When Love Hurts

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I love my nine-month-old baby. Like all mothers I feel that my baby is the most gorgeous baby I have ever seen. I mean look at her! She is breathtaking!  I love to hold her, rock her, and play with her.

I love nursing my baby. I get all ga ga when she smiles up at me while nursing. My heart melts when she rubs my chest until she slips in to dreamland. Our moments spent nursing will forever be some of my most cherished memories.

Yes, I am totally in love with this beautiful baby.

However, I do not love being bitten, pinched, kicked, slapped, and squeezed! No, these things are not fun. Yet, every nursing session is now filled with any number of combinations of those very things. 

As I sit staring in my nursling’s eyes I am filled with shock as a leg comes flying up and kicks me in the nose! Before the sting of the kick wears off I feel a hard pinch on my not so firm arm (you know the flabby part that made an appearance a short time after you got out of your twenties).

The biting was one thing. I looked it up and realized that this was probably a phase, and most likely had something to do with teething. I did a few times of taking her off the breast, following a bite, and refusing her the breast for about fifteen minutes. All of the sudden the biting stopped. I honestly doubt that my efforts to “train” her had anything to do with it. Her bottom, front teeth broke through, and the biting phase was over. Yay!

That was easy.  After the biting stopped my confidence was renewed! I knew we could tackle her behaviour, and get back to peaceful nursing sessions. So as not to confuse my sweet baby I decided I would approach her lack of nursing etiquette one issue at a time.

Okay, no matter what I try the only thing she doesn’t do while nursing is bite me.  I am covered in scabs on the back of my arm and my chest and neck! I even tried putting socks on her hands for her feeding. Ha! Have you ever tried to get a baby to nurse after you put new “toys” on her hands? Not going to happen! I had to take the socks off so she would eat!

As usual, I consulted http://www.kellymom.com, and as suspected there is a section devoted to unruly babies and their terrible booby manners! Okay, that is not the title of the section, but maybe it should be! Anyway, many of the recommendations are centered around distracting the baby. That makes sense. If she is busy playing with something then she can be attacking my exposed skin.

So, I have decided that I will start looking in to nursing necklaces. Many are quite cute so if it doesn’t stop her from hurting me at least I will have a cute new necklace.

No matter how this sounds I still love nursing my baby.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Like any other stage in a child”s life, there are challenges associated with nursing a baby as they transition in to toddlerhood.  No longer do I worry about my milk supply, or if the baby is latching on correctly. No, now I worry if I can get the baby to sit still long enough to get her required calories. Luckily, we cosleep so she makes up for the shortened nursing sessions at night.

I’m going to do some shopping around, and try to find a nursing necklace that fits my tight budget, and that will hopefully get us through this new phase in my baby’s life.

I will let you all know how it goes!

Teething Sucks

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Oh help me for I do not know how much more I can handle!

Okay, that is a bit dramatic.  Don’t worry I assure you I am not going to hurt myself or my baby.  I am just having a hard time dealing with the screaming monster that has taken over my child’s body for the past few weeks.  My sweet Lady Bug has never been an “easy baby”.  On the contrary, she has been more of a high needs baby since day one.  However, we have been having a much easier time as she has gained some mobility. With crawling came a whole new baby. 

Rather than spending her days screaming, she would spend time moving around on the floor looking for new and exciting things to play with.  Her favorite things are, as to be expected, not hers.  She likes string, things the dogs have chewed up, and pretty much any choking hazards you can think of.  Ah, the joys of chasing a mobile baby.  At least she wasnt crying all of the time.

Unfortunately, just as she was finding a more content way of being our whole world changed as her top front teeth started to emerge.  Now, she cries most of the day.  When she is not crying she is making strange sucky faces, and even stranger sucky sounds.  She is miserable.  I have tried teething toys, frozen rags, self feeders packed with cold banannas, her Sophie the Giraffe, and even the dreaded Tylenol all to no avail.  Many of the items are so hard to clean that I really dont even want to use them because the few minutes of peace we get are just not worth it.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this is much worse for her than it is for me.  She is in pain.  She is not trying to cause me stress during the day.  However, no matter how many times I tell myself that I still cant stop wishing she would just be happy!  I know that is wrong.  I feel guilty for even thinking it.  I am just so tired.

Her sleeping schedule, if you want to call it that, used to be pretty reliable. Lady Bug would nurse to sleep between 8:30 and 9:00 pm, and wake just enough to switch boobs every two hours. This was working for us. I don’t get undisturbed sleep, but I am not getting out of bed so I’m not complaining. But, that has flown out the window! Now, she actually wakes at night. Switching boobs is no longer enough. She needs me to soothe her, sway with her, and cuddle with her.

I am not a bug cuddler at 2:00 am. Actually, my cuddle instincts don’t kick in until around 6:30 am. That’s right I said it. When my baby is looking to me for comfort in the wee hours of the morning I can’t help but to think, “okay kid that’s enough! You’re hurting and km tired let’s call it even and go back to sleep!”

I actually caught myself, the other night, offering her a hundred bucks to go to sleep. She didn’t, which was good because that would have really sucked! Like, what does a nine month old need a hundred slacker for? She’d probably blow it all on cardboard boxes and notebook paper. Since, she’s always trying to eat ours and we always take them away from her.

Back to the sucking of seething. So, for any moms that don’t know, teething on its own can be a rough situation, but there are also a few complications that come along with teething that really push the whole experience into the next level of suckage!

First, there is the drool! Shirts get soaked. You put a bib on to help sop up some of the drool. Great, now the bib is soaked! Crap, how did drool get on the couch? Seriously, drool is everywhere. But, it gets worse!

Excess drool can cause diareah. Great, now the baby is a walking, or crawling, science experiment with liquids evacuating her body from both ends. But, wait it gets worser!

With runny poop comes red butts. That’s right the teething rash is bound to show up ay some point in this process! So now your beautiful baby is a crying, dripping, squirmin
g poop shooter with a rash. And you, poor momma, are doing your best to keep up with it all on no sleep when all of the sudden the worstest (yes, I know these are not real words!) Thing of all happens.

Baby, whose gums are sore, decides it hurts too bad to nurse! Now, not all babies decide to grab out their picket signs and babble, “teef hurts I no nurse” while crawling back and forth through the living room, but some do. The absolute best thing you can do at this time is remain calm! This can be a peaceful protest! Your wee one is hurting but will come back to the breast!

Nursing strikes are pretty common around the time that teeth start making an appearance. You can check out these tips from kellymom.com. My Lady Bug has not started protesting the boob yet, but if she does I’m ready!

Honestly, teething sucks. It sucks for parents and the children going through the ordeal. However, we will all make it through this stage and be stronger and more grateful for the quiet moments than we were before!

Just think, after that first little tooth breaks through, only 19 more to go…

Sleep Little Baby….Oh Wait You Are Three!

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I adore my Wee Man! He has the biggest personality I have ever witnessed in some one so young. His imagination knows no limits, and his vocabulary is unmatched by most of his peers. I am not bragging about my boy, okay maybe I am a little, but I am stating facts about my fourth child’s amazing abilities.

However, there is a dark side to my sweet boy. When the lights go out at night he is suddenly a ball of energy! We are not talking about a second wind here. No, we are talking full blown hurricane! This boy does not sleep!
Let me give you an example of a typical week in our house. I am giving you a whole weeks because the pattern takes about seven days with him. I am starting with Sunday, but only for convenience the days may not be accurate just the pattern.

Sunday
Wee Man is up when I get up. big Daddy says he was up all night. wee Man is impossible all morning. He is moving at jet pace. Running around the house like a wild man until he sits still.  Usually around nine or ten in the morning he passes out. Wee Man is out until around three in the afternoon.

Monday
Wee Man went to bed around Midnight Sunday night. He got up at some point and came to bed with Big Daddy, Lady Bug, and Me at some point. Thankfully we have a king-sized bed and a side-carred crib!  He wakes up between six or seven in the morning with me.  There is no nap for Wee Man until he crashes right before dinner! Now, he wakes up around eight and is up until 3AM! Big Daddy rests in between starting new movie for Wee Man, and getting him juice.  I sleep with Lady Bug who nurses all night so I am little help.

Tuesday
Wee Man sleeps till 11 AM. He wakes up refreshed and plays happily for most of the day. Bedtime comes around 8PM.  Wee Man is not tired. he comes out every few minutes to play until around midnight. He passes out, but ends up in our bed at some point.

Wednesday
Wee Man is up early again! This time he passes out around 1PM, which seems like.a.decent time, and I plan to wake him up no later than three. Ha ha ha the joke is on me because Wee Man is not easily awakened. If I do manage to get him up he is miserable. I decide to let him sleep.  Wee Man is up until 3 AM!

Thursday
Up at dawn, Wee Man is noticeably tired. The week is catching up with him. He is throwing toys, hitting people, and acting out of character. I wonder how on earth I will make it with this child. I vow to get him to bed on time, but I know even an hour of sleep will keep him up most, if not all, of the night.  I keep him up the whole miserable day, and he goes to sleep at bedtime. Unfortunately, he was so exhausted that he is up two hours later screaming. He wakes up throughout the night.

Friday
Wee Man wakes late. Around 10 Am he wanders out looking tired. Poor thing got a lot of sleep, but it was not quality sleep.  He spends the day tired and once again crashes early. He spends Friday night awake. Wee Man missed dinner, which he does a lot, and only has a grumpy, tired Big Daddy with whom to socialize. 

Saturday
Wee Man is cranky, tired, and stressed.  I know this life is hard on him. I hate what the sleep schedule, or lack thereof, is doing to him. His bubbly personality is able to shine through the.turkey haze of exhaustion. Every one is suffering. Big Daddy is sleep.deprived and cranky, so we are having a cold war. We don’t want to fight in front of the kids so we just don’t speak unless we have to.  Nothing seems good any more.  My mommy guilt is screaming in my war telling me that I am failing terribly. I turn around and great Wee Man passed out! Here we go again!

There you have it. Our typical week. Now, we do a bedtime ritual, when Wee Man is not sleeping before bedtime. We read books, take a bath, and calm down before lying in bed, but there is not a lot of calming my rambunctious three year old.  I honestly believe that many of his behaviour issues would be solved by a predictable sleep schedule.  However, many other like to give us their not so professional advice, which always includes initials like A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. he is three people! He sits still when needed, and I will not label him before he has had a chances to do anything in life. To call him hyper now will only make him thinks he is hyper forever.

I have been looking around on the internet and nearly every site offers the Ferber method as my best bet at training him to sleep. First, who is coming over to hold him down in his bed to let him cry. There is no way my child will just air there and cry. We would have to threaten bodily harm, and even then he probably wouldn’t believe us and stay in bed.  I don’t let him cry.and I don’t hit him. If those are my only options, well then I guess he is not sleeping!

So, any ideas?  Any one out there with a “good sleeper” that can help a momma out?

Has it Been 6 Months Already?

Lady Bug being weighed following her birth

As I sit here with my Lady Bug’s legs hanging off my lap and resting on the couch, I am forced to wonder where the time went.

It was not so long ago that she spent two months crying from 7pm to 2am every night. I don’t want to go back, but I am sad to think that the infancy of my last child (fingers crossed) is coming to and end.

Everyday she grows a bit more distracted. I offer her the breast, which used to be her sole interest, and she kindly refuses in favor of watching the antics of her older siblings.

To make up for her missed meals, she nurses through out the night. I cling to her during the quiet time. I am guilty of picking her up while she is sleeping, and offering her my breast while she is still sleeping. I used to want nothing more than a baby who slept through the night, but now I find comfort in the closeness of her warmth during those silent hours.

A few months ago I would look to the sky and wonder silently why this baby wouldn’t stop crying. Why wasn’t breastfeeding enough? Why wouldn’t she just let me sleep. I almost gave in to the people who tried to convince me to just give her formula because that would make her stop. Now I look to that same sky and hope that time passes slowly. Please, let me not miss a moment. I need to savor each milestone. I need to burn each image in to my brain.

Soon, I will not have a baby. Soon, I will have a toddler whose intrest in me will decline steadily as the months go by.

I saved this post as a draft because I got too busy to finish it.  It was that day that I found Lady Bug’s first tooth.  Those little ridges poking through her swollen, tender gums prove that she is growing up.  While that may seem dramatic, it marks the end of the only life I have known for 13 years.  I have raised one baby after another, each time swearing it was my last, for 13 years!  I have nurtured each the best I could.  I have tries to be the best mom I could be.

Lady Bug is growing up

Now, with a heavy heart I realize that my baby rearing days will soon come to an end.  I will still be a mother, but I won’t have any heads to smell in search of that sweet, innocence found only in newborn scalp, nor will I be searched out when things seem scary.

I am left to wonder what is next.  When she pushes me away for the last time, what will I do?

Will I Ever Sleep Again?

This is my sweet Lady Bug at a couple of weeks old sitting in my most prized baby holder, the swing.

 

Isn’t she cute?  It took exactly the same amount of time that it took my camera’s flash to go off for her to start screaming in that thing.  Day or night. Awake or sound asleep.  That swing did nothing to help her sleep.

This is baby number 5! I really thought I knew the game plan when it came to babies.  Baby is born. Baby is kind of hard for the few week or so, but then magic happens and baby starts sleeping in the swing or the play pen. WRONG.

 Lady Bug came out of my womb knowing exactly where she wanted to be and it’s in momma’s arms.

I have always shared my room with my babies.  Some were in the room longer than others but they all started out close to my bed.  Queen Sas was in my bed from age 1 to about age 6!  She was a different story though because of her terrible night terrors.  I thought I learned a lesson after her, however.  First, don’t do the “ten minute rule,” which is a nasty program that allows baby to CIO for ten minutes.  Second, don’t ever let them get in your bed!

Of course, those rules changed with my Wee Man.  After his hospitalization with RSV at 9 months old, severe reflux, and asthma Big Daddy and I were always sleeping with him.  He was so sick that we spent a lot of nights on the couch with him.  Note the on the couch part.  Not in the bed!

So, I thought I knew the road I was about to travel down.  Apparently not.  Lady Bug came in to this world peacefully.  After her birth Big Daddy held her and visited with grandparents while I napped, and that was the last bit of uninterrupted sleep I got!  She was colicky for the first 2 months. from 7pm to 4 am she cried.  This happened every night.  I slept on the couch with her during that stressful time period.  When the colic passed I was still on the couch with her because she wouldn’t let me put her down.  She didn’t let me put her down EVER!  Day and night she was in my arms, a sling, or a carrier. 

Everything changed one night when we went to sleep on the couch and I was ripped from my slumber by her screams coming from the floor!  My ming was racing as I jumped up and grabbed her.  She looked fine, and her screams lasted about a minute before she was nursing contentedly.  I woke up Big Daddy.  I was seriously panicking, and I was pretty sure that she was hurt.  She was fine.  But I knew that sleeping on the couch was not safe and this proved it.

So what am I doing now?  Bed sharing.  We side-carred her crib to our bed so we wouldn’t have to worry about her falling out, and to allow extra room since Wee Man ends up in our bed every night now.  I spend my nights waking every hour or so with Lady Bug.  She doesn’t wake up completely, mind you.  We usually switch sides and she latches to the other boob and we drift back in to dream land.  It is not so bad.  I know she is safe in my arms. She obviously knows she is safe in my arms since she has never slept a night not in them. 

 

I am just so tired.  Even a partial waking every hour or so seems to be enough to drain me.  Oh well, at least I am not having to get up and mix formula.