Friday, February 24, 2012

Weaning on my Mind...

Aiden is ten months old now! I am seriously blown away when I look at him and realize how quickly he is growing. The time really does go by fast and we are just two months away from his first birthday. I've already ordered invitations and am planning his party which is an entirely different blog post, but something else that Aiden's first birthday brings to mind is --- weaning!

I came into this breastfeeding journey without a plan really. I knew from research that breast is best, but no one in my family had breastfed their kids so my only knowledge was what I had read and from friends who were breastfeeding their children. I thought that I would commit to breastfeeding Aiden until he was 6 months old but we got off to a rough start and I only got him off supplemental formula when he was 2 months old. I thought "why stop so soon when it took us a while to get here?" So we kept going...

Just finished nursing at my friend Quiana's Holiday Party. Lol!

I'm glad we are still breastfeeding and the World Health Organization actually recommends breastfeeding for two years! But honestly, I cannot see myself continuing until Aiden is two years old. I want so much to do what is best for him but is it wrong to say that I want something for me also? It ain't easy being someones food source and I think I have just about had it. Here's why:

1) The Pump -- I work from 9-5:30 every day with a one hour commute in each direction. You do the math... I spend lots of time away from Aiden so I have to pump at the office to maintain milk supply and make sure that Aiden has bottles for when I am away.  Pumping is really, really, annoying! My supply has gone down considerably and I believe it is due to the pump. It's like my body knows that I am not really nursing a baby and produces less milk for the pump. I nurse Aiden on weekends all day and we never have problems with milk supply.

2) Bottles and Babysitting -- because I need to save the expressed breast milk for when I go to work, I can hardly ever get a night out with my husband, or a dinner out with a friend. Right now, I literally have enough bottles in my fridge for Aiden to get through TODAY. Whatever I bring home today will be for tomorrow and so on. We used to have a freezer supply but somehow we went through it and it is extremely stressful to have to worry about this. What if my train home is delayed? It's like, I have no wiggle room... the worst part is that people don't understand this. I can't go out! I find myself explaining over and over why I can't make it to something because there just aren't enough bottles to leave Aiden with a babysitter.

3) Teeth -- mostly, I LOVE nursing Aiden. He is such a wiggly, squirmy little guy and he loves to get into everything so during breastfeeding is the only time he will stay still. He will let me hold him and cuddle him and I love it... but now, he has teeth! He started showing teething symptoms at around 6 weeks old and I thought he'd be an early teether but month after month would go by and nothing. On his 9 month birthday, we noticed his first tooth poking through (the top middle one) and by his 10 month birthday he now has 5 teeth! Two on top, three on the bottom. It was not an easy month for him but he now loves to BITE things.. including me. This is NOT cool.

4) Night time -- We co-sleep with Aiden and this is mostly because he is still waking up throughout the night to nurse. I love him to death but I am sort of ready to have my own bed back. Honestly, in the middle of the night I go into "survival mode" and just do whatever works to get him back to sleep quickly. This is usually just sticking a boob in his mouth. But eventually, he is going to need to sleep in his own room and I am dreading the process of getting him used to this. I think that if he is weaned it will start to move us in that direction.  My approach on this is very "Dr. Sears" so I really want to do this in a way that will be gradual and show Aiden that his room is awesome and he is safe in there by himself.

5) Solids -- Aiden has taken to solids like a champ! He is now beginning to master finger foods (I have been terrified of choking so I waited to introduce them until he had teeth) and he loves to eat! He eats fruit, veggies, grains, protein, dairy (cheese and yogurt), and he loves to drink water from a cup. I feel like he is getting a lot of nutrition from solids so I am not worried about that.

I know that breastfeeding is more of a comfort for Aiden and while that may seem less important than nutrition, I think it is equally if not more important. I don't want weaning to be a traumatic experience for him and I do believe from research that breastfed babies actually turn out to be more independent and emotionally secure children because of it. I am trying to stay focused here and do what is best for Aiden... but I am so ready for the next two months to fly by so that we can get started on weaning.

If anyone has any advice... please share! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Will Always Love Whitney ...

I have been so busy and haven't had a chance to post about this, but with her funeral being televised over the weekend, I just had to get this up. I am still completely in shock that one of the most amazing singers of our time has passed so tragically.

She debuted in 1985 - the year I was born and I literally grew up with Whitney Houston's music being the "soundtrack to my life". In the 2nd grade I performed my first solo in the school talent show -- "The Greatest Love of All" and I'll admit, all I did in that moment was pretend to be Whitney. My cousins and I used to sing "I Have Nothing" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" while dancing around in the back yard ... and don't even get me started on "I Will Always Love You". It is so exhilarating to crank that song up high and belt out (or attempt to) those beautiful lyrics with her. Whitney's was one of the most amazing voices to touch this earth and I honestly do not think we will ever see a talent quite like hers again.

Aside from all of that though... she was a person. A mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend. Not to me obviously but to some and I am so very sorry for their loss. She grew up in the baptist church and just from watching interviews over the years, I could see that she knew a relationship with Jesus. I hope and pray that she somehow held onto that and that God brought her home at the very end.

The funeral service was beautiful... I particularly enjoyed what Tyler Perry shared. Take a look/ listen below.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Little Valentine

 It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling showI know it's not much, but it's the best I can do My gift is my song and this one's for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is, now you're in the world.

Happy Valentine's Day!
 I Love you Aiden Kyle!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Mother's Breastfeeding Journey: My final post for Bravado

I’ve been taking some time to look back over the last 9 months since having my baby and to be honest; those first days are already kind of hazy in my memory. I wish I can relive the moment when Aiden was first placed in my arms but here I am, the mother to this growing boy with a budding personality and I am in awe every single day. He is by far the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I am so grateful that I get to be his Mama. He started cutting his first tooth this past weekend and all he wanted was for me to hold him and cuddle him. I know that our bond is special and for that I know I can thank breastfeeding.

We got off to a rough start and there were many times I thought that I would just quit, but somehow we made it and I achieved my goal of breastfeeding my baby. I can honestly say that it is my proudest accomplishment. I love nursing!

It isn’t easy being a working mom and spending hours separated from Aiden. It isn’t easy to pump at the office and I’m not going to pretend here --- most times I really hate pumping. But when I get home and my baby boy starts lifting his arms and calling “mama” (yep, he is saying mama now) there is no better feeling than curling up with him under a warm blanket and nursing. Well, come to think of it there is one better feeling – knowing that he is getting the very best nutrition from nature’s best milk. I am so very grateful that I have had the chance to breastfeed my son and I went from being “on the fence” about it to being so passionate about it.

This experience has been one of the best of my life and I am so happy that I got to share it with the Bravado community. It was the support from my readers, fellow bloggers, and friends at Bravado that got me through some very tough moments and I will always be grateful for that. This year, I plan to become a certified lactation counselor and share my experience and knowledge with other women. I hope I can help others the way the Bravado team has helped me.

Aiden is growing and happy and thriving… we’ve got 3 more months until his first birthday and I am already planning his party! He is eating more solids, drinking expressed breast milk throughout the day and nursing at night. I am in no rush to wean him though I do plan to introduce whole cow’s milk when he turns 1. We are going to take it slow and just see what happens… I have no problems nursing him into toddlerhood. We’ll see!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Becoming One

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh... (Genesis 2) 

The most fulfilling experience of my life, besides becoming a mother has been the step of entering into a covenant, a sacred bond with another person and sharing a life with him... being a wife is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. You see, it is through this most intimate of relationships that one discovers even more and it is through these discoveries that I have also been sharpened, molded and continue to be. That has not always been easy but I embrace the process. I am so very thankful for the wonderful man I get to call husband. 

This marriage thing is not always easy. Lately, it seems like so many external influences have tried to make a dent in my marriage. From stress at work to financial pressure, to opinions and negative input from others. Our relationship has been tested in more than one way. As if adjusting to being new parents is not enough! But I do thank God because we are learning just how important "hedges" are around our marriage and why setting boundaries is so necessary. It is something I wish we would have learned to do sooner but I am glad for it now.  

The verse above in Genesis is my favorite on marriage. I can just imagine Adam, looking his bride in the eyes and saying those words -- "this AT LAST is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." It gives me goosebumps every time. The two, became ONE. Or at least, they were on their way to becoming one... 

Becoming one is not something that just magically happens when you say "I Do". It is a process. Two completely different people, from completely different upbringings are brought together to be ONE...  I love how the verse above says -- "and they shall become one flesh"...just the fact that God worded it in this way. THEY SHALL BECOME one flesh. 

In the storybooks and fairy tales, it is at the wedding where the story ends. The Prince and the Princess live happily ever after... but in life, it is at the wedding where the story is just beginning. Nearly 4 years into this marriage thing, I am learning that now. 

My husband and I are starting to really understand what it means to become one. To put each other above all else and make our family's well being the top priority. Yesterday he looked at me, grabbed my hand and grabbed our son and he said -"you see this? this is all that matters." It is in the toughest of times that we have learned to stick together and it is in these times when it has mattered most. 

We are both so far from perfect and we have so much growing and learning to do, but HIS GRACE is enough. Enough for me, enough for my marriage, enough for our family. I know that if not for that grace, I don't know where we would be. 

It has been a difficult weekend with tears and pain ... but I am so grateful that we are facing challenges united and as a team.  I can honestly say that I sit here feeling so blessed and loving my husband even more today than I did yesterday :)