Wednesday, August 29

Just Because You Breastfeed

Just because you breastfeed is doesn't mean...

  • you need to join the ranks of so called "lactavists"
    • Instead find a positive form of lactation activism and offer support to other mom's looking to breastfeed.  Or if you prefer opt to do nothing, it's your choice.
  • you need to stop wearing a bra and opt instead for long flowing multi-colored shirts
    • There are great nursing bras, tanks and shirts out there.  Follow your own style, breastfeeding isn't just for the "hippie" minded.
  • you need to breastfeed in public
    • Look around you'll be surprised by how many private places you can find in public to nurse.  And if you want to nurse in public, go for it; with or without a cover.
  • you need to stop eating meat, chocolate, dairy, garlic or what have you.
    • Some babies do have dairy intolerance, but those are the exception not the rule.  Talk to a professional before altering your diet if you suspect an intolerance.  And all those old wives tales you hear about not eating garlic, chocolate, etc are exactly that old wives tales.  In fact the more rounded your diet is, the more rounded your nursing's pallet will be.
  • you can't ever go out without your children
    • You can pump and leave milk for a caregiver.  No pump, plan your outings around baby's nursing schedule (this gets much easier to do once you pass the 6 month mark and introduce solids).
  • you need to be have an affair with a breast-pump
    • Sure if you are going to go back to work and plan on exclusively breastfeed you will need a pump, but pumping doesn't need to be your life.  You decide on what works for you and your family.
  • you need to start cloth diapering your baby that is wearing a teething necklace while babywearing
    • Deciding to nurse is one single parenting choice, it is not a way of life (as some media and organizations portray it).
  • you need to publicize your decision to breastfeed
    • If you want to great, obviously it's something I love talking about and I think the more we talk about it the more normalized it becomes and in the end we'll talk about it less; but it's your choice.  If you feel more comfortable not talking about it that's fine.
  • you need to breastfeed until they live for kindergarten
    • The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding  with appropriate complementary foods up to two years or beyond.  Again this decision is totally up to you, any amount of breastmilk is better than none and I encourage everyone to strive to meet the WHO goals; but again it's a personal decision. 
I guess what I am trying to say, is don't be let society and the media views on "what a breastfeeding mother is suppose to look like" influence your decision to breastfeed.  Breastfeeding is something you make your own, and you will find a way to make it work with your lifestyle (assuming you're not doing drugs or are HIV positive or have a condition that physically prevents breastfeeding (which is rare)) and your lifestyle may change along the way; but then again whose life hasn't changed by simply becoming a parent?  Yeah, that's it... becoming a parent is simple.  Ha!!!

There is no "Gerber baby" for make it your own.  

Just like your breastmilk is made unique for your baby, your breastfeeding lifestyle will be unique to you.  

Do you have a breastfeeding lifestyle myth to bust?  Share it with us.

Tuesday, August 28

Really Cool

Since I have been "on call" for Federal Jury Duty all summer long, we really weren't able to plan a vacation as we didn't know what my jury duty status was going to be week to week.  So when I got the message last week that my term of service had come to and end a week early we jumped at the chance to take a long weekend before RR went back to school.

As part of our long weekend on Monday we went to the Connecticut Science Center.  I had heard good reviews from a co-worker (who enjoyed it so much he got his family a season pass) and the "Dinosaur's Unearthed" exhibit was scheduled to depart on Sept 2nd.

We arrived and got excellent parking just before they opened.  It was $52 for the four of us for the day ($19 per adult, $14 for RR and TT was free) and it was so worth it.  We were there for a little over 5 hours, and started the exhibits (after visiting the Kid Space, right at the entrance) from top to bottom, pausing about mid way through for a light lunch (which was mediocre and over priced for what it was, but really we didn't go for the cuisine; in the future we'll probably bring our own).  The kids had a blast, we had a blast; and in my book any place that amuses, entertains and engages both boys (with their 7 year age gap) is a double thumbs up.

All suited up and ready to play in the water.

Oh yeah, TT heaven.  Water and balls.

RR, you can tell he's thinking - his tongue is sticking out.  

"I got this covered Mommy"

"Where are all the balls going?"

"Ohhhh... brother get me more."

Yup, it was wet.

It's a dirty trick, you can't get the balls out of the ramp (except at the bottom).

Building a rocket ship.

All built.

In the hurricane simulator.    The guys loved it.

Me... not so much.  Too claustrophobic   

It's a FROG!!

Trying to build a dam.


Checking our family's biological footprint.

Hanging out on the roof top garden.


Playing mind-bend.  

Caught you!!!

Skiing is not going to be his sport.

Wheels!!  These are almost as exciting as balls.

Building with Legos.

Building a race car.  

Someone is getting sleepy.


They moved and made noises.  

Looking for bones.

Archaeologist - Ray's new profession of choice.  

Square wheel racers.

A new twist on basketball.

DJs RR and TT.

Play it RR!!

Dancing baby.

Light wall.

More dancing.

Collecting his brother - time to go.

"But I just want to play!!"

Monday, August 27

The Truth of the Matter

In studying to become a breastfeeding consultant I am learning not only about the wonders of breasts and breastmilk but more about women's health in general, and specifically the birthing process.  TT's birth was fast, very fast.  And as I have learned it is called a precipitous birth and affects 2% of women.  A precipitous birth is defined as a labor lasting 3 hours or less from the first contraction to delivery.  (My labor with Teddy was a little under two hours - one hour at home, 45 minutes driving to the hospital and 10 or so minutes there.)

Now, as a regular reader you know I have blogged about TT's birth before; in retrospect this is the sugar coated version of how it all went down.  Yeah, like a mafia hit... his birth went down.

The first contraction was sharp, strong, sharp and very knowing. A foreshadow.

I had gotten into the shower at the onset of labor; as a test to see if it was "real labor".    In hindsight, we should have called the OB's office sooner.  And when my OB suggested not coming in right away since my labor had "just started" I should have told her more directly that it was time to get a move on.  Perhaps then she might have made it before TT was born.

Precipitous labor hurts.  Let me restate that it H-U-R-T-S.

Yes, I know all labor hurts.  This is why there are drugs designed just to help women get through it.  But imagine cramming all of the pain one might experience in the average 15.6 hour labor into 2 hours.  I've been reading stories shared by others in regards to their own precipitous labors - I think I got the middle of the road... I've read about women not feeling anything till the last 15 minutes to women who were in some much pain they bit themselves and drew blood.

As we were getting into the car I honestly had doubts about making it to the hospital.  I remember wanting Husband to take one last pregnancy picture before we went out the door, RR was already in the car waiting for us; and thinking "holy bleep bleep bleep bleep I am never going to make it".

At this point my contractions where about a minute long with a minute between them.  This is not an exaggeration.  As Husband drove to the interstate I couldn't get my mind off the pain.  Breathing was not helping; and then as he slowed to pass through the toll plaza the contractions let up.  Ahhh, sweet relief I thought I can do this, and then BAM.  The lull in contractions for a few minutes was the transition between active and transitional labor.  We were in it for real now.

I remember RR telling me to breath, I remember me telling RR to breath as he was so not calm.  And how could he be; Husband was driving as fast as he could and I was moaning, groaning, and screaming through contractions which were ONE. ON. TOP. OF. EACH. OTHER.  There was no break in the pain, it was like the tide coming in - waves of pain rolling over me.  I couldn't sit, I half laid in the seat pushing my rear end out of the seat as my feet dug into the floor in an effort to comfort myself.  So much for staying loose - as we learned in childbirth class - pain is easier to deal with if you are relaxed and loose.  HA!!  At one point I had wanted to tell Husband to pull the car over just so I could get out and walk, as being confined to the car seemed like the worst possible scenario.  But I didn't want to traumatize RR any further, not to mention it was dark and cold; oh so cold are winter nights in New England.  Thank goodness it wasn't snowing or icing out.

When we got to the hospital my mom and step-dad were outside waiting for us.  Husband threw my mom the keys to park the car and RR was ushered inside by my step-dad.  Poor RR he thought I was going to die.  Let's me be honest, I thought I was going to die I was in so much pain; totally bewildered by how women were able to give natural child birth for two millennial.

Ha.  I can laugh now; if precipitous birth was the norm and not the expcetion we would have died out as a species a long time ago.    Husband did his best to help me in and I couldn't decide if I wanted to walk (ugh, it hurt too much to move) or sit in the wheelchair (that felt like I was going to snap the baby's head off) - so I opted for a limping run - if memory serves me correctly.  Everything began to get very blurry at this time.

I remember a nurse taking my arm as Husband checked us in; she was ushering me in triage and I had to stop and hold the wall the pain was so immense.  She asked me how long I had been in labor, and I swear she laughed at me when I told her a little over an hour; like I was some sort of drama-queen not up for giving birth.  I think she doubted just how far along my labor was.  I told her I was going to need drugs, and she said they'd have a look and decide from there.

I was sent into the bathroom to get changed into a johnny.  The room was swimming and my contractions would not stop, or lessen; they continued to come right on top of each other.  I sat down on the toilet and my water broke - how had I forgotten about this step in all of my worry about the baby coming in the car?  I looked down and noticed my water was brown, and I though - "Oh crap, the baby pooped already.  I hope we're not in trouble."

The next contraction brought me to my knees and I called out for help.  The nurses yelled back I had to get myself dressed and out of the bathroom.  jerks.

I half walked half crawled and cried all the way onto the bed, so happy to see Husband waiting for me.  One of the nurses prompted me with a "let's see how far along we are".... this statement was followed by her yelling "get the mid-wife I see a head."

I cried, I told them I couldn't do it.  Husband told me I could.  The nurse and mid-wife told me I had to.  I was so drained and exhausted from the pain.  And then I remembered, pushing brings relief, and once you're done pushing it's all over.  The pain will stop.  And so I pushed.  Three pushes later and the mid-wife proclaimed "you have a baby."

"Great" I said "What is it?" - we hadn't found out the baby's sex during pregnancy.  "It's a boy" proclaimed my OB, who had just arrived in the scene as she was pulling on her gloves.

"Later" that evening - and I say later with quotations as really not that much time had passed and it was still before midnight, Husband and I lay in my hospital room with the baby nestled between us we spoke in awe of the events that had just unfolded.  We spoke about how we went from a family of three to nearly instantly a family of 4, although it had been months in the making.


When we had gotten home from the hospital and I walked into our bathroom and saw my bright red fuzzy bathrobe laying on the floor where I had left it mid-labor and started crying.  I had chalked it up to early on-set baby blues at the time; but now I know it was more than that.  It is still more than that; TT's labor was a traumatic event.  It almost sounds overated as I type that, say that out loud for the first time.  TT's labor scared me.  It scared me to my core.  But I am learning now to accept it.  To cope with it.  To make it my own and to learn from it, to be better prepared should we be blessed with another pregnancy in the future.

Ha!!!  I have to laugh at this.  I had sworn up and down that since RR was early, then TT would HAVE to be early, and he was born just hours before his due date.  Which means, Murphy's Law being what it is and all that jazz, I'll probably end up with a c-section after 48 hours of labor in the future; just because I'll be educated and aware of precipitous birth.

But my chances of having another precipitous birth are "most likely" since I've already had one.  Other "causes" are doing cocaine... yeah, good thing I'm not a user.

Oh well, I guess only time will tell - about the birth that is... not the cocaine.

Friday, August 24

7 Years Ago

He's always had a sense of style, hasn't he?

This is RR chilling in his "pool" back when he was 18 months old.

Bald, wasn't he?

Thursday, August 23

Project Food Budget (Week ???)

I have totally lost track as to what week this project is in 46 or 47 maybe???

This week I spent around $50 spread over two small shopping trips.  I am so ready for school to start again, even if that means I need to spend an extra $15 a week on school lunches and snack milk; it'll be worth it to get back into my routine of weekly shopping.  I have no idea how my parents managed to be so dedicated to grocery shopping once a week on the same day of the week all year long as I was growing up.  Maybe it's because they had way more kids than I have.

So here it is Thursday and I can't recall what we had for dinner this week, and I had a plan (but not written down).  Last night was suppose to be an easy evening of sandwiches and fruit, following a medical appointment Husband had.  That ended up not playing out because some jerk stole our stroller - whole other blog post on that to follow.  Tonight is BBQ pork-loaf, and tomorrow we're going to Red Robin *YUM!*.

Wednesday, August 22

Bed Boy

I'm sure you've seen it, mom and dad walking along pushing baby in the stroller.  Baby is snoozing happily, and mom and dad are free to talk, shop and even get a cup of coffee; almost as if baby wasn't here.

You've heard the stories from other parents and you've probably even told the story yourself "baby wouldn't sleep unless they were in the car."

Or you're a family bed type of family, and baby will happily nestle down curled in your arm and sleep away.

Even perhaps you've had the baby who wouldn't sleep unless they were being held.

And we've all heard the funny stories about the baby that feel asleep in their dinner, or on the couch, or curled up next to the dog on the floor.

But did you know there is another type of baby, er toddler, out there.  The "I will sleep in my bed and only in my bed" baby.  Meet TT, he is that baby, er toddler.  Yes, I suppose at 18 months of age he is officially a toddler.  

TT will not sleep in the stroller.  Husband and I have gone to great lengths, walking over an hour, in hopes he would fall asleep.

Sleeping in the car is a rare occurrence for him.  We can leave a place simply because he is overtired and proceed to drive an hour, and he will not fall asleep.  Up until he was about 9 months old he hated riding in the car.  Riding in the car used to a traumatizing experience, for all of us.  He still really doesn't sleep in the car, but at least he doesn't cry the whole time still.

Bringing him into bed with us is an invitation to have a party.  I miss the days I could nurse him and he would drift back off to sleep.  Take this morning for instance, he woke at 5:15 hungry, so I brought him into our bed where he nursed a little and played a lot.  So I took him back into his room, nursed him in the rocking chair and put him back in his crib; where he promptly fell asleep.  Little bugger.

Back in the day (because you know he's getting so old), Husband used to put him in the carrier and TT would sleep soundly during Mass.  That is so not happening anymore.  Taking TT to Mass is like wrestling a greased pig.

He is so not the kid that will fall asleep anywhere.  He likes, insists rather, in sleeping in his bed, thank you very much.  Which is good in a sense, but the rigidity of this habit does wear a little thin.  But hey, at least he's sleeping.  Right?

Monday, August 20

Body Ink

When I was 18 I went with some friends and got a tattoo.  As we headed out of state, tattoo shops were illegal where we lived at the time, I kept trying to decide where I was going to get my tattoo.  It wasn't a matter of if I was getting one but where could I get one where my parents wouldn't find out.

My friend Melissa opted to put her tattoo on her wrist, reasoning she would always been wearing her watch so her parent's would never notice.  I think she made it a week before they found out.

Clearly, our parent's didn't want any of us getting body art.

I opted for my lower left stomach, just north of my hip and west of my belly button.

I was able to keep it a secret for a good 10 years.

Until my mom get her first tattoo.  I was so happy to finally share this with her, I dropped my pants in front of her and showed her mine.

Nowadays I don't think much about it, it's part of me.  My kids know about it and find tattoos very common place.  RR loves them, but would never get a real one (the fake ones are just fine according to him) - he doesn't like needles and what if he changes his mind.  Smart kid.

Today I was at a new doctor and she noticed my body art and says to me "So what is it?"

At first I had no idea what she was talking about, as honestly I forget I have tattoo most times.

"Oh, it's 3 suns setting inside each other", I reply.

"Um... yeah I see it." she says after a little.  "I once had a patient with a really beautiful dolphin across her lower stomach.  By the time her pregnancy was over it was a whale."

I chuckle, "Yeah, the 18 year old me didn't really think this through and didn't take into account what pregnancy might do to a tattoo in this area."

My doctor agrees.

"You know, there should be more female tattoo artists to warn women ahead of time about what might happen to a tattoo in this area."

Yup, I think we're on to something here.

Saturday, August 18

Silent(ish) Saturday

Last night I went to turn off RR's light and saw he laid out his clothes for today.

Notice the necklace, hat and gun.  This kid knows how to accessorize.

This morning he wanted to do a photo shoot.

Wednesday, August 15

18 Months

TT is 18 months old today.  He celebrated by giving himself a yogurt facial.

Yes, we had McD's yogurt for dinner; because you know when you need to grab a quick side to go with your tuna sandwiches and it's thundering and lightening going to the drive through with both boys is better than running into the grocery store and praying you don't get rained on.

And yes, TT had two of them.  Daddy left him have his, because this mom forgot that TT doesn't like tuna.  Yup, he doesn't like tuna; bringing the list of things he won't eat to a whopping THREE - tuna, string beans and those puff things.

At 18 months he is wearing a size 2T and a 7 wide shoe; when he wears disposable diapers he's into a size 5.  In a few weeks we'll find out how big he is at his check-up.

TT loves playing with his Duplo blocks, and Big Brother's little Legos when he can get his hands on them.  He totally adores his big brother.

In Big Brother's playroom playing Legos.  This is a super treat for TT.  
When I call for RR to come down for dinner, TT will come over and help me.  He loves screaming up the stairs "Ayyyy-Ayyy", then he stomps his foot and shrieks in delight.

Lately he's been saying a new word a day.  He doesn't often say that word more than once, but he sure is saying them.  Keem-keys (cream cheese) and boom-booms (boobies, for nursing -  why, yes we've made it 18 months nursing) are two of my favorites.

Ah.... to be 18 months... life is so carefree.... especially when all you want to do is eat, sleep and play, not necessarily in that order.

Just born TT.

6 month old TT.

1 year old TT.

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