What next or what’s happening

It has been months since I’ve written even though I’m still around.  I still follow other blogs of women who had babies around the same time as Miss O was born.  I want to come out of the shadows again and write a short post to update.

Miss O is 20 months old now.  I don’t think I can even describe how attached to her I am (and so is my husband).  Her little personality is developing more and more and she is definitely a chatty baby!  One of my absolute favorite things she started saying a few weeks ago – “yuv you!” right to me while giving me a hug.  Every time she does it I melt into a puddle.  I keep wondering if these feeling of happiness/love will temper a little bit and they don’t seem to be at all.  The opposite actually.  She also says “yuv you” to one of our cats which is also completely heart-melting to me.  I so wanted her to grow up and love animals, it’s really important to me.  She actually said “yuv you” to that cat before she said it to my husband!  lol   He was just waiting for it and finally, she said it to him a few days ago.  I’m sure it made his day.

She loves the weekends so much because she loves having the two of us both home from work the whole day.  I’m still working part-time but a bit fewer hours than I was when I returned to work when she was a year.  My inlaws look after her on the days I work.

Sleep is still a huge challenge over here some days.  Miss O is fast on some things (vocabulary – I can’t even keep track anymore of her words and little sentences) and slower on others like sleep.  I suppose it’s like that with every baby and sleep happens to be our thing.  She also has started getting nightmares and sometimes night terrors.  She had a night terror last night and it’s so upsetting and pretty much impossible to console her for about an hour after it starts.  So the autumn time change extra hour of sleep blah blah blah – hahahaha!!!  Not over here.

As for the what next?  I don’t know.  We are so enjoying our little sweet tornado that a big part of me doesn’t want to spoil that by having another or TTC.  Time is passing by and I am already 40.  I know my hesitation will end up deciding for us as time runs out.  I suppose the decision is already there but I can’t be direct about it.  It’s hard when I find out people here who have a baby around Miss O’s age are pregnant again and end up having a simple pregnancy.  And that they have two pregnancies and two live babies.  I am happy for them but it definitely makes me think.  With my age and my history, I don’t know that I have it in me to try again.

So for now the days and weeks and months go by.  I am enjoying my little girl so much and absolutely grateful to have one child.  I still feel the gratitude almost every day.



Molars Suck

Sure I get that they are necessary and will be useful so that Baby O can eventually enjoy a lovely green salad and a delicious rib eye.  But omigod the teething of molars sucks.  I feel so sleep deprived it is like the beginning newborn stage.  And I feel so badly for her, it’s obviously affecting her a lot – way more than the 8 other teeth she has already.  This one molar that is coming in showed the first traces of its pointy little self a month ago.  A month!  I thought in a couple of weeks it would be all the way through.

We have occasionally been giving tylenol and have more than occasionally been co-sleeping and even with those things she is still so uncomfortable and tosses and turns and cries out for a good part of the night, each night.  I can usually cuddle her to sleep and that hasn’t been working.  I’m not adding in extra nursing sessions because she bites when she is actively teething (we’re still doing the morning and before bed sessions).  I checked again this morning and finally more of the tooth is through.

I can’t even think about the fact that there are more of them lurking under the surface, just waiting…

And then she turned 1

Just like that on an ordinary Wednesday that didn’t feel ordinary at all to me, Baby O apparently isn’t a baby anymore.  My parents flew in for a visit and to celebrate her big day.

I’ve decided that I’m not calling her a toddler until she’s 18 months or until she really starts toddling which she isn’t doing yet.  She pulls up to standing on everything and cruises around at a running pace but no letting go yet.  She started really crawling at 10 months which is on the later end of the usual range so it will be interesting to see when she walks.  Part of me feels like it’s a bit of a gift that she’s slower with movement because I can feel like she’s a baby a bit longer, especially because there is a good chance we won’t have another.

She has been pointing at absolutely everything – light switches, the wall calendar, dogs if we are walking outside, people out in public.  She is so so curious and I love telling her the names of things she points at and talking to her about the things that capture her attention.  It is so fascinating seeing the wheels turning and knowing that she is comprehending a lot more than she is able to convey right now.

Words she is saying: mama, dada, more (she always wants more food!), ki (kitty), hi/hey and I have heard no a couple of times so maybe that one is starting.  Mealtimes are much more interactive right now.  Baby O knows what she wants and can let us know with gestures/words instead of fussing until we guess so in that way it’s much easier (though it comes with her own opinions now on what she wants to eat!).  She points at what she wants on the table or says more if she wants more of what I just fed her.  If I bring a spoon up to her mouth or pass her a finger food she doesn’t want at that moment I get a very emphatic head shaking no which is more of a whole body no.  It is very clear to interpret  🙂

Doctor stats from her 12 month appointment:

Height – 29 inches

Weight – 20 lbs 10 oz

She’s still around the 50th percentile for height and is moving on up the charts for weight, around 60-70th percentile now.

I had attempted night weaning from breastfeeding and it went horribly, meaning sometimes up to 2-4 hours of her being awake in the middle of the night.  It just wasn’t working.  So I switched to day weaning, slowly so I wouldn’t get too many clogged ducts and it has gone really well.  Because she is so active and curious she didn’t seem to miss the day feeds at all.  It was probably harder on me than on her.  It made it very easy (in that respect only!) to go back to work and not have to factor in pumping during the day.  Right now I am nursing her upon wake-up and then before bed.  There is also an optional middle of the night feed session which I know at this point is mainly for comfort.  I am okay to keep this session for now and follow her lead, it’s usually only a couple nights a week at this point.

After a few very difficult years, this last year has been one of the best of my life.  I really had no idea you could love a tiny human this much.

A plan for weaning when you’re prone to mastitis

I had an appointment with a lactation consultant yesterday and it was so helpful.  I felt really lost with how the heck to wean when I seem to get clogged ducts every two or three days.  I wasn’t sure if there would be even a subtle pressure to keep breastfeeding but I didn’t feel that from her.  She was just supportive and so positive about how long we have been breastfeeding even with all of the challenges.  There is a lot of information out there about breastfeeding, but I didn’t find much about weaning when you have clogged ducts.  It was incredible helpful to have someone who is an expert in this area to talk about my individual circumstances and help form a concrete plan, instead of just the general advice of drop feeds slowly.

We talked about how many feeds a day Baby O has currently.  Miss O eats three solid meals a day now, not usually any snacks at this point (following her lead on this).  Breakfast is the most hit and miss meal and she loves to eat solids at dinnertime.  I breastfeed her 5 times in 24 hours:

  • first thing in the morning upon wake-up
  • before her morning nap (the nap itself may be not existent but she always gets a nurse – still have a crappy napper over here)
  • before her afternoon nap (same as above)
  • before bed
  • a middle of the night feed

The middle of the night feed doesn’t happen at any particular time.  Sometimes it’s 2:30am, other times it’s 5am.  Occasionally she will skip this feed completely and sleep through.  The LC suggested the night feed be the first to drop, since Baby O sometimes drops it herself. Makes sense.  I still had (have?) to wrap my head around this.  I really thought I would wean her somewhere between 1 year and 18 months, but more naturally.  I do have some conflicted feelings about imposing a lack of feed in the middle of the night.  I know she doesn’t need the extra calories – she’s doing great – but I’m all for breastfeeding for comfort too and it’s such a lovely, easy way to soothe her in the middle of the night.  But I know this is not sustainable for me and that my health is important too.  Ugh, this is hard.

We decided on 6:00am as being the earliest I will feed her and consider that her first of the morning feeds.  Any other wake-up earlier than 6:00am will be treated as the middle of the night and other comforting will be offered, but not a feed.  At this point it’s hard for me to even write that without getting a little teary.  I suppose this will get easier.

For people who are so prone to clogged ducts and mastitis as I am, it is suggested to drop feeds extremely slowly.  The plan is to drop only one feed every week or even one feed every two weeks and see how that goes.  I know that I may have to deal with more clogged ducts as I am weaning.

The next feed that I will attempt to drop will be the second morning feed – the one before her (usually non-existent) morning nap.  That will leave three feeds in 24 hours and then we will go from there.

I go back to work in less than a month so a loose goal would be to be down to those three feeds: a wake-up feed, a feed when I get home from work (afternoon feed), and the before bed feed.

Breastfeeding has been such an emotional journey with pain, frustration, and tears, but also lots of bonding and snuggles and milk-smiles and love.  I am going to keep this plan flexible and see how I feel as we go along, reserving the right to change it if it’s not working for us for whatever reason. I am extremely grateful for having had the experience at all and for having those positive times.

Where do I start?

I have been meaning to write for a while now.  Baby girl is 10 1/2 months old and is doing well.  I meant to write an update after her 9 month well-baby checkup but that didn’t happen.  I would have told you that she is in the 50th percentile for head circ and height (which she has been from the beginning) and has moved up on the growth curve for weight – she’s usually been about 25-30th percentile and moved up to the 50th.

We traveled to visit my family at the beginning of December.  My husband met us later which meant my first time flying alone with baby girl.  It went decently and it’s really true how most people are so nice when they see you traveling alone with a baby.  I don’t even know how many times strangers picked up toys for me that she dropped on the floor or that rolled down the aisle.

We had a great time staying with my parents and I wasn’t ready to leave.  The distance is hard.  It makes me unbelievably happy to see how much they love her.

I go back to work at the end of this month.  I don’t even want to talk much about that.  I know I have been so lucky to be able to spend so much time with her.  I’m not ready to have that change yet.  Every transition feels so final because there is a good chance she will be our only baby.

In mid-December she cut four teeth within four days.  All four middle uppers, poor girl.  She had one extremely rough night and some extra fussiness for a few days but she’s had that before and not popped teeth so it was unexpected.

This leads me to a main issue that’s going on right now.  Right now I am hating breastfeeding.  After struggles with low supply at the beginning, pumping, supplementing with formula, then getting my supply up and getting clogged ducts and eventually mastitis at around 3 months, we seemed to hit a sweet spot and I loved breastfeeding.  Absolutely adored that snuggly baby/oxytocin-for-mama time.  It was smooth, her latch was good, and we both loved it.  Months went by like that.  I couldn’t believe how good it was after having such a rough start.  Things changed three weeks ago and I think it coincided with her popping all those teeth.  Her latch must have changed because it became painful even though she was not biting and even though I tried to correct it.  I started getting clogged ducts.  I would be able to get a duct cleared, be okay for a couple of days, and would get another clog in a different spot.  Sometimes both breasts would be clogged and hard.  Baby girl would be sleeping and I would have to wake up to pump to try to get the clog out in the middle of the night, while pressing hard on the clog – so painful.  Sometimes I would get chills or feel really unwell.  I haven’t been sleeping well.  I might have to take antibiotics again to kick this since it’s so recurrent.  I’m very frustrated and have become emotional about it in the last few days.  Anxiety has kicked in and my appetite is less.  I’m noticing definite mood changed that I need to pay attention to.  Though I haven’t talked in detail about it on this blog, I have alluded to the fact that I have had issues with anxiety in the past.  I don’t mind discussing it, I’ve just been more focused on this baby year until recently.  I still see a counselor once or twice a month and she had been watching me for signs of postpartum depression/anxiety.

I feel like I might need to wean baby girl and I really thought I would be able to let her decide on that instead of it coming from me.  But my body is feeling so worn out and my mood is suffering.  My husband has had to step up in the last few days because I have felt too physically unwell to care for her.  I’m also getting anxious about my anxiety and how it could get in the way of me being able to parent her properly.  I am feeling a ton of grief about weaning – way more than I thought I would.  And I’m also feeling trapped with breastfeeding and anxious about weaning.  I am getting so many clogged ducts/potential breast infections as it is right now and this is without reducing feeds.  How is weaning possibly going to work?

I am going to call this morning to try to make an appointment with a lactation consultant this afternoon to discuss all this.  My husband has the day off today and is going to come with me.  I also have an appointment today at a clinic to get checked out to make sure it’s not infected, just clogged.  Lastly I have an appointment with my counselor on Wednesday.  Appointments all lined up!  I’m not sure if these mood changes are about the loss of breastfeeding, because I’m feeling unwell and am in pain on the regular, because I don’t get enough rest, because it is a new year, because it is the month I go back to work, because I’m not getting enough sunlight, or a combination, but I am recognizing that right now I am needing more help and support.

I want more

I want more for my baby girl.

I want more love.

More acceptance.

More openness.

More fearlessness.

More understanding.

More embracing and celebrating differences.

More curiosity and delight in people who are different from us.

More kindness.

To teach her these things, I need to live them myself as best I can.  To be the example that I want to see in the world.  And I do see these things in many, many people.  This is what I need to focus on.

Stage 2 of baby’s first stomach flu

Baby O is getting better from the stomach flu.  She has stopped vomiting and now has diarrhea but she is keeping some food down (we’re just doing breastmilk right now).  So yes, she is still having symptoms, but I am only starting to eat regular food again after the stomach flu hitting me almost a week ago so it might be a few days for her still.  Last night she slept so much better.  I was so relieved for my little girl to get much needed rest and to sleep peacefully.  The nights before it was so heartbreaking to hear her whimper in her sleep.  She laughed for the first time in two days and it was the best sound.

Unfortunately it wasn’t food poisoning

What I was hit with on the weekend I had been hoping was food poisoning – and therefore not contagious.  Turns out it was the stomach flu as baby O woke up this morning vomiting.  😦

Super stressed out mom over here.  I still feel weak from barely getting back to eating and don’t feel like I’m doing the best job over here.  I had to ask my mother in law to come over and help again for the afternoon.  Baby is not keeping down breast milk at all, even fed in small quantities at a time.  I just switched her to sips of water about an hour ago and now she is napping.  I’m so worried about baby girl dehydrating.  She hasn’t peed all day.  I called the pediatrician and he didn’t seem alarmed by this yet so I guess I shouldn’t be but I am  😦

Now I’m eating baby food

Friday night I was hit swiftly with a bout of food poisoning or the stomach flu, I’m not sure which.  I just know that it was completely miserable and came on so suddenly.  Today it’s three days later and I’m just starting to barely tolerate the bland and mushy.  My mother-in-law came to help out with baby girl while my husband is at work.

As the three of us were sitting at the table today around lunchtime, Miss O kept looking at what I was eating.  I noticed my diet looks very similar to hers right now.  Applesauce, plain yogurt, cream of wheat cereal.  I’m eating like my 8 month old.  I’m starting to feel better symptom-wise but still feel so exhausted and weak from not eating.  It’s very strange having almost no appetite now when my usual breastfeeding hunger is hulk-like.  I have a baby that still loves to be worn in her Ergo for sometimes hours a day and fights her two naps with all her tiny might.  I realize how much I rely on my usual health and strength to mother her.

He’s such a happy little guy

Sometimes I dress Miss O in blue or green or grey because I like those colours, and even though I am a girl and I do like pink, I don’t always dress myself in pink and purple.  So I put baby girl in whatever I like, regardless of if it’s not the “correct” colour or doesn’t have bows or ruffles on it.  A colour is just a colour and shouldn’t mean anything about the sex of a baby.  On some of these stereotypical boy-colour days she can definitely get mistaken for a boy.  A stranger in the grocery store came up to me on one of these days and asked “what’s his name?”

“Justin” popped out of my mouth that day.  It seemed easier than explaining to someone who I am never going to see again.

This well-meaning woman said to me “he’s such a happy little guy!”

So now if Miss O ever gets mistaken for a boy, sometimes we just go along with it and her alias has become Justin.

We are definitely not going to raise her to be gender neutral but do I get offended or care if people mistake her for a boy?  Nope, she’s a baby!  And a happy little guy at that.  😉