Monday, April 26, 2010

How Much Longer

Before Milkthaw Debacle 2010 Bud asked how much longer I was planning to nurse Ellie. I really don't know. I hadn't given it much thought until he asked. This is the last baby, when she weans, this is the end of nursing forever, and I am not really sure how I feel about it.

In 2001 my best friend had her son, I remember talking on the phone while she cried about breastfeeding. It wasn't working out and she was devastated. I really couldn't understand the big deal, I mean, there was formula, not like he was going to starve. I bet $20 I could call her on the phone and get her crying about now, 9 years later. I was sympathetic, but had no idea how to comfort her.

Two years later, I was about to give birth and Bud and I were dead broke. We had to decide each month which bills were going to get paid late. Bud was finishing his student teaching, he was hired for the next school year, which didn't start for another 4 months. I knew we needed to conserve every penny, so I figured I would try breastfeeding, I had never pictured myself nursing, and only planned to do it for 6-8 weeks, then the free formula we got should get us to Bud's first real paycheck.

Bud and I took the classes, and rolled our eyes at the "breast-nazis". I heard the discussions of increasing supply with fenugreek, and oatmeal. Eye Roll. When Owen was born I was exhausted. I had only had about 4 hours sleep the night before and it was now 2am the next day. The nurse was trying to get him latched on, and he wasn't cooperating. I was laying in bed rubbing ice on my ni**les to get him to latch. Finally, the nurse ordered me to sleep and Bud to give Owen a bottle. She promised me it wouldn't ruin the whole nursing thing and she would personally make it work, once I had some sleep. The next day Owen and I worked through the whole latching, I had the usual misgiving about is he getting anything. We went home and I was still not sure my boobs were doing anything. Until they suddenly got all hot and tingly, and tripled in size in about 20 minutes. Holy Heck. Anyway, I was in pain, the usual chafing and whatnot. We hadn't worried about a breast pump because the plan was 6 weeks or so. Luckily a friend was done with hers and lent it to me. (I know, single user, whatever, we didn't have money for a movie rental)

When Owen was 4 weeks old, I suddenly developed a high fever, chills, stabbing breast pain. So off to the urgent care I trudged. I knew it was mastitis, and I prayed the whole way the doctor would tell me to quit nursing. I figured I wouldn't have to feel guilty that way. Of course the doctor told me there was no way I could quit now! That would make it worse. Eventually my sensitive parts toughened up. I found I didn't hate the nursing, it was ok. Then we went back east to visit family, our flight at one airport was delayed for 5 hours, and I didn't have to panic about what he was going to eat. I just found a quiet corner of the airport and fed him whenever I needed. No matter what I had forgotten in the diaper bag, his food was always there, with me.

So, I extended the deadline to 3 or 4 months, I didn't think pumping at work would be pleasant. But it was ok, so the deadline was bumped to 6 months. Finally, at 6 months I stopped making deadlines. When Owen was 10 months I got the flu and my supply dropped a lot. So I made a bottle of formula, and he gagged. He wouldn't drink it, no matter what we tried. So, I bought fenugreek, and made oatmeal cookies. I gave away the $400 or so of free formula I had acquired and hunkered down for the next two months. A few weeks after his first birthday, he weaned on his own, and I cried.

When I had Maddie, I figured I would see how it went, but I would use formula if we needed it, and not stress myself. Well, Maddie was not a fan of the bottle. Lupe use to spoon feed her the milk. (yes she is a saint) So we never bothered trying the formula. The morning of her first birthday Maddie refused to nurse any more. I cried.

With Ellie, I knew a year would go fast, I had done the nursing and pumping at work twice before and figured I could handle it again. Once we found out she had a dairy allergy, it confirmed what I had already planned. Now as we near the one year mark, I wonder, will she wean herself like the other two? She is definitely more distracted, and less willing to spend time nursing. I feel pretty sure I will cry again.

If someone had told me that I would end up nursing 3 children for a year each, I would have laughed at you. Or possibly cried, this was not the mother I expected to be. Not that it is any better or worse than the mother I thought I would be.... just different. I use to think people who nursed for a year or longer were "caraazzeeeee", I wonder what other things will be different than I expect?

PS. I have no judgements about how others feed their children. Unless you give them Popsicles at 2 months, I am pretty sure you are doing a great job. And hey, I could be totally wrong on the Popsicles.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Freezer Fail

Mom just called to tell me her freezer stopped working. She isn't sure when, but everything is warm, including 50 bags of breastmilk I was storing there. I keep crying about it, I know I have to just suck it up, but damn. Since I was sick last week my supply has gone to hell, so I have been supplementing with a frozen bottle once a day, along with the usual bottles to day care. Then I was pumping before bed to try to get the supply up a bit. Then my power cord for my pump died, and we haven't been able to get a replacement* yet. We have enough to get through her birthday, but with the dairy allergy I wanted her to have enough for her cereal for awhile. I think it would help if I knew she would be fine with dairy. Once she weans, that will be the end of milk for her, unless she outgrows the allergy. I just picture her whole life without milk, and the only milk she could have was ruined.

*I know you can get the power cord on amazon, but it quit on Wednesday. I didn't want to wait for it to be shipped, figuring we could find some other adapter at radio shack. It is now Sunday and I still haven't found one. Amazon is laughing at me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

VomitFest 2010

You know the week is off to a good start when your 3 year old comes running into your classroom. Bud had to go pick her up from daycare because she threw up, he figured she could hang out with him in his room for then next hour, then I was done for the day and could take her home. It was my turn to take a sick day for a sick kid, so I got my lesson plans done for the next day. While I was finishing up, Maddie was puking into my trash can. Awesome.

Also awesome??? Driving home and hearing "I need to throw up". It is super hard to pull over fast and get a kid out of the car seat before vomiting ensues. There should be some sort of emergency ejection button. Anyway, we got home and I got her settled on the couch with a bucket, when WHAM, it hit me and I started throwing up. Yay. At least I already had a sub planned. So Maddie and I took turns puking until Bud got home. Then I went upstairs to vomit in peace. Sadly, we couldn't keep anything down, but we were so so thirsty.

The next morning Bud went and got us our favorite gatorade ( fierce grape, the others taste like crap) at 6 am. When he returned he informed me he had spent good amount of time in the bathroom at the store. Three hours later he was home from work. So two sick parents, one sick child, two other kids who don't give a shit how bad anyone feels, they want dinner.

Sadly, all the dehydration seems to have taken a toll on the milk supply. I haven't pumped at work since mid-February, because I had well over 200 frozen bags in the freezer. Luckily, this has made it possible to just supplement with the frozen stash. However, giving a bottle is a pain in the ass. You don't have a free hand for reading the internet. Or change the channel, or throw things at the cat the insists on caterwauling while you get the baby to sleep.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


With spring break Bud and I decided we should get a bit of couple time. Mom was willing to watch the kids so Bud made reservations at a local resort for one night. We went to dinner and walked around some shops and mostly got to vistit with each other. Good news: We still like each other and have stuff in common.

But the whole thing was kind of spur of the moment so I forgot to pack:

Comb (seriously)
Moisturizer (my face was so so dry)
Socks ( luckily I brought twelvety hundred pairs of shoes that required socks)

And also my sense of humor/youth. The people next to us were so loud. Apparently when you are 22 you don't need to sleep, ever. At 12:30 we finally called downstairs because of the loud music. This had no effect. At 2:30 we called again, and again didn't seem to bother them. It was frustrating because we just wanted to get some sleep, luckily we finally fell asleep about 3 am, and we slept until 9:30. So it was about the same amount of sleep we get here. Oh well we still had fun. And it is good to know we are THOSE people who will call security on your ass when you are too loud. Officially we are old. I had suspected this.