Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy world breastfeeding week!

From the World Health Organization:

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.
I can't believe I'm still doing it! We have tapered off considerably in the last few months... JP and I are pretty much at that "don't offer, don't refuse" place. When I work, he's mostly down to twice a day: once in the early morning, around 2 or 2:30 a.m., and when I get home from work, or around 6, 6:30. If I am home, like on the weekends, he gets more. If I'm not home, like on some Thursdays when I go straight to Culver City from work, he gets less.

On the weekend, I was feeling a little run-down by it, though. He's 18 months old! It's a lot of work, even just a few times a day. And dude, my boobs get sore. He can be a challenge: he's so full of energy right now! Sometimes it seems like he's all arms and legs. We discovered this week that he prefers the flavor of almond milk (unsweetened) to cow's milk, so we've switched him over to that. We read about it and understand the importance of making sure he's getting enough fats and dairy to cover the difference. It's fun to watch him drink it - he really gets into it. So though I'm not ready to quit (I did a little reading about weaning yesterday to see if I thought I could really do it, and even though I sometimes really, really want to, I'm just not ready! Two. We'll do it when he's two), I realize that I don't have to do all the work myself.

My initial goal was only six months, and then I struggled so much in the first three that I thought I wouldn't make it... but I survived that horrible bout of mastitis and infection and crazy skin problems and surgery and daily trips to Kaiser, so they could repack my wound, and where I had to get used to breastfeeding in public, and all the awesome nurses we met! And then we finally found a good lactation consultant (Ellen Steinberg), who saved us from quitting early. I have my friend Julie to thank for giving me her information - she helped us so much.

When I hit my six month goal, at which point, I was back at work and pumping 4 times a day! I can't believe I did that! Making sure every day that I had 4 bottles of milk for JP (16 ounces a day!) was really hard work. I jealously hoarded my freezer stash, and kept track of it so that the milk didn't spoil or get wasted. And then there was that awful moment one time when I dropped a bottle on the kitchen floor and I watched my "liquid gold" form a puddle under the refrigerator! I worried that the daycare was wasting it, and then there was the time the teacher told me he needed more milk and I freaked out! And the time I miraculously pumped something like 12 ounces in one sitting! And the time I set up my pump and attached myself to it and forgot to screw on one of the bottles, and pumped milk all over the leg of my pants! And all the sleep I lost when he was getting up every three hours in the middle of the night to feed (which he did up until about 14 months old!). Wait, I'm still losing sleep, aren't I?

When I stopped pumping (at around 13 months) at work, we noticed that he got his first ear infection... and then a month later he got another one... and another one, so I wonder about the correlation there. It's part of the reason I know I need to keep going. Hopefully the little bit of milk he's getting from me still is providing him with some protection and nutritional value. I don't know.

He's growing up so fast. I love seeing his little face in the morning, the way he almost always wakes up by popping up in bed and smiling at us. This week we switched him to his toddler bed from his crib, and though it felt a little early to me after it was all done, and we spent two nights trading off sleeping on the floor in front of his bed, I think it was the right decision for us. Last night he woke up at 2 like he always does, and instead of standing up in his crib and howling for us to come get him, he climbed down from his bed and came running into our room, looking for us. The sound of his feet on the hardwood floor woke us up. He didn't cry, he just waited for us to help him up onto the bed. I fed him a little, and he went right back to sleep. I cuddled with him a little and then Patrick took him back to his room.

The other night I got in his bed with him to read him a story, and when I was done, he stayed all cuddled up with me and his little stuffed kitty, and then he started telling the kitty, I think, the story we just got finished reading. His big bright eyes are so sweet, and his crazy, all-out run is so funny, and the way he always makes sure I get a bite of whatever he's eating... I'm so blessed with this little boy, and I'm so proud of myself for sticking it out and continuing to breastfeed and making sure I do whatever I can for him.
We had a garage sale at my mom's house last weekend. Here we are taking a cookie break.

No comments:

Post a Comment