It's been a long, long time since my last and only blog post. I don't know if this will once again be my only post for months to come, but I sure hope not.
So, what have I been up to?
I've been doing a lot of low-key fixing up of the house, this rambly, 1970s monstrosity that we bought in December on a half whim. My maternity leave salary is certainly not condusive to home renos, so I've been trying to make do with what we already have, and I'm pleased to say that things around here are shaping up (I think!). I have discovered the oh-so-wonderful world of DIY bloggers, and let me tell you, there are so many out there that blow my mind! Young House Love and Centsationalgirl are my favourites so far.
I've made a few crazy quilts- which is crazy, considering that until a few months ago, I could barely thread a sewing machine. I think they turned out to be whimsical and childlike, which is perfect considering they were both gifts for good friends with babies on the way. A new hobby has been born.
Most importantly, I've been mothering Miss S. Oh, how things have changed. My passionate post about breastfeeding is a thing of the past- Miss S. is now a happy, formula fed baby and is positively thriving. I've been doing my best while my mother isn't here to help me mother- "Babs" has been away for the past 2 months, and it has finally hit home how much help she is to me. She'll be home in the a.m. and Miss S. and I are PSYCHED. Reunification of the 3 generations, here we come.
I don't know where this blog is going, or if it's going anywhere at all. For now, it just feels good to write in my grown-up voice.... most conversations these days are punctuated with verses of "Old MacDonald".
I wonder what will have changed by my next posting?
I am one of the lucky mothers- breastfeeding was easy for us in the beginning. My baby latched on with gusto a few minutes after being born, and never looked back. My milk came in quickly, and my body quickly adjusted to my tiny daughter’s vice-like suction. The nursing marathons that accompanied early growth spurts brought me to tears, but this was because breastfeeding was going just as it should. During those times, my girl nursed almost constantly, and was only happy when she was eating. She gained weight at top speed. We both thrived, a happy little breastfeeding team.
Then, at our scheduled 4 month check-up, the doctor was concerned. Scarlett had gained very little in the past 2 months. Our doctor was alarmed enough to schedule another appointment in a few weeks. My confidence was rattled.
My poor girl wasn’t getting enough milk! I started pumping before bed to increase my supply. I started offering the breast at every opportunity, even when it was clear that she wasn’t hungry in the least. I spent more time at each feeding session trying to coax my busy, happy, distracted baby to concentrate on nursing. Since I’m a nurse (oh, what a failure I was for a nurse!), I started to worry constantly about Scarlett’s fluid status, and considered weighing wet diapers. I tried to reestablish breastfeeding by spending hours doing skin-to-skin contact with my baby, when really, she just wanted to play. I over analyzed everything. I was out of control.
At our second appointment, my Scarlett’s weight gain was satisfactory, although much slower than it was in the first 2 months of life. The doctor shrugged and said “Well, it looks like she’s found her percentile”. And that was that. Little did she know how very hard I’d been trying to simply feed my girl- and how in the process I’d nearly driven us both crazy.
I am once again lucky enough to say that breastfeeding for my daughter and I is easy. I’ve learned how to pay closer attention to Scarlett’s cues- she is a baby who rarely shows signs of hunger, and who is too interested in the world around her to be bothered much with eating. Now, I take her to a quiet, calm place to eat if she’s distracted. I am more patient with her- I don’t give up on a nursing session because she’s fooling around. I offer her many ‘snacks’ if she’s not having a big eating day.
I have added few new notches to my breastfeeding belt, and I know my baby even better than before.
I’ve realized that I didn’t know how much breastfeeding meant to me until my relationship with it was threatened. I learned later than most that breastfeeding is hard. It has ups and downs. It means giving up control and allowing the baby to take the lead. It takes patience, and flexibility. And like all good things in life, it’s worth it.