real mom series

real talk, real moms on feeding

real-talk-feedingThis month’s “real talk, real moms” topic is on feeding! After Archer was born, suddenly talking for hours and hours about my boobs was completely normal and showing them to total strangers was acceptable! OK, it was only two and they were technically lactation consultants, but still… “hi, how are you?… oh good, take a look at this (.)(.)” Anywhooo, I will try and keep that part to a minimum but so far this is how our feeding is going.

Months 1 – 3
PURE TORTURE!!! Well not all of it but a lot of it. Archer started off great. He came out of the womb, eyes wide open and when they laid him on my chest I swear he started doing push-ups. I, having been too terrified to hold any of my friends newborns, was beyond shocked at how strong he was. With a little coaxing from my wonderful doula, he was able to find the milk makers within minutes. He did amazing wanting to nurse right away and frequently, so much so, that by his first doctors appointment on day 4 or 5 he had already gained back his birthweight and increased it by a 6 ounces! So everything was going swimmingly until the pain… SO MUCH PAIN. It started with a cracked nipple that turned into a giant fissure… I thought half of it was going to come right off. I googled and googled and cursed the people that said if you are doing it right there should not be pain. I wanted to slice their nipples open and see what they thought. I had the lovliest lactation consultant (erica of the mama’s circle) do a house visit, as I wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. She was amazing, assured me that I was in fact “doing it correctly” but that I had “extreme nipple sensitivity”. Great. Basically it meant I had to suck it up, wiggle my toes and count to ten while the worst of the pain subsided when he first latched and carry on. He was doing so well and I had so much milk, I just didn’t want to give up and so I didn’t. And then guess what? THE PAIN GOT SO MUCH WORSE! No joke, I was on antibiotics for the first two weeks (because of the catheters) which messed up all my insides and led to a terrible horrible case of thrush. It was bad, so bad… Something like shooting out shards of glass, while burning on fire, while getting stabbed with a knife repeatedly every time I nursed… every two hours. I tried pumping and that was even more painful. My mom thought I had postpartum depression because I cried so much, but I was crying from the pain, I was crying because I dreaded feeding the little guy which made me feel like a horrible mother and I cried because I wouldn’t let myself quit as he was doing so well. Finally we got it diagnosed and got a prescription, it was a long road to healing, but we made it. I remember after the first month I just kept telling myself, I will tough it out for six months and then be done. Erica told me that some people actually enjoy nursing, that it can feel pleasant. I looked at her like she was insane.

Months 3 – 6
Just around the three month mark, it got so much easier. I felt like I was getting the hang of things and the pain was pretty much gone, slight discomfort at times but nothing like before. Archer was feeding about 6 times a day, he was gaining weight and growing like a champ and getting so much more efficient. We finally fell into a rhythm and turns out I have come to enjoy the quiet time in the rocker with just A and me. Erica wasn’t so crazy after all. I do feel incredibly lucky to be able to experience it and am SO glad I stuck it out. And now… here we are, a little past 6 months and I can’t believe how the time has flown by. We started introducing some fruits and veggies around 5 months old, giving Archer tastes here and there. Sweet potato was the first, then avocado, and banana. Now we have been feeding him solids alongside nursing 3 times a day, with a final solely breastmilk feed before bed. Introducing solids has been hilarious, see what he thinks of bananas here, and I don’t blame him since we learned the hard way just how constipating they can be for the little guy. And on that note… I think I shall wrap things up as there are five too many mentions of nipples,  one too many of poop (or the lack there of), and if I carry on who knows where it might lead.

And in closing… although not very informative, I hope anyone struggling with breastfeeding woes finds solace in this post and knows they are not alone. Oh and how freaking adorable is that little buddy in his highchair up there?

If you missed last month’s real talk on sleep, catch it here, and make sure to check out my other real mama friends chatting about feeding today, listed below:

Sacramento Street
Ave Styles
Parker Etc.
The Effortless Chic
Our Style Stories
Could I Have That
The Refined Woman

real talk, real moms: sleep

REAL-TALK-SLEEPI rarely get too personal on the blog, writing is not my forte, nor is speaking for that matter and I usually can’t find the right words to express myself. I kind of always assume everyone is like Rupert and can read my mind or that they just know me. I now know this to be untrue as I’ve read some not so lovely things about myself lately. Clearly those people can NOT know me, right? Motherhood, of course, adds an extra level of judgement (moms scare me) but I am excited to be a part of a conversation that will hopefully build other mamas up and show that there is no one “right” way of doing things. Jen Pinkston recently rounded up a handful of mothers to share their personal experiences on a topic as part of a 3 post series. It will be once a month so don’t worry, I won’t be filling the blog with all mommy ramblings. The first post is on sleep (or lack thereof), so here we go…

I have learned three things about sleep.

1. I prefer a lot of it. Like  a  l o t. I’m talking 8 hours is the absolute bare minimum. Any less and I turn into a cranky 5 year old beast that should not be out in public.

2. I lucked out with a baby that likes to sleep as well (or at least did until we broke him with a three week trip to another time zone during the 4 month sleep regression. More on that in a min). Well, some might say luck, some might say I worked for it. It is probably a little of both. A few things we did that I think help were… 1. I made sure to nurse just after a nap so I wasn’t feeding him to sleep. 2. I am considered the sleep nazi around the house making for darn sure Archer never skipped a nap and never stayed awake for more than what is recommended for his age. Sleep really does beget sleep! and 3. I always put him down drowsy but awake (again until our Michigan trip). From the beginning Archer didn’t have much of a day/night confusion. He started sleeping in two 4 hour chunks at night from the first week (our pediatrician said it was fine to let him sleep that much as long as I was still feeding every two hours in the day since he had already gained his birthweight + 6 ounces by his first checkup at 5 days old). This was a God send and we made up our own weird sleeping arrangement to capitalize on it, which leads to #3.

3. You gotta do what you gotta do to GET SOME SLEEP. Those first few month were a total blur, I had some extra recovering to do, more than most with a traditional birth, and sleep is so important for the healing process. The first couple nights after we got home from the hospital, Archer slept in our room and that is when the sleep deprivation starting realllly setting in. We were already going on about 72 hours with only a few cat naps here and there and any peep Archie would make, or if he didn’t make a peep for too long, we would both shoot awake just after dozing, checking to see if everything was ok. We realized this was not going to work.
Luckily my sister came to help out which is how we were able to start getting some Z’s. We ended up moving Archie into his bedroom on night 3! And before you think I am already a terrible mother… this is how it went down and how we became relatively well-rested very early on. First a little side-note… I had a catheter the first two weeks so I wasn’t going anywhere in the night. That pee bag, tubes, and me were strapped in for the long haul so Rupert and my sister took turns sleeping in the nursery with Archie. Rupert took the first half of the night, bringing Archer in to me to nurse and then my sister took the second half of the night doing the same. This meant I could sleep knowing he was being taken care of and only had to wake up to feed.
When my sister left, Rupe continued to sleep in the nursery until I got my catheter out. Then instead of moving Arch back into our room we ended up taking turns sleeping in the nursery with him. Rupe would take the first half of the night and I would take the second, switching when Archie fed around 1 or 2 am. Again this meant that for at least half of the night each one of us got a stretch of uninterrupted sleep. We carried on like this for about three months, which seems like a long time not to be able to sleep with your partner but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that long and it led to a happier healthier household.

baby-sleepSo, back to the sleep regression I mentioned in #2. Things were going along swimmingly… at about 7 weeks old Archie made his first stretch of 8 hours of sleep (haaaallleluja) and that continued on, and then that 8 hours turned into 10 hours and there we were, sailing along when we flew to Michigan for three weeks, (three hour time change), Archie turned 4 months old (babies brains change and they start sleeping more like an adult, aka lighter sleep), he was in a whole new sleeping environment, AND he was teething. All of this at once meant one or two or three wake-ups in the night and it threw us for a real loop. I ended up bouncing him to sleep more often then not and guess what?… When we got home he didn’t suddenly think oh I am home, now I will go back to falling asleep on my own and staying asleep. Nope, he decided he realllly liked getting bounced to sleep and while I am at it I am going to take only 40 minute naps. Thankfully he did go back to sleeping through the night 10+ hours but that is where I am now…  trying to get back to him being able to fall asleep on his own and trying to get him to nap longer then a hot second.

I don’t know how to end this other than… I need to got to sleep, seriously… it is 10 pm and that is 2 hours past my bedtime. kidding/not kidding. I’d love to hear how any of you mama’s or daddy’s got through the 4 month sleep regression or if you have any tricks to getting in some extra z’s (or maybe you fell asleep reading this insanely long post? definitely a record breaker for me).

Make sure to check out the other mama’s of the series, chatting about sleep today:
Apartment 34
Could I Have That
The Effortless Chic
Ave Styles
The Refined Woman
Parker Etc
A Daily Something

Photo by Connie of The Great Romance