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 Episode 88     

This is a day where I am feeling quite sentimental. It is my youngest, my baby, my little girls 27th birthday. I know it sounds so cliche, but honestly and truly,,, where have the years gone? I just have no idea how time could have marched on so fast. The days are soooo long when you are a mother. But the months actually go quite fast and the years go even faster.

When Carly was born, I was in the throes of busy motherhood. With a 2.5 year old son Jesse and a just turned 5 year old Alisha, what a pregnancy I had. I remember being over the top tired when I was pregnant with my first Alisha. I just could not image being more tired every single day. My pregnancy with Jesse was great, however, I was so tired with him also. Then along comes my third pregnancy. I remember somewhere in January when I was just not feeling so great. Perhaps, too much sweets and too much food overall from the holiday time. I don’t know. I would have these fleeting thoughts for a couple of weeks, but honestly, I was just so busy from sun up til way past sundown with an almost 2 year old and a 3 year old, my mind never sat quietly long enough for me to think about why I just was not feeling so great.

And then came the “tell all” signs of pregnancy that I had with Pregnancy #1 and Pregnancy #2. Breasts and nipples, that I was not really paying much attention to…. were really, really sore.
Jesse was a breastfeeding toddler who knew his way around the breast and could find it even when it was covered with a bra, a sweatshirt, and a coat. That baby boy could get what he needed!

About the same time that I realized how sore my nipples were when I brushed against them one morning while showering, I realized later that day that they were really sore when he breastfed. This just confirmed what I had already pretty much figured out already.

You see, those of us who get sore nipples when we are pregnant, don’t really need any tests to tell us we are pregnant with subsequent pregnancies. We just let our sore nipples do the talking.

Baby #3 – Hooray! Pregnant Again! Excitement turned into grappling FEAR shortly. I mean, how was I possibly going to stay awake this pregnancy? OMG! Another birth to go through. Another child to take care of? FEAR mixed with JOY! Is there even a word for it? I am going to make one up right now.
How about Fejoy! I feel very Fejoyful! Hmmm,, I kinda like that. A few interesting things I wanted to share as it relates to breastfeeding.

Jesse happily nursed during this pregnancy. At this point, in toddler nursing, he would nurse usually in the morning and usually at night before going to sleep. Usually, at some point in the middle of the day. Any other times, it was usually because he was overtired and it helped him to wind down. If he ever got hurt, nursing always helped to calm down the pain from boo boos.
A toddler tantrum, because he could not express himself to me or because he could not get what he wanted. Nursing to calm down from a tantrum, or even to ward off a tantrum, came in awfully handy.

Anyone who has done toddler nursing, now you just cannot make a toddler nurse. It is not like, hey Jesse you are having a tantrum, come here and nurse so you can calm down. While this was usually met with a yes and a breastfeed, there were times when he just vehemently shook his head from side to side
and no way was he going to nurse.

Darn! Too Bad I can’t make him, It surely would have brought calm and peace to the household. Any of you who have nursed toddlers, know exactly what I mean. Anyone who hasn’t, don’t judge. You too might become one of us!

I want to tell you something, one of those breastfeeding mommy things that I surely wish someone had told me.
Because not knowing it, and the results, were quite shocking to me. I was just going with the flow and did not have much info on breastfeeding.

Well, one day Jesse went to nurse in the morning and as quickly as he was in my lap, he was down on the floor toddling away from me. I was like, hey Jesse, come on, let’s nurse and he kept moving away and shaking his head.

I was like… well, okay. and just got up and got busy doing other things. A few hours later, when I sat down again, he went to nurse, but after a minute or so, he quickly climbed down and
left me. He just flat left me. And now I was like.. hmm, what is going on. This had really never happened before.

That same day, I sat down to watch Oprah in the late afternoon. This was not unusual for me to have some downtime, watch Oprah and nurse. This time, he just would not even climb aboard. Because this was not his main source of hydration or nourishment, I was not worried or anything, just kind of confused. I remember telling my husband later that evening when Jesse did breastfeed finally, but just for another few minutes. I said to my husband: It is like my milk turned sour or something. Jesse made a face each time and just pushed away.

Could it turn sour? I had no idea. The next morning and afternoon, the same behavior, showed a bit of an interest,
started to nurse and then quickly pushed away. Third day, would not even show interest in nursing. For the next several days, I kept asking him? Jesse want to nurse.is it bedtime? Nope, nope and nope.

Well, what I learned later on, is that in the first few months of pregnancy, your milk decreases. At that time, I had no idea.
I learned that Progesterone levels gradually rise during pregnancy.

I also learned that progesterone levels drop rather quickly after baby is born and placenta is delivered. Prolactin, which is one of the important “milk making” hormone is now allowed to kick into high gear. The frequency and efficiency of milk removal now has potential to increase the supply because the hormones are in proper balance for milk making. During pregnancy, the hormones are not in the balance they need to be, to keep up the production. Even if your child is nursing a lot,, the supply is likely to continue dropping.

For some babies, they don’t mind the drop in supply or the change in flavor that frequently occurs. For others, they are older at this point, interested in the world around them, have no interest in suckling for very little in return, not thrilled with changes in taste. If your toddler is old enough and verbal enough, he or she may tell you why… does not like the taste, not enough. And, of course, this takes the guessing out of it all. They will commonly show a greater interest in more fluids and solid foods.

For Jesse, who was just a little over 2 years and 3 months old and not quite verbal, his body language said it all. I just did not understand why. I was quite sad… which might sound strange, particular when I was just saying how sore my nipples were when he breastfed. But I was sad, I was not prepared for this, it was abrupt. One day he was a nursing toddler and the next day he was off and running and never looked back.

In hindsight, and based on what I now know, I have a pretty good feeling that my supply was not much at all and based on how quickly he rejected breastfeeding after a few short sips, I have a strong feeling that the “flavor” changed for him. Based on what I know now, that the sodium content rises during the weaning process. Perhaps it was just too salty, or perhaps it had turned to colostrum already and he did not like that flavor either. I don’t know about whatever flavor it was, but I do believe he was turned off by the taste.

I wish I knew this information at that time. Instead of being sad and left with feelings of not being able to explain any of this, which further increased my sadness, I would have felt better knowing that my body was performing exactly as it should.
Balancing the hormones for the state of pregnancy. I was in and preparing to make colostrum for the new baby.

Parents need to know that if they wanted to breastfeed for a full year, however, they want to conceive some point in that first year, they do run the risk of not being able to provide enough milk for their baby and may have to supplement with other milk if their baby is under a year.

Most parents are not aware that their supply will drop so much it cannot sustain their first baby. They may make a different decision when they find this out. For others, they want their kids spaced closely and they will go ahead as planned.

For me, it is all about parents being able to make decisions that are informed decisions.

Circling back to Carly Lea,, my baby. While Jesse weaned earlier than I would have liked or was prepared for, my lovely Carly had a free for all. She had the luxury of calling it quits when she was ready. Again, for her, toddler nursing was quite predictable in the morning and at night. During the daytime hours, it was quite random.

I was busy being the oddball mother on the block and in some of my mommy groups. However, family members and friends did remark how quickly Carly was soothed and back on the playground so to speak, after she got a boo boo or had a meltdown, when other kids took much longer and much more cajoling to settle them down and get them back into the frame of mind to go back on the playground and play with the other kids.

We enjoyed a blissful 3 1/2 years of nursing where it was all good and wonderful in my book.

It has been a long, long time, however, when I sit quietly, I can still hear her little voice saying: other side, other side.” This came about when her older sister Alisha, who was 5 yrs and 2 months when Carly was born, would see her cry sometimes after feeding from the first side, would get a little anxious watching Carly cry for more, would say: Mommy give Carly the other side.
And she would ask Carly: Do you want the other side?

I got into the habit of saying: other side? do you want the other side? And this turned into Carly asking herself, when she became more verbal.

She would pop off one side and say: other side.. other side…

Every child is different and I have been around the block long enough to know that. For Carly, she was a lovely healthy specimen of a toddler. Never had an ear infection, or even the common cold, no fevers, flu, stomach upset No antibiotics, no Tylenol ever needed.

Carly was a social butterfly, had a smile for everyone, and was quite the independent baby and toddler. She is all growed up now, married for 2 years, just bought a house with her handsome husband, Still a social butterfly, happy go lucky girl, just like her big sister Alisha, always with a smile on her face and always very anxious to travel and be adventurous.

My mother always says: You just can’t be unhappy when Carly is in the room!

Happy Birthday Carly. We had a great time celebrating your birthday this evening and hanging out with you, your husband and the rest of the family.

Love you Forever, Mommy

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