Friday, June 29, 2012

The Weaning Post

Ok, the long promised weaning post. It has definitely been a roller coaster both physically and emotionally but luckily it seems this coaster is slowing down.

Let's rewind to how this all started. I went to NY and Noah was left with bottles for a few days. This was the first time he had had more than a couple bottles a day and apparently he was enjoying this new, fast, mode of getting his food. So much so, that when I returned he was having nothing to do with nursing. I went through a number of stages to deal with, and accept, this fact:

Initial Reaction - When he initially rejected nursing on Sunday I chocked it up to me being gone and him needing to adapt back to our routine. Rather than fight him, I gave him bottles and pumped to be ready to continue with his nursing. It wasn't until Monday that I realized something was off.

Actual reality sets in - Monday he was still losing it every time I tried to nurse him. I started to realize that this wasn't just a temporary strike, he was really happier with a bottle. This is when I had to make some tough decisions about whether to wean him or begin a long road to reattachment. I thought about calling lactation consultants, reading up on how to "trick" him back onto the breast, etc... Scott was actually the one who suggested using this as an opportunity to start weaning him. Luckily we saw the pediatrician that day and he agreed with Scott that this would be a great time to begin that process and introduce more solid foods into his diet. So, we introduced formula.

I was actually ok with him taking the formula (I thought I would be horrified seeing him injest something with as many ingredients that I can't pronounce on the label) but the worst was still to come. Tuesday I lost it. Here are a few lines from an email I sent to Scott. Keep in mind, Noah decided to reject the breast while Scott was away so I was dealing with this alone and definitely needed his support:

"First of all, I feel like I just gave up on Noah. I came home, he wasn't interested, and I accepted that with no fight."

"I feel a little rejected too, I think. It makes me sad that Noah won't latch on and cries when I try to nurse him. I miss having him close and having that special time with him."

"I am sad that I didn't get to end his nursing on my terms."

"Breastmilk is SO much better for him than formula. The immunities. I don't want him to get sick all the time!"

Suffice it to say, I was a wreck. I was crying, emailing, calling, googling, anything to help me get a grip on my current situation. I didn't expect it to be so hard but it was definitely an emotional experience.
Just in case you needed a break from my rambling.
I get some sense talked into me - Luckily, Allison was up late and was able to talk me down off my ledge that night. She helped me to realize that ending this journey wouldn't be easy at any age. Would I be ok if he weaned at 8 months? 9? 10? What was my real "ok" date? I realized I didn't have one. I had no intention of nursing him for a year but also couldn't figure out how to stop.

I also began to realize that while I was sad about not quitting on "my terms" (selfish, right?!), we were quitting on Noah's terms which was actually a much better circumstance. Ultimately, it makes me happier that Noah was the one to reject me instead of the other way around. I would have had a harder time (I imagine) taking away something that he wanted and made him comfortable.

Finally, Allie told me that I would begin to see the perks of not nursing. I kind of thought that was a joke but it turns out, she was right!

Perks begin to surface - I feel so much freedom. I feel like I am finally getting my body back and a little personal independence. I am able to go to Bar Method without worrying about getting home to nurse Noah. I can have a drink at a mid-day BBQ. I can SLEEP! I got to sleep until 8:30am the other day because Scott can give Noah a bottle in the morning. Yes, the perks are surfacing.

Sure toting around formula and bottles is a smidge more inconvenient than just bring along myself, BUT, not having to nurse in public is a really nice feeling. Noah and I got pretty good at it and pretty comfortable, but I can honestly say I prefer our new situation much more.

Weaning myself begins - This part is a bitch, to put it bluntly. My boobs are a wreck. To get into details, my left has always produced more than my right and it is apparently in survival mode. For a girl with small Bs, this puppy is approaching cantaloupe size at least once daily. I am trying to ice and pump as little as possible but I am also scared of getting mastitis or a clogged duct from not relieving some of the pressure. I am desperate for this milk to be gone and, frankly, can't really see an end in sight which is pretty frustrating. I am consuming enough sage and peppermint to turn into a candy cane adorned with sage leaves and rotating frozen pea packs constantly. It has been a solid 5 days and I still feel like my body isn't getting the memo. Hopefully by this time next week I will be doing a milk free update for you!
Pea packs. My life is so glamorous!

SO, I guess the net is that while I struggled with Noah's decision, it turned out to be as right a time as it could have ever been and we are all getting on with our lives. For me, that currently includes finding a paper sack to wear to a wedding tomorrow since I will apparently be smuggling in about 12 oz. of milk in my chest. For Noah, that means he got a cold. I am a bit miffed and saddened but life goes on and we are snot sucking, Vapo rubbing, and snuggling it away (and giving a bit of left over frozen breast milk to hopefully kick this thing quickly). 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Noah News: Week 33

Sorry for the post delay, I opted for a nap yesterday instead of blogging!

7 Months - Mr. Noah turned 7 months on the 9th so I am a bit tardy in getting his pictures taken and any information up. Some tidbits:
  • Food - Noah is gobbling up "real" food and cutting down his bottle feedings. We are also exploring some next stages of food that he actually has to chew. He loves puffs and is growing a taste for cottage cheese and hummus. Hopefully he warms up to some of the more fancy foods I am preparing for him (chicken with pesto...sounds good to me!).
  • Teeth - Zero. At this rate he is going to walk before he has any chompers!
  • Noises - Ba, ba, ba and Ma, ma ma. I am not making too much of a fuss about the Ma, ma, ma because at this point it is just a noise and he doesn't associate it with me. That said, it still has a nice ring to it :-). 
  • Favorites - Standing, getting a hold of anything he isn't supposed to have (phones, iPad, pomeranians), being outside, other babies.
  • Not so favorites - Being confined (exersaucer is on its last weeks I have a feeling), sleeping past 5am, getting dressed, diaper changes (the two previous items interfere with moving in constant forward motion).
  • Overall - We have a really happy and easygoing baby. He loves people and playing and doesn't protest about too much. We can't wait to see what the next few months & years bring! 
Remember the creeper smile? It still appears from time to time.
7 months!
Why, yes, that is cabbage in my bra - Weaning. Sucks. I still owe you a nice long ramble about my thoughts on Noah deciding to wean himself, but today we'll keep it short. Noah is 100% on formula (we were trying to keep some milk in the rotation but he refused to drink it so once again he wins). Now, if someone could please notify the milk factory of this change so it can shut down production that would be amazing. I am trying every trick in the book and even the old wives tales to try and get my milk to dry up. I am definitely fortunate to never have had any supply issues but seriously this is getting painful and obnoxious.
You know what's not obnoxious? This face!
Swoosh - Scott's Father's Day present arrived just in time for Kevin Berry's visit. While Scott and I had best intentions of building it Thursday night, one look at the instruction manual sent us heading for the couch and a glass of wine! Unfortunately, this meant that our guests were left to help. They finished in about 3 or 4 hours (there were a lot of pieces, and a very small amount of direction reading) and we were able to get in multiple games of PIG before our evening activities commenced.
There were legitimately times where three people were required for assembly.
And one baby to oversee the operation.
Boo Boo, Boo Hoo - Noah had his first "injury" this weekend. He found a matchbox car to play with and was happy as can be. I was a bit weary of the wheels as choking hazards but unfortunately that was not the area of the car I needed to concern myself with. All of sudden Scott and I looked down to see Noah starting to grimace in pain and realized he had put his finger through the car's window and it was stuck. There was only one way to get this little grubber out of there and that was to pull. Of course, this left one screaming little baby and a finger with a cut :-(. Robert was quick to get him his first band aid and by the end of the night he was un-phased by the finger entirely (we took off the band aid before bed). It was a sad rite of passage but one every kid must go through, I guess!
Peanut's bandaged little finger.
So sad :-(.
The hoopty ride that caused the injury.
Noah on the Move - I should change the name of this blog to "Stephanie Chasing Noah" or "Stephanie Redirecting Noah". Noah's crawling has reached a whole new speed and efficiency this week and his demand to stand is rivaling a political campaign in its intensity.
This is how I get anything accomplished during the day. Kitchen utensils and laundry baskets are favorite toys these days.
Remember when he would lay next to Bear for monthly pictures (albeit not happily)?
This was as close as I could get to a size comparison this month.
Everything else looked a bit like this.
Zoo Bee Zoo Bee Zoo - (Yes, I know the real song is Zou Bisou) This week we went to a "zoo" that is about 2 miles from our house. I think they are being a bit generous with the word zoo but there were some fun animals to see (bobcats, bats, raccoons, bees) and a nice little play area for crawling around. And the real bonus, it's free. I imagine we'll return!
We got to see that raccoons getting their lunch. It was the one time Noah actually noticed the animals!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Noah News: Week 32

I was very bad about documenting photographically this week, my apologies...

First of all, I missed noting a trip to the pediatrician last week. It was a scheduled appointment for a shot, but I got to ask a million questions and get a weigh in. We learned:
  • Noah weighs 15.9 lbs. Up one pound from last month.
  • He should learn to walk without shoes and then we can introduce them and essentially re-teach him how to walk. Awesome.
  • I got the ok to give him hummus. This was very exciting for me, apparently not so much for Noah since I think the flavors were a bit of a shock! We'll try again soon. 
  • We were given the directive to pack in as much fruit (prunes specifically if you catch my drift), water, and lack of binding items as possible. As a result I am pretty sure I am force feeding Noah every 25 seconds!
Goose - Our little Noah is a crazy, silly, wild, goose. This likely is no surprise based on my past few posts but I swear each day he gets braver and is venturing past any appropriate baby boundaries regularly.
This morning we played under the table. Pokey wood and metal beams, definitely kid friendly, right?
Daddy's Day - We celebrated a very special Father's Day on Sunday! While I didn't whisk Scott away to Napa for a weekend of bliss, I tried to make it about him and make sure he got everything he wanted. Scott's day started with a rare treat...bacon and eggs. I can't stand cooking bacon in my house because it smells BUT, it is a favorite for Scott so alight came the griddle. Scott got presents (the DAD pictures I framed for him and will refresh each June with our ever growing little boy):

Next up, we took a family stroll to a local lunch spot and enjoyed a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to celebrate the day (there are perks to this weaning thing). Then, I delivered on Scott's #1 Father's Day request...uninterrupted US Open watching. I might have poked my nose in once or twice but for the most part, Dad got to simply relax and enjoy his Sunday afternoon. By the way, I completely regretted the wine when Noah refused to nap on this lazy Sunday because I wanted to, desperately! 
Dad got a basketball hoop for Father's Day. The real deal gets delivered on Friday so we had to give him a "teaser" present.
Matching chins. Love these two.
Noah got this for Scott so he can teach him all about the Giants.
As you can tell, it was a nice little Sunday spent with the two men I love more than anything. Scott could absolutely win any "Dad of the Year" contest and he deserves so much more than one day of recognition. As I told him, I can only hope that Noah grows up to be the man/husband/dad that he is. 

Holy Guacamole - In an effort to jam more fruit into Noah I picked up some mesh bags to put various yummies in. I took a recommendation to put some avocado in one day, and while it proved to be a GIANT mess, Noah sure did love his baby guacamole.
Sorry for the "action" shot, he was in the Johnny Jumper and holding still wasn't an option.
This week we also enjoyed a visit from the Yared's, a date night, I had Girl's Night Out, and a fun night with Kristina and Renee at the fire pit. Like I said, I was bad a documenting this week. I will do my best to improve, starting now...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Noah News: Week 31

What a week. Noah is seriously changing by the minute and keeping us on our toes constantly. Also, I got back from NY on Sunday and Scott left Monday for the Big Apple. While the Noodle keeps barreling forward and impressing us daily, Scott and I are looking forward to trading off naps over the next couple of weeks to catch up!! So, what has us so worn out?
7 months, going on 2 years!
Ba, Ba, Ba - I go away for two days and my little boy starts making real talking sounds! Up until this weekend it was a lot of coos and grunts but we now have full blown speech sounds. I am keeping my ears tuned for a "MaMa" sometime soon!

Wild, Wild, West - Watch out Bay Area...Noah is a wild man. He is officially on the move and after EVERYTHING. Gone are the days of plopping him down and running to the kitchen or to do a quick chore. He is quick and t.r.o.u.b.l.e! Yesterday I ran to get a roll of paper towels and came back to my little guy in the dog toys (which were across the room and under an end table). He is also getting much stronger in his crawling & standing. He can now crawl over to his toys and then push himself back into a sitting position. He is also starting to pull himself up to a standing position. It is amazing to see how fast his development is happening and also a little scary to think what the next couple of months will bring in his mobility!!!
Wrapped present, took present to kitchen (kitchen is about 2 steps from wrapping location), came back to this...
Ready for our new table any time now! He loves to stand at the trunk and has hit his head about a zillion times trying to stand up.
Puffy Daddy - This little Noodle is loving trying new foods. This week we introduced puffs to get his pincher skills revved up. While it is a bit sad to see him get frustrated when he can't get it, the excitement when he gets one to his mouth is pretty great. He is even chewing the puffs which is a pleasant surprise since I thought I was in for a choking disaster.
Enjoying some watermelon poolside.
And, without further ado, The Big One...

When I went to New York, Noah obviously had to continue eating :-). In order to do that he had bottles all weekend while I was pumping away to make sure we could get back on track when I got home. Apparently he realized that he can get more crawling, standing, and general fun in by taking a bottle which delivers the "goods" much faster than nursing. The Cliff Notes: Noah quit breastfeeding. I came home and he would literally flip out if I tried to nurse him but would happily take milk from a bottle. I have SO much to say about this topic because as a result of this we have decided to wean him. So far, he is taking one formula bottle a day with a plan to go to all formula except his 5am feeding (which he will still actually nurse for). I am documenting all of my emotions that are coming along with this transition and will do a post dedicated to this topic soon. Right now, suffice it to say, I am waffling between being completely devastated and happy about the new phase we are entering. More soon...
In case you were wondering why I won't just be pumping to give him bottles...not an easy task to pump with a mobile 7 month old.
Mornings are the best. This from the girl who used to sleep in until 10 or 11!

Monday, June 11, 2012

New York, New York

Hello from 30,000+ feet! I am all smooshed in in my window seat on my way back from a whirlwind trip to New York. My trip was so incredibly much fun and I am so glad I made the decision (and Scott gave me all the nudging I needed) to make it happen.
Kate and I at ABC Kitchen. Seriously one of the most incredible meals of my life!
City Fun
This trip was jam packed and perfect! I landed in NY Friday morning and we hit the ground running and didn't stop for the next 48 hours. We walked so much on the first day that I got blisters on my heels, balls of my feet, and toes. Kate was an amazing tour guide and we seriously packed in more than I could imagine. I have been to New York a few times before and can't say that I was the city's biggest fan. That was until I got to see Katie's New York! This time it felt charming and fun and not at all like the concrete jungle that I was remembering. I feel like I got to see so many different parts of the city and experience them from a local's perspective. We ate and drank ourselves silly and I savored every last moment of the experience! I am already anxious to plan a return trip and bring Scott along (Mom, we'll drop Noah off in St. Louis with you!).

Day 1: Chelsea Market, Highline, Frying Pan, West Village, PH-D, Beer Garden, Buddakan,Wilfie & Nell.
Highline. Old train tracks that have been turned into a walkway with benches, tables, and little vendors (wine, ice cream, etc...) along the way.
Chelsea Market. Very similar to our Ferry Building but with more nooks and crannies.
Hogs and Heffers...THE Coyote Ugly bar.
Drinks on the Frying Pan (an old barge on the Hudson).
Carrie Bradshaw's house.
Drinks at PH-D bar. Amazing view of the city from up here!
Buddakan. This is where the rehearsal dinner scene in the SATC movie was filmed. Gorgeous place, amazing food.
Day 2 (a little slower after the food & wine tour of day 1): NY Bagels @ Essa Bagel, SoHo shopping, Eataly, Central Park, Boat House, ABC Kitchen.
My bagel. They are all they are cracked up to be.
Our lunch at Eataly. Eataly is Mario Batali's brain child and it is almost indescribable. Just go.
Just one of the cheese fridges at Eataly.
Most of my trip was fairly "un touristy" but I caved and got a charcoal drawing of Noah done in Central Park.
The Boat House. I loved it here. I would like to attend a wedding here one day...just putting that out in the universe so that someone with a lot of money can invite me.
My celebrity sighting. Jennifer Morrison (aka, Dr. Cameron from House) was sitting right behind Kate at ABC Kitchen.
Leaving Noah
Thursday night I put Noah down for bed and did all my final packing in preparation for my red eye. I am SO glad I took a red eye so I didn't have to say goodbye to him mid day. The departure from the house and drive to the airport were pretty agonizing. I was definitely leaving my heart behind! There were a couple of moments where I thought, "I can't do this. I'm staying home." but I knew that was completely ridiculous and kept putting one foot in front of the other and made it to the airport.   As expected, once I was all checked in I had calmed down (well, as much as I can with a fear of flying...yeah, I was a hot mess!). I popped my Ambien and woke up in New York excited for our adventure.

Of course, Noah was always top of mind. I thought of him at every turn and probably made Kate want to kill me with talk of a seven month old all weekend! I was surprisingly relaxed being away from him for the first time. From time to time I would yearn to be able to get my hands on him but for the most part I was able to just enjoy my vacation (while looking at pictures of him on my phone at least once an hour).
Noah sporting his I heart NY tee the day I left. (notice the hand holding the shirt!?)
The moral, leaving Noah was hard but it was also so good for our entire family. Kind of like I blogged about a couple weeks ago, we all need our time and separation and none of us are too much worse for wear! That said, I am pretty sure time is moving backwards on this flight...I want to get home SO badly!

The great pumping adventure
Leaving a breastfed baby to galavant around New York comes with it's own fun set of challenges. The number one for me was having to pump every 2.5 hours. I pretty much lost all sense of socially acceptable behavior and pumped anywhere and everywhere (with a cover) I needed to including bars, a bench on a random sidewalk, dressing room at Bloomingdale's, Central Park, a hotel lobby, back of a town car (prompting my driver to ask me if I was having a medical issue) get the idea. It proved to be an interesting task and Kate was a trooper dealing with me and my pumping needs all over Manhattan. Here's hoping it was all worth it and the transition back to feeding goes smoothly when I get home.
Pumping on the way to the city from JFK.
Now, for the final I pump in my seat or lock myself in the airplane bathroom for 15 minutes?! (update: I pumped in my seat...the girl next to me didn't seem all too phased by it!)

My wonderful Scott
I mentioned that Scott gave me some nudges to make this trip happen. I cannot say enough about his support of this getaway. He dealt with my constant frenetic energy the 48 hours leading up to my trip, listened to me go over instructions on how to care for his son, and kept reassurring me that this was best for everyone and that everything would be ok. He demanded that I let go of home and truly enjoy my trip. Because of him, I was able to do that and didn't have a worry at all about the two of them back home. As far as I can tell, he and Noah had a great time without me! I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband.

Well, that about does it. Stay tuned for some Noah news later this week!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Noah News: Week 30

Please forgive me for this short, less than thought out post. My mind is one giant scramble this week as I prepare to leave Noah for the first time. As I mentioned last week, I have never left him for more than three hours...Thursday I get on a red eye to New York until Sunday. So, yeah, my mind is elsewhere today. It will be SUCH a fun trip, but the preparing to go has me a little spun up!

The Many Faces of Noah Retchless - Noah has become quite the ham. He cracks Scott and I up constantly with his funny little expressions. A personal favorite right now is when he gets excited...he scrunches up his little nose, twists his mouth around, and starts huffing/panting. There is often some leg and arm flailing that goes along with it.
This is kind of the face. Scrunchy nose but I wasn't able to capture his crooked mouth.
Another fan favorite...the quasi creeper smile. He makes this face when he is confused or is this strange this straight across half smile that, of course, cracks us up.
My Buddy, My Buddy - I can never remember what I have posted on here in weeks past so forgive me if some of this is a repeat... When Noah was born, I loved him. God help anyone who would try to take him away from me. BUT, I don't think I truly bonded with Noah until months later. I read many bloggers with birth stories that end in these beautiful professions of bonds, motherhood, and something greater than one's self. My story ended with lack of sleep, engorgement, and the perfect newborn baby boy. Again, BUT, at this point Noah is my little buddy. I LOVE having him with me, going on outings, rolling around on the floor, playing peek-a-boo while I shower, just generally having him around. He makes me smile constantly and is truly my heart walking around outside of my body.

How could you not want to spend every waking moment with this little guy?!
Standing Man - Our little Noah LOVES to stand. He is getting pretty sturdy and even did about 10 seconds of standing with no help or holding on. We are definitely creating a monster by encouraging this but he is so darn excited to be up on his feet! Plus, when you try to sit him down he locks out his legs and hips so you can't bend him!
He grabs his shirt a lot (??) while standing and insists on only holding on with 1 hand. We are on our way to trouble!!
Bonus photos because my brain can't think of any more words...
Just chillin with his juice at the end of the day.
We walked over to the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend on Sunday. It was a blast to peruse the booths while partaking in some Food Truck and Adult Beverage fun!
Who needs toys? Wipes containers will do just fine.