Interests Include Mommy Blogging & Tandem Nursing

Two funny stories

One: About a year ago, I was courted to be a mommy blogger. For real! Like, for money. Lololololol. And I wrote some things, emails stopped, payment never came, etc. I moved on to other things, like having another baby and moving across the country. But I have these funny sort of clickbait-y posts hanging around in my Google Drive that I see every now and then. Titles like, “10 Things You Can Do While Babywearing”, “Why I Vaccinate My Baby (And Why You Should, Too)”, and “5 Things To Consider Before Tandem Nursing”. That last one becomes important with the next little vignette.

Two: When I became pregnant with Georgie, I experienced horrible nursing aversion and agitation when breastfeeding Winnie. I didn’t have enough energy to parent without the boob in my first trimester (seriously, the boob + B6 + magnesium + Daniel Tiger saved me), but in my second, we tried gentle weaning (weaning while cosleeping is no joke, y’all!). Our timing worked out, Winnie was fine with it, and she weaned in three days, with few tears.  I was a little sad, but it felt right.

Georgie is now nearly eight months old. She is just mad about food, and eats three meals a day. Like, full meals. And now, at the age of two-and-a-half, Winnie has decided she needs to nurse again. And I am sort of fine with it. I’m not going to say things like, “You’re a big kid, and big kids don’t nurse” because I don’t believe that. She’s been sick, and she’s going through some HUGE developmental changes right now (she’s been getting herself fully dressed, her verbal skills have gotten crazy, and her physical coordination is growing by leaps and bounds), and it’s comforting to her.  It’s funny because she’s asked to nurse about once a week ever since she weaned– I didn’t want for it to be a point of contention, and frankly it wasn’t that I didn’t want her to nurse occasionally, just that hormonally I couldn’t handle the constant nursing– and I always gave her a nonchalant, “sure”. She would start to latch, and then sort of laugh, and say, “No, thank you!”  Except then one day she didn’t. So here we are. Tandem nursing after a year of being weaned and eight months with a little sister.

It’s… fine. She needs it, and I’m fine with it. Her ability to understand bodies and boundaries has grown significantly, and I’m confident she’ll understand when it’s time for me to stop.  She’ll probably hate it, sure, but she’ll get it. And from that she’ll learn that she can ask for her body to be respected, too.

Anyway, here’s the hilarious blog post I wrote. My notes from actually being a tandem nursing mother in italics. Because writing about parenting issues before they happen to you is the biggest LOL of all time. #noscreentime #nocoffeewhilepregnant #onlyorganicwoolgarmentsforthelittles #weclothdiaperedwinnieforalmosttwoyearstho

5 Things to Consider Before Tandem Nursing

I always knew I would be a nursing mother, but I never guessed I might be a tandem nursing mother! [Because I didn’t ever look at a calendar?] When I found out I was expecting, with a due date just shy of my not-yet-weaned daughter’s second birthday, I found myself faced with questions. [Like “HOLY SHIT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”]  Should I wean before the new baby arrives?  Would I be able to nurse them both?  Tandem nursing (breastfeeding more than one child, either together or separately) isn’t for everyone– but many mothers find the process incredibly rewarding. [Note: I have yet to meet them. My tandem nursing Facebook group was full of moms on their phones wearing stretched out shirts, lap full of kids like, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.] Deciding whether or not to pursue tandem nursing is an individual decision, but thinking about the following can make that decision easier. [LOL “decision”]

 

Do you want to tandem nurse?  It sounds simple enough, but if you feel like you should tandem nurse out of obligation to your child, partner, or the judgy mom down the block– don’t worry about it!  Your body is yours, and every major health organization advocates breastfeeding as long as it is mutually desired by both mother and baby.  If you don’t want to, don’t! At the same time, don’t let anyone dissuade you by saying it’s weird or impossible– neither of which is true. [Almost everything I do is either weird or impossible, especially re: raising these two humans.]

 

Who is your tandem nursing team? [I don’t know but I would like to subscribe to their newsletter.] Now that you’ve nursed one child (or more), you know how important a nursing support system can be.  Identify people who can help you through your next chapter, like your partner, family members, friends, organizations like La Leche League, or even online support like Kellymom.com [Also, refreshing the Iowa caucus results and FiveThirtyEight.com on your phone can be really helpful online resources for feeling connected to the adult world while nursing a brood.]

 

How can others help you tandem nurse? Once you’ve made a list of those who can support you, think about the ways in which they can do so.  Maybe your spouse can pick up a greater portion of household tasks, or leave the fridge stocked with easy snacks and filling meals (you’ll need the fuel while nursing two!).  Set a weekly date with other nursing moms in your neighborhood.  Plan for family or friends to visit to change diapers, play with your toddler, and give you a break from being “on.” [AHHHH SEND HELP]

 

Does tandem nursing work with your lifestyle? [If not, too bad!] Do you plan to co-sleep or settle your newborn in her own room?  Is your toddler night-weaned?  Will you head back to work soon after the birth and tandem nurse on weekends and after work?  Think about the logistics of your time, sleep, and space, and tweak anything you can now to be prepared for later.  

 

Make a tandem nursing plan– and be okay with letting it go.  After you’ve lined up your team, sleeping arrangements, and identified your motivation for tandem nursing, you’ve got the makings of a great plan!  Now visualize letting it go.  You may nurse your toddler for longer than you plan– or you may decide that you’re too exhausted to nurse more than one baby.  You may prepare for agitation while nursing both children– or it may not be a problem at all.  Stay flexible and in tune with yourself, and you can’t go wrong. [Okay, this part is for real, tho.]

 

Four Ruminations from Winnie on Today’s Lunch

1.  Zucchini is the worst because it looks like pickles, but it’s definitely not pickles.  It’s so not pickles that I can’t even appreciate how much mom drowned this in butter and zatar like I’m some kind of fancy, fat-deprived baby.

2.  The white part of a hard boiled egg bounces when you throw it on the floor.  Huh.

3.  I don’t know what part of “I just threw every single thing you gave me to eat on the floor with gusto and used my entire thrashing upper body to wipe my high chair tray clean” indicates to you that I am not hungry, because I am DEFINITELY STILL HUNGRY AND NO I DO NOT NEED A NAP.

4.  I still don’t understand why I am encouraged to drink water after my meal, but absolutely forbidden from drinking the clear spray mom uses to clean off my high chair.  They look exactly the same— surely they cannot be that fundamentally different.

—-

It only took eleven months for me to start writing in the first person using my kid’s voice.  I guess a rough mealtime will do that to you?

A Brooklyn Blackberry Massacre

Tart and slightly sweet, Winnie can’t get enough frozen blackberries.  Some might even say she’s gone mad for blackberries, devouring them with such ferocity that it left our kitchen looking a little, uh, Dexter-y?  

She’s really quite sweet.  Really.

Really, she is.  And such a good eater, too!

Zero and Three Quarters

Winnie is nine months old (and four days, eleven hours, twelve minutes as I type).  She crawls faster than I walk most places.  She can pull up on anything, including mom’s giant exercise ball, the corner of dad’s shirt, and anything precarious/unbabyproofed (most things).  She makes the tiniest smacking kissy sounds and today gave her BFF Santiago a giant, slobbery, snotty smacker on the cheek.

There are a million and one things that THEY (all-caps-all-knowing-keepers-of-secrets THEY) don’t tell you about having a baby— that newborn sleep is actually the best (those little bugs sleep for like 20 hours a day!), that THEY are not kidding when THEY say that you need next to no stuff for a tiny babe, that 90% of your showers will involve playing peekaboo with the shower curtain, that you know more about your baby than all the THEYs put together, that tags are the best part of toys and dust covers are the best part of books.  I can’t believe, though, that THEY didn’t tell me you get a new baby every day.

I mean, at least every day.  I’ve sometimes put one baby down for a nap and gone in to a brand new one twice in one day!  Three times even!  The new baby is, of course, the old baby, but oh how very new she seems.  Even she seems delighted by her own new-ness, as if everything she does carries an implicit “TA-DA!”.

Her infectious laughter.  Her smacky kisses.  The way she looks Mike straight in the eye when she says, “Da da pa pa!” and waves as he leaves in the morning.  She crawl-chased a full-on walking, talking toddler into the corner at the library while growling (#banbossy?). She threw her plate of blackeyed peas in the air when she saw me walk in the door from work today— I can think of no greater greeting in the world.

Every day we try to live with a rhythm that meters our moments, and every day I am reminded that that rhythm is dynamic and ever changing.  We’re observing a quiet Lenten season at home— we’ve given up eating out at restaurants for the next forty days, gathering round the table for cornbread and beans, beef stew with pearl couscous, pumpkin, clementines, and star anise. We cook seasonally, we celebrate seasonally, we try to add structure to a life that is in constant, vibrant flux, and I wonder if she’ll feel it in her bones like I do when she’s older— if the change in temperature or quality of light, the change in the texture of an apple or tomato or the saturation of the colors at the market will reference an entire vocabulary of days and hours and moments past and yet to come.

Other things are changing, too.  I’m struggling with late onset post-partum depression, throwing a hazy cast on days that now graciously give us more light.  I cry and worry and struggle and push, and I am lucky to know where to go, how to begin to move forward, how to ask for help.  I am leaving my job, the job for which I uprooted myself from my home state, the job through which I have found out much about myself, the job that led me straight to Mike and our little family.  I’m taking a step away from whom I’ve known myself to be professionally to find out who it is I can be, who I am.

 

We’re making sauerkraut and yogurt this week, finishing off the giant batch of oats and amaranth from last week. I’ll keep sweeping the floor and Mike will keep washing the dishes, and we’ll get dinner on the table and everyone cleaned up and between warm sheets.  We’ll all cuddle and thrash about at some point in the night, and then we’ll wake up to a whole new one, again.

I can’t wait to see who she is tomorrow.

Winnie Led Weaning

Parenting is such a blast.  Though I’m still absolutely in love with nursing, creating a safe space for Winnie to explore her first foods has been a thrill.  She’s been snatching green leafy veggies off my plate for weeks, so we decided to start letting her sit in on mealtimes, plucking out the baby-friendly bits of our own meals and letting Win go to town smushing and grabbing and gnawing to her heart’s content.  Here’s a list of what Winnie has tried so far— a list we hope to grow grow grow!

  • Broccoli rabe
  • Pulled pork
  • Roast chicken
  • Pierogies
  • Potato pancakes
  • Roasted red peppers
  • SO MANY PICKLES (half sours, duh)
  • Comté
  • Landaff
  • Pears
  • Salad greens
  • Green beans
  • Banana
  • Naan
  • Beets
  • Apple
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Vermont Creamery Chèvre

(PS: We chose this route in consultation with Winnie’s pediatrician and with the help of this book.  We know it’s not for everyone, but boy are we having fun!)