Nearly 10 months (actually nearly 11 months)

Very nearly!  He’s going to be 10 months tomorrow, holy shizzle!  Currently he is sitting in my lap watching me type, about to pounce, so this post will take a while but… yep, there he goes, he wants that mouse!

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Well, that first bit was drafted nearly a month ago – yeesh, has it been that long? So this post is the “nearly 11 months” lumped in with the previous one. He’s going to be 11 months on Monday!

So, what’s happened since 9 months? So much! He is really mobile now and very vocal. The crawling is still an odd sort of crab-like variation of the cross-crawl, so his left leg is dragged under his body a bit and his right goes out at the side to plant his foot flat.  He’s very fast though, and occasionally he’ll crawl a bit on all fours, with both feet flat, or alternatively he’ll crawl normally once or twice. I’ve been taking him to see a chiropractor to see if we can sort out his crawling, and it has helped a lot, but I very much doubt he’ll ever do a normal cross-crawl permanently before he walks.  He stands very well now, and will let go and stand unassisted for a few seconds at a time, smiling to himself in triumph.  His motor skills are good, and he can grab really tiny things between finger and thumb as well as larger things with both hands.  Recently he acquired a rugby ball and has been throwing it around and chasing after it, it’s very cute.  I remember about a month ago he discovered that his little soccer type ball makes a ‘boing’ noise when you throw it, and he was absolutely delighted!  He’s had that ball since he was about four months, but he only just discovered the noise is associated with throwing the ball.  It’s nice to see these little discoveries.  He gets into every drawer and cupboard at his level to the extent that we’ve had to finally do some baby-proofing. I think I’ve probably bought every type of baby-proofing lock/latch/device on the market and we still haven’t gotten around to installing them all.  So he opens the drawers and pulls out the wooden spoons and turkey baster and clingfilm and all sorts of random stuff.  He’s also started putting things in places, so I’ve found his rugby ball has been deposited back into his toybox and random toys or his sippy cup have ended up in the bottom drawer in the kitchen.  He unpacks the plastics cupboard on a daily basis.  It’s all about emptying things at the moment, so if there are smaller containers or lids or other items in a larger container, his mission is accomplished as soon as it has been tipped out on the floor.  I take him outside with me when I hang up washing and he sits at my feet and tips the pegs out of the plastic bucket. Endless entertainment!

I took the Dude to an anthroposophical doctor, mainly for his eczema, and we formulated a plan of attack.  I got him an anthroposophical medicine (like homepathic only more refined) which he has three times daily, plus some calcium compound morning and night, to help his teeth.  In addition, if it’s an imbalance in the gut, I’ve given him a course of probiotics daily in his porridge.  I’ve got the most amazing cream, made by Graham’s, with colloidal oatmeal as the active ingredient, as well as some other creams like goats milk and rescue remedy.  I haven’t really been eating much dairy, not drunk milk in a long time, and I think that’s helped both me and him.  So his skin has improved amazingly, it’s such a relief!  It’s still itchy unfortunately, but it’s under control now, which is great.  And of course taking to the chiropractor regularly has had an impact I’m sure.

Another big milestone was reached a few weeks ago.  He had his first fever!  It was due to teething, his eighth tooth coming through, and it only got to 38.2, but still, I was impressed.  I could see his body just going through the motions, so efficiently processing, the fever just doing its job.  For a whole day he didn’t really want to play and just fed and whinged and slept and cried and whinged and was generally annoying, but because he was so hot I could easily forgive him.  I knew it wouldn’t last long, so I just gave him homepathics and fed him when he wanted and spent a lot of time lying down with him.  At first I was resentful that Mr Chewbacca went out (it was a Saturday night, St Patrick’s Day, good friend’s birthday and other good friend doing World’s Greatest Shave), but later I was very glad as he was too drunk to be woken when Dude woke and cried three times during the night.  In fact at one point Dude was crying loudly right next to Mr Chewbacca’s face and he didn’t even stir.  It was annoying at one point when Mr Chewbacca decided to snore loudly, just as Dude was drifting back off to sleep, so I had one hand on Dude and was hitting Mr Chewbacca in the face, holding his nose and twisting his head from side to side with the other.  Now I know what you’re thinking, who co-sleeps with a drunkard, right?  Yeah, probably technically against the guidelines, but I seriously didn’t think he was affected, he seemed fine when he came home, and the Dude sleeps next to me anyway.  He has been so dead tired recently, not getting enough sleep, due partly to his own crazy body clock but also to the fact that Dude is waking up earlier. Anyway, the fever was gone less than 24 hours later and when we woke the next morning, everything seemed back to normal and the tooth had come through.

And yes, the inevitable has happened, no more sleeping in for us, Dude is getting up early like normal kids!  He is waking around 7 these days, and I’m trying to get him in bed by 7 at night as I know he’ll sleep 12 hours given the opportunity, but it’s been a real chore to get him to sleep recently.  The feeding to sleep is getting really tiresome, mainly because the majority of the time he doesn’t really want it, but it’s the only way he can go to sleep.  He squirms around, makes grunting noises and is always too full.  So then he turns over and comes off the boob, and then sits up and chats and crawls into his cot and all over me, going everywhere head first as he is so dead tired his head just wants to make him lie down.  He fights sleep til the bitter end! Some nights this week it’s taken me well over an hour to get him down.  But the good news is, once he’s down, he (touch wood!!) hasn’t been waking, or has been going a good couple of hours before waking.  And when he does wake and go in to get him back down again, he goes down again very fast, definitely ready to be asleep.  So things are shifting, vaguely closer to normal/happy.

He suddenly wants to eat a lot more, which is great. I’m doing a fair bit of spoon-feeding, mainly because the baby-led solids are so difficult to do without totally trashing the floor.  I still give him chunks of food, rice cakes, fruit and veg, other snacks and things, but I’ve been cooking up just simple pasta and two vegies and freezing it in portions.  He’s also been having some millet porridge for breakfast which he’s been eating all of for just the last week or so, since his big fever transition. I’m getting a bit more lax with what I let him eat, so he has had the teensiest taste of my yoghurt, which he loved, and I usually give him a couple of crusts of my morning toast, if he’s awake when I’m eating it, which he also loves.  I figure if there’s a trace of butter or vegemite on it, it’s not really bad, and it’s good that he gets used to more variety in taste.  I made some humous the other week and put a little too much garlic in it, but I let him try some and he really liked it, I was so surprised!  I still haven’t given him any meat or cheese or egg or other types of full on protein, mainly because I don’t think his body really needs to deal with foods that complex yet, but I would like to give him some actual protein, so I’ve bought some chick peas and lentils and will work out what to do with them at some point.

The other big thing that’s happened with the Dude recently is that the holes in his teeth (have I mentioned them before?) have gotten bigger and then just a week ago he chipped one!  The enamel/structure of those teeth is obviously compromised and I’m suspecting that’s the cause of the decay more than anything, as the chip just goes straight into the spot of decay.  The fact that the spots are slap bang in the centre of each front tooth says to me there’s something weak about their structure as well.  I wondered whether all my prenatal nutrition had done something bad to them, and I shuddered thinking all that icecream and chocolate and dodgy food I ate when pregnant might have had an effect.  Not to say I didn’t eat healthily most of the time – if anything I ate healthier when pregnant than any other time in my life, mainly because anything with acid or dairy or sugar gave me shocking reflux and I had these bizarre cravings for steamed vegies and salads, especially in the first trimester.  So yeah, it’s hard to believe something as simple as nutrition could be the only contributing factor to his teeth being compromised. When he chipped it, we realised it was time to find a dentist.  Mr Chewbacca was saying just take him the first place you can find, although preferably a children’s dentist.  I, in typical fashion, secretly sought out a holistic dentist and booked him in.  As luck would have it, they had an appointment on the Monday, which was the soonest we could get him into a regular dentist anyway.

So on Monday, despite having no money at all, I took the Dude along to this holistic dentist in Neutral Bay.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I’d read up online so I was hoping for the best. I knew they’d say my feeding him to sleep was a bad thing as the milk would be staying on the teeth all night and breastmilk does have lots of sugar in it.  We saw the loveliest female dentist who he took a shine to (he rarely doesn’t take a shine to people though) and she did agree with me about the feeding to sleep.  She said there’s not a lot to be done as it’s impossible to get him to keep his mouth open and keep still for enough time for her to drill away the decay and seal off what’s left of his teeth.  She gave me a referral to a paediatric dentist but warned me that although they are great, they are mainstream, and will probably recommend a general anaesthetic to do the drilling and stuff.  She said she personally wouldn’t subject her children to that at this age, and I said I doubt I would allow it either.  She said the decay is quite soft and probably going to get worse.  There were a raft of questions about other influences, vaccinations, nutrition, the pregnancy, the birth, illnesses, medications, but of course I haven’t done any bad stuff in respect to all that.  Needless to say she was impressed!  I will take him back there in about six months, as she said he should be able to sit still enough by then for her to do something, if needed.

Just as we were finishing up, another male dentist walked past and she called him in to ask his opinion.  Turns out this guy is something of an expert in holistic dentistry and been around for quite a long time.  I connected with him immediately.  He was serious but kind, and he immediately began to do some cranial stuff to Dude who is used to all that by now.  He asked me a few questions about the pregnancy, specifically how my relationship was during that time.  I said fine, if anything, better than at any other time.  So he asked me if I’d had any other stresses during early pregnancy.  And then it dawned on me. I had the most stressful job of my life in the first trimester, and experienced probably one of the most traumatic, emotional situations of my life at work.  It still upsets me now when I think about it.  He asked if I’d been treated for that, and I looked at him like he had two heads. Treated? What kind of treatment would you recommend?  Homepathics, kinesiology, he said.  I couldn’t believe I hadn’t considered this before.  The first trimester and early second is when much of the tooth formation takes place apparently, so those stresses could have really affected things.  The good news is that his adult teeth will be great as they are being formed now, so whatever we’re doing now will be instrumental in forming his adult teeth.

Anyway, I’ve decided to seriously look into the treatment. The dentist recommended someone and as soon as we can afford it, I’ll make an appointment.  As I was waiting to pay, the male dentist made a point of coming up to me. He said out of the blue how strong Dude’s energy is, and mine too, and that I should get back into meditation as when I calm down, he will.  Wise words.  Just got to find the time!

Compulsion

So after about 90 minutes struggling with the Dude, trying to get him down for his morning sleep, he finally lay down next to me, cried with exhaustion, and passed out, feeding of course.  I’m desperately worried about his teeth, which already have holes in them, and I think it’s because he feeds to sleep.  I know we have to start brushing his teeth but it’s so hard to coordinate it, and if he keeps feeding to sleep, I fail to understand how brushing is going to make them better.  I wish I could get him to sleep without feeding but it’s just impossible.  I tried to give him water in a bottle today but he just played with it a bit, got water all over the bed and then got upset because he was so ridiculously tired.

I finally emerged from the room and went out to the kitchen to get some breakfast… at 12:20pm.  Turkish bread, fried eggs, butter, tomato sauce.  Yummy weekend breakfast.  Not the healthiest in the world but the bread is probably the worst thing. That should have been enough.  Yet as I was taking the last bites of the egg, I found myself beginning to think of what else I could eat.  Why?  Not because I’m still hungry. Perhaps because the little Dude is asleep and I don’t get a lot of time to myself to enjoy eating.  But why do I have to enjoy eating?  I wasn’t over analysing things.  I decided, initially, to sit with the idea for a few minutes, just while the food I’d just eaten made its way properly into my stomach. A few minutes was literally about 30 seconds…

Before I really knew what was happening, I jumped up and cut myself a slice of Woolies pecan danish, procured by husband yesterday.  Wolfed that down, yum.  Then I had already thought about the next thing: a bag of those yummy Red Rock Deli chips, cheese and onion flavour.  I didn’t eat the whole thing, mainly because they’re not really mine to eat.  They’re meant to be for Mr Chewbacca while he watched the ten nations or the championship dufusburgers or whatever the rugby is called at the moment.  So I ate about half of that, limiting myself only to the most crunchy, dense, curled-up chips.  I was full.  Too full.  Damn it!

Having gone to the doctor the other day for the Dude’s skin, I was thinking a bit about my eating issues and how they affect him.  I realised I feel incredibly guilty for having been unable to stop myself eating ‘bad’ food and knowing it’s going straight through to him through the breastmilk.  I confessed all this to the doctor, but it surprised me that she didn’t offer a way of stopping that.  She just said to notice what I’m doing when I do it.  So this is me noticing.

Yeah, okay this isn’t anywhere near as bad as recent binges.  I won’t even talk about those, it’s pointless.  What I really want to know is, why do I do it?  Why do I do it when I know it’s not good for me, not good for the Dude.  I’m totally overloading my liver and gallbladder, and I’m not getting adequate nutrition because I’m filling up on junk and not eating much of the basic good foods like simple fruit and vegies.  I’ve said before that I feel like the Dude has come to teach me how not to do that bingeing any more, because it’s affecting his skin and now his teeth which he’s only just got.  But as I said to the doctor, I feel like I’m failing at learning that lesson because I just can’t curtail it, I can’t stop eating shit.  Even for a baby, my baby!

But let’s get real here: I should be stopping eating shit for myself, not for anyone or anything else.  There’s a difference between motivation and misplaced focus.  I know deep down that doing it just for the Dude is silly because as soon as he stops breastfeeding I’ll just go back to where I was.  I know I need to find the root cause and tackle that.  But I have no idea how to do that.  Lord knows I’ve tried many times to find out why I eat like I do and I can’t put it down to anything in particular.  Yeah so it’s probably to do with boredom and comfort and self-loathing and pain referral.  But none of that is the root cause.  I feel like I’ve been stuck at some point in my life for years and I don’t know where or why.

Nearly 8 months

It’s funny. Eight months doesn’t seem like a very long time, but for the little Dude it’s a lifetime.  And because my life has changed so much since he arrived, it’s a lifetime for me too.  He is now sitting up by himself, having just randomly done it one day a few weeks ago.  We’re now in a stage I didn’t expect where we wait for him to sit himself up, then place pillows strategically around him in case he falls backwards or to one side, which he’s done many times.  Without pillows he’d just fall and hit his head on the ground, and even with the carpet under him it’s still a shock and probably hurts.  He’s tall too so he has further to fall.  I shudder to think how hard it’s going to be monitoring him when he’s learning to walk!  It’s nice now he can sit because it gives him more to do and he can play alone for longer without getting frustrated, although he still puts himself on his tummy and then starts screaming like he’s a beached whale and can’t move, it’s really weird.  That’s usually an indicator that he’s tired.

Speaking of tiredness, sleeping has been reasonably challenging recently.  He sleeps well at night, generally right the way through, but that’s only because he’s right next to me and can have boobie whenever he wants.  Some nights I’m sure he sleeps right through without even a dream feed, but other nights he gets restless at 4am and will toss and turn and feed on and off for an hour or more, which can be a bit annoying, but not the end of the world.  I’ve not had to get up with him in the night, so I think that’s quite good.  He still has a really hard time actually getting to sleep, especially for naps, of which he has two during the day.  Or at least I try to ensure he has two, and preferably for two hours each, although that rarely happens.  Not that he doesn’t need it, he so desperately needs more sleep, but he just can’t wind down and stay asleep.  Recently he’s been dozing off still attached for an hour or so, and then when I think I might be able to detach him and creep away he wakes and starts smiling and playing even though his eyelids are drooping and it’s clear he needs more sleep and will probably scream because he’s tired in about half an hour… So my life these days consists mainly of trying to get the Dude to a) sleep and b) stay asleep, which he rarely does without me for more than about 45 minutes.  There have been occasions where he’s slept alone for an hour or even two, but those are extremely rare, so rare they’re just flukes I think.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this child is freaking intense!  But I guess I shouldn’t have expected much else, given how his dad is, and the family history of insomnia on both sides… the poor little dude doesn’t stand a chance really!  Sometimes he’s thrashing about so much I wonder how it’s possible for him to ever fall asleep, but it happens, and when he finally relaxes deeply after a couple of hours he will sleep pretty soundly, or at least I think that’s the case, I don’t remember being awake to find out!

Of course he’s massive, as usual.  He’s actually off the growth chart all together in terms of his height/length, which at 7 months sat at 75cm (haven’t measured recently so not sure, he’s probably grown since).  He was just shy of 10kg at 7 months, and that’s the 97th percentile or thereabouts.  We’re predicting he’ll be at least 6’5″, as his dad is 6’3″ but I’m convinced his mum’s lack of prenatal care and his terrible infant nutrition contributed to him being slightly smaller, as his dad is 6’5″.  I also think his strange eyesight (being very short-sighted only in one eye, discovered when he was four) and his odd digestion are related to that too.  But that’s just what I think.  Anyway, the Dude is huge and thriving, of course, despite my ignoring the stupid doctor and not plying him with iron fortified rice cereal made with formula!  Speaking of the doctor, I’ve decided I’m never going back to her, as every time she just disappoints me, doesn’t help me, doesn’t listen to me, and says really annoying things.  I’m going to try a new anthroposophical doctor I’ve discovered nearby and heard good things about, so we’ll see what happens there.  I’m curious about what she’ll say about his skin.

Speaking of the Dude’s skin, it isn’t fantastic.  I know it’s definitely constitutional and something his body has to work through, but I feel that there is more I could do for him.  Sometimes it’s really quite bad and cracks a little around his right wrist and both ankles.  He seems to have more on the right side than the left, which just helps confirm its constitutional nature.  His skin on his bum is perfect, which was a real mystery for a while there, until I was bathing him and my mum was here and she suddenly suggested that having the nappy on was actually helping the skin retain its moisture, and so it’s a simple case of the skin being unable to retain moisture.  That makes so much sense, given how much worse his skin got when we were in (dry) Melbourne, as Sydney is so humid most of the time.  Husband said it makes sense to him as he actually has extra dry skin and has done for as long as he can remember and that’s why he slathers himself in cocoa butter every morning.  So now we have a bit more insight into what’s actually occurring with the skin, and when it was really bad I did relent and apply a little cortisone cream which of course cleared it up very quickly, but I’m really not keen to put it on all the time because I know all its doing is suppressing the immune response, which is just a quick temporary fix and not a long term solution, plus it’s not something I want to do.  The immune system is working, that’s good, I don’t want to block it.  So we’ll see what the anthroposophical doc says and go from there.  At some level I feel I could do more with my diet, but I just haven’t got the commitment; sad but true.  So his skin has red, dry patches around his wrists and ankles, and a few bits behind his knees, up his lower arms and under his chin, although it changes slowly.

Anyway, as far as other developments go, he’s really moving around a lot, although not technically crawling yet.  He can get up on his hands and knees briefly and rock a bit, but generally he sort of pulls himself along with his arms, and pushes off with his feet.  He’s still really shaky and it’s very scary watching him try and sit and pull himself up.  Because he’s pretty tall he can see over the coffee table, and earlier today I turned around for a minute only to turn back and find him about to pull a ceramic bowl of Christmas chocolates onto his head!  It’s pretty awful when he falls backwards or sideways and he’s already had a few bumps on the head but we just do our best to keep cushions around him or be down on the floor with him and always watching.  He’s extremely strong – I’m currently watching him pull a dining chair towards him across the floor with one hand… and yes, that’s a metal framed chair, quite heavy!

He’s recently begun saying ‘mum mum mum mum’ and ‘dthe dthe dthe’, and he also says what sounds like ‘yeah’, in addition to his ‘ngeng’ and ‘geh’.  He laughs and responds to peekaboo and tickling, makes his mini Chewbacca noise, screeches loudly for no reason in particular, and cries out of frustration ALL the time.  His eating is pretty good, I think.  We’ve been doing combination baby-led solids, so I often give him big chunks of fruit to eat straight off his tray table in the high chair, which he is very capable of doing.  Today he polished off about three quarters of a whole nectarine (his favourite).  I’m holding back on all the nightshades – tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum, eggplant – as well as citrus and other allergenic fruits like strawberries.  I’m sure he’d be fine with all of that, but it’s more about getting his body used to eating before we make it work extra hard to process this kind of food.  He eats rusks which have a tiny bit of milk and wheat in them and so far is fine with it, but that’s as much as I’ve given him of those two things.  He has also eaten a few crusts as well.  Other than that, I spoon feed him a bit, usually with an organic veggie, fruit, millet mix I get from the supermarket.  I’m a bit slack with making him food, and he loves the stuff in the packet and it’s completely natural and all organic and free of additives etc so I figure it’s all good.  We’ve discovered that, like daddy, he hasn’t got a sweet tooth, so he likes his nectarines much more than something like mango, which would be my preference.  He’s amazing with the nectarine actually.  I cut him off slices like little boats, and he eats the flesh and spits out the skin.  At first I was worried and was going to peel it but there’s really no need, he’s very capable of eating just the flesh.

So far he still doesn’t suck on a dummy, although I give it to him when we go to sleep.  He does like it to chew on and play with, but when it’s time to sleep he will get upset if I put the dummy in his mouth.  He doesn’t accept substitutes!  At some level it’s as though he knows it’s just not the same.  He’s like that with everything actually.  I’m sure he understands what I’m saying most of the time.  He looks at me so intently, listens to everything I say, and responds accordingly.  He has known his name for months now, and will always respond, even if it’s to just give a cheeky look and go back to whatever havoc he was wreaking.  Although usually he’ll pay attention and actually turn back, as though he knows exactly what I’ve said and is doing just what I’ve asked.  It’s pretty amazing.

Anyway, at the moment, five days off eight months, he is just about to crawl, beginning to say words, and just turning into an amazing little boy.  I wish he’d sleep by himself as I’d love to be able to stretch out in bed again and go to sleep and wake up whenever I want, but I know it will pass and eventually he will sleep in his own bed.  For the moment, he is how he is, and he is just perfect.

The latest dilemmas – 8 week update

So the little Dude is 8 weeks old today.  Tonight at 7:57pm to be precise.  Like many big changes in life, it’s like he’s been here all along and yet feels surreal at the same time.  Sometimes I look at him and think, shit, that’s my baby!  I have a baby!  I am a mother!  Really?!

Overall, he’s thriving.  I’m producing heaps of milk, too much in fact, so that he will feed just from the one breast for ages and ages (often all night) and there’s still milk available.  My midwife had said he is up to the stage of being able to drain both breasts during the one feeding, but there’s no way that’s possible.  He gets to the end of the first and wants to keep sucking but more and more milk is flowing and he’s full!  Poor little guy, really wants to fall asleep while feeding, which is fair enough, but some of the time it’s just not an option, as the milk is still flowing fast and he’s had enough.  I think over time he’ll get bigger and be able to handle more, and my milk will settle more.

So much for not being able to feel letdowns – ouch, they are painful and intense!  Recently I’ve begun to feel the milk flood in when he’s ready for a feed.  So I can always tell when he’s going to wake up, even if he’s not on me in the carrier or being held.  Suddenly there’s just this overwhelming twinging and tingling, pretty painful, and I know he’s going to wake in the next few minutes.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had the thought he might wake soon, having looked at the clock and seen it’s been 2 hours or whatever.  The letdowns during feeding aren’t pleasant either, really intense pressure under my arm, and often more painful in the breast he’s not feeding from.  It’s really annoying sitting up in bed and feeling an odd wet sensation on my side or my leg and realising it’s my boob leaking!  Urgh!

He’s been a bit spewy actually, which I guess is normal, especially for a baby like him who is so full of intense energy – kinesthetic is the word, I believe.  It’s annoying because it’s nice to feed him lying down in bed in the middle of the night, but he rarely feeds and then just falls back to sleep.  He usually gets worked up, sucks like crazy, swallows a whole lot of air, writhes around, keeps detaching and clearly has wind he needs to bring up, and the only way to do that is sit up and put him upright; which pisses him off because he wants to be feeding and he’s half asleep and just cranky!  And on top of that I’ve got to keep him quiet because not only will he wake husband, who has to get up for work, but he’ll wake himself up more and then it takes forever to settle him down again.

I’m learning that although he doesn’t have very clear patterns or routines yet, by the same token any patterns or routines get set in stone very easily, and can happen without me realising.  On the one hand, there are so many points when I just want to settle him, in any way possible, so I’ll try everything; but on the other hand, some ways of settling him can prove an issue down the track.  Feeding to sleep, for example: yes, he does do it sometimes, and yes, it’s a great way to settle him, but I don’t want him to associate feeding with sleeping to closely because when he’s bigger he’ll have to feed every time he wants to sleep, and I might not want to do that.

I can’t say I really enjoy breastfeeding.  The various little niggling pains, like the letdown or when he feeds from the same breast and just sucks forever and my nipple gets a bit sore, are just not pleasant.  I think it would be more pleasurable if I was less touch sensitive, and if I enjoyed my breasts and nipples being touched, but I really don’t, never have.  A friend who just had her first baby said she is loving breastfeeding so much (even after only two weeks!) and it makes her feel all warm and fuzzy.  That’s how it’s supposed to feel; I read about this, how breastfeeding causes the release of oxytocin in both mother and baby, the love hormone.  Well, I’m sure I must secrete it because I gave birth without any pain relief, but I certainly can’t feel anything.  I do like that I can nourish my baby myself with my body, and I enjoy seeing him satisfied by my breast milk.  But the actual act, the physical feeling of having my nipple sucked, hmm, take it or leave it really I think.  It doesn’t help that his latch is pretty dodgy, he takes in lots of air while feeding, with every second suck in fact, he breaks the seal, and he often de-latches a dozen times at least during a feed, I think mainly because the milk is flowing so fast.  I don’t get why he hasn’t learnt to just swallow the milk, not to suck so much or so fast and just let the milk flood in.

So because we’re pretty certain that the Dude loves to comfort suck, I have actually be considering getting him a dummy!  I know, it’s something I said I’d never consider – why have some artificial thing for a kid to suck on, when they are perfectly okay as they are, without artificial pacifiers.  But this baby is really full on!  He wants to suck!  And he’s clearly very comforted by it.  I just don’t like dummies, I don’t like what they can potentially do to a kid’s bite, to the sucking reflex, to the formation of teeth, and I really don’t like seeing little kids running around with dummies in their mouths.  I don’t want him becoming dependent on it and having to fight him when he’s three or so to remove it for good.  I want to do things naturally, and dummies just don’t seem natural to me.  Who knows, maybe he’d hate a dummy… but I’m just not sure I want to even try it, maybe I’ll just keep on trying to help him settle without.

Now it’s a waiting game.  Waiting for his sleep cycles to lengthen… waiting for him to learn how to settle back down when transitioning from one sleep cycle to another… waiting to see whether he’ll sleep longer…  We’ve been meaning to put up the cot for two weeks now, and I’m planning on side carting it on my side of the bed, which will be annoying because I won’t be able to easily get into my bedside drawers, but if we can get him to sleep in it, which means getting him to sleep about 30 or 40 cm away from me and being able to be pulled or roll across for feeding during the night, that will make all the difference.  I was ready to get back on the horse with husband in the bedroom weeks ago, but we just haven’t had any opportunities!  The little guy slept for an hour and 20 minutes alone in the bedroom during the day, which is a record, and I think it’s only because I swaddled him… but that was the maximum.  And it’s so much harder work to get him to sleep like that than it is to just strap him in the Hug-a-Bub during the day for sleeps and lie down with him in the crook of my arm at night.  But all that has meant I can count the number of proper cuddles I’ve had with husband during the last 8 weeks on the fingers of one hand.  Not good.  I feel us drifting apart on the physical side and I hate it, I really do.  He occasionally makes some kind of sleepy, pointless attempt to touch me, often in the middle of the night while I’m sitting up feeding and feeling like total shit… doesn’t get him too far!  Or he tries to touch my boobs when he sees one exposed after a feed, which is awful because they’re extra sensitive after the Dude has been suckling like an ant-eater for the past however long… as I said, I never liked my boobs being touched before, but now I like it even less unfortunately.

Anyway, time will tell.  Next update hopefully we’ll be getting more sleep and more time together.

Birth and fear

I’m coming up to 31 weeks tomorrow and feeling huge!  But pretty good, quite heavy, and I get out of breath really quickly, my ankles are swelling a little more than before, but nothing serious, I’m coping quite well, thanks to my incredibly strong body.  I don’t really like the new stretch marks appearing at the tops of my hips and tops of my thighs, but I’m just hoping I don’t get any on my stomach…

I’ve been reading, of course.  For months, I’ve been looking forward to reading Birthing From Within, as so many people in the homebirth circles had raved about it.  I finally borrowed a copy off my midwife, only to be totally taken aback; I hated it.  The initial chapters talk a lot about birth art as a way of processing fears around pregnancy, birth, parenting etc, and this just really didn’t gel for me.  It made me angry and frustrated!  It didn’t resonate at all.  I am a pretty good artist, I did a year of  Visual Arts degree, I love art of all kinds and can pretty much turn my hand to any kind of artistic expression or creative pursuit.  But I couldn’t think of anything I was afraid of!  And why would I want to draw a picture anyway?  If I was afraid, I’d just write about it… but what’s the point of being afraid anyway?  Where does fear get you?  I kept hearing Yoda… ‘…anger leads to fear, fear leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side…’ – yes, exactly, nothing good comes of fear, there is no point in being afraid because it will not serve me.  So I am not afraid of pregnancy; I’m not afraid of birth; I’m not afraid of parenting. This book does nothing for me, I thought.

I stuck with the book, although must admit to skimming through the last bits about pain referral and techniques for dealing with pain, which I thought were interesting and worth exploring… but by that point I was frustrated and over it.  So I ‘finished’ it as best I could and returned it.

At the same time, I’d borrowed the Ten Moons book.  I’d vaguely heard about it but it sounded a bit too ‘womanish’ and out there for me – like all about periods and getting in touch with the earth and all that stuff that really doesn’t resonate with me, or so I told myself.  In fact, it’s so far absolutely amazing, and exactly what I needed to read!  It’s saying some similar things to Birthing From Within, but in a way that makes more sense to me.  The same scenarios arise – women have been through some awful birthing experiences involving trauma and powerlessness, and in working through their fears and letting them go they’ve found ways to let that trauma live in the past and grasp hold of power once again.

Suddenly and gradually at the same time I had a realisation: I do have a fear, and it’s pretty damned huge!  I am afraid that my eating and food issues, which have resulted in my beautiful, strong, healthy body being covered in a layer of fat and having to work harder than ever to process garbage, will not only have somehow changed the baby’s experience in utero, but make it harder to give birth and, the worst part, they might be passed on to my child in his/her life on earth!

How can I let this happen?  This is my one chance to do things differently.  In the past I’d tried and failed, time and time again, to get rid of these issues.  But never before have I had the opportunity to change things in a context that I will only ever experience once in my life.  Gestation, the act of giving birth, and the journey of parenting, represent transformation in a huge way.  I expect birth to transform me, and I expect to see things differently once I have given birth.  It’s like a rebirth for me.  While I’m experiencing the brand new feelings of having a baby inside me, another person who is so closely connected to me and who influences me, who I must work with and love unconditionally, I can experience the brand new feelings of being happy in my body and showing it love for the first time.  Being able to appreciate my features aesthetically is all very well, but that’s not loving myself from the inside out.

For the first time ever in my life, I’m seeing myself as a beautiful woman.  I’m seeing what real beauty is about, what my husband sees every day in me and in other women.  I have always been happy with my looks and would never change anything, but this problem with ‘being a woman’ has really plagued me, and I’m finally letting it go.  Being a woman is good, the best!

I spent so long trying to find out where all these issues stemmed from, who or what had caused me to need to protect myself so much with food, and I found a lot of possible influences, but pinning down that one thing, that one cause, was impossible.  That’s because this process was just distracting me from what really needed to happen; stop the pattern of comfort eating.  All those influences actually mean nothing for now – this is what I’m dealing with now, this is my issue, and mine to leave behind, as I have left behind all those influences.  They don’t affect me any more and this problem doesn’t have to either.  The excuse that I cannot picture what I will be without the issue just doesn’t cut it any more; the thing is, I will be, that’s a fact, and I don’t need to control it beforehand.  In fact, if anything I need to let go and let it wash over me.

Now it’s time to start letting it all go, the barriers preventing me from being safe and content with myself, making me want to eat to feel secure and cared for, medicated and distracted.