Posts Tagged With: parenthood

On vacation rentals, Baby J walking, and the need to forgive

I have spent the last three weeks looking at vacation rentals. Pretty much every nap time, plus an hour or more after Baby J has gone to sleep, I’ve been on rental sites weighing the amenities of hundreds of different rentals. I’m exhausted. But we’ve finally found a place that meets all our needs! So excited…

My mom, who was looking at rentals with me during this time (we’re meeting them for a family vacation), asked what I was going to do with all my time now that we’ve found a place. “Well, I still have two more vacations to plan this year, including one other family vacation (which means taking others’ opinions and needs into account), so….” Her response: ” OMG, I can’t imagine going through all that twice more!”


Regardless, I am determined to take a bit of time to get caught up on the blog. Get Inspiration Tuesday and This or That going again. Get three or four weeks of blog posts ready to go so I don’t get behind again.  And then when that’s done, get some journalling done. I’m so far behind on Baby J’s journal.  And I won’t even mention my “writing progress.”

So what’s been going on over the last month or so? Well, Baby J finally cut his first tooth, the same day he took his first steps! He now walks pretty much full time. I love it! I don’t get why people say, all dire-like, “Just wait until he starts walking,” like it’s going to be this stressful leap of skills. Walking is no more stressful than crawling. Which was a HUGE improvement from just laying there. I hated that part. I love that he’s mobile and can get himself to where he wants to be. Including following me into the bathroom!  I’ll leave the door partially open, and he’ll pull it open and peek around and smile at how cool he is for being able to find me.  What scares me right now is when he learns to climb on things.

We installed a baby seat on my bike, and Baby J loves going on rides.  Most of the time we’re out running errands, but hopefully as the weather gets better and his wake times lengthen, we’ll get out for a few joy rides.

A week or two ago, Stephen came home and was telling me about his day. He was leading a meeting, using his computer hooked to a projector, and his email alert popped up with something non-work related. No big deal, it’s happened to me, it wasn’t anything sensitive.  But it made me sit back and say, “I remember leading meetings.” Seems like it was such a long time ago.

For the first time in a very long time, I’m reading a book that I don’t want to put down. “Just one more chapter!” It’s nice to have that again.  It’s especially surprising because it’s in a genre that I’ve found particularly hard to get into over the last five years or so.  I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish.  😦

I’ve been a bit infatuated with a certain news story lately, one which I will not name here, because I don’t want to get into a whole discussion about it. What I would love a discussion about is the idea and merits of forgiveness. I find forgiveness to be overrated. I’m sorry, but there are certain things that are unforgivable, especially when the offender offers no contrition. A lot of people say you need to forgive in order to move on. I don’t agree. I think you can move on just fine without forgiving someone for something they did. It doesn’t have to stay with you or rule your life. The pain, the hurt, can fade, you can think of it less and less, without forgiving.

What do you think?  Is forgiveness necessary for a happy life, or is it overrated?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

On Mombragging, the Finnish School System, and life

I’m so embarrassed. I had a friend come over last week to help administer Baby J’s medicine, and before she left I said, “Oh, look what he did for the first time today! He picked up the ball and put it in the hole and pushed it down! ….ohmygod, I’m that mom, I’m bragging, I’m so sorry.”

Apparently, the Finnish school system, long touted as being amazing, is changing its curriculum. They will be teaching by topic now rather than by subject, which seems…awesome. Instead of a history lesson and a science lesson and an economics lesson, let’s study the Black Plague and look at what happened, the science behind it, and the economic, political, and historical ramifications. To me, it seems like a much better use of time, and a way to keep kids more engaged. After all, life isn’t math and science and history, it’s events, and they affect and are affected by multiple things. (I think some home school studies do it this way as well, which I find intriguing…)

While in the hospital last week, Baby J got a jar of peaches. He had not tried them yet, because I was hadn’t seen them in the stores fresh (I have yet to buy jarred food for him). He enjoyed the peaches, but I may not be able to give them to him again, because for the rest of the day I was singing, “Peaches come from a can, they were put there by a man, in a factory dooooowwntoooowwn.”

I’m feeling really overwhelmed again, like I can’t cope and do everything I need to do. Part of it may be the “recovery” from vacation followed by a hospital stay, trying to catch up on everything. But part of it is certainly that Baby J is more mobile and curious and able, thus requiring a lot more watching. I used to be able to do dishes while he was awake, now I can’t have the dishwasher open or he’s in it. I used to be able to do laundry, now he’s pulling up on and mouthing the toilet. I can’t let him play on the landing while I’m on the computer, he’s in there with me playing with cables or trying to get himself run over by the office chair. And since naptime was supposed to be writing/office time, and now it’s dishes/laundry time….well, you see where I’m going with this. For a couple of months now, I’ve been playing with the idea of getting someone in to watch him a few hours a week, and its becoming more and more necessary, at least if I want to get anything accomplished. I think I may need to cut out a bit of time spent with Stephen in the evenings, as well.  😦

I’m almost done editing the photos from our trip to Lapland, so I hope to post about that soon. I took 399 photos (not including the ones I took on my phone), and I’ve edited that down to 177, 77 of which are photos of the Northern Lights. Those are actually the only ones I have left to edit, and they will likely take me a couple more days. Until then, I’ll leave you with this:

Northern Lights


Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

…and then life happened.

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Sick baby 😦

A post shared by Sara Sara Johnson (@bysarajohnson) on


Remember a couple weeks ago when I blogged about a new schedule, and how I was going to start it this week? And how I said I wanted to start a regular blog feature? I was all set, even had an editorial calendar planned out. I got a couple of blog posts ahead, then went on vacation. I figured this past Monday, I’d schedule a quick Tuesday post and finish a half-complete Thursday post.

And then life happened.

We were in Lapland last week (blog posts and photos coming soon!), and arrived home Monday morning about 9:30. Baby J had had a slight cough during most of our trip, and Friday afternoon it developed into a deep, phlegmy cough. By Sunday he was moaning with every breath. He had been sick like this back in December, so I wasn’t too worried – he seemed fine otherwise, even pausing the moaning and coughing fits to flirt with strangers sitting nearby.

However, by Monday afternoon he had stopped nursing. He wouldn’t take milk or water or solids – nothing was getting past his lips. Then he became rather listless. I called the doctor and was able to get an appointment for 3:30 that afternoon.

The doctor listened to his chest and immediately recommended we take Baby J to the hospital. In Pori, an hour away, because our local hospital doesn’t have pediatric facilities. In fact, he said, I’m going to call an ambulance to take him, just in case. Cue parental panic attack.

We spent Monday and Tuesday night in the hospital, where Baby J was hooked up to a heart rate/blood oxygen monitor and oxygen. We were able to go home Wednesday, with a promise to administer a breathing treatment every 2-3 hours and bring him back in if he took a turn for the worse.

One of the issues with being ill in a country where you don’t speak the language is that you don’t always fully understand what’s going on. You’re never really sure if things are lost in translation, if the words you say are understood, or if you understood what they are saying correctly.  I had the same issue while in the hospital after having Baby J. One nurse kept using “she” instead of “he,” which is a simple mistake and not a big deal, but what if she was saying “do this” instead of “don’t do this”? You really can’t be sure sometimes, and it requires you to place absolute trust in the hospital staff. You get minimal information, because they can’t do in depth explanations about what’s going on. He needs this medicine, but they can’t tell you why or what it’s for. Please understand that this isn’t a gripe about the Finnish medical system, its just a fact of life, living (or even traveling) anywhere where you don’t speak the language and requiring medical care. It can be scary and confusing. We’re so used to being able to know everything about a diagnosis, googling for any additional information we feel we need, knowing what questions to ask the doctor. It’s difficult being so helpless, especially when it’s your baby that’s sick.

We know Baby J didn’t have the flu or a viral infection. Other than being told his bronchial tubes were  inflamed, I have no idea what the official diagnosis is. Hopefully the breathing treatments we’re giving him will make him all better.

And in the meantime, Baby J is getting lots of cuddles.


Categories: Baby J, Parenthood | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

A mom, trying to eat breakfast

Don’t you hate it when you go to do something – say, eat breakfast.  And the bowls are all in the dishwasher, so you take one out and then you figure you might as well empty the dishwasher.  Then some of the tupperware is still wet, so you empty the dish drainer and put the wet tupperware in it to dry, because you don’t actually want to take the time to towel dry it.

Then you check on the baby, who has been playing quietly for several minutes so of course he must be into something.

Then the dryer buzzer goes off and you decide to go ahead and fold the clothes, so you don’t end up fluffing them again.

Then you need to change the baby’s diaper, and the diaper pail is full, so you take the bag out, then you might as well collect the rest of the trash in the house and take all that out.  And while you’re in the bathroom, you might as well clean the sink.

Now the baby, who is learning to pull himself up on the furniture, has fallen so you need to comfort him, and, well, you might as well nurse him again.

And an hour after you took the bowl out of the dishwasher, you wonder why the hell you’re so hungry, didn’t you eat breakfast just a little while ago?

Empty Bowl

Apparently not.

Categories: Parenthood | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

A day in the life

I’ve decided I want a GoPro camera.  Not to see what my cat does all day (I don’t have a cat), but to see what I do all day.  Because I am constantly doing something, and yet, I’m not doing anything any other woman/wife/mother does, so how the hell do these women work full time and still get all this shit done?  Am I doing something wrong?  I feel like the only time I sit down during the day is to eat, nurse Baby J, or pee.  That’s roughly 8am-7pm.  And yet somehow I can’t find time to write?

Because, damnit, I want to find time to write!  All the experts say, “Make time,” or “Use the 15 minutes while waiting for the water to boil.”  But I use that time to do other shit I have to do.  Anyone want a glimpse of my day?

  • 7am – Baby J wakes.  Change diaper, play a bit, nurse, and it’s time to put him down for his first nap.
  • 8-9:30am – First nap of the day.  I wash and sterilize the breast pump and milk storage parts, do dishes, sort laundry, put a load in.  Eat breakfast.  Peel, cook, and puree plums to freeze for baby food.
  • 9:30am-12:30pm – Baby J up, change diaper, play a bit, nurse, bundle us both up, walk into town to run an errand, walk back, put Baby J to bed for Nap #2.
  • 12:30-1:15pm – Second nap of the day.  I eat lunch.  Take a little time to myself.  Breathe.
  • 1:15-3:15pm – Baby J up, change diaper, play a bit, nurse (in bed so I don’t have to hold my head up – I’m exhausted!).  Strip Baby J down, put in bathtub with juicy, sticky food to eat while I shower, then give him a bath. Back down for a nap.
  • 3:15-5pm – Third nap of the day.  Clean shower, prep dinner, around 4:15 say, “You know what, screw this, I’m going to blog!”
  • 5-8pm – Baby J up, change diaper, play a bit, nurse.  Make dinner, eat dinner, feed Baby J solids. Put him to bed for the night.  Clean up kitchen.
  • 8-9:30pm – Watch TV with Stephen, try to relax some.
  • 9:30-10pm – Brush teeth, read 10 pages, lights out.
  • 11:30pm – Baby J wakes, soothe him back to sleep.
  • 2:30-3:30am – Baby J wakes, change diaper, nurse.  Pump.
  • 3:30-7am – sleep.

I really feel like I bust my ass most days, and I’m exhausted.  I want nothing more than to sit on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watch a cheesy romantic comedy.  But there’s still so much to do!  Besides, if I’m going to take that time to myself, shouldn’t I write?

Like I said, I can’t help but feel I’m doing something wrong.  Like, do I spend too much time doing dishes?  Making dinner?  There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room in my schedule, it’s not like I can cut out a nursing session.

Here’s what I want time to do:

  • Read 10 pages a night
  • Work out every day
  • Write every day

These are my current goals.  Not my 2015 goals, just my current goals.  I want to read more.  I want to drop some weight by mid-April, and started a 90 day challenge this week (I’m on Day 3, and I don’t know if I’ll find time to work out today).  I want to finish writing a book by the end of March.

These are things I want to do for me.  And I think anything I do for me will make me a better person, wife, and mother, because I will be happier with myself and thus happier in general.  I don’t think these goals are too much to ask of myself.

So the question is, what has to give to make these things happen?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

On hoarding, slang, and cookies, plus an insight into my mind

I admit to having hoarding tendencies. Not 30 dining room chairs and newspapers to the ceiling hoarding, but yes, I have a hard time getting rid of things sometimes, and I will not eat the last ice cream sandwich because then there will be none left. Combine the hoarding with a bit of a competitive streak (not competitive with anyone in particular, just “grrr, must have more”), and what happens? I have frozen 6 liters (just over 200 ounces) of breast milk, just in the month of October. It’s not something I planned, it just kind of…happened. (Isn’t that what all hoarders say?) So why have I done this? A few reasons. Because of my previously mentioned tendency of Must Have More. Because I can – whatever other issues I may have had with childbirth and motherhood, my boobs are milk producers. And because I actually give away the bulk of my milk, and I love that I’m able to help another little guy get some additional breast milk. It’s a small thing for me to do, but the benefits are great. So I’ll continue to freeze as much as I can while I can.

I speak with and email a lot of people whose native language isn’t English. I’m usually pretty careful about how I say things – I try to speak slower (though am rarely successful), I try not to use contractions, slang, etc. The other day I was speaking with a French lady, and I said, “I haven’t seen so and so in a coons age.” …yeah…

I’ve been on a cookie streak lately. I made snickerdoodles a few weeks ago, and this week made Nutella cookies and brown sugar cookies, both pinterest pins that have been on my board for a long while. The verdict? Eh. Although several others raved about the Nutella cookies and that they should be outlawed, I only found them to be okay. I’d still rather just stick a spoon in the jar and eat it that way (which is why I don’t keep Nutella in the house). And the brown sugar cookies were fairly blah without the frosting, but the frosting made them exponentially better. Butter and powdered sugar have a tendency to do that…. Have you tried any cookie recipes lately that were spectacular?

Insight to how my mind works: We dressed Baby J up as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man for Halloween. It got me thinking about next year’s costume. I thought it would be fun, while we can, before he gets into spiderman and Shrek and the store-bought costumes, to dress him with 80s pop culture in mind – so we did Ghostbusters this year, maybe he could be Judd Nelson at the end of Breakfast Club next year. Or, wait! He’ll be old enough to “entertain on command,” how about we give him a mini boom box and tell him to hold it over his head (a la Say Anything). Then I got to thinking about how we wouldn’t get to trick or treat in Finland, but what if we were in the US and someone gave out pencils instead of candy. (Did anyone else ever get pencils or erasers in their bucket?) And then he could say, “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pencil.” And voila, I’ve thrown myself into a fit of giggles. Yeah…that’s what Stephen has to deal with. Feel sorry for him yet?  😀

It’s unfortunate I’m against posting photos of Baby J on this blog, because trust me, he was SO DARN CUTE as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  But here’s a picture of the costume – I used the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit, then made the bib and the hat, and stuffed the hat with some saran wrap:

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man  Costume

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Costume

Categories: Baby J, Food, Random | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

On spam, sleep issues, and making fun of people online

After 6 spam comments in 4 days, I’ve changed my comment settings to not show up unless I approve.  This is just the spam that’s getting through – I shudder to think of the spam that wordpress is catching…

For your enjoyment:  Newborn Bad Lipreading:

And for your further enjoyment: there are few things in the world happier than this pup:

Aaaannnddd….on to the Baby Stuff.

We’ve been struggling with establishing a schedule/routine for Baby J.  I’m amazed at people who can say, “Baby takes a nap at 11 every day” at four months.  I have a friend who does this.  The best I can tell you is that when Baby J wakes up at 10:30 from a nap, he’ll be back down for another nap around noon.  Each day is different, because his wake times/nap times are different every day.  I sometimes feel like I’m doing something wrong, but then I figure there are moms who are worse off.  At least Baby J can put himself to sleep (most of the time) without me rocking him or nursing him.  I realize part of the problem is just that his brain is maturing.  He was on a set schedule for a couple of weeks, then a Wonder Week/Growth Spurt hit (combined with a couple of vaccinations) and it got shot to hell.  Now we’ve got the four month sleep regression looming (or here?  He’s gone from sleeping 7-8 hours through the night to waking every 2-3), so I’m not even trying to figure out his schedule for a few more weeks.  (And please understand that when I say “schedule” I mean more of a routine, and fully baby led, lest anyone start yelling at me for putting too much structure on my child.  Then there are those who will tell me I *should* put that much structure on him…can’t win in the parenting game.)

I’ve also been struggling with the late afternoon nap/bedtime issue.  I would like to put him to bed around 8-8:30, but if I follow the whole “no naps after 6pm” guidelines he may end up having been awake for four hours.  Then I have people tell me his bedtime should be 6-6:30.  Which would be awesome, except then when the hell would he see his father, on the weekends?  Seriously, how do working moms get to spend any time with their babies, if they’re putting them to bed that early?  Figure get off work at 5, pick up from daycare, get home, and you’re looking at half an hour of bonding time.  That’s not enough, not in my book at least.  Once again, I’m so glad I don’t have to work (although that doesn’t help out Daddy with bonding time…).  Besides, babies don’t have any concept of time, so what does it matter if they sleep from 7p-7a or 10p-10a?  I’m struggling to understand that.

Ugh, I spend way too much time looking up baby sleep advice.  And right now, it changes so fast.  Like I said, I’m waiting a couple of weeks to get past the four month mark, then starting fresh.  I’ve got the Magic Merlin sleepsuit coming from the US (thanks to a friend with an empty suitcase, bringing everyone here whatever they can’t get here) to try to break Baby J of the swaddling (currently not technically swaddled, but his arms are pinned inside a sleep sack).  I’d like to eventually wean him off the pacifier, but his habit isn’t too bad at this point.  It calms him when he first lays down, but he often spits it out within a couple of minutes and doesn’t need it to fall asleep.  And he doesn’t use one very often when he’s awake, so maybe I should just let it go.  *shrug*

On to other topics…

I’ve done my share of laughing at people – not in a super mean way, but in a *side-eye* “Look what *that* guy is wearing” way.  I had a big change of heart last year, though, after reading about a Reddit user posting a photo of a Sikh woman with facial hair, and her response.  The guy who posted the photo ended up posting an apology, and these are the words he used:  “Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you’re making fun of.”  He says the photo was “an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.”  Suddenly, everyone I had ever made fun of, even in my head, popped into my mind.  How incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant of me.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I still think certain things when I see people, and I sometimes voice those things to those close to me, but I really try hard not to.  I try to think of what reason they have to wear what they’re wearing, look how they look, or do what they do.  Because here’s the thing — there very likely is a reason.  For example:  “I am the woman you laughed at on the internet.”  Same basic thing happened to this woman – someone took a photo of her and made fun of her, shaming her to the world, without knowing the why.  Why do we do this?  Does it make us feel better?  Have you ever done or worn something and thought, “I hope people know I’m just doing this for *x* reason.”  What if someone had taken a photo of you like that and posted it online with the express purpose of making fun of you?  Remember, everyone on the internet is an actual person, with feelings and emotions and reasons for what they do.  When this happens with teenagers, it’s called cyber-bullying, so why isn’t it the same thing when it happens with adults?  I challenge you, the next time you see a photo of someone that was taken with the intent to make fun of them, think about what might have happened the moment before that photo was taken, think about the why.

Whew.  Off soapbox.  Now, I’ll leave you with this –

I love her thoughts on the messaging in the US about what a mother should do and the remessaging that needs to happen.  I needed the reminder that only I can make myself happy, and I need to work on that more these days.  I just hope it will get easier as Baby J gets older, because what would have made me happy today was to finish my cup of tea without microwaving it four times to rewarm it.  *sigh*  I don’t think it applies to babies who can’t take care of themselves.  How long until Baby J is able to occupy himself?

Categories: Baby J, Random | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Wanna see my nipple?

I have a photo of each of my nipples at their worst.

I’m not going to post them online, of course.  But if you go to this link – that’s pretty much what my bad nipple looked like.

Yeah, really.

Luckily, my “good” nipple wasn’t quite that bad.  And yes, I continued to breastfeed.  Did it hurt?  Not nearly as much as you might expect.  As I told my husband, it didn’t hurt any more when I was breastfeeding than when I wasn’t.  Not really sure that’s a good thing…

I had several people look at it, and tried to search everything I could online.  The possibility of it being thrush kept coming up, but neither I nor Baby J exhibited any symptoms.  Other than, you know, the torn up nipple.

I think I know how my nipple got so bad, and it’s something I haven’t found anywhere online.  So I thought I’d share it here.  Maybe it will help someone.

At one point, I had this white dot on my nipple (the bad one), and I thought it might be a milk bleb.  I read that you could try scrubbing it lightly with a washcloth to loosen it up.  I think in the scrubbing, I ended up taking off the scabbing that had formed over my nipple, leaving fresh new raw skin exposed.  And it never scabbed over again.  And never fully healed because of it.

Baby J’s nurse suggested Bepanthon cream – it contains Vitamin B to aid healing, and is normally used for diaper rash.  It didn’t help.

I tried to find the ingredients for DIY APNO, but couldn’t get Polysporin here.  I asked my mother-in-law to bring some when she came, and I feel like I did see a bit of improvement in my “good” nipple after four days of use.

I made an appointment to get tested for thrush, but I had to wait three weeks to see the doctor.  When I finally went in (on day 4 of using a Polysporin/Hydrocortizone cream), she said it wasn’t thrush, and prescribed an uber-cortizone cream and some sort of liquid for liquid bandages.  She said if it wasn’t better in a week to come back in.

This past Monday morning I was begging for an appointment.  A week of the prescribed cream (and using the DIY cream) and the “good” nipple was fully healed (which was wonderful!), but I didn’t see much difference in the “bad” nipple.  I saw another doctor, who agreed it wasn’t thrush and prescribed a super-cortizone cream for me to use for a week – stronger than hydrocortizone, weaker than the first prescription I was given.  “It should spontaneously heal,” he said.  You know, because it’s had about five weeks to do so at this point…. (bitter?  me?  noooooo…..)

I don’t know.  I’ve been using this new cream for four days now, and sometimes I think the nipple looks better, and other times I think it looks the same.  Like I said, it normally doesn’t hurt (too much) to breastfeed, but there are times when it’s all I can do to psych myself up to latching Baby J on.  I think about quitting every couple of days.

I posted previously about my breastfeeding issues.  That was July 25th, and nursing has become easier, as I thought it would.  Mostly, it’s better because Baby J has more control and coordination, so he’s not just dive-bombing my chest and hoping to get lucky.  He knows what he’s looking for now, and is pretty good at finding it.  I’ve started using the My Brest Friend pillow again, occasionally, rotating it with the Doomoo, random pillows, and no support at all.  I found that the advice I read online, to put the MBF pillow just below your boobs, was NOT working for me, so I put it around my waist, at my belly button, as I think it was intended, and it works better.  Now that the one nipple is healed, I’m able to do laid-back nursing and side-lying nursing, which is great, but I don’t want to subject my bad nipple to that.

In that first link I posted, the one with the picture of the nipple – the author asks if breastfeeding helps with bonding if your nipple is this torn up.  Honestly…I don’t feel like breastfeeding has helped me bond with Baby J any more than I would have.  It’s certainly caused a fair share of anxiety and both mental and physical anguish, starting in the hospital and up until today.  I realize it would be easy enough to still give Baby J breast milk, without actually risking the loss of my nipples.  But I like the ability to feed him anywhere and any time he becomes hungry.  Especially since where we live, certain stores aren’t just up the road a few minutes like in the US, but an hour or more away.  You can’t really plan around feeds (or pumping schedules) in that case.

One day, I hope to not have a bad nipple…

(can’t wait to see the hits that title brings…)

Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Best Photo Ever

We have this photo from our wedding:


That’s not the “Best Photo Ever,” although I love it – it’s one of my favorite photos from our wedding.  I was pooped, and sat down on the couch, and Stephen came over and kissed me, and cameras started flashing.

I wanted to recreate a photo from our wedding with Baby J, and this one immediately popped into my mind.  It was completely doable, and didn’t seem odd.  Like, say, holding him while feeding each other cake.  So when we finally got around to taking some family photos – or, more to the point, when we finally had someone around to actually take some family photos (thanks, Sis!) – we took several with me on the couch holding Baby J, and Stephen bent over, kissing me.

And then magic happened.

07202014 Family Picture 4

Just look at the look on Baby J’s face!  Could it have been any more perfect?!

Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Breastfeeding sucks

TMI warning – talk of boobs and nipples and other things, I’m sure.  Might be some graphic language.  Read at your own risk.

Baby J and I had some breastfeeding issues early on.  I had some minor complications after birth (I’ll post on that soon), so although we got some immediate skin to skin contact and he did breastfeed right after birth, we were separated for several hours afterwards.  I can’t help but wonder if that hindered our progress, or if we would have had issues, regardless.  I know some women/babies simply don’t take to it, so maybe that was the case here.

While in the hospital, we had a really rough time latching.  Baby J would come on and off the breast multiple times – it seemed we just couldn’t get him to stay on.  The nurses would come in and help, and we would get a great latch, but then a couple of minutes after they left, Baby J would come off and we’d be back to square one.  It was so frustrating, especially at night when Stephen wasn’t around to help. To make matters worse, Baby J had to be put on blue lights for jaundice, so we had to start bottle feeding him, because I couldn’t feed him in the allotted time he was allowed to be off the lights.  Luckily I was able to pump, and I was told by multiple nurses that I had “beautiful milk.”  So at least I had that going for me…

After we left the hospital, we continued to have some issues, but it got better.  Or so I thought.  Yes, Baby J was latching on, but he wasn’t latching well, and my nipples were paying the price.  It got to the point where I was crying before each feeding session, just from anticipation of the pain.  He would latch on, and I would feel nauseous, my toes would curl in pain (I would actually need to brace my feet against the coffee table), and I would lose my breath, sometimes for a full minute.  It was excruciating.

Then I watched a video that changed everything.  Bam, just like that, Baby J was latching, and I felt no pain.  It was wonderful.  Except, I had a hard time doing it myself.  The technique involves holding the baby’s head right at the ears and pushing the baby’s back with the heel of your hand, causing the head to tilt back.  But I couldn’t hold the head and push the back at the same time with one hand, my hand just wasn’t long enough.  So Stephen would position Baby J while I did the nipple sandwich, and it worked great – except that Stephen is gone 10 hours a day, five days a week.  So then I started using both hands on Baby J and just aiming my nipple in the right place, and that seemed to work out okay, for a while.  But then Baby J’s neck got strong enough to fight the head tilt.

In addition to the nipple pain, I had a lot of back pain, mainly in the space between my shoulder blades, and I know it’s from my breastfeeding position.  I have a doomoo pillow, which is kind of like a boppy but longer.  So long that it’s really cumbersome sometimes, and it, like the boppy, gaps at times.  I finally broke down and ordered the My Brest Friend (worst product name ever) from, then waited a month for delivery (thanks so much, customs).  I was so excited when I finally received it, and my back was instantly happier.  But my nipples didn’t like it.  I’m not sure why.  I haven’t heard of anyone else having a problem, but when I started using the pillow, my nipples took a definite turn for the worse.  My bad nipple stopped healing, and my “good” nipple got bad.  And to be honest, I find the MBF pillow to be difficult to maneuver – it’s hard to burp Baby J, and hard to switch sides (mostly the covering and uncovering of the boob part).  I keep trying the pillow, but I’m back to using the doomoo most of the time.

So we’re back to, if not excruciating nipple pain, at least unpleasant nipple pain.  Yesterday morning I was on the verge of giving up, throwing in the towel and going the expressed breast milk route.  My nipples hurt, my boobs hurt, and although we’re better at latching, we still don’t do it well very often. I’ve tried Lanolin, I walk around the house topless most of the day, I’ve rubbed expressed milk on my nipples.  I’ve seen the LLL leader in my “area” (an hour away), and she said the latch looks good and Baby J isn’t tongue tied.  “Just keep working on it,” she said.  To my knowledge (based on online reading) I don’t have a blocked milk duct or mastitis or thrush.  I just have tender, raw, flat nipples and Baby J has no coordination.

But I continue to persevere.  Some days are better than others.  Baby J is 7 weeks now, and I’ve read that the 6-8 week mark is the turnaround, the time when things start getting better.  So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.  And in the meantime, I’ll survive.  I’m lucky in that I have plenty of milk and am able to feed my baby.  Despite anything else, Baby J is thriving – up 3.5 pounds since birth to 11 pounds at his six week checkup.  He got a clean bill of health, has perfect skin, and is growing well.  When the nurse measured him at 57cm, she did a double take and remeasured, because she didn’t think it was right that he had grown that much.

I don’t plan to stop breastfeeding at this time.  I just wish it was easier.

(While writing this, I stumbled across this post and thought it was great.  I can certainly relate to the inability to move my hand/arm fast enough to shove Baby onto the boob while his mouth is open wide enough!  And I did find some new advice that I plan on trying.)

Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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