Category Archives: Warm Fuzzies

feel good stories and quotes

Always Our Babies

“Just look at my baby, all grown up.” I’ve probably heard this line hundreds of times…from teary moms watching their children wave from school bus windows on the first day of kindergarten or from fathers beaming over their sons’ or daughters’ graduations. I’ve even heard it from my own parents through the years, when my brother moved out of state, when my sister was accepted to a graduate program, and when I was pregnant. These are words that one can’t fully understand until he or she has a child of his or her own. These are the words of proud parents, reflecting on how time passes so swiftly by, and how although it all happens before their eyes, they still cannot fathom how their children go from helpless infants to curious toddlers to rambunctious grade schoolers to argumentative teenagers to adults, who are looking at their own children and repeating the same line.

My baby is hardly a year old, and already, I find myself asking where the time as gone. On vacation this week, and then with my husband and stepson gone again this weekend, Jacob and I have spent much more time together lately. And, it’s been priceless! But, it’s made me all too aware of how much he has changed and is changing with each passing day.

Ma’s milk in the morning

I’ve written many times about my journeys in breastfeeding. I’ve explained how it may have been one of the most challenging and also the most cherished parts of my first year as a mother. And, I’ve talked about how difficult it was for me around that first-year mark when I was contemplating whether or not to wean him.

At fourteen months old, I see the end of breastfeeding in plain sight. For the past couple months, Jacob’s taken little interest in nursing during the day or even before bed. By the light of day, he’s been too busy exploring, and before bed, he’s far too impatient to wait on the slow release of ma’s milk. Still, each morning when he awakes, nursing has been the first thing on his mind. Although from the beginning my milk supply always has been the greatest in the morning, I still find it simply amazing how my body has adjusted to his new schedule. As I stopped pumping months ago and his breast milk breakfast doesn’t really affect any of my eating habits—drinking coffee during the day, or having a glass or two of beer or wine at night–I’ve been perfectly satisfied with his choice.

The past few mornings, however, have been different. Jacob’s had a pretty bad cold and has been very congested. Though bottles or cups seem to adapt well to these changes, my breasts haven’t been quite so compliant. Even after I’ve suctioned his snot with a nasal aspirator (way better than a bulb syringe– check out the link if you haven’t tried one), he has a hard time suckling. Each morning, within minutes of waking, he’s come to my breast and attempted to nurse, but then through significant sniffles, has rolled away, crying in frustration. I think my morning milk supply has dwindled a bit each day since this pattern began. And, that makes me a little sad. My emotions are nothing like the hormonal swings I experienced when he reduced from eight feedings to just one over the course of two days. However, I am grieving a little over the loss of the closeness that nursing has provided to us since his birth.

Small wonders

Then, there are all the new things he picks up every day. He watches my husband and me as we get dressed and then grabs clothes and tries to put them over his own head. He waves his hand to push away food and says “ah duh” (all done) when he’s had enough of something. Just this morning, he was reaching for the spoon so much when I was feeding him that I figured I would see what he would do with it. Without thinking, I put the spoon in his left hand. Immediately, he shook his head back and forth, put the spoon in his right hand, scooped up some yogurt, aimed the spoon at his mouth, and even got a bit in there (as well as all over himself and the highchair.)

I mentioned a couple weeks back that’s he’s been pointing at all sorts of things and saying “uhzzhat?” (what’s that?). His vocabulary is growing all the time. He loves to say the names of animals and their noises. His two favorites are “daw” (dog) which he follows with “ruff ruff” and heavy panting, and “dow” (cow) followed by “mmmmmmmmmmm.” And, he tells us what he wants, whether it’s “muh” (more), “buh” (up), “ah-tzha” (outside), a “dottle” (bottle), or his beloved, “zsha-zsha” (his brother, Jackson), or “dada”. (I’m still not convinced he ever has said “mama” to refer to me…although of course, my loving husband insists he says it all the time.)

And, Jacob spends his days learning and exploring. He pushes buttons, flips switches, turns knobs, and pulls objects in and out of containers. (The trash can in our kitchen is the center of his world. He has placed—or attempted to place—toys, hats, shoes, magnets, picture frames, and all sorts of other things in there.) He also reaches for anything he can get his hands on—which is an ever-expanding repertoire of items as he grows. We’ve had to move dishes and kitchen appliances to the back of our countertops, and we officially have stopped using the two front burners of our stove. Though he’s still a bit of a wobbly walker, he hasn’t given up on learning to run, though he has moved on from Yoda and yoga.

And, to think, this bright and active little boy was the tiny creature kicking and squirming inside my belly just over a year ago…the fragile little doll that fit perfectly in the crook of my elbow…and only months ago, the one whose only movements were rocks and head bobs and whose only ways to communicate were to grunt and cry.

It’s all going way too fast. Before I know it, he’ll be walking up the steps of a school bus or pulling away in the driver’s seat of a car headed halfway across the country to start a life of his own. These are the thoughts that fend off the stresses and frustrations of motherhood…

Baby’s 1st Year: We Made It Through!

My baby turned one today. A whole year behind us. A whole year survived!

I awoke an hour before my alarm this morning and lay in bed, reminiscing, with my little guy snuggled close. I thought about the whirlwind of the last 20 months. So much has happened since that summer morning when I first saw the plus sign on the pregnancy test (and then sent my husband to the drug store to pick up two more—just to make sure!)

Those first few months of pregnancy were a jumble of emotion. I was thrilled to be pregnant for the first time. I feared that something would go wrong. I struggled with not telling anyone until the end of the “risky” first trimester. I couldn’t believe that a human being was growing inside me.

Everything became real when I first saw his little alien-like form on the ultrasound. The quick, steady rhythm of his heartbeat and his random kicks and flips over the next few months confirmed it was really happening—my very own baby was on the way!  Suddenly, all I felt was impatience; I was eager to have him out of me and in my arms.

And, then, all of a sudden, he was. And, it wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be. But, it was much, much more magical than I ever could have imagined.

Who knew such a little creature could bring so much joy? Every day? With each giggle, babble, kick, coo, tear, smile, step, squeeze, and squeal? It never gets old. It all goes by way too quickly for that!

That’s all for today. After being apart from my baby-turned-toddler-much-too-fast while I was at work, I want to celebrate the end of a challenging but joyous year, and the beginning of many more to come!

Moments

Mommy’s world reached a whole new level of crazy this week. From the installation of locks and gates throughout the house to dives and lunges to save wine bottles and vases from hitting the floor, it’s been a rough couple of days. Baby’s transition into toddlerhood has created a whole new agenda for me. With his growing curiosity in everything dangerous and his increasing, but imperfect skill in balancing himself on his feet, I can’t take my eyes off my son or let him out of arm’s reach…for fear his innocent exploration will lead to him strangling himself or giving himself a concussion.

On top of bestowing on mommy these new worries and responsibilities, this week, my already difficult baby (I’ve only recently come to terms with the fact that he fits into the difficult category, and I don’t like it) has suddenly become exponentially more difficult. Out of the blue, months after his initial bout of stranger anxiety, he refuses to be anywhere except in mama’s arms. (And, yes, it’s good to feel needed, but folks, mama has her needs too—needs that don’t include baby attached to her hip 24/7.) And, the largest source of madness escalates with each passing day that brings me closer to baby’s first birthday. Together, the thought of a whole year come and gone in addition to planning a party has sent mommy spiraling into sanity loss territory, including several minor meltdowns over choosing food for the big day, contemplating whether or not now is the time to wean baby from breastfeeding, and mourning the idea that baby’s not really a baby anymore.

So, what to do? Take deep breaths? Count to ten?

I tried those things. I also tried working out for an hour, eating some chocolate (my go-to elixir), and continuing my manic efforts toward party preparations, thinking that productivity might make me feel better. Nope. Honestly, I can’t say I found a solution on my own.

The answer found me when I was nursing baby to bed about an hour ago. As his warm little body was nestled close to mine with my finger in his tiny hand, and my chin on his head, I just took it all in. Suddenly, nothing else was important except that moment.

“We do not remember days; we remember moments.”  ~Cesare Pavese (Italian poet and novelist)

As a mom, some days, even whole weeks, are a struggle. With baby’s growing repertoire of skills and discoveries, I have a feeling a few of those periods will be a part of my near future. But, amid the craziness, it’s important to clear my head and just focus on the moment every once in a while. Because that’s what I’ll remember with every passing birthday and that’s what I don’t want to regret: missing all the moments because I was stressing out about the days.

The Little Things

The post below is part of the Carnival of Breastfeeding. At the end of the post are links to the other participants and their posts on extended breastfeeding. Please visit their blogs after you finish reading mine!

One of my favorite times of the day is the middle of the night. Like clockwork, around 3:30 every morning, I wake to tiny hands on my waist and the sweet voice of my 11-month-old son singing “mamamama.” From my side, I turn toward him slowly in my bed without knocking him down—these days I wake to him standing, facing me, using my shoulder or my hip as a ballet bar for quick and tiny pliés. As I pick him up, lay him next to me on his back, and whisper in his ear his favorite line that he’s heard thousands of times, “are you a hungry baby?,” he kicks his legs excitedly and squeals. I lift my pajama shirt, he pops on for his early breakfast, and I doze off to the rhythm of his sucks and swallows with his warm little body close against mine.

I didn’t know I would nurse this long. Although I had planned to heed the American Academy of Pedicatrics (AAP) recommendation to nurse “for the first year and beyond,” I honestly wasn’t sure I’d make it. Though I had excellent breastfeeding support in the hospital after my c-section (not an elective procedure—I had to endure 40 hours of labor before surrendering to it—another story for another day), I had millions of questions when I got home. While pregnant, I read several books on nursing, which certainly helped. Still, there was so much I didn’t understand. I remember asking myself hundreds of times: “how can a natural process come with so many questions?!” For me, the main challenges were too much milk (I was engorged a lot at first and my milk would choke my precious newborn because it came out so fast!). Some other challenges were a breast infection (mastitis) I got sometime around my son’s three-month mark, the biting that began (and thankfully ended shortly after) the appearance of his first teeth, and then the heat I took in general from my family, co-workers, and friends—especially those from past generations—for “inconveniencing” myself with nursing when “formula is just as good.”

The kicker for me was when I went back to work full time after my four-month maternity leave (a godsend). This was the most challenging period of my breastfeeding days thus far. Bringing my pump and all its tiny parts to work, and then finding time to assemble it, use it, and wash it several times a day between meetings and deadlines was tough at first. On top of that, the first week I was back to work, after months of sleeping in his bassinet seven to eight hours a night without waking, my once good sleeper began waking every hour or two of the night and refusing to go back to sleep until I nursed him.

Fortunately, it all got easier. If you are a mom in some challenging phase of breastfeeding, I tell you that with confidence—it gets so much easier! I still pump twice a day at work, which I admit I don’t love. That’s one part of the breastfeeding process that I doubt sincerely I will miss. However, my frustration with the process has dwindled. Now that my son eats solid foods and has spread out his nursing sessions, I only need to pump twice a day. Moreover, my (male) boss is used to my office door being shut a couple times a day and to me having to step out of meetings to take care of “mommy duties”. As for the nighttime feedings, after several nights of getting little or no sleep after pulling baby out of his bassinet and into a rocking chair to nurse him every few hours, I decided it was time for him to sleep in our bed. That way, he could nurse when he wanted, and neither of us had to get up. Months later, that’s still how we do it.

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.”—Unknown

This has been one of my favorite quotes for years. I’ve reflected on this quote many times since my son’s birth: when he was a teeny tiny newborn that would cuddle up in my arms for hours at a time, when he first began smiling and then laughing, babbling, crawling, standing, and pointing. There are so many precious little things that I’ve made sure to treasure, knowing that although they are all short-lived, these are the things that I will look back on as meaning the most.

The choice to nurse is no little thing. Ask any mom who wakes several times a night to hungry cries or who pumps three times a day, five days a week. But, nursing is something that brings so many little moments to be cherished. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the excitement in my son’s face when he knows I’m about to feed him, his loving gaze into my eyes while he’s nursing, or all those times we have snuggled close to each other, skin to skin, and my milk was his lifeline. I imagine, years from now, when I wake to the digital 3:30 on my alarm clock and my son is asleep in his room, I’ll think of what it was like when he was nestled against me as a baby and drinking from my body. And it will be a big thing.

The post above is part of the Carnival of Breastfeeding. Please use the links below to hear from other participants in the Carnival on extended breastfeeding.

Elita @ Blacktating: The Last Time That Never Was

Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it

Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk

Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments

Tamara Reese @ Kveller: Extended Breastfeeding

Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler

Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding

Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough

Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler

Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing

Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding

Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!

Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes

The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama

Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding

Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things

Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows

Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering

The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?

Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding

TopHot @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes

Beth @ Bethstedman.com: Extended Breastfeeding: To Wean Or Not To Wean

Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding

Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close

Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors

Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding

Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding

Jona (Breastfeedingtwins.org): Breastfeeding older twins

Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler

Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?