Archive for Weaning
He didn’t say that in those words, but I’ve been really short and grouchy with the kids lately and it all stems from weaning. Night weaning. I’m not weaning Cutler completely, although it may happen on its own.
When we received the bad news about Cutler’s teeth we decided that night weaning would be a good thing, just in case he isn’t swallowing that last little bit of milk. I don’t want it sitting on his teeth causing more damage. So the only way to be sure that doesn’t happen is to not let him fall asleep on the breast. That is tough stuff ya’ll. I’m not cut out for weaning. It sucks. Now I have no sure fire way to get Cutler to sleep. Breastfeeding was my ace in the hole, now we wing it. Sometimes we rock, sometimes we just lay down and cuddle. But most times he screams and I try and calm him down. It takes much longer than nursing to sleep and because of that I’m getting NO time to myself.
Blogging has been a hobby for the last few years, but seeing that I’m having less and less time to do it I realize how important it is to me. I feel like I have to blog. I don’t get my old average of 1-2 hours on the computer each night. Now I’m getting like 1-2 hours a week! It’s killing me! So tonight Lou mentioned me being grouchy. I didn’t deny it. I know he’s right. I feel it. I feel my anger rising over some stupid stuff and it makes me sad and disappointed in myself. I need time to myself though. He sees it and knows it. I’m sure we will all have to make changes to adapt to our new schedule. Meaning that Lou will have to take on more of an “entertaining Cutler” role when he’s being all clingy to me. I’m thinking that will be a win-win for everyone.
So I need to ask all you moms out there 2 questions.
1. How do you manage time to yourself? Who chips in to help?
2. How much time to you need vs. get?
I’ve determined over the years that when the kids go to bed it’s my time, and that apparently takes about 2-3 hours. Meaning I need them in bed by 9 at the latest if I don’t want to resemble a zombie in the morning. I would like to get more sleep, but after I watch a show or two, pick up the house, work on a bit of laundry, blog, etc, 2-3 hours has passed. I don’t expect to get that on a daily basis any more. It’s just not realistic, ideal, but not realistic. Plus the boys are all home with me all day every day starting next week, so my alone time will be far and few.
Tomorrow I’m having the girls over for afternoon drinks. I need it.
|Cutler is wearing a Baby Kangas Diaper.|
That’s right. I told the ugly truth. We are back to where we were. Maybe even worse off. I have my reasons.
Oh, you want to know them too? Well, sit back for a moment and let me tell you the story.
Last Thursday Cutler got another vaccine. I hate those. I used to do them on Fridays so he would have the weekend to recover, but now I work on Fridays so I take him on Thursday afternoons. It was NUTS! I knew when they started doing the shots there I should pass and keep taking him to get his shots at the health department like I did with my older 2 boys. Why you ask? I realize that it means a second trip to another place, but it was worth it. My older boys LOVE our doctor. They don’t mind trips to her office in the least. Cutler on the other hand hates it. He knows when we go there that he will leave crying. I can see it in his eyes. He tenses up the second they call his name. It’s all because he gets his shots there. The older boys never liked the health department, but I didn’t mind. I wanted them to like their doctor, to be comfortable with her. I fear that I have ruined her for Cutler. She doesn’t give him the shots, but he won’t let her get near him without crying and holding on to me for dear life. Poor thing.
So, where was I? Oh yeah. After the shots I came home and laid him down for a nap. Nursed him to sleep like I always do. I was prepared to nurse him when he wanted throughout the evening because I knew it would console him when he was in pain and needed me. We nursed a few extra feedings that night. Friday came and it was terrible like I knew it would be. He was miserable. No amount of Tylenol fixes him. The vaccines ruin a perfectly good baby for about 3 days on average. So Friday meant a few extra feedings as well. That evening Cutty was fussing and asking for “ninny”. Camden said “MOM, just give it to him! It’s like his treat!” It was sweet that he was worried about his brother. He just wanted me to give it to him to make him happy and feel better. You know I did.
The weekend we were lazy and laid about. I didn’t do any marathon nursing but we didn’t restrict much either. Monday and Tuesday I went back to don’t offer don’t refuse. We probably had it back down to 4-5 feedings. Not too bad. That is, until Wednesday. That morning Cutler woke up with a slight cough. He was terribly clingy that morning at work. I nursed him down for a nap and off to work I went. When I got home all he wanted to do was nurse. We probably nursed 4 times just that evening! Not for long either. A few minutes here and there was all he wanted. I didn’t mind. I could tell he wasn’t feeling well.
Thursday he woke up worse. He cough was getting worse. It was the kind of wet cough that makes you worry it could turn into pneumonia. I just watched him closely. That afternoon he developed a slight fever and nursed a few extra times. Oh well, I figured he needed it. Friday was a nightmare! I had to call in because he threw up late on Thursday and he woke up with a fever. Damn, not how I wanted to start my weekend. I nursed him for what seemed like 10 times! I’m sure it wasn’t really that many, but my baby was sick. He looked as terrible as he sounded. I thought maybe I’d get him to sleep and be off to work by 1. I thought wrong. Around 11:30 he started vomiting. Poor thing couldn’t even keep sips of water down. That’s when I realized just how grateful I was that my baby was breastfed. I have friends that have had to had their children hospitalized for dehydration when something like this happens. Thank God that Cutler was able to keep breastmilk down. He was sooo sick. I had to call in that afternoon too. My baby needed me.
I nursed probably 10+ times that day. The night held it’s own with 5+ times. It was a long day. I got no sleep. It was just like caring for a newborn again. At least I knew that he was getting some nutrition despite not being able to keep anything down. Saturday and today followed suit, we nursed whenever he asked for it. I never tried to distract him with anything else. Tonight I can tell you that I’m feeling raw. I don’t look raw, but I am definitely sore. Cutler is also feeling much better today. He seems like he’s getting his strength back. He’s playing and running again. So tomorrow I will go back to reducing our feedings. I’d like to get back to where we were before all this started, but that may be too much too fast. So I’m hoping that I can get us back to 4 feedings a day within the weeks end.
Aren’t you tired just reading all of that? I’m tired too. I’m off to bed. I hope he doesn’t grope at me all night. I need some zzzzzz’s!
Tuesday night after dinner Cohen, my middle child, vomited after dinner. I thought that would be the end of it, but I was wrong. First he was puking every hour, then 45 minutes, then 30 minutes, and so on. By 3:00 am he was getting sick about every 10 minutes. Poor thing just wanted to sleep. I felt so bad for him. Dry heaves suck!
I finally woke up my husband at 3:00 am to see what he thought. Cohen couldn’t even keep down the sips of water I was giving him. I handed him over to hubby and went to bed with Cutler around 4:00 am. Lou said he stopped throwing up at 3:50 am then finally slept! I was happy to hear it.
Camden woke me up at 8:20 saying “We’re late for school!”, I just groaned, rolled over and went back to sleep. By 8:45 he was freaking out! I was finally waking up but just exhausted from only having 4-ish hours of sleep. Cutler woke me up twice during that 4 hours to nurse and once he fell asleep then clamped down biting the crap out of me! I yelled out and it scared him to tears, so naturally I had to nurse him back to sleep. I allowed Camden to stay home to help me with Cutler so I could tend to Cohen and do loads and loads of vomit laundry. YUK!
Lou went on to work, so it was just me and the boys. No amount of coffee was going to help, not for trying though. We did a lot of laying around, I desperately wanted to take a nap, in order to do that Cutler has to be willing too! I waited til early afternoon and had the boys lay down with a movie. After they were asleep was our turn, but Cutler didn’t want any part of it, so I did it. I offered him the Ninny. Bad mama! So we did nurse a few extra times yesterday. I felt guilty at first, then I realized that I’m doing what I need to do to get through the day. I didn’t have it in me for all the distraction creating and redirection needed to keep him from nursing.
Sometime during all of Cohen’s puking I started having a sore throat. By the time I went to bed it hurt to swallow. I woke up from the nap feeling worse! My throat felt better, but my body ached, I had chills and a fever! I don’t have time for this! We didn’t nurse at all in the afternoon, but early evening added an extra feeding. The night was the same, he seemed to nurse way more than he had been in previous nights. I blame it on me giving in yesterday.
Today I’m feeling much better so we will be back at it! I’m finishing up the laundry, cleaning the house, and trying my best to keep Cutler entertained. I hope he doesn’t think because I gave in yesterday that it’s going to be the same way today. I may be in for another battle in the weaning war!
It seems that we are consistently nursing at 4 times a day. I’m okay with that. I am not hoping to end our breastfeeding relationship in record time. I’ve been there and done that and it was awful. I’m looking forward to slowly introducing foods more often and a larger variety.
Just today I was shocked at the amount of spaghetti Cutler ate at dinner. It’s really exciting to see how he devours a plate of food. He’s feedings are shorter too. He seems to fall asleep on the ninny and then pop off instead of staying latched on, using me as a pacifier.
He’s asking for it much less. Don’t know how that came to happen so easily, but it’s working! He even pulls me to the fridge to get him a sippy cup of milk! WOW! So June may come and go (his second birthday) and we may still be nursing. That’s just fine with me. As long as I know we’re making progress. My sweet sweet baby still needs his mama and I’m not ready to give up on breastfeeding.
I will post weekly updates on our weaning adventure and keep you all posted. As changes occur and things happen to this relationship I will post on that as well. I want you all to experience the ups and downs of weaning with me. Breastfeeding is such a personal decision for a mother to make, and weaning is no different. We all have our different ideas of how it should be and how it will happen. This is my journey.
Today I wanted it to go smoother with less screaming and crying from Cutler. Since it’s Saturday I didn’t have to get up early so we laid in bed for a while. Cutler got up when he was ready to play and didn’t wake up on my terms. Meaning he didn’t want to nurse upon first waking up. That was nice. We went all morning without nursing. He ate breakfast with us and snacked all morning. Come noon though he was ready for ninny and a nap.
He nursed for a while before falling asleep. I think he just wanted to nurse, but in his room with it dark and quiet he fell asleep, whether he was ready or not. He slept for a good 2.5 hours! It was nice! He didn’t want it when he woke up either. We took all the cushions off the couch to let the boys wrestle and play, and their cousin came over to play too! About seven he was getting tired and pulling at my shirt. This past week I would have said no and distracted him, putting him off until bed time. I knew he wouldn’t go to bed at seven.
I nursed him for a few minutes then he was up and playing again. Here it is ten at night and he’s still not asleep. So even though it feels like I gave in more today, it didn’t turn out like that at all! So far he’s nursed only twice today! Plus one more when you add in the feeding he’ll have before bed. That will make 3 total for today! My best yet since this whole thing started.
So what’s different? Two things are different today than our weekly weaning days. He got to sleep in. If I could get us all to bed earlier maybe it would be easier to cut out the first morning feeding. That one is tough to cut out when he’s tired and grouchy. I feel bad for him. The second difference is maybe there is something to this “don’t offer don’t refuse” policy. Maybe by giving in when he asks for it I’m giving him the security of knowing that it’s still there if he needs it. That doesn’t mean that I have to give in every time he asks, I can still try redirection, distracting him with snacks & drinks too. When all else fails I can nurse him.
At first I knew I’d be lazy with the rules today because it’s the weekend. I really thought that we would end up nursing 4+ times today and I’d have to share with all of you my failures. I learned something though. I didn’t fail. I listened to my son and his needs. I did NOT offer ninny today. I only nursed him when he asked for it and so far that’s just been 2 times! There is a lot to be said for keeping the home busy with fun filled activities. We’ve colored, jumped on the cushions, ate, visited with family, played video games, played on a slide and so much more.
I like how today turned out. I’m just not sure I can keep every day this promising with busy work and activities. I wonder how tomorrow will turn out.
Today is Friday and that means I work 2 jobs. One in the morning and one in the afternoon, putting me home at 4:45. I nursed Cutler in the morning because I didn’t want to get out of bed, and honestly I didn’t want to hear him screaming. It was easier to give in to him than to put up with him. We went to work, came home and I put him down for his nap. He took forever to fall asleep. Wanting to do some toddler acrobatics, twisting and twirling about, all the while keeping latched on. My patience is running thin as he stretches out my boob to new lengths! We’re talking “National Geographic” boobies!
I rush off to work. When I come home he’s always so happy to see me! I miss him terribly, and last week I would have rushed over to him, picked him up and offered up the ninny. Not today. We play for a first, but it doesn’t take long before he’s pulling at my shirt saying “nah-nah?”. I don’t want to say no because he will cry for sure, but I don’t want to give in every time he asks for it either. So I tell him, not right now. He’s instantly breasks into tears. I take him into the kitchen and offer him a sippy cup and a snack. It seems to do the trick for now.
At 7:30 he asks for it again. I really want to follow La Leche Leagues advice with don’t offer, don’t refuse. So hesistantly I give in. We are no longer nursing sitting on the couch or in a chair. Those feedings were brief and only served to keep him happy when something didn’t go his way. Now we only nurse laying down. I realize it’s too soon for him to fall asleep, but I set up his room just like he was going to bed. I shut off all the lights, turn on the fan and the sound machine and we lay down to nurse. He’s quiet for a while. Nursing and crying on and off. He’s cutting new teeth and I’m certain it causes him some discomfort when he nurses. Also he’s been congested for about a month. Don’t know if it’s allergies or a cold, either way, it makes nursing hard for him.
I knew it was too early for him to sleep. He’s up and at it again playing until nine. We nurse again and he falls asleep.
So it looks like we are consistently down to 4 feedings a day, not including the night feedings, which is about 3-4 more. The night time feedings are the one’s that create the frustration for me the most I think. It’s the raw soreness when I wake up. Sometimes I don’t know if weaning him will be possible at all. I guess I have stuff to think on.
I nursed Cutler before (AS) he was waking up. At nap time, he went to sleep quickly with a short feeding. Then he woke at 2:30 and wanted to nurse. He wanted it BAD. I didn’t give it! It was very hard to have him in my arms crying. I continued to offer him snacks, food in his highchair, drinks, playtime, and cuddling. Ultimately it worked!
It really helped that my sister, my nephew and mom were here visiting. It helped pass the time. You know what I did screw up? I guess I nursed Cutler in the morning and nap-time feeding off the same breast. By eight tonight I was terribly lopsided! We’re talking double D on the right side and a small C on the left. I ended up feeling pretty engorged and leaking! It’s been a few months since I needed to wear breast pads, but I had to break those bad boys out tonight!
I read an article today by Mayim Bialik about her parenting style and her thoughts on breastfeeding. It made me reconsider my “plan” (or lack thereof) to wean Cutler. It got me thinking, why am I weaning him? What do I want to accomplish? What are my reasons?
To answer those questions, I wanted to wean very slowly, over a few months, because of the pain from the chipped tooth. That and the fact that I’ve had recurrent thrush and breast infections and they are hard to deal with. My doctor and his doctor are also pressuring me to wean since he’s past 12 months. Honestly though, I’d nurse longer as long as he didn’t grope me all the time. I’d be happy to nurse him to his 2nd birthday as long as we can keep the feeding limited to nap and bedtime. That would be ideal for him and me. I’m unsure if this actually changes my plans or fits into them perfectly. I’ll let ya know.
As Cutler latched on tonight I instantly remembered. Ahhh, right. Pain. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. We all know it, we hear it, but sometimes there is pain. So what causes nipple/breast pain? I thought we’d explore it.
1. Bad latch. Bad latch is typically only with a new baby and due to a few reasons. The first reason is that it’s all new! It’s new to mom and new to baby. It takes a bit to get the hang of it. Second reason? Baby being tongue-tied. This is often overlooked and can cause much pain and frustration to the mom as well as a lack of sufficient milk to the baby. Reason three, nipple confusion. What this means in a nutshell is it’s hard for babies to latch properly on to mom, then latch on a bottle, and back and forth. The latch and sucking motion is different for breast then it is for bottle. If baby gets used to a bottle, baby will latch like that on mom and “nipple feed” instead of breast feed. OUCH! Lanolin is a must have for all breastfeeding moms. It’s great to use for tenderness and doesn’t have to be washed off for a feeding. It’s available at most pharmacies.
2. Thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection. It can appear with a white coating on baby’s tongue and/or the inside of baby’s cheeks. Baby doesn’t always have symptoms. It’s been said that babies with thrush can and often experience discomfort when nursing, creating a fussy baby. Thrush in the momma is painful. It feels like shooting pain coming from deep in the breast tissue as it travels down to the nipple. It doesn’t usually last during the entire feeding, and tends to be most painful during let down. Ask me how I know! Motherlove creates a great natural remedy to thrush in a salve. Great stuff! You can also use Gentian Violet, but beware! It stains everything it touches, including baby’s mouth! If none of this works or you and baby keep passing it back and forth, you will need to treat yourself and baby with a prescription antifungal.
3. Mastitis. This is a breast infection. It often presents with a fever that spikes quite high, very rapidly. I had flu like symptoms and a slight fever. If you have a persistent fever that does not spike and you are able to break the fever with Tylenol, you probably have a virus. Additional signs of mastitis are red streaks in the breast, maybe a lump or knot indicating a plugged duct. Within hours my fever was 104 and I felt like I had been hit by a truck! If you experience a fever that spikes while breastfeeding call your doctor! The only way to get over a breast infection is with antibiotics. Make sure you receive a medicine that is safe to take while breastfeeding. You’d be surprised how often that is overlooked. Soothies are soothing gel pads that you tuck into your bra and it really seems to help! Some are resuable, most are not. I found some at my local pharmacy as well. Not very cheap though, so only resort to them when you absolutely need soothing relief!
4. Bad-fitting bra. If you wear a bra that is too tight and has underwear that digs in, this can cause problems with plugged ducts and create an environment for bacteria to form and mastitis to develop. So avoid your pre-baby bras. Chances are they don’t fit properly. Avoid underwire if you can. If you prefer bras with underwire try and not wear them all the time. Rotate your underwire for non-underwire bras. Sports bras are too tight as well. Nursing bras and nursing tanks, or tank tops with a shelf bra are all great solutions.
5. Excess moisture. Change your breast pads often. If they become soaked and you leave them like that hour after hour you create an environment that allows bacteria to grow. Keep many pair of breast pads on hand to change them frequently. I use bamboobies and wash and reuse mine. Bamboo is super absorbent and not to mention a great “green” product!
6. Too frequent feedings. This seems hard to imagine, but I speak from experience. If you nurse every few hours or so your nipples “toughen up” so to speak. When your child is sick and not feeling well it’s quite common for him/her to want to nurse a lot more. There is nothing wrong with doing so, other than it can create nipple tenderness. This doesn’t equal pain, and it will pass. It just makes your nipples more tender to clothing rubbing. If this happens you can purchase breast shells. They keep the clothing from rubbing and irritating the nipples.
I’ve had all of the above! Want to know reason number 7? A chipped tooth! I know! I didn’t put it on the list because I’m sure it’s not common. Right? Tell me I’m right.
Today Cutler nursed once when he was waking up. I’d like to eliminate this one first, but not today. I had too much to do. Nursed him for nap, but he didn’t go to sleep. So I left him awake in the hands of Pawpaw while I snuck out to go to work. When I came home from work he always wants to nurse, but since it is Cohen’s birthday today I was too busy running around getting everything in order. Of course I could have made time to nurse him. I’m not saying I was actually too busy, but it served as a great distraction. Nursed him for bed time twice. Sneaky little boy. I thought he was ready for bed at the first feeding, but he wanted to roll around with daddy on the bed and cuddle for 20 minutes. I tried again after that and he was out like a light! So 4 times today.
I’m gonna think about actually creating a weaning plan. I’ll let ya know how it goes.
Or at least that’s how it feels. Ideally 2-3 feedings would be a good progression. I mean, considering just a few days ago I’d nurse 6+ times a day and then some! I’d say we’re doing good, but I guess I expect more from myself. Today wasn’t terrible.
Cutler woke up around 7:00 am and usually he doesn’t wake until later. I knew if I got him up right then and there he would be a nightmare to get ready. Not to mention that I still had to get the other 2 boys dressed and fed, myself fed and the Cutler ready. So I nursed him back to sleep. He fell back to sleep almost instantly. He slept until 8:00 and woke up in a great mood!
Then when we got home today I nursed him to sleep for his nap. He slept for only an hour compared to his usually 2 hours and then some. I did get a workout in though. That was helpful. When he woke up I really wanted that extra hour. I had so much to do around the house, and you know how it is with a little one around. Stuff takes twice as long! Ugh. So what did I do? You guessed it! I nursed him, only he didn’t go back to sleep. I got him up and put him straight in the high chair. He ate a ton of mac-n-cheese! Good for him! That boy needs a better appetite for all things non-ninny.
So now we’re up to 3 feedings, which was supposed to be my ideal limit. Damn! What about bed time? I feel like I screwed up. I feel like by nursing him back to sleep twice, that I gave in. Did I? Am I screwing this all up? If feels like one step forward and two steps back…so fast forward to bed time. I gave him a bath with his brothers, lotion and jammies. He nursed to sleep and passed out so quick! I think the day wore him out playing so hard and having a short nap.
Now I have ME time! Woo hoo! I’m catching up on some blogging, reviews and giveaways, so stay tuned. So all together he nursed 4 times today. I guess it’s still progress. Night nursing will be the hardest, but I’ll tackle that later. This will be a slow progression no doubt. So stick around and see how it all ends.