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26 months

26 months (and some days) Thats how long I managed to give my child my milk.  For me, it is an amazing accomplishment. One that I worked my butt off to achieve and easily the hardest thing I have ever had to do, including childbirth.   But I did it.  Of course, like most of these things go – I could not do it alone, but the hard, long hours…the sleepless nights…the frustration and the physical pain and discomforts…the breast lumps, hot water bags, endless massages, horrible nursing bras, inflexible pumping schedule, cracked and sore nipples – those were all mine.

I could not go anywhere without my pump! Unless it was for less than 2 hours.  Pumping in malls, friends homes, at parties, on planes, in buses, at picnics.. did it all.  I remember going for the weekend at New years eve to celebrate and spending literally the whole time in the room pumping.  I missed the dancing, the dinner, the fireworks, the games, the laughing and bonding – all of it.  it was not the way i had hoped i would bring in my birthday or the new year.  but I did it anyway.  I surprised myself at my patience and tenacity.  And it paid off.

26 months and my child has never fallen sick (touch wood!) Of course it could be a variety of reasons for that but I’d like to believe I contributed a wee bit.

It is bitter sweet.  But it is done.  And there are many happy moments to look forward to.

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Nineteen Months

A year and a half. Where on earth did it go? I now have a toddler. he toddles! I finally know exactly what that word means!! 🙂 and its wonderful!

He can now say his name..though his first word was ‘Car’ and he doesn’t really say much else – he’s still our wondrous beautiful child who still takes my breath away.

There are so many many many moments in my day when I thank God for him. For the blessing that i can spend all this time with him. Watching and learning. How to embrace my day with joy and wonder. For the moments when he drops his favourite vacuum cleaner and comes to give me a hug. And stays. Holding me with his tiny lil arms around me only to break away with a wide smile…that makes my heart all mushy.

I love his lil quirks.

His obsession with vacuum cleaners. (we now own 5). His love for books. His ability to pick himself up evertime he falls over, without a whimper. His need to clean up. everything! His joy and genuine love for dogs (we really need to adopt one soon) His adorable dance steps. His belly laugh when you kiss him on his tummy. The way his hair curls at the nape of his neck. His sweet salty smell. His love for spicy food and bananas. His sweet hoarse voice.

Thank God for him. Our beautiful, wonderfully blessed child. *sigh*

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Scream

Z is just about 16 months. Far far away from the terrible two’s. But he doesn’t want to wait. he has started his slide into tantrums and drama’s. Sigh. He is still irresistibly adorable (little less when he’s throwing and flinging stuff around), still loves his ta ta tas (banana’s) and still completely kissable.

Very reluctantly I pulled out my toddler books today. No, I haven’t had time to read any of them yet but I’ve taken them out. I need them I think. Esp since last nights episode of flinging the phone. Three times. Twice, after being reprimanded. *sigh*

Its been just over a month since my last pump. I DO NOT miss it. But I still get milk. ha! And I feel a bit weird about storing away my beloved pump. Still.

Thought Id have more time after I stop pumping. And I do. But I don’t. I have more time but its spent climbing stairs (yes we moved into a larger house with one more level – just for fun to stress my knees out) and its spent tending to the garden (i love that but its hot and hard work) and most of it is spent chasing Z around.

The husband does not believe in childproofing the home. He believes I have twenty pairs of hands and double that number of eyes in my head. So he relies on me to watch Z. Which leaves me exhausted. Stairs, split level living rooms, gardens, kitchens, crockery stored in sideboards, fans, glass vases, high sofas..everything is a hazard and a nightmare. I only relax when Im in bed, and even then, not completely.

Not complaining. Just releasing the pent up stress.

Someday I will figure it all out and be able to unwind. Soon I hope.

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Weaning

Who thought it would be this hard? Who thought it would be this easy?

Ive been pumping since Z was born. Exclusively, since he turned about 3-4 months. It’s been so incredibly hard. But honestly, it was all I knew. I didn’t really know what it was like to wake up and simply latch baby on for a feed. Although he did latch on every now and then, it was rarely without a struggle and definitely not stress free for me (or him I guess) This was probably the main reason why I chose to EP. The stress. I know he didn’t have a tongue tie, nor did I have any issues with milk but it just seemed to be the path of least resistance for me then.

It started with the PISA< sitting on that chair in the corner of our bedroom, hooking up every 3 hours. I was never (unfortunately) one of those lucky women who could empty in like 15 minutes. I always took at least 40 if not much more. So there I sat with the ‘let go, let go, let go’ (at least in my head it sounded like my pup was saying that to me) sound playing in my head, sometimes with my iPad, mostly just massaging and hoping it wouldn’t spill. Every day. Every night.

Initially the husband helped so much! He ran up and down, washing, sterilising, brining me pump parts, changing diapers, feeding Z, rinse, repeat. But slowly he had to stop – other parts of his life and responsibilities had to come into play. And slowly I had to pick up the slack – start doing things on my own. I remember the first time I was shown how to put the pump parts together. I was in such a state! No sleep, my stitches hurt and I could barely stand and there I was trying to remember how to take that lil white membrane out without tearing it.

But I learnt, I had to. And then came the feeds. Z was always such a slow drinker. (Not any more thank God!) I would literally spend over an hour coaxing him to finish a bottle. In retrospect I wonder if I would’ve spent that much time had the milk been formula or if I had chosen to just re use the BM for the next feed. But then, all I wanted was to not throw away the hard work. So I persisted. And he drank. In his own time. It was hard. Very hard. Barely finished a feed when it was time for my 45 min pump. Barely finished that when I had to wash up and sterilise. Once that was done, he would wake up and need some interaction. Once he was fired, it was feeding time again – And the cycle repeated. For weeks.

But then it got better. I never realised it then but it did. He started solids, I dropped to four pumps. Life got a wee bit easier.

It’s 14 months now for Z. Almost. And I just dropped to two pumps yesterday. It feels strange. So strange. So much guilt. So much relief. So much happiness (to look forward to what I can do with the freedom Im giving myself) and so much doubt (am I doing the right thing by stopping? what if he wants more milk and I can’t make it anymore?)

But this day has been coming for a while. I had to drop a pump from 4 to 3 in India when I went for the hols. Time was just not on my side there. And when I came back I realised that I was barely getting enough from my middle pump. To make matters worse, I got a few cracks that refused to heal and got all sticky and sore. Leading to a bad reaction to coconut oil and a hospital visit for some antihistamines. I never really got my supply back after that.  I had to accept it, Im still coming to terms with it – my body is ready. Is he?

He takes a mix of almond milk and BM in his bottle easily. He has no problem with the frozen milk stash I have and he is a great eater (touch wood) so why am I still worried?

Mothers. Guilt. Doubt. Do these ever part ways?

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Angel of Mine

Why do babies grow so fast? When Z was born, I can barely remember the first week (except that we were battling his jaundice). The first month was a blur. Pumping continuously and dealing with a brand new baby combined with no sleep and a new house was too much. Then the days dragged. I was constantly tired, always exhausted and missing my pillow so darn much. I struggled (although at the time I barely registered anything except exhaustion) with balancing my pumping times with his feeds, washing up bottles, sterilising, washing up pump parts, feeding, pumping, washing up diapers – it was never ending. I had no much help. Mum was told (by me) not to do anything but play with Z if she felt like. And the husband helped but then he had to go back to work so the entire day was mine to work. It was hard. When we went to Norway at 4 months I was exhausted with the schedule. I just wanted a break (I still do actually)

But then we came back. He was older. At six months he started solids. That gave me a bit extra work to make his food from scratch but it also was fun. (To make things extra fun we cloth diaper, and when he started solids we did baby led weaning and only home cooked food.) He began to interact more, laugh a lot, develop his personality and I began to fall in love. Again. Reminding me; again, how it was all worth it. The next few months simply disappeared in a flash. And here I am at 13+ months smiling and reminiscing. Why do babies grow so fast?

I love you my fierce lil, beautiful gooey eyed, always smiling for Ammi, banana loving, hand waving dancer, sweet baby boy. Stay this way sunshine. you are perfect.

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Sweet Child of Mine

Gosh it’s been a while!

So much has happened (as it usually does in life) since my last post. I survived that very long absence from the husband (it was 17 days) and Z and I were just fine. December saw us taking a trip back home with Z for the first time. It was nothing like our previous trips but it wasn’t half as bad as it could’ve been.

We celebrated his first birthday with family and some friends – had a nice party and great food. Celebrated New years and my birthday at one of my favourite places ever and then shopped for all our goodies before we came home.

Can’t believe January is almost over. Where does the time fly?

Z is growing perfectly! yes, he giggles when his tummy is kissed. And he LOVES my food (yay!) Feeding him is no longer a chore. He guzzles his milk, gobbles his solids up and is overall a happy lil puppy. Thank God. He has yet to walk and speak intelligibly but I am in no hurry. He can take his time. His baby babbles are delightful and his wobbly stance is adorable so I will enjoy and soak those in as long as I can.

Life actually looks stable now. I am no longer tired all the time, I can actually plan a few things in my day, I do get a mental break every now and then and as sad as it makes me, my pumping journey will probably end in a few months. I’m down to three pumps a day. I know if I drop to two my supply will drastically drop too so Im holding on longer. Z has yet to drink milk from a cup (he drinks water) and until he does, I need to pump for him. I don’t want to give him almond milk in a bottle. If he can take it from a cup it would be great but he’s still resisting.

Lots to do over the next few months, some major milestones to meet – but its all good. Life is wonderful!

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I’ll Be Missing You

The husband has a job that has him travelling – sometimes a lot, sometimes not but travel he does. Before we had Z, if I wasn’t tagging along with him – I was most content to hang out at home and do my own thing – in my own space; till he got back. I would cry a bit when he left (yes, I’m sensitive that way) and feel tremendously miserable the first night but slowly that sadness would pass and I’d settle into my comfortable routine of sleeping diagonally on the bed, watching Grey’s Anatomy, making my favourite foods which he detests, window shopping and reading all day long!

Now, I’m flat out terrified every time he leaves. He’s just left -for what looks like it could turn into a ten day trip. When did I find out he’s leaving? 3 hours before he had to leave. I had three hours to stop the tears whilst I fed Z, three hours to get out of panic mode and make a list of the groceries I may nee immediately and three hours in which I had to continue with my routine schedule with Z so as not to disrupt his day while all along my heart was thumping and I just wanted to spend time with the husband before he left.

The first time I really had to sink or swim was when Z was four months old and he had a sudden unplanned trip. We were not home, we were in another country. It was hard. Z was not on solids and he was going through what seemed like a ‘wonder month’ where feeds took over an hr each time, pumps were 6 times a day and I had no access to any of the conveniences of home. I was scared and very very nervous. I cried so much that first night. Called my sister and bawled my eyes out. I still get the shivers when I think of that night. But I survived it. And many others like it since then. Each time it got easier. But the stress remains.

Now, I hope and pray that these next few days too may be smooth. That Z keeps good health and so do I. I got this. I can do it. I know I can. I will focus on the positive. Not on the negative. Not on what could be but on what I can do with what I have.

And I’m counting down the days when he’s back. Because I don’t just miss him. I miss me.