Thursday, September 29, 2011

The end of breastfeeding and the beginning of growing up.

This little face was sassin' me by blowing raspberries instead of eating.

If you are visiting from my guest post over on the wonderful Fearless Formula Feeder's blog, welcome! I wrote that post back when George was about two and a half months old, and a lot of things have changed now that he is almost seven months old. He's ancient! I am pretty sure I saw a wrinkle on the kid this morning. Or maybe that was a fat roll.

Back in May I mentioned I had begun weaning George, but I did not go into detail. It was a difficult decision to make, especially after the emotional and time investments I put into making breastfeeding work. And what made it even more difficult was that around three months, breastfeeding finally turned beautiful. It was amazing, the stuff successful breastfeeders always tell you when they ask you to stick with nursing for another few weeks, months, whatever it takes to get to the land of rainbows and unicorns and cuddly nursing babies. I realize I was lucky to get there. Not everyone can, probably because it doesn't even exist for everyone, which is something I wish a lot of breastfeeding advocates were able to admit. I got there because I was able to make changes that allowed me to feel good. I made peace with my poor supply and stopped pumping after every feeding. Instead of breastfeeding at every feeding, I switched off between bottle and nursing, so when I did nurse, it was a full feeding. Combo feeding became easier, and consequently even more pleasant.

Apparently George agreed that breastfeeding was made of awesome. If nursing was the land of unicorns, then bottlefeeding grew to be the land of mean people who stick hot pokers in the baby's mouth. Over the weeks, he began to despise the bottle, and would cry, kick, fight, flail, and communicate in every way he could that he did not want that bottle.

Well. That is kind of a problem when you have half a milk supply that you were never able to successfully increase over the course of three months full of pumping and galactagogues, and your baby apparently has the perseverance of...well, you. Ask El Hub, I am stubborn. Guess George inherited that from me! Point - Momma.

So, I made the decision to give up breastfeeding to extinguish George's memories of it in order for him to take the bottle more easily. The last day we nursed was on my birthday. We started on his birthday and we ended on mine. There is a symmetry to it that I find bittersweet.

If George had been willing to take both bottle and breast, I have no doubt that we would still be combo feeding. I really liked the rainbow land full of unicorns we traveled so far to visit after I made peace with my milk supply and before George's disdain for the bottle became detrimental.

It has been over three months since we stopped nursing. I do still miss it. George does not, which has helped make bottlefeeding successful again. We are following the number one rule, "Feed the baby." He is growing. He is happy. So in spite of my sadness over the loss of our breastfeeding relationship, I am overwhelmingly happy. I realize that over the coming years, there will be many moments I both celebrate and mourn, because they will be the landmarks of his growing up. When he starts crawling, when he starts using the bathroom by himself, when he goes to school, when he starts making friends on his own, when he goes to college - for every milestone that commemorates our wonderful growing boy, it will serve as a reminder that he will need us less. As El Hub says, that is the point. But I like to celebrate the present, look forward to the future, an reminisce about the past all at once.

Hey, look at me, juggling all these corny emotionally-loaded balls in the air! If I drop one, I think I might burst into cliché hormonally-induced tears and get baby fever, so let's not drop one.

Long story short, we are continuing to do what is best for George and for our family. Life is good.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sitting up like a big boy.

So, George is kind of getting the hang of that whole sitting up thing.

Pleased as punch.


By "kind of getting the hang of" I do not mean: 1) he uses his arms to break his fall or intentionally lay down, 2) pulls himself into a sitting position. What does this mean? There is lots of whining, either when he wants to sit up or wants to lay down or falls down. But in between all those delightful little whining interludes, there is this, this blissful joy where he seems to know he is doing something kind of cool.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Six months.

Six months.

Dear George,

Six months. Half a year. I don't even want to know how many days, so I just won't do the math on that one. Tack on three days because that is how late I am with this post. You are growing faster than I can keep up. All I want to do is thoroughly enjoy you, but silly stuff like washing bottles and taking showers and spending time with other people so I feel human gets in the way. If you could slow down on the the growing thing, then maybe I would have time to do half as much as I would like to do.

Rolling machine is what we call you these days, ever since last week when you started rolling across the living room, down the hall, pretty much anywhere you could access. You first learned to roll back when you were three months old, but found it utterly boring until recently. This has made me realize you are becoming MOBILE, and my world is ENDING, because this house is so, so, so not baby-proofed. Oh man, the baby proofing that needs to happen before you start crawling.

You have not really gotten the hang of sitting up. Whether it is not interesting enough or that bending at the waist hurts your belly too much, I haven't quite figured out. Sorry. I will try to develop my psychic capabilities so we can avoid communications snafus like this in the future. But, whatever. As with rolling, you will do it when you please.

When strangers meet you, the first thing they remark on is how cute you are. This always makes you smile. Their second comment is how alert you are. I would have to start counting on my toes to number all of the absolute strangers who have said, "Wow, he's so alert!" Now if you can just keep paying attention when you are in high school, that would be great.

The people more familiar with you have somehow managed to become even more possessive of you. When my parents call me, they usually ask how you are before they ask about their own precious daughter. THAT is the power of your cuteness. When Mammaw walks in the house, she shouts, "Where is my perfect grandson?" And when your daddy comes home from work, he picks you up, hugs you close, and goes, "MY baby." You love it. Meanwhile I wonder if you will grow up to be as territorial as your father.

This is the month you started to really enjoy being read to. I love reading, and I loved it even more when I was a child, so the gift I would love to be able to give you most is an appreciation of reading. It made me a better, more interested, and more interesting person. (Plus it gave my parents extra quiet time, ain't gonna lie.) You stare at the pages and squeal in delight as I get to the exciting parts. ("Five, four, three, two, one, BLAST OFF!") Or laugh hysterically at whatever it is you find funny in that little noggin of yours. ("Wednesday, ZOOP!")

Solids were a big thing with you this month. Mammaw was over for lunch one day, and she pointed out that you were following our cups as we drank out of them. So I offered you some water, and you went ballistic. You have gotten good at holding cups on both sides with your hands, and you drink without spilling too much. The only downside is that we can't have our glasses within reaching distance of you now unless we're ready to help you with it. We also started you on your first non-cereal food: pears. We did the baby-led weaning thing, and you seem to enjoy gnawing away on the pear slices.

The six month checkup was on your birthday on Friday, and it went really well. The doctor agrees that your belly may disagree with you sitting up, so score one for Mommy intuition on that. Your weight is good, and at the highest percentile it's ever been in your life. And so is your HEIGHT! You are 28 1/8 inches long, and that puts you in the 95%, which just blows our minds. The only close relative you could have inherited that from is my father, so thank you Dad.

You and I tried to get into a groove this month, but then we entered a period where you started fighting naps. All the naps. Of which you only had two a day to begin with, and those naps are crucial to keeping you cute and alert. It has...not been fun. We and persevere and ask you not to tell your daddy how much I curse in front of you and tinker some more, and sometimes you take two naps, and sometimes you just take one. On the days you take two naps, I text your father in a frenzy of sheer joy. On the days you only take one nap, we pray to the all mighty baby deities that it will be at least a three hour nap. Otherwise, you are inconsolable in the evening, and it breaks our hearts. I figure it is one of the first in many ways you will break our hearts over the years to come. Great start, buddy!

Love you lots and lots (even when you refuse to nap),


Chilling on the pool steps.

He's also started drinking water from my cup. Why you growing up George?

Sitting up like a big boy in the grocery cart.

First time out in his big boy stroller.

George and Dad.

Me and Mister George.

Pears are yummy.

Tummy time.