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Motherhood

The Tick That Freed Me: The End of My Nursing Journey

I recently started trail running and training for a trail half marathon.  It’s been such a great way to get some much needed self care, catch up with friends and get back into shape.

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After my last long run, I found a tick on my side.  It had already started to bury itself in me, but luckily I was able to get the whole thing out.  I really have no idea how it got there because I had on high waisted leggings (Can I get an amen that high waisted is in?  Gotta hold that post baby pooch in, amirite?!!) and my shirt overlapped that and the tick got through both, but I guess that’s what ticks do.

I didn’t think much of it at first because there was only about a 5 hour maximum that it could have been on me and I didn’t have any bullseye rash associated with Lyme Disease.  I called my doctor just in case and they suggested I take an antibiotic just to be on the safe side.  Ticks carry a ton of gross diseases, so it sounded like a good idea.  In California the rates of Lyme are really low and it’s the dead of winter here,  but I wanted to exercise an abundance of caution and figured what can an antibiotic really hurt?  Take a pill for a few days.

Except, oh, one thing, you can’t take it while you’re nursing.

Pumping for 10 day seemed like extreme torture and I didn’t have nearly that much milk frozen, so I figured, ehh no big.  The risks were super low and I was being overly cautious anyway, so I decided to skip the antibiotic.

Then about a week later, I started to feel really sick out of nowhere.  Flu-like sick, which of course is the catch all symptom for Lyme Disease.  I kinda freaked out, knowing it could very well just be a virus (It is the dead of winter after all.), but if there was a chance it was Lyme or anything else gross, a lifetime of illness wasn’t worth an extra three months of nursing.

That sounds dramatic, but there’s no definitive test to determine if you have Lyme.  It could show up in 3 months or 3 years.  It just seemed silly to trade 3 months of nursing for an giant unknown that I could eliminate with a dose of antibiotics.

I won’t lie, it was an agonizing decision and I went back and forth a million times.  Formula had to happen at least for the course of the antibiotics because I just didn’t have enough milk in the freezer.  But the decision loomed whether to keep pumping and go back to nursing or to just wean all together.

There was the guilt of stopping three months shy of Nolan’s first birthday when I had planned to start weaning.  There was the guilt of not being able to give him what I had given Isla.  There was the financial cost of the formula, which seemed especially unnecessary since I’m basically an award winning milk maker.  There was his whole dairy intolerance and would we be able to find a formula that would work for him.  There was washing a million bottles a day.

Then on the other hand there was the borderline tragedy of pumping and dumping (all that hard work literally down the drain.). There was the logistical nightmare of pumping every three hours with two wild animals children running around.  There was the option for someone else to be in charge of feeding Nolan. There was regular bras that didn’t make your boobs look like the tangerines in tube socks that they are.  There was cheese, and ice cream and omg, cheese.    And the freedom…

The first day of formula, I had plans to go out and celebrate Brittany’s birthday.  Formula meant I didn’t have to rush back for bedtime because I was the owner of the boobs.  It meant I could drink to my heart’s content (Well, sort of.  I was driving.) and eat all the dairy my stomach could handle (Turns out that amounted to approximately 3.5 bites of macaroni and cheese).  I was thinking of all of this as I drove over and I felt this overwhelming sense of freedom.  Like I was getting part of myself back; a part I didn’t even know was missing.  I went from pregnant with Isla to nursing Isla to pregnant with Nolan to nursing Nolan.  My body hadn’t been my own for over 3 years and until that very moment, I hadn’t noticed the immense pressure I subconsciously felt.  I felt so relieved when I realized I wasn’t tethered to one of my kids.  I can’t tell you how excited I felt to not be apart of bedtime in some way for the first time in almost 3 years.

That’s when I knew I had to be done.  Someone once told me that nursing is a relationship and it has to work for mother and baby.  I had worked so hard for so long to make it work for my babies and it just wasn’t working for me anymore.  It was really hard to get over the guilt of it, but I really think it was the right thing for me.  My heart hurt a little bit (and my boobs because ouch to the basically cold turkey weaning) the first time I had to go buy formula, but he’s a healthy, happy baby and it really doesn’t matter how he’s fed.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to have been able to nurse both my babies.  It hasn’t been without struggle and I haven’t always enjoyed it, but that’s motherhood, right?  But Nolan was eating the formula like a champ and it could be a total fluke, but he’s even started sleeping better.  I’ll take the wins where I get ’em.

So to all the mamas who are grappling with the decision, just follow your gut and make sure the relationship works for you and your baby.  If you’re committed to making it work, then fight the good fight, but if it just doesn’t work out or you just don’t want to, it’s not the end of the world and I hope it doesn’t take a bite from a disgusting insect for you to figure that out.

Here’s the real kicker of this whole debacle.  I spent a day and a half driving AJ completely crazy because I was literally changing my mind every 10 minutes before finally deciding formula was the right choice.  The next day, I finally got a reply from the lactation consultant.

“It’s totally fine to nurse while you’re on Doxycycline!  Adult doctors always say not to nurse to err on the side of caution.  Go for it!”

Really.  REALLY?!?!?!?!  

 

Gifting, Holi-YAY, Motherhood

Gift Giving For the Little People

Gifting at Christmastime can get pretty out of hand.  I really like the idea of limiting how much we give the kids and being intentional about what we give them rather than getting stuff just for the sake of having boxes under the tree.

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This is only our third Christmas with kids, so we’re still figuring it out.  I came across the idea of something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read a few years back and I really like that idea. At first I thought it seemed really cheap to only get your kids four gifts.  But when you figure in all the relatives and Santa it adds up really quickly.  Not to mention the gratitude it teaches since in all honesty our kids want for nothing, especially since they’re not even old enough to understand the gift concept at all!

So here’s our run down on the need/want/wear/read gifting strategy this year. I think it will evolve next year when Isla is a little more savvy about how this whole Santa thing works, but in the mean time, I plan to take full advantage of them not having a clue.

  1. Save the big flashy gifts for when they’re old enough to understand. Pretty much anything from the Dollar Spot is like gold, so why spend more?
  2. At 2 and 7 months, the real gift is the paper, tissue paper and ribbon. I took care of the Something To Wear category with their new winter clothes.  I stocked up on Black Friday when Carter’s did their big 60% off sale. Both kids needed warmer clothes in the next size, so I stocked up and wrapped it all up. I definitely cheated since it’s more than one item, but it was something I would have bought regardless of the holiday and this way it counts as a gift.
  3. Keep it simple, especially for the Want category. If your toddler is like mine they could find 500 things they “want” within the first 30 seconds of entering a toy store. Chances are no matter what you get they’ll be entertained for about 10 minutes tops before they’re onto something else (probably the box the toy came in).
  4. Make your life easier with the Need category.  Think about something your kids have (or don’t have) that complicate your life. Are the lace up shoes slowing you down every morning? Get them a slip on pair.  Do you find yourself doing a special load of laundry so the favorite shirt is clean? Buy a second. In our house the baby is getting a new sleep sack because I’m tired of timing the laundry so it’s not in the washer at bed time.
  5. Farm out the boring stuffIf the thought of buying something boring like a sleep sack is too much, offer that up as an idea for a family member. That way you can double up on the fun stuff!

While I can’t guarantee this will eliminate noisy toys that come in a million pieces from your holiday season (you know, the ones usually bought by a grandparent), it will hopefully make you a little more intentional with your purchases.

How do you decide what to get your kids for Christmas?