They said what??

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The other day when I was asked for the third time in a week, if my girls were twins… ummm over a year apart… I started to think about all the funny to outright rude things I have been asked in the last couple years when out with my litter (“litter” originally an auto correct, but if the shoe fits).

“Of course, these aren’t all your children, are they?”

“You are a very brave woman”

“Are you a daycare group?”

“You must be busy” … on the daily along with another crowd fav “you have your hands full”

“You should get a TV for your bedroom”

“Your husband is getting a vasectomy right??”

“Please tell me you’re done”

“I would rather die than have kids this close in age”

And the winner “didn’t your husband even let you have a nap after the last one?”

Heard any good ones?

 

Breastfeeding Bites!

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You thought you had the hang of nursing, you’ve been comfortably nursing for 9 months, then WhaM!  Baby bites!

You’re not alone.  Not all babies bite, but all of mine have.  Some were more persistent biters.  But I got all 3 to stop, and I was able to continue nursing to around 18 months for each.

With my first it was a big surprise.  With my second… it was a big surprise.  And with the third, guess what?  It was still a big surprise.

Once your baby has bitten, it feels like every time the baby wants some milk, you’re about to stick your nipple into an alligator’s mouth… or a bear trap… or a stapler… you pick the metaphor.

If this is happening, first you should congratulate yourself, very few babies are exclusively breastfed until they get their first teeth!  Between 35-40% of babies are still breastfed at 6 months according to the CDC.

The two most effective strategies I have used are startling and negative reinforcement.

The first strategy does not take a genius to figure out, as soon as the baby bites, scream!  Let it all out mama!  The baby will let go, and probably cry.  Comfort your baby, because they’re scared, but you’ve got they’re attention.

Some babies are more persistent biters, my third baby went through a longer biting phase and what worked with the other two, a couple big screams, didn’t phase her.  If anything, she thought it was funny.  After speaking with my network of longer term nursing mothers, I decided to discontinue any nursing session where biting occured.  When she bit, I would say “No” firmly, remove her and her teeth, and put her down on the ground, or to bed if it was bedtime.  I would then get up and walk away.  I would not let her nurse again for a couple of hours.  For the more persistent biter, I have found they are the babies that frequently nurse for comfort and are not necessarily for hungry.  If they are biting, they are most likely not hungry, but looking for comfort, which can be given with a hug, kisses, tickles or reading a book together.

This is a really tough stage, that can result in blood and tears.  Don’t despair.  If one nipple is damaged, apply breastmilk and allow your nipple to air dry.  Optionally, you could pump 2-3 x a day for 1 to 2 days to allow for more healing.

This too shall pass.  Your baby will learn in a day or two that biting is not tolerated, and you’ll be back to your happy nursing.

Feel free to email me if you have any more specific questions about biting or nursing at DrKatherine@MommyCoach.ca.

Halloween is canceled

Now I’ve really done it.  Today was a challenging one.  One of the kids, rhymes with “bay-leb”, was in a mood.  To put it very nicely.  There was a lot of hitting, spitting, a glass smashed against the wall and a huge plastic lid thrown at me.  I went through our generic time-outs,  with no success, took away his bike, took away his favourite movie…. no improvement…  then in my frustration I did the dreaded threat that you don’t want to carry out “if you get out of that timeout one more time, you will NOT be going out for Halloween”…  as it was coming out of my mouth I was already trying to think of how I’d get out of this one.  Of course he got out of his time out again…. and now of course Mom has wrecked  trick or treating for this year.

To prevent any further misbehaviour for the rest of the afternoon, little man was not allowed to wander any further than mom’s reach.  Or he had to hold my hand.  It actually worked out well, he enjoyed having time with mom, I got to keep a close eye on him, and let him know instantly if he was getting too close to “the line” (you know the one).

The boy is great…. but occasionally can be grating.  (har dee har har)

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Business trip, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Daddy was away a couple of days this week, and I am thrilled this business trip was short… we all miss daddy when he’s away.  Let’s just not think about the trips to come….

The good: Daddy is a super hero *love* and suggested we get a cleaning lady …actually, we needed a cleaning crew, to be exact.  So, I daringly thought, while the crew cleans our house, I’ll take the 3 kids to Tim Hortons (mmm donut). I had absolutely no idea how taking all the kids to a very very busy cafe would play out… I was afraid… very afraid… would they all start screaming? … would Caleb have to go pee?  What would I do with the other two?  (bathrooms are not designed for double strollers).  Would we annoy people so much that we get thrown out??  On the way, we went over and over what good manners I expected over lunch, and I may have threatened the kids that they wouldn’t get a timbit donut if they didn’t follow the rules.  20141016_11522620141016_115213

And miracle of miracles, they were unbelievably well behaved.  The two “big” kids sat in their seat, and quietly chatted, and ate all their food, without throwing anything on the floor (well, not on purpose).  Caleb even said grace for us.  Of course, I got about 10, “you sure have your hands full” comments… We got one, (I swear I’m not making it up) “you should get a mother of the year award to have such nicely behaved kids”.  … I’d be concerned about getting prideful … but read on.

The bad and the ugly:  Later that day, as I was patting myself on the back for being the world’s best mother, with perfectly behaved children… (guess where this is going).  I started nursing Belle, and Caleb decided it would be a fun idea to open a new bag of diapers and dump out every single diaper. …Well it was a blissful 8 minutes when the house was sparkling clean.  I looked on absolutely helpless as this mess was going on.  ….the only thing I could do was snap a picture.

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… my face as this was happening, is the “ugly”, if you were wondering.

The joyous ones

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When I had my first baby, I had no idea the challenges awaiting me.  One particular time, I just wanted my baby boy to stop crying so I could get a load of laundry into the wash. I tried everything in the little booklet the hospital gave me, to quiet him down. Nothing worked.  I remember feeling my pulse race, my skin getting red and hot, and this new and unexpected anger coming up as my baby cried and cried.

I gently put the screaming baby down.  Walked over to the garbage can.  Kicked it clear across the room. … did it solve anything? …. no. Did I feel better?  A little…. but not much.

I’ve since gotten a lot more comfortable with the unpredictability of newborns. I have also since read about how when you react with anger (or any emotion) consistently, you train your brain to continue to react with anger to similar stimuli.  This is called neuroplasticity.  So the more I practice reacting gracefully to the dumped cup of juice, pulled hair, interrupted nap time, the more naturally a graceful reaction will come.

Around this time, it so happened that in a mother’s group I was attending, we did a book study on the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. My chapter was “Keeping a contented heart”.  There were 2 parts that impacted me profoundly.  The first, was when the writer tried to play the “glad game”, where she tried to be glad about everything for a whole week.   I love the glad game, because everyone has their moments where they want to kick a trash can across the room.  But, I’ve noticed the kids are much more cheerful when mom is glad.  Since reading this book, I have actually woken the kids up to my singing… (feel free to call children’s services).  Moms really do have an amazing power to make a moment good or bad.  Yesterday, Elise was trying to help me by collecting the cups that are often left everywhere on the main floor.  She unknowingly grabbed my jumbo sized full coffee cup and spilled it everywhere.  She looked up at me, about to burst into tears.  I gave her a big goofy grin and scooped her up.  We grabbed the paper towels and cleaned it all up together.  I thanked her a bunch of times for helping, and now she begs for paper towels to help clean everything (even imaginary messes).

The second part I loved was a prayer to “shield the joyous ones”.  I loved the prayer to shield the joyous, because although you want to treasure every moment with your little circus, there are moments that can potentially take away that pure joy.  For example, when you go to the grocery store, if you have more than one or two little kids following you, people are staring… (and apparently feel strong urges to score your parenting abilities).  It can be a little tough keeping your sunny disposition when one of your kids decides it would be a good time to have a huge fit.  *Cough Caleb *.  But I’ll keep praying that these little bumps along the road don’t change that feeling of amazement that the hospital let me take these little bundles home with me… for keeps!

This post is best read while listening to, Keep on the sunny side by the Whites.