Almost 16 Month Update

I haven’t written in a while, so I thought I would check in. Ellie is almost 16 months old (really something like 15.5), and there’s a lot of new stuff going on.

1. She’s mobile

pros:

*we can actually do stuff. Like, we can go to the park, we can take a walk, we can go to the museum, etc. It takes a load off of me having to carry her everywhere because even with the carrier, it was a lot. Plus, it’s hard to figure out what to do when you’re baby just sits there.

*she doesn’t cry as much. I think she just really wanted to be able to get what she wanted, go where she wanted, etc. So now that she can do it on her own, she isn’t quite as fussy. I don’t know if Ellie was an extra fussy baby or if I don’t have much patience, but I felt like 4 months to 11 months were ROUGH. It’s a lot more fun now.

*She is willing to entertain herself a little more now

Cons:

*she’s mobile. I’ll take her to the park and she will be nervous and sit on my lap for an hour, but if I take her to Whole Foods, she is wide open. I’ve had to figure out ways to get her to stay in the shopping cart so that I don’t have to chase her around the entire store. One day, I only had a couple of things to get, so I gave her one of the “customer in training” carts. She LOVED that so it kept her occupied while I bought groceries. Unfortunately, when we go to the check out, she ran towards the door 800 times while I tried to pay, run and grab her, pay, run and grab her. It can be exhausting.

2. Breastfeeding update: There was a time when trying to get her to breastfeed was like pulling teeth. She wanted to be doing other stuff. Now, I can’t seem to get her to stop. Some days, she’ll breastfeed like 5 times, then twice at night. Others, she does less. Most of the moms I know stopped breastfeeding at 1. My question is how in the world did they do that because my child is not interested in stopping ANY TIME SOON. I also am in no hurry, so not looking for suggestions, I am just curious. It’s the main way that I get Ellie to sleep. I realize this is a big no-no in the mommy world, but my pediatrician said it was absolutely fine, so I’m not worried about it. One thing I have started doing is if she pulls on my shirt (always awesome when done in public), I give her regular food first. If she still wants some after, I’ll give it to her. Sometimes, I just think that’s her way of telling me she’s hungry.

3. Her likes: She really likes gymnastics. She is still too young to do a lot of the stuff they do, but she likes to run around and do animal sounds/movements. She also enjoys climbing over things and jumping on trampolines. We have a Bounce House near us, so I think I might try to take her there and see how that goes. She may still be a bit young, but I’m thinking in the next couple of months, she’ll be interested. She also loves art. There is a place that has art time for toddlers, and she LOVES that. She paints, puts the paint in her mouth, puts the paint on the wall, whatever. There’s also a sand table that she enjoys and sometimes they have water out. I don’t think they’re supposed to play with that, but Ellie does. I got dirty looks from a mom at the last Table Time, but that’s the type of stuff I have to ignore, because really, she’s 15 months. She’s curious. She has started to like the play ground more. Ellie is a very cautious baby. I don’t have to worry about her trying to jump down the steps or anything because she is very, very, VERY cautious. Maybe the play ground has intimidated her before, but she’s actually starting to warm up to it and climb. Gymnastics may be helping with that as well. I try my best to do anything that gets her to run around for a while so she’ll sleep well.

4. Speaking of…. sleep: She still doesn’t really sleep through the night. On most nights, she wakes twice. She’ll go to bed around 8:30-9:00 pm, wakes around 2 am to nurse and around 6 am to nurse. Then she’ll sleep to around 8:00 am. When she’s teething, going through a Wonder Week, going through a growth spurt, or sick, she’ll get up a lot more than that. She usually naps from an hour to two hours. Yesterday, she napped for 3 1/2 hours. She went to sleep at 8:30, then got up at 5:45. That’s why long naps suck and although I always get an “oh that’s great”, when I say she napped a long time, it never ends well. She just doesn’t need the amount of sleep that I read about. I’ve tried to implement that amount of sleep and it doesn’t work for her.

5. Words: I don’t really know what words she’s supposed to be saying but she doesn’t actually say much. Mama, Dada are the most common. Uh-oh is said a lot. Gupta (our cat), comes out as DA. And she’s says that a lot. She calls Elmo, mo-mo. and Cookie monster is cookoo.

6. TV/Phone time: I feel like this is a never ending battle/never ending source of guilt from me. I try to poll mothers to see how much “screen time” their babies get and I never get a direct answer. There are those moms who’s kids never watch tv, and I don’t like to talk to those moms. Then there are the moms that say they’ll let them watch in the evenings or whatever. You read all of those articles about how it delays their learning, etc, etc. So I just try to not let her watch it too much. But 1) she loves sesame street and gets super excited when it’s time to watch it so we have daily SS, 2) she doesn’t sleep much (see above) so sometimes, I need a daggum break, 3) we’re a tv watching family. My husband and I both like tv. So it’s hard not to have it on when we watch it so much. What I’m trying to do more than anything is have a healthy balance of activities outside the house, play outside in our yard, and tv time. The rest of it is just me letting go of the guilt. It could be better, but really, it could be a whole lot worse

7. Food: She finally is able to eat most things. I am SLOWLY implementing forms of dairy in her diet and when she hits 18 months, I think I’ll actually give her some cheese or a glass of milk and see how it goes.

I say the biggest challenge I face daily is the mom guilt. The guilt of not being the perfect mother who never lets their kid watch tv, who always has interesting activities, who always makes the most nutritious food, insert whatever quality you think is important. I know by the second or third child, you seem to just let it go, but I’d rather just go ahead and do that now because i don’t need anymore opportunities to feel guilty in my life.

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An Update on my Breastfeeding Journey

I am sorry that I have not written in a while. I think that a combinations of things keeps me from doing it –

1) I have an active 10 month old
2) I don’t make it a priority
3) Sometimes, I think, why am I writing this anyway because I don’t think I have anything different or special to add to what’s already out there but I keep getting a pull to write, even if only to get the thoughts out of my head, so I’m just going to do it

I’m going to try to start writing more consistently so my goal is twice a week. I have gained a lot of experience so I’ve got lots to say, I just need to make it a priority!

I wanted to give an update on my breastfeeding journey as it’s been very interesting. If you’ve read my blog before, you know we had lots of issues from the beginning. Food allergies, latch problems, etc etc. It didn’t start easily at all. And while it’s gotten easier on some regards, there have been other “challenges” as time has gone on.

Things that have improved:

  • Latch – she latches like a champ now. We basically had two months of using the Nipple Shield and since the, she hasn’t had any issues.
  • Food allergies – Around 7-8 months, her reactions to my diet weren’t as sensitive so I’ve been able to incorporate some stuff back in. I’ve began eating wheat a little more, although for my own health, I haven’t eaten too much. I become bloated and my face breaks out, so I need to keep that at a minimum for my own health. She still has to be careful what she eats directly, and I can’t just outright drink a cup of milk, but if something has trace elements of milk or soy, it probably won’t bother her. I ate a Krispy Kreme donut the other day because I just couldn’t resist, and she threw up the next morning, but only once and that was it.
  • Night Wakings – she still wakes up 1-2 times a night to nurse, but between 4-8 months, it was more like 3-5 times a night. Whew! I’ll tell you below why I feel night feedings are still very important but they’ve been reduced in the last couple of months unless she’s teething.

 

What’s been difficult:

  • Getting her to eat: I know that sounds weird, but as she’s gotten older, getting her to sit still long enough to stay at the breast and eat is very challenging. I have to go to a quiet place, our bedroom, where there aren’t any distractions. I don’t know how people nurse in public because my baby would be looking everywhere if we did that. I do feed in bathrooms and my car when I’ve had to, but it always needs to be as quiet and distraction free as possible. 
  • Frequency: See above – Because I can’t seem to get her to sit still long enough, she’ll sometimes go for 6 hours without eating. The reason that’s a challenge is that she’s not getting enough food and she’ll make up for it in night feedings. That means, she’ll eat one or two times more than she did previously because she’s not getting her calories in during the day. I will ALWAYS feed her at night if she wants because 1) she is getting the nutrients she needs from my breast milk 2) it helps my supply.  I know there are moms that breastfeed on a schedule and don’t do night feedings but I don’t see how they keep their supply up because sometimes, I feel like the only way we keep it going is through night feeds. 
  • Letdown: sometimes, especially in my right breast, the milk just doesn’t want to let down. It’ll take a full 1-2 minutes and for an impatient baby, that’s an eternity. It can be super frustrating. I have tried a couple of different things, but in reality, I just have to relax and keep switching sides until it happens. It usually works itself out in a couple of days. It’s in her little “nursing strikes” (again, see above) that it usually happens, and then we get back to normal once she’s feeding regularly. 
  • Exercise: I had some plans of running and wanting to train for a marathon, but due to the supply/letdown issues, I’ve laid that to rest. I’d rather not run and be able to breastfeed long term. I think if I was able to eat lots and lots of calories, it wouldnt’ be an issue but because my diet is restricted, and getting a large amount of calories in during the day is hard, I don’t want to do any major activity that will hinder that and long distance running would do so. So I’m sticking to yoga, which is plenty, but it makes me regret buying that jogging stroller 🙂

All in all, it’s been an interesting journey. I have a couple more months of breast being the #1 source of nutrition for her and then, solids are supposed to take over. It’ll be interesting to see how that shifts. Right now, I typically breastfeed her 5-6 times a day and 1-2 times at night. Then she eats 3 meals a day and 1-2 snacks. I don’t know how that will shift after 1. I am guessing my pediatrician will let me know. I am planning on “extended” breastfeeding meaning, she will wean when she’s ready, or I dry up. With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see how her “schedule” changes when eating more solids. 

 

My breastfed baby and my idea of schedules

I’m one of those people that really really wants to be super organized but am not. If you could see my desk, you’d understand. I somehow make it all work, but here is an example: I bought a couple of plastic containers and some folders in order to organize my desk. One of the containers is dedicated to personal stuff, specifically tax information. Yet, all of my receipts and tax stuff is in the bin “to be filed” and has been there since January 2013. So, yeah…. neither is my baby.

I had a big plan for Ellie when she came into this world. I was going to put her on a schedule – she would eat every 2 1/2 hours, she would nap at 10 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon, and she would go to bed at 8. Yes, this was going to work. And then I had Ellie. And she wasn’t interested in that schedule. My pediatrician told me in the hospital, “now feed her every 3 hours, and don’t let her go past 4 hours”. I thought, oh okay – no problems there. Ellie wasn’t interested in 3 hours, she wanted to eat every hour and a half. Ok, we’re eating more frequently than I thought, but I’ll just go with it.

My thoughts: “why does this baby scream when she gets hungry, jeez”

I read all of the books that said, catch your baby before she gets hungry, look at hunger cues, etc – This was my baby’s hunger cues: tongue, tongue, SCREAAAAAMMMMMMMM. Oh, she’s hungry. Or it would look like this, “sleeeeppp…sleepppp…. WAKE UP SCRREAAAMMMIINNNGGG…”

So yeah – that’s when I decided, the schedule will come later, I just need to focus on getting food in this baby ASAP.

Then we had the food allergy and it made sense why she was so hungry, her little tummy was irritated. Some babies eat more when that happens and some eat less. I got the baby that ate more and more and more. But even after getting my diet straightened out, the periods of time in between feedings has only varied by about an hour in 6 months. In the beginning, she ate about every hour and half. Now, she eats between 2 – 3 hours, it varies depending on naps, where we are, and how interested she is in a toy. I asked my pediatrician when Ellie will start spacing out her feedings, and she said, “you know, some babies just eat every 2 hours and that’s it”.

I said, “Oh.”

She said, “yeah, sorry.” (She actually has said that to me a lot. Like, when she told me I can’t eat any dairy or soy which basically meant, all delicious food. And when she found out Ellie had reflux. and when we found out that she still had blood in her stool even after cutting out all the good stuff in my diet).

A side note, my lactation consultants (I saw several while in the hospital, as well as in my breastfeeding class) felt very strongly that if you want to breastfeed, you must breastfeed on demand. She said that schedules DO NOT WORK FOR BREASTFED BABIES. I told her that I had read the book, Babywise, and that I planned on attempting that. She looked at me like I had a third eye. I didn’t realize that the American Academy of Pediatrics had actually come out with a statement AGAINST that book for the amount of babies who failed to thrive due to that book. Whoops…

And when I logically think about it, I eat when I’m hungry. On some days, I may eat lunch at noon. Some days, I may eat lunch at 1:30, but it’s always different. I don’t know if that’s just me, or if it’s the world, but I doubt as adults, we eat the exact same time every. single. day. So why do I expect my baby to do the same? And I really don’t mind. I’ve found that her sleep has developed the same as all the other babies I know of, without me really trying to force her to do anything, so I’m just going along, trusting the process, letting baby lead the way.

So all you breastfeeding mamas, please know:

  • It gets better
  • You’re doing a good job
  • Listen to your baby, she/he know what they need
  • Their cries do mean something, listen to them
  • It gets better
  • You’re doing a good job