Monday, October 30, 2006

The price of breastfeeding

Electric double breast pump: $300

Lactation consultant #1: $140

Lactation consultant #2: $95

Prescription nipple ointment: $50

Nursing bras, breast shells, nipple shields, lanolin ointment, nursing pads, etc.: $80

Weeks of inflamed, cracked and/or bleeding nipples: $??

Kink in the neck and sore back muscles: $??

Finally feeling you’ve got the hang of breastfeeding and giving your baby the best nutrition: Priceless

Yes, even though nursing is still painful at latch-on and I sometimes feel raw at the end of the day, I think it’s going to work. I’m still clumsy at it. You won’t see me nursing in front of anyone, probably for a long time yet. But I’ll keep going.

I’m grateful to everyone who posted encouraging words after my griping about breastfeeding because otherwise I wouldn’t have known there are others who suffer with nursingitis. Besides your comments, nothing I read, heard or watched indicated nursing could be so hard. Just knowing other women admit it's hard -- that nursing can litereally suck -- helped me so much. Flybaby would probably be drinking formula if it weren't for you all. There's nothing wrong with formula -- heck, I was raised on that, along with regular ol' cow's milk -- but when you really want to breastfeed, formula is a second choice.

Power to the blog!

This is what I love about reading others' blogs. When people can write about their trials and make them funny, that's so fun to read. But I really love it when people use blogs to offer hope and encouragement.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Abstract mothering -- at any age

I had Flybaby after the magical age of 35, when fertility is supposed to go downhill and a host of problems can invade your body or the baby’s, and so I had lots of joy-withering appointments with a genetic counselor while Fly was cooking. Any mention of parenting and age captures my attention.

Good Morning America reported today on a study that looked at whether older mothers can be just as good as younger mothers. The study appears to have looked at first-time mothers 50 and over.

First of all, I don’t understand the need for this kind of study. You can tell how youth-obsessed our culture is when we question if an older woman is as good as a younger one in any realm. It shouldn’t be a matter of “as good as.” It should be a matter of how young motherhood and older motherhood are different.

(And when are they going to study if older fathers make better fathers than younger ones, or vice versa?)

Anyway, apparently the study looked at women in their 50s and compared them with mothers in their 40s and 30s. The article that goes along with the report says, “Overall the researchers found that women in their 50s were not more stressed out than the younger mothers, and that women in their 50s were just as physically capable of chasing a toddler as were the younger women.”

So, stress levels and the ability to chase after a toddler are the key ingredients to being a good mother? Interesting. I would have thought the hallmarks of a good mother are love, attention, being able to “read” your child, providing new life experiences for learning, etc.

I just don’t think you can make motherhood a scientific study.

Other parents’ experiences may be different from mine, but I’m finding there’s little logic or science to parenting. It kind of drives me nuts. Flybaby is amazing and has become such a big part of my life in such a short time. However, there doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to when he’s going to be hungry, or how long/when/if he will sleep, even when I follow the advice of baby books and my friends who have older children. I feel I’m just throwing a bunch of stuff on the wall to see what sticks (as my former boss would say). And that stuff is different every day.

Science? No, parenting is more of an art, I think. Abstract art.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Where's my lullabye?

Tuesday, Oct. 24:

Almost three total hours of sleep last night! Please, please -- try not to be jealous of my luxurious rest.

The hardest thing for me about new mamahood is getting up in the night to take care of Flybaby. (The second-hardest is nursing.) The Baby Whisperer plan for sleep doesn't always work.

I guess Fly didn't read the sleep chapter.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday, Oct. 20:

JP and I have already told Flybaby (now 6 weeks old!) we expect him to learn how to play an instrument. We have friends -- several of them, now that I think of it -- who are music educators, and we hope at least one of them will teach Fly when the time comes.

However, I'm meagerly (is that a word?) starting his music education by singing to him and playing him songs from his iPod playlist.

Yes. Silly me. I created a playlist for Flybaby.

My friend Missy started it. A week after Fly was born, she sent me an MP3 of a song, saying, "From one mother of a son to another," that stirred my postpartum hormones and made me cry:

- - - - -

Up to the Moon by Kim Hill

I love you up to the moon
And I love you big as the sky
I love to watch you when you sleep
I love to hold you when you cry

One day when you're older
And taller than me
I'll say I watched you grow
Like a beautiful tree

I love you up to the moon
And I love you big as the sky
You'll always be my little man
I love you the best that a mama can

And one day if you rise up
And call me blessed
I'll say it was a joy
To give you my best

'Cause I love you up to the moon
I love you big as the sky
I love you up to the moon
I love you up to the moon

- - - - -

After hearing this song one time, I knew I had to create a playlist for Flybaby.

And then I added:

Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) by the Dixie Chicks

The Sweetest Gift by Sade

Make Someone Happy by Seal

The Heart of Life by John Mayer

Ocean Size Love by Leigh Nash

Laughing City by Eisley

And other songs, including several by Norah Jones, Jack Johnson and the Sundays. Oh, and recordings of ocean waves.

Godspeed and The Sweetest Gift are lullabies by mainstream artists -- can you think of others? If so, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know.

I think Laughing City sounds like a lullaby.

Now I'll be jonesing for an iCrib {cough}grandparents Christmas{/cough}, an alternative to playing Fly's songs directly on the computer while he has "tummy time" in my office....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Watch me pull a car seat out of a hat

Wednesday, Oct. 18:

Who breaks a car seat? I have never heard of anyone doing this. I told you I had stroller problems. Now I've shattered the piece of plastic that locks the car seat into the stroller frame. Sharp little red pieces went flying.

JP and I went to buy a new one after Graco said it would replace the car seat. And told me to stop doing hand weights.

And now for my next trick....

Mustering some sympathy for JP. I am the one getting up in the night to feed Flybaby, yet he sleeps in more than he used to before Fly and complains about being tired. Yes, that's right -- he's complaining to me about being tired. He says when Fly wakes up crying, he can't go back to sleep.

Maybe I should put his insomnia to good use rather than wasting it lying in bed....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What happens in the diaper DOESN'T stay in the diaper

Sunday, Oct. 15:

Two washcloths, four wipes, a new diaper and an outfit change.


Exactly how does a baby poop vertically? Does NASA know about the rocket-fuel-like elements found in a newborn's shorts?

Where is a HazMat team when you really need one?

Why did it have to happen on my watch?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th -- a pre-Halloween horror story

Friday, Oct. 13:

Friday the 13th. In October. Heeby-jeeby-sheesh.

Anyway, yesterday, Star suggested joining the land of people living normal lives, getting out of the house and joining her at the mall for a brief trip. So I agreed to meet her there. (BTW, Star is looking great and can't wait to have her own little boy in just a few short weeks!)

Remember when you were a teen and you had to look absolutely perfect in order to go anywhere? Especially the mall? Because the mall is a place to see and be seen. Not just for shopping. No? Am I the only one?

But me now with 5-week-old Flybaby? Looking perfect's not happening.

First, I am juggling Fly, a stroller I haven't yet learned how to open and close, my purse, a diaper bag and a Gymboree gift I thought I'd take back. (Don't you think 50 blankets and bibs is enough?)

Then as I'm ready to go out the door, it starts pouring rain.

So I get my rain jacket, which is the dorkiest thing ever, even if it does the job.

(No babies got cold or wet in the making of this blog.)

Even with the hood up on my jacket, though, my hair frizzes up something awful.

At the mall, we all go into Bath & Body Works (one of my favorite stores!). I used one of the cup holders on the stroller to carry a bottle of body lotion. So what do I set on the counter at the checkout? A bottle of breast milk, which was in the opposite holder. The cashier actually said, "Don't give me the bottle."

Then we head over to Gymboree, where the woman behind the counter taking my exchange turns out to be my neighbor, and I didn't even realize it.

How embarrassing.

And I look the way I look.

To complete the whole awkwardness of the trip, I come home and discover the thread around the waistband of the only jeans that now fit me (not maternity anymore, thank goodness) is dangling from my butt. You know what denim thread is like -- it's thick and orange. It couldn't be a nice wispy invisible thread, no.

I walked around the mall with a tail.

And frizzy hair.

And a stupid rain jacket.

I am so ready for Halloween now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” and other myths

Now that Flybaby is a month old (and I’ve managed not to lose him -- or worse!), there are some sayings and ideas about babies I have learned are completely not true. For example:

1. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Riiiiight. It might be an ideal, some lofty goal, to aspire to. But it’s just not practical. A few days a week, I might get an afternoon nap with Fly. But if I slept every time he did, nothing would get done. No laundry. No food shopping. No showering. No blogging or reading other blogs.

So that’s why my conversations with people sound like Rain Man speaking in spoonerisms.

2. Sleeping through the night.

Because I can sleep as long as a drunk college student, “sleeping through the night” to me means around eight hours. But to a baby, it means maybe -- maybe -- six hours. Fly has slept this long only once, and it made me really worried at first. Then I realized, hey, I’ve just gotten the best sleep I’ve had in several weeks, and I got over it fast.

In any case, this sleeping through the night business doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon. JP’s mother, MM, keeps reminding me JP didn’t sleep through the night until he was 5 years old. I mean, she has told me this about 10 times now. One of JP’s friends said if Fly follows suit, JP should be the one to get up with him because he gave him the unsleepy gene.

3. You spend 500 to 800 calories a day just breastfeeding.

Actually, this one is true. However, the assumption is, “Wow! That’s like a workout every day! I am going to be so skinny!” What’s missing is the reality you’re so hungry that you'll be eating like a lumberjack who moonlights as a stevedore. In fact, I even read somewhere you need only 300 extra calories a day while pregnant, but 500 while nursing. Does this even make sense? How can growing a human being take only 300 extra calories, but feeding the same human take 500?

The other part of nursing math, as some people like to tell you, is nature makes you hold onto some of your body fat to ensure your little leech bundle of joy will continue to get the good stuff he needs from you.

4. You don’t need to drink a lot of water while nursing. (This one from the delivery room nurse who gave Fly his first bath.)

Here’s another trick from nature. If you don’t drink enough water to fill the tanks at the seaquarium, I’ve discovered, other parts of your body suffer from lack of water because it all goes into making milk. That means your skin dries up. And, ahem, it could mean some rather painful bathroom-type experiences.

This all just shows you learn something new every day . . . and sometimes, learning makes your brain hurt!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, Oct. 4:

OK, so now that I have a cute kid, I can finally do a Wordless Wednesday as I've seen in so many blogs.

Except it's not so wordless. I'm a word person, after all.

So here is some requisite gratuitous cuteness.

Monday, October 02, 2006

If you were born Sept. 7...

Monday, Oct. 2:

So many encouraging posts about breastfeeding ... I'm still getting to each of your blogs and comments ... really, I am! I see that snicker, you in the back! It's just a matter of time, precious time.

So Margie's My Space blog has a fun item about your birth date. Here is Flybaby's:

Your Birthdate: September 7

You are an island. You don't need anyone else to make you happy.
And though you see yourself as a loner, people are drawn to you.
Deep and sensitive, you tend to impress others with your insights.
You also tend to be psychic - so listen to that inner voice!

Your strength: Your self sufficiency

Your weakness: You despise authority

Your power color: Maroon

Your power symbol: Hammer

Your power month: July

Great, so my kid isn't even a month old and not only does he not need me, but he can supposedly read my mind, too -- and he's a rebel. Is it just me, or isn't this the kind of bad boy that teenage girls like to fall for? Aye-aye-aye!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

And I quote, "Moo"

Sunday, Oct. 1:

This post by Halushki, mother of a six-week-old and two other children, sums it up for me about breastfeeding:


How’s about I stick you with a screaming infant capable of suction pressure of around 450 pounds per square inch and now see how you like standing out in a crowd, you shameless little hussies. Cracked and bleeding? Can’t take the friction? Don’t worry girls. Here. Let me slather you in sheep oil then cover you with cold cabbage leaves. Feeling sexy now, you obnoxious tarts? Wanna complain some more about how that padded bra sometimes itched a little around your delicate edges?! Huh?!. . .

I’ve been breastfeeding nonstop since last Thursday.

I’m starting to get a crick in my neck.


- - - - -

Check out her whole hilarious post.

On an up note, JP and I took advantage of the beautiful weather this morning (and, he claims, my need to get out of the house) to go to our favorite cafe for a late breakfast. Flybaby slept outside in his detachable car seat carrier the whole time. It was so peaceful. And no one came up to put their hands in his face or breathe on him.

Sleep in heavenly peace... please, especially at night... I got two two-hour naps last night for sleep.