Posts Tagged ‘Breastfeeding’

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Help with starting solids

July 14, 2009

Penny has been (almost) exclusively breastfed for the last 6 months. I started dabbling with solids (ie. purées) about a month ago. And we’re still dabbling.

Breastfeeding is the easiest way to feed her! I don’t want to give that up – not the breastfeeding part, the easy part. Now I have to mix pablum, and heat puréed foods. It was so much simpler just to lay down with her on the bed and let her glug away for 20 minutes or so. Plus, it was time for us together. I can’t even read while she nurses – she knows and does nasty things like biting me.

I love breastfeeding her and I’m not going to give that up yet. But mostly, I just don’t know how to feed her solids. It’s one of those things that I don’t just instinctively know, and I haven’t been able to find much information on.

Mmmmm sweet potato!

Mmmmm sweet potato!

Yes, at 6 months you should start solids. You should start pablum (rice cereal). You move on to puréed foods like single vegetables (sweet potatoes come to mind). You should progress to lumpy foods next, and small cut up food after that (once they master the pincer). And all of this assumes you’re not going to foray into baby-led solids.

But I don’t know how to integrate solids into our routine. I would really love to find a guide that says for the first week, do this, then add this for the next week. I know everything is going to be guidelines, and you don’t have to follow what doesn’t work for you. But SOME direction would be nice.

Currently, I’m trying to make it part of our routine to feed Penny a breakfast of 1 tbsp of pablum mixed with about a third of a jar of sweet potato purée, plus a few spoonfuls of apples and raspberries for dessert. But on days when she slept through most of the night, she wakes up STARVING. I grab her and latch her on for a quick, easy breakfast. Then we all got sick and I went back to just breastfeeding for ease and hydration. I’m trying to get back to our breakfast routine, but every day is different. One day she gets breakfast and no other solids. One day she doesn’t get breakfast but eats solids 2 other times.

So, ignoring the fact that I am interested in baby-led solids and incorporate that to some degree, does anyone have any information to help me establish a solid food routine for a 6 month old?

Penny eating cucumber - theoretically good for teething with its coolness and anti-puffiness when used on eyes

Penny eating cucumber - theoretically good for teething with its coolness and anti-puffiness when used on eyes

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A Lighter Side of the Recession: Having a Baby in 2009

June 25, 2009

Welcome Babies of 2009 Carnival Readers! Once you’ve read my story, wander on down to some of the other links at the bottom of my post!

It doesn’t matter what news media you read or listen to – everyone, everywhere is telling you we’re in a recession.

re·ces·sion An extended decline in general business activity, typically two consecutive quarters of falling real gross national product.

People everywhere are losing their jobs, which is especially hard if you’ve just had a baby. My heart goes out to all the parents who have lost jobs recently, but especially those from our prenatal class. Some of them just keep pushing on and make ends meet. Others see it as a great time to get in on the reality tv show trend, like one couple who is a top 5 finalist for the My Rona Home show (CityTV this fall), where they build their own house in a head-to-head competition against another couple. The winners get to keep the house they built, plus all the furniture and accessories in it. The “losers” get to keep the furniture and accessories, and have the option to purchase they house they built. All in all, that’s not a bad deal, I’d say. From what I understand, the participants will be able to get friends to help them, as long as they are not tradespeople. The couple we know are well… not housebuilders by trade, so hopefully getting to watch them build their house is going to be amusing to say the least. Our fingers are crossed for them that they are one of the two couples who get to compete. They deserve the house!

For those who, thankfully, didn’t lose their jobs, times are tough. I’ve heard of normally-annual raises not happening, as well as salary increases being rescinded after the fact. When you’ve just started maternity leave and are bring in 55% of the bacon you used to be, the BLT is looking more like an LT. Then you find out that your amazingly hard-working husband is getting a raise, YAY! It lifts a bit of a load off your shoulders, you can afford the name brand diapers again. Wait… nope. Come February, hubby’s company decides that times are tough for them too and they’re going to take away the aforementioned raise. Oh well, we didn’t have it long enough to enjoy anyway. But speaking of name brands… Whether you have a baby or not (but more often when you have a baby), you do constant battles with name-brand versus generic when stretching your meager dollars out.

When to buy the name-brand:

  • Kraft cheese slices
  • French’s yellow mustard
  • Heinz ketchup
  • soft drinks
  • baby food (the generic contains almost 10x the sodium in the two I compared)
  • electronics (you have a new baby – you really think you can afford new electronics? ha!)
  • some people say Oreos – personally I like to store brand cookies, but Chips Ahoy, definitely name-brand!
  • Kraft peanut butter
  • Kraft Dinner (the generic is edible, but it ain’t no KD)

When to buy the generic brand:

  • Q-tips (or whatever the non-branded product is)
  • Superstore or Costco diapers (apparently work well, I haven’t personally tried them yet)
  • Fruity-O’s (generic Fruit Loops)
  • over-the-counter medications (they contain the same amounts of the same ingredients at half the price)
  • organics (according to AOL Money & Finance certified organic is certified organic regardless of the brand, so you will pay more than non-organic, but still less than branded organic)
  • pasta
  • Ichiban noodles (can’t think of the generic product name)

Obviously there will be other products in each category, depending on your preference and experience with them. Just keep in mind with food, check the labels. Quite often, generic brands have high sodium content which is a concern if you’re overweight like me and my husband. Then again, like Chad Skelton says in his recent article “Are Cheerios too high in salt to be healthy baby snack?“, some brand name products are high in salt too. Apparently Cheerios have as much salt as 30 potato chips!

Looking at the generic versus brand-name debate, I think I am going to embark on a weekly test of which is better. I will keep it focused on items bought at the grocery store (which is Safeway in my case – go AIRMILES!). Check back on Monday for my first review – peanut butter!

Money Talks … but all mine ever says is Goodbye!

When you have a baby, you quickly learn that you need to cut costs. But where do you cut, and where do you splurge? In a nod to my health, the environment and my wallet, I walked to the grocery store the other day. Packed up Penny in the mei tai, put the leash on the dog, and walked the 11 blocks. I only bought 2 small bags of items meant for dinner that night (thanks alot, Melodie! I was attempting her Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad and didn’t have any of the ingredients). While in the store, it started POURING outside. I mean, the heavens let loose and if I’d bought some shampoo, I could have gone out and had a shower in it! The kid was bored and fell asleep – dead weight on my chest, the dog was terrified of the storm, and I was stuck 11 blocks from home. I couldn’t cab it, a la dog. If I started walking, we’d all be soaked. I seriously thought about calling my husband to leave work early, take the bus and come help me get us all home. Then I realized that would just make 4 of us soaked. In the end, another wonderful mother going in offered us a ride home, which we declined. So she lent us a blanket to cover sweet, sleeping, sack-of-potatoes kid. 20 minutes or so later, the storm passed on, we gave back the blanket, and slowly trudged home. Lesson learned: little bit of gas saved, maybe 0.2 ounces of weight lost, and 1 less footstep in our carbon footprint, but next time I’m driving to the store!

My one last attempt at saving money because of having a baby, is a library card. Invest in it! Stop supporting the big-box stores and buying $35 hardcovers that you read once, languish on your bookshelf (or stacked on your floor or dresser or even your couch), then get donated or recycled. Go spend the $13 or whatever it was on a library card. But, and this it a HUGE but, while you are still standing at the library counter, having checked out 6 books on parenting, 4 baby lullaby CDs, a recipe book for the husband, and one fiction novel that mostly likely won’t get read – take out your phone and program your return date in the calendar! If you let those 8 books and 4 CDs sit on your kitchen counter with the intent to return them the next time you head that way, you’ll find yourself with $21.85 worth of overdue fees when you finally make it there.

The biggest money saver at any time, no matter when you have your baby, is to breastfeed. It’s FREE! You can invest in some nursing clothes, but you don’t NEED them. You can invest in a breastpump or rent one (from OneTinySuitcase.ca), but you don’t NEED it. You don’t need bottles. You don’t need to worry about sterilization. You don’t need to carry everything with you when you go out. There’s just you. You and 2 built-in bags of pre-sterilized, customized-for-your-baby milky goodness!

There really are ways to save money when you have a new baby during a recession. The most useful one though, is to not be me.


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Drifting

June 18, 2009

The last few weeks have been… odd for me. I feel down and a bit depressed.

I’m not getting any work done around the house (not like I did much before, but now I’m not even doing the laundry and that was MY Thursday thing).

I want the elliptical moved out the garage because it was $60 and it doesn’t have an even stride on it. I love ellipticals. I thought great, I can get on there when Penny’s playing, and lose some of my baby weight (still 20 lbs to go). NOT! I want to clean out Penny’s room – she doesn’t use the swing, and now that she’s a rolling machine she doesn’t need the bouncer. There’s excess crap in there that needs to be either moved downstairs or gotten rid of to make it a little girl’s room.

I want the crap cleaned off the kitchen table. I mean, it’s not like we use it, but it has seriously become a catch-all for everything that doesn’t have its own place. Toaster, wine glasses, 3 dish towels, vase of flowers my wonderful husband brought me because he thought I was down, tupperware containers, a bowl set that I want to get rid of, a basket full of bottles and pump parts. Not to mention the box underneath the table with food for the food bank and a bag of old washcloths that I’m getting rid of.

The bathroom needs to be cleaned. Our room needs to be vacuumed. The runner is still sitting on the front step from when I swept. The front garden bed has grass growing into our bedroom window (not literally but it’s about 3 feet tall), the dog can’t find a place to do her thing in the backyard because THAT grass is so tall. I had been making an effort to go through our stuff downstairs and get rid of garbage and junk and repack (neatly) the stuff that we still need to keep. Then I go downstairs yesterday and it looks like someone dropped a bomb in the basement. The lawnmower and weed-whacker are down there (because our landlord has yet to get the previous tenant’s shit out of the garage). My computer is in pieces down there. There’s boxes of crap, there’s rubbermaid buckets of crap. Oh crap, there’s my all-season tires which should be on my car. It’s June and 30 degrees and I have winter tires on still. Then again, it took me until December 10th to get the winter’s put on.

I just look at everything that needs to be done around here and I feel like shutting down. I can’t do it all myself, and I’m not even expected to. Court’s a big help. He’s been doing laundry the last couple of weeks (even though our definitions of “doing laundry” differ). Court cleans the kitchen… it’s his domain, and if I even dare wash one sink of dishes or put clean ones away, he goes into a tailspin thinking he’s not good enough for me and doesn’t do enough around the house for me. He remembered to take the diapers out before the garbagemen came this morning – for which I’m thankful. He does extra work for people on the weekends to make some extra money (which I am oh so good at spending). He’s a great husband! He cooks, he cleans, he treats me like a queen. If he’s getting up, do I need anything. If he’s sitting down with me, do I need anything. Can he get me a drink, do I want my feet rubbed, do I want to change the channel? He’s supportive of everything I do, and everything I could want to do. He’s supportive of me. He loves me and is very vocal (sometimes a little too vocal) about it. And he likes to show me he loves me too. He’s perfect for me, we’re perfect for each other.

So when he asked me last night why it feels like everything he does is wrong, and things don’t feel right between us, I adamantly said no, nothing’s wrong. But something IS wrong. I’m reminded of the movie Juno. “I feel like something has come between us,” she says, with a very pregnant belly in between them as they try to hug. Something has come between us, and her name is Penny. We both love her very much. We both devote our time and energy to her. It hasn’t left much for us, individually or as a couple.

I know we’re not the first parents to be affected by having a baby. By the way, have you noticed that I really hate when people tritely say “You’re not the first woman/parent/mom/couple/person to be go through __________”? I don’t care how many people have gone through it before me. They are not me. They don’t have my life experiences to know how to respond to any given situation the way I need to respond to it.

Anyway, back to drifting apart. I can go to all the parenting websites and read about making sure we have a date night just for us. The articles I read though just seem so impersonal and fact based, and don’t take into account what’s actually happening in different people’s lives. For example, I am exclusively breastfeeding. I have been unable to pump any significant amounts of milk (hence my email to Stacey at OneTinySuitcase.ca to come get the pump I rented). Penny refuses to eat formula (SMART GIRL!), and refuses to drink from a bottle. She doesn’t eat enough solids yet to base a meal solely on that. And she still eats every 2 hours during the day (day being when I get up to when I go to sleep). So tell me, how are we supposed to go out for dinner without her? How are we supposed to go to a movie without her? Penny goes everywhere with me. At this point, I am her supplier of all things food related, and I don’t see that changing overnight.

Maybe that’s what’s bothering me. We’ve been experimenting with solids – some pureed, some solid food like cantaloupe and cucumber. The solids don’t make a full meal for her yet. But maybe I’m depressed by the realization that soon they will be, and I’m mourning the nursing sessions that solid food will replace. I also have no idea how to transition to solids. Sometimes she’ll eat something, then nurse after. Sometimes she’ll eat a full meal of solids, but then that will leave me engorged. Or this is what happens in my mind – we haven’t actually tried yet.

Has anyone gone through this stage (and by that I mean lots of moms have gone through it, but are you willing to talk to me about it) of drifting apart from their significant other? And feeling useless and like you could be doing better as a mom but just don’t know how? What did you do that helped?

I go to playdates (which is bizarre for me because I’m normally an anti-social person). I had post-partum depression (I think I did, the docs did nothing and it did go away, so maybe baby blues). I’ve asked for help and been blown off so I think it’s pointless. I have no faith in our health region – they’ve failed me 3 times now since Penny was born. I had retained products of conception (fancy term for piece of placenta still inside me), that took 5 months to get out. I was depressed and they kept sending me to the emergency room for it, and nothing got done. And my milk supply had decreased and the public health nurses that I saw said “We’ll save you the trip to the breastfeeding clinic. Just feed her whenever’s she’s hungry.” Gee thanks. I never thought of doing that. She had only gained a pound in a month and a half prior to that. I went to the breastfeeding clinic (against the public health nurses’ advice), started domperidone, and Penny has since gained 2 pounds in 3 weeks. So to me, the Calgary Health Region (now Alberta Health Region I believe) equals FAIL in my mind. Why are they making it so hard to ask for help, only to be blown off when you do?

I am now rambling. I think I need to get up and do something. So I will put on a load of laundry before my little princess wakes up hungry. And then I think us girls, Hershey included, will go for a mei tai walk. I need the snuggles.

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Nursing in a room full of people you know

June 14, 2009

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month we are writing about Nursing in Public. Please read more of the posts, found at the bottom of this post. More links will be added until Monday

When I decided to breastfeed, I didn’t realize it would be so hard. I didn’t realize it would hurt. I didn’t realize that nursing my daughter in public would require an advanced degree in acrobatics to keep from showing a little skin. I didn’t realize that our civilization is shall we say… less than civilized?

Long before Adam ever thought about groping Eve, breasts were created to pass sustenance on to our offspring, thereby keeping them alive and perpetuating our species.

With this in mind, I have been trying from the day of my daughter’s birth to comfortably nurse her in public. To me, public means anywhere other than the privacy of my own home. And even that sanctuary is breeched at times by people I don’t feel right nursing in front of.

I have progressed, admirably in my mind, but I still have a long way to go. I can nurse Penny in a purely public place (say that 3 times fast), where I know no one, and could care less what they think. Recently, I’ve been able to add nursing her without a cover. Any cover I do use is mostly to cover my bare tummy (or I wear my maternity pants with the armpit-high elastics to cover it). Some women stay home for fear of nursing in public. I don’t give in to the justifiable fear but instead, I try to time it so that I feed her and then leave the house. But if I get stuck out, it’s fine. I admit, I’ve sat on the back seat of the car to feed her, but to save my back and arms, it works in a pinch.

Filling Penny's belly before the start of the MS Walk

Filling Penny's belly before the start of the MS Walk

What is still a problem for me, and apparently my friends and family, is nursing Penny in front of them. Oddly enough, I feel completely comfortable with my in-laws. I’m also fine in front of the females in my family, and obviously with my very supportive husband. But the rest of the males? Ha! They are so unbelievably (ok, very believably) uncomfortable with me nursing Penny in front of them. The few times I’ve tried with men in the room, they quickly make excuses to be elsewhere as soon as it becomes evident that I am going to breastfeed. Or pointedly look anywhere that’s not in my direction – including peripheral vision. I’ve even had them stand in another room and carry on a conversation with people in the same room as me. I hate having to leave the room to nurse Penny. I feel like we’re being shut out and excluded from the festivities, just because my little girl has an empty belly. Thankfully, no one’s even suggested bottle-feeding, but still…

The newest problem I am facing, and one that some of you pros can maybe help with, is an easily distractable baby. Penny has taken to feeding for 10 seconds or so, then looking around for 30 seconds. It has resulted in some nursing sessions being cut short because I don’t particularly like flashing my nipple around that much. I know the first step is to feed her in a darkened area with no distractions. But when we’re out in public, that’s not an option. What do you suggest doing to help limit the wandering eyeball syndrome?

Other Carnival of Breastfeeding posts:

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Co-sleeping works

June 13, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Learning to co-sleep. I had accidentally fallen asleep while feeding Penny, in a bed that is NOT baby friendly. I felt absolutely horrible because when I woke up, Penny was trying to get the blankets off of her. I could have killed her. I don’t say this for shock-factor. It could have happened. And it does happen. My grandma knew a woman who’s baby died that way. I personally haven’t heard of it, and pray that I never will.

When I got up that morning, I went straight over to PhDinParenting.com to read up on Co-Sleeping Safety. We don’t co-sleep, but if I am going to fall asleep with Penny in bed, our bed needs to be a safe place for that to happen. We haven’t followed all of the principles outlined, but what I have started doing is completely pushing the blankets down while I feed her. I have always fed her in between Court and I – never on the outside edge of the bed. Court doesn’t roll over unless I push him around. Apparently I just snuggle up to Penny. It was mostly the big heavy blanket I was worried about.

Needless to say, I have fallen asleep twice since then with Penny in bed. And when it’s come time for her next feeding (no more than 2 or 3 hours right now), and I find her still in bed with me from last time, I am so grateful to have read about co-sleeping safely. I have made our bed safer (at least when it matters), and I don’t wake up in a cold sweat realizing Penny is still with me. Thanks Annie at PhDinParenting.com!

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Learning to co-sleep

June 2, 2009

Co-sleeping is not my thing. There’s nothing wrong with it, I don’t criticize anyone else for doing it, but it’s not my thing. Penny sleeps in a bassinet right beside me and that’s close enough for me. I’m not looking forward to moving her to her crib, but have slowly started transitioning her there.

But last night I made a mistake. An almost deadly mistake. I almost became a statistic. According to the Pediatric Death Review Committee and Death Under Five Committee 2009 Report, 8.8 deaths out of 100,000 are caused by parents co-sleeping with their babies/infants.

It’s brutal to say, and I feel even more horrible about it, but Penny could have become one of those 8.8 last night. I went to bed at midnight. I woke up around 2 to feed her. I’ve taken to side-lying to feed her to give her freedom in how she feeds. I woke up at some point between 2 and 4 because I thought Penny was hungry. I automatically tried to latch her on. She wasn’t hungry. That was when I realized that she was still in bed from the last feeding. My heart stopped. Our bed IS NOT co-sleeping friendly. We have a huge king-sized comforter on our queen-sized bed. We have a top sheet. We have our fluffy pillows. We also have a fan going all the time, and last night it was cold in our room. Sometime after I feel back asleep while feeding her, I must have pulled the blanket up because I was cold. When Penny was “fussing” and I tried to feed her, she was actually trying to get the blanket off of her or even off of her face (I don’t know which). I am devastated by this. I didn’t intend to co-sleep and the fact that I ended up falling asleep with her in bed could have killed her.

This teaches me a valuable lesson, and thankfully not the hard way. Tonight, our bed becomes co-sleeping friendly JUST IN CASE.

Go to PhDinParenting.com >> Co-sleeping Safety to learn how to reduce the risks of co-sleeping.

I am not posting this to argue whether co-sleeping is the right thing to do, or if it is safe or unsafe. I am not looking for sympathy about falling asleep with Penny in bed. I am going to apply these safety principles to our bed, in case this happens again. And I hope other non-co-sleeping moms will read this and take what I’ve said to heart. Just because you don’t co-sleep doesn’t mean it can’t happen!

This perfectly illustrates PHDinParenting’s point that the government needs to teach parents how to make a co-sleeping friendly bed, rather than telling parents not to co-sleep. I thank her for all her information on co-sleeping. We will be putting that information to use TONIGHT!

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Week End

May 29, 2009

Week end, being the end of the week. Oh my, you have no idea how this week went. I am so glad the “work week” is over. Although Court is still on call 24/7 until 6 am Monday morning.

Monday was our visit to the breastfeeding clinic, where we determined that Penny has essentially been starving for about a month now. Nope, I don’t feel guilty for that… not one little bit. HA! I know it’s not my “fault”, but the fact is she wasn’t getting enough to eat. If we had continued at that pace I’m pretty sure she would have been “diagnosed” as failure to thrive. Instead, I’m taking domperidone (Motilium), and Penny has gained 11 oz in the 3 days I had been taking it (now 4 days, but I haven’t weighed her).

I’ve been working on an anniversary “do” for my grandparents. It is their 50th anniversary this year, and no matter how unassuming and humble they are, I’m not letting an achievement like that go unmentioned. Alot of their family is in Quebec, and without meaning to be offensive, old. They won’t be traveling to Calgary for the festivities. So it seems there will really only be close family and a couple of close friends. We decided to take them for a really nice dinner, and get them limo transportation to and from. In the meantime, I snatched old photo albums from their house to look through for ideas. I happened to grab their wedding album, as well as commemorating the births of my uncles and my mom. I went to Blacks Photography to have some of the photos scanned, retouched and reproduced. The bridesmaids’ dresses really weren’t that horrible, so I’m going to attempt to find something similar to wear to the dinner, and we have an absolutely stunning florist who I’d like to recreate my Nana’s wedding bouquet.

It was bizarre looking through all the photos! I’ve never looked at old pictures of them and never knew what they looked like before the image that I know now. I saw photos of my mom as a child, as a teenager! Again, I’ve never seen them before. Actually, my mom passed away 19 years ago (last Friday was the anniversary of her death). I was 9 at the time, and really the image of her in my mind is the photo that all of us have that was current when she died. It’s amazing how much she looked like me, or I guess I should say I look like her.

In the midst of all my running around dropping off photos, picking up photos, shopping (because we finally got money back from Manulife for Penny’s first glasses, and for Court’s, which the dog ate in January), Penny inevitably got hungry. I try to time it well so that I’m not really out in public to feed her. But it doesn’t always work. Turns out that she got hungry on my way to pick up Court from work the other day. I’m not exactly a fan of making her wait while I pick him up and fight through rush hour traffic out of downtown Calgary. In fact, I won’t do it. It was hot, the car doesn’t have air conditioning. So I told Court I was going to sit in the shade beside his building to feed her before we head home. Needless to say I didn’t have anything even resembling a blanket to try to cover up a bit with. So I sat on the bench on 8th Ave, at 5:10 pm with all the busy worker bees streaming by on their way home and fed my little gal! Most of the women that noticed turned up the corner of their mouths into a bit of a smile. The guys that noticed immediately looked away again. Regardless of their reactions, I finally nursed in public! I was so proud of myself!

And on top of my busy week, my bestest friend ever (since grade 1!) had her second baby girl on Wednesday, May 27th, which was actually her due date. So we welcome little Kacie Michaela! Looking forward to pictures and visiting her soon, and with 5 months difference between her and Penny, they should becoming great playmates.

So as the “work week” comes to a close, we are enjoying an evening of video games with friends. That’s before I put Court to work tomorrow! Muahahahaha!

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