George Have Blog

Its hard to be a baby

Friday Favs: Nursing

Disclaimer: Nursing is a personal decision that everyone has to make it for themselves. I don’t believe in nursing elitism. Every mom feeds her baby in the best way she knows how. Below are simply my thoughts, my goals and my story from the past year.

Tomorrow, I will meet a goal that seemed unattainable the first week of George’s life: He breastfed for the entire first year. Not only that, he had no other milk source but me. Not a drop of formula. To be honest, I never thought I would make it to this day.  And looking back over the last year–getting to this point is one of my proudest accomplishments–because it was hard for a long time. And something George and I did together. It’s our favorite thing.

I took videos of myself nursing over the past year and went back and watched them before writing this post. It simply amazing how nursing changes. I treasure these videos. They help me tell our story, and here it is (be warned-its long):

The first week nursing barley happened at all. George was born and put right on my chest. We did lots of skin to skin. But no latching. I had read that the first hour was crucial–that passed and then some. He just slept burrowed on my chest. All the nurses told me it was fine, he was just sleepy from a very fast labor. I begged for a lactation consultant, but none came. George didn’t eat at all.

We took him home, he turned yellow. We took him to the emergency room for jaundice because he wasn’t getting any colostrum. My milk came in while we were there.  Everyone tried to help him latch, but he wanted nothing to do with the ‘nipple burger.’ Finally, I pumped and he took bottles. I cried. A lot. Clay and I sat up all night trying to get George to latch. We hired a lactation consultant to come to the house. I felt a deep sense of rejection. I was quite literally bursting with milk and my baby wanted nothing to do with me.

Then, Clay saved us. He sat with me, he rubbed my back and sang softly to calm us down. He took George when he was screaming and I was beyond frustrated.  Without Clay I would have stopped. I never felt more connected to him. I have never loved anyone so much or felt so loved as in those tough days. And while it was awful, we were solidified as a family during that time.

And, he was smart enough to go get a nipple shield. Which I used for about 2 days…then stopped because we were off and running! George started nursing like a champ. And he wanted to make up for lost time. Oh boy, did he.

The first two months of nursing I had to give myself a pep talk every day. Just make it to 3 months, just make it to 6 months. It seemed that all I did was nurse. I would watch the clock and dread the next feeding. I would get so thirsty and a rush of negative emotions. My mom called it forlorn (she felt that way when nursing, too). It’s the perfect word for it. It wasn’t specific, but with every let down I felt awful.

At George’s two month check up, a major changed happened. He had his shots and was screaming. I offered him the breast…and he stopped crying. He nursed for comfort and made the happiest, most relieved sounds. We locked eyes and I all I could think was, “That’s right, I’m your mama!!”

A lot changed during that time. My oversupply calmed down, George got more efficient, our routine got easier. The dry mouth and emotional roller coaster got better. I stopped dreading nursing, but still felt completely controlled by the time schedule. It was hard to plan anything that might take longer than two hours. But, I started to LOVE our special time together. He would look up at me and smile and there was nothing better. No other place I would rather be.

At about 4 months, I went back to work. I had been pumping and freezing since George was two weeks old, so I had a huge stash of milk in the freezer. Pumping and storing relaxed me. I had an excel sheet of my stash to keep track of it. And luckily, my work schedule meant that I only missed one feeding per day with George, where Clay gave him a bottle. I worked from home for half the day, so Clay would just bring him to me to nurse. He was nursing about 8 times a day at this point.

The pumping room at work was really nice. I even shared the room with other nursing moms and made some good friends. I hated pumping at work, though. It just takes forever to get all set up, break down, then clean up. At first I pumped 10-12 ounces in 10 minutes, but by the time I stopped pumping at work (around 9 months or so) I was pumping 4-6 oz in 15 minutes. I was happy to be done with it. At 9 months, I started using up the stash and George eventually dropped the feeding I missed all together. Now, I have about 50 ounces left in the freezer. Should probably use that soon!

At around 6 months, we introduced solids, but George didn’t really start eating food substantially until around 9 months. And nursing changed around that time, as well. He got MUCH more active while nursing. He likes to do acrobatics, sit, stand and do all kinds of movements while he nurses. He jokes with me and laughs hysterically while feeding. He loves when I bite his fingers and tickle him.  This has only increased over the last few months. Its hilarious. However, at night, he still loves to nurse to calm down and he plays with my hair while he gets sleepy. It’s a highlight of my day.

I also started to feel less beholden to nursing at around the 9 month mark. Like I actually had a life outside of feeding George. It was hugely liberating. Its gotten better each month. Now, each nursing is just fun. He is eating so much food, a lot of the pressure is off me. I used to dread them weighing him at the doctor because it felt like a direct reflection on my body. Not to mention its just SO.MUCH.EASIER. George can basically do it himself. There are no weird pillows or positions–we can do it anywhere, anytime. Its old hat.

So here we are at one year.

Its amazing. I’m sad that he is dropping feedings and becoming less dependant on me. But it also feels so good to see him grow and change.

I strongly believe that very little can be done to prepare for nursing. We just don’t see it in our culture (we should!)–and its a hands on activity! I could only learn by doing, not reading about it. It took awhile, but around 4 or 5 months I stopped using the cover and nursed George in public. Mainly I used the cover at the beginning because I didn’t want people to see how much I was struggling. Don’t really care about the boob. Haha. Now, I nurse anywhere.

Going forward, I plan to continue nursing as long as its working for the two of us. I imagine that will be another year or so, but who knows. I’m just going with the natural flow of things.

On December 1, I will not only celebrate the labor of George’s birth, but also the labor of nursing him for one year. Its THE hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.

And its feels damn good to be here.

Go me!!! 🙂

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A Day in the Life of George at 1 Year

Since the blog is technically George’s baby book (among other things) so before I print the book for year 1, I wanted to include a post about what George’s day to day life is like right now. And include some pictures of him doing his newest most adorable trick–hugging his stuffed animals.

George is on a good schedule that is working really well. Things will change soon as our child care arrangement will be different in the new year. So all the more reason to document his routine these days.

George wakes up around 6:30am and comes to our bed where he nurses. Sometimes he is already in our bed, if he wakes up around 4/5am (he does this about 3 or 4 nights a week).

Clay usually leaves around 7am. Then I change George’s diaper and we hang out while I clean up upstairs. We go downstairs and play, too. I do my morning chore list. George helps me unload the dishwasher (he hands me the dishes, especially the silverware). I pack my lunch and get ready to go to work.

At 7:55am Jessica, George’s nanny, arrives. I leave shortly thereafter. Jessica feeds him breakfast (oatmeal, fruit and cheerios), changes his diaper and then puts him down for a nap. He sleeps in his swing with his lovey and a blanket. We turn on the white noise machine and close the light blocking curtains. He usually wakes up around 10:30 or 11am. She changes his diaper and dresses him for the day. We are still using cloth diapers during the day.

If its nice, George and Jessica play outside, go for a walk or to the park until lunch time at 12:30pm. He has veggies, a protein, some oatmeal and maybe some yogurt. He also loves to have shredded cheese at lunch! Jessica is working with him now on using a spoon and feeding himself, but we have a long way to go in this area!

After lunch, Jessica plays with George until I come home around 1:45pm. I usually find them up in the nursery reading or playing with toys. I love walking in and seeing his face light up! He usually laughs and starts telling me all about his day. He crawls over to me and Jessica and I talk about how his day has been. Jessica heads out and I nurse George.

He then naps again starting around 2pm. I work down stairs and watch him on the monitor.

He wakes up around 4 or 4:30pm. We cuddle and talk. I change his diaper and bring him downstairs.

We play in the living room and I get dinner started. He loves to walk all around with his push toy, crawl through his tunnel or play with his little basket ball hoop. I usually give him a snack as soon as he gets up, along with a sippy cup of water. He is doing great with the sippy cup.

Around 5:30pm he nurses again. Then, daddy comes home!

George freaks out when he sees Clay. He loves, loves, loves his daddy!! They usually get right down on the floor and play.

We have dinner together around 6:30pm. I love this part of the day, when all of us are together. We talk and catch up. George eats a little of what we are eating for veggies and protein, some more oatmeal and cheerios. Don’t forget the shredded cheese! We also try to give him prunes at every meal to keep him regular. If its a Friday, we have dinner with the Carlyles and the Bergs. George plays with his buddies…we love this tradition!

Every other night George gets a bath. Clay does this, and sometimes even gets in the bath with him. I do my evening chore list while Clay get George ready for bed. He gets into his PJs and wears a disposable diaper (they hold up better overnight). I come up stairs and we hang out in the nursery and watch George play, if we have time. This family time is wonderful–George rolling the ball back and forth between us, George laughing HUGE belly laughs while Clay chases him around the room. I can’t get enough. Then, one of us reads George a story or two.

Around 7:45pm I nurse George and then put him down for bed around 8pm. He usually goes right to sleep and stays asleep until somewhere between 4am and 6:30am.

Then, Clay and I get some time to cuddle on the couch and watch TV. Or lately, play the Wii U. MARIO! 🙂

Loving life.

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Camping at Jellystone Park

Over thanksgiving weekend we went camping with the Carlyle’s at Jellystone Park in Maryland.

We got the deal awhile ago and got cabins since we knew it would be chilly! Its the way to camp in the winter! We still got to have the fun camp fires and outside time, but we had a heated place to retreat to–and more importantly–sleep in!

Some early morning play time.

We went on a really fun walk.

It was pretty chilly!

And there was this huge bouncy thing. George just hung out on the side…he was too little.

But the adults had to get some jumpy time!

A wonderful long weekend with wonderful friends!!

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First Cold

Last week I heard George snoring in the morning and I figured he was getting a cold–and I was right. It started Wednesday with a stuffy nose and very low grade fever and was pretty much over by Sunday. He still has a little lingering cough and running nose, but is doing great!

We used the heck out of the nose frieda— that thing is a life saver. It was especially crucial before nursing. Although, it was traumatic for Clay, even though I was the one doing it! And George actually  got used to it by the end. We went through a pack of boogie wipes, too. But overall, pretty easy to manage!

I feel really lucky that he almost made it to one year old before his first cold–and that it was a very mild one at that! It barley even disrupted his sleep.

The funniest thing is that he has been giving us lots of ‘kisses’ lately, which right now means licking our face with a snotty nose.

So sweet.

And I won’t post a pic of a snotty nose (because ew), so lets go cute and pensive instead.

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Thanksgiving!

This was George’s LAST FIRST holiday. From here on out, its been there–done that!!

George had an amazing Thanksgiving filled with family and food! We took it easy and just went up to visit the PA family for the day.

He got tons of family time in, too.

Great Gram and Pap Rigel

 

Great Pap Wise

And of course, lots of play time!

Overall, we went to SIX houses with George on thanksgiving. The Rigels, another Rigels (uncle Doug’s), the Kennedy’s, the Wises, Nan and great-great grandma Rosie’s. Wow! George was a total trooper and never even fussed. He just loved everyone! Although it was a long day, but we are more than grateful to have so much family and love for our little man.

 

 

 

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Bed head

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Friday Favs: Dinner with Mom and Dad

George loves going out to dinner and pretending to order off his own special menu.

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Buddy Babies

Last night, George had his buddy Maddox over for dinner.

They had a great time. What can I say…they speak the same language (seriously, they make identical hilarious sounds).

George and Maddox are 1 month apart (George is older). Maddox is also little like George. 🙂

We had roast chicken and veggies. Then we enjoyed watching the boys play.

And Maddox might just give George a run for his money in the handsome department…just wait till they get to Hyattsville Elementary! They are gonna rule the school.

 

 

 

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Fall evening

The weather this weekend was so incredible. On Sunday evening we spent one playing in the backyard. The weather was perfect and we loved being outside with our boy.

It’s amazing to think that soon we will need to get a play set back there!!

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Metro Time

George and I headed down into the city to visit Hannah and Lisa’s new apartment (gorgeous). George had a great time on the metro.

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