so, remember when i wrote about river's sleep patterns or lack thereof and said i was going to start a new sleep routine and that i was going to keep everyone updated and then how i totally didn't and now it's been four months and i haven't said a word about it since?
well, in case anyone remembers and actually cared or was curious as to how it all turned out -- let me tell you, it turned out wonderfully. river immediately responded to the new routine. in a matter of days, he knew that when he took a bath, next he was getting his pajamas on, and then he was going to sit down on the bed with me a read a book, and then he was going to nurse and that is when it was time to fall asleep. he would sleep on his mattress on the floor until i went to bed, and then he'd join us in our "family bed." it didn't help much with him waking up to nurse at night, but it absolutely worked for setting a proper bed time (not midnight) and helping him stay in sleep mode (not waking up and wanting to play until four in the morning). i was impressed with how well it worked, and i know i should have tried a sleep routine long, long ago! it would have saved a lot of trouble and sleep and i wouldn't have had room to complain.
after two weeks, i became pretty lazy with the routine (we go out of town and have visitors quite often) and he began waking up to nurse six or seven times in the night once again, especially on the nights when i did absolutely no routine. it was frustrating, because i couldn't always do the exact same thing at the same time. i considered night-weaning for a couple weeks, but decided against it since i don't want to lessen my milk supply just yet. so instead, one night i decided to nurse him for just a bit, until i could tell that he had a full belly, and told him it was time to lie down and go night-night and "no nurse." he cried and begged to nurse for about five minutes, but finally realized i wasn't giving in and then snuggled for about five more minutes, and was out. the next night, i did the same thing, except this time he only cried for about two minutes, and then snuggled again for a short time before falling asleep. it was easy... too east! on the third night, it was obvious to me that he wanted to continue nursing, but i decided to try it again, the past two nights having been so successful. the poor baby cried and cried. after about ten minutes of sobbing, he almost got to the point where he was going to throw up. i decided i could not continue further at all, and nursed him to sleep, both of us feeling a bit sad and confused.
but what i learned through that experience was something great. if i offered him options that may be better than what he thinks he needs, but still stayed in tune to what he really needs and listened to his cues, we would both be happier and well-rested. i still nurse him to sleep almost every night, and when he knows it's time for bed he falls asleep at the breast fairly quickly; but sometimes, he makes the choice himself to fall asleep just by snuggling. this doesn't mean he doesn't nurse, but instead of taking twenty restless minutes to nurse, he will stop nursing when his tummy is full and just lie there with me until he falls asleep. it is a special moment for both of us. i just love the way he wraps his tiny arm around my neck, or rests his head on my stomach.
he has since learned also to sleep more soundly at night and now only wakes up a few times during the night, generally two to four times as opposed to six or seven times, and nurses for only two or three minutes at a time as opposed to ten to twenty minutes. these small changes make a world of difference. i don't know if this is attributed to the routine which i was not strict about, or if it's attributed to helping him learn how to fall asleep without nursing, or if it's just because he is older and sleeping better. he is also back in our bed full-time, and it is working out great since he is not waking up as often. whatever the case, whether he falls asleep at 11:00 or 8:00, there finally feels like some order and peace to our evenings, and i think we are both thankful for that!
i recently discovered this delicious combination. our local grocery store was giving out samples of these and i have been wanting to make it at home for a long time. it's great for a snack or light lunch -- nothing special, but it is so yummy and oh so easy. and lord knows i need easy recipes.
tear the basil and lay it on the bread -- we ate ours with rosemary bread. top with thinly sliced tomato (or chopped, in my case. thinly slicing was waahaay too much work) and mozzarella cheese. sprinkle with pepper. bake in a 400 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes. when ready, sprinkle with olive oil. or... fill a small cup with olive oil and pepper, and dip the toast in your "italian butter." even better. ;)
a few months ago i wrote a blog post called "why moms breastfeed in public, part one" which received more hits than possibly any other post on this blog. true to my track record, i never wrote "part two." i finally decided to finish what i started!
in my previous post, i listed four suggestions often given to a public-breastfeeding mother. they are as follows:
just stay home go out after or before baby needs to eat go to the restroom pump a bottle
the two that i saved for this post seem to be the easiest, most sensible solutions to the "problem" of public breastfeeding.
solution #5: cover up since the day he was born, when my son breast feeds, he kicks, wriggles and wiggles, waves his arms, pulls on stuff, flips his body around, and performs just about any dance move you could think of. it is hilarious, frustrating, and adorable. so covering up always seemed like a good idea, but it was never really doable, for me anyway. when he got old enough to realize he cared, he hated being covered up. he'd much rather see what's going on than have a blanket thrown over his head. by the way, have you ever put a blanket over your head? it's kind of uncomfortable. it gets real stuffy and sometimes it can be hard to breathe. that's another reason i don't cover up. babies have to breathe through their noses when they breastfeed, and it is important that they receive enough oxygen and don't feel stifled. however, sleeping with a blanket over your head is the best way to stay warm when you are camping during the cold months, because your breath really warms up the inside and the top of your head is covered so it helps your body retain heat. which brings me to the third reason i will not cover up: i live in texas. the summer river was born, we had record breaking heat of over 100 degrees for 57 days straight. i will NOT cover up my baby's head -- indoors or out -- when i can cook scrambled eggs on the sidewalk.
solution #6: go to another room as i've said before, i am an ecological breastfeeder, which means i feed river anytime he asks, or any time i sense he needs or wants to nurse -- whether he's bored, hurt, sleepy, sick, or is getting wild and needs to take a little chill pill. he caught onto this rather quickly, and since he was teeny, he nurses off and on all day long. we do this for a few reasons, one of the main reasons being that i'm okay with it. as a stay-at-home mom who works occasionally at my computer desk, it's not inconvenient for me (most of the time). i don't think moms who ecologically breastfeed are better moms or breastfeeders, it just works for us, right now (get back to me on that in six months). for me, it was and is an important part of our relationship and my parenting path. so, really... go to another room? if i was going to another room every time river wants to breastfeed, sometimes i would quite literally be leaving every fifteen minutes or so, sometimes for twenty minutes, sometimes for twenty seconds. i'm not going to inconvenience myself because you're offended that i'm nourishing my infant at my breast. nor am i going to deny my child something he is rightly used to receiving when he asks. breastfeeding is largely a way i bond with my son. although he receives 90% of his nutrients at home through breastmilk, he is not very interested in a bottle of expressed milk when i am not around, and would rather fill his belly with solids. and at home, he would much rather receive milk from me than from a bottle. telling him he couldn't nurse would be like me pushing my little tot away, saying, "sorry, i can't hug you right now, there are people watching." nope, not happening.
and call me lazy or a mom starving for social interaction with people taller than two feet, but i don't want to miss out on the conversation! i can't tell you how many times i've sat there, in the Other Room, listening to them laugh, talk, enjoy one another's company, and wondering what i'm missing out on. oh, there was this one time, i'm sitting there and a friend asks my husband, "so, how do you do the cloth diapering thing anyway?" and you know me when it comes to cloth diapers. if anyone could talk about poop all day, it's me. it would be as if he started a conversation about baking, or conan o'brien, or twilight, or whatever you're into. i'm into cloth diapers. but anyhow.
when i'm feeding my son at my breast, i'm not doing anything wrong... right? think about the things you go to other rooms to do. blow your nose, scratch your butt, poop, smell your pits to make sure you wore enough deodorant. you get the picture, and you could probably use your imagination to add to it. when i breastfeed my son, i'm not doing anything wrong, gross, or indecent. but when i get the feeling that someone is thinking:
i don't want to see that
i don't want to think about that
i'm not used to that, and it's kind of weird
that should be kept private
please do that in another room
it sure sounds like someone is saying it is gross, wrong, or indecent. it is hard enough to breastfeed as it is. breastfeeding can be challenging, painful, tiring, draining, frustrating, difficult, and a very emotional experience for women who don't have the easiest time. the last thing a new mom needs is someone telling her she is doing something that she should be embarrassed about, too. we should be creating a culture where women feel comfortable nursing wherever they want. and i know it's a huge shocker but... womens' breasts are for feeding their babies.
so there you have it! a mostly-complete list of why moms breastfeed in public. i'm definitely not saying that a woman shouldn't cover up or go to another room -- when it comes to breastfeeding, it should be all about what makes a woman and her child most comfortable, even if that means breastfeeding in public without a cover. my mom went to the car to breastfeed all her babies, and i think we all turned out okay. me, i'd rather just leave my ass where it is and not have to use my legs any more than i have to! ;)
we are moving ... but not to pittsburgh! not yet, anyway. john and i both really feel that god is asking us to stay in san antonio a bit longer, most likely a few years. my parents are most likely moving to california this coming summer anyway, so maybe when they return to pittsburgh, that will be the time. the crazy part about this is that i'm okay with it. i'm seeing how he's working and i've prayed so much about it (i hadn't really prayed in a long time) that i feel so much peace about the situation and am finding that it is so much easier to trust him than i thought it would be. it was hard for me to accept at first. there were tears, and arguments, but i see his hand in things, and i like it. i like trusting him and allowing him to work in my life. it's like he's saying, "really? you do trust me? then i will do great things." i know you can't really hold god back, but ... he gives us free will, and in a way i feel i was willing him to sort of leave me alone and let me do what i wanted to do. not as far as moving to pittsburgh -- nothing wrong with wanting to do that. but now that i'm letting him in, he is showing me what he is capable of doing.
so anyhow, here is the game plan. our friends tj and samantha (whose baby is below... i had to tie these pictures in somehow!) proposed to us the idea of renting tj's dad's house together. yes, as in, two families living in the same house. crazy? probably. but sometimes you have to get crazy to save some money! so after looking at the house, which has three bedrooms, two living areas, a decent sized kitchen, and a big backyard with a nice, shady tree, we decided it was a go. we are going to do some work on the house, and in exchange, we don't have to pay a deposit and are getting two months free rent. sam and tj are moving in at a later time. i guess we'll all be one big happy family. the funny thing is, about a year ago john and i discussed asking them if they would want to live with us. we ended up never bringing up the idea to them, but that's just how things have been working lately -- god is showing us little coincidences here and there that ironically fit together in a strange, sweet way.
and more to come on that! and now, without further ado, meet river's new roommate (the little piglet in my halloween post). i just loved these pictures so much i had no clue which one to post! so i'm posting them all. she is such a cutie. just look at that sweet, perfect face and those big, beautiful eyes! *ohmygoodnessineedagirl*