asphodellium

Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding

In August, you suddenly and inexplicably developed boob preference. Or should I say boob ADHD? Gone is our alternating one-per-feed system that worked so well for so long. For some reason you now feel a need to switch it up every few minutes, like, A HUNDRED TIMES. (Okay, maybe ten.) I’m decidedly unhappy about this. Not only is it annoying, it usually leads to MORE LAUNDRY.

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I think you’ve outdone yourself this past month, both in terms of sugar sweetness and omg-what-kind-of-creature-have-I-unleashed-upon-the-world-ness. You had a will, but now you have an opinion.

You like to snack on raw noodles. I have no idea whether this is in any way good for you. Generally we keep our noodles and pasta out of sight behind cupboard doors. Still, when you see them, you demand one. One noodle, thin and hard and crunchy.

We had a week-long potty strike … a week of laying off and letting you poop in your diaper, because poopy diapers are bad, but still better than constipation. A constipated toddler is not something I wanted to risk having on my hands. Thankfully your potty strike ended as abruptly as it began.

The revolt against diaper changes and tooth-brushing lasted a bit longer. We seem to be over that hump, but it’s a delicate peace, highly dependent on your mood.

IMG_20130806_222644You think soaps and lotions are the grossest things ever, something about the way they smear over skin. Whenever we break them out you make this pained expression, accompanied by an anxious whine. (It’s a sound I might make if I were ever forced to let a spider crawl down my arm.) You’ve even gagged just watching daddy rub on hand cream. Who needs lotion when you’ve got perfect marshmallow skin, right?

Jumping! is your new obsession. You don’t always quite make it off the ground, but you try.

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Sorry, did I say “obsession”? Actually, most other things pale in comparison to the intensity of your feelings about music. You like Disney songs – especially the opening African choir part of “Circle of Life” and the segment in “Kiss the Girl” where the tadpoles jump in and out of the lagoon singing “na na na” – and will insist that we replay those same twenty seconds over and over and OVER. You also like Lily & Madeleine. I have video footage of you interpretive dancing in the kitchen to “In the Middle.”

When I sing a line you recognize, you light up and go hunting for the iPod touch, demanding that I play the track. You’ve been known to melt down when a song ends or stops abruptly. (This applies to live music as well, whether it’s band practice or just me tinkering on the piano.)

IMG_3979Your vocabulary has been exploding lately, approaching a hundred words. Notables include open, more, 弟弟, (belly) button, ball, apple, bucket, toes, balloon, ten, done, mine, rice, hair, raining, run, come, chicken, dirty, music, blackberry, water, 哥哥, phone, door, morning, bird, bee, cookie. Your enunciation, however, can require some deciphering. Raining and morning you pronounce perfectly, but blackberry sounds more like “bai-jee!” Oh, and you know your name: “Aye-den.”

When I mentioned sugar sweet, I’m thinking particularly of how, even though you’re increasingly able to play and read independently, you still like to know that I’m there. I’m thinking of how you pat a spot nearby, telling me in unequivocal terms to “[sit] down!” before contentedly going about your business. (You get very upset and scream-y if I try to leave.)

And for the times my brain starts to unravel from hearing the same twenty seconds of the same song over and over again, your spontaneous kisses and 愛你s totally make up for it.

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I don’t feel strongly about “defining my parenting style.” (Natural parenting, gentle parenting, free-range parenting? What does that even mean?) However, I always chafe at being pigeonholed, and for some reason I’m especially resistant to the “attachment parent” label, even though – or maybe because? – I practice many of the things attachment parents advocate.

I had a natural homebirth. The “home” part was an accident, but it will forever make an awesome story. I was indeed crossing my fingers for a natural birth, but it was supposed to occur at the hospital. (I felt safer having my first at a hospital, you know, in case of complications. Plus the facilities at BC Women’s are wonderful.) But I held off too long and Ashelyn came too quickly. Strictly speaking, I had a freebirth, or unassisted birth.

I breastfeed. I’m fortunate and thankful to have encountered no hurdles here, so the boob it is. It’s convenient. It’s free. Ashelyn’s a fan. Actually she’s never tried formula; she’s never even used a bottle, because I’m crazy lazy. We’ll probably continue until Ashelyn wants to stop, unless she turns two and still doesn’t, in which case HELP. (I’m no elitist, though. If a mother who is perfectly capable of breastfeeding chooses to use formula just because, we can totally still be friends.)

We chose baby-led weaning. Because who wants to bother with separate food prep for munchkin? Certainly not I. We try to avoid processed foods and excess salt and sugar, although now that Ashelyn’s older I’m less likely to freak out if someone gives her a piece of croissant. I don’t care about buying organic or avoiding GMO; I’m not convinced the benefits justify the price.

I babywear more often than I use a stroller. We started with slings, but haven’t really looked back since acquiring an Ergo. It’s just that I’ve found a carrier to be more versatile, and more likely to result in peaceful cooperation. I’ve also done my fair share of toting Ashelyn around in my arms (and I’ve got the biceps to show for it).

We co-sleep. A while ago we sidecar-ed the crib, but Ashelyn doesn’t spend a ton of time sleeping in her space, preferring instead to cuddle with me. Which is sweet and all, but bedsharing is the one thing I’m not proud to admit, because ideologically I believe in the marital bed, not the family bed. Unfortunately Ashelyn was a sleepfighter from day one, and this is where the path of least resistance has led us. I still haven’t committed to any form of sleep training, not because I’m opposed to CIO, but because I doubt it’ll work on my girl without crossing a threshold of unpleasantness to which I am opposed.

We do EC and cloth diaper and use disposables. Ashelyn has pooped in the potty since she was five months old, because she is awesome. So is poop-free cloth diapering! Still, there’s no denying the convenience and absorption power of disposables; we use them, sparingly, for (longer) outings and overnight.

We vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even controversial ones like spanking or crying it out. But unless your child is immuno-compromised, if you don’t vaccinate, I say you’re doing it wrong, and I shake my fist at you for weakening herd immunity.

I’m a proud product of the public education system, and biased in its favour. Although there’s plenty of time for shifts of opinion on this front, presently I’m not very interested in private institutions, and I don’t intend to homeschool.

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I’m no expert on babies. I am, however, an expert on one baby. And that’s all the authority I need.

I’m not unfamiliar with the sentiment that once a child can walk up to mama and ask for milk … it just might be time to move on. Except I never knew you’d be able to do this at 12-13 months. That doesn’t even count as “extended breastfeeding.” Anyway, you show no signs whatsoever of losing interest, and you’re lucky I’m in no hurry to wean. In fact, sometimes you get agitated when I put my boob away, like, HEY! Okay, I know you thought I was finished, but I’M NOT FINISHED!

Breastfeeding doesn’t even keep you still anymore, which IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO. You breastfeed and dance at the same time. You breastfeed and HUM! At the same time. I’m, uhh, glad you draw so much artistic inspiration from this activity.

IMG_3649Since I alluded to weaning: I’m starting to think you need to be weaned off electronics. You find cell phones altogether too fascinating. All our handheld devices now have passcode locks to prevent you from poking around and “restarting springboard” … whatever that means.

You climb up and down stairs with ease. We don’t even have stairs in our house (save the creepy ones down to the basement), so I’m not sure how you could’ve practiced this. You’ve been able to safely slide yourself off furniture for a while now, so I don’t need to worry about you falling off the (guest) bed anymore.

It’s been a long, drawn-out road to walking, but here we are at last. From the first time you stood unassisted (at seven months), to first steps (twelve months), to willingly walking on your feet instead of your knees (a few weeks ago). I guess this means you’re officially a toddler! Where did my baby go? Admittedly things were simpler before you became mobile, but they weren’t half as fun.

It looks like she's upset, but she's actually clowning around.

It looks like she’s upset, but she’s actually clowning around.

You do this fake laugh, and it looks like this:

Sometimes you’ll even point and laugh, as if you’re making fun of something. Once it was a sleeping baby. Often it’s your reflection in a mirror.

Daddy and I were taking inventory the other day, and we realized that you know over twenty words! Some you say:

  • mama
  • hi
  • neh-neh
  • wow
  • 唉呀 (ai ya)
  • 爸爸 (daddy)
  • up
  • baby
  • amen (“ame-yah”)
  • please (“bee”)

Some you “sign”:

  • bye
  • no
  • yes
  • kiss
  • thank you
  • brush teeth

Some you recognize and respond to:

  • face
  • why
  • give
  • nose
  • high five
  • hug
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Next milestone after walking: levitation.

You dislike the sensation of grass under your bare feet, and will contort yourself in attempts to avoid such contact.

You and I play hide-and-seek around the house.

I’m pleased that you get along so well with other children. Especially ones who are slightly older, old enough to humour you when you jabber at them unintelligibly. Old enough not to mind when you grab at items of interest in their hands or knock down things they’ve built. Really, though, you’re all friendliness and curiosity.

Daddy has a boxful of wooden stir sticks in his office, and you’re obsessed with them. You like to gather them into bundles and traipse around the house holding as many as you can in your fists, and a few in your mouth. You freak out when some slip out of your grasp, which inevitably happens because your hands are too small to hold that many! So then you crumple to your knees, wailing, “Oh no! Oh no!” Except it comes out more like, “Ah nao!” Have I mentioned that you’re hilarious?

Of course she doesn't mind sitting in the carseat when it's not in the car.

Of course she doesn’t mind sitting in the carseat when it’s not in the car.

Your newest (understood) word is “hug,” and it is priceless. You’ll even pat us affably on the back or shoulder; I didn’t even realize I did that to you until you started doing it to me.

got milk?

Posted on: 24 August 2012

I’ll never understand why so many heads explode over the breastfeeding vs. formula debate, and why mothers on BOTH sides are so defensive about what is, at the end of the day, a personal decision.

I breastfeed for all the same reasons every other breastfeeding mother breastfeeds. There’s no controversy in the scientific community over the benefits of breastfeeding, especially to an infant’s brain development, although scientific information generally does a poor job of filtering to the public without suffering distortion.

I breastfeed because I can, and I’m thankful that I can, because I know not everyone is able to say so.

It was a smooth enough ride for Ashelyn and me, not that the first several days of latchings weren’t kind of brutal. At the time I called it a “sting,” because apparently denial is one of my best defenses against pain. Ashelyn’s suck was so strong that our very first nursing session left me with a blister. Yeah, on the nipple. (You owe me, girl.)

My biggest thorn in the flesh wasn’t anything to do with the actual act of breastfeeding, though. The truth is, I quite enjoy breastfeeding. It’s my eye of the storm, a moment of stillness in the inexorable 24/7 nature of babycare. Rather, my biggest thorn in the flesh was pressure from older-generation Asian mothers to use formula!

Did you see that one coming? I didn’t.

Invariably the first question they asked was, “Do you have enough milk?” And then some variant of surprise or skepticism when I answered in the affirmative. My mother-in-law (graciously) cooked us food that would “boost milk supply” and bade me avoid food that would “dry it up.” My mom worried that Ashelyn fed too long and too frequently, and hinted at supplementing with formula. And everywhere I turned, the question: “You have enough milk?”

Why, yes. And I know because:

  1. Plenty of dirty diapers.
  2. Ashelyn was gaining weight like the Hulk, skyrocketing from the twentieth percentile to the ninetieth.
  3. Hello, fountains of milk leaking and spouting everywhere.

Just to clarify, I don’t hold anything against these women, all of whom genuinely care about me. (Of all the unsolicited advice I’ve received to date, only one person didn’t mean well and was just being obnoxious, and that was a complete stranger.)

Isn’t it odd, though, that insufficient supply is assumed by default? According to my midwife, a more common problem is actually oversupply. I know of other young mothers who use formula because they “didn’t have enough milk.” Did they really not have enough milk, I wonder, or do they think they didn’t because that’s what everyone told them?

* Ashelyn slept through most of her first day. They say to “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but I was hopped up on adrenaline and only managed to nap for an hour and a half of the eight hours she slept following the birth.

* The first two nights were rough (I didn’t get more than one stretch of sleep lasting over an hour), but we’re getting the hang of things and the rest have been much better.

* Kevin is smitten. Can you say “daddy’s girl”?

* My milk came in, and thank God for nursing pads or I’d be leaking all over the place. Breastfeeding stung for the first few days, especially the latchings, but is now going awesome. And my boobs have grown three cup sizes. I’m not sure what to think about this.

* The only times Ashelyn doesn’t breastfeed like a champ is when she’s having a meltdown. We’ve had a couple of those. Happens when she’s crying so hard she becomes frantic and can’t latch. Silly munchkin – but the girl can get ANGRY.

* My feet are sweaty. I don’t sweat much in general, so I’d qualify this as my oddest postpartum symptom.

* Ashelyn makes the most adorable puppy sounds – little squeaks and pants and whimpers. She’s also really smiley (though like I said, it could be gas).

* As of yesterday’s check-up, Ashelyn has a very slight touch of jaundice on her face (not enough to warrant any concern) and milia on her nose. But no newborn acne, and she’s gained 70 grams (2.5 ounces) on her birth weight, both unusual according to the midwife.

* Yesterday was our first visitor-free day, not counting a visit from our midwife. We actually had five sets of visitors the first day. Probably unadvisable, but Ashelyn was angelic throughout, and we’re touched that so many people love her.


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