Posts Tagged 'breastfeeding'

Breastfeeding is Awesome

I don’t think I’ve really talked much about this topic, but I really do feel quite strongly about it, so I want to get it out there… Breastfeeding is amazing! It’s practical, healthy, and beautiful. I wouldn’t go back on my decision to breastfeed my daughter for anything in the world. Of course, I know I am lucky to have a year parental leave so that I didn’t have to worry about working and daycares, etc. and also, it doesn’t come as naturally as one might think it would… It was quite a bit of work to get everything right in the beginning, but it is so worth it.

First of all, breastfeeding is super practical. If the baby is hungry, you just need to find a place to sit down. No warming things up or mixing powders. You don’t have to remember to carry stuff with you, except a cover, and even that is optional. (Most women in Germany don’t use covers; the only ones I’ve ever seen were foreigners)

Secondly, breastfeeding is super healthy, both for mom and baby. It gives the baby a life-long boost in their immune system, and it also helps the mother with her immune system. We have spent the last 6 weeks in Mexico, and I haven’t been sick even once! Olivia had the sniffles for a few days, but it was very mild. Normally when I come to Mexico I get the infamous stomach illness (usually salmonella) pretty badly no matter how careful I am. This time not at all, and I have been eating everything, even lettuce! Unfortunately my husband was not so lucky… He has been sick three times so far, each time being stuck in bed for several days. Poor guy doesn’t get any of the immune system boosts from breastfeeding.

Lastly a word on nutrition. I know there are a lot of myths floating around out there about how the nutrition in breast milk is not sufficient after the baby has reached 6 months. I did a little research on this and couldn’t find any evidence to support that. It seems people are mostly worried about iron, since there is very little iron in breast milk, and the iron stored in the baby’s body from birth supposedly depletes by 6 months. But breast milk is tailored to the human body, and the small amount of iron it contains is actually absorbed very efficiently by the baby, (50-70% as opposed to iron-fortified cereals or formula which is only absorbed at a rate of around 10%. ) You can read more about it here if you are interested.

Other people say that there simply isn’t enough milk after six months and that the baby will be hungry if you don’t feed them something additional. This isn’t true, either. The way the body works is that the more a baby eats, the more milk is produced. There is a delay of a couple of days, so that when the baby hits a growth spurt he will be eating a lot more often because he is hungry. A few days later, the mom’s body catches up and there is more milk. As you start to wean, the milk production goes down accordingly, since the baby is eating less often. But if you continue breastfeeding, there will continue to be milk.

I breastfed my daughter exclusively until she was 7 months old, and then continued to feed her about 90% breastmilk until 11.5 months. (She has suddenly decided that she likes to eat more solids). She has been at the very top of the weight charts since just a few days after she was born, even though her birth weight was exactly average. She has always been very healthy, and people are constantly asking me if that is really all from breast milk. The answer is “yes”! I know that not every breastfed baby is super healthy or super big like mine, and they don’t have to be, either. But if you are looking for proof that exclusive breast milk is enough for a baby to thrive on, my little girl is a great example.

20130208-004433.jpg (here is my little chunk, talking to daddy on Skype)

Of course, as with all things, there are always exceptions… Every woman is different; every baby is different. Some women really don’t have enough milk or can’t breastfeed, and obviously that is ok, too! But if you have been breastfeeding successfully and your baby doesn’t want to eat solids when they turn six months old, don’t worry about it! They are getting everything they need from you.
We moms have enough to worry about already without people telling us that our babies are undernourished. What a way to sabotage the beauty of the female body.

I don’t want to start baby food…

Banana

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

I know it should be a fun event…. filled with smiles and photographs.  Baby’s first “real food”.  But I’ll be honest, I really don’t want to start.  Olivia is almost six months old, and is making grabs at our plates and spoons… I know it’s time.  I can’t avoid it any longer.  but I’m just not there yet; I love breastfeeding too much.

Breastfeeding is so convenient.  If the baby is hungry you just have to find the nearest bench and sit down.  No preparation time, no warming up… you don’t have to bring anything with you, and there are no dishes to clean.  Breastfeeding really is a gift from God to us busy, overworked mothers.

I realize that when you first start with food, it is only a little bit, and really just once a day.  The rest of the time I still get to breastfeed.  But everything starts small… it’s only a matter of time until I will be fighting with a toddler who only wants to eat bananas with ketchup.  I’m not ready for that!  I’m really not!

We are going to be traveling a lot in the next few months, and I’m also really not excited about dragging baby food on the airplane… I’ve got to admit, it makes breastfeeding pretty darn attractive!

God, why can’t you just slow down the clock a little bit?  I’m not ready for this!  She was just born yesterday!  What is happening to my tiny pink bundle of joy?!  Am I going to wake up tomorrow only to find that she’s turned eighteen?  Oh, the agony.

Olivia at 5 days old

Olivia at 5 days old

Olivia chewing on a toy

Olivia at 5 1/2 months – she is HUNGRY!

A Day in the life of EC-ing a 4-month-old

Since I know that most people find it difficult to picture what it’s like to practice EC full time, I’ve decided to record everything we do, including all of the pottying. So this was our day yesterday, with absolutely nothing held back. I used a back-up diaper the entire day, but still made tons of catches (about 80%).

In case you’re wondering, I recorded all of this on my ipad while breastfeeding. And since Olivia eats constantly, I was able to just store up the times of things in my head, and write them down when I got the chance.

Also, this is not really a “typical” day… We have no set schedule, and every day is totally different for us, aside from the fact that they are all incredibly difficult. Usually Olivia sleeps later than this.

So here goes nothing!

7:15 woke up
7:20 nursed (one side)
7:40 potty (this is when all the morning poos come, so it takes a few minutes…)
7:50nursed (other side)
8:00 Potty
8:10 Oscar played with Olivia for a few minutes, then some tummy time
8:15 potty (she did her special “scream” to let me know)
8:20 changed Olivia ino her daytime clothes
8:35 attempted to cut her fingernails, but no luck. Then she did her potty yelp again.
8:37 potty (her diaper was still dry, and she had a LOT of pee!!
8:40 tried to put Olivia down to nap (rocking and lullibies). But she arched her back and screamed.
8:50 nursed (she mostly just used it for comfort though, and fell into a light sleep.)
9:05 transferred Olivia to crib
9:10 transfer complete, she is asleep. I rush off to make myself breakfast.
9:13 the people renovating the apartment below us turn on a loud electric grinder, and I rush back to try to keep Olivia from fully waking up by shaking her crib. It doesn’t work, and now she has re-discovered her beloved mobile for the millionth time, and is grinning happily at it. I try to get her to sleep again without picking her up, but no luck.
9:20 I leave Olivia with her mobile and go eat breakfast since she seems to be happy.
9:30 Olivia is getting a little fussy
9:33 fussiness increasing
9:35 I hear yelps and so I go to her – I guess she had been trying to warn me, but now it was too late, and her diaper was wet.
9:38 I take her potty, she lets go a little more pee and a MASSIVE poo.
9:40 I try rocking her back to sleep but she arches her back and screams. It’s the famous “I have to burp” arch. The people downstairs start hammering. So I give up the nap and put her on her tummy on the floor while I eat.
9:43 she burps!
9:45 she burps again!
9:52 she makes the potty yelp but I guess it wasn’t really, since she refused to go when I took her.
9:53 I put her back on the floor, but now she is getting fussy. She’s yawning.
9:55 I try putting her to bed again. But she’s overtired now and going hyper. I leave her while I clean up a bit.
10:05 she is full on crying now, and smacking her lips, so I nurse her. Her mouth turns to a huge grin,she clamps on as if she had been waiting for years for this moment rather than just an hour. Her eyes roll backwards into her head. The people downstairs are busy slamming doors, but she doesn’t care… She is in a state of pure bliss.
10:15 I feel her stiffen to pee while nursing, but she doesn’t want to stop and I don’t make her. I would rather have her make that choice.
10:17 she starts kicking her legs around. Now she REALLY has to pee. Suddenly she pulls off the breast and looks at me with a quizzical expression. “do you have to go potty…?” I ask, then I rush her to the potty (after pulling off two layers of clothes and a diaper, which was still dry) she immediately does a full load of pee, and one minute later a rather large poo as well.
10:22 returned to nursing
10:27 she starts choking due to the flood of milk. I clap her back and she burps a huge and quite painful sounding burp. Poor thing! Then she smiles and starts “singing” to me.
10:29 returned to nursing
10:40 nursing slows down but I let her comfort nurse since she didn’t nap.
10:50 she’s asleep, so I burp her (magically she didn’t wake up!) and transfer her to the crib.
10:55 I rush off to do the dishes from last night
11:20 Olivia is still sleeping, so I decide to risk it and jump in the shower (with the baby monitor in the bathroom)
11:27 …and… I lose. She’s up! I hurry up and finish while she cries and then go to her.
11:30 I’ve missed the wake up pee, so I change her diaper. I try to give her a pottytunity but she doesn’t think much of that and lets me know it. So I let her play on the bed while I get dressed.
11:40 I play with her on the floor of the living room for 5 minutes, then let her play by herself why I dry my hair and get ready.
12:00 she is getting fussy, so I take her potty, which she refuses. She had a small pre-pee and some poo skid marks in her diaper, so I know she has to go, but she wants somthing else first. She is probably hungry but I try to delay that a bit by turning on a CD of kids’ songs and start folding laundry.
12:18 since she’s calm now I try the potty again, and she goes pee immediately. Her diaper was still dry, so I guess she can hold it longer than I gave her credit for (almost an hour!)
12:20 I lay her back on the floor and start hanging up wet laundry.
12:35 nursed
13:18 potty (she signalled by stopping nursing, and it turned out she had already peed, but she did a poo in the toilet.)
13:20 I put Olivia on the floor and wander around aimlessly, trying to remember what it was I wanted to do
13:30 I eat lunch (that was it!). Olivia entertains herself by looking at the couch and babbling.
13:40 I clean up lunch and try to decide how to get out of the house while packing Olivia’s stuff.
13:50 one last pottytunity
14:00-17:30 we take the tram downtown and wander around.  I potty her at 15:30 at the library, and then nurse her, and potty her again at about 16:00 at a downtown shopping center. She kept her diaper dry the entire time! She also slept for about a half-hour in the carrier.

17:30 we arrive home and she goes potty again (diaper still dry…)
17:35 I start dinner while Olivia stares at the photo of a baby on the diaper box and exercises her lungs
17:55 Nursed
18:05 Olivia is thrashing around and not really drinking, which is a sure sign of a burp. But I can’t get her to burp so I try the potty. But she tells me in no uncertain terms that potty is NOT what she wants. Must be a burp after all. So I keep trying.
18:18 shefinally burps, and I try nursing her again. But she starts arching her back and screaming. So I try the potty, and she does a poo and pee.
18:23 I try nursing her again but she still screams and thrashes around, so I assume there is another burp trapped. I work at trying to get that one out.
18:40 I give up and put her on the floor while I put away clean dishes and finish dinner.
18:55 she is extremely fussy so I try nursing, which she flat out refuses, and I go back to trying to burp her.
19:10 I give up burping her again and put her down so I can eat dinner. She screams at the top of her lungs on the floor, so I pick her up and let her sit on my lap while I eat. I also try taking her potty since it’s been along time. But she still refuses. (she did have a pee in the diaper though)
19:30 Olivia burps while sitting on my lap. Yay!
19:35 I clean up my mess and pick up some of the trail of items I’ve left lying all over the house, while holding Olivia in one arm.
19:45 I try nursing her again, but she thrashes around. So I try burping her more.
19:55 Oscar comes home! He holds Olivia for a bit.
20:05 even though she still has’t burped, she seems ready to eat now,so I nurse her while Oscar eats dinner.
20:30 Oscar wakes me up… Appearantly I nodded off while breastfeeding…Olivia is asleep too, so Oscar takes her for awhile while I get ready for bed and catch a little more sleep (I only got about 10 minutes 😦
21:00 Olivia is still hungry so I nurse her more
21:30 Olivia is asleep. I get one small burp out of her, then put her to bed. I go clean up dinner and put away food
22:00 I finally get to go to sleep! Yay!!

Olivia slept well overnight, waking up at 1:15 and 3:30am, and then she was up for the day at 7:15 (that is the only consistant part of our day…)


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