Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On the subject of Breastfeeding

So, I have to rescind my harsh commentary about "Psycho Breastfeeding Moms." The truth is, breastfeeding does kind of make you crazy. First of all, it's a lot of work. Well, in some ways it's easier, but it puts all the work on the mom. Second of all, it is truly a wonderful experience. Isla never has been one to fall asleep in our arms (it rarely happens), but if I can nurse her to sleep, voila- baby sleeping in my arms. Just like I imagined motherhood would be- holding my sleeping baby in the rocking chair. I want all the other new moms I know to try and succeed at breastfeeding. If you do, it will become your new "happy place."

So, I wasn't planning on going all the way (to the 1 year mark when cow's milk can be introduced). But, here's what happened. Back in June I experimentally got out one of our free-sample cans of formula, just to see what would happen. Would Isla drink this stuff? Maybe she'd like it more. I shook up the bottle, and gave it a whiff. The smell of the stuff made me gag. Then I tried a tini-tiny bit. Awful. Well, I thought there must be something wrong. Maybe this is the yucky brand. Offered it to Isla- rejected. The smell of the formula gave me "smell flashbacks." I felt like I still smelled it in the bottle after several cleanings.

So, I trucked on... at 6 months I decided to open up free-sample can #2, a different brand. It smelled and tasted equally as gross. Oh no! I didn't sign up for a whole year of this. Formula does not smell or taste like anything anyone should ever consume. Why did I not know this?! Is this just something people don't talk about? If I can't handle tasting it- I can't give it to my baby. Why isn't there a middle ground of some kind of semi-good tasting formula out there? But, the truth is all the brands are pretty much the same, and gross. Breast milk tasks like really sweet cow's milk- it is nummy. Isla's used to the good stuff, and she's a picky little baby. There's no way I'm going to be able to ever get her to drink that stuff. Plus, I'd rather stick my head in her diaper pail for 10 minutes than make a bottle of formula. And if she drinks that smelly stuff, she'll spit up, and then I'll have to smell it on her clothes, and her, and me, not to mention the diapers. Then, I'd lose my sweet-smelling baby. NOT WORTH IT!

Insert disclaimer: I think formula is a wonderful invention to any and all mothers who need to use it for whatever the reason- sleep, sanity, etc. There can occur many complications when attempting to breastfeed, and formula is a great back-up. Especially for moms who go back to work.

But, I am a stay-at-homer. And it's working for us. And as we add solids, it gets to be less and less "all on me."

The thing that makes you a little bit crazy, is that breastfeeding your baby is one of those things you do, but nobody really rewards you for it, or really even acknowledges it. Nobody really cares whether or not you give your baby breastmilk or formula. Nobody tells me "good job," and every day I work hard at it- pumping 2x, feeding the baby, sanitizing all the equipment. Well, Isla thanks me in a way. Jason thanked me a couple times, but only because I asked him to. I thought at her 6 month doctor's appointment, maybe the Doctor would burst into the room and exclaim, "Wow! That's the healthiest baby I've ever seen." If I had a boss for this job I call "mom," I imagine my semi-annual review would go something like this: "Amanda, I know you had some rough times there in the beginning, but you toughed it out. Now you've really gone above and beyond- Breastfeeding your daughter for more than 6 months! Impressive! You get a 10% raise!"

Sometimes I feel like a need a breastfeeding cheerleader. So, here's what I like to do when I need a cheer, and a smile. I imagine all my breastfeeding mommy friends- Maria, Molly, Jen, Liz, Heather. But, I picture them Thumbalina size- about 3 inches tall, and in cheerleading uniforms. They're all standing on the side table next to me cheering me on. They wave their pom poms. They do high kicks. One of them will do that weird cheerleader thing where she quickly straightens her arm above her head while taking a step forward. Thanks for cheering me on my tiny imaginary friends. See, I told you breastfeeding makes you crazy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Isla's Room

I just wanted to finally share a few photos of Isla's nursery. I was really into getting this room together and perfect for the arrival of Isla, and very excited to show it off to everyone. Somehow, the baby made the baby-room seem less important.

But, I still want to share. The furniture is the Stokke line. I chose it because I just love that oval crib. The crib had limited bedding choices, and I liked the "green tails" fabric the best. So, I picked the rest of the decor based on those bright greens and oranges from the fabric. Can you spot the cute baby in the photos?

The Great Canning Project

After I pestered my Dad a few times to bring me some jars of Lecho (Lecho: A Hungariam stew base used to make Goulash, Chicken Paprikash, and other traditional Hungarian dishes) and peaches from Peoria, IL (my hometown), he suggested we can some of my very own jars when they were in San Antonio.

So, I made sure we had lots of jars ready by the time my parents touched ground in Texas. Then began the great quest for a deep pot. It needed to be deeper than the quart size mason jars to seal the lids and preserve the contents. We narrowly avoided day-long wild-goose chase by borrowing our neighbor Hugh's big Gumbo pot.

Next was the gathering of produce. Dad deamed the peaches at Central Market too expensive. So we tried the Pearl Farmer's Market on Saturday morning, but there were no peaches nor acceptable tomatoes. While Jason ran home from the Market, Isla and I were dropped off at home for nap time. Then mom and dad continued their hunt- next stop, the Olmos Farmer's Market. They had peaches, but they were too small. Luckily as Jason was running home, he spotted a peach-stand 1 mile from our house, called my parents, and they were hot on the trail-peaches from Virginia! They were so sweet we halved the amount of sugar in the recipe! After a quick stop by the HEB for the tomatoes, mom and dad returned home and began to stew.

After all their hard work and effort- I have my very own stash of peaches, Lecho, and pasta sauce. They're so lovely, I just like looking at them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Isla Rose, 6 months old

Okay, so I am overdue for a blog post. I'll give you 3 new ones in a row.

I can't believe Isla is a 1/2 year old already. That's ridiculous. Grandma and Grandpa L. came to San Antonio to celebrate the 1/2 birthday with us. They brought Isla a gift- her very own dump truck!

Isla is getting to be such a silly bug right now. The funniest thing she does is sniffing. She breathes in and out rapidly through her nose with the funniest little scrunched up face. She realized she can both sniff and cough at will. But she thinks it's really funny if you sniff back at her and can have a 3-4 turn sniffy sniff exchange with you. Isla has found her squeal and does cute girly squeals as means of "talking."

Isla can sit up better now, but if you leave her be, she topples forward and conks her head. We had one of the most successful post-baby dinners out with Isla sitting in the restaurant high chair. She enjoys sitting in her Ikea high chair with us at home too. She's much happier now that she can see what's going on, and be a part of the dinner conversation. Since Isla got good at rolling over, she started working towards crawling. She can rotate around on her belly. And she does a few reps of baby push-ups and butt lifts several times a day in hopes of one day taking off.

We had a rough couple of weeks as we headed towards the 1/2 year mark, and realized that Isla was dropping her third daily nap- the 3:30/ 4 o'clock nap that kept her going until bedtime. But,
it's officially gone now, and I hate to say it so soon and jinx myself- but I think we have a 10 and 2 nap schedule- yeh! We've had a couple of good days on the 10 and 2 plan, with a much less cranky Isla. It's so much easier to determine whether she's hungry or tired when we're on a schedule. But, no matter how cranky Isla gets, I have to count my lucky stars we have a baby who sleeps 12 hours a night at 6 months.

Oh, I was wrong about the 15 lbs at 5 months. At her 6 month check-up she was 14lbs 13 oz and 24 3/4 inches long. That's right, this little 2 foot tall person with a tuft of chick fluff for hair bosses me around all day.

The best toys are non-toys. Now I realize why all plastic bags must have the warning "This is not a toy." Babies love plastic bags. High- interest items include plastic lids, Iphones, the remote, my eye-glasses, and all packaging. It's crazy to see that spark in her eye when she spots an item within arms reach that she's not supposed to have.