Weaning Is All About Timing

We are now one month completely and totally breast milk weaned. I thought it was going to be harder than it was, that there would be tears, tantrums and late nights. But there wasn’t. I felt jipped. Now how am I supposed to regale people in the future of a weird or funny story from when we tried to wean our son?

Realistically weaning started when our little monkey started day care full-time, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I still breast feed mornings and night-time (and during the night), also on weekends. Eventually, ever so slowly this reduced to once a night. With out me noticing my son was weaning himself but still needed booby when upset, or tired. I started to think exit strategy. I always knew I wanted him weaned by two but had not really considered how we would achieve this.

While on holiday in September my little monkey started demanding booby milk. He would walk up and pull down my shirt (which lead to some awkward moments) and laugh or cry (depending on his mood). To me this signalled he was ready to wean. If he can demand booby he can demand a cup of milk or water, or even a plate of food.

Again though we weren’t sure how to properly wean. But October rolled around and I decided “this is it, I am drawing a line in the sand, from this day no more booby”. Of course that night our little man woke with a fever and cried the whole night. Hubby kept saying “just give him some booby milk” and I resolutely refused saying “if we can’t make it through this then we are never going to properly wean him”. I must admit I wavered, I doubted myself, I felt sad over this change…..I nearly gave in. I started thinking that Indigenous tribes woman look with the boobs down near her ankles could totally work, they just never had a decent bra right?

That weekend was the hardest and hubby had to step in a few times to give milk in a sippy cup or take our little man away. I couldn’t settle him to sleep because it upset him. But slowly this lessened and I was able to go near him without fear of a crying fit or having my shirt ripped off. I also had to wean myself of the internet again which is how I spent my new found time.

By the end of the following week he was weaned and we haven’t looked back.

To be honest I think it was all due to timing. Our little monkey was ready. If I had tried earlier we probably would have failed epically and we both would have been a sobbing mess in the corner. If you can afford too (I know it is not always your choice to wean sometimes there are extenuating circumstances) then let your baby/toddlers cues guide you when they are ready to wean.

I am so grateful my weaning process went so well. I would love to hear any other weaning stories as everyone’s experiences seem to be so different.

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Travelling with royalty

One big thing we have learned since having a baby and traveling around Asia, is that Asian’s LOVE babies. So far we have not found an Asian culture who doesn’t go completely bonkers when they see a Westerner baby. I think we have a pretty good idea of what handlers of royalty must feel like, it is crazy, disconcerting, and eventually sweet.

Our first encounter was with tourists in Hawaii. We took our little monkey to the pool at the hotel and no joke we had a Japanese paparazzi horde (we speak basic Japanese so recognised the language). I am serious, I was filming hubby and little monkey when my hubby told me to turn around and there was about 20 Japanese tourists cooing, laughing and snapping away. Wait what? yup snapping like crazy at some random child they don’t even know. But wait, then we had a lady come up and ask if she could have her photo taken with our little monkey! I’ll be honest on one level it was funny, and on another totally freaked us out. We left soon after. But this set the tone for our trip where Asian tourists would stop us in the streets and chat to us about our little monkey.

We did not think much more of it until our recent trip to South East Asia. We traveled through a few countries and one thing remained the same, every where we went our little man was treated like royalty. Old cranky people would bust out huge smiles and silly voices, giggly teenagers would oooh and ahh, workers would stop and high-five our little monkey, and if we stood still for long a small group would form around us.

It was amazing really, and by the end of it we had lost the hang ups our society has on this sort of thing. Certainly in Western culture it is frowned on to touch some strangers baby let alone play with them. Doubly so if your male. I can’t recall in Australia a random male coming up to my baby and saying “high-five little guy”. Previously if one did I would probably pick my little monkey up and move at speed (borderline breaking the sound barrier) in the opposite direction, to be fair I would probably have done the same to a random woman as well. But this is how Western society has become, we are suspicious of anyone we don’t know showing an interest in our child.

I was speaking to a local expat who said most Westerners struggle with the way Asians act towards their babies and children. Once we accepted they didn’t mean any harm we were a lot more relaxed about it. It certainly lead to some of most memorable moments, like a receptions who touched my little man’s arm and whispered with reverence “he is so fair”, the cranky old man who had glared at us as we walked into his shop but then giggled like a school girl trying to entertain our son, the waiter in a restaurant who stood in view of our son pulling faces and entertaining him, having Asian families pointing and staring at us with wonder (and commenting to us about our son) in the pool (and I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with my glow in the dark white skin), and the cleaner who giggled as the little monkey followed her around the room.

One thing I have learned from this experience is to dial down the panic meter when some stranger approaches our son and wants to interact with him.

Baby Swim Class

Our little monkey began his swimming lessons this year and he loves it. He took to it like a duck to water. I wish we had started sooner but a whole swathe of excuses kept us from starting any earlier (I will not bore you with the details, just know it involved surgery, holidays and the only provider not answering the damn phone!).

I am a big believer that it is very important to teach your baby to swim or more accurately, be confident in the water. While at this age I don’t think they really grasp the concept of swimming and water safety, the classes do make them feel confident in the water.

So what does baby swim class involve? it is more getting your baby used to the concept of swimming in the water, and introducing basic swimming concepts. They learn to float on their backs, kick with their legs, have water poured over their heads, dive under water (not as extreme as it sounds), how to jump in on command, and how to hold on to  the edge.

This is done through a whole range of fun games that engage the baby. It is also usually reinforced with songs so the baby associates the song with the action.

So what have I learned from his swimming instructions?

  • Don’t expect to have the next Thorpedo straight away. They splash around mostly (if that) and have fun. Don’t have high expectations of the outcome.
  • You will have a few nursery rhymes scratched off your singing list. Our swimming centre uses modified nursery rhymes to teach the babies certain actions, like jumping in the pool is usually accompanied by Humpty Dumpty and when they get to “all fall down” the baby is expected to jump into the water.
  • Babies are natural comedians. It is hilarious to watch the babies in a swim class. I can almost guarantee that in nearly every class one of the babies will do something that will make you laugh out loud.
  • Swimming lessons are packed out, get there early to get a car park.
  • Parents on the sidelines can be really rude and likewise really nice. I have had some lovely conversations with random parents. But there were some I could have happily kicked into the pool.
  • Some of the kids swimming costumes are adorable. There is one little girl who has a mermaid swimmers. It so awesome I will repeat it, she wears a mermaid costume! Complete with a little tail. All kinds of cute.
  • Babies who are teething HATE being made to float on their backs. When I mean hate I mean, scream bloody blue murder till it stops, hate. The instructor said she doesn’t know why but teething babies all hate that exercise.

Most of all have fun because at this stage you are building positive experiences for your baby in the water.

If you would like to get more information about swimming lessons and water safety in Australia try these websites:

I Survived the First Week of Daycare

My Mouse began attending daycare  this week.  I was able to stay home with her for several weeks, and once I went back to work, her father took time off to be with her.  We both would have liked to have spent more time with her but financially it just wasn’t possible.

Early on in my pregnancy, we found a daycare provider for Mouse.  We researched homes, interviewed caretakers and completed background checks.  We settled on a daycare close to my workplace–one that had received glowing reviews from a coworker and friend who had been using the daycare for about five years.  I felt confident about our choice.

And I still do.  Miss C. has been wonderful.  The first day she called me throughout the day to give me updates.  She has since sent me photos and text messages on a regular basis, reassuring me that Mouse is doing well.  She once was in my shoes and knows how difficult it can be for a mother entering back into the work force, leaving her baby for the first time.

That first day I cried.  Heck, I cried the entire weekend before (off and on).  I saved my crying for private, weeping in the car after I left her after lunch.  My husband drops her off in the mornings, saving me that agony.  But in the afternoons, when I go to nurse her, saying goodbye is so hard.  I cried again the second day.  The third day I cried a little less.  And the fourth day when I began to cry, I bought myself a Dairy Queen Blizzard.  I probably should have just bought a book.

I don’t have family nearby who can care for her, and, honestly, I like the idea of her having other children to interact with, something she wouldn’t get if Grandma was watching her.  Her daycare provider is big on play and development so I know Mouse is being stimulated.  She actually is doing quite well.  She has a fairly good temperament and seems to be adjusting without any difficulty.  It’s only mommy and daddy who are having a hard time of it.

The first time I saw Mouse smile and squeal for Miss C. I felt jealous.  That smile and squeal are meant only for me!  I reminded myself I should be glad Mouse is bonding with her daycare provider.  This is the woman who is helping me raise my child.  I want Mouse to feel safe and secure with her.  As this first week comes to a close I feel even more confident in my husband’s and my choice.

I know there will be other moments when I feel those pangs of jealousy–it’s inevitable–but as long as my little girl is happy and getting the care she needs, I can get past it.  After all, she has only one mommy–and that’s me.

Be sure and read about Caspette & her son’s first day experience at daycare here.

Mummy on mummy crime

We’ve all seen it, been a victim of it, heck some of us have even done it!

We are talking about mummy on mummy crime. Judging other mums, vocally on things like Disposable nappies vs MCN’s, formula vs breastfeeding & immunisations (3 of the biggies).

I have been judged on 2 of them and i personally judge women on the 3rd. It gets to the point where women that don’t do what the majority do feel alienated, which is a horrible feeling.

SO why do we do it? we learn in pregnancy that everyone (woman/man/giraffe) has an opinion on how we should give birth/feed/name our child, so why turn on the only people that understand our situation best?

In my case (immunisations) it’s because i cannot fathom the reasonings behind their decision to potentially expose their own child (as well as other children) to deadly diseases that could kill them.

Maybe myself and other mums need to remember the old addage:

“if you have nothing nice to say, keep it zipped ladies”

 

just my thought for the day.

Kell

Postpartum Depression

On March 9th of this year, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl. I fell in love with her instantly. I know it’s said that it doesn’t always happen that way, but it did for me. And so it came as a surprise when mere days later I was in tears, overly anxious and feeling quite helpless. Shouldn’t I be happy? Exhausted and tired, yes, but shouldn’t I be celebrating life rather than being an emotional wreck? I had just brought new life into this world.

I watched my husband with out daughter and I felt a pang of jealousy. How could he take to parenthood so easily while I seemed to struggle? In my usual way, I put on a brave face and tried to be strong. I couldn’t stop the tears though. Everyone told me it was normal but to keep an eye on it. Give it two weeks. If I was still feeling low after four weeks, I was advised to talk to my doctor.

When the anxiety failed to lift and the tearfulness continued beyond those four weeks, I began to worry. I couldn’t possibly have Postpartum Depression, could I? I harbored no thoughts of harming myself or my baby. I did not feel distant from her. I told myself that my anxiety, sense of helplessness and guilt were merely normal reactions to being a first time parent. It didn’t matter that I was having trouble sleeping and had lost my pregnancy weight in no time flat because I wasn’t eating. Wasn’t my lack of energy and motivation and my irritability a result of lack of sleep and nourishment? I didn’t have time to take care of myself because I was so busy caring for my little girl. I warred with myself, hesitating to call my doctor because I could easily rationalize how I was feeling. Add to that a feeling of shame that I was having such a hard time dealing with being a mother, for feeling so much anxiety and helplessness.

I actually wasn’t going to say anything to my doctor at all but when I went in for my 6 week postpartum appointment, my doctor asked me a simple question about sleep and I burst into tears. Then it all came out.  I told her about everything I’d been feeling, right down to how afraid I was to leave the house.  She prescribed more sleep and told me to make a point of eating. She told me to rest, not to exercise other than walking and advised me not to do any housework but rather hand it over to family. She said no stress (with a move coming at that time, I knew that was impossible). If in a week I wasn’t feeling better to contact her and we would take it from there. She also suggested I talk to a hospital social worker specializing in Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum Depression often goes undiagnosed for several weeks, even months, after the birth of a child. Medical personnel are more aware of the condition these days and so try and identify it early on, sometimes even before a child is born. There is no known cause for Postpartum Depression although there are several risk factors that may lead to it. A history of depression, a traumatic event or excessive stress during or after pregnancy, hormonal changes, and a lack of support are among the risk factors.

Many symptoms of Postpartum Depression are quite normal during the first two to three weeks after the birth of a child and are referred to as the Baby Blues. If symptoms last beyond that, however, there is cause to worry. Postpartum Depression is not uncommon but it does need attention as it can have a lasting impact on the mother, the child and the family unit. It is a very real illness, one worth seeking help for. There are medications as well as counseling services available to women who may need it.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression may include
Lack of interest in your baby
Negative feelings towards your baby
Worrying about hurting your baby
Lack of concern for yourself
Loss of pleasure
Lack of energy and motivation
Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
Changes in appetite or weight
Sleeping more or less than usual
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Not all women will experience all of the symptoms of Postpartum Depression. I had mistakenly thought that Postpartum Depression meant wanting to harm oneself or her baby–when in reality, that is often not the case. In fact, women feeling suicidal or wanting to harm their babies more than likely suffer from Postpartum Psychosis and should seek help immediately.

In the end, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, and it is something my husband and I will have to keep a close eye on in coming weeks and months. At this time, I am not on medication and seem to be managing okay. My husband and I are doing what we can to try to combat it.  I am getting better at asking for help when I need it, something that doesn’t come easy for me. I am lucky in that my case of Postpartum Depression seems to be mild. And I hope it stays that way. If it gets worse, however, I know that I will need to seek further help. Ultimately, it is nothing to be ashamed of as it affects many women. And it is treatable. In retrospect, I am glad I broke down in front of my doctor rather than keeping it all bottled up inside. I wasn’t so quick to accept the diagnosis, but now that I have, I am able to move forward.  I am working through it and most of the time recognize that I am not such a bad mother after all.

I Have A Cunning Plan

I have a cunning plan for getting my son to sleep. No one way will guarantee my son falls asleep. We have at least five different methods to get him to sleep and it is different again with other people because what works for us doesn’t work for others , and likewise what works for them does not work for us.

But normally playing relaxing music or “pretending” to be asleep is usually the final step to getting our little guy down. It’s like he refuses to sleep until he is absolutely sure he wont miss anything. Let me tell you observing your child from behind pretend sleep eyelashes is a skill!

Now you have probably spotted the flaw in our otherwise awesome cunning plan. That is the fake sleep and relaxing music part. Unfortunately this usually turns into “real” sleep with me waking a couple of hours later with our little guy fast asleep next to me phew. Who would have thought a tired mummy pretending to be asleep would be the way of actually getting said mummy to sleep?

We might have to rethink our cunnning plan, if it wasn’t for the BIG flaw of me falling asleep too it would be perfect! Oh well back to the drawing board.

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