Monday, February 27, 2012

Nursing Sucks...pun intended

I don't like breast feeding. There. I said it. Bring on the judgement. I know I'm supposed to like it. I am supposed to feel these warm feelings of connection with my baby when she nurses. And when she was younger, there was more of that. I did like snuggling her close and hearing her little baby noises. But, now that she is older and much more interested in my smile, her brother, the television, the cats - it's incredibly frustrating to have to keep guiding her back to the breast that she is SUPPOSED to be interested in.

Gone are the days of propping myself up in the bed with the baby, boppy and remote and catching up on episodes of the West Wing while Ben nursed to his hearts content. We had nowhere to go and nothing to do. These days, we are rushing from preschool to Kindermusik to swim lessons and nursing is getting squeezed somewhere in between. Adding to that a toddler who wants me to get down on the floor and play with him and can't understand why I am always having to tell him "no" or "later" and nursing just isn't as relaxing as it once was.

Nursing is not convenient to me. I know it's supposed to be the easiest way to feed your baby because you don't need anything except yourself. Only - I do. For one thing, I need a nipple shield. The nipple shield and I have a love/hate thing going on. I didn't want to use it at first was warned by friends that it was hard to transition off of but the LC at the hospital pushed it and once again we were hooked on it. Those first few months were plagued with guilt and doubt about my skills and what I should be doing. Rather than being glad for the shield and the fact that it saved me from sore nipples and bad latching, I was resentful and guilty that I wasn't doing it right.  I worried that my milk supply would decrease and that I would have clogged ducts. I tried repeatedly to transition off of the shield only to find that nursing made me sore and I would go back to the shield all the while feeling like I had failed. But then Alex got sick and I had to cut myself a break. I was more concerned with her comfort than with what I should be doing and reasoned that she was getting the same milk either way. So I gave up on the transitioning and accepted the shield. (I have also avoided LLL meetings ever since as I feel good about where we are at and don't want to be made to feel otherwise).

The other problem I have is that I am lacking in coordination. Despite having a nursing cover, I don't have the skills to nurse in public without flashing people. I don't know how others do this, but between balancing the baby and holding the breast, I am without hands to adjust my cover and keep myself covered. The few times I have used the nursing room at the church, I have also struggled as I did not have a nursing pillow or boppy to support Alex. I finally just used my coat rolled up under her head but it was not the neatest or most convenient solution. So, in these situations, I find it more practical to pump in the car and make a bottle to feed the baby rather than nurse when out and about.

Because of all of this, I feel somewhat tethered. I dread taking trips that are more than an hour away. I don't want to be out for more than a few hours at a time. I find myself feeling anxious about things like a girls weekend with friends, knowing that I will have to stop and pump at least a couple of times a day. I wish I were one of those relaxed women who could just feed their baby anywhere. Who could nurse the baby in a sling while vacuuming the house or shopping for organic produce. I guess that's just not the mom that I am. I am much more the check-list, planner, "everything needs to be just-so" kind of a mom. Which, I suppose, is what makes it hard for me to drop everything and nurse in the Barnes and Noble or at the gym during Ben's swim lesson.*

Don't get me wrong - breast is best. I plan to try to keep the nursing up for as long as possible and I hope we make it the whole year. But when we are weaned, I will not miss drinking decaf, abstaining from alcohol and cold medicine, and wearing ratty nursing bras. I will not miss waking up uncomfortably full first thing in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep because of it. Nor will I miss having to wash nipple shields and breast pump parts. I am sure that when it is over, I will miss the idea of nursing. The closeness, the feeling of her needing me, the sleepy snuggle time first thing in the morning or just before bed. And I will be sad because being weaned means that she is one step closer to toddler-hood. One step further from the tiny, wrinkled newborn I brought home from the hospital. I will be sad because my girl is growing up. But, not because we are done nursing.

*I know moms who can do this, so it's definitely more about my own hang-ups than anything.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I hate editing this blog. I'm terrible at it. I can never make up my mind about what I like and how I want it to look. Don't get used to the new layout. It's subject to change at any moment! Too many options lead to an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction in my case, I guess. At least this time, I have both kids in the header! All of the headers I liked (by the way) had three photo spots. If that's not a reason to have another baby, I can't think what is...

Stay tuned (about the design, not a baby!)

Single White Female

Okay, so I'm not really single. Just temporarily single while the hubs is out of town. This parenting two children solo thing is tough. I have really been dreading it and I am pleased to say that I made it through day one with no major catastrophes. Only a few minor ones.

In the rush to get out the door this morning, Ben fell off his bed while putting on his t-shirt. He landed on his back and cried for quite a few minutes. We were thirty minutes late to church/work so I ended up letting Ben just play in the nursery with his sister while I went to my office to get a few things done. I bribed good behavior out of him with a doughnut so we had to stop at Krispy Kreme on the way home from church and they did NOT have the heart-shaped doughnut that he wanted and he had to settle for one with sprinkles. Also, because I was so out of sorts, it didn't hit me that it was almost lunch time until we got home so he ended up having a sandwich and a doughnut for lunch. Am I mother of the year or what?

But, all in all, it was a good day. Both kids were fed, pj-d, read to, rocked and tucked in by 7:30. Unfortunately, I am now finding that the joy in a job done well and expediently is much lessened when sharing it with an empty house. Not to mention that I have run out of energy as I do not have another person to share the work load and divide and conquer with. Which is also the reason I must now go make dinner at 8pm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

10 minutes

On the way home from my daughter's check up this morning, I day dreamed. about what I would do with nap time. On Tuesdays, Ben has a swim lesson so he eats lunch on the way home in the car and then finishes up and lays down for nap almost as soon as we get home. Likewise, Alex had already been fed and was looking quiet sleepy when I had packed her in the car to pick up her brother. Miraculously, I had been in bed by 11 the night before and slept all the way until 6:30 so sleep was not on my to-do list.

Instead, I thought about blogging and what I might blog about. I thought about the emails from friends that needed to be returned. I thought about my overloaded DVR. I thought about the calls and research I needed to accomplish in preparation for my toddler's birthday party.

When we got home, the tot went down for a nap with only the perfunctory protest (a sure sign of fatigue). The girl was a bit tougher, a tiny bit fussy from this mornings shots (though still nowhere near where her brother was at when he was her age) but still sleepy and the whimpering and groaning on my shoulder soon turned to snoring. I placed her in the crib and dashed down to my sanctuary.

I had begun filling today's stats in her baby book (I have recently found myself seriously lacking in this area - leading me to believe that "neglect of the 2nd child" is much more than a cliche) and was just turning on the computer when I heard her stirring. Initially, the stirring led to some babble. The babble then quickly became a whimper which became a fuss and then an all out cry. By the time I got up the stairs, she was in full crisis mode. "Dear God - why is no one rescuing me from this crib-prison?!!"

Tylenol was administered, patting, rocking, bouncing commenced. Nothing worked. Humming was tried. And singing. And wooshing and shushing and sympathetic sounds. But the crying continued. Finally, we escaped to the living room where nursing began. And continued. On and on and on. Until finally - sleep arrived. And back up to the crib we went.

Finally some peace. All of about 10 minutes until my son wakes up from nap which gave me just enough time to...write this post.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A month ago...

It's been almost a full month since I have posted anything. Hard to believe our girl will be four months old tomorrow. Even harder to believe that I haven't been able to scrounge up a few measly minutes a day to write. I miss blogging. I miss reading friends blogs. (I'm looking at you, Lucy and Sarah). The only way I get to feel connected to some of my internet friends is by reading what is happening in their lives and so, from that perspective, this has been a month of disconnect.

It's also been a month of transition. I am pleased to say that Alex is currently sleeping upstairs with both arms swaddle free. I am probably jinxing myself by saying this, but she has been such an easy-going baby. So much so that I find myself lamenting the struggles I have had with Ben. Now that we have entered the dreaded "potty training" stage, I catch myself wondering why can't even one of his milestones come easy? It feels that we have had to fight every step of the way to learn how to sleep, learn how to nap, learn to eat solids, eat more solids, etc. that I just wanted one single stage to go by without a hitch. But, maybe that's just not who he is. In some ways, it does make his achievements feel even more like accomplishments because they are so hard won.

In any case, I am still here. Still alive (if anyone in my meager audience was curious) and still hoping to develop some type of routine. Though, as my husband pointed out, if in four months we haven't figured out a general schedule - we probably aren't going to. I continue to feel as if I am balancing spinning plates in the air and there are so many that I am always dropping one or two (or three or four). If it's not the house cleaning that I am letting go, it's the blogging, or the sleeping, or the bible study, or the catching up with friends. On the plus side, the plate that I never seem to drop is the kids. And let me tell you - that is an achievement!

But the missing blog makes me sad for another reason - I started this in an effort to document our lives during this time when our kids are small. The time that, I am told, I will not be able to remember in 15 years. I want to be able to look back at these archives and laugh that Ben said things like "Yester-night" and "I will NEVER" (in a rather dramatic fashion every time he is told to do something). By skipping my time to jot this stuff down, I am losing valuable anecdotes and memories in my Swiss cheese brain.

So, in the future, I hope to find at least one day a week to blog (I just realized that I desperately need to update my header as I now have TWO children to engage in nap battles) and read/comment on other blogs, to do some bible study, and maybe even clean up a little so that people don't think we live in squalor. Here's hoping I can get back on track soon.