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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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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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Nine

My boy, my son – has been outside in this world for exactly the same time as he has been inside my womb. *sigh*. HOW do they grow so damn fast? OK, if I want to get specific then maybe the days are a bit off because he wasn’t born at exactly 36 weeks. (yes, 40 weeks does not constitute 9 months – go figure!) So he’s still got a wee bit of catching up to do outside! But you know what I mean. Nine months! Geez! it’s a scary thought. My husband and I are still the same. Maybe a bit heavier and definitely more patient (esp running on less than a full nights sleep for months now) but we’re the same. Z on the other hand is not. He now stands (with some assistance), he is vocal, he laughs, he crawl, he eats food on his own and he smiles the most heartbreakingly beautiful smile. Ever. He is no longer the tiny lil puppy we got home who was swaddled and burped every two hours, no longer the lil baby who slept long and could be held in one hand. No longer the tiny baby who would entertain himself by running in place, on his back while he started at the dreamcatcher on the window. He now pulls himself up every single surface he sees. He wants to explore and taste, talk and communicate, share and touch. He wants to go out, and try new foods, observe people and feel textures, listen to songs and move with the beat – he’s becoming quite the little person and I love him more every day.

But today’s post is not just about him. It’s about being a spouse whilst being a parent. You see, we’ve been married for a while before we had Z. It wasn’t a conscious decision to delay babies but it just was how it happened. So life before the baby was exactly like it is for thousands of other regular couples out there. Simple, uncomplicated, as much sleep as we wanted, easy dinners, last minute plans with friends, short trips away, less fights, more time together etc etc. Nine months ago all that changed. Of course we changed too. The lack of sleep really really really got to us.(I personally feel that is a HUGE reason why marriages get strained after a baby) and the added responsibilities got us feeling exhausted pretty fast. We have no help/family members (our choice) and we do it all on our own. And although the first few months were so incredibly hard, we got through them (sleepwalked through them most likely) Our marriage changed, a bit. We rarely had time for each other. Well, we rarely had time for ourselves! And we snapped so much more, we argued and rolled our eyes, we screamed and banged doors. All this was done before of course, but never as frequently as we did now. And we were unhappy.

And then I read a post, on a Facebook group that I belong too. It was written by someones husband and it just opened up my eyes. But most importantly, it helped the Husband see how we needed to change asap too. Cos you see, women tend to focus on the emotional much more than men. And no amount of tears or pleading could get the message across as simply as this one post. Maybe because it was written by a man, I don’t know – but it worked. Since that day, we’ve made it a point to just stop being mean/unkind to each other. Just took it off the table. I mean, physical abuse is never an option. Thats a given right? so why should meanness be tolerated? anger is fine, frustration is normal but we have a choice to be kind. We chose to use it. And it’s changed everything!!!

This is the post, and I’ve credited the person who wrote it – brilliant man! Thank you Weinand

“Relationships and decisions
I have a really complicated job. As a result I try and try and try to simplify what I need to do every day. It saves me time and keeps me focused on what I need to do. I have come to the realisation that work (and life and parenting) is simply a series of decisions. Everything we do is the consequence of decisions and when we do act we simply create more opportunity for decisions.
I think our personal relationships are the same. Actually I think our relationships are a series of consequences due to the decisions we take. And I consider not taking a decision, to be a decision by itself! Let me explain: We decide to love someone, decide to commit to them and decide to treat them with respect. Relationships are a therefore a series of decisions.
Increasingly I come across relationships that are broken. I don’t know why they break, but in most cases they don’t break overnight. If that is the case then my previous logic suggests that a poor relationship is the consequence of a series of wrong decisions, made by at least one person in that relationship.
Some relationships are very strong though. Mine with my wife is exceptionally so. I know this, because we have taken a number of decisions that make it so. We have decided not to ever speak to each other in a demeaning way. I will never disrespect my wife with language. We can become very angry, but we decided not to ever say anything to each other that you can’t take back. Calling each other terrible names or hurting each other is simply not an option. It is off the table.
We also made a decision to be there for each other. We decided to be generous with our time and to give each other a break. We talk about it and then expect it from each other. And then we love each other for it. All of these decisions were conscious, explicit choices and I think that makes all the difference. In many relationships, the parties make implicit decisions or don’t make any decisions at all.

The thing about explicit decisions in relationships are that they build trust and makes accountability really easy. I trust my spouse 100% and I don’t have to ask myself why I do it. She also makes mistakes, says sorry and then tries to fix it. I do the same and probably make more mistakes. But we trust each other to fix them. Conversations about are children are tough, but we are explicit about it. Everything is out on the table so we know what we think and feel. Then we can make what we think are the best decisions together, consciously. Conscious choice and being explicit about it takes courage. We should all be courageous in our relationships. It is the least we owe our best friends and lifelong companions.
If you feel your relationship is not exactly where you want it to be, perhaps you should ask yourself what implicit and explicit decisions have you made to give it direction and shape. Revisiting those may give you a pleasant surprise in its simplicity and power.- Wienand Combrink”

I hope these words can make that small difference in someone else’s life too. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.

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Eight Months

Eight months. Eight Months! Eight Months!! really?? where has the time gone lil Z? You are now crawling – backwards more than forwards and frogging it more than actually crawling but you’re moving! Your diet has gone from 100% Breast milk to avocados, pears, apples, bananas, salmon, chicken, broccoli, carrots, spinach, rice, sweet potatoes, plums, whew! I can barely keep up! 

You are still (thankfully) on only breast milk and I hope and pray i can keep it that way for as long as possible.

You smile so much now. And you giggle when we tell you stories, jabber away with your toys, you straight out belly laugh when we kiss your tummy and you are not afraid to voice your opinions on the weather.

Always happy to see us, happy to go out, happy to take a pram ride, happy to sit in your Tula, happy to eat what’s in front of you and happy to get into bed, happy to get a diaper change and happy to talk with your friends (Mousie, Octo, Capo, Cato, Snoopa, Sophie and Lil Bee)

I am completely in love with you. I cannot stop kissing your sweet lil face. You are really a blessing, you know that? Don’t grow up so fast sweet baby boy. You make every thing worthwhile. Everything.

 

 

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Let It Go.

I’m an exclusive pumper. I think I am the only exclusive pumper that I personally know. I fell into this lifestyle not really thinking about it and just did what I thought would be best and what was working for me and my baby/family at the time. I didn’t even realise such a term existed. Until one day after trying in vain to get a clogged duct out and getting frustrated with the online suggestions to “just nurse the baby to get it out” I stumbled onto the most amazing Facebook group of women ever! Thats when I knew I really wasn’t alone in this.

These women, just like me are struggling with the loneliness and pure exhaustion that is the world of exclusive pumpers. It requires A LOT of support from family. It is  unbelievably difficult to do on your own and yet I am inspired by so many who do just that. Young single mums, mums with unsupportive family members, mums who work and even mums to have lost their own baby but continue to pump to donate. And I am humbled. And grateful. And I pump away – knowing that I got this.

There are jokes shared like this one.HA!

And stuff you make us laugh like this one – Top 2o songs to pump to!

And of course the usual tips and tricks to make it all easier but theres also a tremendous tremendous amount of support given and shared amongst these women. No one is put down for choices they make, but neither are they patronised. It’s amazing because this group of over 2300 members must be made up of all sorts of women and yet there is a common thread of understanding that runs through us all that makes us empathic towards each other. It works. it really does.

I am proud to belong to such an amazing group of women who continue to inspire me every single day. Pumping is hard. Its a lonely task. and these women make it all better. That and chocolate – chocolate always makes things better 🙂

Thought I’d share a link that really moved me and I feel its worth reading – just to think about the other side for a change. The women like us. Cant breastfeed and won’t give formula. The in-betweeners 

http://mom.me/blog/14091-exclusively-pumping-moms-exist-too/