Monday, May 28, 2012

Milestones Galore!

So tonight, my big boy peed on the potty for the very first time. Oh my...where did my baby go?

The look on his face when he realized what he was doing was priceless. He looked so proud of himself and so surprised. Like he was thinking, "This is what I do on this crazy chair? Weird." But I could tell he was very pleased with himself.

I gave him an M&M as a reward then he got to play in the tub for as long as he wanted...which, I'm sure, felt amazing on such a hot day!

Every time I turn around lately, my boy is doing something new and different. So far, this has been my favorite stage. He still needs me and loves to cuddle and nurse, but he's also so adventurous and curious about everything. It's the best of both worlds...a baby on the cusp of being a big boy.

Is there a magic button to slow time down?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nursing Strikes, Allergies, Vacations, Oh My!

The good news...I little one's hiatus from nursing turned out to just be a nursing strike.  I really thought he was done because of how easily he was going to sleep and comforting himself without nursing.  But one day over vacation, he asked to nurse before a nap.  I didn't believe him, but he latched right on like he had never done anything differently.

He's been nursing so much that today I said to my husband, "Why was I sad that he was done?"  And he said, "Be careful what you wish for."

So nursing is back to normal, which is good because this past week he was covered in hives...head to toe at one point.  Nursing was one of the few ways I felt like I could comfort him when he was so itchy he couldn't sleep at night.

The doctor suspects he is allergic to the antibiotic he was on for a recent ear infection, and after some Internet research, I think that's probably an accurate diagnosis.  The hives started on our last day of vacation with a couple of small red dots on his face.  I thought they were bug bites, but when I got home, he was getting redder and more splotchy by the second.  His ears were bright red and swollen when I called the on-call doctor.

I gave him off-brand Benadryl until we could see our regular doctor the next day.  I kept giving him the Benadryl about every six hours for his comfort, and I alternated it with homeopathic allergy medicine that definitely seemed to help.  He had the hives from Wednesday until Saturday.  On Sunday (today), they were finally completely gone.  I'm so happy my baby is back to normal!

Thankfully the hives didn't start until the last day of vacation, and we had a blast the whole time we were away. The little guy was a breeze on the flights, and once I gave up on using cloth diapers while we were away (a guest bathroom toilet and antibiotic diarrhea don't mix...gross!), I relaxed and we had so much fun.

So that's been the story of my last week and a half!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Is this really the end?

Last week my son decided he didn't want to nurse to sleep for his nap.  This was surprising and a little hurtful.  I was completely confused at how my dedicated little nursling could suddenly do something so out of character.  But the following day, he refused to unlatch for the entire length of his nap, so I shrugged it off.

However, in the days since, our nursing relationship has taken a sudden and dramatic shift.  And this is none too pleasing to this little mama.

For the first couple of days, he still nursed overnight, but a couple nights ago, he refused to nurse to sleep and then when he woke up at 2 am, he refused to nurse again.  He didn't seem to know what to do with himself, and frankly, I felt the same way.  For the past 19 months, our go-to move has been breastfeeding.  He cries, I nurse.  He's teething, I nurse.  He has a cold, I nurse.  Whatever the ailment or trouble was, nursing was a surefire fix.  But suddenly, he rejected it.

And the breastfeeding relationship is so intimate that it's really hard to not feel like he's rejecting me.  In fact, it's impossible to feel any other way.  Around midday yesterday, I started to feel engorged, so I pumped a measly half an ounce.  I gave him that milk in a sippy cup with dinner.  He guzzled it right down.  So when my husband did the bath and PJs routine as he always does, I pumped again.  This time I got two ounces.  Again, he guzzled most of it and only left a little in the cup.  So today, I pumped in the morning, at midday and in the evening with the intention of giving him a nighttime cup of milk.  But he rejected it.

I've met every milestone of his with a smile.  I couldn't have been happier to see him start crawling, then walking and talking.  Every big boy move of his has seemed amazing to me.  I love to watch him learn new things and explore the world, and he does it all with this look of pride and amazement on his face.

But this is a milestone I'm not happy to see.

Sure, there's a chance that this is just a nursing strike.  He has been stuffy, and he's definitely cutting his molars.  But there's something about his steadfast refusal to drink my milk, both from the breast and from a cup that feels very final to me.  I'm going to continue to pump and hope that he changes his mind.  But if this the end of this part of our life together, I wish I had known.

I'd have held him closer the last time we nursed.  I'd have inhaled his sweet milk breath one last time.  I'd have kissed his little hands and tickled his toes like we used to do.  I'd have memorized every little sensation and look, and as cheesy as it sounds, I'd have cherished it more than I did.  As it is, I can't quite remember when the last time was.  Was it that nap?  Or sometime overnight since then?  I honestly don't know.

There's so much that's indescribable in our time together as a nursing pair, so much that I'm not ready to let go of.  And I'm so surprised that he is ready to let go of it.  I feel blindsided and sad and confused.  How will I comfort him now?  What will I do when he has a bad dream or falls and hurts himself?  Holding him and rocking him was never enough.  He always needed milk to help him feel better.  Will it be enough now?

I feel like I have to learn the ropes all over again.  I feel like I did in those newborn days when he cried endlessly and I didn't know how to help him.