Friday, August 22, 2014

Which Comes First- Weaning or Potty Training?!

I'm a busy stay at home mom of two boys, so I don't get very much free time and when I do, it's usually taken up by taking a quick shower. So I don't really read too many blogs or follow very many, just a few favorites. Dirty Diaper Laundry is one I enjoy because I've learned a lot about diapers and I feel I can really connect with a lot of her posts. Last year she wrote two posts I really connected with and I actually cried a little bit reading them. She wrote about her son turning two and how he was still nursing. She also wrote about which would come first- weaning or potty training. (You can read them here and here.) I thought back when I first read them that they really spoke to me, but now I'm finding I can relate to them even more. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on potty training. However, C just isn't all that interested and I really don't want to push him if he's not ready. We purposely waited until after his brother was born to even try because becoming a big brother was going to be a big enough change as it was. So now I'm just kind of passive about the potty training thing. Some days he chooses to wear his "big boy" underwear but some days, he's just not interested. We'll get there eventually, today just isn't the day. I have to remember that every kid is different and he'll get the hang of it in his own time. I just wish others would see things this way and stop bugging me about getting him out of diapers. Trust me, I want him potty trained more than anyone else. I'm just really over all the diaper laundry I've been doing lately, so having one in diapers would be a huge relief. We'll get there though, I just wish other people would trust that he'll do it in his own time and that the answer is not to push him until he's ready.

Now, not only do I get a hard time about C not being potty trained, I also get a hard time about him still nursing. As he was nearing 2 years old, I would get questions about weaning him. When I found out I was pregnant with Baby C those questions only came more frequently and were even more annoying than before. It was like everyone thought I was strange for wanting to tandem nurse. Here's the thing, I make plenty of milk to nurse both of my boys without any issue. Baby C has been gaining weight exactly like his brother did when he was a baby. I'm not worried about the baby not getting enough milk. In fact, I have designated the left side to the baby and the right side to C. This makes things easier for me. First, this means both breasts are being emptied so that helps me avoid plugged ducts and mastitis. I had a terrible time with both when C was a baby. I even ended up with mastitis when Baby C was just a month or so old. Tandem nursing has been a wonderful experience so far. Sure it has it's days where I just want to quit and just have my one baby to nurse, but the good days trump the bad days.

It's just so extremely frustrating to me when people tell me I need to wean my toddler. There are still plenty of benefits to him nursing. Not only for him, but for me as well. It always baffles me when others are so judgmental of full term nursing mothers. If it's "not for you" fine, wean your baby at one. However, if another mother is comfortable nursing her baby past 1,2 or 3, you should have nothing to say to her. Just be supportive and if you can't be that, just don't say a word. It's hard. It's so hard being a full term nursing mother when so many people are giving you the stink eye and making comments behind your back. I've always set goals for myself. I set the goal of 6 months, then a year and finally 2 years. We didn't have the easiest nursing relationship in the beginning, but it definitely got easier and I loved it more and more. I never set a goal past 2 years, because at this point, it's all up to him if he continues or if he stops. From the looks of it, he's not going to be stopping before he turns 3. Insert big, huge, giant *gasp* from those who judge. You heard read it correctly. I will not be weaning my toddler before he turns 3. He's such a picky eater when he eats solids, that I'm extremely thankful that he still nurses. 

Since he does eat solids, nursing him is much different than nursing Baby C. I tend to shy away from nursing in public unless he absolutely needs it. This is because he can and does eat solid food, he doesn't depend on nursing like Baby C does. However, if he's really having hard time and needs the comfort or if he gets hurt, I have no issues nursing him wherever. Just yesterday we went to eat lunch and the poor little dude just has not been feeling the best lately. He came up and sat on my lap and asked to nurse. I let him because there is nothing more pathetic than a sick child. When we're at home, it's completely different. I'll nurse him as much as he wants to nurse. I usually offer him something to eat before and after to make sure he's getting full enough, but if he declines, I'm okay with nursing. The most important thing is that he's healthy and happy.

Back to tandem nursing for a moment. I have to say that I feel like it's helped ease C into the transition of being a big brother. While he doesn't always want to nurse at the same time as the baby and often says "Daddy, take baby please!" he knows that if the baby is nursing, he either has to wait, or join. I feel it's been a wonderful bonding experience and has been keeping the three of us close. Bonding is one of the biggest rewards of nursing and I wouldn't trade it for anything. When we first brought the baby home, C didn't want anything to do with him. He would pretend he didn't exist and hated the attention the baby got. Now he doesn't mind giving the baby kisses or tickling his feet.

He used to get extremely upset if Baby C would touch him at all during nursing and last night I caught him trying to hold the baby's hand. So tandem nursing has definitely been working in our favor. I will say that it's entirely up to you and your comfort level if you're wiling to tandem nurse or not. It's not for everyone and that's alright! You do what works best for your family and your little ones. The same goes for full term nursing. If you're not comfortable nursing past 2, then that's fine. Like I said though, try not to judge those of us who want to let our little ones nurse until they are ready to wean themselves. It's hard enough being a mom as it is, we don't need added stress from fellow mothers.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy World Breastfeeding Week Friends!

It's World Breastfeeding Week so I'm going to focus this week on breastfeeding, of course. I wrote last year about supporting breastfeeding mothers. In the post I talked about how my biggest supporter is and has always been my husband. Even now with tandem nursing, my husband is still my biggest supporter. On the nights that my toddler wakes up to nurse more often than my 2 month old, I really feel like weaning him. I just feel way too over touched and the feeling makes me want to pull my hair out. Those are the rough nights and they're not that often, but I still have them. The rest of the time is fine. I still enjoy the bond that nursing my toddler gives us. It's a great way to calm the both of us down and just snuggle. My husband supports whatever decision I make. He often tells me, "It's your body, your boobs. You're the one nursing them. So in the end, it's always up to you." It's so important for a breastfeeding mom to have that support. This is why I love World Breastfeeding Week so much. I want other moms out there to know that they have support. If you don't have support from friends, family or people close to you, there are always groups online that will offer you support and words of encouragement. 

Like I said, I love WBW and to me it's all about celebrating our bodies and the fact that they can nourish our babies. To me it's also all about supporting each other. Breastfeeding doesn't come easy to every mom and there are those who have had a really hard time but pushed through because she wanted to do it for her baby. There are those moms (like me with my first son) who just wanted to give up because it was so rough. Do I feel like I'm a better mom than anyone who didn't breastfeed? No. I just did what I knew was best for my babies. If I'm honest that's not really the first reason I decided chose to breastfeed. Here's the thing, I'm cheap. I hate spending money if I don't have to. I'm always finding ways to save money and I like being frugal. This is part of the reason I chose to cloth diaper. So when it came to breastfeeding vs formula feeding I looked at the cost. Formula is so freakin' expensive, that's just one cost I couldn't justify. I mean, my boobs work and they work really well to feed my babies, so I'm going to use them. They grew to a ridiculous size while I was pregnant with my first son and I wanted to put that to good use! Another reason I wanted to breastfeed was because I'm kind of lazy. The last thing I want to do in the middle of the night is trip over toys on my way to the kitchen to attempt to fix a bottle of formula while I'm half asleep, probably spilling most of it on the counter. That's just too much work for me. I like just being able to roll over, open my nursing tank top, nurse my baby and fall back to sleep snuggling. Which is also why I like to bedshare. It just makes everything so much easier.

I don't like seeing those who don't breastfeed getting offended or hurt by WBW. We're supposed to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. I advocate for breastfeeding because it's a passion of mine. Maybe one of my nursing photos I post online will help a mom feel more comfortable when some can make nursing mothers feel ashamed. I often see posts where people say that breastfeeding is an "intimate" moment that should only be shared between mom and baby. I don't believe that. The more we're open about nursing (in public or posting our beautiful nursing photos) the closer we are to normalizing it so we don't hear stories about a nursing mom being kicked out of "such and such" store for nursing her baby. I feel like the more I talk about it and the more I spread the correct information, the more I can help struggling moms who are about to give up. Some mothers are made to believe they're bodies are failing them. If you're baby is gaining wait, having enough wet diapers and bowel movements, you don't need to supplement. So I don't post my nursing photos or talk about breastfeeding because I feel like I'm better than anyone else. I just wish other moms could see it that way. 

Support is key in breastfeeding. Hearing other nursing mom's success stories and struggles that they pushed through to make it to their breastfeeding goal might just help another mom push through her own struggles and give her the boost she needed. My good friend told me about her horror nursing story when I was struggling with nursing my oldest. I was so close to quitting. I would tense up every single time he went to latch. My nipple was bruised and both bled at one point or another. They hurt so freakin' bad I just wanted to cry and I did cry. I would stand in the shower wondering how I was going to get through this. It wasn't until my nursing toddler went to the dentist at 2 that I found out he had a tongue tie and that's why nursing was so painful. Nursing should not be that painful. Had I gone to a lactation consultant (like I wish I would have) I would have known much sooner that he had a tongue tie and could have gotten it taken care of to make nursing him a much less horrible experience. Although, I still did enjoy the bonding we had and wouldn't trade that for the world!
At the end of the day, just own it. Own your decision on how you chose to feed your baby and nobody will be able to make you feel one way or another. I chose to breastfeed my babies and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

Oh and nurse on milky mamas! I support each and every one of you and hope you get the support and love you need to meet your breastfeeding goal.