Quinn – Our Breastfeeding Journey

IMG_7838 When I was in 2nd year of nursing school I took my Maternity Clinical. It was my first experience with breastfeeding education both for myself, and educating my patients. Prior to this, I was one of those silly 19 year old girls who thought breastfeeding was gross, and why don’t they cover up or leave to feed their kid or just stay home? Yep. That was me.

The summer between 3rd and 4th year is an important one for nursing students. It’s your opportunity to undergrad and work on a hospital unit with a healthcare team. Knowing I loved psych and wanted to preceptor there in my 4th year, I decided to apply to undergrad in postpartum. I had enjoyed my clinical there, and it was also an area I didn’t have very much confidence in, so I thought it would be a good learning opportunity.

I loved my undergrad experience in Postpartum. The women on the unit I work on are amazing. They are supportive, funny, empowering, and strong. They are super smart, and helpful and they provide excellent feedback. I work (and back then, worked) with an amazing team.

I remember my first DAS (Day Admission Surgery AKA Scheduled C-Section). It was her first baby. She was having the C-section because her baby was breech. They came up to the unit after the surgery and I asked that fateful question to the mother – “Would you like to try Breastfeeding?”

Now – a little context here – I was 20 years old. My experience to helping a woman latch a baby for the first time was minimal, I mostly had read about it in the textbooks and watched a few videos on it and played around with a knitted breast model and a baby doll. That poor new mother… if only she knew 😉 lol.

Well .. together she got the baby latched and had a successful feed with all the things you look for as a nurse – good alignment, swallows, drawing suck pattern. I wanted to do a fist pump I was so proud of myself!

During that summer, and then over the year that I worked on postpartum I helped MANY women breastfeed. Women with small nipples, and large nipples, and flat nipples, and inverted nipples, and difficult nipples and “good” nipples. Women who had breastfeed 5 kids prior and who had never breastfed before. Women who weren’t women, they were actually teenage girls, and women who didn’t speak any english.

Going in to motherhood when my midwife asked – “Are you planning to breastfeed?” I thought:

Lady. I was born to breastfeed.

Labor? Scared the shit out of me. Didn’t know if I could handle it. Didn’t know if I could push a baby out of … there.

Breastfeeding? Piece of Cake.

I hate to sound snobby about it, that isn’t my intention at all. But it was the ONE thing about becoming a mother I felt confident about

So Quinn came, and then getting her latched was SUPER awkward the first few times. Lol! It is quite different latching a baby to YOUR nipples. You only have one hand! (The other one is supporting the baby) You can’t adjust the pillows or SEE the way you can when your the one standing at the side of the bed! TOTALLY NOT WHAT I WAS EXPECTING. She latched fairly quickly and went to town with eating. She was a natural.

And then she got transferred to the NICU. My first thought was “NO FORMULA.” Not because I’m against formula, but because there was no clinical reason for Quinn to have formula. Her blood sugars were stable, she was a good birth weight, she had peed and pooped. I wanted my milk to come in, and in order to do that you have to breast feed Q2-3H.

You know what was one of the most shocking parts of our NICU stay? The conflicting information I received regarding breastfeeding. I actually had a nurse tell me I was starving my baby. My baby who was above her birth weight by her 3rd day of life. ABOVE. My baby who peed and pooped round the clock. Had I NOT been a nurse, specifically a nurse with lots of training and experience with breastfeeding – this comment would have shattered me. It was completely inappropriate and insensitive and it’s sad that parents have to deal with these types of comments from health care professionals.

Anyways, it all worked out fine. I successfully busted Quinn out of the NICU on day 6 without supplementing with formula. We came home and then the realization sunk in that I had no idea how to parent lol. But I knew how to breastfeed so at least I could keep her nourished if all else failed! 😉

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I was expecting a baby who ate every 3 – 4 hours like the books tell you. I ended up with a baby who ate every 2 hours from 6am – 6pm all day every day. Nights were a little easier on us thank goodness.

Breastfeeding made me feel like a good mother. Because Quinn had colic she was just so miserable all the time, it felt like if I could feed her she would calm down and be a bit more peaceful. It’s always been something Quinn has been good at – she rarely bites/gums me, she’s always seemed to be pretty quick at eating (probably why she needed to eat every 2 hours), and latching seemed to come naturally to her. She wasn’t tongue tied (hallelujah!). At this point in our journey we haven’t dealt with anything too hard besides some nipple soreness. *knock on wood*

I’m writing this now as Quinn will be starting her transition to Day Home a few days a week in just 2 weeks. I will be returning to work the week of February 8th, when Quinn is just 10.5 months old. It makes me sad to think that our special time together will be changing and coming to an end soon. While I don’t plan to wean her myself (I want that to be her initiation), I do know that it will look different when I go back to work and that she will need to be relying on other primary sources of nutrition very soon. Right now the plan is to hopefully provide 1 or 2 pumped bottles a day, supplement when needed with formula, and then breastfeed around when I work. I took a few days to mourn the idea of this transition, and I feel better about the whole process now. This is a topic for another day though. 😉

I guess it just makes me feel sad that she already will be needing me less, you know? Like this is the first step and then I’m going to wake up tomorrow and she is going to be 18 and moving out and all that stuff.

So I guess that sums up our experience so far. It’s nothing too exciting. But its something that has been far more important to me (and hopefully to her) than I ever realized.

2015 in Review

IMG_75332015 felt Grand. Like not awesome-grand (which it was) but more so like vast-grand. If that makes sense? This post is going to be a thought dump, so hold on!

I stayed closer to home more this past year than I have in a long time, the farthest we traveled was Edmonton or Calgary. Seriously, I can’t think of a year in my entire adult life that I haven’t left the province. So that in itself is pretty impressive 😉

Matthias was also closer to home this year – he took a job in town and has been home every night since February. It’s been a good adjustment. Quinn absolutely loves him and he loves her and him being home every night has definitely helped them bond.

I also feel more disconnected from my Nursing, but I guess that is to be expected as I went off work at the start of February. That means I will be going back to work at the start of February… when Quinn is only 10.5 months old. But we won’t talk about that right now because hello, *DENIAL*. I remained active with CARNA, but not as much as I had in previous years, and I definitely found it harder to make it to meetings. It will be bittersweet when my term is over in September 2016. While part of me wonders “What’s Next?” a bigger part of me says “NOTHING UNTIL YOUR DONE HAVING BABYS” haha.

I lost all that baby weight I gained and then some, which feels good, and I suppose is noteworthy, but in the grand scheme doesn’t really matter. My relationship with food is peaceful. I eat if I want to, I eat what I want to, and I no longer have an emotional connection to eating.all.the.things. That feels really, really, good. I’m no longer at a place where I feel controlled by my caloric intake. I don’t beat myself up if I eat a box of Kraft Dinner (that was today’s lunch in fact 😉 and it was delish). I’m no longer tempted by the ice cream in my freezer. It’s just there. And when I really want some, I’ll have some, instead of obsessing about it.

I found a way to enjoy home workouts! That is also pretty rad. The connection of a Challenge Group has been pivotal to this one, and for that I’m grateful.

I’ve said it before but Beachbody Coaching has made a world of difference in my life. It’s given me that sense of “More Than Just a Mom” that I need.

I continued to teach spin until my 35th week of Pregnancy and then started again in September! I also stepped out of my comfort zone and started instructing yoga. It was both terrifying and humbling, and now its something I look forward to every week.

The pets are getting older, which makes me sad. Our oldest cat is 8 and our oldest dog is 6. How?! Tucker has been dealing with some health issues throughout the year – he’s been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that attacks his nails so he has had multiple infections from that. It sucks. He’s hopefully on the mend now but will be on TID meds for the rest of his life. *cha ching*

I still really would like to buy a different house, but I’ve come to terms that it won’t happen for a while. I sure hope it happens before baby #2 though, because I might lose my mind if it doesn’t haha.

We’ve really worked hard at getting our expenses more under control. And while we are ending the year in more debt than we started it, I feel confident that 2016 will be the year we can make some large strides in turning that around.

The grandest part of the year has been Motherhood. It’s been a ride. It’s also the hardest and greatest journey I’ve ever embarked on. It’s been profoundly transformative. It’s hard for me to even articulate how motherhood has impacted me, but that might also be because I have a cold and its 10pm at night. 😉

Did you make it this far? I know it doesn’t all seem that Grand, but my heart has never been bigger, or more overflowing with love, than it is right now. So cheers, 2015. You’ve been so good to me.

Quinn – 9 Months

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GROWTH

Weight

Not Measured (9 month appointment isn’t until January)

Height

Not Measured

Head

Not Measured

Clothing

Starting to move in to the 12 month stuff. 6 month stuff is too small, 6-12 month stuff stretches out to fit, and 9 month stuff is still good (but hardly any brand makes 9 month stuff haha).

ROUTINE

Eating

This last month I really noticed the need to start feeding more solids to Quinn. She has gotten really good at moving food to her mouth, chewing, and swallowing. I give her mostly little pieces of whatever I am eating. I found that I was kind of lazy about it all to be honest, breastfeeding is just so easy. It seemed like timing meals between napping and breastfeeding was annoying, but then I got over it and got better at it lol. She eats 3 meals a day and breastfeeding 5-7 times a day. I’m thinking this will start to slow down and be less often as we continue on. Anyone know when they are only supposed to be breastfeeding like 2 or 3 times a day? 1 year? More than that? Less? Does it depend on the baby? (I try to avoid googling baby things because of how conflicting the information is haha) She is also a champ with drinking water from the straw cup :)

Night Sleeping

Bed time remains 6:30-7:30pm, Dream feed at 10ish, sleeps until 6:30-7am. REALLY nice. She has the odd day where she wakes to eat at 5/5:30, but now she usually sleeps until Matthias wakes up to go to work and sometimes she even just lays quietly in her bed until closer to 7 despite waking up earlier. I’d like to look at cutting out the dream feed.. but I feel like 12 hours without food/milk is a long time. And I don’t want to mess up the 6:30/7am wake up time. And I also don’t want to keep her up later at night because she is already a little grump in the evenings.

Day Sleeping

2 naps a day. Morning name is usually 1 hour and afternoon nap ranges from 1 hour to 2.5 hours. Sometimes it is hard for her to wind down and fall asleep in the afternoons. The morning nap is her more consistent nap for sure! I feel like we finally have a routine (and now that I’ve typed that up it is going to implode on itself)

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HEALTH

Quinn had her second ever cold this last month. Snot Machine 2.0. Then she shared said cold with Me, Matthias, and Matthias’ entire work crew haha.

No Teeth yet!

DEVELOPMENT

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Quinn’s favorite noises are Mamama, Dadada, Nanana, Lalala, and Tatata. She chats when only mom and dad are around, and shes pretty quiet when warming up to strangers.

She’s definitely going through the whole “If I don’t know you don’t look at me or touch me or I will cry and cling to my mom/dad” phase. I actually don’t mind this at all.. because she isn’t cuddly normally so I’m secretly loving this stage!

IMG_7145She goes from laying to sitting on her own and she can pull herself up to standing but is SUPER unsteady. We had to lower the crib. Standing is now cooler than nap time haha. Her crawling has started to speed up now but she still takes her time. She’s just now starting to get in to things/explore more.

She started waving!! It’s the cutest thing ever. She also can clap, but she is really inconsistent with it.

PLAYING

She loves to bang toys together. Her favorite toys are her cups and her blocks and now that her activity table has its legs on it again she likes to try to pull herself to standing on that.

She likes looking at books sometimes, but IMG_7485she likes ripping library book pages more than anything 😉

I know I’m totally biased, but Quinn makes the FUNNIEST faces. And she knows just how to make Matthias and I crack up. She now does this thing where she constricts her wind pipe and breathes like an asthmatic. It’s hilarious. And she scrunches up her face and breathes all heavy. She is the biggest goof ball. She also loves yelling as loud as possible.     IMG_7490 LIKES

  • Mama
  • Dad (when Mom isn’t around)
  • Cuddle Kitty & Ruby (stuffed animals)
  • Crawling
  • Light Switches
  • The Thermostat
  • Heating Vents
  • Licking the floor (to my dismay)
  • The Pets (particularly Olivia)
  • Yogurt, Pumpkin Pancakes, Cheese, Black Beans, Chicken, Caesar Salad, Chili, Pretty much all food except Broccoli and Eggs
  • Remote Controls
  • Trying to Scratch off Mama’s Tattoos

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DISLIKES

  • Having her water cup taken away from her
  • Finishing all her food but wanting more (this mostly happens with yogurt haha)
  • When Mama passes her off to anyone else
  • Broccoli & Eggs 😉
  • Being in the Carseat for too long
  • Putting on her sleep sack at bedtime
  • Drying off after the bath
  • Diaper Changes

Quinn – 8 Months!

8months

Oops. I disappeared again. Sorry about that! 😉 How is maternity leave SO busy and yet at the same time days go by where I accomplish nothing on my to-do list?!

Anyways. Not like I have much maternity leave left anyways. Tear.

GROWTH

Weight

18lb 1oz – 59th percentile

Height

Not Measured

Head

Not Measured

Clothing

Mostly 9 month, some 12 month (Pekkle – of course).

Christmas Dress

Christmas Dress

ROUTINE

Breastfeeding

Going strong. Quinn usually eats 5-6ish times a day still. I think maybe she has dropped one feed? Honestly we are pretty feed on demand still over here and I try to make sure she is offered milk before any solids. I’ve had a few (maybe like 2 max) thoughts about weaning to formula.. but then I think about the dishes and the cost and the process of getting it ready and I am way too lazy for that. So we will continue on.

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Lol :)

BLW

Gah. So Quinn decided over the last month that she doesn’t know how to take Quinn-sized bites, or chew the large bites she takes. She will shove EVERYTHING on her tray into her mouth all at once. Even if her mouth is full. Then she gags and spits it all out. She’s made progress in that she can now bring small pieces of food to her mouth, so instead of stick shaped I am cutting up everything small enough so she won’t choker herself if she shoves 5 or 6 pieces of food into her mouth, but I still have to give her only a few pieces at a time.

I’ve also given her prunes a few times for constipation. She doesn’t mind eating off the spoon so if we are eating soup or chili I will serve her up a little bowl and spoon feed it to her (because girlfriend would go cray if I let her have liquid and a bowl and spoon).

She likes pretty much everything but is partial to carrots and broccoli. Her favorites are mashed potatoes, chicken, puffs, peas and black beans.

Thanks to Jen for the recommendation of the Playtex sippy cup! It only took Quinn a few minutes of gumming the straw and she picked it up right away. She now drinks water without choking (YAY! NO DRY DROWNING!) and she even tried my Jugo Juice smoothie the other day haha. Excited to start making her some smoothies at home as well!

Night Sleeping

I think this last month was the month where I can say with confidence that Quinn is “sleeping through the night.” She still gets her 10pm dream feed (which I am going to wean around 10 or 11 months), and then she eats again at 5am and is usually back down until 6:30/7am. If she sleeps till 6am she’s up for the day. Bedtime is 6:30/7pm.

Day Sleeping

2 Naps a day and they are lengthening out! *hallelujah* Morning nap is usually 8:30-9am and afternoon nap is 12-1pm. They range from an hour to 3 hours (and boy, the 3 hour naps are glorious). If we are out and about she doesn’t nap so that throws her off, but we try to be close to home for her naps so she isn’t a dragon.

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Pouty Lip On Point ;)

HEALTH

Aside from the 2 times she was constipated all is well in the health department!

Still toothless 😉

DEVELOPMENT

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Umm, you guys. Quinn is slowly crawling now. The sitting-up-but-staying-in-one-place stage was maybe like 3 days long. Then she started always getting herself forward on to her tummy or her hands and knees. Then she started to rock back and forth and pull herself along the carpet. And just the other day she successfully and slowly crawled across her room to get a toy. While I am so excited, I am also sad. She is going to eat a lot of dog hair and dirt. I can’t keep my floors clean enough. Why did I think it was a good idea to get 3 dogs?!

She recognizes books we read often and gets excited when we get to the end of the book (there’s a mirror).

She kisses herself if she looks in a mirror. She gave me a kiss *one time* it was the cutest thing ever.

Her “talking” has slowed a bit this month in favor of her learning to crawl.

Pincer grasp is getting better!

PLAYING

I think I officially have to baby proof my house/living room now. Sigh. Her favorite things to play with are her mobile, the thermostat, light switches, and heating vents. She also loves to lick the dog bones (UGH). Anything that makes noise will also do.

She met Santa for the first time ever. She was not a fan. She also met the Grinch. She was even less of a fan of him. 😉

10LIKES

  • Trying to Crawl
  • Eating Dog Hair
  • Licking the Dog Bones
  • Sleeping on her stomach
  • Mama
  • Cuddle Kitty
  • Playing Airplane with Dad
  • My Cell Phone
Mine?

Mine?

DISLIKES

  • Strangers
  • When Mom takes away something she wants (like the Dog Bones)
  • Being ignored
  • Having her face wiped
  • Santa

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