— sojourning, us

Tag "breastfeeding"

For the past few months, we’ve somehow managed to endure all four of Elisha’s first-year molars moving into their proper places in his mouth. It wasn’t always easy. Compared to the rest of his teeth, the molars were full of more crankies, more snot, and more restless sleep than ever before.

Well, that is until his incisors started growing in.


I will admit I’ve been happy there hasn’t been much in the runny nose department, but the restless sleep and crankies come and go and come and go on a day-to-day basis. Couple this with the force of a 16-month old blooming head-first into his toddlerhood and the adventure just gets more and more whine-filled.

I can’t wait for teething to be over. It’s a series of milestones I look forward to putting behind us all. Less long nights spent nursing (yes, we’re still breastfeeding … no, I don’t have a set-in-stone date for when we’ll wean) and more time exploring new foods will be something to enjoy together. Well, we may actually be able to start the weaning process if he’s ready.

Although, I really hate that phrase, especially now that we’ve come to love elimination communication and all it’s benefits. Potty “readiness” is very different, I think, from weaning “readiness.” During the worst of his teething, Elisha will sometimes refuse to eat anything (except for a bit of fruit here and there and maybe, maybe, maybe some yogurt). I just couldn’t dream of letting him go without eating, so during the worst of his teething days, he would always without fail nurse. Yes, toddler nursing antics (upside down nursing, nursing and dancing, etc.) can sometimes be a challenge to my patience, but it has been more than worth the delay in weaning to keep him full of something nutritious and so incredibly valuable to his development.

There are definitely days I am very ready to wean. There are other days that I know it will be bittersweet.

Given Elisha’s strong personality, however, I know that he will help me set the pace. He already has started putting himself to sleep at night (after nursing) instead of nursing to sleep. Sometimes, laying him in his own bed and sitting in the office chair across the room from him (singing) is the only way he’ll go to sleep. Some nights, when he wakes, I can rock him back to sleep after he goes to the potty. Other nights, he needs to nurse again. On the teething nights, he often nurses all night, but those are getting fewer and farther between.

It’s getting better. It’s been an awesome ride so far. I’m interested in seeing what the end of teething brings into our lives. It should be exciting.

His potty readiness has also been pretty amazing. Since we’ve been practicing EC over the past 10 months, it’s been crazy to see just how much babies are capable of. While he’s not that communicative while teething, he still has so very few misses these days. I’m not confident enough to go out for long errands in training undies, but we did go to church with them last Sunday without issue. He goes all day with maybe a miss or two, and he’s often dry all night long. It’s certainly lessened the burden when it comes to diaper laundry, but I have never considered washing cloth diapers to be much of a burden to begin with. Ha!

Anyway, time just keeps flying by. I still can’t believe I have a walking, talking, drawing, imagining, playing toddler.

Elisha loves to draw

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in process

in process

it was a blur of a weekend here at the house. i mostly spent it screen printing for a wedding invitation job for a friend’s sister who’s getting married in july. now that those are all done (150 invites and 150 rsvp cards, all with 2 colors screened by hand on my Gocco. whoo), i feel as though i need a weekend from my weekend.

my weekend my weekend

my weekend

my weekend my weekend

i did finally manage to spend some time relaxing yesterday, while all of my work was drying in the kitchen. please excuse the plumber’s crack on the boy … it’s somehow difficult to keep his training unders up. also, he loves the Bananagrams bag. sometimes, he thinks it’s food and will point at it and/or carry it around smacking his lips loudly (his own made up “sign” for food). other times, he’ll hold it to his head like a phone. bananaphone! i love it.

oh, an the fork. one of his forks went with him everywhere this weekend, and i mean everywhere.

little E will be 14 months old soon, and we’re just not in a hurry to wean from breastfeeding around here. one, he’s not a fan of cow’s milk, and two, i believe there are still definitely health benefits for the boy. lastly, he’s pretty much been teething like a maniac since his first birthday and when there’s nothing else he wants to eat as his first year molars claw their way through his gums, far be it from me to deny him the comfort and nutrition of breastmilk. don’t get me wrong, on good days, the boy can throw down food with toddler abandon, but on days that he is obviously in discomfort, chewing is not on his list of favorite things to do. yes, it can be frustrating for me to put up with the acrobatics of a nursing toddler, not to mention the occasional bite from an overtired, cranky boy, but, i know that the rewards are still there for both of us. he’s comforted and fed. i have a baby asleep in 15 minutes or less. no complaints there.

he no longer requests to nurse in public unless he’s tired. our nursing is now mostly centered around nap and bedtimes. before you explode with how terrible that must be for my child—how will he ever learn to sleep on his own? oh the horror!—i’ll just say this … i highly doubt my child(ren) will be unable to sleep on their own at 3, 4, or 18 years old. there will come a day that Eli sleeps on his own, and there will even come a day that he sleeps through the night (he still wakes up once to eat at night … sometimes twice).

there are definitely times that i want my body to myself. i get impatient and frustrated when there’s whining or biting or upsidedown antics. so, i’m no supermom in that respect.

to be honest, when Elisha was born i didn’t even know if we’d make it breastfeeding to begin with. it took 8 days for my milk to come in (instead of the standard 24-72 hours that all those nurses and baby books swore to me), and if it wasn’t for the assurance and help of an aspiring lactation consultant friend, i would’ve given in and supplemented with formula instead of enduring and waiting. instead, i was comforted knowing colostrum was all that my newborn needed, even though it never felt like enough. in retrospect, little E was just a hungry baby. he still is. he ate often, and i’m thankful that i was able to feed him on demand. after my milk came in and we all got to know each other better, E settled into a schedule all his own. we didn’t have to impose one, and my milk supply even endured my returning to work and pumping twice a day while at the office. i was blessed to be able to go home and feed him for lunch, and now that i’ve quit my day job to work for myself all these months later, i’ll admit i was happy to put the pump away.

i understand that not everyone will have or has had the great experiences i have with breastfeeding, but i do feel like so many new moms aren’t even given the choice to even try it. some are afraid of the whole thing, and others are simply pressured to supplement with formula when it’s not necessary or even to stop breastfeeding early. since breastmilk is a supply and demand sort of function (funny how that works out so well), i often wonder if my milk would have come in at all if i hadn’t endured the long wait.

i’ll admit that parenting has taught me a lot about patience from all sorts of angles. some of them, i wish i could’ve learned differently, but others have been worth it entirely. breastfeeding has been one part of this journey i have no regrets about. little E will wean eventually, and we’ll move on to new parenting adventures and hopefully more children.

i look forward to it all over again.

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Baby Eli, just born.

one month old

two months!

three months

Elisha is 4 months old!

5 months

six months!

yep, i can do this nom nom nom

baby e with papa 8 months

9 months!

yup, i'm 10 months old. Woah. Where did 11 months go?

Elisha's First Birthday!

Elisha's First Birthday!

Elisha's First Birthday!

I’m still finding it hard to believe that a year has gone by already. I can still remember labor. And delivery. I can still remember the first few weeks. I remember so much of this year, but I also can admit it’s been a bit blurry. Fast. Fleeting. Beautiful.

Elisha is walking. Talking. Laughing. Playing. Eating. Growing. Exploring. Cuddling. Loving. He’s been an absolute joy.

We love cloth diapering. Twelve solid months of cloth diapers and I really, really believe more people should give them a try. No epic blowouts. No serious leaks. No stinkies. No diaper rash. Just a bit of extra laundry here and there. Cloth diapers are easy, not scary … though I will admit Elisha goes more in the potty than he does in his diapers these days. Elimination communication has been amazing, interesting, and fun. It’s not about potty training early, either. It’s about meeting needs. I still love our fluff, even if more of our fluff has turned into training pants than new diapers. We’ve settled on our favorites (cloth diaperers call this “stash nirvana”), and those include Green Mountain Diaper’s Clotheez prefolds and prefitteds, GroVia All-in-One diapers (with snaps), and Sustainablebabyish snapless multi-sized bamboo fitteds.

Elisha wears Hannah Andersson organic cotton training pants around the house, though on days we have too many misses (like when he’s teething or hitting milestones like walking), he wears a diaper instead. We have pretty much made the transition to going coverless, but he’ll sometimes hang out in wool so no one gets too wet if he’s too busy playing to let us know he needs to pee.

We still love breastfeeding. I always figured we’d wean by now, but I’ve since changed my mind. He doesn’t really like cow’s milk, and I know his little growing brain needs all the healthy fat it can get to grow into a processing machine of awesomeness. When he signs milk or points and asks for “naa-naah” (his own made up word for milk), we’re communicating now. It’s pretty amazing. No, he doesn’t sleep through the night yet. No, I’m not always a fan of his acrobatics while nursing. But, I don’t believe a baby has to sleep through the night at this age to be “normal” and we both still manage to get plenty of rest.

He really is a joy. A light. A blessing from the Lord in so many ways neither of us can entirely put into words. An enhancement to our lives that I don’t think either of us really could have imagined. Waking up to baby smiles is the best feeling ever.

We’ve watched him grow and change from a tiny little newborn to a walking, talking almost toddler for these past 365 days, only to have him grow us and change us on the inside in ways I never imagined.

Happy birthday, Elisha Paul. Mama and Papa love you.

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8-25 wordless wednesday

almost seven months into motherhood, and i can admit that not all of it is easy. we chose to forgo some of the more convenient choices (such as disposable diapers and formula), though i will say here at the top of this rather obvious post that i understand some moms cannot for various reasons breastfeed even if they wanted to. that’s a bummer, and i totally wouldn’t judge you for that.

i will, however, not feel guilty for making faces at you if you think breastfeeding is gross. or weird. or uncivilized. or perverted. or otherwise odd.

it’s what our bodies, as women, were made to do. not only are we created to carry a baby to term in our bodies, but we’ve been equipped to provide for them both through nurturing and nutrition in a way that nothing man-made can ever completely replace. there’s no substitute for a mama’s milk or a mama’s touch. that’s that.

The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 per cent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.

when we first started our breastfeeding journey just a few moments after Elisha was born, i really thought i would have to give up. but, i didn’t. and i’m still not. breastfeeding continues to give benefits long after the first six months, though i do think there’s a point of diminishing return and a need to wean eventually (sometime between the first and third year, i suppose).

for us, we had a rough start. it took eight days post-partum for my milk to come in, and i had a very (still have, actually) hungry baby.

i will admit that i don’t ever really want to align myself with some of attachment parenting’s basic beliefs. i do not believe that birth is traumatic and that we have to recreate a womb-like experience to help a baby adjust to the outside world. that doesn’t make sense to me—if babies weren’t meant to be born, we’d spore or something. birth is supposed to happen, and i’m sure that God has something set in motion inside every baby to prepare them for the life-changing event of joining everyone else in the outside world as an infant. yes, recreating some aspects of the womb help sooth babies—white noise, swaddling, etc.—but, babies are meant to be born! i’m sure i could write more on this, but i’m already wordy enough as it is. as parents, we’re called to do as much as we can to make our children’s entrance into the world as gentle and pleasant as possible, of course, but life can be hard for anyone sometimes.

back to breastfeeding. back to the long eight days of pumping after every meal Elisha ate, of feeding him as often as he seemed hungry, of trying to keep a little newborn awake to get a full feeding. it was hard. there was a lot of crying. a lot of discomfort. then, once my milk came in, there was bliss. something of an understanding developed in our little family. we learned out to communicate with each other, learned to read the needs of our little man. life returned to a routine. a comfortable, loose routine.

we still do not live on a feeding schedule—at least, not a strict one like some doctors (!) and other authors recommend. no, i feed him on demand when i’m at home, though i do work outside the home (for now). i’ve read that strict scheduling as well as methods like the ezzo’s preparation for parenting method can lead to big problems, especially in newborns. everything from dehydration to jaundice. even if i wanted to schedule, in the beginning, Elisha was just too hungry. sometimes, he couldn’t even go an hour between feedings. he just ate and ate and ate. (he still loves food—from purees to everything on our plates if he can get a hold of it.)

ugh, it wasn’t always fun. i couldn’t always pee when i wanted to. one morning, at 3am, i took him to the bathroom with me so that we all had peace and quiet and my bladder didn’t resent me for life … was it worth it? yes, and it still is. i cherish every moment we spend together. when we choose to have another baby, i will never get the kind of quiet, personal moments with Eli’s siblings that i have with him.

just like our choice to cloth diaper, breastfeeding isn’t always convenient. i’m not shy about nursing in public, though i do chose to use a cover. i don’t want to be anyone’s stumbling block while i provide food for my son. in our Westernized culture of convenience, it may be easier to do things a certain way—those things may even be recommended or more popular—but that doesn’t always make them the best way. i’m not a fan of parenting relativism, but i’m aware that some things don’t go as planned. if it hadn’t been for supportive people and a few great web sites like this one, i probably would’ve given up on breastfeeding in that first week. it was a struggle, but one i wanted to give my all to overcome.

i’ll be a little sad in a few more months when little E begins to wean, but at the same time, i look forward to him sleeping longer through the night (that’s a whole other blog post, too). babies are only babies for such a precious, short time. i have stored up the treasures of this season in my heart already, and i look forward to continuing to do so.

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