Why do we blame ourselves?

I know I’m not the only one. I hear it from other moms too. I see the posts on Facebook how moms feel guilty. Guilty for getting a shower, guilty for getting a babysitter, guilty for going to work, or guilty you stay home and not every moment is focused on your children.

I am so guilty of blaming myself. My husband calls it misplaced guilt. I did it today.

Today I took my 2 1/2 year old to a pediatric dentist. Over the weekend he broke one of his front teeth while my daughter was watching, there’s guilty feelings all over that one. I got him in and was just wanting to have them look at his tooth but this was a new dentist so they thought they would do an entire first visit. Ok, fine with me. They wanted an xray of the tooth to make sure there was no damage. I hate xrays. But I let them because I was worried there may be damage.

It was worse than I had imagined.

Not the broken tooth, but the others. He has 6 cavities. SIX CAVITIES. It was like someone punched me in the stomach. Yes he breastfeeds, and he does so to fall asleep. Yes he was 5 months old when he started getting teeth. Yes he is absolutely awful to brush his teeth, until recently. And yes he has an upper lip tie. But he will only be 3 in January. How can it be possible? As hard as I work, as hard as I try. And I still failed. This makes child #4 of 6 that have had to have work done.  I know one dentist told us that some people are predispositioned for cavities and that bacteria can actually be genetic. My husband has bad teeth so we always assumed it was that, but it’s the bacteria that’s the issue, and apparently nursing isn’t helping much but we won’t change it now. Mason drinks pretty much nothing else but water and maybe once a week some apple or orange juice.

So we are set up to have to go to a hospital because our health insurance doesn’t cover the anesthesia in the office, but we will sit and wait probably 4-5 months at the least. I am praying that these cavities don’t get worse and he needs more work. But we just can’t pay the extra $1000 to cover the difference. If we do it in a hospital then we can have OHIP cover the anesthesia but they won’t in an office. He also won’t be able to get his lip tie revised because they only do it in the office with laser. The only positive is the dentist said it wasn’t a severe lip tie so maybe that hasn’t caused his speech delay. But we can’t be sure either way.

I called my husband afterwards. He made a comment about why have 4 out of 6 of our children needed dental surgery. I took it as what am I doing wrong that four of our children have had to have dental surgery. I know that’s not what he meant. But that’s how I heard it. And that’s how I often hear things. Because I am never sure I am not failing. I always feel like I am doing something wrong. My house is a mess, or its something easy for dinner. The boys haven’t had a bath in a week or I spent too much time on the computer.  I didn’t play with them enough today or remember to brush their hair. I know we all do it.

I try to remind myself I am only one person and I am doing the best job I can. I hope when my children are grown they will have good memories of me and how I raised them. The little boys tell me I am the best mom ever. And I know they truly believe that. Ask my teenage daughters how they feel though.

I guess all we can do is the best we know how. We will all make mistakes and feel like we failed. I am trying so hard to push those feelings out and remember everything is not my fault. But that’s something I have struggled with since I can remember, it’s hard to let it go.

I love breastfeeding.

I can’t imagine not breastfeeding. I have had struggles while feeding some of my 6 children. Some worse than others.  But I never gave up. Its hard sometimes. I have given up so much for them. Right now I don’t eat dairy, eggs, almonds or coconuts. I’m not gonna lie, there are days when I think this really sucks. But then that moment comes when my baby wakes up and anxiously squirms in my arms trying to find his food, then he latches on, and sighs. When I look at his beautiful little face and he looks at mine and I know how magical it is, this special bond we have. Its not something you can explain.  It makes me whole heart flutter and I well up with tears, like a warmth that goes through your entire being.

Even though this little boy has been outside of my body for almost 9 months we are still one, I still jump when he cries, or wake up when he moves at night, he still relaxes in my arms and wakes when I try to lay him down.

I feel so blessed that I have 6 amazing children. That they have each been able to nurse, some longer than others. That I have given up myself for them. The power of  breastmilk never ceases to amaze me. I have nourished this little person for almost the last 18 months, 9 within and now almost 9 outside, and he is amazing. Soon he will start some solids. It scares me with his food issues. But I think he is ready. It also makes me kind of sad too though.

I know I am the most important person in his life.  I know, as hard as it can be at times, I wouldn’t change it for anything.  I hope we are able to breastfeed for a long time to come. I know, even now sometimes, I get discouraged. But I also know that as he gets older, he can express how special it is to him.  Breastfeeding a baby is different than breastfeeding a toddler.

I love being the mom. I love what moms are given, this special feeling, this special place in their baby’s hearts.  I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world.

Been feeling down

Last week was a rough one. Mason got two more teeth and we think he may have an issue with I eat soy. So one more thing. Now we have it that it seems to bother him when I eat dairy, eggs, almond milk, peanut butter and soy. So I am trying to cut the soy out and let me tell you that is way harder than I thought it would be! Everything has soy. If you think dairy is bad, soy is worse. I had to find a soy free butter, well just can’t. I have non dairy ones, but soy, nope. So I bought a coconut spread. It wasn’t so bad, a bit of a coconut flavor. Made some toast with it and jelly, then I read the bread label, MAY CONTAIN SOY. WTH?! I remember reading that label last week for eggs, must have missed that one. So now I hope he isn’t miserable. I also drank my chocolate almond milk. This was supposed to be my test day. Eat only one of the foods we are thinking and then I would see it in his reaction. Now I can’t be 100% sure that he isn’t reacting to that stupid may contain soy bread!

I know it’s just one of those days and we will get past it but these days just drag me down. Not to mention Mason was miserable today. He has been getting up on his hands and knees and I think he wants to crawl. So I am hoping that’s why he is so grumpy and maybe once he does it, he will be happy again. We can hope….

Breastfeeding a baby with food intolerances

Quite a few months ago I realized my baby was grumpy and gassy all the time especially through the night and early morning. My 6 year old is allergic to dairy so I know the signs of it. But Mason was a bit different. Riley was a miserable baby. He cried and cried, no, he screamed and screamed. His belly was rock hard. Riley was a very small baby when he was born. I had some problems during my pregnancy, I leaked fluid, I was under a bit of stress until we bought our house, I was worried with the leaking fluid I would lose him. He was born by c-section at 38 weeks. I had also started swelling and my doctor was concerned with pre-eclampsia. Riley was so so small. He couldn’t latch on to eat and he just cried. He was 6 lb 3 1/2 oz when he was born and my husband commented on how thin his ears were, how you could see through them. The first week was such a struggle. The nurses at the hospital were no help. They made me feel horrible because I didn’t want to give him formula. They didn’t want to let me leave. After 2 days I finally let my husband tube feed him with his finger a tiny bit of formula. He was the only one of my babies to ever taste a drop of formula. And I regret it still. I cried the entire time. I lay in my bed curled in a ball, crying. I wanted to go home, I wanted those nurses to leave me alone, I wanted my husband there to help me.  After that I was determined not again. I made the nurses leave me alone and begged the doctor to let us go home on day 3. It was a huge ordeal to get Riley to eat. It would take hours. At a week old he had lost weight and was down to 5 1/2 lbs. I had never seen such a tiny baby. For two months, I worked at it. Every time he ate he would seem to forget how to do it. At 3 weeks I noticed the reaction he had when I ate dairy. at his one month check up I brought it up and the doctor completely dismissed me. But I knew. My husband had a dairy allergy as a child. His family has food allergies. So I learned to eat no dairy. We also thought eggs bothered him, so I went egg free also. The first year of his life I ate no dairy and no eggs. I cried a lot. I lost weight. I was hungry all the time. When he was one we had him tested, positive for dairy, negative for eggs. So I could eat eggs again! Until he was 2 1/2 I breastfed him and I ate the same as him. He is still allergic to dairy.  But we have learned how to eat dairy free and it is a way of life for us nice, expensive using alternatives for dairy but we can do it.

And this is where I am today. Mason does not scream as much as Riley did. Mason is smiley and happy where Riley seemed miserable all the time. Mason also has gained weight well and never had issues learning to eat. So it wasn’t something I thought for sure. But I cut out dairy and he got better, only not completely. I don’t know for sure all the foods that bother him, but it seems eggs and possibly almonds and peanut butter. I didn’t know until recently the eggs were for sure. But I ate an egg mcmuffin(without cheese), it was the only questionable thing. He screamed all night long. He gets severe gas pains, sometimes hives on his face, and he poops, a lot.  So now I am trying to figure out if he can handle it when I have eggs baked in things. But I don’t think so. I had a muffin yesterday, he screamed all night. Do you know how hard it is to make food for your family and have to sit and watch them eat it? I have to get the egg replacer I used when Riley was a baby, it will help me bake. I love to bake and my kids love to bake. But I also love omelettes, so none for me and I feel bad if I make the entire family go without because I can’t eat it. And I then need to determine whether I can drink my beloved dark chocolate almond milk, it is really the only treat I have right now, except the occasional coconut ice cream.  The peanut butter is easy to give up.

Some days are hard. So very hard. Like today. I am seriously sleep deprived because Mason is getting his top teeth and I have had too many foods that he can’t handle. So I have been up till 12:30 every night and up before 7 most mornings, but he has been tossing and turning all night long, crying out in pain. I am exhausted, and I am not eating well. I have been crying a lot. Crying because I am hungry. Crying because I am overwhelmed. Crying because I am tired. And crying because I don’t want my baby to be allergic to all these foods. I think he is wanting solids and I am afraid to even begin until I know what foods are getting through my milk and bothering him. I worry he won’t grow out of these and when he is bigger he will be allergic to all these foods. I worry that his allergies will be more severe than Riley. Riley just gets hives and horrible behavior. While it is hard on him, it isn’t life threatening. And I am terrified Mason’s will be.  And to add on to all of the food issues, I discovered this week Mason has an upper lip tie. So now I know why he would never stay latched on well, but really not sure where to go from here.

I know I can do this. I know I am stronger than I feel. I know I have my husband by my side to help me. I know my baby needs me to do this for him. And I will.

But some days, I just need to cry.

Bad days…

You know when you are having a bad day and nothing seems to go right. When you feel rushed and overwhelmed and have to feed the baby again. And then that baby falls asleep while he is eating and sleeps in your arms with no screaming and crying and just so peaceful and warm. That just makes it all worth it. It makes all the problems you are feeling just melt away, like it drifted off as he did to sleep.

August 1 marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week!

ImageI am proud to say I have breastfed all 6 of my children. I believe in extending breastfeeding so I know I am a minority in today’s society. According the the CDC their 2008 figures show that 76.9% US women had ever breastfed but only 47.2% were still breastfeeding at six months and 25.5% at twelve months. Figures for exclusive breastfeeding at three months were 36% and at six months only 16.3%. They recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months.  The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the baby’s first 6 months of life, and continued breastfeeding complemented with appropriate foods up to two years old and beyond.

I know a lot of moms just want their body back. I do not lose weight easily while breastfeeding. I am on of the unlucky ones I guess, but I have heard more moms say this than the ones I hear say they do lose weight. For me, it was more important to feed my baby than it was to lose weight.

After having 6 kids you see the differences in support you get. I have had good experiences from birth and not so good. I am so lucky that I have a husband who supports me 100%. He knows how important it is to me and when I get discouraged or am having a hard time, he is there to help me through it. Breastfeeding a child with an allergy is hard! you put yourself last always, you go without, you feel defeated. But its worth it. To know I am doing the best thing for my baby, despite the looks when you are breastfeeding in public or the comments how you need to stop because they are getting older. I gave up really discussing it with others around me because it is frustrating.  I have to say that feeding an older child it completely different from a baby though. Babies eat, they eat all the time, and they aren’t always nice about it. My 10 year old breastfed until he was 3 years 7  months old. Not a lot of people knew that. He was only doing it twice a day but he would sit on my lap and say “Thank you for mommy milk” or “I love mommy milk.” It would melt my heart. My 3 1/2 year old just gave it up a week before the baby was born. He just kind of forgot it seemed. I think he would probably still be nursing now though. And sometimes I regret not letting him again after Mason was born.

I always tell other moms on my message boards about my experiences though. I am proud of what I have done. I have grown and fed 6 human beings! And when you look at that beautiful little person and know you are the reason they are thriving, it is a success. It does feel good.

A friend on my due date board just donated her frozen breastmilk. It had dairy in it and her baby can’t tolerate it. I think it is amazing what other mothers will do for each other! If I could actually get milk when I pump, I would love to have been able to donate milk to another family. I feel truly blessed I have an ample supply for my children but not everyone is so lucky.
Our family doctor is also really encouraging. When I was pregnant with #4 I had mentioned to him #3 was still breastfeeding. I was nervous on his thoughts and how he would react. He said that was great! And his own mother breastfed for many years. I have breastfed all of my babies while pregnant with the next. My husband and I joke about it because I have been either pregnant, breastfeeding, or both since June 1998. All of my children have been different. Some were great at it, others not so much, some went for a long time and had to be encouraged to wean, others did it all on their own. I have struggled with thrush, mastitis, blocked ducts, bad latch, you name it. But I was able to get by because I found help. Not everyone will.  This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is  ‘BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT: CLOSE TO MOTHERS’. You can help by supporting new moms, or even not so new moms that might be struggling.  Check out the World Breastfeeding Week site. There is a page on the WHO site that gives great detail on how others can help support a breastfeeding mother, here

I love waking up with a baby in my arms.

I know I am different than a lot of parents. But I co-sleep. Not the entire night if I have to, I do like some time on my own. My first three children I didn’t sleep with as much. I think I thought it was expected of them to sleep in their own bed. I would take them to mine if I couldn’t get them to sleep in theirs or it was early morning. But the second three have slept in my bed more than their own. I look at it like this, will I get more sleep with them in my bed or constantly waking up in theirs?  I also have anxiety over them not waking up. This wasn’t something I worried about as much with the first three but I do now.  Sometimes I obsess over it. I never really realized why but about a month ago I think I did. My little brother’s son passed away when he was 3 1/2, in his sleep.  This is my biggest fear, losing one of my babies. My heart breaks for my brother and sister and law and I can’t imagine how hard it was and still is for them. I could be wrong, but I think this is why I am terrified one of my babies will stop breathing at night.

But that’s not the only reason I sleep with them. I love to have their sweet snuggly little body in my arms. I love waking up and seeing that beautiful face smiling at me or touching my face. Now my 3 year old was a little difficult. He is a fondler. And he breastfed till the week before the baby was born. He was always, I say a bit abusive when he was nursing.  And he wanted to rub them and play with them, obviously that gets annoying. So at times, I would wake up to that. He still comes to my bed sometimes and tries to do this. But he is still little so I try to help him understand the fondling isn’t something he can do. But sleeping with me is ok as long as he doesn’t squash his brother.

I hear it from people though. They need to sleep in their own bed. But why? I don’t like sleeping alone. Why should I make my sweet little baby always sleep alone? I am trying to get him to nap in bed more, because I just can’t hold him all day long, but nights, I think I sleep more letting him snuggle with me.  And really, at this point, the more sleep I get the happier I am. And let’s face it, he won’t sleep with me forever, and the day I no longer have a baby in my bed will be a sad one.