Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dear Julian...

Oh my goodness, 6 month old Julian! You are such a little handful! Your energy and spunk amaze me! Did I mention how gosh darn adorable you are? Everytime I look at you, I think to myself, "WOW, you couldn't be any cuter!"  What amazes me the most is your personality. You are a very funny guy. You like making the silliest noises and imitating me all the time. You love to laugh. You actually crack up at me all the time...like the real belly laughter. You have the brightest smile and you definitely make your presence known in a room....or building.  People are drawn to you and I really think you are going to shine LIGHT into people's lives throughout your lifetime. You are passionate and you love life. You love getting into everything and don't want to miss a thing...which is why it can be hard to contain you and to get you to sleep. While this wears Mommy out sometimes, I don't want you to lose your zeal.

I am praying that you'll be a passionate lover of Jesus all your days and you'll bring His light to dark places. I'm praying that you will be a great influencer for Christ and lives will change because of the HOPE that you can show people.

Love you, precious boy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Food, Glorious Food.

When Julian was just about 6 months old, we introduced him to "solid food". We wanted to exclusively breastfeed him for 6 months as the AAP recommends and then start building his food repertoire. We first introduced him to an avocado. I mashed it up and mixed it with breastmilk until it was a puree consistency and fed it to him with a spoon. In this first experience, Julian had no idea what to do with the food in his mouth. His tongue immediately pushed it back out upon several of the offers and the other times the puree just kind of floated around in there before being drooled out. I decided he maybe wasn't totally ready for solids yet, but that we could keep trying a little each day just for fun and to give him the practice of moving food around in his mouth. Since then we've tried purees of the following: more avocado, peas, squash, carrots, and bananas. He has made some progress. He no longer demonstrates tongue thrust and he opens his mouth to receive the food more frequently. However, he just hasn't seemed too interested in spoon feeding and only eats a few offers before leaning back/closing lips/playing with whatever he can reach. Our best experience with purees was with the bananas (I'm guessing because they are sweeter). Another technique I used was giving him food that he could hold and manipulate on his own without me doing any of the work (other than supervising and guiding). I gave him large pieces of banana and avocado and also some mashed up banana and avocado to play with. The goal was to let him explore independently and let the feeding experience be more baby-led. It was fun although not much "eating" happened.  Today was our most successful experience so far. I cut up slices of apples and let him hold them and suck on them himself. He LOVED it and sucked on them for several minutes. Then to combine textures and tastes, I smeared avocado puree on the apples for him to lick and suck.  To my surprise, he liked it too. Then I was able to give him mashed up avocado bites on a spoon in between his apple sucks. Once again, he readily accepted. We are having so much fun playing with our food!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Breast Success.

In my last post, I wrote about my woes with breastfeeding. Julian wasn't nursing well and I was so exhausted from pumping all the time. Since then there's been a HUGE turn-around! On October 31, upon Ross's and my return from our nightmarish trip to Boston, Julian readily accepted my breast when I offered it to him. It was the best welcome home gift I could have ever asked for! From that moment on, he began nursing. What?? Who ever heard of a 5 month old, go back to the breast after being bottle-fed most of his life. It's like he knew exactly what I needed. Even though we had just returned from Boston, we were leaving the very next day to fly to St. Louis to see my dad in the hospital. While we were in Boston, he was in a work accident, was electrocuted with 7200 watts of electricity, and although, badly burned, survived.  Julian, my family, and I were basically living in the waiting room of the Burn Unit in the hospital waiting on updates from doctors and nurses on how he was doing. It would have been a nightmare trying to pump in the hospital, keep bottles sanitized, and keep milk refrigerated and Julian must have known that I needed him. He nursed the whole trip! I felt such a sense of accomplishment...not that I did anything special for this to happen, but just accomplished that I didn't give up. And I felt sooo proud, and still feel so proud, of Julian every time he nuzzles up to me to eat. There is such a payoff now. Before, breastfeeding was like a thorn in my side but now it brings me so much joy. I have a renewed passion for breastfeeding and a renewed confidence to nurse in public. On all of our trips home to Illinois, I get some sort of criticism about breastfeeding. From, "Ewww" + gagging face and noises to "Just give him some formula".  But it just fuels my fire to keep doing it. I am loving this poem from Peaceful Parenting....Breastfeeding to the tune of Dr. Suess. (Author Unknown)

Would you nurse him in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?

I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse him in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me!

Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though he may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse him 'till he’s full.

Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes him healthy strong and smart,
Momma’s milk is the right start!

Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse him in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse him in the rain.

As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation:
Momma’s milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.

Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!

I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk’s the perfect food!

Making just the amount that we need
Perfect temp for every feed.
There’s no compare to milk from breast -
It's real baby food! No contest.

Those sweet nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Momma’s milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can’t be beat.

Oh, I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I’ll meet his needs, I’ll always try.
It’s not about what’s good for you,
It’s for my babies, through and through.

I will nurse him in my home,
I will nurse him when I roam.
Leave me be lads and ma’am.
I will nurse him, MOM I AM.

Haha..here we are in the hospital with our first battle with breastfeeding. Julian was in the deepest sleep and could not be woken up to eat. Here we are trying skin to skin and syringe feeding...because I felt so pressured to feed the baby! I had pumped some colostrum to feed him and the nurses backed off about giving him formula or sugar-water.