Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mad nursing

Jack and I are having a rough day. He's tired and cranky, I'm frustrated and losing my patience with him. But at the end of the tantrum he still wants/needs his boob. So we nurse even though our emotions haven't really calmed down and we both are still upset with each other. This is something that I will miss when he weans, the comfort it brings both of us to reconnect after a misunderstanding. Again extended breastfeeding for the win. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

AP and teen depression

This is an important issue and it's going to be hard to write this as we are currently going through this with one of our teenagers. There is so much information about teen depression and suicide out there it can be overwhelming. Is my teen depressed? Are they just being a normal teenager? How do I tell the difference? Is this my fault? What do I do now? And then that awful feeling that you thought you did everything right or you know you didn't and realize that at some point you have failed your child and let them down. Please remember that teenage depression can be a chemical imbalance and instead of feeling guilty or responsible (even if you are) the most important thing you can do is GET HELP for your teen.If you think they are suicidal call immediately The people that answer the hotlines are trained and very helpful in a crisis situation.

Teens and preteens can be very moody and emotional by nature. They can be hostile, angry, selfish, sweet, loving, helpful all in the same 10 minutes. Especially in my experience with pre teen girls. You will wish they were still cute squishy babies or fun toddlers, there will be times you wonder where the sweet child who used to cuddle you went and who is this person screaming they hate me all the time. Some parents will be in complete denial that this can happen to their child, this was me. I took for granted that my teenager was a happy, well adjusted, honor roll student who had always rolled with the punches life threw at her. It wasn't until we took her in for a constant stomach ache that we figured out she was depressed. I failed to notice the sadness, weight loss and inability to enjoy simple things she used to love. And we are super close and talk about everything and have always been able to overcome anything. It helped her so much having our doctor explain what was going on in her brain and that it was a chemical issue not something she did wrong or could have prevented (I somewhat disagree with this). Our issue was too much stress and her brain not being able to keep up with all the pressure she was under from school, friends, family and just life in general. She has had several friends that have been suicidal and had one close friend that committed suicide. This person had been a mentor to her and I have no doubt that her death set in motion what would eventually cause her depression. If I could go back we would have gotten her into therapy right after that happened.

Emotions during the preteen/ teenage years are so strong and just like when they are toddlers they may not know how to handle such strong emotions/feelings. Super highs and lows are completely normal and most teenagers are able to deal with these. Then there are the teenagers who cannot handle the strong emotions and pressures of life under even the best circumstances. If your family is going through a serious life change such as divorce, new baby, death in the family, financial struggles, a big move you may want to keep a closer eye on your child for signs they are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. This is why I love attachment parenting and the bond it creates, my teen and I are close and she knows that her needs and feelings will be my biggest priority. If you have shown them they are a priority and you are willing to always be there for them (which I have failed at many times) the bond you have will hopefully help you both through this hard time. As we struggle through this daily I am learning what things I can help her and how to handle the times when she just breaks down and feels hopeless. This is the hardest for me to watch, her struggle to see there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel she's in. I've spent countless hours at night trying to figure out things I can do to just help her and the best way I've found is to keep her life as simple as possible. Basic things have become the most important things. Eating, sleeping (at appropriate times) and getting her homework done are the things we are taking one at a time. Eating has become a chore for her and this is normal for a teen who is depressed.

Keeping a food journal and helping them prepare meals and snacks can encourage healthy eating habits to continue. As with any other stressful time in life knowing they aren't at fault and encouraging positive outlets for energy should always be important. Exercise, sports, social activities should continue and be encouraged.

Getting help for your teen should be immediate and continue as long as needed. If you need help knowing what kind of help their pediatrician should be able to help with that. Whether it's therapy, counseling or a support group having an outside person to talk to can really help during this difficult time. For you as well, it's important for the parent/caregiver to have support and someone to talk to.

Here are some signs to watch for in your teen that they may be depressed. Please always seek medical advice if you are concerned that your teen is depressed.

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness and/or frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Self care is the best care.

The past few days I have received so many messages from tired, overwhelmed and exhausted mamas. All of them with tired babies and suffering from a lack of sleep and a break from their baby. I fall into this situation often and am learning the best way to stay the calm gentle mama I want to be. That being said I don't always keep my cool and let's be honest attachment parenting isn't the easiest parenting style and it can leave you exhausted and with little or no breaks from your children. My page is called AP 24/7 for a reason. But there is something I am learning and it's helped me so much the past few months SELF CARE!!!!!!!

Self care is so much easier said than done, I used to laugh when other mamas would tell me to take some time for myself. When would I do this? I can't leave the room for 5 seconds without chaos breaking out. BUT I have learned that if the kids are in a safe space it's OKAY to walk away for a few minutes and collect your thoughts and just breathe. This looks different for all of us and can be anything from 30 seconds in the bathroom alone with chocolate (I've done this) to letting them get crazy while you catch up with a friend on the phone for 30 minutes. Letting go is my biggest struggle, what if the house gets really messy, what if they cry? what if they fight? I could go on and on..I see things all the time that list off things to do to take a break and they usually look like this.

The best way I've found is to have an emergency stash of chocolate and wine. No joke a tiny sip of wine with a piece of chocolate can get me through several hours of being alone with the kids. The other thing I wish someone had told me is that walking away from a crying baby is okay, it's not the same as leaving them to cry it out. A screaming baby can drive the most gentle person to crazytown in about 10-15 minutes. Find a safe place (crib or play and pack) give baby a kiss and go take a minute to calm down and just regroup. After you are calm go back and give your renewed self to taking care of your baby. Then make a self care plan for yourself. Whatever it looks like for you is alright. Make it special and something you know will be there to help you in tough moments. I always keep my headphones close by with a calm playlist that I love ready to go. Music always helps my kids calm down and can save a really bad moment from becoming any worse. And last of all find your support. Here are some great pages that support attachment parenting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Giving my toddler a safe place

I have an in home daycare and have since Emma was 2. And before when my older girls were young. For all of my girls having other children around was great social interaction and they made friends they still have today, then there's Jack. Jack does not enjoy sharing his space, his toys and his mommy. He let's me know what he will tolerate and what is just not going to work for him. This makes my job extremely difficult at times. Don't get me wrong he has more good days than not and he loves babies. But finding a happy middle ground has been a very long and hard process. I have done things like always nursing him when be asks no matter what I'm doing. Unless I'm changing a diaper then he can wait the fevw minutes until I'm ready. Today I had a play and pack out for my youngest toddler who just started walking and needs a safe place if I'm going to be out of the room for more than a minute. Jack saw this and wanted in, he then asked for his buzz lightyears and his tablet, he ate his snack and played for almost an hour. I didn't think to take a picture then. But I may have found a way to give him a few minutes of peace while still being with me. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The sleep wars

   My 5 year old has a diagnosed sleep disorder that for years meant little sleep for her and I. She only slept 6 hours a night for almost 3 1/2 years until we discovered melatonin. This gave us back our lives and it felt good to sleep. Then we had jack and he's a good sleeper once he's asleep. He's always been hard to get to sleep. Thankfully he still nurses to sleep..for now.

   During the 3+ years when Emma never slept my husband stayed up with her one night and was such a baby about it I never asked for help again. It was just assumed that sleep was my area of parenting because out of the two of us I have the best opportunity for a nap. Never happens but I guess the chance of a nap happening means I get to be the one who gets up with the kids. 

   Where the war begins is most nights as we are cuddling the kids before bed he falls asleep. Around 8:00-8:30, then I carry the kids to their beds or stay up with Jack if he's still up. Then I just get frustrated and go to bed. I keep track of every time he does this and hold it over his head. Not nice I know but not all is fair in parenting and sleep. So what I'm trying to do lately is let all of this anger and resentment over how much more sleep he gets then me go. Easier said than done but I'm willing to let this go to keep the peace, would you? 

   Being a mom I realize that sleep is a sacrifice I must make at times. But am I the only one who thought hey this person helped me make this little person why do they get to sleep?!? Here is a little secret I've discovered. Most babies that wake to nurse will not wake if the mom isn't in the bed. So if I really need a break I go sleep on the couch and my hubby sleeps with the kids. And they don't wake up for him..interesting. I've only done this once but I know other mamas who have said if their nursling can't smell them they sleep longer. 

I should also add he sleeps in an extra hour later than me everyday. He gets up and gets coffee says hi to the kids and goes back to bed. Swallow, breathe, swallow bigger and let go. My children deserve a peaceful home not a war zone. 

#cosleeping #attachmentparenting #marriage #sleep #whoneedssleep

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why I want to stop breastfeeding

I find myself in an odd situation, I want to stop breastfeeding. I'm tired, touched out, irritated, annoyed beyond anything and most of all just over it. Jack nurses 12-15 times a day, sometimes more but never less. These nursing sessions last about 20-25 minutes each time. That's about 5 hours a day I spend nursing jack. That does not include his night nursing which is still happening 3-4 times a night. 

But then I remember and think twice. I am a lactavist and advocate for self weaning everyday. Crap. I go back and read the things I've said, posted, what other mamas have said and all the reasons to keep breastfeeding. This brings me back to my reality. At the end of the day he needs me and that is what matters most. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why breastfeeding a toddler makes people uncomfortable

Jack is 26 months and a big toddler, he is also still very much my sweet nursling that nurses on demand. Over the past few months we have been in multiple situations where people have said it makes them uncomfortable that he is still breastfeeding. These are people who know how I feel about breastfeeding and nursing in public. I've been trying to figure out what exactly makes them uneasy and I think I've got it.

When a toddler nurses it can be very entertaining, there is the nipple twiddling, pulling and grabbing. Also followed by squirming and climbing all over you while still managing to have a boob in their mouth. I know that by the time all my babies were in this stage they didn't nurse much except for naptime and bedtime. Then there is Jack who still nurses with so much enthusiasm you would think I had crack for breastmilk. He makes every part if his breastfeeding session a production. It starts with an insistent noise and head bob directed at my chest followed by just pulling down my shirt  and helping himself if he can. He also has added blowing on my nipple like its hot, pulling the other nipple as far out of my shirt as he can and switching about 10 times in one feeding. What do I say to the people who feel uncomfortable watching a toddler nurse? Look away or please talk to me like I'm human because any distraction from my toddler pulling on my nipple is great! Don't get me wrong I love the cuddles and sweet moments of breastfeeding a toddler and I try to enjoy them because I know they will be ending soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New year, new fun!

Sitting here watching my kids play, fight and then fight some more while I try to drink coffee and pretend I don't hear the fighting I am thinking of ways to stop the fighting. Emma screams and jack throws things, this is what siblings do and as normal as I know this phase is I hate it. Doesn't Emma know that we had Jack so she would have a playmate?!? And must jack take every toy she has and chase her with it?

The answer is yes because they are 2 & 5. I'm the one who needs to teach them to love each other and have fun together. Wait what? I'm bad at sharing and have seriously lost my ability to enjoy anything after a stressful few months. So my goals this year are to get down and dirty with them. Play, laugh, sing, and all the stuff they love to do. I read somewhere that children laugh 400 times a day, how much happier would we be if we laughed that much? 

Here's to lots of breastfeeding, coloring, Lego building, reading and playing with buzz lightyear! Happy New Year!