So, first of all, go read this post by dooce because it explains, better than I ever could, why so many women and especially mothers choose to document their lives and their children's lives in the blog medium. Here's the one that rings true to me: "the good for other women who read what I write here and walk away feeling less alone". When I read Emily's long-ago post about the difficulties she was having with breastfeeding, and the guilt she felt around that, the light went on for me. I wasn't a mother yet when I read that post, but I knew the official party lines were "breast is best", "it doesn't hurt if you're doing it right", and "in fact, it's an immensely rewarding experience for both mother and baby". I also knew, even then, that not every mother has that experience, and that sticking to those party lines was pretty invalidating for those women. I was in awe of Emily for posting honestly, laying herself bare and perhaps, in the process, allowing some other woman somewhere, at some time, to understand that she wasn't the only one.
So yeah, go dooce.
Second, some positive strokes from my appointment with Lillian last night. I have been wanting for some time to give Gwen a soother - I know the time's not right yet, but based on the enthusiasm with which she sucks on my finger, I already know she's going to be a soother baby and am looking forward to the time when she can suck for contentment and I can move around freely. (I know it's not hunger sucking, because when she's hungry she spits my finger out and keeps crying.) So, all the parenting books and websites say to wait until breastfeeding is well-established before introducing a soother, but what the hell does that mean? I wanted to ask Lillian, and yet I knew I had to phrase it properly, because Lillian is a midwife and a self-proclaimed hippie and if I just say, "What do you think about soothers?" she's going to tell me I should avoid them. So I thought about it on and off all day and finally came up with the right wording, which was, "I want to give Gwen a soother. When do you think would be the right time?"
Now that I look at the paragraph above, it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but believe me, figuring out how to get the information I wanted without inviting advice was a challenge on the amount of sleep I am getting these days, and I was incredibly proud of myself for figuring it out, and for being assertive about what I want for my daughter instead of just bowing to someone else's opinion.
Lillian's answer was that we needed to get Gwen weaned off the formula first, which by the way she told me I could do in whatever manner I thought best. Last Friday when we had a good weigh-in and I asked about weaning her off, Lillian was all for it, but I was dumb enough not to ask about the logistics of doing so. So I spent the next four days climbing the walls and wondering, "Should I offer it at fewer feedings? Should I offer less per feeding? Should I offer it during the day and not at night? Should I only offer it after she's taken both breasts and still seems hungry?" (It was that last one I decided on, although "deciding" is kind of a grandiose term for what I did.) So it's like night and day to have Lillian say, keep weaning her off in whatever way works for you guys, whatever you think is best. Whatever I think is best! Because I'm the mommy! This rocks!
However, it looks like weaning off the formula may not happen quite as soon as one might hope, because guess what? Gwen is three weeks old tomorrow. And guess what happens at three weeks? A growth spurt. Judging by last night, during which Gwen woke up to nurse every 2 hours - she has never done that before - I'd say the spurt has started. After the fourth time of waking up to her crying after only about 90 minutes of sleep, I whimpered pathetically to Chris, "Please do something, I need a break." He dragged himself out of bed, got Gwen and took her to the nursery for the next 90 minutes, where he fed her about 60 mL of formula in two separate feedings. He is truly a prince.
Final subject: Laundry.
OMG, the laundry!
Even though we are now back on disposable diapers (the cloth ones are large enough that they irritate her belly button, which is still healing, poor thing) the laundry is crazy. We do a load of Gwen's laundry every second day. Because I'm trying to be as environmentally responsible as I can, I'd prefer to let the clothes and diapers air-dry instead of putting them through the dryer.
The user manual we got with our cloth diapers advises us to put the laundry through an extra spin cycle after washing, to help them dry faster. Then Chris came up with the idea of putting everything in the dryer for half an hour before hanging it up to dry. These two tips do indeed reduce the hanging-to-dry time, but they also create two other problems.
First of all, it now means I have to make four separate trips to the laundry room - one to put the laundry in the wash, one to do the extra spin cycle, one to transfer to the dryer, and one to hang the laundry up to dry. I spend most of my day with an infant on my lap either nursing or napping - I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to get to the laundry room when the time comes. Given my unavailability, I almost wonder if it would be faster to hang them to dry right away.
Secondly, with the extra spin cycle and then the 30-minutes-in-the-dryer, are we actually having any positive impact on the environment by letting the stuff air-dry for the remaining few hours?
I would be very interested to hear what other moms and/or environmentalists have to say on this topic.