Sunday, June 26, 2011

bye bye, breastfeeding

Side nursing newborn G. Such a tiny baby with scrawny, wrinkled legs!

G and I had our last nursing session this morning. I've already boo-hoo'd several times this week about weaning, so I managed to hold it together this time. I'm really sad about it, but I'm beyond ready. We've nursed through sore nips, plugged ducts, and milk blisters the past few months, and my body is just done. It's worn out and ready to get the hormones back to normal.

We've had a few rough days with transitioning G to whole cow's milk, but his digestive system seems to be handling it just fine. He fought drinking milk out of his straw sippies, so we bought a couple of regular sippies and found one he liked. The milk doesn't come out too fast for him with this one, so he can gulp how he likes and not drown. Plus, it has a pirate on it!

He hardly ever fights the sippy now, which is awesome. He doesn't like drinking much in his highchair, but if you sit him on his lap, leaning back against you, he'll drink a good bit more. So we cuddle after each meal, and I don't feel like we're missing too much of the closeness we had breastfeeding.

Am I sad? Sure, I'm very sad the nursing is over. But I feel so accomplished. We nursed for 12 months and 3 weeks when I never thought I'd really nurse past 6 months. I'm so so happy that I could give G the best nutritional start possible, and I'm thankful that, overall, we really didn't have any major issues.

I've never though it weird to nurse G beyond the early months. Really, if I hadn't had these recent body troubles and the need to get my hormones back in order, I would have kept nursing longer, at least a few more months.

This morning, we nursed for the last time. He played with my hair and nursing top. He's been too big for the boppy pillow, so he's mostly just nursed while sitting in my lap, resting his head on my arm. I picked up one of his feet, sniffed his toes, and made a big deal about his stinky his feet were. He loves that. After I did that once, he kept raising his foot for me to do it again or nibble on his toes. I tickled his belly, neck, and ears, and he grabbed my hand to get me to do it again. I thought he was done, so I sat up, but he dove back down again to nurse some more.

It'll be a bit harder to get him to go to sleep now, but we actually didn't have any problems getting him to go to bed last night. He even fell asleep in his crib with just my hand rubbing his back. Naps are more difficult, but so far so good. I'm actually kind of excited that this phase is over - another sign that my baby is growing up!

Friday, June 17, 2011

oh sweet heaven, sleep, I missed you

This post is going to be long and rambly - sorry! I've got some pictures to post, so I'll try to do that soon.
For the past month, at least, G has been waking for hours in the middle of the night. Pretty much like clockwork, here comes 2 am and G wailing in his crib. As long as we were in the room with him, he stayed pretty quiet, just awake. He would lay in his crib and just stare up at us. But he would do that for hours. As soon as we tried to leave the room, he would completely melt down. Nothing seemed to work to put him back to sleep - nursing, rocking, and we even tried a little cry-it-out but couldn't take his sobbing.

I had planned on starting to wean after his one year doctor's appointment (which was Monday), but we decided to night wean him first. During these long wake ups, I would try to nurse him back to sleep, but it usually didn't work until he had been up for a couple of hours already. Sometimes I was feeding him twice a night. So we started only feeding once a night, not nursing him if he woke up before 4 am or so. Soon he stopped waking up at that 2 am wake-up, but he was still up for at least an hour and a half.

So we decided to drop all nighttime feedings. No matter what, we would not feed him. We also decided to not pick him up from his crib, no matter how hard he was crying. We wouldn't leave him, but we wouldn't do more than rub his back or head.

Night-weaning actually went really well. He never seemed to miss nursing, and he never cried for more than a few minutes when he first woke up. However, he was still staying awake for hours every night.

At his one year check up on Monday, we discovered that he hadn't gained any weight since his 9 month appointment. In fact, he had lost about 9 ounces. This was really surprising for us since he was obviously growing - he had grown almost 2 inches. He was meeting his milestones, especially his motor skills; he had even started walking 3 steps or so on his own. The pediatrician urged us to up his fat intake and introduce cow's milk, even though we were concerned about his allergy.

I don't really want to get into this much, but I will say that I was upset at the implication that I had to wean in order for G to gain some weight. We still think G's lack of weight gain is because he went from little physical activity at 9 months to sitting up on his own, crawling, standing, and walking. Now, he's rarely sitting still. The pedi wants G to be on mostly cow's milk by Monday, but weaning that quickly proved to be painful for both me and G. So we decided to wean a bit slower. Now I'm only nursing him four times a day: first thing in the morning, for his morning nap, for his afternoon nap, and right before bed.

G has protested a few times during the day when he wants to nurse, and there have been some tears involved in trying to get him to take milk from a sippy. He's absolutely refused to drink more than a few sips of milk from his straw sippy that he loved so much, so some new regularly sippies seem to have done the trick. The whole weaning thing really breaks my heart, especially when he buries his face in my chest, tugs at my shirt, and cries wanting to nurse. But we'll hold onto the nursing to sleep for a bit longer. I'm honestly not even sure how to get him to fall asleep at these times on his own!

Anyway, the point of this post was to say that G is now mostly sleeping through the night, from 7:30-5:30! It's been about five days now that he hasn't done more than wake up for a quick paci replace. It's amazing, really. We're not thrilled with the early morning, but he's getting about 10 hours at night, so what's to complain about, right?

Here are our nighttime rules that seem to be working:
1. No feeding.
2. No picking up.
3. No talking.
4. Stay in the room with him, but he tries to talk to you or play, leave the room for at least five minutes.

We've been also pushing food and milk as much as possible during the day. I swear the boy is eating almost every hour, and sometimes he gets cranky about it. So I'm not sure if it's our nighttime rules or the extra calories, or both, but I know I'm really enjoying the sleep!

So I see some hope out there that our restless babe might actually sleep through the night on a regular basis. And without us having to resort to Ferber, even!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

happy first birthday, birthday boy!

Dear Grayson,

You turned one on Saturday. Sorry I'm a little late with my monthly update. We were so busy with celebrating your birthday on Saturday with just the three of us and then throwing your party on Sunday. Plus, right now you're going through your first real cold. Poor baby.

You seemed to have a great birthday. We went swimming in a real pool for the first time, and you had a blast. You took to the water like more of a fish than we expected. You splashed with your hands, kicked your feet like you were trying to swim, and loved when I spun you around. I can't wait to take you back again soon.

I'm kinda glad I'm doing this update late because you've changed a lot since your first birthday. We've been waiting for you to show more interest in walking besides just cruising around furniture, and finally you decided to take off on your actual birthday. Since then you've been very insistent in holding onto our fingers and walking around the room. You get mad at us if we stop before your ready, haha. Then, yesterday evening, we decided to see what would happen if we urged you to walk from one of us to the next - and you did! I'm so proud of you that you took your first real steps at age one. I guess you really took that toddler label to heart!

I got it on video this morning. Too cute! You love walking and seem so delighted with yourself.

Let's see, what else... You have five teeth now and you're working on your sixth. You can wave and clap. You love when we chase you around the room or spin you through the air. You do this silly grin where you wrinkle up your nose and squint your eyes - it's hilarious. You love to laugh while talking. You terrorize Simon and chase that cat all over the house until he finally runs away from you; you keep trying to make friends with him by giving him toys.

You're still breastfeeding every few hours. We're going to start to wean as soon as you recover from your shots next week. I know you're not very ready, but it's really for the best. You're so ready for more fingerfoods. Today, we went grocery shopping and bought a bunch of stuff for you to try. You're so willing to eat anything we give you and you love almost all foods as long as they're not too cold. We're not sure if we can put you on cow's milk, so we'll see what the pediatrician says next week. We've been giving you yogurt, though, and that has gone well.

Sleep is really the most frustrating thing right now. You're usually up for several hours in the middle of the night. We tried cutting your naps down to only one a day, and that sometimes helps, but only one nap leaves you tired and cranky during the day. I hate to say it, but we're going to have to do sleep training soon, especially once I stop nursing you at night.

You're really just the most delightful child, G. You charm everyone you meet. You love to go to the playground at the mall and the zoo and try to make friends with the adults there (you mostly ignore the other children). I can't wait to see you turn into even more of a toddler as you grow more steady on your feet and start communicating more.

Happy first birthday, G!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

first birthday par-tay

G turned one yesterday, so we threw a party today with some family and close friends. We did a zoo theme since going to the zoo is one of G's favorite things to do. The fondant on the cupcakes above were a butt to make, but they were worth it in the end - so cute.

His shirt was so cute. It says "What's for lunch?" and has all these different animals telling their favorite foods. The gator wants kids, while the elephant wants cake. gigglesnort.

He didn't completely cooperate with opening the gifts as he mainly wanted to crawl and walk around. But we at least got a few shots in.

Then of course came the obligatory smash the cake fest where everyone gathers away and watches the one-year-old guest of honor either poke at the cake or make a huge mess. Well, I'll say that G didn't disappoint. It all started when the hubs accidentally dunked G's foot in the cake while putting him in the highchair. Oops.

We did a mini tiered cake for him. It was adorable. G was tentative at first. I gave him a taste of the icing and that was all the encouragement he needed. He love love loved that cake.

This picture cracks me up. I have no idea what he's doing here, but he was about done.

Don't you want some of this?


All in all, a wonderful party. Happy birthday, G!
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