Today Ezie is officially one week breast milk sober. Weaning a toddler hasn’t been easy, but on the other hand it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I had a lot of reasons that I chose to nurse Ezie until he was two. Well, technically he hasn’t turned two yet, but I wanted to schedule the weaning for a time that I knew we didn’t have a lot of other obligations because I figured we were in for some sleeplessness nights, and I was right.
Breast is best, but can it work in a dress? See what I did there? First of all, about the breast is best, it’s a slogan I’m quoting and it’s scientifically proven, at least for now. Some people can’t breast feed their baby. Some people don’t want to. I don’t care how you feed your baby. This particular post is about breastfeeding, but please don’t be offended if you’re path looks different than mine! I have been the first to admit that the thing I would miss the most if I couldn’t breast feed would be the freebies. Not the nutrition, not the bonding, but the flat out frugality of it. The second favorite is getting to eat all of those bonus calories! How noble of me. I am such a sacrificial lactavist.
I have breastfed for 4 and 1/2 years between my three children over the course of 7 years. I started out like most new moms, kind of awkward and self conscious, but now I am comfortable enough to breastfeed on an airplane with the toddlers head resting on the arm of the male college student sitting next to me. I prefer not to be in that position again, I am just saying I don’t give a rat’s patootie anymore.
I used to think there was no way of breast feeding in a dress because you would have to pull the whole garment up so I would choose my outfits accordingly.
Since then I have learned that I could gear my shopping toward dresses that I could nurse my baby in simply by pulling the neck line down. Whether sporting buttons, a crisscross wrap style, or even strapless most styles these days are very accommodating.
Here are just some of the dresses that I have to choose from.
Here is one that I cannot wear while breastfeeding! It’s super form fitting and really high up in the front.
Although, one time I witnessed a mom wear a shift dress like this for her babies dedication and then when it was time to nurse she went to the cry room and had someone help her unzip the top of her dress so that she could feed the newborn. That’s quite a bit of effort, but I guess it shows that it can be done if you are really set on a particular outfit.
The point is, if you are breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to branch out. I recommend layering with nursing tanks and nursing bras. Those are my go to for wearing under everything. It just makes life simpler during this season. My advice to new moms that are just starting out, wear what you feel comfortable in and when in doubt practice at home first to see if you can nurse your baby with ease in a certain ensemble. I promise you I have done this on many occasions before I have determined what to wear. You are better off giving it a go in private before you are at a restaurant and realize the material isn’t as stretchy as you thought all the while trying to console the hungry screaming baby in your arms.
By the way, it is World Breastfeeding Week (or at least it was) so to all the women out there that are feeling exhausted, embarrassed, or the many that are just in love with the whole experience I hope you are encouraged that you are doing a great job. Hooray for the normal, beautiful, natural thing that it is!
My first response before I even knew the degree of SJ’s hearing loss was to learn American Sign Language and teach it to her. I never thought it would be be easy, but my original expectations might have been a little unrealistic.
I was already familiar with baby sign language. I figured that if babies can learn to sign before they can talk then this sign language thing should be a breeze, especially for SJ because she’s brilliant! Come to find out it’s not that simple and it has to do with what I wrote about last week in “the Science of Language”. You acquire your first language by being immersed in it and it all happens easily and naturally. It’s called first language acquisition.
Babies hear MILLIONS of words before they ever say their first! They are observing, listening and mentally taking it all in for the first year or so. It’s a critical time developmentally. A deaf baby born in a deaf family is going through the same process except with a manual language. These children are typically raised in deaf culture so they see sign language happening all around them through their parents, teachers, and communities. One of SJ’s therapist says a child needs to see a sign around 100 times before it sticks. I thought I would simply show SJ some signs and teach her how to talk, but I am up against her natural urge of language acquisition which is to imitate, and for the past 2 and a half years she hasn’t seen any proof that the world around her communicates through sign language. Even now, I try to sign quite a bit, but we are still no where near the amount of oral words she would be hearing if she could. I’m not sure if I am making sense, but this whole first language acquisition thing was a recent epiphany for me. I just never thought about it that way.
Realizing your child is at square one trapped in world without language is a tough pill to swallow. It’s different than realizing that they can’t hear, it’s like Okay. Wow, we have a lot of lost time to make up. I explain it to people using Z as an example. Z started watching signing time and learning ASL along with us just a few months ago. As a 4 year old he quickly picked up around 100 words with minimal effort. I can ask Z What is the sign for share? and he’ll show me. The difference between him and SJ (besides that Z is 2 1/2 years older) is that Z already has a language. He knows what share means and has been learning about this word for years, now he is just attaching a sign to it. Just because SJ is deaf it doesn’t mean she is naturally more inclined to pick up sign language, it’s going to be harder for her because of the lack of immersion that I mentioned earlier. Anyway, that was my light bulb moment last month, but taking all this into consideration she is doing awesome. Sometimes I take for granted how much she does communicate with us through ASL. I need to document more of those precious first words that we are seeing from her.
On another note, we got the test results back yesterday and praise the Lord SJ’s brain and ear anatomy looks great. This means the hearing loss is not caused by any shocking unforeseen damage or malformations. That is really good news and now we can move forward with getting a cochlear implant, which is another big ol’ topic that I need to write about sometime. Just another curve on this windy hilly journey that we are on. There are ups and downs, pit stops, and speed bumps, but I am trying to take in all the beautiful scenery along the way and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.