Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Have Failed.

Since I got pregnant approximately 15 months ago, I have blabbed on and on about the benefits of breast feeding to my husband.  He read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding along with me, supported my desire to join the La Leche League, and takes up for me when people say dumb stuff like, "Atticus is six months old.  Haven't you weaned him yet?"  He's perfectly okay with me nursing into the toddler years, and he's always praised me to others for my desire and determination to not give our son anything but breastmilk. 

That being said...

He's a breastfeeding nazi. 

This past weekend, we were at a local bowling alley celebrating a few birthdays in Michael's family.  There was a small baby with her parents one lane over.  She was probably two or three months old.  We admired her cuteness from afar, and I went to take my bowling turn.  I came back from my strike (I totally beat everyone there - by 60 points), sat down, turned to Michael to gloat, and he slapped me on my leg. 

m: Look at that baby.
a: What about her?
m: <points emphatically>
a: <shruggs>
a: Okay. 
m: Do you think she knows that breastmilk is better?  I bet that baby has a snotty nose.  I can't believe this.  Do you think she even tried to breastfeed?  I bet she didn't.  I bet she just wanted to be lazy.  That baby isn't very old.  She can probably re-lactate.  Do you want to go talk to her? 
a: <sigh> Please be quiet. 

That went on for four bowlers, and then it was Michael's turn again.  Thank God.  I went after him (another strike) and returned to my seat beside him. 

m: Seriously.  That baby has been eating forever.  No wonder she's so fat. They're over-feeding her.  You know, you can't over-feed a breastfed baby. 
a: They're not over-feeding her.  I think it takes longer to feed a baby from a bottle than from the boob.  (Does it?  I have no idea.  I pulled it from my butt to get Michael to be quiet.  He bought it - hook, line, and sinker). 


Fast forward a couple of days, and we had some people at our house doing some estimates.  We were sitting through a presentation, Atticus was fussy, and I pulled out my boob (under a cover) to feed him.  

sales guy:  Oh, you're breastfeeding?  That's great.  Our son was almost nine pounds when he was born, so my wife never tried to breastfeed.  There's no way she could have kept up with him, so we just went with formula from the beginning. 
m:  Atticus was nine pounds, five ounces, and he's never had formula!  Ashley is a wonderful mother. <beams with pride>
a: Uh, well, if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a crap.  Like, right now. (Because that was less awkward than having to sit there). 


Don't misunderstand me.  Breast.  Is.  Best.   It's a proven fact, and it's not worth arguing over.  

I don't eat vegetables.  I don't eat any of them.  None.  I don't like them, and that's not likely to change.  I'm not dying because I don't eat them, and a baby is not going to die because it was fed formula instead of breast milk.  That, my blog friends, is also not worth arguing over. 

We are fortunate to live in America.  We can say what we want, carry guns, vote for the candidate of our choice, and some people even abort babies and (gasp) formula feed.  

While I am very happy that my husband is joining me in "lactivist" status, I wish he would try to educate and support, not belittle and judge.  

We should all strive to do that, myself included.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

I finally received my Erin Condren Life Planner.  Man oh man, I love this thing.

My Erin Condren Life Planner
Unfortunately, our house is on the end of the UPS route, so Michael happened to be home when the truck delivered it.  I was out buying groceries or something, so he opened the package.  He saw the invoice (to which I had applied a 10% coupon!!!) and made numerous comments about how in the heck I could spent $53 on a planner.  I didn't go in debt to purchase it, and the money was there in the budget, but since I handle those things, Michael didn't know it.  In my head, I vowed to carry around the life planner and kiss it frequently in Michael's presence, even if I hated it.

I don't hate it.  I really do love it.  If you're looking for a planner, I recommend this one.

We usually move to the boat for at least a few weeks each year (as opposed to spending the weekends there like we've been doing this year).  We've been staying there since Thursday of last week with intentions to stay through next weekend.  It's been going great.  Atticus drove us to dinner on Saturday night. :)

Here's another shot with me just to prove that he does usually wear a life jacket.

I've had a couple people ask how we sleep on the boat.  I imagine in their head we must be sleeping on a pontoon boat in a tent or something. :)

We have a 41' Chris Craft with two state rooms (bedrooms), two heads (bathrooms), a galley (kitchen), and a saloon (living room).  Atticus' pack and play has too large of a footprint to fit in the guest stateroom, so its set up in the saloon.  We do plan to encourage him to sleep in the bed as soon as possible so we can regain use of the living area on the boat, but he's just not ready yet.  Michael and I sleep in the master stateroom as usual.

Staying on the boat is nice because I can put Atticus to bed, take a walkie talkie (noise activated on his end), and go socialize in the club house only 200 or so feet away.  Well, it's nice for now.  He can't stand up or get out of his pack and play, so there's not danger of him falling in the lake.  We'll cross the mobile bridge when we come to it.


I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on my blog yet, but we are teaching Atticus sign language.  We have a hearing impaired acquaintance, and although I know the ASL alphabet, it's time consuming to communicate with it.  Michael is bilingual (English and Japanese - he was an exchange student in Japan).  I am not.  I would like to be, and I'd like for Atticus to be able to communicate with us long before he's able to vocally do so.  So?  American Sign Language it is.

We've been watching Baby Signing Time, Vol. 1 for a couple days now. Obviously, Atticus hasn't signed anything to me yet, but he is VERY interested in watching it.  Rachel Coleman, the personality and creator of Signing Time, rides the fine line between obnoxious and entertaining.  She does a wonderful job, and Atticus eats it up with a spoon.  After watching the DVD just one time, I knew and could use:

eat, drink, water, cereal, cracker, milk, banana, juice, all done, mom, grandma, dad, grandpa, hurt, where, more, dog, cat, horse, bird, fish, diaper

The songs are incredibly easy but catchy, so it's easy to learn.

From a book, I had also learned boat, bath, book, and nurse/breastmilk.

Anyway, we are signing to Atticus when we remember with the hope that in a few months, he'll sign back. :)

That's what we were up to this weekend.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can Boobs Get Performance Anxiety?

Atticus turned 6 months old on the 7th.  Today, the 8th, was his 6-month well visit.

At his four-month visit, he weighed 15 lbs, 10.5 oz.  Today, he weighed 16 lbs, 6 oz.

That's a weight gain of ...  10 ounces.  In. Two.  Months.

He went from 50-75% to around 25%.

What Atticus' doctor said: Well, he's only gained 10 ounces in two months.  He's either finding a new spot on the growth curve, or something's going on that we need to be concerned about.  We're just going to watch him to make sure it's a new spot on the chart.  Why don't you bring him back 6 weeks from now for a weight check, and we'll reevaluate everything at his 9-month well visit?

What I heard: Your breast milk sucks.  You're starving your baby.  I can't believe you haven't started him on solids yet.  You're a terrible mother.  Formula!!!!! 

What I wanted to say: You bastard!  My son is perfect!  How dare you imply that something may be wrong with him or my super-awesome-wonderful milk?!?!

What I really did say: I'm not giving him formula.  He is happy, sleeps great, and is meeting all of his milestones.  


The doctor never mentioned formula.  He never mentioned that anything might be wrong, per say, but the fact that Atticus has gone from 90% at birth to 75-90% at two months, 50-75% at four months, and 25% at six months kind of sucks.   He did reiterate that he wasn't asking me to give him formula or to rush ahead with baby-led weaning.  He said to keep on keeping on, and that everything is probably fine. At Atticus' weight check in six weeks, they would like for him to weigh about 17.5 lbs to stay on his "new" spot on the growth chart.  I hope my boobs don't get performance anxiety like my brain has.

Everything is probably fine, but that doesn't mean I don't feel like a shitty mom today.



I found this excerpt on

Growth charts and breastfed baby growth

I have heard of many breastfed babies (including my own) whose doctor was disturbed at some point because the baby wasn't gaining weight quickly enough, even though the baby was well within the above parameters for weight gain. The problem is that many doctors are not familiar with the normal weight gain patterns of breastfed babies, and rely too much upon standard growth charts.
Healthy breastfed infants tend to grow more rapidly than formula-fed infants in the first 2-3 months of life and less rapidly from 3 to 12 months. All growth charts available at this time include data from infants who were not exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months (includes formula-fed infants and those starting solids before the recommended 6 months). Because many doctors are not aware of this, they see the baby dropping in percentiles on the growth chart and often come to the faulty conclusion that the baby is not growing adequately. At this point they often recommend that the mother (unnecessarily) supplement with formula or solids, and sometimes recommend that they stop breastfeeding altogether. Even if mom realizes that her baby is perfectly healthy and doesn't follow these unnecessary recommendations, she ends up worrying for no reason (and moms don't need anything extra to worry about!).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" Experience, Part 6 - Two Months Later/After Vacation

I've been blogging about our sleep training experience.  We read the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," by Dr. Marc Weissbluth because our son started waking up eleven times in seven hours.  Within two days, he was sleeping at night and getting two naps in during the day.

Today is Atticus' six month birthday, and we are two months into sleep training.  We also just returned from a beach trip on Monday.

It's going great.  Atticus has been going to bed each night around 7:00-7:30 (bath, lotion, boob, book, bed).  Occasionally, he will sleep all the way to 8:00 the next day, but he usually wakes between 5:00 and 6:30 am to eat.   It's a quick meal on the boob, and he goes back to sleep pretty much as soon as I put him back in his crib.  He gets up for the day between 7:45 and 8:30.

His morning nap starts around 9, if not sooner.  I swear, I never would have guessed that babies need a nap so shortly after waking for the day, but his temperament is so much better if he gets this nap.  He sleeps until about 10:30 or 11:00.

His afternoon nap starts between 12:30 and 1:30 - whenever he is starting to show signs of tiredness.  Occasionally, he'll fuss for a minute or two, but he typically goes right to sleep.  He wakes between 3:00 and 3:30.

People are always commenting that he's such a happy baby.  I 100% attribute his attitude to the fact that he's getting enough sleep.  He really only fusses when he's tired.

For Labor Day weekend, we went to the beach.  We stayed in a house with my parents, and Atticus slept in a pack and play in our bedroom.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I didn't sleep at all.  Well, I did sleep, but I woke up every time Atticus would stir.  Most nights it was 3-4 times, and he'd wake up for the day at 6 instead of around 8.  I truly don't understand how people can co-sleep or co-room.  Neither of us slept well because we were in the same room.  He was not getting his regular naps during the day, either.  He was forced to nap in the car or in the Ergo, but according to Dr. Weissbluth, babies can overcome and adapt to a change in their schedule if happens occasionally.  His mood didn't suffer, but his (and my) sleep sure did.

The ride home on Monday (Labor Day) took 12 hours instead of 8, and Atticus had to nap and go to sleep for the night in his car seat.  I felt terrible about it, but well, he has to ride in his car seat.  :(  He is a 100% belly sleeper, so it took him a few minutes (and a little bit of fussing) to fall asleep in a reclining position.

We arrived home around 9 pm, and I took Atticus from his car seat and placed him in his bed.  He woke up, but went right back to sleep.  Jackpot.  I went to bed, but Michael woke me up at 11.  Our area had gotten over 8" of rain that day, and trees were falling because of the super soggy ground.  A tree had fallen outside of Atticus' room, and there was another one was leaning and about to fall on our house.  He wanted us to go sleep on the boat for the rest of the night.

I was supposed to interrupt Atticus' sleep again? Ugh.  I did.  Obviously.  I didn't want him to wake up under a tree.  (Or worse....)  I put him in his car seat, drove the .9 of a mile to the boat, and waited on Michael to unload the pack and play from his car and set it up on the boat.  When he came walking back up the dock, I got Atticus out of the car seat and took him to the boat.  He went right back to sleep, so I grabbed the voice activated walkie talkie we use for walking the club's premises, and Michael and I went to check out the damage.  I was convinced that since we had interrupted his sleep so many times that the night's sleep would be terrible.   He didn't wake up until 6 am.  He ate, went back to sleep, and woke up at 7:30 when I got him up to come home and check on the house.  (No trees)!

His naps yesterday were regular time and length.  He went to bed at 7:45 and slept straight until 6:30 this morning.  I fed him, and he went back to sleep until 9.  At 9:30, he went down for his nap, and he's still sleeping.

Dr. Weissbluth was right.  Babies are pretty adaptable.  If you help them get regular sleep most of the time, they'll be fine when they don't get it.  When they're returned to their normal environment, they make up for lost sleep and act like nothing has changed.