Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Query...

I'm not the only one who occasionally thinks "ok, nevermind, this motherhood thing is just too much, I'll be back in a while..." right?

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Might Be A Bad Mother...

1. My kitchen currently smells vaguely of mildew and I haven't cleaned under the microwave for long enough that I am now slightly afraid to lift it and clean under it. I am reasonably confident that the load of kitchen towels and dishrags and a dollop of Clorox will fix the smell. The microwave will have to wait until my MIL is coming to visit...

2. I have never vacuumed or otherwise cleaned my refrigerator coils. I honestly don't even quite know where they are or what they might look like.

3. I am still breastfeeding, in part, to loose those pesky 5 pounds. At times, this is a far stronger motivator for waking for the 3 am feeding than any benefit I might be giving Charlie.

4. I totally let the dogs sniff Charlie and there has been an occasional lick.

5. Today I let Charlie gnaw on the rocking chair's bottom rung (which has never been cleaned to my knowledge) because a) he had worked so damn hard to get to it and b) I really wanted to finish drinking my Spr*te.

6. My version of "Hush, Little Baby" can get decidedly ribald.

7. I wind up sometimes watching the clock and not the child because Charlie can occasionally thwart even the best observer in terms of his "sleepy window" and once it's past there's hell to pay.

8. I occasionally let Charlie gnaw on my empty plastic drink bottles even though they probably contain all manner of evil plasticness.

9. On the rare occasions that Charlie naps, I never actually do anything productive. I always take "me time"- in fact you can tell how well Charlie has been napping in direct relation to how often I post and comment on other blogs.

10. There have been days that I just can't stomach another 45 minutes of screaming baby and rocking chair and give up on the nap and play. I am well aware that this sets a bad precedent and that I will have a cranky baby in another 45 minutes but sometimes I just don't care.

11. I am going to drink caffeine during my next pregnancy. I miss iced tea with an unholy passion. I will keep it in moderation and continue to autoclave my luncheon meat but I will drink me an occasional tea, maybe even a coke!

12. I have, on a number of occasions, lied to Fertility Friend about when I took my temperature. This is, in part, because I have irrational fear that it will suddenly stop accepting my temperatures or send me a nasty note or something for not getting up at the same time every day. I'm usually within 30 minutes or so of when I said I took it but I still feel all scandalous about it. Ok, so, that doesn't actually have anything to do with my parenting. And, no, we're not "trying," I just want to know when I should expect a visit from the Bloody Barron.


13. I let Charlie drink juice. Someday I may even let him drink undiluted juice! We walk on the edge!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Riddle Me This...

How is it that my fabric shower curtain that has been hanging in my bathoom, getting steamy on a regular basis for at least a year now, still has the fold marks from when it came out of it's package? Is there no justice in the world?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Breastfeeding Misconceptions

This post is just for me to get this out of my system.

I belong to a mommy message board. The number of women I see give up on breastfeeding from misconceptions appalls me. Breastmilk is the best nutrition for an infant, excluding a very few special cases. If you can, I believe you should breastfeed. At the same time, breastfeeding isn't for everyone and there are lots of things that go into being a good mommy- how you feed your baby is far from the sole, determining factor. There are lots of reasons not to breastfeed. You may have had breast surgery that makes it impossible, you may need to take medications that allow you to be a great mommy but not a great food source, you may need a little more "me time" than breastfeeding allows for to be a great mommy, you may be uber-fertile and desperately need to start birthcontrol pills that can decimate your supply. In short, breastfeeding is good but a happy, healthy mommy is great.

It seems like the main thing I see cited as the reason women quit breast feeding in the first couple of weeks is that they don't make enough milk. It is incredibly rare that that is actually the case, and if it is there are lots of things you can do allow you to continue breastfeeding. First, your breasts work on a supply and demand basis. In order to make make more milk your breasts have to be emptied lots and lots of times in the beginning. This often leads new mothers to think that they aren't making enough milk since their baby is "always" hungry. Newborns will want to nurse every 60-90 minutes- you may get a 3 hour stretch with some babies but you need them to nurse lots and lots in the beginning to help your body establish your milk supply. When the baby nurses you release hormones that tell your body to make more milk. In addition, newborns don't have very big mouths or tummies and neither of you is very efficient at this point so, it takes them a long while to eat a meal. It's not unusual for them to nurse for 45 minutes at a time. It takes about 90 minutes for the baby to finish digesting the breastmilk so, if they are awake, they'll probably notice and be hungry again. You will feel like you have a baby living on your boob for the first few weeks. Even if you don't, there are growth spurts at the 7-10 day mark, 3 weeks and 6 weeks so, at those times the baby will want to nurse even more. Nursing in bed in a sidelying position will help you get sleep. The important thing is that all this nursing in no way indicates that you aren't making enough milk.

Formula fed babies will go longer between feedings. This is because it's harder for babies to digest formula so it takes longer for their tummy to empty out. Formula fed babies may also sleep longer at a stretch because of this. My husband and I refer to this as "better sleep through constipation." However, the benefits of longer sleep need to be weighed against the many benefits of breastfeeding. In addition, you may have to deal with a constipated baby.

Many babies will take an ounce or so of formula or water after a nursing session on the sheer basis of it being offered- not because they are hungry. It's easier to get out of a bottle than the breast. Don't use this as a basis to assume you aren't making enough. If you are worried, keep track of how many wet and poopy diapers the baby is making. You can also go to the pediatrician or lactation consultant's office and weigh the baby before and after a feeding to see where you stand. If there are plenty of wet and poopy diapers and reasonable weight gain (breastfed babies sometimes take 2 weeks to regain their birthweight and that's ok) you are making enough milk. If you aren't making enough milk by these standards and need to supplement then do so with a supplemental nursing system rather than a bottle. They are a pain in the ass to use but allow the baby to get more to eat while still stimulating your breasts to make more milk. Bottle supplementation is often the fastest way to get breastfeeding to totally not work out in the early weeks. Once your supply is established, then monkey with bottles and such. Give it 4-6 weeks and be sure that you are still nursing at least 7-8 times a day. There are also all manner of supplements and herbs you can try.

The first week or so is really hard. Breastfeeding is a grind. You will feel like you will never have a life, eat with both hands, or sleep again. But, it does get better. If you want to quit, do so but please don't say "He was nursing every 2 hours so I just wasn't making enough" because that's actually the way it's supposed to be. Although, I have also entertained the notion that the actual issue is that it's much more socially acceptable to say that you had supply problems than that you just couldn't take having a baby stuck to your chest for another 18 of the next 24 hours which is awful- new mommies have it hard enough without having to make up lies to keep society happy.


I don't feel like I say enough about the wonderfulness that is Charlie here so...

Charlie is a phenomenally bad sleeper. At the same time, I have never had to worry significantly about SIDS, which is great because I'm a real worrier by nature and probably would have been scared to death if he had been a great sleeper.

When we work to be sure Charlie gets enough sleep he rewards us by being one of the most socially adept and cheerful infants I have ever encountered. Charlie giggles and grins and flirts his way through every day. We actually have a lot of trouble when we try to run errands because Charlie smiles at everyone and no one can resist a smiling baby and have to visit with him. I have become a bit like those people who have to tell the fans "no more autographs" so that the star doesn't have to look like a mean-o. Charlie is so very social that he has been trying to flirt with the dogs for a month and is perpetually puzzled as to why they don't smile back. Charlie attempted to flirt with the fish in the fishtank but has since given up on them.

Charlie totally knows how to game the system with The Grin. It will be 3 am and you will be exhausted and in the rocking chair for the 5 th time that night and you will see a little hand sneak out of the blanket and pull the paci out and little brown eyes will lock on yours and a little mouth will grin with 2 little teeth showing though and if you didn't know that to do so would equal hysterical crying (on your part and his) in about 30 minutes you would totally put him on the floor and play. Babysitters have to be specifically cautioned about The Grin and I rather fear for any young lady he sets his sights on in about 20 years. We have a firm "no eye contact" policy during middle of the night checks. I have a way easier time with it since I'm blind as a bat.

If Charlie hadn't been waylayed by those pesky motor milestones, he would totally have his first word and it would be "hi."

Charlie has a joi de vive rarely seen. It first emerged when he was oh so wee and he would latch to my boobs with gusto only to unlatch and latch again in a fabulous booby game. He will squeal with joy at a glimpse of you coming to get him from his crib. Raptures of delight are found by a nice tummy tickle or a good bounce on your lap. Nothing can beat the fun of kicking your feet while your parents attempt to change your diaper. While Charlie is the only infant I know who can actually throw a temper tantrum, the capacity for equally extraordinary joy is there too.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

One of those days...

It has been one of those days. Charlie is soooo close to crawling and I spend much of the day listening to his grasping, grunting, and ughing as he stretches and wiggles and squirms and rolls to get what he wants. I have to make a concious effort to not give in to the desire to "rescue" him or, in my less charitible moments, just give him the damn bunny.

Charlie has also learned to start blowing bubbles and spitting. It's an important motor skill as well. It's a precursor to speech and drinking from a cup and any number of other things. But, it's soooo gross. Now whenever he spits up it becomes something to "practice" with. It's almost enough for me to cut him off from eating anything that isn't white.