It's really important for me to stay hydrated. Especially since my nurslings feel that breastmilk is much more refreshing than plain ol' water.
Sometimes I'm fortunate enough to snooze in the morning while Desmond is nursing. This happens, maybe, once a month ;)
Cosleeping and breastfeeding is a powerful combo. When Desmond wants to nurse, he just sorta swats at me, I pop out a boob, and he latches and does the rest. Neither of us fully wake. And if we do, we're back to sleeping immediately. Most of the time I couldn't tell you how many times we nursed that night, nor do I feel overly tired from being disturbed. Of course, on days when Desmond is teething badly or very unsettled we don't sleep well. After an average night of nursing we both wake up rested. If I had to guess how many times I nursed at night I'd say somewhere between 5-10 times (between Desmond and Chase). When Chase was young, we tried the conventional approach to sleeping. He was in another room in a crib. I had to drag myself down the hall each time he woke up. Worst sleep of my life. I am so grateful we found another way that works so much better for us. You have no idea.
When Chase (my oldest) was around a year old, I read lots of stories of babies that age doing acrobatics while nursing. Sometimes it was funny, and other times these nurslings would stretch the nipple half way around the world just because the dog made a noise down the hall. Talking about owwie! I kept waiting for this crazy, nipple stretching stage to come but it never did. Chase got older and older, crawling, walking, running, talking, etc. He always stuck with his calm never-want-to-stop-nursing way about it.
When Desmond came along, I understood what all these women were talking about. The only time Desmond is calm during nursing is when he's asleep (and that's not even true!). Here's a series of pictures taken within the span of about 20 seconds.
There was a time when I tried to discourage Chase from nursing to sleep. We tried all kinds of things to lull him; rocking, walking, bouncing, swinging... All we were left with was a mountain of stress and an inconsolable baby. After every attempt the only thing that would calm everyone down was a good long nursing session. Eventually, that's what we did every night (and naps too).
He's my top three reasons for nursing to sleep:
I wasn't always the one that nursed all the time in public like this. Once Desmond came along, it seems like the two of them had a talk and decided that they would no longer take no for an answer. Fortunately, the only responses I've ever noticed while nursing in public, have been smiles. Our wonderful photographer makes it look like we were the only ones around but I assure you there were skateboarders, bikers, runners, people walking their dogs, kids playing, etc. all around us.
There are moments of transition when we're repositioning or latching and my boobs are flopping and being waved around. But those moments only last for a blink. In my mind it feels like I'm doing a strip dance right there in the middle of the day on a bench. But as you can see from the camera's perspective, the kids do a really good job of hiding most everything. More flesh would be showing if I were sunbathing in a bikini.
Desmond really wanted to nurse. Not only that, he wanted my full attention too. Or maybe he didn't like the story. Either way, he tried to sabotage Cat and the Hat with his foot.
(yes, he is nursing and trying to kick the book at the same time)
At the office, most people get interrupted by chatty coworkers, email, phone calls, overbearing bosses, etc. My interruptions look like this:
Some days it seems like I can't get 2 minutes of focus before one or both of them come to visit again. They even want to take naps on me.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't love that we made the change to work exclusively from home. These interruptions are welcome any time!
Welcome Leo! I've been following zenhabits for a little while and attended this past Zen of Work course. All good stuff! Ever since you posted about unschooling I've been secretly praying that you would share more. And here you are! I'm so excited I'm doing backflips over here :)
My husband and I decided to homeschool when our oldest was about a year old. While researching, we stumbled across unschooling and fell in love with the concept. Since then we consider ourselves unschoolers. I very much look forward to what you have to say about it.
Good to see you on the sett platform!
When Chase was younger (from about 6 months to 2 yrs old give or take), we really pushed the reading thing. I've always done what I thought was best and back then, I believed all the "I read to my kid every day and they are brilliant!!!!" stories. Of course I wanted my kid to be amazing in every possible way. All the parenting advice I was reading said to read and read and read to them. So we did. And it never felt quite right.
A lot of our reading time was forced. In an effort to quiet things down at night we would read books. Chase spent most of that time rolling around the bed and goofing off. Nothing like what parents are led to expect of story time. There was no cuddling. No drifting peacefully off to sleep. No interest in the stories really. And no quiet! At first I thought it was the books we were choosing. This one has too many words. That one doesn't have enough pictures. This one is too long. And so on. Daddy loves to read, so much so we married in a library. I felt so terrible that our kiddo was not a lover of books. He didn't even tolerate them most of the time. What were we doing wrong? Every kid is supposed to love story time right? Not in our house!
Gradually, and the more we got into unschooling, the reading activity went from mandatory to optional. Occasionally Chase would want to read a book when he had no other entertainment options. He would choose the ones that he can "read" along with us (more like he knows what's coming next rather than reading words on a page.) But most of the time he wanted nothing to do with books. Until now.
Tonight I asked Daddy, "Am I crazy or does Chase want to read books lately?" He said "Yeah he does. I think he actually understands what's going on in the stories now. So he likes it more." Bingo! How could I have missed that? How fun is it to partake in an activity that doesn't make any sense? We might as well have been reading to him in Portuguese! All this time I thought I was doing something wrong or worse, there was something wrong with Chase. But that wasn't the case at all. He wasn't able to comprehend the stories and so it wasn't as fun or engaging as jumping on the bed or Curious George or just about anything else he chose to do.
Kids are unique snowflakes. The best thing you can do is let your kiddo teach YOU how to raise them. I'm sure there are lots of young kids out there that really do love to be read to. But Chase was not one of those kids, at least not at first. Man, I love these unschooling ah-ha! moments :)
My last post was 3 months ago. So much has changed since then! I am about 3 months pregnant with #3 and have almost completely weaned Desmond. Chase is weaned (although he still asks for milk every now and then).
I didn't want to wean. During my last pregnancy I nursed Chase all the way through. But I was miserable. It hurt. Every molecule in my body just screamed STOP!!! Every time Chase nursed. Our nursing sessions were short and Chase was never satisfied. This time, when nursing became unbearable again, I decided to wean. It broke my heart into a million pieces but I didn't want to hate nursing like I did during my first pregnancy. When the baby comes, my nurslings will probably return. And if they don't, well, I suppose I'll process that if that time comes.
Desmond is now 21 months old. Chase just had his 4th birthday. Weaning Chase was not hard. He understood when I told him it hurts. We hug and snuggle a lot more instead. With Desmond, he didn't respond to my explanations of why we can't nurse. He screamed and cried. Some sessions were harder to cut out than others. The only one left, is nursing right before bed. The night nursing sessions were hardest to cut out. I spent many nights rocking him while he screamed. I focused on being the most loving and soft I could be. Sometimes I had to walk him around the room and pat his back. After an hour or so he'd settle down and fall asleep in my arms. Now he rarely wakes up at night. If he does wake up, he cuddles up to me and either rubs my protruding belly button or squeezes my breasts a few times before falling asleep again.
The change in our nursing has changed how Desmond and I connect. Instead of him coming to me for a quick nurse, he comes and gives me a hug and a kiss and rubs my belly. There is a lot more physical touch happening. At night he often sleeps with his arm around me or otherwise touching me somehow. My fear of weaning has dissipated once I realized he and I have found a way to still share those moments of closeness, love, and security we had when nursing.