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Sep 17 2014

How Do I Stop Feeling Guilty About My Sleepless Baby?

By at 9:56 am


Sleep, baby, sleep.

Penrose is 4 months old. She babbles, laughs, grabs her feet, rolls over, bangs on her xylophone, and does not want to go to sleep.

I should have known that I was setting myself up to fail when, weeks one through 12, when people asked, “And does she sleep?” I would respond, “She sleeps!” She did, two, three, four, even six hours at a stretch. But suddenly, at 12 weeks, she stopped. When I put her in her crib after nursing her at night she would suddenly tense up and start hollering. Even if she slept on me, at 2 in the morning she would start scootching around, crying, and almost always spit up right into my nursing bra. Co-sleeping in the trundle bed in her room, the safest spot in the house, works. Driving her around works–she’s slept through the night, a whole 11 hours straight, twice now following “snooze cruises.” And once, mysteriously, we set her down in her crib at my parents’ house and she peacefully drifted off and stayed asleep for 11 hours. It’s worked a few times to sing her to sleep, massage her to sleep, play the piano or guitar until she goes to sleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 25 2014

Becoming A Mom Has Dumbed Me Down

By at 11:15 am


It’s hard to admit the truth. But I can no longer hide behind “pregnancy brain” or “I am still within the first year of twins.” I am absent-minded, cannot remember anything past 22 seconds ago, and incapable of talking about any non-mommy subject in depth. Motherhood has dumbed me down.

Ask me how I am doing and I am likely to answer with a blank stare while I process your question. I don’t have time to exercise my body, much less my brain! And I fear it is becoming embarrassingly obvious to everyone around me.

I read headlines, not books. That is all I have time for. But I keep buying books in the hopes I will be able to read them someday. Although, I wonder if all those parenting books for babies and toddlers will be relevant if I don’t read them until my kids are in high school. If I do manage to get past a headline, I rarely venture beyond the first two sentences. And then I am left frustrated, wanting to know the full story. I can ask my husband for the Cliff Notes version, but we will inevitably be interrupted by one of our three adorable and needy children. So I get fractions of sentences from him, and more often than not I will forget what we were talking about once the interruption has been dealt with. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 18 2013

The Day Two Women at the Dollar Store Changed My Way of Thinking

By at 4:11 pm

bottle of formula

I remember clearly the day that I learned for sure that I know nothing. I was standing in line at the dollar store, casually eavesdropping on the woman ahead of me talk with the woman behind the register about feeding their ravenous newborns. I nodded smugly, caressing my huge belly and thinking back to when my other two kids were new and endlessly hungry. I smiled, confident in my ability to empathize and ready to interject a wise comment as a soon-to-be mother of three.

And then I stopped to actually listen. And I heard the woman behind the counter lament that her 1-month-old still seemed hungry even after finishing his formula. I nodded, a little less confidently (having no experience with formula) but still with sympathy; hungry babies are hungry babies.

I heard the woman ahead of me suggest following her lead by giving the baby cereal. And now I nodded even less securely, resisting–somehow–the urge to scream, “Noooo, don’t do it, your baby is way too young for solids!” But (and I am embarrassed to recall this) a part of me really really wanted to pass on my “advice.” A part of me really want to jump in with all the judgment I’d resisted on the nursing front (because, and I swear I mean this, I do get that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone, and that there are many many reasons why women don’t or can’t nurse), telling her (not that she’d asked) that formula really is just fine for a newborn, but cereal certainly is not. Read the rest of this entry →

May 23 2011

I Don’t Just Whip it Out

By at 2:26 pm

Nursing at Target.

Cara’s post got me thinking: I hope that one day nursing will be so universally accepted that no baby will ever need to eat in a bathroom.

For me, it took a while to get the hang of nursing in public, let’s be honest; it took me a while to get the hang of nursing, PERIOD. Fumbling with a screaming baby didn’t exactly make me feel at ease at home–let alone in front of others. I was mortified to be using a nipple shield (what is that gadget? she can’t just feed her baby like a normal person?) and everything about nursing felt forced and awkward. I brought bottles of pumped milk wherever we went and let myself get engorged, while missing out on yet another bonding moment with my newborn. In retrospect–what was I thinking?

And then we settled into a rhythm and ditched the shield and I remember crystal clear one afternoon when he was 4 months old, he fell asleep nursing in bed and just before I dozed off I thought to myself, “THIS! This makes it all worth it. My perfect nursing moment.” And then his first tooth came in, and more teeth and biting, and acrobatics, and now popping off to talk to me (most often saying, “Da-dee?” or some random animal noise) and now nursing is intertwined with how we exist together.

We moved when my son was still a newborn so I nursed him as our little family explored our new city. The beautiful part is that my first memories of so many of the places we frequent, involve nursing. I remember nursing in the Target parking lot. I fed him in a booth at Panera, at my doctor’s office and at brunch with friends. Almost every place we go has a spot where I nursed my tiny son. I nursed him on a park bench while on a walk with friends. This is my favorite memory because a college co-ed type guy walked over and showed us his dog. He said hello and looked me right in the eyes. He didn’t shy away; he didn’t pull his dog by the leash to avoid the crazy woman nursing her child in the middle of a public park. He smiled and waited until my friend’s toddler was done petting his dog, said goodbye and walked on as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I wanted to hug him.

I’ve always been discreet about nursing. We use a cover; I turn away or try to find a private booth in the corner of the restaurant. Not because I am embarrassed, I just don’t want to be made uncomfortable by stares or dirty looks just as much as I don’t want to make others uncomfortable. As my son gets older, I do find myself being more self conscious about nursing in public. He will not tolerate a cover so when he asks to nurse I try to distract him until we can get somewhere more private. It’s fairly easy for me to be discreet as I can mostly cover my breast with my shirt so I’m not sure what my hang-up is. I nursed him on a plane a few months ago and I contemplated lying about his age to the person next to me–because for some reason it’s acceptable for an 11-month-old to still be nursing but not a 15-month-old.

The other day I had to run into Target for a few things. My son was a cranky mess and by the time we walked in, he was having none of it. I carried him in a front pack while he fussed and waved his little hand around in front of my face pumping his fist to show me the sign for “baby milk” (as if I didn’t already know what he wanted). I really needed to grab a few things, so I unbuttoned the top of my shirt and nursed him while I shopped. He nursed happily with his head resting on my chest and while I was a little paranoid that people could see this insane woman walking around Target nursing her kid, also felt empowered. I was meeting his needs and still getting done what I needed to do.  I even snapped a picture of us so that I can have two memories of Target. Nursing my infant in the parking lot and now calming that same baby-turned-toddler while I grabbed a new toothbrush and a pack of Clorox bathroom wipes.


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