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Let's Talk Babies!

3rd Baby

Extended breastfeeding seems like such a strange term to me. It is the term used to describe breastfeeding beyond 12 months. The fact that there is a term to describe nursing your child beyond 12 months of age is strange to me. Who decided that 12 months should be the cut off and that there needed to be a special term for those that breastfed beyond that magic time marker. In so many cultures “extended breastfeeding” is the norm. It is natural, common and very likely not given a second thought, let alone a special term. In our culture that is not the case. Extended breastfeeding is not the norm and there is definitely a lack of support for those who choose to nurse their children beyond 1 year of age. In fact, not only is there a lack of support but there is also a sense that choosing to nurse your child beyond a certain age is a weird. I will say that I feel like we have made great strides in normalizing both breastfeeding itself and extended breastfeeding. But, we have a long way to go.

I am breastfeeding for the third time beyond that magic 12 month marker and have received my fair share of sideways glances and awkward, silent moments when people find out. The most common question I get is “Are you going to wean her soon?” like it is somehow the business of anyone but myself.

My goal when I began breastfeeding, with Maya anyway, was to breastfeed for “at least a year”. I didn’t give much thought to how long I would do it or how I would go about weaning. With Anna and Nora I had a similar goal. I wanted to get to at least a year and beyond that I would just play it by ear. I didn’t have a set end date in mind, although I figured I would go at least as long as I did with Maya. It seemed like the right approach. If breastfeeding beyond a year worked for my girls and for me then that is what we would do.

Maya and Anna were both breastfed until 20 months of age. It was a weaning schedule that worked well for both myself and my girls. They were both pretty much ready to be done and I was ready to be done. I had to push a little as we dropped certain nursing sessions but for the most part they dropped sessions on their own. With Nora things are going to be a little different, I can tell. She is extremely attached to breastfeeding. There are times when I am ready to be done but most of the time I’m perfectly okay with the status quo. She is definitely not ready to be done. She still asks frequently to nurse. Sometimes too frequently. She is still very dependent on it for comfort if she is sad or hurt, and I’m okay with that. I don’t foresee a time in the near future when she will take kindly to being nudged into the weaning process. I fully anticipate she will be older than her sisters when our nursing relationship comes to an end. So, we will keep going until she is ready to stop, or until I definitely don’t feel like I can do it anymore. Hopefully she gets to her end point first so I don’t feel like I am forcing it on her.

In the blink of an eye 18 months has flown by. Some how my baby girl, my smallest daredevil princess, the lovely Miss Nora is 18 months old. It feels like just yesterday that I was holding a tiny little bundle of newborn Nora in my arms for the first time, in awe of her perfectness. Then I blinked and she was suddenly an 18 month old toddler not afraid of anything and taking on the world one daredevil stunt at a time.

Weight: 20lbs 10oz (23rd percentile)

Height: 31 ins (24th percentile)

Head Circumference: 18.5 ins (70th percentile)

Nora had her 18 month well child check up this morning and was declared to be petite and perfect! Just like her big sister Anna she is still rocking her petite status with pride. After a thorough check up by the doctor that included lots of talking, since Nora is a chatter box, I was told she was perfectly healthy and way ahead of the curve with her verbal skills both with her ability to communicate and her ability to understand. It is always nice to walk away from a well child check up with a glowing report.

There is so much I could say about our sweet baby girl and yet it is hard to find the right words to describe her. She is full of life and energy. She is a total daredevil and not afraid to try anything. She loves playing both on her own and with her big sisters. Her favorite toy is her baby dolls. She pushes her doll around the house in the stroller and hugs her and pats her back and gives her kisses. It is so sweet and cute. She also loves to play dress up, especially with hats and shoes (one of her current favorite words!). She also loves to color and read. But, her favorite activity is climbing anything and everything! I had to move our bar stools away from the counter because she figured out how to use them to climb on to the counter and I couldn’t not keep her off of it. She is a fun one 😉

Nora is a busy little girl. Busy growing, busy learning, busy talking and busy keeping us on our toes. She has a great vocabulary and can communicate very well with both words and gestures. I’ve lost count of how many words she knows. It seems like she is adding new words daily now. She can say, hi and bye, mom and dad (but mostly mom, she uses mom for a lot of things), dog, cat, bird, duck, meow, quack, tree, truck, bus, shoe, fish, this, that, nose, belly, bum, bike, hat, boot, blanket, bath, bubble, balloon, outside, help, cheese, juice, snack, lunch, park and plane. I’m sure there are more but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. There is rarely a time that I don’t understand what she means. She is very good at combining words she knows with gestures to make her point clear. She also understands an incredible amount. She will answer questions and follow directions.

This is one of my favorite ages. There is so much exploring, learning, growing and changing taking place it is almost like there is something new or different about her every day. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a curious toddler.

Nora is not a good sleeper. There I said it. It is the first time in my 7 year career of motherhood that I have utter the phrase “My child is a bad sleeper.” Not because I had bad sleepers and didn’t want to admit it. I have been able to avoid it because my girls are good sleepers. Well, at least until the last 6 months or so with Nora. The last 6 months or so have been rough to  say the least. Nora isn’t sleeping well, which in turn means I am not sleeping well. A sleepy Lisa makes for a grumpy, impatient Lisa, which, as you can imagine, makes things a little crazier around this already crazy house.

When Nora was a wee baby, really for the first 9 months or so, she was an excellent sleeper. She was sleeping through the night, like 10-12 hour stretches kind of sleeping through the night, at 6 weeks old. She always went down easily and sleep like a charm all night, rarely waking and if she did usually only once and then right back to sleep. She even slept in a bit in the morning a lot of the time. It was fantastic. It made me so incredibly grateful and I didn’t talk about it much for fear I would jinx the perfectness of it.

When she started teething things began to take a turn. She began to wake at night more often but at first she always returned to her good sleeping habits. Then something happened. I don’t know what. It began one week when she was working on her first molars and had a cold all at the same time. She was so obviously not feeling well and was grumpy pretty much all day long. I did what I could by giving her tylenol for her teeth and setting up the humidifier for her stuffy nose. It didn’t help much. She began waking up 2, 3 and even sometimes 4 times a night. It went on for weeks. Long after the cold went away. I figured maybe it was the teeth more than the cold. The frequent night wakings continued. Month after month, tooth after tooth.

And here we are a good 6 months or so later and Nora is still waking up 2, 3 and sometimes 4 times a night. It is beyond exhausting. Now that she is fairly vocal she no longer cries, she stands up in her crib and screams, I mean screaming at the top of her lungs kind of screams, for me. I am rudely awakened by the sound of a blood curdling “Mooooommmmm!” at all hours of the night. She won’t let me just rock her, I have to nurse her every time. It is maddening and exhausting.  She is hard to resist though in all her cuteness!

I’m ready for something to give. Something has to give, I need more sleep. I know at some point I’m going to have to play the bad guy and refuse to nurse her or let her cry it out or something. I obviously haven’t hit rock bottom yet because I’m not quite ready to do that.  Plus, given the volume of her screaming if I let her cry (or rather yell) it out she is bound to wake up the rest of the house and the only thing worse than being up with one child multiply times a night is being up with more than one child multiply times a night! So, I guess for now we will carry on being sleepless in Seattle until she final returns to sleeping well (I secretly hold out hope that she will) or I hit by breaking point and force nudge her in that direction.

 

As I mentioned in her birthday post, and as I mention every month when I do these monthly write ups, time is flying by at an incredibly pace. I truly can hardly believe my little baby is already a year old.

Weight: 18lbs 1oz (24th percentile on the breastfed baby chart)

Height: 28.5 ins (26th percentile)

Head Circumference: 18 ins (72nd percentile)

Nora is rocking the peanut status. As her doctor said at her well child check up the other day, she decided to grow her brain these last few months instead of her height and weight ;).  Nora is almost exactly the same size Anna was at a year!

Nora’s well child check up went well. She is hitting or exceeding all her expected milestones. Like her sisters before her she is ahead on verbal communication. Apparently, Lorne and I breed talkers. I’m going to say they get that from their dad. The doctor said she looked perfect and the only small concern that came up after her finger prick blood screen was slightly low iron levels. Low iron levels are fairly common in breastfed babies so we left the appointment with a long list of iron rich foods to try and hopes that the next finger prick blood screen at 15 months shows improved numbers.

Nora has been busy this month learning to talk and making progress on the walking front. She is very chatty and already has a few words she says, or at least sounds she makes to mean certain things, including mama (mommomma), dada, balloon (boon), dog, bye bye (sometimes), hi, that and more. She also communicates well with nonverbal ques like pointing, out stretched arms when she wants up, etc. I have to say it is so nice to have good communicators at this age. It usually isn’t hard to figure out what she wants between her verbal and nonverbal ques.

But, she isn’t only working hard on talking she is also really trying to figure out walking. She crawls like a little speed demon and is quite the accomplished climber. Recently she figured out how to stand on her own without having to pull up on anything. You should see the pride on her face when she does. She stands there waiting for praise 😉 She can walk pretty well holding onto our hands or pushing something in front of her and yesterday, while I was at a meeting at Maya’s school, she took her first couple of independent steps. It won’t be long now.

This is such a fun age. I love watching her explore and learn. She plays so well independently and with her sisters. She adores our cat Penny and our neighbor’s dog. She loves going for walks and pointing out all the trees and birds she sees. She loves to dance and will dance to any music be it the little tunes her toys play, someone in the house singing or songs on the radio. Her two favorite songs right now are This Is How We Do by Katy Perry and Knights of Shame by Awolnation. Both are guaranteed to get her moving! She laughs easily and loves when she makes other people laugh. She is super cuddly and loves to snuggle. She often ask to be picked up or crawl into my lap just so she can snuggle into me. She also gives kisses (those big open mouth baby kisses) and has started blowing kisses too. If I could pause time for a bit right now I totally would. I just can’t get enough of it all.

I know time is going to continue flying by and before I know it I’ll be writing a post about her at 2. For now I’ll just keep trying to soak it all up and tuck the memories of these moments away in my mind for later when I miss having a baby around.

On this day, one year ago, the sweetest little bundle of baby was born.

Sometimes in life we are given little gems. Little surprises that weren’t necessarily on our radar, or in our plan, but end up being exactly perfect. If I had planned for this baby and dreamed of her I couldn’t have ever imagined how perfectly she would fit in our family. She feels like she has always been here, though it still feels like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms for the very first time.

From day one she has been this calm, happy, inquisitive, snuggly baby.  Watching her grow this past year has been such a joy and a blessing. I am so incredibly grateful to be her mommy.

 

Happy 1st Birthday, Nora!! I can’t wait to see what the next year, and the many years after that, have in store for you.