Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Extended Breastfeeding, A Photographic Trip Down "Mammary" Lane

      
My Absolute Favorite Nursing Picture (no filter)
Hayden 2 1/4 Years Old

 As I round out what I know will be the last baby I will ever have the pleasure of nursing, it is bitter sweet.  It is literally making me tear up right now thinking of the last time he will nuzzle in, and as he says, "Ma, ah boo, ah drink? Dee Doo!" which in his beautiful little language means "Mom, can I drink your boob? Thank you!" 
He is a polite nurser that one.

Here we are just minutes into meeting each other, learning to latch on


A few days later my milk came in, he clenched his little fists so hard and pulled his little elbows in he was so excited to have mama's milk


 Here he is moments later drunk on milk

(Special thank you to my beautiful photographer twinnie Julia for capturing the above three shots)

I have ZERO pictures of me nursing my first son, Sam. Perhaps I didn't realize how precious those moments were, or how one day I would wish I had captured them, or maybe I was shy of exposing my breast. They say you learn so much from your first born. Never a truer statement was ever uttered. Sam was a dream nurser, he latched on immediately, and we got into a rhythm.  He was, as we say in our house, " A Boob Hound" like his younger brother, I stopped nursing him after 18 months. We joke now about how he would still be nursing if I had let him.  I always regretted weaning him before he was ready, and frankly before I was ready.  Being a first time mom, I let people and their opinions, and society in general get inside my head. Did it hurt him? No. Did it make him any less close to me due to not nursing him for as long as I wished? No. What it did do was give me a stepping stone. Something to learn, to grow.  I didn't stand up for myself or him, and because of that I have been so lax in setting a deadline with Hayden. Just as Sam's birth was a learning curve for the future birth of his brother, I learned from him and our experiences. We grew together, and I love him for that. As hard as I am on myself for allowing people to steer me in directions that I might not know will effect me down the road, he doesn't judge me, hell he doesn't even remember. Something about having guilt for things as a mother that we think will harm our children.  Sometimes we have to just let it go and learn who we are along the way, just as they find themselves.  We all grow together.

 Sam the day he blessed our lives in 2004

      Hayden will be three in July, I plan on nursing him until his third birthday at the latest, or until he gets bored with it.  I have been asked numerous times, by many people why I don't just cut him off,  including his pediatrician, who, when he found out that I developed mastitis a few months ago while we began weaning encouraged me to just basically get some cabbage leaves and call it a day.  To which I laughed it off, and continued to do as I did with my first son, nurse less and less until the milk just goes away.  No engorgement, no misery. 

      To be honest, I enjoy breastfeeding with every inch of my being.  I love being the only person that he wants at that time. To just have a few moments, a few times a day to reconnect, and gaze at each other.  I love the warmth of his little body against mine, I love how he laughs when he gets some milk in his eye, I love how he tunnels his hand up under my shirt so he can place his hand against my neck, I love how he loves it.  It is easy to just whip up my shirt before bed, and just lie there side sleeping/nursing until he slowly drifts off suckling.  It is a comfort thing, it is not a nutrition thing as he is older.  It isn't hurting him, it isn't going to leave him maladjusted in any way. I have received many a raised eyebrows about my extended breastfeeding, and also many pats on the back. I am not doing this for anyone except for myself and my son. Not to impress anyone, or disgust anyone else.

He always reaches up to make sure I am still there


Here he is, about one year old


Here he is on a day around five months old, I called in family sick because he wouldn't take a bottle due to him being sick. He only wanted the boob that boy.


See, shirt tunneling at it's finest (about two years old)


Seven months old, baby blanket firmly in his hold, gazing at mama

Love



When Hayden was fifteen months old we weaned because I thought we were done.  I stopped nursing him for ONE FULL WEEK.  Then one night, as I was sitting with him giving him his night time bottle, he literally clawed at my shirt, took the bottle and threw it across the room, and then he suckled my, what I thought were empty, breasts.  Then all of a sudden he began swallowing. WHAT?!?!? What is going on here, I still had milk? I couldn't believe it. My sister walked in to find me nursing him, and both of our eyes were the size of saucers, both in disbelief.  I took it as a sign that perhaps we weren't quite done.  I started taking Fenugreek Supplement to help increase my supply, and nursed him as often as he wished until we got back on track. It was the best thing I ever did, and I don't regret giving into that little angry bottle thrower.  See, he wasn't quite done with me yet. 

This picture was taken the night he and I reconnected.  Contentedness at it's finest.


A few months later


It has not been all rainbows and fairies let me tell you...
We both had yeast within the first few months as he is a summer baby, I too had it with my oldest son.  I then had internal yeast which felt like pins and hot searing knives inside my breast which would cause me to literally double over in pain.  I had a slow supply in the beginning, and began taking Fenugreek (which worked like a charm), I work full time and would pump at work with a double pump that worked magically, but I could never let down well with a single pump.  He took formula in addition to my pumped milk if he needed supplements when I was working, but I provided plenty on my days home.  I developed mastitis twice, and was on antibiotics for the course. Nursing through it all helped me feel better quicker. We had our fair share of bites and nips, and aggressive nursing to which he received a stern talking to ;) and a yelp from his mama.

Some of our funnier shots:

 If you have ever breastfed while leaning over a car seat I feel for you.  Side note, if you have ever seen me or anyone else breast feed in a moving car, I too feel for you ;)


About three months old, smile nursing.  It's the best of the best!


Snackin' and Gazin' out the window at about seventeen months old.


Milk and Cookies, he literally just ate an Oreo, and came over for some milk.


Just chilaxin at about two and a quarter years old


Discrete nursing at the Baltimore Aquarium at almost 2 years old


Thinking about the day


Slowly drifting off to "nigh nigh"


Here is a picture I took this week when he went down for his nap. Who knows if it is the last one he and I will share, but I have enjoyed capturing our bond over the past almost three years.


For now I will begin enjoying his newest quirk, he caresses my face and stares in my eyes while he has his bottle before bed while I lie next to him listening the the lullaby station on Pandora.
P.S. Yes he still has a bottle, so shoot me ;)

I don't know how else to promote extended breastfeeding besides sharing my story. My only hope is that if you the reader can take anything away from this post it would be that breast feeding, just like number of children, and choice in spouse is very individual. It has to be something that the person doing it is comfortable with. PERIOD!

Thank you for reading my journey, please share the link with any breastfeeding mama you wish. Please keep the comments to positive ones~if you please.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Adirondack Patterns and Warm and Cozy Crochet Shop Giveaways!

Hop on over to Maggie's awesome Blog, Smashed Peas and Carrots for a $40 giveaway to our shops!




adirondack patterns giveaway
Today I wanted to share with you two wonderful shops who sponsor my blog and show you some of the really, really, really adorable goodies they carry as well as offer you a pretty awesome giveaway that you are going to L. O. V. E. (woot woot!) 
adirondack patterns giveaway
If you have been reading along for any length of time you know my love of my blog sponsor, Adirondack Patterns. They are your go-to shop for a great selection of instant PDF patterns that are emailed right to your inbox for those sweet Waldorf dolls you see everywhere as well as  many other cozy crochet patterns. You can find the pattern for the above dollies here.
adirondack patterns giveaway
Here is another favorite pattern of mine, the 0-3 month crochet dress pattern!
adirondack patterns giveaway
And Laura, the owner of Adirondack Patterns, also started a new business called Warm and Cozy Crochet where she sells her beautifully handmade cozy goodness! If you are like me and cannot crochet to save your life then this shop is just for you! Most of the items that are sold as patterns in the Adirondack Pattern shop are sold as actual items in the Warm and Cozy Crochet shop…get out of town! (I know, that is what I said!) Every item in this shop is a must have and just perfect for this long winter most of us have been experiencing this year.
adirondack patterns giveaway
I am absolutely head over heels for this Chunky Wool Blend Crochet Cowl. Is it not just to die for?
il_570xN.410299217_1wlo
And can I tell you how much I dig this Newsboy Crochet Hat…that brim is super cute!!
Well, have I tempted you with enough loveliness? Are you ready for this giveaway?
Adirondack Patterns and Warm and Cozy Crochet is giving away a $20 gift certificate to each shop to ONE lucky winner!!!!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Ciabatta Recipe


Chicken Parmesan Ciabatta Recipe

Ingredients:
1 Lb. Chicken Breasts sliced
1 Grill Mates Zesty Spice Packet
1/8 C. Water
1 Ciabatta Roll Loaf, or individual rolls
1 1/2 C. Classico Pizza Sauce
2 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat chicken throughout in sauce pan with Spice Packet and Water

Slice Ciabatta Roll lengthwise and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet


Layer with sauce, cheese and chicken



Bake in the oven for 20 Minutes, or until cheese has melted nicely and the bread it toasty


Enjoy!

Friday, January 3, 2014

How To Tackle and Win At your Cats Diabetes in Just Over One Month!!!!

Our Story With Our Cat Hairy:




In November on the 22nd we took him to the vet to see if he might have diabetes because he had been urinating in puddles and drinking bowls of water at a clip. He hadn't lost weight, and hadn't been sluggish, but he certainly had less luster too his mane and was looking a bit different. Our wonderful vet checked his glucose level which registered 361 after having nothing to eat since midnight. It was now 9AM.  She said that we could send his blood out for a lot of expensive tests or we could just give him some insulin and we could monitor his blood sugars at home. I am a Registered Nurse, and felt comfortable bringing him home and doing so.  She also recommended a very expensive ($210/vial) Lantus insulin for the insulin for him. My jaw dropped.  Don't get me wrong, but that is a bit much.  She saw my face and said that we could try NPH ($21.00/vial OTC at Walmart). She also recommended a prescription cat food. I got out of that one too, and she said I could get a high protein low card metabolism dry food for him. Also to give him some wet food. Perfect. Ok, that is better. So she wrote us a script for the syringes, and off I went to Walmart.  Here is what you need people...

HUMAN TESTING SUPPLIES WORK! Don't spend a million bucks on pet stuff.  TRUST ME!

All sold at Walmart:

1. Reli On Prime Glucose Monitor : $17.00
2. Syringes (30) (PRESCRIPTION) : $5.00
3. Reli On Prime Test Strips : $9.00/50 ct
4. Sharps disposal holder for the lancets/syringes
5. 1 Vial NPH insulin
6. Reli On Thin Lancets 100ct ($5.00)
7. Reli On Prime Lancing Device ($4.00)

So we got the stuff and watched a great video on YouTube for how to check the cats blood sugar HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PDK3bZ4pDc

At first it was tricky to get his sugar, but you will get the hang of it. Relax and give the ear some time to offer the blood.  Gently massage up the ear to stimulate blood flow. You will see a little dot of blood, that is all you need.

I always give him treats after the check also, makes him like to get the sugar tested.

In the beginning we were feeding him 2 times a day 1/2 c. dry food and 1 can wet food with one can of wet food in the afternoon. 

Here is our spreadsheet.  It is in military time and BS stands for Blood Sugar.  i put him on a little sliding scale and adjusted the insulin dose based upon his blood sugar results. Where you see a blank, that is just a random check of his glucose, and we were monitoring the effects of the insulin on his blood sugars throughout some days.  We generally check his blood sugar in the AM (0900) and PM (2100), and administer the insulin if needed at those times. 

Here is a great video of how to administer insulin : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHrUu8DXlYk

Sorry about the spread sheet, Blogger was having a migraine ;)

Here are his trends:

TimeBSUNITS NPH
09003620
21003382
07003253
19003893
07004443
1500316

19003983
07004183
19003993
07005124
19004604
07004224.5
19003634.5
07004455
0915236

1200191

1415401

1630377

19003715
07004846
19002224
07004655.5
19004226
07003396
1300204

19004646
07004576
1015172

1330128

19003126









































































































































































































































































Then I read something online about cats being whats called obligatory carnivores and that they truly are not supposed to be able to metabolize carbohydrates so that is why a lot of cats are diabetic because their pancreas can't secrete enough insulin naturally to take care of the carbs they are ingesting.  So I had a light go off, and I decided not to give him any dry food and only give him wet food and see how he did.  I gave him approximately 4 cans a day and let him eat at will. I basically left a can out any time I saw the previous one getting low or empty. For the record we use good old Friskies Pate, and Fancy Feast Grilled wet food cans as our choice for him. We alternate, and just mix it up a bit. We have not given him any diabetic or prescription cat foods.

NOTE: Please make sure that you make sure your cat has food available throughout the day as the insulin reaches its peak approximately 6-8 hours after administration. you don't want them to be hungry with no food available because their blood sugar could be critically low.

Here is what happened over the next approximately 3 weeks!!!!!

07003306BEGAN ONLY WET FOOD
110057

1445289

19003516
07003856
120059

19002566
07003265
19003016
07002416
19002536
07003276
19003426
08003265
20002326
0800870
1030193

1300293

1500234

20003026
08001824
153099

20002726
08002936
20001804
08002516
20001323
09002656
113069

161576

20001824
000044

08002616
20001200
07303656
20001694
08001995
20001252
08001704
20001172
08001102
20001584
08001614
20001092
08001634
130054

20001022
08001062
2000770
08001332
20001042
08001122
20001242
0800950
20001180
0800820
2000850
09001170
20001130
0830790
2000720
07301340
1900860
0800750
20301760
0800680

It took his body a few weeks to get adjusted, but finally his pancreas was secreting enough insulin to cover his bodies own metabolism of sugars, and he is now in remission!!!!  We are still checking him 2 times a day, but have not given him any insulin in 1 week! Our Vet is amazed, and we are so happy. Hairy is doing great, he has  a ton of energy, his hair is beautiful and soft, he is barely drinking water, and his pee has slowed down too!   All in all, he is doing great! From November 22 - Jan 1st...down to no insulin!  

Please feel free to comment here if you have any questions.  Also,every cat is individual, I am just sharing our story for anyone who might want to try an unconventional treatment plan!

Here he is, a very happy boy!