Monday, August 23, 2010

Feeding that kid

Speaking of changes in personality and stuff breastfeeding has been an interesting experience. I’m not going to go into too much detail but I want to shed some light on the subject of perceptions vs. reality of breastfeeding.

First from what I hear, my breastfeeding experience has been pretty easy. I haven’t had any infections or milk production problems. Overall we have had a good breastfeeding experience so far. It was hard to get used to, and was pretty exhausting at first, both emotionally and physically, but we have fallen into a good rhythm and Lu is just not as needy as when she was first born.

I grew up learning that breastfeeding, total breastfeeding was the only way to go. So it didn’t take much convincing to breastfeed. However, it is one of those things that nothing can really prepare you for, and is just one aspect of the all encompassingness of those early baby days.

There are many variations/intensities of breastfeeding. Some women partially breastfeed, supplementing with formula. Some women breastfeed exclusively for a while, then add in solids. Some mamas pump to stash some milk, or who want to breastfeed despite working (pumping really sucks by the way). along the way I came upon something called ecological breastfeeding which is a more extreme form of exclusive breastfeeding. Ecological breastfeeding does not allow any supplements, bottles or passifiers for the first six months. After six months there are still no bottles, or pacifiers but most start introducing solids.

Now I am all for breastfeeding, I think it is a great way to feed your baby and I have enjoyed it. but like our sleeping habits we’ve taken something of a combination path when it comes to breastfeeding. We knew that we would be taking a trip for our honeymoon when Lu was four months old. So when she was three weeks old I started pumping once a day and Andy started giving Lu a few bottles a week. At first, I felt weird about giving her a bottle even with breastmilk in it, but then Andy took me on a date for my 23rd birthday when she was six weeks old, and it was the best date of my life. After that I was a complete convert. If she wasn’t ever using a bottle there would be no dates until she was on mostly solid food, and who wants to go months and months without a date?

Before Lu was born I assumed that giving her bottles was somehow a bad choice. Breastfeeding is great and I am so grateful that it has worked out so well for us, since I know it doesn’t for some people, but if the baby never learns how to use a bottle then the mom cannot be away from baby for long until the baby is weaned. If I had done this it would make me really want to wean. I love spending time with Lu, but any parent needs a break sometimes especially from the demands of a baby. I highly recommend teaching baby how to use a bottle even if you never plan on using it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Personality and moming

Since we discovered Lu was coming into our lives I've had several people tell me not to "lose myself" once she was born. I've thought a lot about what that means and why people assume you are in danger of losing yourself once you have kids. Also I don't believe anyone ever said this to Andy (Andy, correct me if I'm wrong!) so apparently this losing of yourself only applies to women? I’m guessing that’s because usually (or at least traditionally) women have been the primary child care people. But still, originally Andy was going to stay home with Luthien, and I still don’t think anyone warned him not to lose himself.

Anyway, let me get back to the point. What is this losing yourself thing people talk about? I mean, I think I get it, I’ve seen people who have lost themselves in their kids--who talk only about their kids, and who only do kid activities. Although I’ve also seen people lose themselves in work, school, a relationship, sports, and many other things. Maybe it is more pronounced with kids because kids are so all encompassing, so all or nothing. And you can’t quit kids like you can quit football (at least no in good conscience). And after having a baby for a few months now I can certainly understand that feeling when all you’ve done all day is keep the kid at bay and you feel like a mindless zombie. But most days I still feel like myself. I still have hopes and dreams, I still laugh, I still am scheming a career up. I still joke with my husband, knit, write, make dorky attempts at humor. I realize that it is important for parents, especially new moms, to guard against, and some days I will lose myself. But I still have personality and I’m gonna work hard to keep it, because dang it I like being who I am, and I even like the changes motherhood has brought to my personality.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Grass is Greenest Here

Today is my husband's birthday. Yesterday he told me that he doesn't feel like the grass is greener on the other side of life anymore, that the grass is the greenest right where we are. I’ve never felt like that before, and it is awesome to know that we are in the right place in life. We have our frustrations, Andy’s commute sucks, and I want to find a job, but we are so happy and content with each other. This is the best time in my life, and it is thanks to Andy, my all star husband. So this is to Andy, he is the hardest working, most loving man I know, and I am so incredibly blessed to call him my husband. Happy 24th Birthday my love!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

TV, The Fish Tank, and Netflix

Lu and I with the tank in the background.

When Andy and I moved into our house we decided we wanted to cut down on our TV watching. We had both been noticing that most of our evenings ended up with us watching a few TV shows, and although I think it was a good way to chill out particularly when Lu was small and we were always exhausted, we both felt like we wanted to watch less. We want Lu to grow up playing in the dirt, climbing trees, making up stories, and doing as many creative things as she likes and TV does not encourage this. We also wanted to try and spend more time on our own hobbies, play games together, talk, read, and do lots of other non-TV stuff. Consequently, we started our salt water fish tank and put it right in the middle of the living room where most people put a TV. Andy gave up his 47 inch TV for the tank, and we put the one we have in the basement with some comfy couches. The tank has been awesome and we spend a lot of time learning about sea dwellers and working on the tank. Luthien loves it too.

We got the basic cable package and sometimes we watch the news. We also started using netflix and it has been awesome! We love seeing movies that we've been wanting to see but haven't had a chance too. I think our family spends more and better time together thanks to a lesser focus on the TV. Andy has been teaching me cribbage, we are both learning about fish, we are reading more. A good change.

Cloth diapering day I lost count: Our little clothy butt

We are officially cloth diaperers, although we certainly aren't as hard core as some. We now own 25 lovely, colorful pocket diapers and we are finally starting to use them at night (scary!). Andy is also totally on board and used them while I was in Minnesota this weekend.

I feel a great deal of satisfaction by using cloth, (and Luthien's diaper rash issues seem to be a bit better too) I feel like I am being thrifty and resourceful. We use disposables when we are out sometimes, and I'm sure we will use them traveling. We've had some leak issues (apparently Luthien qualifies as a "heavy wetter") but we've been doubling up on liners and it's been much better.

Not bad for two people determined never to use cloth!
My family is so cute.