Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Times They Are a-Changin'

Warning: This entry discusses breastfeeding, so if you don't want to hear about it, I'd stop reading now.
Today, for the first time in over a year, I wore a normal bra. As I am not breastfeeding during the day anymore, I realized I am no longer tied to my functional, yet not so exciting nursing bras.

I can't tell you how much I have been looking forward to meeting my one year breastfeeding goal. I didn't think the day would ever come. Breastfeeding has sometimes felt like the most challenging task I have ever taken on (other than motherhood, of course). No one ever tells you what a big commitment it is. No one explains how it will become a part of you, and a part of your relationship with your baby. Well guess what, time's up. In 7 days, I will have met my goal. My daughter will be 1 and I will be done with this part of our lives together (not to be overly dramatic or anything).

I didn't think I'd be one of those Moms who is sad about stopping breastfeeding. I have gone through periods where I never thought I'd make it to December 2007. But time flies and here we are. A few weeks ago I started slowly weaning the babe as I didn't want to try and do it overnight. The fact that she started drinking formula really helped. 11 months of breastfeeding with no supplementing was pretty hard core. As soon as I started giving her bottles of formula, I started to feel a bit more free. She hasn't even seemed to mind the transition (which surprises me).

I have to admit that I started crying while doing the dishes last night. My husband was putting the babe to bed with a bottle, and as I listened to the monitor, I realized that things are changing and she'll never need me in the same way again (I have been breastfeeding her at night and putting her to bed since she was born).

We're down to about 2 to 3 feedings in a 24 hour period (all centered around night time) and I am about to drop to 1 or 2. By this time next week it will be only 1. And then it will be none. There will have to be a last time, and I have to be strong. It is time for us to move forward, as hard as it is going to be. Onto the next phase we go.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

It's that time of year again. American Thanksgiving (as a Canadian, I always have to say "American Thanksgiving" as we celebrate in October). Time to gorge ourselves silly on turkey and trimmings and to be thankful for all we have.

Last year, in addition to the above mentioned Thanksgiving traditions, it was also time to leave my job and have a baby. The babe was due right after Thanksgiving so I worked up until the Holiday. I was all ready to go into labour at any moment (although I was induced almost 2 weeks later, but that's another story).

As I packed up my office and said my good byes, I felt like I was going on a "break" from work, but I didn't realize it would be a "I'm never coming back" kind of break. A year later, I can't believe I've already been in the unpaid work force for 12 months. I still miss the adult companionship, the sense of daily accomplishment, the travel and the pay check. But I know these things will still be around whenever I decide it's time to dive back in (I hope).

This year I am truly thankful for my beautiful family, the fact that I've been able to share the babe's first year of life with her, and that I've discovered parts of myself I never knew existed.

To all who have supported us, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Some Thoughts on Diaper Sizing

I have finally accepted that diaper sizing is inaccurate. The babe, who weighs in at whopping 18 pounds, is now in size 4 Huggies (22 to 37 pounds). She technically should just be in size 3 (16 to 28 pounds). They are wrong over there at Huggies. I don't know why it has been so hard for me to accept this. Don't they know what they're talking about? Aren't they the diaper "experts"?

I must say first off that I really admire folks who use cloth diapers. We, however, are not those folks. From the get go, I knew we'd be disposable people. It's just too much. I don't know how many diapers I change a day, but I do know I couldn't handle the extra work load cloth would add to my life. But if you're doing it, you rock.

Back to sizing. I held out on buying overnight diapers as I could only find ones starting at size 4. Last week I gave in and bought a pack of 30. I must say I am quite pleased. They are huge and they sure can fit a lot of pee. I still change her once a night as she is still waking up once a night. But one day, she will start sleeping through the night (right??), and I'll be ready because she'll be in overnight diapers that are the wrong size.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Baby Proof This

I really need to go on a baby proofing spree. In the past week, I've realized the bike in our dining room really needs to go. I came to this conclusion after the babe crawled up to the neglected bike and grabbed at the spokes on the front wheel. I thought the bike was annoying, but not dangerous. If anything, I had convinced myself it was urban hip to have an unused bike in the dining room. Times have changed and we will never be hip again.

The babe is crawling all over the house and is getting into absolutely everything. I can see that we have entered a new life phase and this phase is a potentially dangerous one.

I've also realized that the many ant traps we have lying around the house (aren't they supposed to be dead in November?) are a serious hazard. I was grabbing some stuff out of the closet getting ready to head out the door and I turned around and found the babe waving an ant trap around. Thank God she had a pacifier in her mouth and she hadn't had a chance to get it near her face. Bad bad bad.

All those cords and wires everywhere? I have to find a solution to that problem as well.

Some houses seem easier to baby proof than others. I don't know if we just have too much stuff, or this row house is more of a grown up house. One thing if for sure though, I'm going to have to work on this.

All baby proofing tips are more than welcome!

A Whole New World of Fluids

It's been one whole week today! The babe took soy formula for the first time a week ago and she's been guzzling it back ever since! I am starting to slowly wean her and the fact that she's drinking bottles of formula during the day is making the whole process a lot easier. In fact, I don't know what I would have done if she was still refusing it.

After 11 months of breastfeeding on demand, I am really feeling the freedom formula provides. They say you should only use formula for the first 12 months of life. That will mean she has only a month of formula use. I must say I'm pleased as punch with the whole situation.

When she hits her 1 year birthday in 3 weeks time, I am supposed to be able to switch to whole milk. She was diagnosed with a milk allergy back in May and I am hoping she has outgrown it. We are headed back to the allergist on November 30th. Results from the blood test should come in on her birthday. A large percentage of kids outgrow their dairy allergies in the first year, and I an hoping she's in that group.

In the meantime, I've had to look into how much liquid she needs. I was shocked to learn that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following in Caring for Your Young Baby and Child:

Breakfast: 4-6 oz of formula or breast milk
Snack: 4-6 oz of juice
Lunch: 4-6 oz of formula or breast milk
Dinner: 4-6 oz of formula or breast milk
Bed time: 6-8 oz of formula of breast milk

I don't know, but that seems like an awful lot of liquid. I'm doing my best to push the water and formula intake, but I'm not going down the juice path right now.

Today we're going to try the powdered soy formula instead of the more expensive liquid version which I have been giving her this past week. Hope she likes it just as much!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'll Pass on the Chick Peas, Thanks

The list of things I should stay away from never seems to end. Or maybe it's that I keep making the same mistakes and just never learn my lesson.

I was at a friend's place for lunch yesterday. She has a son who is a few months younger than the babe, but she still managed to pull together a beautiful home made lunch for us. After wolfing down the awesome salad, I started on the soup, which featured chick peas. About a third of the way through the soup, I remembered that the babe isn't such a fan of chick peas. Whoops. I haven't had them in a long time and I started to feel gassy myself. I explained that I couldn't continue with the tasty soup because of the risk of stomach issues (it's nice to hang out with other breastfeeding Moms as they completely understand). I didn't breastfeed the babe for 8 hours after and actually got her to take soy formula for the first time ever! I figured that would cover me and she'd be OK.

Not quite. At 2:45 am we woke to a crying, fussy baby. She was miserable and we couldn't figure out why. After a few farts escaped, I realized that the 8 hour break from breastfeeding hadn't been enough. I kept patting her back and we gave her some Mylicon. By 4:00 am she fell back asleep, but not after a lot more crying and farting. Poor kid.

Once again, I'm reminded why stopping breastfeeding next month will be good for her and for me. I'll finally be able to eat and drink what I want and not worry about how it affects her. She'll be able to live happily without my mistakes.

Meeting my one year goal will be a cause for celebration. Not to brag, but 2003 statistics state that only 17.2 percent of women are still breastfeeding at the 12 month mark in the United States. I never thought I'd make it this far last December! As sad as weaning the babe seems at times, I know it will be the best thing for both of us. All good things must come to an end.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

On Strike

The babe has been on a bit of a food strike this week. I was pretty taken aback by it all as she had become a consistent eater of 3 meals a day plus numerous Cheerio snacks. After a day of striking, I began to wonder what was up. After 3 days of striking, I called the doctor.

I explained that the babe was taking a few bites at the beginning of each meal before she'd start waving her hands around and hitting the spoon. You know what happens when spoons with liquid food are hit. I must admit I wasn't that good at keeping my cool. She could tell I was annoyed. She also seemed to take pleasure in turning her head from me when the spoon got too near. Why would she be making this all so difficult? Does she not get that eating is in her best interest?

Another result of this whole not eating thing is that the babe has been getting up every 3 hours at night to eat. After getting used to some pretty good sleeping patterns, I was unhappy to go back to the every 3 hour schedule. I am about to start weaning her, and ramping up the night feedings isn't exactly the direction I want to be heading.

The doctor, bless her soul, made me feel better. Apparently the babe is "exerting her independence." She is playing games and manipulating me in an effort to secure my constant attention (whether it's positive or negative doesn't matter). It's apparently time for me to start playing games as well.

The doctor recommended:
  • The babe eat with the family (which already usually happens).
  • Make things "fun" (whatever that means).
  • I should give her a spoon and bowl and help her feed herself (yikes). I tried this morning and the spoon and bowl ended up on the floor and the banana ended up smashed on the behind of her pants (I don't know how that happened).
  • I should buy her a real plastic cup and teach her to drink from it (apparently no bottles after one year. I was just getting used to the sippy cup!).
  • I should not get upset when she refuses to take a bite (remember to breathe).
  • I should generally act like I don't care whether she eats or not. If I don't react, she doesn't get the attention she's seeking.
  • I should accept that things are going to get messy (I'm buying better bibs and one of those plastic floor mats, pronto).
  • I should enjoy my food while I eat and hope she sees how much fun I'm having.

We had a breakthrough last night. I'm not sure if the babe was just super hungry after 4 days of striking, or if she really liked the (small) grown up metal spoon I fed her with (you get more food on real spoons which is critical if the kid is only having a few bites), because she downed a bottle of carrots and a bottle of applesauce plus some Cheerios and proceeded to get up only once in her 10 hour slumber last night. It was delicious! Today she ate a bit more, and did really well at dinner. I have my fingers crossed for another good night. Maybe the strike will end before I even have a chance to implement the above-mentioned changes?

Regardless, it all makes me realize we will no longer have a "baby" in the house after December 7th. Welcome to the new world of the independent toddler. Yikes.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween is Back!

Last night we went to a Halloween block party. It felt like we were on a movie set it was all so idyllic. This was the babe's first Halloween and it was something special. We had her dressed in a little cow costume and she really was the cutest thing ever (if I do say so myself).

My husband came home from work early and we headed over to Swann Street to meet up with some friends. This Halloween party has been held for 34 consecutive years and we had never been, despite the fact we've lived in the neighborhood for over 2 years. There were lots of super adorable kids in excellent costumes accompanied by many smiling parents. Along with your typical block party food, there was even Halloween inspired chocolate cake. It was a warm evening, in many ways.

This was my first Halloween as a Mom and it got me so excited about the future. I've always loved Halloween (I would be the only one in a costume at my old office), but it has a whole new meaning now. I am really looking forward to many years of costumes and candy and fun. Having a baby can make you feel old sometimes, but in many ways it can also make you young again. Happy Halloween!