little attached to Mommy right now.  We got to spend all summer together, and since Mommy just started back working at school a couple days a week you don't eat or sleep as well when she isn't there.  But, you have so much fun and don't seem to want to leave hanging out with your big cousins when she comes to pick you up after she works.  They love playing with you and you like walking and chasing after them.  You also have 6 teeth!  They all seemed to come in at once, but you are still chewing on everything and drooling a lot so we know you are getting more.

Your favorite thing to play with right now is taking everything out of a toy.  You like to take all of the balls, blocks, things in Mommy's purse, etc. out and put them on the floor.  This is usually okay, but sometimes Mommy gets tired of putting things back where they belong.  You also really like balls.  You like to throw them and kick them while you are walking.  You also like to play the piano, and still love music.  Sometimes you will only eat if Mommy sings to you while she is feeding you.  You know what "No" means, and most of the time you listen when Mommy or Daddy tells you no, but sometimes you don't and then you have to have a time-out in your crib for a minute.  You learn really fast though, so that only happens once in a while, usually when you are really tempted to pull on something that is in an electrical outlet.

You also love swimming!  The past few months we have gone swimming several times in Grandpa/Grandma's pool, and you love it every time.  You have always liked water, but you really like swimming with Mommy and Daddy.  You splash your arms and kick a lot and are already ready for swimming lessons!

Every day we are thankful that you are our little boy.  We can't imagine what our lives would be like without you and are so excited to see what this next month brings!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Five Months

Dear Andrew,

Today you are 5 months old!  It is amazing how fast you have grown and how much you have changed since you were born.  Today we visited a friend and her new baby and it reminded me of how small you were when you were born and how much bigger you are now.  Some of your favorite things right now are:

1.  Anything that involves moving.  You move nonstop all the time.  You don't like to stay still, and the moment we lay you down you are twisting and moving all parts of your body.  Everyone comments on how active you are.
2.  Sophie.  She is your favorite toy-especially since you are teething and you love chewing on her nose, ears, and feet.  When you are in your carseat or stroller you hold on to her and don't let go for the entire ride.
3.  Your feet.  Just the other day you grabbed your foot and started chewing on your toes.  If you aren't chewing or grabbing your feet you are usually kicking them.
4.  Mommy and Daddy.  You get very upset if you can't see us and save your biggest smiles for us.
5.  All the noises and sounds you can make now.  Every day you are learning how to make new sounds and you practice them over and over for a couple of days until you learn a new sound.  Right now you really like making the "p" sound and blowing spit bubbles.
6.  Music.  You LOVE music.  It is your favorite thing and you listen carefully whenever you hear it.

You've been practicing sitting up on your own and sometimes if Mommy and Daddy aren't paying close attention you end up toppling over and falling on your face.  The first time it happened it scared you and you cried a little, but now you are a pro and it doesn't even phase you.  You love to "stand" up and don't ever want to lay down anymore.  You can really use your fingers well now, and are pretty good at grabbing on to mouths, noses, ears, hair, necks, chins, or whatever else you can get your hands on when people are holding you.

You are learning so much so quickly it's hard to remember everything that you are doing.  Mommy and Daddy are amazed at how much you change from day to day and all of the new things you can do.  We love you little guy and can't wait to see what you will start doing in this next month!

The pictures are blurry-but when you have a baby that doesn't ever stop moving it's tough to get a good shot!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Out of Touch

It's been a rough month for us.  I went back to work and Andrew still wakes up often during the night.  So, we're exhausted, the house is a disaster, and overall I'm stressed about getting everything done that needs taken care of.  But when I see this happy boy playing everything is right in my world for the moment.

But if I don't write, call, email, update a blog or FB, don't take it personally.  This tired momma is just too busy playing with her little guy and sleeping to engage with the rest of the world for a while.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Free Kid-Friendly Outings

Everyone likes to save a little money and have fun at the same time.  And parents are constantly looking for creative, fun and new things to do with their children.  Many corporations sponsor free or reduced fee admissions to museums and cultural events in cities across the nation.

Target is one corporation that supports Arts & Culture by sponsoring events.  Click here to see events near you.

Bank of America has a Museums on Us campaign that provides free admission to participating zoos, museums, botanical gardens, science centers and more.  You have to have an account with Bank of America to participate in these events.  Click here to find one in a city near you.

There are many other corporations out there that provide similar services, so take a minute, do some internet searching, and enjoy outings for the rest of the year with your family!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Vaccine Book

Vaccines are on my mind today since A. got his 2nd round of shots.  It is so hard to watch him be in pain, but I can't even imagine how awful it would be to watch him suffering from a terrible disease.  I am thankful for modern medicine, and support vaccinations.  With that said, I also believe in educating myself and reading up on issues, and making the best decision I can for my family based on our own specific situation.  Prior to giving A. his first shots, I read "The Vaccine Book", by Dr. Sears.

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)

I enjoyed this book because I found it to be very informative while being objective and nonjudgmental at the same time.  The book outlines each vaccination a child receives, and gives facts about the diseases that children get vaccinated for.  The book also refers multiple times to the American Academy of Pediatric's recommended schedule of vaccines, and recommends families follow the schedule.

The way I see it:

First, you should always consult with your medical professional when making any decision regarding the medical care your child receives.

Pro's - Each vaccine is clearly outlined including the different brands of each vaccine, the ingredients each contain, and possible side effects of each vaccine.  Each disease is also explained including facts about occurrence and severity of the different diseases. For families that are considering not vaccinating their child, the book also offers a delayed schedule of vaccinations that families could choose to follow as an alternative to not vaccinating their baby.

Con's - The book was published in 2007, and a lot can change in the medical field in 5 years.  For example, many Dr. office's now use the Pentacel shot which combines the DTaP, IPV, and Hib vaccine, yet the Pentacel vaccine is not mentioned in the book.  

Another great resource if you are looking for information on vaccines is the CDC (Center for Disease Control).  They have information statements on all of the vaccines available that give you a summary of both the vaccine and the disease.  Click here for more information

At this time, we have chosen not to give A. his Hep B shots.  We are planning on giving them to him at some point in the future.  I'm sure I'll probably get some hate mail about what a bad mother I am for not fully vaccinating my child.  (Actually, I probably won't since I'm pretty sure no one reads this).  Our reasons for this are personal, and in no way am I advocating that this is what others should do for their child.  As I said before, I fully support vaccinations, and A. will be fully vaccinated at some point.  We just chose at this time to not expose our stay at home infant to an immunization for a disease that he would not contract except through exposure to blood or bodily fluids.  I don't know what we plan to do for his future immunizations, but I do know that this book helped us understand the diseases that we vaccinate for much more clearly.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Four Months

Dear Andrew,

Today you are 4 months old!  It has been a big month for you.  You can now roll over in both directions, and just this weekend during tummy time you were squirming and managed to lift your bottom in the air and get your knees up underneath yourself a few times.  Mommy thinks you are going to be an early crawler.  Daddy thought that was pretty cool until Mommy told him that means we have a lot of work to do in the next month to get the house ready for you to crawl around it.  You've started to squirm a lot and move most of your body parts with much more control, especially your arms and hands.  You rarely hit yourself in the face anymore, only if you get really excited do you forget and wave your arms so much that you end up hitting yourself in the head. During bath time you love to kick and push off the end of your bath tub.  You kick so much that it looks like you are a River Dancer during your bath.  In the last month you have discovered your feet, and now you love to grab onto your toes and roll from side to side.

You also tried your first cereal on your 4 month birthday.  You really liked it, even though Mommy made a mess and got food all over your face.  You thought it was so good that you even grabbed the spoon and started crying because Mommy wasn't putting it in your mouth fast enough.

You really like to hear yourself talk now.  Sometimes you talk REALLY loudly to yourself while you are playing, and you also like to wake up in the middle of the night and talk to yourself for a while until you go back to sleep.  You think this is a lot of fun, but Mommy and Daddy wish you would save all of your stories for daytime when we can listen to you better.  You've been practicing making lots of different sounds and are even putting your different sounds together.  You love to smile and talk all day except when you get sleepy.

You slept for 9 hours the day you turned 4 months old, but most nights you still wake up to eat once during the night.  Mommy's hoping you put on a little more weight soon so you don't have to eat during the night anymore and she gets some more sleep.  You are 11.75 pounds and 24.25 inches long, which puts you in the 10th percentile for weight and the 25th percentile for height.  You have a "banana" body right now-long and skinny.  Your eyes are still grey, and your new hair is starting to grow in and it looks like it is going to be dark still.  Maybe not quite as dark as Daddy's-we will have to wait until you grow some more of it to know for sure!

Mommy started working a few days a week this month, so you get to spend more time with Daddy and Grandma each week.  You like playing with them so much that you don't want to take naps.  You don't want to miss anything that is going on, and usually only sleep for 45 minutes at naptime on most days, and most of the time you wake up a happy boy with lots of smiles and coos.  You go to sleep by yourself like a big boy without crying and without your pacifier.  You are an ambidextrous thumbsucker when you fall asleep, but you like your left thumb a bit more than your right.  Maybe you will be a lefty like two of your uncles.

Your favorite things are still music and lights.  The other day you talked to the nightlight in the dining room while playing in your jumper for half an hour.  You recognize your favorite songs and will smile when they come on.  Your favorite toys right now are Sophie the Giraffe, your wind-up, stuffed music giraffe, and your jumparoo.   You like to suck on Sophie the Giraffe's ears and chew on her nose.  The wind-up music giraffe is your favorite thing to fall asleep with.  One day Daddy came in to get you when you were waking up from your nap and you were wrestling and biting your giraffe!  Daddy said it looked like you won that round.  You really like your jumparoo even though it is a little bit big for you still.  We have to put Daddy's old Calculus book underneath you so you can jump.  You really love books still, and will sit and listen to 3 or 4 of them in a row without getting distracted.  You even help grab onto the pages and turn them for Mommy now.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear is still your favorite book to read.

Mommy and Daddy love you so, so much and are so happy you are our little boy.  Happy 4 months!