Monthly Archives: December 2015
I’ve been having a lot of feelings lately. I’m not sure if they are more guilt or sadness but little things keep happening that make me feel like I am failing at motherhood.
Mostly it is comments that other people make. Good or bad sometimes they are taken the wrong way by me. These are things that I rarely confront but often stew on. I’ve been surprised because when I am with my child I know I am doing a great job – yet these things have been knocking me down.
The first is weaning. Gus is fully weaned. He has not had breastmilk in a week, I have not pumped for about a week and a half. He did remarkably well with this transition and while he is still up a bit more than normal in the night that is starting to get better, too. We were planning on weaning slower but a week and a half ago I got what I thought was food poisoning (now think was norovirus) and I didn’t pump or nurse him for two days. When I pumped again after that I got an ounce and a half after two pumps and just gave it up. He was already not taking a bottle to go to sleep for us and we planned on going strong at that over the four day weekend last week so it made sense. I’ve had a hard time with this because I had planned on nursing longer. I’m in all of these online breastfeeding groups and now feel like a fake. It’s hard to remember that this has nothing to do with his relationship with me. He loves me, is attached to me, but we were both ready. He has never been a comfort nurser and it makes sense he is done but a nagging part of me feels like he’s not attached to me and because I work I ruined everything.
With him not nursing he has also been sleeping in his crib all night. Before he would go to bed in his crib at night, wake up and be put down there again one or two more times, and then come to bed with us and nurse and sleep somewhere between 2 and 4. Before I had Gus I said I would never cosleep. Once he was born there was no way in hell you were removing that baby from me. Lesley took to putting him back down in the weaning process. If he came to bed he’d expect to nurse. What I’ve come to admit is what Lesley has long been telling me – he sleeps better in his crib. In bed with us he tosses and turns and is just not settled. He’s up half the night but in his crib he sleeps. He sleeps well. He’s up often, sure, but easy to go back down and not restless when he is sleeping. We are cosleeping failures. He loves me, is attached to me, but sleeps better in his own bed. Gus is easily stimulated. When putting him to sleep I cannot look at him because it excites him too much. Seriously. I have to close my eyes. It makes sense he sleeps better on his own but a nagging part of me feels like he’s not attached to me and because I work I ruined everything.
With all of our daycare drama a friend of a friend has watched him twice (today is the second time). When I picked him the first time the woman said that she used to be a nanny for years with different families and it was the easiest first day she has ever had. Gus and her 17 month old played great, he didn’t cry, he napped easy, and was a ton of fun. We hear this all the time when someone watches him. He’s easily adaptable. This is a great thing – in reality I know this. But I look at other kids who want, no need, their parents. Who need their comfort. Who need them close. And that’s just not my kid. I know that this means he feels safe and secure and knows that he can do whatever and we will be back. But a nagging part of me feels like he’s not attached to me and because I work I ruined everything.
I’ve got to get rid of the nagging part. In reality, I know it’s not true. Our kid is happy and healthy and beyond thriving. Last night someone in a facebook group I am in said they want to be a stay at home mom because they don’t want someone else raising their kid. This exasperated all my self doubt. Lesley and I raise our child. He loves us, is attached to us, but adapts easily. He rolls with changes and that’s something I need to be better about doing. There are so many expectations I had, either before him, or after he was born, that have changed because my child is an individual and those expectations are not realistic. When I think about it, the things that were my hopes that have nothing to do with his personality have all stayed true. The way we feed him, the way we diaper him, the way we take care of his health – I was able to do all those things while being a working mom. It often means staying up late washing diapers, making food for him while he naps on the weekend, and extra time off work to go to extra doctor appointments but we make it work. We are two parents who work and take care of our child – part of taking care of him means tailoring our plans to his needs. These aren’t failures. I am not failing at motherhood. I’m doing what’s right for our family.
So, as I may have mentioned, we went a bit overboard for Christmas. A few months ago we found a hand built play kitchen base on a buy/sell/trade group and fixed it up and added to it. It came out pretty great, I won’t lie.
It’s been a bit astonishing to watch him play with it. We knew that he wouldn’t be at a point where he would play “appropriately” with it yet but he loves to take things out and put them in and is very interested in it. It’s actually the thing we have seen him take the most interest in pretty much ever. We thought it would be way too old for him but it seems like it came at just the right time.
Along those lines, my dad (upon our recommendation) got him a kitchen helper. If you don’t know a kitchen helper (or learning tower, which is the major brand) is something that you can put up to the counter so your kiddo can be at counter height and help in the kitchen. It’s the same idea as a chair but closed in on all four sides. We thought this would be something that he would grow in to and in many ways it is but he likes it now. He can climb up into it all by himself and likes to watch what we are doing and I put up his kitchen stuff so he can move along with us.
It’s kind of blowing me away. I often realize suddenly that he’s ready for something that I had no idea he was ready for until there he is, doing it. Christmas has been a huge lesson in that – don’t underestimate the baby. We bought him big ole crayons today – we’ll see how that goes tomorrow!
This is a two in one blog post because I wanted to write about both of these things.
Post 1: Childcare.
So we toured two child cares. The first one we liked and the second one was at a church and had a whiteboard that said, “Don’t let Satan put a question mark where God put a period” so we are going with the first one! It’s an in home place which I was weary about but it is very nice. The woman who runs it is a single woman in her late 20’s/early 30’s and lives alone. She has a bedroom in the back of the house and the rest is set up like a childcare. It is currently just her but she has someone starting in January so then will be able to have up to ten kids enrolled. She has back up teachers if she is sick, she has lots of toys but not too many toys, she has a fenced yard, and she is about $250 cheaper than our current childcare. The only drawback is she’s not much closer than our current sitter but we can live with that. She lives very close to a big public park and swimming pool so we can do stuff after work there with Gus. We are starting part time in January and will keep him with our current sitter two days a week. He’ll go full time there in February.
Post 2: Parental Sensitives.
Lesley called her dad tonight and her dad asked a question about if Gus is ready for Santa. Lesley explained to her dad that we’re not doing Santa. We don’t think that the whole Santa thing is bad or harmful, it’s just not for us. If you know other people who don’t do Santa then you likely know the reasons – if you are curious I’ll explain more but that’s not totally the point here. Lesley’s dad was a bit defensive – she was raised with Santa and was not harmed.
This kind of thing happens a lot when our plans to parent go against how we were raised. I’ve seen it with crying it out, with rice cereal in a bottle, with circumcision. It’s surprising to me yet I get it. I get it because I’ve seen parents who are my peers get defensive about their choices and it’s surprises me because these are our parents, not our peers. I don’t know how to have these conversations without offending them. Lesley and I both had wonderful childhoods. We had great parents and were happy and healthy and all those things people hope for. Yet we still want to do some things differently. I wish our parents didn’t take that as a personal attack – they did nothing wrong, but we still want to do some things differently. Lesley’s dad is the first one we told about Santa – I expect years of parental disappointment ahead of us.
For ages now we’ve had a variety of childcare struggles. Our sitter being sick or inconsistent. Getting to her house and her not answering the door (she didn’t hear her door bell at her old house). Her moving from a convenient location to somewhere where I commute an hour to childcare and then work each morning and again each evening. We’ve ridden these waves and stayed with her for the last year.
She only works 4 days a week and does not want to work five. We’ve struggled to find a regular, consistent sitter for one day a week. Our latest was a lovely woman who went to Texas for two weeks around Halloween. She then stayed an extra month. She was supposed to be back today and upon asking this morning told me mid January.
So something has to give. While I love our regular sitter we can’t do this and we need five day a week care. That has proven to be hard to find in this town. I’m on five wait lists. I’ve talked to at least 10 people who are full and I didn’t bother with wait lists. After calling places again today we have two interviews for open spots this week, one at an established in home childcare and one, don’t laugh, at a Baptist Church. Both full time spots. Both in January.
I feel so bad about this. I feel bad doing this to our sitter (who is 7 months pregnant, by the way). I know she loves Gus. I am mostly happy with her care of him. Between now and the end of the year we suddenly have four days without childcare. A friend of a friend is doing two. Our friend over at Spoiled foodie is doing one (a day our babysitter told us she needs off last week due to a wedding – want to guess the chances she knew about said wedding before last week?). And Little Rainbow Bug and buggleboo are doing the final day. I am so thankful to have these friends and community to help but this is beyond not sustainable. We need full time care.
So we’ll tour and hopefully one will be right. The at home we actually are really excited about which we did not expect. We’ll find Gus a new place, figure out the transition period, and move forward. This is sad for me and will be sad for him and his sitter, too. I feel so bad for doing this but remind myself it is business, not personal. She cannot work the schedule we need so we have to find someone who can. The added bonus is that both of these places are $250 a month cheaper.
Obligatory cute baby pictures:
Yesterday when I picked up Gus from the babysitter she handed me a bottle with about a half an ounce sitting in the bottom. She confirmed what I suspected – that half an ounce was the end of freezer milk.
In addition to the freezer milk being gone my supply has dropped. I pump about 6 ounces at work and 2-3 at home before bed. This is 9 ounces, max. It has been at that for about a week. Gus drinks about 12 ounces a day. It don’t take a mathematician to figure out the problem.
Gus is primarily bottle fed at this point. After having an over supply for so long her got used to getting lots of milk quickly. Between that and being on bottles at the sitter it started to just make sense to do primarily pumped milk in bottles. He gets a bottle for nap, a bottle for bedtime, and nurses once in the night. At the babysitter’s he normally gets two bottles and naps don’t always happen the first attempt.
With the loss of milk we need to change something. I’ve asked in different groups and am trying to figure out what to do. He goes to sleep on a bottle so that needs to change. The suggestions are to move the bottle to earlier in your routine and be prepared with snuggles and patience later on. We can do this at home but at the babysitter’s she puts him in the pack and play with his bottle and he falls asleep. Honestly, she doesn’t have the patience to work through it and has never successfully transferred him from arms to pack and play. I think to switch this we have to resign ourselves to him not sleeping there which is not an option for anyone.
The other suggestion is to start watering down his bottles until he has all water. This could work but will essentially wean him. Because he only gets pumped milk in bottles (with one overnight nursing) if we start getting him down to water bottles he’ll have no more milk. I suppose we could give him milk when he wakes up but honestly, this seems like a pain. He’d still have the bottle and then we would give him another bottle? And I think if we gave him a milk bottle and THEN a water bottle he would lose it. This really only seems like a viable option if weaning.
The third option is to work to increase my supply. Pump more, nurse more, drink tea, take supplements. Honestly, I don’t want to do it. I don’t have it in me at this point. Pumping once a day at work is freeing. There were times when I pumped three times a day and those were hell – I couldn’t get anything done. I don’t want to schedule two pump breaks. I don’t want to get up earlier because I need to pump in the morning. Those are the options and I hate them both.
So I’m at a crossroads where I don’t know what to do. I think Gus could manage on no nursing. The 3:30 am wake up would be the hardest part for us but if we did bottles of water he’d be fine the other times. I think about this and I’m so sad. Our nursing relationship is barely even that. It’s bottles and pumps with a little nursing thrown in. He’s never been a comfort nurser. He’s never needed a boob because he is upset. He’s just nursed to eat and moved on.
I feel like I’m not ready. I feel like I am forcing him to wean. But I also feel like other options are not viable. I don’t know what to do.
So I’m overall pretty anti password protecting things but I wanted to talk about something in blog land that I don’t want to talk about with real life folks. So there’s a password protected post I just put up for bloggers only. If you think that applies to you and you want to read it either message me on the book face or email me at emily (dot) yates (at) gmail (dot) com – if we’re not friends on facebook you might have to tell me who you are in an email.
Sorry for the interruption in content – Gus pictures coming soon.
Oh – and I’m not pregnant. And neither is Lesley. And we aren’t trying to be. 🙂