I think I'm breastfeeding forever.

When I nurse my little guy I feel like it's the most special thing in the entire world. It really is an amazing feeling to be able to share these moments with him. The only thing is, he’s getting bigger, and when I say bigger, I mean, he's asking for "milk", "mamas milk", that is. I was just wondering how much longer I was going to be doing this because at this rate, it feels like forever.

We were down to a night feeding and a morning feeding and soon we were going to cut out the morning feeding.  But no! Something happened. My little man has an agenda of his own and now he demands it when ever he comes near my breast. If he sense they are around,smells them, or sees them, he immediately grabs for them. In fact, he’s the boss when it comes to his "mamas milk" and whenever he wants it, he must have it right then and there. 

My husband says it looks as though he’s trying to, “boob rape” me. That doesn't sound like a  nice way to put it but little Caleb is not gentle about getting it.  He takes his arm and thrusts it down my shirt and into my bra. Next he tries to dig my breast out as though he’s taking a cantaloupe out of a grocery bag and then clumsily places my nipple in his mouth and sucks as though he’s been walking through a desert and desperately needs what could be his last drink of water. If there are any on lookers around us, he quickly glances over at them and gives them a look that clearly says, “don’t judge me”.

Ha! We all usually have a good laugh at his process. I end up feeling like I tried to put up the good fight and lost. When ever he asks for it and I convince him that I will give it to him, he waits patiently and claps his hands and says, “Milk! Milk! Milk! Yeah..” And when it’s quiet and just the two of us, we look at each other endearingly, and there is a moment of pure joy and love we share. He looks at me like, “I just love you so much Mama!” And I look at him and think, “I love you so much baby!” And then all is good.

However, he is almost 18 months and I was just wondering how much longer I would be doing this. I'm not complaining, I love having these loving moments with him but we can create other loving moments. I breastfed Ian, my first for 11 months. I simply said to him, "I think we're done", and he said, "OK, cool", and that was it.

 I know it’s becoming the thing to breastfeed your kids until they are six years old and while that may be fine for some people, that wasn’t in our plans. I can’t see picking him up from school and him asking me for a snack, and the snack being me. It looks like we may be going until two years old. But what if he wants more. What if he wants it past two? When he is capable of having a conversation, I will just have to sit him down and let him know Mamas breast are retiring. I just don't want to break his little heart.

But in the meant time, it is nice to know that there are benefits to breastfeeding your toddler. The American Academy of Pediatrics  and La Leche League suggest that mothers nurse their toddlers for up to two years. Apparently it’s a win win situation for everyone. It’s great for their bodies, fighting off colds, ear infections, staying hydrated. And it’s not too bad for the mamas as well. It helps to stave off breast and cervical cancers. So as long as it's a good thing for everyone, I will continue to do it. 


Cursing In Front Of Your Kids: What's The Big Deal!

This morning, while making breakfast I realized I had burnt the toast and immediately said, with no thought, "Shiiiiit". I looked over to my left and saw my 5 month old sitting in his bouncer, grinning at me and I said, "Oh no! Please ignore Mommy's potty mouth."  As I continued making our breakfast, I thought about the article I just read last night, "5 Reasons I Don't Give An Eff About Swearing In Front Of My Kids".

After reading this article  by Kate Levkoff, on Scary Mommy, I originally thought, "Yassssss!! Hell to the yeah!" It was funny, it made me giggle and it made me feel like my most imperfect moments are shared by other Mommy's out there. It had a comedic undertone to it and isn't the purpose of comedy to take uncomfortable situations that most people can relate to and make us laugh at it? Right away, I thought, I have to write about this on my blog and share it with everyone. As I started to write a comment on her article, congratulating her on hitting it on the nail, I was shocked at all of the other comments I saw posted.


Battling Addiction: The Age of Multiple Devices

In this new age of the smart phone, tablets, laptops, desktops, smart TVs  and many other devices, we are all guilty of spending perhaps way too much time on them. I know I use my devices for everything under the sun, from planing dinner, organizing the family calendar, checking emails, shopping, and keeping up with my social media families. But when I watch my twelve year old son on his devices, I get concerned that he's wasting his life away and may be developing an unhealthy addiction.

I recently watched this video on addiction and it helped me to look at it from a different perspective. I've always believed when we are addicted to bad habits, the way to stop is to replace it with a good habit. Stopping anything cold turkey doesn't work for most of us. That's why when people quit smoking for example, most times they go back to it because they never replaced it with something else. Their mind is always thinking about that cigarette they can't have and so they eventually trick themselves to believe that it is an addiction they can control and if they have only one once in a while they'll be fine. But sooner or later they end back to smoking regularly. I know this because I used to be a smoker.

I really enjoyed smoking too. I would plan my cigarettes out; whether I was at work, in my car, drinking coffee or a glass of wine. How did I quit? With out even realizing it at the time, I had replaced smoking with working out. Exercising has become my focus and it just didn't fit my lifestyle anymore. My days of sitting in smoky coffee houses in the city were no longer the norm. Spending time with my son, like taking him to the park or on play dates were the regular and I most definitely did not want him to expose him to smoking.

This video made by Kurzgesagt, ( German for, in a nut shell) shows a creative depiction of why we form addictions and possible ways to end them. In the video, they discuss that we need to have human connection and to not place ourselves in isolated cages. Especially dealing with hi tech devices, it's easy to form an invisible border around ourselves.


My Husband the Elephant Dad

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Drawing Credit: Ian Kelewae

This Tiger Mom in Training is married to a big, giant, soft, Elephant Dad. A tiger and an elephant together just sounds bizarre. First, what is an elephant parent?  Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar sums it up best in her article "Being an Elephant Mom in the Time of the Tiger Mother". Basically she says, "[elephant] parents who believe that they need to nurture, protect, and encourage their children, especially when they're still impressionable and very, very young".

I actually agree with this method of parenting, however, when do you draw the line and start to offer a little tough love? Sometimes my husband and I have very different ways of laying down the law. There are times our disagreements in parenting makes me look like I'm trying to rule with an iron fist. Trust me, my rules are not that overbearing. A true tiger mother might say I'm a lightweight. In fact, they might even say I'm an Elephant Parent, which, honestly, I think I am as well.


Hypnobirthing- The Art of Giving Birth

Hypno- what? That's exactly what I said when I first heard of it. I google searched hypnobirthing and I was amazed at the information I found. Having a baby with no pain? Yes please, sign me up.

Of course I looked for videos because I am a visual person and it was not enough for me to just read it, I needed to see it with my own eyes. Yes, I needed to see an actual woman giving birth to a baby using this technique. I needed to see the baby coming out and I needed to see her reaction to this. I had already taken Lamaze classes for my first child, which I ended up not even using, so the thought of paying for another useless class scared me. Yes, I said useless, to each his own, everyone has their own opinion and Lamaze was useless for me. I watched video after video of women "breathing"  their babies out. Their partners silently watched and cheered them on as these courageous women barely pushed the little ones out. Quite amazing. After hours of watching and reading, I was convinced, I made my husband watch the videos as well and we were both sold.

I'm going to describe what hypnobirthing is the best way I can.

Imagine yourself lying on the beach. The sand is warm and smooth to the touch. You hear the sounds of the waves hitting the shore and receding back into the great vastness of the ocean. The sun lightly kisses you all over your body as you lie their perfectly content with your surroundings.

Now think of the color blue, red, green, yellow. The rainbow. Isn't it awesome?

Breath... breathe.... breathe some more.

...and pop! Out comes your tiny, little bundle of joy.

Whew! You almost broke a sweat.

OK- I know, some of you are reading this and saying, oh really? If it was that simple, why aren't we all doing it this way? Why are we "pushing" our babies out, instead of "breathing" them out? The truth is, we're doing this whole baby birthing thing all wrong.

After reading Hypnobirthing: The Morgan Method, it all made sense. Giving birth became painful because someone told women it was painful. Maybe I embellish a little bit as to how easy it is. Let's put it this way, there is some discomfort, but it is a whole lot different from pain. Fear makes it painful. If you are a healthy woman and there are no other concerns, this is a great alternative to using drugs. I entered my second birth with loads of fear. This helped me to calm down and trust my baby and my body.

I was able to stay at home in a relaxed environment until my midwife suggested I come in. I walked into the hospital, walked to my room and four hours later delivered a healthy baby boy. How? I used the technique hypnobirthing. I was not hypnotized, but with practice during my pregnancy, I was able to quickly guide myself to a place of comfort while I let the baby do all the work. Yes, there was some discomfort at times, but I was able to stay calm and strong and remind myself that this is not pain. I felt like a rock star afterwards.

You ever foresee something happening that could be painful and before it even happens, you think, "ouch"? Or react as though it really did hurt but then you realize it didn't? It's similar to that. The more you scream the tighter your body gets and the more intense the feeling of discomfort becomes.

This is not for everyone and I know there are many other methods out there, but if you plan on having a baby, I highly suggest looking into it if you don't want to have to use drugs. Also, all moms are rock stars, no matter how you deliver.



Am I Mean Because I Secretly Eat Treats?

Photo Courtesy of Katz Gluten Free
I've never been one to desire eating sweet treats but as with my first pregnancy postpartum in my second postpartum stage, I strangely am craving the sweets once again. The thing is, I am on a gluten free, dairy free diet so when it comes to finding the sweets that are delicious, it is very rare that I come across one that everyone in my house finds scrumptious. So am I a mean Mama because I will hide these treats and secretly eat them while everyone is at school and work?


Good Reads: Happiest Baby On the Block

I've recently been reading the book, The Happiest Baby On the Block, by Harvey Karp and I must say, I wish I read this months ago. It's so nice to read something that doesn't make me feel like a failure to my newborn.

Basically, it discusses the missing fourth trimester that our newborns need. There's been so many people giving me advice on what I need to do with my little guy. I feel like I've been doing the wrong thing but this book reassures me I've been doing the right thing and I should do more.

My first child was easy. Easy in the sense that it was easy to get him on a routine. He slept when we put him down. He ate when I fed him. We understood him right away. My second child, is a little different.

My little Caleb is..., let's just say he is more vocal. He let's us know what he needs when he needs it. This was a lot different from our first time around where we felt more in control. My poor husband felt defeated early on because he had such a difficult time soothing him.

 Everyone under the sun wanted to give us their opinion and I've been more than willing to listen to it because I was at a lost. Lack of sleep. Lack of energy. I needed help. Friends, family, doctors, lactation consultants all had something to say and it was all very different.

Some would say, don't spoil him. He needs structure and routine. Let him cry it out and learn to self soothe. Others would say, feed him on demand, he'll let you know when he's hungry and how much he needs. Let him fall asleep on you or rock him if that's what he needs. Don't ever put him down, there's no such thing as spoiling a newborn. I listened to what the latter had to say because that seemed to be my baby.

My baby wanted to eat all the time, which is called cluster feeding. My baby didn't want to sleep in his crib by himself, he enjoyed co-sleeping. I learned to carry him and nurse him at the same time in my sling. But the problem was, I was still tired, lacking in sleep and feeling more and more frustrated. I was feeling like a failure.

But now that I  have read this book, according to it, I am doing everything right. It discusses the thing that no one has ever mentioned to me. The fourth trimester. It exists. It's a real thing and some babies adapt to outside the womb better than others. I'm on my way to having, "The Happiest Baby On The Block".

Check out the website for Happiest Baby On The Block.