Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Gwendolyn, Month Eleven

I'm so excited that this girl is almost one! She has been a fun little lady this month. She has six teeth (two on bottom, four on top) and they're all just a little bit crooked. It makes her smile just heart-meltingly adorable.

We still breastfeed, which is a departure from baby Latham. At six months, when Latham got teeth, he bit and BIT all the time. He wouldn't stop, and, with a lot of tears and pain, I stopped breastfeeding and exclusively pumped until he turned one. Pumping is tough work. With Gwendolyn, though, she doesn't bite. And so we've been able to continue breastfeeding. It's really nice to still nurse her for naps. At bedtime, we give her a breastmilk bottle since she requires more milk than I generally have in my breasts at that time of day; if she doesn't get enough milk, she wakes up demanding more. So, I pump twice a day to get enough milk for her evening bottle and enough to send her to daycare (twice a week) with bottles. She takes the bottles well, which is good. With her, I have had trouble establishing a big milk supply and I thought I might have to supplement with formula a bit this month. In the end, she had a few days of drinking a little less than normal, so I was able to build up more of a stock and now I think we're on pace to make it to her one year mark with just breastmilk!

On one hand, I'm proud that, with both my babes, I will have been able to provide exclusively breastmilk for a full year. However, I wonder about the effect it has had on my mental and physical health. Sometimes, I think that, as a society, we prioritize breastmilk so much that it makes formula seem sub-par, and that leads to mothers shunning formula. But I know my supply of breastmilk has caused me anxiety and, being the full supplier of milk has caused me to lose sleep. It's a tricky situation, but my hope is that we can avoid demonizing formula and breastfeeding-in-public and just support mothers and fathers as they navigate the exhaustion of raising a newborn.

 Sorry for the random thoughts. I think the nearing of the end of the first year is making me think about my overall thoughts on parenting. Now that I'm done with my child-bearing, I feel like I can reflect on how I've felt during this wild and crazy pregnant/newborn/infant phase of life.

Anyway, Gwendolyn is growing well, and we're busy planning her one year birthday party. It'll be a space theme because she's our star and the center of our galaxy and the sunshine that warms our world. April will always be a busy month for us because of both of our April b-day babes (I guess I like diamonds). This year, we'll be having Latham's party (out of the house) in the morning and Gwendolyn's (at the house) in the afternoon. It'll be a busy day, but I'm excited.

 We love our girl! And she loves us...and that giraffe pacifier! She's a big fan of the giraffe pacifier.  :)