December 15, 2008
No, not six months pregnant, but six months has passed since I was pregnant. It’s hard to believe it, but my little boy is old enough to grab his feet and put them in his mouth, make raspberries with his lips and even to shake his head “no” back at me when I do it to him. He is such a joy and is still considerably easier than Elias was, and possibly even easier than Jenny was as a baby. He is certainly happier than Jenny – or at least he smiles a lot more than she did.
Today we started solids (I’m anal…yeah, I know, but I don’t start solids – any solids – until my kids are exactly six months to the day), and Erik did what most babies do and made a cute little disgusted face, gagged a few times, spit a good deal of it back out, but ate a whole tablespoon on his first tasting. This is always a very exciting time for me, and simultaneously sad. My babies aren’t just mine anymore – someone else can feed them now, even if it is only rice cereal a half a cup at a time. I have devoted myself to exclusive breastfeeding for very selfish reasons, really – I just love that it has to be me that feeds them. I mean, yes, someone else could do it in an emergency (not that I can guarantee my kids would have known what to do with a bottle), but otherwise, it’s all my responsibility. Other people can change diapers, give baths, play peek-a-boo, but I’m the one with the food.
The other downside to supplementing breastfeeding is that any birth control I was getting from exclusive breastfeeding starts to decline with each feeding of solids. Yes, this does work – you have to be very good about not supplementing anything in the first six months, though. And, like most other forms of birth control, it’s not 100% fool proof. Even giving a soother (pacifier) can interfere with it. But so far, it has worked for us.
Well, it is now the end of a long day – Jenny and Elias didn’t eat supper yesterday (not because I didn’t offer it, but because they refused to eat) and so they were up way too early this morning asking for food, and then I took Erik to his six month checkup in the afternoon and had to deal with grumpy kids who really needed a nap – and fast. Tomorrow I am taking Jenny to her very first dentist appointment. I can hardly believe she’s old enough for it, but she does have teeth and she can speak in full sentences…so I guess it’s time.
If you’ve been keeping up with the other blog, about how I can’t keep my house clean, and other bits of chaos, you’ll be up to date on a lot of this, but I thought I would take the time to update the journal since Erik is six months old now. Adieu!
May 28, 2008
Okay, so literally, doing this hurts, but figuratively, I think it’s what I need to do. I had a decent morning, really. I woke up at nine, which is nice – not too early and had some snuggle time with Jenny before we got up to have breakfast. I started to make her breakfast when the phone rang, which usually throws me when it happens so early. However, it was a good phone call – from the lady who has been more or less running the show at our Thursday morning Bible studies. She is a great-grandmother and I won’t guess at her age, but obviously, having that status does generally make you “elderly”. She defies that title, though, as she is full of perk and incredibly easy to talk to. It seems that once a week now for a few weeks, she has been calling to check up on things with me and to talk about the Bible study and what our plans are for it. I feel priveleged – she’s a fountain of wisdom and a breath of fresh air when I need it. Anyway, I talked to her for some time, made breakfast for Jenny and then for Elias when he woke up, and picked at my cereal while I talked. Just after I hung up the phone with her, close to ten o’clock, my mother-in-law called and asked if we would come over for coffee on the deck at eleven. I had not even started reading my Bible and had just poured myself a new bowl of cereal (as the kids ate most of the first one). I figured I could probably do it, though, so I said we’d be there and got on my routine right away. Really, things seemed to go very smoothly until we left the house. The kids got dressed without a hassle, I had a shower that wasn’t even rushed and we got to my in-laws right around eleven. The rest was not quite as nice. Elias decided that getting into things and doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing would be lots of fun and so instead of enjoying myself and relaxing in the sun, I kept jumping up to stop him from doing one thing or another. My sister-in-law was there with her son and she was asking my mother-in-law about breastfeeding and when she started giving solids. This is where it got fun. I have opinions about all of this and they are based on research and the facts about babies and what is best for them. It’s just like car seats – maybe we didn’t ride in proper car seats when we were babies, and maybe we’re just fine now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can for our kids now that we have more knowledge. The same thing goes for breastfeeding and giving solid foods. Breastfeeding is good for babies. This has been proven. Long term breastfeeding is good for them as they get older, and feeding any form of solid food before six months of age is not a good idea. Their digestive systems are not mature enough yet to handle more than formula or breastmilk, and in reality, they do not need more than either of these. There is a mentality with some people that if your baby cries more than you like or demands to be fed or doesn’t sleep through the night often enough, you should give them infant cereals to get them to behave. Well, Jenny was easy – she slept through the night at two months and was a content baby. I did nurse her a lot – often forty-five minutes on each side per feeding. However, she hardly had to get upset when I would know to nurse her, so I never had any temptation to give her anything else. Elias was a different story. He was on the breast every two or three hours until he was six months old and still not sleeping through the night. I persisted in waiting until then to give him solids and guess what – he still didn’t sleep through the night! The fact is, we have more information now that will benefit our children’s health and well being. Our mothers had other information, their mothers had other information. Our daughters, when they are having children, will have new information and we will have to respect that. Shouldn’t we want the best for our kids and someday, our grandkids? I should hope so.
The point it, my mother-in-law started giving my husband solid foods at three months and stopped nursing at five months. She stopped nursing both her daughters around three months. She has made comments to my sister-in-law about nursing that indicate that she doesn’t expect her to nurse any longer than she did. My sister-in-law said today, “How am I going to nurse for a year like my husband wants me to if my mother didn’t do that with me?” The logic stumped both my mother-in-law and myself, and yet she said, more or less, that it wouldn’t hurt her grandson to have solid foods earlier if he needed it. I explained my thinking and that it is based on research and what is now advised by the medical community and it felt like she was shooting it down and calling me stupid. My kids are doing just fine now and they breastfed for a year or more each, did not have solid foods until they were six months and did not have any dairy products until they were over a year old. I never gave them formula, I never gave them bottles – we went straight to cow’s milk in sippy cups when they were not nursing anymore. Yes, I know other families who have gone in the opposite direction from this and their kids appear to be just fine as well. And yes, my husband and his sisters are healthy adults now. But if our kids could be heartier and healthier because of the differences in how we do things now, why wouldn’t we want them to be?
Anyway, after this mental upset – it’s not like we actually had an argument, it just felt like we were on the edge of one – I brought the kids home and fed them lunch. Jenny wanted applesauce and there wasn’t much left, so I split it between both kids and then made them sandwiches. Jenny first had to throw a small fit because she wanted applesauce and not a sandwich, and then when she was over that, she ate two or three bites of her sandwich and said she was done. I then had to do a great deal of forceful speaking to her to get her to go to the bathroom and to bed. Elias made a gigantic mess with his lunch, so much that I had to just take his overalls off before putting him to bed. And then, as I finally sat down to check my email and have some lunch myself, I can still hear them talking in their room. In fact, right now, forty minutes later, I think I can hear Jenny humming. This does not fare well for the rest of the day, because we are supposed to be going to the lake with the family for supper at four. Some days.
So, I’m going to try to take a deep breath and keep hoping and praying that I’ll go into labour today and at least get the physical pains taken care of. Who knows, it could happen.