Sunday, February 27, 2011

Things That Drive Me Crazy

This is a rather graphic post about breastfeeding.

I try not to judge other moms. Mostly because, since my son had to have formula, I got judged. A lot.

I have touched on this previously, but I thought that I would expound on what happened with me and breastfeeding now because I have been thinking a lot about it as we make the switch to cow's milk (which, by the way, is going GREAT. I am so relieved!).

So, I had always intended to breastfeed, and immediately tried to do it after Bug was born. And it was fine, but...I was really uncomfortable. It got worse after I went home from the hospital with bleeding nipples (and a jaundiced baby), and I spent all sorts of money on lactation consultants. And it wasn't just a little bit of blood. Like, clumps of my skin FELL OFF. It was rather traumatic for me, to be honest. But I kept at it, because I wanted the best for my son, which I knew was breastmilk

So anyway, I figured out how to get the baby latched on right, but...I developed mastitis. And THEN I got thrush, and that was the beginning of the end of breastfeeding for me.

Thrush is a yeast infection that you get on your nipples. And it's horrifically painful. Every time Bug latched on I would have tears in my eyes, but I would tell myself that I was doing the best thing for my baby so I should suck it up. And forget about pumping! Breastfeeding nazis will tell you that you can pump exclusively, but I couldn't because I didn't respond well to pumping. I tried three different pumps--a hospital one, my electric one, and a manual hand pump--and the most I ever got was two ounces after pumping for twenty minutes. And that definitely didn't satisfy my little Bug.

I have had all sorts of people--ones I know and ones who just randomly felt the need to tell me what I was doing wrong with my child--say rather nasty things to me about this. I've heard all the accusations. Yes, I did know how to use my pump--I had two lactation consultants watch me do it. I took all sorts of supplements to enhance my milk supply, but supply wasn't the problem. The problem was my body was smart enough to know that the pump wasn't my baby. When Bug nursed, he could get four ounces (we measured this at the lactation consultant office)--but pumping barely yielded half of that. I've been told that I didn't try hard enough, but let me just say that I didn't get rid of that thrush infection until Bug was seven months--and I stopped nursing him at three months and stopped pumping at five.

So anyway, for me, there was no other option: I had to supplement him with formula. So he had breast milk until he was five months in some fashion, but after that, I had a formula fed baby. And let me just say this: I truly believe breastfeeding is best. But I would be a bad mother if I didn't feed my baby, not for giving him formula. (And yes, I know you can get milk from a milk bank, but (a) that's even more pricey than formula and (b) I don't feel comfortable with that).

Anyway, I have an extremely healthy, happy one year old, who says seven words, is close to walking, and is NOT overweight in any way. And I punished myself for a long time about not being able to nurse him, but now I know that I did the best I could for my son, and he and I have a great relationship. I don't think I missed out on the bonding experience--we're closer than a lot of people I know and their breastfed babies. I do wish I had been able to nurse him longer, but one of the most valuable lessons I have learned as a mom is that you do what you can--and then you move on.

So ANYWAY...that was long:) The whole point of this was I wanted to share that I have had a rather intense experience of being judged by other mothers (one woman at the mall one day who saw me giving my son a bottle told me I was poisoning him), so I try not to judge others.

But.

Sometimes, the lack of common sense when it comes to children absolutely floors me. So here are my top 5 pet peeves:

1) Improper use of carseat carriers. Look, I know it's hard when you have a teeny tiny little one, but the carseat carrier is NOT meant to be used in the basket of a shopping cart. Your kid could fall, and die. Either get a regular carrier (sling, Ergo, etc), or take your stroller. But don't do that.

2) Improper use of baby carriers. I have seen women with their Baby Bjorns hanging down to their waist; I have seen babies that can only be a few weeks old with their heads incorrectly supported--ugh! I shudder. Find a babywearing group--a great resource is http://www.thebabywearer.com--or take a moment and read the directions of your carrier. You should be able to kiss your child's head when they are in the carrier--I believe the Bjorn slogan is "Close enough to kiss." Also, carriers are not infallible--you are responsible for making sure that your child is getting enough air.

3) Parents who do not tend to their crying babies. Until your kid is verbal, his or her only way of communicating with you is crying. Children don't cry to manipulate; they cry to communicate. (Now, when your kid is, say, Bug's age, sometimes they do cry to manipulate--but you will know the difference by that point!). So if your two month old is screaming his or her head off in the carseat carrier, for the love of God, pick them up! You are that child's only source of security in this world; let them know you are there.

So that's my sermon for today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To my beautiful boy


Well, it's almost midnight, which means it's almost your birthday. You're almost one, my angel. This year has been so amazing, so wonderful, and you are such a blessing.

There are so many moments that I remember vividly, from the moment that I read the pregnancy test that said "positive" and I fell off the toilet, to the moment when I realized (with dawning horror) during labor that you were facing the wrong way and I was having back labor, to the intense relief I felt when I heard you cry for the first time and I didn't have to push anymore, because you were out and the contractions were over. The first time I saw you, covered in all sorts of baby goop, screaming your head off (and I noticed, chagrined, that you had inherited the extra tissue in your gums that would give you a gap between your front teeth, just like your mother), well--all I could think was that you were the most amazing creature I had ever beheld, my beautiful, beautiful boy.

And then you were on my stomach, and I watched in amazement as you curled your little fingers around my pinky, and I marveled at your perfect little hands and feet. The world was a blur as they took you away from me to clean you off, but then promptly brought you back and I got to hold you, cuddle you, and kiss you over and over again because you were here, and all I could possibly feel was extreme gratitude to God that you were alive, you were healthy, and I was the lucky one who got to be your mom.

It hasn't always been easy. But luckily for me, you have always been a good sleeper, so I was getting to sleep four hours where some moms were stuck sleeping two--or less. And every morning I get to awaken to you giving me a gigantic grin, with your now eight teeth, because the day has started and you are thrilled to be alive. I can't describe how warm my heart felt the first time you rolled over, or how terrified but proud I was that first time you pulled yourself into a standing position. I can barely describe the feeling of joy I get every time you sit in my lap and rest your head against my chest as I read you a book. Perhaps my favorite thing is the way your eyes light up when I start to sing you "Snuggle Puppy."

I'll admit, the thought of you leaving your babyhood behind scares me a little, and I am a bit sad, in a way. At the same time, however, I am so excited for all of the new things that we will get to experience during your second year--and I look forward to having more conversations with you in which you can respond to me, and to seeing you walk, and to watching you learn and grow more each and every day.

I love you so much, my darling boy, and I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Date with Poison Control

Today started out much like I suspected it would: rather messily.

To start off with, I awoke to see my beautiful, bright-eyed child grinning at me as he tried to beat me in the head with a bottle of lotion. "Oh, Bug," I sighed through my night guard, "can we work on this whole getting up at 6:30 thing?"

He didn't respond, as all he has is a six word vocabulary, and none of those words would really work with my question. Well, except, of course, for "NEIN NEIN NEIN!"

Anyway this morning was a bit of a rush, as I was trying to feed my baby, feed Jon, and get my stuff together (I have a LOT to do today!). I got the husband fed and out the door, and then I plopped Bug on the floor of his room, closed the baby gate, and went into the office for about thirty seconds...

...and I came back to see my child gnawing on a bottle of Resolve carpet cleaner.

What happened next, as I am sure you can imagine, is a bit of a blur in my mind. Basically, I shrieked, "NO!" and grabbed the bottle away from Bug's hands. He laughed maniacally as he basked in the glory of my panic attack. I felt my brown locks fade to gray as I frantically dialed the number for Poison Control.

"Hello, Poison Control," said a very sweet voice. The woman sounded exactly like my dear sainted Grandma.

"Hi," I said in a rush. "Hi, so my son just was chewing on the Resolve carpet cleaner bottle, I seriously don't know how he got it, I turned my back for three seconds, and--"

"--and you would not believe how often this happens," she finished for me. "Calm down, sweetheart. How old is he?"

"Eleven months," I said, trying to steady my breathing. Bug giggled.

"And you're worried that he ingested some of the carpet cleaner?"

"Well, it could've been dripping down the bottle, or maybe he put his mouth on the spigot, I just don't know," I fretted. "It was on a shelf that's way too tall for him, so I am at a loss--"

"He's going to be fine," she interrupted. "It's an irritant, not a poison."

So we chatted for a bit more. Apparently for him to do some real harm to himself, he would have had to eat the whole bottle.

You know, it's so frustrating, because I am normally SO CAREFUL. The cleaner was in there because he had vomited on his floor (Bug still spits occasionally) and so I was cleaning up some stains and had put it on a shelf. Completely out of his reach. And while I try not to be one of those super judgmental moms (although I do get really irritated when I see people putting their carseats in the front basket of their shopping carts...that's a SERIOUS danger to your baby, people!) I admit that I thought I was too cautious for something like this to happen.

So I honestly hesitated about posting this, because I was embarrassed...but at the same time, what if I hadn't called Poison Control? What if Bug really had eaten something that could have made him very sick--or worse? So I wanted to let everyone out there know, if this does happen to you, that even for peace of mind, the best thing to do is call and make sure. I didn't feel judged, and it sounds like this is not the worst thing the lady had ever heard.

In case you don't have it, the number for Poison Control is: 1-800-222-1222. And yes, I have it in my phone.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm Gonna Do It!

I hate disposable diapers so much. SO MUCH. I hate the way they feel, I hate the way they look, and most importantly, I hate what they do to my son's skin, even when I only have him wear them at night. So, I have decided that this is the last package of disposables that I will buy for use in my home. I am going to figure out how to make cloth diapering at night work for us!

This is my plan: I am going to buy some hemp inserts, and try them in the Fuzzi Bunz. Everyone has assured me that hemp is the most absorbent, so that's what I am going to try. If that doesn't work, I am going to investigate other routes, but I am so done with it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Poopocalypse

Jon and I frequently joke about Bug's bowel movements, giving them cute monikers (such as "poopageddon") or stealing the ones that our friends use ("The Holy Poop Grenade of Antioch".)

Well, Bug's and my escapades this morning blew all of my previous experiences with poop out of the water. And since poop is organic, I figure it's fair game to blog about it.

So, I should mention that Bug and I both woke up somewhere around 4:30 this morning, and he didn't think that he needed to go back to sleep. I, on the other hand, did, and so a fairly intense argument ensued, with him yelling at me in nonsense (which I took to mean, "Mom, why are you ruining my life ALREADY?") and me trying to explain to him, calmly and rationally, that Mommy hasn't had a good night's sleep in well over a year at this point, and it would be super awesome if he would let me get some rest.

Guess who won?

Fast forward a few hours, and Bug was sitting in his high chair, finishing munching on some Cheerios, and I was doing the dishes from the morning when he starts grunting and making his poop face.

"Get it all out, sweetie," I told him comfortingly, as I finished cleaning the kitchen.

Anyway, a few minutes later the poop faces were gone, so I picked him up and started to carry him up the stairs. "Oh, dear," I said. "This smells awful--wait," I said, realizing that there was a warm, squishy patch under the leg that I was supporting with my arm. "I'm in trouble, aren't I?" I asked my beautiful child.

He grinned. Yes, I was definitely in trouble.

I set him down on his changing pad and gingerly removed his sweatpants, and my fears were confirmed. The poop was of such quantity that it had leaked out of the diaper and down BOTH legs, and when I went to grab a wipe he not only shoved his hands in it and then immediately stuck them IN HIS HAIR, but he flipped onto his stomach and managed to smear it everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

"Oh, buddy," I said, with a growing concern that soon the entire room would be coated in feces, "this isn't good."

He agreed with me, and since he had been awake since 4:30 and it was fast approaching 9, the tiredness really kicked in and he began to wail. His cries only got louder as I tried to wipe some of the poop off, but it was really quite stubborn and I had begun to realize that the only way to rid my poor child of his defecation was going to be hosing him down.

"Oh sweetie, don't cry," I told him, leaving him and the changing pad on the floor. "And please don't move!" I quickly dashed to the laundry room (which is conveniently--but usually inconveniently--located just outside of his bedroom) and grabbed some, um, incontinence pads.

In my defense, I don't actually use these for nighttime accidents, but I did invest in them when my Bradley teacher suggested getting them in case my water broke all over the bed when I was pregnant. Later I found they were great for just letting Bug roll around naked on, so I always keep some on hand.

Anyway, I wrapped my screaming, poop-smeared baby in an incontinence pad and to the bathtub we went.

I scrubbed furiously while he kicked and splashed in the water (Bug adores bathtime), and eventually removed every trace of brown from his body. Then I took him back to the room where I threw all of the poop covered clothing in the laundry hamper, dealt with the poopy diaper, and slathered my baby in lotion, dressed him, and put him down for a nap.

After that, I took my own shower where I scrubbed myself furiously under rather scalding water, and sat down to write this post.

Hope you had a much less eventful start to your day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Frustration

Hello, everyone! Sorry I have been a little MIA recently--Bug and I have been dealing with his decision to not nap anymore. Well, as of this morning (he's out right now) he's decided that napping is okay again, but we've been waking up at 6 every morning as a consequence.

Oy.

Anyway, with Bug's upcoming birthday I am doing a lot of cleaning and getting ready. My in-laws are coming from Florida to celebrate with us, which means that I have to deal with the disaster area that is our office/guest room.

And let me just mention that the last time I went into the office/guest room was when I took out the Christmas decorations.

So. Yeah. That's not really going well.

But, I figured I would take this opportunity to share how I clean (or try to!) with natural cleaning products!

I am a HUGE fan of cleaning with vinegar. I think it's because I like the smell (I know, I'm weird). But to me, the smell of vinegar is clean, and lets me know that I have decimated the nasty germs. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, after all. I use it to clean my kitchen counters and sink, my bathroom sinks, and to scrub out my bathtubs (ours and Bug's). You can actually use it undiluted to clean, but I usually just mix about 1/4 of a cup of vinegar with 2 cups water to make my cleaning solution. Then I put it in a spray bottle, and use my scrub brush for the tubs and an old sock to wipe down the sinks. And toilets! I clean the toilets with vinegar as well.

A great website for natural cleaners (specifically, vinegar) can be found here.

For Bug's stuff, I really like the BabyGanics line of products. I was first introduced to these at my baby shower, and I have really come to love the stuff. I use the detergent for his laundry (although when he turns a year, I will be switching to just a free and clear cleanser), the Toy and High Chair cleanser to wipe down his high chair, and the cleaning wipes are fantastic for out and about. All of the ingredients are non-toxic so if your child shoves a freshly wiped-off toy in his or her mouth (like mine is so prone to do!), you don't have to worry. Plus, I really like the company because it was founded by two dads who wanted to have safe cleaning products in the house for around their kids. As Bug continues to get more mobile, I am contemplating switching to all BabyGanics products for the things that I can't use vinegar for. Even though I have babyproofed as much as humanly possible, you never know what your child will get into!

Speaking of Bug I suspect he will be up in a few minutes, so I am going to get ready for his impending awakening.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

::chirp chirp::

I really haven't had time to blog lately, and I feel like such a slacker.

I think part of the problem is that Bug has decided that he doesn't need to sleep during the day AT ALL. We're still getting in somewhere between 11-13 hours at night, but the longest he's napped in the past few days has been just over half an hour. So really, the amount of time I've gotten to do things like bathe and brush my teeth has severely diminished, and I feel slightly crazed.

Also, I have been editing my friend Chad Thomas Johnston's book. Nothing hardcore, just fixing grammar mistakes, but it's been so exciting and such a privilege to read! I can't wait until he gets published.

So, I apologize for the hiatus. Exciting things are coming up, like my review of my cloth menstrual pads, an interview with a mom who makes her own pads, and my adventures with Arganica Farm Club. I promise I will write more soon!