I knew that I was going to breastfeed my baby. Check that. I planned on breastfeeding my baby. Of course, I also planned on an all natural birth without interventions and ended up having a C-section after over a full day of labor. Plans! Isn’t there a saying about plans?
I had friends that breast fed, but I had no idea what I was starting. In hindsight my best advice was from a friend who said she struggled with breastfeeding for 3 weeks. She said she was determined not to give up. I still haven’t given up, but I do have some thoughts.
It is unfair that childbirth is so grueling and then is immediately followed by breastfeeding. If you have the honor of completing either, they are two of the most challenging activities of your entire life. Childbirth is no walk in the park, but it’s relatively short when you consider your breastfeeding journey. I’m 8 months in and I’ve been tracking my stats. I started out the first month at nearly 90 hours of breastfeeding. That’s every two hours or so for the last 8 months. Let that sink in. The kiddo won’t wait longer than that unless it’s night time. The kiddo is also in the 99% percentile for height and weight. I suspect this has something to do with it. I’ve been in beast mode since August.
Breastfeeding moms don’t care what you think. This includes, but is not limited to: your opinion on breastfeeding, if you think my kiddo is too big or that I shouldn’t be feeding him in public or whatever, then just keep it to yourself. I do not need your approval and I couldn’t care less if you support me. I’m doing it anyway.
Random nutritional fun facts. I get hungry. I need snacks. I don’t care what time it is or if my snack is cheese slices from the back of the fridge. I have also been known to eat that nasty Betty Crocker frosting in a tub when I want something sweet (just a few spoon fulls). I’m really trying to eat healthy, but I get hungry. Rumor has it breastfeeding burns roughly 500 calories a day. Did I mention that I run as well? I’m training for a 10k. Some days, when I run, I’m guessing I need to take in an extra 1,000 calories a day.
I had a son a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been busier and more tired than I ever thought possible, but right this second he’s sleeping peacefully. I’ve been cried at, pooped and spit up on and I wouldn’t change a bit of it…not for the world. There any many things I thought I understood about having and raising a child and there are some things that instantly became clear once he joined the world. Here are a few of them.
If you have a birth plan, burn it or throw it out the window. Your kiddo has a plan too and it’s unlikely the same plan. I planned to give birth at a birth center with a midwife and ended up in the hospital with severe preeclampsia. It happens. In my opinion, the best thing that you can do is educate yourself about all options available and be flexible. In fact, I am learning that being flexible is an essential part of this parenting thing.
I know that my son is crying. I hear him while I’m shopping too. I don’t want him to cry either, but I’m not going to find a bench to feed him and then resume grocery shopping in a half hour. Someday we may be skilled enough to breastfeed in the Moby wrap. We’re not there yet. I’m just going to get my hustle on so I can remove myself from the scene. No need to glare at me people. I need milk and tater tots and I’m not leaving without them. Deal with it!
There are lots of rules/suggestions/guidelines with babies and you have to choose your own path. You should remain yourself only now you have a baby. I thought I read enough books and articles and blog posts, but there is always something to learn and everyone has an opinion. Do you know that some people don’t leave the house with babies? What?! I’d go bonkers! But that’s me. In the first week with my son I was in a wedding and went to the state fair. See? I’m still me. I go, go, go. Granted that was a crazy week and we have settled into a pattern now that doesn’t involve that level of precise timing. I’m most likely not going to wrench him out of bed to run errands (notice I didn’t say never). My sister told me that while she was home with her baby she only planned on doing two things a day. Recently I took the kiddo to a union protest and now he’s sleeping in his union red onesie. I don’t think I’ll be doing anything else today. Bottom line: everyone has opinions and you have to learn how to parent in your own style. If it doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t really work, does it?
I’m always late or there is the potential to be late for any appointment, meeting, or gathering. My husband and I joke that we are always one diaper blow out away from being late. It’s true. You can’t plan that.
I can’t make plans much or rather I don’t make solid plans. My plans are today I will go to the chiropractor. The office is open for 6 hours today. I’ll make it at some point before or after I walk the dog or I won’t.
While I love my child I also savor the moments that he’s with someone else. Sometimes it’s fun to be lost in my not so recently left behind adult world where people are loud with laughter (without apology because they are worried they will wake the kidd0) and don’t ask me baby things.
In December, we generally celebrate the holiday season. Another thing we do in December is we review the entire year. We review the fashion, the news and activities, and the passing of people that we loved. It’s a great time for reflection because it’s the end of something and we’re all excited to start the next new thing. We also make a few resolutions or laundry lists of things that we can do to improve ourselves and then the following year we repeat the process again and again and again.
But what if we are exactly the same as we were last year? What if we are the same as our 10 year old self? I bring up 10 year olds because I work at a local museum. There I give tours and teach classes to mostly 10 year olds. They are fantastic: They push and shove in line and have a righteous sense of fairness. They also share lunches with friends and translate for the new kid who doesn’t speak English. I’m not saying they are always fantastic. Some of them are absolute jerks like those pushing in line or purposely snubbing potential table mates for group activities. They can be brats. But seriously how much have you changed sense then? I’ve been at the museum for 12 years now. The kids that went through my first classes are now 22. I am guessing that the ones that pushed and shoved in line ended up as managers (or on that track) and making tons of money, those that can’t stop talking might land in some sort of sales position, and the ones translating might end up working their tails off at social service non-for-profits where hugs and smiles are a an acceptable form of payment.
This year while you are reviewing your year I encourage you to think about yourself as a 10 year old. What were you like? What have you lost? How were you different? How can you be better for yourself and for others? Because I am telling you now that no one will notice if you lose 10 pounds.