My little peanut,
You are 3 months old! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is amazing how much changes in one month. It seems like all of a sudden you are able to hold your head up all the time and you can sit propped up on pillows or in your Bumbo chair. Your adorable and emotive facial expressions have gotten much more purposeful and I could just stare at your beautiful little face all day long waiting to see what you’ll do next.
You smile and laugh and coo all the time now. My favorite part of the day is trying to figure out what noise or movement or face will make you squeal with joy, and your tiny little laugh is already contagious. You and I just sit and laugh on the couch together. You are such a joy. It’s hard to even put it into words.
I made a big decision on your three month birthday. I decided to stop breastfeeding. In last month’s letter I said that I hoped we could overcome our breastfeeding issues by the 3 month mark, but unfortunately things only got worse. The last few weeks nursing has been such a struggle that you’ve barely eaten anything. When I found out that you barely gained any weight in the last 3 weeks, I decided it was best for both of us if we switched to bottles. It was a heartbreaking decision to make, little one, because I cherished that special bond that you and I had. Even though nursing you was never as peaceful and beautiful as I’d hoped, there was something so special about being the only person in the world who could provide for you. I’m still doing my very best to give you all breastmilk, so I guess I’m still that person, but it does make me a little sad to know that anyone can feed you now.
I guess it’s my first lesson in letting you go; you can’t be all mine forever! In a few short months you’ll start daycare, and I’ll have to let you go. Then you’ll grow up a little more and start school, and I’ll have to let you go. You’ll get your driver’s license and I’ll have to let you go. You’ll fall in love and I’ll have to let you go. You’ll go away to college and I’ll have to let you go. The letting go part never ends, I imagine. I just hope you’ll always come back to me after I give you the freedom to go.
For now, though, you’re pretty much all mine and Daddy’s! We could not ask for anything more. You are the best. You’re funny and happy. Opinionated yet easygoing. Predictable yet full of surprises. Even when you wake up an extra time at night (you had been getting up only once, but now you’re switching back and forth between getting up once or twice) or won’t go down for a nap, I cherish every minute we get to hang out.
I love you, little guy. You’re my favorite person to spend every day with (oh, and Daddy too…).
I love you a little bit more every minute.
I can’t believe it’s been 6 weeks since I started my Mommy Group. It seems like just last week we had our first class in which almost everyone teared up as they talked about the struggles they were facing. And the babies were so tiny. Yesterday we had our last class and were all in awe of how far we’ve come in 6 weeks.
Learning to be a mother is an incredibly steep learning curve.
Things happen so fast that they seem to go by in an instant, yet every single minute of every day (and night) you are learning more about your baby. It’s the epitome of total immersion. I’ll never be able to write down all of the things that I’ve learned, both about Owen and about myself, but I do know that so many things make sense today that made no sense just a few short weeks ago, and so many things seem possible today that I couldn’t have dreamed of back then.
The most important transformation in myself that I’ve seen (and I continue to see, every day) is how Owen has stretched me to break out of my rules and my schedules and my routines. He has forced me to be more spontaneous, and to realize that everything doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be right or fun. Every day I feel a little better about getting out of the house (even if it’s naptime!) and trying something new with him. I have gotten to know him so intimately that I can almost always anticipate what he needs. That’s love. And I love it.
So I signed up for the next class. This group has been one of the best things I’ve done for Owen and I, and I couldn’t resist another 6 weeks. And hey, it can’t hurt to make a few more mom friends, right? Oh how my attitude has changed since this post! Apparently I love chatting about my baby over lunch
We had a wonderful weekend away. Owen did great on the 4 1/2 hour car rides there and back (even took a bottle in his carseat while driving!). He stuck to his regular sleeping schedule at night, too, which was a huge relief to the tired Mama!
He barely cried or fussed all weekend since there was always someone there to hold him or entertain him.
He got to taste the crisp mountain air on his first hike.
And Benjamin and I went on OUR FIRST DATE since Owen was born. Long-awaited. It felt wonderful, and it was surprisingly easy for me to switch off the mom brain and return to normal conversation. We did NOT spend our evening saying things like, “I wonder what Owen’s doing right now”, although we did come home a little earlier than we planned because my boobs were going to explode since I missed a nursing session while Owen had a bottle. Not so romantic. Nonetheless, it was pretty fun to put on some new (read: non-maternity) clothes and have a glass of wine with my honey.
Our thrush is going away, just very slowly. My symptoms are resolving quicker than Owen’s, but I have seen an improvement in his eating in the last day or so. So fingers are crossed that we’re through the worst of it!
Thrush has taken over my life, and my countertop. I am now on a complicated regimen of prescribed meds and herbal supplements, along with my normal vitamins and fish oil that I take regularly.
For those who care about the thrush treatment, I am doing a full course of Diflucan (Fluconazole), which is 2 pills on the first day and one every subsequent day for 7 days. I’m also using a vinegar and water rinse on my nipples after every feeding, and then letting them air dry and putting on Nystatin cream. Whenever possible I allow them to be uncovered and in the open air (hello, neighbors!). I’m also taking grapefruit seed extract in pill form 3 times a day, as well as Acidophilus 3 times a day. I’m limiting dairy and sugar (which includes, sigh, WINE) and eating mostly veggies and whole grains (which I do anyway). Owen gets two squirts of liquid Nystatin in his mouth after each feeding, and I might try letting him suck some of the Acidophilus off of my finger once a day as well. I’m hoping a combo of Western meds and good old-fashioned herbal supps will kick this thing ASAP.
My other form of treatment for this awful thing? VACATION. Ok, so it just happened to fall on Columbus Day weekend, but nevertheless, Benjamin, Owen, Schnitzel and I are heading up north to New Hampshire for a little much-needed R & R. Can’t wait to introduce Owen to the White Mountains and the gorgeous foliage. Hopefully by Monday we’ll be happier and healthier.
Also known as So THAT’S Why He’s Like That.
I made a startling realization the other day. OWEN AND I HAVE THRUSH.
For once my excessive Googling helped me. Through a series of clicks, I identified an elusive issue that has plagued Owen and I for the last month. Thrush. That’s right, we’ve had it for a month without realizing it. For those of you lucky enough to not know what thrush is, it is a yeast infection on the nipples and/or the baby’s mouth. Although it sounds totally disgusting, it’s pretty common. Most everyone I’ve told since my diagnosis has said, “Oh, I had that” or “Oh, my sister had that”. Anyway, it presents itself in different ways in different situations, so the symptoms are kind of vague. That’s why I wrote them off for the last month, thinking they were caused by something else entirely.
Here were the symptoms:
- Red, itchy, irritated nipples. Since I had so much trouble breastfeeding, I figured that the redness and irritation was due to my sensitive boobs getting used to breastfeeding without nipple shields (I quit the shields cold turkey when Owen was 6 weeks old, and that’s when I think this all began). Now I realize that not everyone walks around feeling like their nipples are sharp knives that twist and turn whenever they touch a shirt, the air, the shower, whatever.
- Burning sensation during letdown/nursing. Again, I thought this was just something I had to get used to. When my milk let down when Owen was nursing, it felt like hot lava. It would go away after a minute or two, so I just practiced my deep breathing and told myself to suck it up so Owen could get the benefits of breastfeeding. Ummm, how nice to know it doesn’t have to feel like that!
- Lightning bolt pains in my boobs after nursing. When nursing was over, the pain was not. I’d often get shooting pains like aftershocks once Owen was finished. They almost felt like muscle pains or a deep throbbing deep inside. Apparently that’s not normal either.
- Nipple blanching/white patches. Sometimes after nursing or in the shower I would notice sections of my nipples would turn white, sort of like when you squeeze your fingers together and the skin turns white or the blood drains away. I would see that sometimes, but blame it on a bad latch or regular nipple compression.
- Owen’s white tongue. I Googled thrush several times prior to diagnosing it, and each time I would read that the baby usually gets these cottage cheese-like sores in their mouth. I examined Owen’s mouth and found nothing like that. I did see white stuff on his tongue, but it didn’t look anything like what I saw on the internet, so I wrote it off as leftover milk. This one is tricky, because many babies DO have leftover milk, so I kept saying to myself that what I saw was perfectly normal. However, I saw the pediatrician last Friday and I wish she had asked me a few questions or brought up the idea that his white tongue may be thrush. Clearly she should know the difference?!
- Owen’s increasing fussiness while eating. This is the kicker that actually led me to diagnose myself. We have always had a bit of trouble breastfeeding, but recently (like in the last 3 weeks or so), Owen’s fussiness while eating has increased. He will latch on (he’s a very good latcher), then suck for a few seconds, then pull off, yank his head back or sideways (still holding on to my nipple – ouch!), and kick his legs and scream. Nursing sessions involved a lot of holding him down like a crazy person and stuffing my nipples in his mouth.
Now I realize Owen has been in pain every time he ate for the last few weeks! It explains everything. I even read that babies with thrush are more gassy because of all the crying and squirming they do while eating (which is something I’ve been struggling with, but I just thought he was a gassy baby).
As soon as I put all of these symptoms together, I called the doctor. They saw me immediately, and after looking at my nipples for about 5 seconds they agreed that they were definitely thrushy. I could have done a little dance. While I am sad to have this awful infection, I am SO HAPPY AND RELIEVED to diagnose it and have a plan to fix it. Visions of happy nursing sessions and a calm baby have been swimming in my head since yesterday (when I saw the doc).
I am taking Fluconazole pills for a few days, as well as using Nystatin cream on my nipples after nursing a few times a day for the next 2 weeks. Owen gets a liquid version of Nystatin squirted in his mouth before eating for the next 10 – 14 days. I’m also going to eat a lot of yogurt (the live active cultures help regulate yeast) and minimize sugar (which feed the yeast) to help things along. I have heard of an herbal treatment for thrush using Gentian Violet, but I’ve also read horror stories of that stuff turning everything it touches (including the baby’s mouth) bright purple! I’m going to try the meds first and hope to get this yeast gone as fast as possible.
Wish us luck! Thrush SUCKS. But I am so ready to have my happy eater back.