Thursday, August 22, 2013

Family Time With C's Cousin.

Often times we have my 5 year old niece (A) over (during the summer it was whatever day)  on the weekends to hang out while her mom is working. C always has the best time when she's over hanging out. He actually has three cousins and all three are girls. The one he gets along with best, happens to be my 5 year old niece. I think this is because she's older and he really seems to look up to her. He's always attempting to do the things she's doing. He loves sitting with her to read a book or sits up to the table to eat lunch with her. (It's always a struggle to get this kid to eat something other than breast milk!) One of his cousins happens to be just a couple of months older than him, which can cause problems because he doesn't like sharing toys with her much. His other cousin is just about the same age as A. I thought this would help him to get along with her better, but it doesn't always happen that way. 

Anyway, this past weekend we had the pleasure of spending our entire weekend with her. My plan was to take the pair to the park at least once. C loves going to the park and we don't always get the chance to go. Seriously, if I could, I would take him to the park once a day. Excluding scorching hot days of course because I don't do well in the heat! We ended up going to two parks on Saturday. This was a lot of fun because it gave a little variety to what equipment they played on. We also decided to go to Target, which was one of the worst ideas I've ever had. See, we live in a college town and all the students are back. 

 Target happens to be on the side of town as campus and the mall so it gets extremely hectic when you're driving (or spending any kind of time) on that side of town. I avoid it like the plague when the students are back in town! After that, we decided to go see my mom at work and pick up a bite to eat. Of course by mid day C was getting cranky and tired and in serious need of a nap. A really wanted to go to the splash pad but since we didn't plan for that, I didn't have her swimming gear with us. It's actually quite funny because she wore pants over (it's been rather cool lately) so I needed to find her something a little less hot to wear. I dug through C's drawers and found a pair of shorts and a shirt that actually fit her. I was quite surprised and her mother was amused that she was wearing her younger (but chunkier) cousins clothing. So we had "quiet time" before she went home so the two of them could wind down from the day and get ready for bed. Of course C ended up staying up a little later than I wanted him to, but he also slept later as well.
I was so excited to have her back the next day and this time she came prepared for time in the water. I really didn't want to take two young children to the pool or lake because I have a serious fear of not only myself, but any of my family drowning. The pool was absolutely out of the question for us. Luckily we have a splash pad extremely close to where I live, so we decided we'd go there. We actually went to the park first (We planned on going to the library, but it wasn't opened yet since it was Sunday.) So we spent a little of our early afternoon at the park. The splash pad is the perfect place for not only A, but C as well. C absolutely loves the water and since it doesn't really puddle up, I don't have to stress about him possibly drowning. I think A loves it just as much. After the splash pad we headed back over to Target (What was I thinking?!) because A wanted to go really bad because her Aunt (my sister) was with us. She really just wanted a toy because she saw her Aunt give C a toy (from Cars) so she wanted a little surprise as well. After Target we headed out to see my mom so the kids could get in some time with their grandma and so we could get a little bite to eat. After that, it was definitely time to go back home to have our quiet time. We pretty much relaxed until she had to go home. 

That weekend exhausted C and myself, but we always love having A over. She always keeps things interesting. One (of the many things) I love is that when she comes over, she's always excited to see her "Aunt Katie's" new diapers! She was excited to see the new additions and commented on the cute pattern or something that makes them unique. I listened in as she was "reading" my Changing Diapers book and she was talking about going to The Green Nursery to buy diapers. It was one of the cutest things I've ever heard! It's quite funny what kinds of things children pick up when you don't even think they're listening. 

While this isn't a normal weekend while she's over, we always try to do something fun and enjoyable for the kids. Though, together they can come up with fun things to do even if we don't leave the house. Which is sometimes just what we need.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

World Breastfeeding Week: The Big Latch On 2013!

I planned on writing a breastfeeding blog post for each day of World Breastfeeding Week, but life happened. My husband was away for three weeks for an Army class and came back late the night before The Big Latch On. So of course we had some much needed family time and my blog was just not on the top of that list. However, I would still like to write about my experience with The Big Latch On. 

This is C at The Big Latch On 2012
This was our second year going. Last year C was about 9 months old and much easier to entertain while we were waiting to begin. This year he ran around grabbing toys and refused to sit still. I guess you can't expect a toddler to sit still for too long. So last year we went alone. I had no other mom friends who breastfed at the time. The moms I knew weren't breastfeeding their babies, so I'm pretty sure they would have declined to tag along to the event. This year it was a little crazier since C didn't want to sit still and there were so many more people, but I had the pleasure of having a good friend there with me. I was happy to see there were way more people than there were the previous year. I think someone mentioned they doubled their numbers from last year.

C at The Big Latch On 2012
 According to The Big Latch On Facebook page the final total was 14,536! That is absolutely amazing! Last year the total was 8862, so this year we completely shattered that record. I can't wait to see what the record is for next year. 
During The Big Latch On this year they also held a raffle this year for some of those "boobie beanies" and a couple of little prize packs. They had water and snacks available and they brought out cute pictures for the toddlers to color. Of course, C didn't sit for long to color.
There is C and myself at The Big Latch On 2013

Bloomington Area Birth Services (which was my location for The Big Latch On) also sells tons of maternity, breastfeeding, baby wearing and other great things so it was fun to browse while we were waiting for the event to start. Overall it was a lot of fun to join in on something so amazing. I can't wait to do it again next year!

***If anyone who went to The Big Latch On in 2012 knows who took the photos for the even, please let me know. I would like to link them in this blog post. I searched around, but couldn't find out who took them.***

Friday, August 2, 2013

World Breastfeeding Week 2013! Day Two: Nursing In Public.

For day two of World Breastfeeding Week, I'd like to talk about nursing in public. As a first time mom, you have so many struggles. Life is completely different when you have a tiny human being to care for. Then you've made the decision to breastfeed, which can be a struggle for some. It's hard enough to get the hang of it at home where it's just you and your family. Now imagine trying to find the courage to breastfeed in a public place while still trying to get used to it. It can be a huge hurdle for a lot of new mothers, or even for second or third time mothers as well. Breastfeeding in public is a huge struggle and I was embarrassed to do it when my son was first born. Nobody I knew was nursing their babies. They had either given up and gone to formula or had started with formula from the beginning. So I would pump my milk and take a bottle with a bag of milk every single time we went out. There was one day we were walking through the mall and I just knew my son would be hungry soon so I wanted to warm up the milk (under warm water) and have it ready. Of course none of the sinks had water warm enough to warm the milk. So my sister, oh my sweet sister, took my bag of milk and stuck it in her shirt and kept it close to her body to warm it up. This worked wonderfully. I will never forget her doing that for me. (Above and beyond the call!) Of course, I always had a problem getting him to take a bottle. He just knew it wasn't the real thing and wanted nothing to do with it. (This is part of the reason I quit my job to stay home with him.) He would rather go without food all day than drink from a bottle. Eventually I just gave up trying. I attempted nursing under a blanket, but he hated that. He's always been a warm little guy. (He will sweat in his sleep even if he has no clothes on.) With nothing left for me to do, I would go to the car to nurse him. This was not only completely unfair to the two of us, it was annoying and time consuming. I decided to search online for a good way to nurse in public without a cover, but making sure I didn't show much skin. I then found the tank top trick. I wore a tank top under whatever shirt and pulled my top shirt up and the bottom shirt (tank top) down so there was enough space to latch him on without showing too much skin. This has been the biggest lifesaver for nursing in public! I feel so comfortable being able to nurse without having to show more skin than I want. I still feared what other people would say, but I have been extremely fortunate to not have any rude comments. I couldn't tell you about stares, because I don't pay much attention. I've had a mother or two come up and tell me how amazing it is that I'm doing the best thing for my little guy by nursing him. One of mine and my mother's friends always had the sweetest things to say to me about nursing. She was always a huge supporter of my breastfeeding and especially in public. (I'm so excited that she currently has her own little nursling now!)

Not every nursing mother wants to nurse in public and that's fine. Not every mother wants to nurse without a cover in public and that's also fine. However, my choice to nurse in public, without a cover shouldn't be that big of an issue for anyone. Don't ask me to cover up or go somewhere else to nurse. I know my rights and I know that I have the right to nurse my baby "anywhere the law allows me to be" according to the law for my state. If you don't know the laws in your state, here is a link to breastfeeding laws that not only includes nursing in public, but also laws that apply to breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. 

I have been extremely lucky to not have very many issues when I nurse in public. Like I said, at first I never wanted to nurse in public. Now I'm the kind of nursing mom who says, "I will nurse whenever and wherever my baby is hungry!" I even nurse my (almost) two year old in public occasionally. It doesn't happen often because I try to get him to eat what we eat if we're at a restaurant. However, there are times when he's just tired, cranky and just needs to nurse. There are also some times when he needs to comfort nurse and I allow him to do so. I see no shame in letting my toddler nurse in public. His needs come before those of anyone else. 

Have you struggled to nurse in public (NIP)? How did you overcome the struggle? I would love for you to share your stories. Whether it's a story about a negative experience or a positive one. Let's encourage other mothers who might be nervous or embarrassed to nurse in public and let them know that we support their right to nurse wherever and whenever their baby is hungry!

Also, don't forget to check back tomorrow for a new post about breastfeeding!