Category : Personal Posts

Nutrition Personal Posts School

Are all School Lunches Like This?

At our house, we try to eat 90% healthy. Nothing is “banned” so to speak, though I don’t regularly buy anything that contains HFCS, hydrogenated oils or red dye. I avoid artificial flavors or colors entirely whenever possible. We eat a small amount of lean meats, lots of whole grains and fresh/frozen fruits and veggies.

We eat our fair share of treats too though! I love to bake, and we may have 2 homemade cookies as dessert after dinner occasionally. We even get candy (M&Ms are my son’s favorite) as a treat sometimes, and I might let my kids get a lollipop at the store now and again.

I’ve never claimed to be perfect, but I think I set a good example for my kids. You won’t catch me eating junk food before dinner, and I mind my portion sizes. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of this, and even though my daughter doesn’t have full access to junk, she does a great job of self-regulating. Halloween, Christmas and Easter candy seems to last until the next holiday, and she (and my son) will push away a bowl of ice cream (etc.) if they’ve had enough.

My daughter started preschool 2 1/2 hours a day 2 days a week when she was three and I was not happy that they were serving them things like Chips Ahoy or Oreo cookies and sugar/dye “drink” every day. I volunteered a few times and brought actual juice, and things fresh fruit and whole grain crackers as snack! Anyway, she did the 4-year old program the next year, which was 2 1/2 hours per day, three days per week. For many reasons (including the flippant and dismissive way they were handling a student’s nut allergy!) we pulled her out of the program halfway through the year.

It was a huge blessing, since we ended up finding a preschool-third grade private school that was so fabulous in so many ways that it would take a separate post to talk about it! This program was Thursday 9-2 and Friday 9-3, so snacks were definitely necessary and she ate lunch there. For snack they served things like whole grain crackers and fresh veggies (fruit too when available) that were purchased locally (not from a grocery store!) along with water.

At lunch, they offered the kids water and a fresh veggie to go with their lunch. The kids got to try all kinds of new fresh, raw veggies and ended up liking a lot of them! The school actually did not allow junk food. If you sent candy or something with their lunch, they sent it back home. They didn’t do cupcakes on birthdays either, but kids still enjoyed some creative birthday treats! One parent made carrot muffins, I made fruit kebabs that were a huge hit and were gobbled up!!

We would have loved to send her there for Kindergarten, but at almost 9k/yr, she would have had to choose between Kindergarten or college, LOL! My daughter is now in first grade at a public primary school that is goes through second grade. We looked into lots of private schools before we went through the giant hassle (which I’ve mentioned before & is it’s own post!) to get into this school district. (I’ll preemptively say that homeschooling isn’t for us, with my daughter’s personality it would be a total disaster!)

Fast forward to my daughter starting Kindergarten last year. I packed her lunches like I did for preschool. The “main dish” was usually peanut butter (minus the hydrogenated oil) and 100% fruit spread or Tuna on whole grain bread. Sometimes I’d use a thermos and send dinner leftovers or something else hot. Snacks would be something like whole grain crackers or pretzels, or Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. She’d usually have a piece of cheese and/or yogurt and fresh fruit too. As a treat, I’d put in Crispy Green freeze dried fruit instead of fresh fruit or our new favorite treat GoGo Squeez applesauce, and/or a “dessert” like Stretch Island fruit leather, Stretch Island Fruitabu fruit rolls or a Clif Kids twisted fruit. Rarely, she’d get a cookie etc. if I had recently made some.

We ended up deciding to allow her to buy lunch once every week or two. It was sort of a novelty, and she liked getting in line with friends who bought every day. When we were kids (my husband and I went to school in this county…I was actually in the same school district) you got a ticket, or punch ticket for lunch. If you wanted to buy ice cream, you had to bring the money. Now, the parents add money to the child’s account and the child enters a pin at the cashier to deduct the funds from their account. I’d had lunch with her a few times and noticed a rack behind the cashier, full of prepackaged cookies, chips and other garbage snacks. We quickly found out (when her account balance ran low!) that whether or not the child purchased their lunch, they had free rein to go select whatever junk food they wanted…from Oreos, to fruit by the foot, to all kinds of ice cream.

I actually felt bad for my daughter when I found out about this and reacted with a bit of shock. She had no idea that she was doing anything wrong, or that it cost money! She just said that Mrs. xx (the lunch cashier) “gave” it to her. I’ve been trying to teach her to handle money responsibly, and this made her think that she could just enter her pin and get whatever she wanted free. (When I was a kid, I didn’t understand writing checks in the same way!)

The school does offer a way to mark their account so they can only buy lunch. I decided not to do that. Instead, we gave her cash on the days we decided to allow her to buy a treat. This way she not only had to get permission (the same way she would at home) but she handed over the money. I found out I was able to view her activity online and I did check to see she was following the rules. I’d actually rather she have the responsibility to follow the rules (and deal with the consequences when she came home) than have her try to sneak & get shut down by the cashier (and me never know about it.) We haven’t had any trouble because honestly, she wasn’t trying to be sneaky or get away with anything. She knows that when she’s at school, the grownups there are in charge, and they handed the junk right over!

I definitely think the lunch itself is lacking as well. The entrees are pretty gross, they get canned fruit in teeny cups, and that’s pretty much all. When I’ve been there, there are usually one or two cups of gross looking, dried up baby carrots or raw cauliflower pieces. They are right beside the fruit, so it’s really not clear if you can take both. One day I spied some green beans, so I asked for some. The lunch lady said they don’t usually even offer them because the kids don’t eat them. My husband and I were talking about what lunch was like when we were kids (I swear we’re not that old…it wasn’t that long ago) and we remembered decent chicken nuggets, chicken patties, tacos, mashed potatoes, sometimes fries or tater tots, and hot veggies like green beans, corn and broccoli. Every once in a while they’d have pizza, or a french bread pizza when they served things (like fish sticks) that not everyone liked.

If you bought ice cream, it was either the little cup with the wooden spoon, or the bar with the crunchy pieces on the outside, and you had to bring money for it! A friend whose daughter goes to school in New York told me they are only allowed to purchase ice cream on Fridays.

Now, I’m not saying public schools should control what’s packed in a child’s lunch. It’s up to each parent to decide that. But what business do Doritos, Oreos (and anything packed with dyes and sugar) have being sold in a primary school cafeteria? I do not think that even the most mature 5-7 year old is capable of making choices like that, when they are presented as being free and limitless. Yes, I know that as the parent I could ban her from buying it, but come on. It’s hard for adults to pass by the doughnut table at work when they are dangled in front of our noses. We’re expecting little kids to look at all these goodies (right in front of their faces mind you) and know they can’t have it? While their friend sits beside them eating it?

Then we send them back to the classroom all sugared up and expect them to learn (but don’t worry! They bribe them with candy to behave!) I made the mistake of letting my daughter get a PB&J Lunchable w/fruit as a treat to take to school for lunch. Not normally what I’d feed her, but I figured it was a fun treat…what harm would it do? Well after hours of the horrible, defiant, awful behavior, (complete with tantrums to make a 2-year old watch in awe, slamming, stomping, throwing and screaming) I realized that the Lunchable had contained “berry flavor fruit snacks” which contained loads of sugar and…red #40. We’d already figured out that red #40 makes her totally crazy to the point that she simply cannot control herself at all. As I already said, I don’t regularly buy anything that contains it, but I didn’t “ban” it, especially since it’s in the weirdest stuff (cream cheese flavored toaster strudel? Why is it in that? Yes, I know it’s crap, but I’m okay with buying something like that a couple times a year, especially since there are 4 of us and only 6 in a package.) I think it’s time to ban it entirely.

This has been bugging me since she started Kindergarten, but I figured oh well, what can I do? They’re not going to take junk out of schools just because I say so. What finally set me off to write this is that kids are allowed to choose Gatorade instead of milk at their discretion (yes, dye, sugar water “sports drink.”) That’s another one of those things that yes, I may buy it as a treat if they are sick (one store near me has clear Gatorade), or if we stopped for gas and snack when we were out all day, but it’s a treat, and not an appropriate daily substitute for water in my opinion. The kids love it of course, though 75% of it is thrown away, since they only get about 15 minutes to buy and eat lunch, and aren’t allowed to take it with them.

I just found out (yesterday) that they are being charged an extra $1.00 for the Gatorade, increasing the cost of lunch by 50%…grand total $3.00. Now you all know I’m cheap frugal, and I can pack a fantastic, tasty, nutritious lunch that will be eaten rather than thrown away, for way less than $3.00! I mean jeez, you can get fresh apples, apple juice and a hamburger (plus toy!) for about that at McDonalds!

They did a brief lesson on the food pyramid last year but practice what you preach people! Get the garbage food out of schools! If the teachers want it, keep it in a teacher’s lounge. My child shouldn’t have more/easier access to junk food while she’s at school!

What are school lunches like where you live?

FTC compliance: I was not provided any products I mentioned above, though Amazon product links are affiliate links. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

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Breastfeeding Personal Posts

Breastfeeding…(dun dun DUNNNNN) in PUBLIC! (GASP!)

You may have seen my post about my breastfeeding experiences, but I didn’t say much about nursing in public, A.K.A. “N.I.P.” (aside from the delivery room.) I said I was going to stay away from controversy, and breastfeeding in public seems to be full of it, even amongst breastfeeding supporters! This post is just my usual rambling about what I think. One of my many mottos is “live and let live,” so I really don’t give a Guinea pig’s patootie what you do and I am certainly not intending to shove my opinions down anyone’s throat!

I have heard so many people say they are all for a woman’s right to nurse her baby anywhere…as long as she “covers up.” But what does that even mean? There are lots of covers out there…most remind me of a beautician’s cape/raincoat or something. Some have a rigid collar so Mom can peek and see the baby without being exposed. Some throw a blanket over their shoulder/baby, or others like me wear layers. So what does “covered” mean? I’ve always worn either a nursing top, or a shirt over a tank, so I can pull one up, the other down, and keep my breast and stomach covered (believe me, I’d rather show my milk jug than my postpartum tummy, LOL.) The baby’s face covers the Janet Jackson/Superbowl portion of the whole deal.

It’s possible that someone could catch a glimpse if they were inches from me and staring directly at my chest as the baby unlatched, but I could typically tell when my little ones were getting to that point, and I’d have my other hand ready to yank my shirt down immediately.

I am pretty comfortable nursing anywhere with this method. My kids would not nurse if they were covered. They’d squirm, thrash, squeal, and generally refuse to nurse. With my layer method, I’ve nursed babes to sleep in restaurants (and enjoyed my meal-one handed-in peace and quiet!) and even nursed at the National Zoo. I fact, I’ve had people come close enough to touch the baby’s head, and they still thought s/he was sleeping!

Certainly if you are comfortable with a nursing cover, more power to you. For me, the cape dealie combined with the screeching, uncooperative baby under it feels like a flashing, neon sign advertising what I’m doing. When I’m “N.I.P.” I generally avoid eye contact with anyone, and if I feel (or see out of the corner of my eye) any nasty looks, I’ll talk to the baby, engage my daughter in conversation and/or stare off into the distance and smile sweetly. I’ve never had anyone say anything to me, and I don’t know what I’d do if someone did. The idea makes my heart pound and my cheeks flush, but I’d probably just end up crying from embarrassment!

I’ve nursed a baby while grocery shopping as well. Again, it ends up looking like I’m holding a sleeping baby, and no one’s shopping is disrupted. The other option? Carrying a screeching baby, purse and coupon book through the store, herding my daughter along (pretty soon I will be holding 1 and herding 2!), abandoning my cart while trying to find a place to nurse the baby. Many times I’d end up in the uncomfortably hot or cold car, with whiny, bored other children. Only to go back in and start all over. Both of my kids tended to want to nurse a bit more for comfort when we were away from home, and they often ended up dozing afterwards, which is a total win-win.

For whatever reason, I don’t care much about what strangers think. I’m not doing anything wrong, I’m not showing anything, and I’m doing the most convenient, least disruptive thing for everyone involved. If some stranger ends up telling their neighbor about the crazy breastfeeding lady at the store later, who cares? I’ll never know, I’ll never see them again, and they’ll forget about it by tomorrow.

I feel different about people I know. Whether I have a guest at my home, or I’m a guest in someone else’s home, I will say “do you mind if I nurse here?” Generally the answer is “oh no, go right ahead!” If someone preferred I didn’t, I would definitely ask if there was another place I could go to sit (that’s never happened.) I can’t get comfortable nursing around my in-laws (they did not nurse and were not nursed either), so I end up hiding out when they are visiting while I’m nursing. My kids aren’t typically nurse and done babies, they graze a bit, doze off a little etc. If I try to rush them to get back to the visit, it just leads to a ticked off baby and trips up and downstairs.

My Mom is funny because she will shoo my Dad away/out of the room if I’m nursing, but it doesn’t bother me (or him) one bit. *shrug* I know I made my sister’s boyfriend uncomfortable when I nursed my son across the dinner table in a little cafe, but again, he couldn’t see a thing, and we were all able to enjoy our meals (it was freezing outside and there was simply nowhere else for me to go.) He didn’t say anything, nor did my sister, so hopefully it didn’t bother them too much!

I found it interesting when I went to a “nurse-in” at the mall, and saw everyone’s various nursing styles. There were people with stomachs and breasts totally exposed, some with shirts pulled down and upper breasts exposed, and others who were more inconspicuous like me. None of it bothers me a bit personally. You could take your shirt completely off to nurse and use your nursing bra as a lasso to wrangle your other child…while I might think you were a little weird, I wouldn’t be “offended.” What makes me uncomfortable is making someone else uncomfortable. My instinct is to look at the baby, which makes it look like I’m trying to sneak a peek at the goods, LOL. So I end up having no idea where to look, and getting very squirmy while trying to have a conversation with a nursing mama.

At the “nurse in” I couldn’t help but think that the most “free” breastfeeding mamas were still showing far less skin than at least half of the teenage girls walking around the mall (that are supposedly “fully clothed”) and I won’t even talk about people’s bathing suit coverage! The way I see it, if you see something that offends you, look away. When I took my kids to the carnival, there was a “young man” wearing a shirt that read in big, bold letters “I may be shy, but I have a big …” only his shirt had the d word that rhymes with kick instead of “…” I find that (and those “dangly things” people put on the back of their pickup trucks) to be rather tactless, distasteful, and just plain yucky. So, I look away. Unfortunately having a child who can read makes it more difficult!! For the record, I’m not a total prude, if he wanted to wear that to a bar or something, fine, but why would you wear that at 6 P.M. somewhere that’s full of little kids? Bah.

The other “issue” is that people have different “cut offs” for when a baby is “too old” to nurse in public. Again, I don’t really care what other people do. Though both of my kids nursed until almost two (and my son nursed a lot) no one other than my husband and Mom really knew they were “still nursing” since I was able to distract/delay them a bit as they got older. Well, except the time my 16 month old daughter saw an infant nursing and suddenly decided she needed to “nuss…NUSS!!” right NOW! I thought it was cute, but I realize a lot of people think it’s “gross.”

I was reading a book by Dr. Leman, and I thought it was pretty decent until I read a seemingly random paragraph basically saying that any mother who nursed past 12 months was doing it for selfish reasons and essentially needed some therapy. OK yes, I know I’m taking liberties here but it was enough to make my blood boil and cause my hubby to have to listen to a 10 minute rant about what an idiot this guy is, followed by a vow to boycott him forever. We were outside working in the yard with the radio on last week and some commercial about his wife came on. My husband was confused since I started a mumbling rant about her idiot husband, tee-hee!

Anyhoo, the most recent breastfeeding statistics for Maryland I could find, actually show Maryland’s rates as slightly higher than the national. I find that truly shocking since it seems so rare (and really, the rates are still pretty abyssmal.)

Other than the nurse in, I recall two three occasions where I saw another mom breastfeeding. I almost don’t count the first since it was in the “nursing lounge” a.k.a. bathroom at Nordstrom. Another time, we were eating at a festival at the farm near our house, and saw a mom nursing. I was so surprised and pleased to see another nursing mom, that I think I looked at her a few seconds too long, and she gave me a dirty look. Whoops.

The last time was actually not too long ago at Target. It was a rare trip without the kiddos, and as I was walking out the door, I saw a Mom with 2 other kids, what looked like her Mom, nursing a baby under one of the big cape cover dealies. Again, I was so surprised, that I gave her a double take. I’m not the type to say anything to anyone, but I made the split second decision to tell her she was full of the awesome and to rock on (not my exact words.) We ended up chatting for a few minutes and I left feeling all warm & fuzzy. Really, I thought about how a quick kind word would probably stick with me for the rest of my life, whereas I’d probably take the double take (like I gave her) as negative.

Are you comfortable nursing in public? Do you feel different nursing around strangers vs. people you know?

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Motherhood Personal Posts

Mom vs. “The Man”

I know I probably was/am being overly sensitive, and I know this ended up kind of all over the place. I’ve been thinking about this lately for some reason and wanted to get it of my chest!

A year or more ago, my husband and I were somewhere (darned if I remember where) making small talk with a “businessman” type. Most likely somewhere along the way with all our mortgage business. It was brought up that I am a SAHM and y’know, how easy I have it and stuff. Uhh…yeah.

Well I made the mistake of (HALF-jokingly) saying hey, at least you get to go to work! He chortled, gave my husband a knowing, bless-her-heart-isn’t-she-stupid look, and said “yeah, ’cause we’re in here drinking martinis, har har har!” I know my husband at least smirked, if he didn’t actually chuckle, and it took all of my strength to keep from pouncing on the guy and strangling him.

Let me say this: I know that working moms have it hard. I’m not touching SAHM vs. Working Mom with a 10-foot pole! What I’m talking about here is “The Mom” (“stay at home,” “work at home,” “work outside the home,” whatever) vs. “The Man.” I don’t mean a man who gets up with the kids at night, empties the dishwasher, does laundry, takes care of the kids, publicly praises his wife and makes her feel loved, valued and worthwhile. I’m talking about men like this jerk who seem to think that SAHMs do nothing but sit on their butts and eat bon-bons, and that being a mother is no different than being a father.

I haven’t always been a SAHM. I worked (worked my butt off in fact) for years, took care of myself, lived alone and paid my own bills. I’m guessing that ANY Mom (working or not) will agree that the days of working full time and taking care of only yourself were a cake walk compared to motherhood.

Here’s something we’ve all experienced in one way or another. While my husband was out of town, I made the kids spaghetti, then cleaned up while still trying to make myself something to eat (I don’t like spaghetti, I know that’s weird. I like other pasta, just not spaghetti. I’ll eat it if there’s nothing else, but not by choice.) While hearing “shoesh ON, SHOESH ON! AH-SHIDE! ASHIDE DECK!!” (shoes on, shoes on, outside, outside deck to those who don’t speak 2-year old) I rushed and put my food on a (GASP!) paper plate to eat outside so the kids could play. Naturally, my son now wanted my dinner more than he wanted to play (my daughter ate half my chicken too.)

This is what was left:

so much for my food

(Sorry for the cell phone pic) So, I had to clean it up, hose off the chair and deck, and finally sat down to eat what was let of my cold food. It was then that Goldilocks (A.K.A. my son) decided the temperature was just right, and came back for round two. *sigh* P.S. Yes, I realize that a perfect mother’s children would be learning French while she prepared a 4 course gourmet meal, which they all would sit down and enjoy together, then they would patiently wait while she cleaned up the dishes (or they would do them, or she would leave them etc.) Yeah, guess what? I’m not that Mom. When Daddy’s gone, we make due.

I betcha 10 bucks that guy sat down and ate all his food (while it was hot) that day.

Now, I know there are some fantastic men out there who work high stress jobs to provide for their families, actively participate in their child’s upbringing, come home and help their wives (whether or not their wives also work) and so forth. Again, I’m pretty sure this guy wasn’t one of them. For “The Man” his life isn’t much changed by children, aside from expecting a ticker-tape parade if he happened to change a diaper!

In motherhood, there are no performance reviews, no bonuses, no paychecks, no awards ceremonies, no praising emails from a customer to your boss. Motherhood has to be the most thankless job on the face of the earth. (Naturally, a sweet hug, kiss or “Thank you Mommy” from a tiny person makes it all worth it.)

My husband isn’t lovey dovey at all, and is a man of few words, but I think that short times alone with the kids make him realize that it’s not easy. Especially since all he really does in that time period is keep them alive! Moms are also cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, dishes etc.

I don’t think some husbands realize what an impact small things make, to make their wife feel valued and appreciated. If my husband had said something as simple as “well my wife takes great care of our family and her job sure isn’t easy,” instead of appearing to agree with the jerk in question, it would have made my day (and probably his later, hee hee.) I recently read “30 Ways to be Intimate With Your Wife” on Going Green With Noah, and I think it should be required reading for all men.

I could be totally wrong…maybe the man’s wife was a working Mom and he thought she worked like crazy, so that’s why he thought SAHMs had it easy? Or maybe she had a nanny and a housekeeper and spent more time with her personal trainer than her kids. I don’t know.

My point is, no matter what the situation, motherhood is hard. It reminds me of a scene from S*x and The City 2 (a rare chick-flick scored from Netflix and watched after the kids were in bed!) when Miranda gets Charlotte to admit that motherhood is overwhelming and hard. “Perfect mom” Charlotte has an incident earlier in the movie when she hides in the pantry to cry after trying to talk on the phone and make cookies, while one child cries, the other makes a mess, and she finally melts down. Luckily for her, the nanny chooses that moment to arrive! While having cocktails with Miranda, Charlotte exclaims that she feels this way even with a full-time nanny, and she wonders how women without help do it (Miranda says she doesn’t know, but they deserve a medal!)

Don’t tell anyone, but motherhood is even harder than I thought it would be.

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Personal Posts Potty Training

Slacker Mom, or Genius? My Potty Training “Method”

By nature, I’m a planner, and I have a hard time with things that are out of my control (though I think I am getting much better about this as I get older.) In fact, I had a moment of panic while still pregnant with my first child, about potty training! So, it’s really funny that I ended up being the way I am, when it comes to potty training!

As I said in the Mailbox Mondays post this week, my approach is different than most. When I got into the cloth diapering “world,” I started hearing the term “potty learning” instead of “potty training.” I sorta scrunched up my face because the term sounded a little hokey to someone who had never heard it before, but that’s really what I have done.

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Breastfeeding Personal Posts

Breastfeeding: Two Babies, Two Experiences

When my daughter was born, breastfeeding didn’t come naturally. It was awkward & weird, especially with a whole roomful or virtual strangers in the delivery room. Fortunately my L&D nurse (who was someone I went to High School with-not as awkward as I was afraid it would be) helped me express a bit of colostrum and get her latched on.

As is so typical, my daughter lost quite a bit of weight rather quickly (well within the range of normal) and I bet it was largely because her birth weight was so grossly inflated by the bags upon bags of fluid I was given during labor. I didn’t have a single decent postpartum nurse after her birth, and I was very quickly told that I “had” to give her formula and if I didn’t, the pediatrician would “make” me. I was pretty beaten down after a crappy birth experience and zero sleep in days thanks to all the “checking” on me or my room mate, and I gave in. She took about 1/4 ounce of formula and refused any more. The photo of my husband feeding her the bottle is the only one I have of them in the hospital and I can’t stand to look at it. Not because I judge those who use it, but because of how I refused to stand up for myself and allowed myself to be bullied throughout the whole experience.

She was born just after midnight on a Sunday and we had to beg to go home on Monday-about 39 hours after her birth. My son was born 2 hours earlier, before midnight on a Saturday, and Monday was the normal time to be discharged-about 41 hours after his birth-go figure. A pediatrician came in the hospital room and reamed me out because “we fought so hard to get the two days in the hospital” and here I go setting woman-kind back 50 years by wanting to leave. Plus, I was a “first time mom” and “breastfeeding” (said like I had two heads.)

When my son was born, it was still awkward to be exposed in front of a bunch of people, but he latched like an old pro in the delivery room. It was like he was born to breastfeed, and a nurse told me it was because only one of us was learning this time. I had one fantastic postpartum nurse who told me not to worry when I asked how much weight he’d lost, that was why babies were born with chub! He actually didn’t lose any weight worth mentioning, and I do think it was because I didn’t have IV fluids during labor. I did still get the threat of formula though. At our hospital they make you fill out a chart with when they eat, how long/much and when they have wet or dirty diapers. They didn’t bring me the chart until he was more than 12 hours old, so they got all confused reading the chart, thinking he hadn’t had a wet diaper etc etc. I cleared that up and they left me alone!

Breastfeeding my daughter was so incredibly painful that for weeks, I would cry when she got hungry. I used soothies gel pads (now made by Lansinoh) and they helped, but it was still torture. I had just a few “yowza, that smarts” moments with my son, but any pain was short lived. I did see the lactation consultant in the hospital, but it was a total joke. She didn’t check latch or help in any way. What she did was fit me for a nursing bra, put it on me, latch it, say “that fits” and left me standing there saying “uuhhh…my breasts aren’t in it.” (She had the cups way up over my chest.) Even that was disastrous since I ended up with a band too big and a cup too small, which just got worse as my size settled down over a few weeks (note: my personal recommendation is to stick with stretchy sleep/sport type nursing bras for the first few weeks, and wait to get bras with band/cup sizes.)

My daughter was born Sunday after midnight, and my milk didn’t come in until Wednesday night. I have fibrocystic breasts, so they are normally lumpy. Wednesday, they became soft and smooth, and boiling hot, then turned rock hard shortly after! With my son, I never experienced a rush of engorgement, my milk just came in quickly.

A common theme for both is that neither cared for the bottle. We tried when they were newborns and they did OK, but we waited to long to try again and they refused. They’d rather go hungry. I suspect that my milk has excess lipase, so I hope to try to scald expressed milk next time. I know pumping/bottles aren’t necessary, but it would be nice to be able to go to the grocery store by myself without worrying about having a hungry baby at home. (My kids didn’t read the books saying they were “supposed to” nurse every 2 hours, LOL.)

Both kids were/are tiny and quickly fell off the growth charts (my daughter wasn’t on it until 2 1/2, my son got on it at his 2-year checkup!) Being a first time mom and breastfeeder, this meant she was subjected to numerous invasive and painful tests and procedures. Even though she was just fine per WHO growth standards, exceeding milestones and showing no symptoms, most doctors have no idea how to look at the baby, not the scale.

We had an old school doctor (who should have retired a long time ago) tell us to just give her cereal and formula in a bottle (at two weeks old.) Luckily we found the pediatrician we see now, who was far more conservative and said he’d “take IQ over weight any day.” He is far from perfect; he doesn’t really understand night or extended nursing (I just keep that to myself!) but he never mentioned formula. When my son followed the same patterns, he chalked it up to genetics and we went about our lives.

As my daughter ate more food after she turned one, she gradually and naturally reduced her nursing frequency. My son on the other hand, was always a constant nurser! Our daughter was/is a high needs and rather difficult child, and we had no interest in having another any time soon. At my annual checkup when she was 18 months old, my doctor prescribed combination birth control pills. She said that the estrogen could “reduce milk supply” but I really wasn’t worried. Little did I know that it wouldn’t “reduce” my supply, it would make it disappear! In hindsight, I know I could have stopped the pills and relactated, but I developed a nursing aversion and found it to be so godawful torturous, I just wanted it to be over. She continued to dry nurse (mostly before bed) for 3 1/2 months, and finally weaned at 21 1/2 months old. I suppose it was slightly bittersweet, but I was beyond ready, and relieved to be done.

When I had my son, I was bound & determined to let him self wean, but again at around 18 months (no birth control this time), I started to find nursing physically and emotionally irritating. I had resumed my cycles when he was around 15 1/2 months old (10 with my daughter) but I wonder if the aversion started when my fertility actually returned? When he was 22 months old, I became pregnant with the baby I’m currently cooking. I didn’t have a lot of soreness initially, and I ate oatmeal, drank water and took supplements, determined to get through the pregnancy without losing my milk supply.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, around 8 or so weeks, my milk supply dwindled, then disappeared. He pretty suddenly stopped asking to nurse; he had been nursing first thing in the morning, at least 1-2 more times before lunch, 2-3 times in the afternoon, once or twice in the evening, and again before bed, so 6-9 times a day. He would latch on now and again, either falling asleep right away, or making a face and pulling off. He started to go days, then a week or more between nursings, eventually nursing for the last time a few days before his second birthday.

I do miss that special bond and cuddle time, but the nursing aversion has again made me rather glad to be finished. The hardest part for us is that my son is a non-napper. He will fall asleep in the car, and he’d fall asleep nursing, but I just can’t put him down. He had gotten into the habit of falling asleep during his afternoon nursing, and I’d just hold him and let him sleep. When he stopped nursing, we didn’t have that time anymore. For a month or so, he’d be really crabby, then fall asleep in the car when we picked my daughter up from school. Unfortunately that’s less than an hour round trip, including waiting in line, and I’m not able to transfer him from the car to his bed.

When school let out, we lost that nap too, so he just gets incredibly crabby in the afternoon. When swim lessons began, he’d fall asleep on the 15 minute car ride (around 6 PM) and he was so tired, he’d sleep while I took him out of the car, walked down to the pool and sat down through the 45 minute swim lesson! On non-swim lesson days, he’s started to fall asleep face down on the floor, on my lap, anywhere! I still can’t get him to nap in bed though!

I’m hoping that nursing baby #3 will go as smoothly as nursing my son, but I’m still worried about the nursing aversion I seem to develop around 18 months. I want the baby to wean on his/her own terms, but I hate for my last memories of nursing to be horrible and awful ones!

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