The Milk Maid is on Vacation

That's right.  I'm officially DONE nursing Marco!  It's bittersweet.  My goal was to nurse him for 12 months, and I made it to 13 before giving up.  I'm also happy to say that I am not the one who decided I was done, HE was the one that decided he was done.
When I was deciding whether or not to breastfeed, the choice became rather clear.  Although breastfeeding has a lot of downsides, I think that the advantages way outweigh the cons.  For us, I knew that financially speaking, it was wiser to breastfeed... after all, it's FREE! (what a bargain!)  Have you seen how expensive formula is?!  Holy cow!  I also saw it as a convenience issue.  I have never washed bottles, prepared and mixed formula, been worried that I have clean bottles or enough formula, or if we're going out for the day that I have enough to last our trip.  I know that if I'm there, the baby WILL be fed... no pre-planning necessary!  Also, there is no denying the health benefits to the baby.  This is not a breastfeed vs formula feed debate... I do not think formula is poison or bad for your baby, but it is FACT that breast milk is more beneficial.
Jennifer once told me, "so basically you're a slave to your baby... you have to be with him all the time to feed him... or your a slave to the pump".  This is so true!  Especially for the first 6 months.  You really ARE a slave to your child.  Some people can't handle being at the beck and call of their hungry little one... and that's ok.  It's honestly exhausting.  As a breastfeeder, YOU are the only one who can feed the baby... be it 3 in the afternoon, or the dreaded 3 in the morning.  Yes, you could pump, freeze and then have your husband do the 3am feeding... but then you'd be engorged and have to pump anyway.  Oh, and then your husband will wake you up to ask you a dumb question, such as "how much milk?" or "where's the burp cloth?", so you'll get up to help.  It's a real win-win.  My whole thought process was "it's temporary".  Those two words got me through.  It's temporary!  So if I have to be a slave to my son for 13 months of his life... ok... I do it GLADLY!
People always say to me "oh, you're so lucky you got to breastfeed".  Honestly, this really bugs me.  I'm not LUCKY... I'll tell you what I am:  dedicated, committed and full of perseverance!  It has absolutely nothing to do with "luck".  In fact, it was NOT easy to breastfeed in the beginning... but due to my commitment and perseverance, I was successful.  The first week of the baby's life is vital for a potential breastfeeder.  If you and your baby do not practice breastfeeding every 3 hours, you run the risk of not having a decent latch, or your supply being low, or worse even, your milk not coming in at all!  The first week of Marco's life, he was in the NICU.  I was unable to even ATTEMPT to breastfeed until he was FOUR days old!  But this did not deter me.  Only 2 hours after delivering Marco, I had a lactation consultant bring me a pump.  I pumped every 3 hours around the clock.  That means that even though I did not have a hungry baby waking me up every 3 hours to feed, I set my alarm clock and woke myself up to provide my breasts with the needed stimulation.  And the pump HURTS... much more than a little baby mouth!  So, 4 days later, when I was finally invited into the NICU to take my first stab at breastfeeding, it was a disaster.  Marco had been fed through a tube, so he was still taking in MY milk, just not from me.  Since he had gone so many days without sucking, and he was a premie, he could not latch on.  Thankfully, I had a lactation consultant with me, guiding me as I went.  It ended up that he COULD NOT latch!  We were forced to use a nipple shield... not for a few days... for SIX MONTHS!
  So, please... I am NOT lucky... becoming an "official breastfeeder" was very difficult work!  I could have easily given up and said "this is too hard" or "I'm too tired" or "using this shield is a PITA" or "the pump hurts too much" or any number of excuses.  But I stuck with it... through the pain, through the sleepless nights, through the stress!
I had family tell me "oh, you'll only breastfeed for 3 months... you wont make it the full year".  And, I always thought that I'd just go as long as I could.  When I made it to 3 months, it started to get easier.  When I made it to 6 months, he began latching on his own and it became WAY easier.  When I made it to 8 months and he stopped nursing at night, it became heavenly.  When I made it to 10 months and he dropped down to 4 feedings a day, it became freeing.  When I made it to 13 months and he decided he no longer wanted to breastfeed, it became bittersweet.
I am so proud of my accomplishment to have been able to breastfeed Marco for 13 months!  I am so proud that my baby has never had a single drop of formula.  I am so pleased with the bond that has developed between Marco and I due to breastfeeding.  I feel like I set a goal for myself and surpassed it!
But now... the milk maid is on a vacation... for only 4 months, until #2 is born.  Then we start this whole process over again... and I CAN'T WAIT!

Sensitize Me

I was mindlessly listening to the radio today, when I was shocked awake!  I typically do not like top 40 music, but Marco loves to dance to it... he's in a hip-hop dance phase... yes, at 1 year old! LOL.  So, I pump up the music in the car and he dances along.  Most of it does not bother me, but the song I heard today was shocking.
It was the Eminem song featuring Rihanna... Love the Way You Lie.  Ok, so the hook is catchy and singable... then I usually tune out the rap part.  Today, I happened to catch a lovely line or two.  Eminem says "And if she ever tries to F with me again, I'm gonna tie her to the bed and set the house on fire", followed by Rihanna's beautiful voice singing the chorus.
Ummmm, did I hear that right?!  Are you serious?!  How in the WORLD is this ok?  I mean, does anyone even do a double take or think about what he said?!
If you want to dish out the $15 to buy Eminem's RESTRICTED CD, or even just the $1 to download the single, that's your choice.  BUT I do not feel that THIS quality material should be broadcasted on the PUBLIC radio at ALL hours of the day and night.  I'd even be a little more forgiving if it was only played past 8pm.  But that is not the case.  In fact, the same exact song was playing when I got out of the car at 10:30 AND when I returned to my car at about 1:30.  So, how many times a day are we being exposed to this material?
Oh, I also love the way they block out the F word, to make in "censored".  That is NOT censoring!  In fact, I'd rather my child hear the F word than hear the REST of the line!  Not only that, but we STILL can HEAR the Fffff part of the word, so it's not like we have ANY question as to which word it is!  I am honestly appalled and disgusted by the lack of censoring.
We are being desensitized every single minute of the day... with movies, tv, music, internet, advertisements and more.  And it's targeting so many evils of this world... sex, violence, hatred, drugs and alcohol.  Why is it that the evils are the ones that get the most exposure?  This is why so many teens are not only diving head first into these things, but they also think it's so cool to do so.  When I was a kid, it wasn't till high school, but now, it's 6th graders, and younger!
Needless to say, I will not be supporting that radio station any longer.  That's the only thing I can do to protect my child's innocent ears.  Yes, he's only 1, but how long will it be before he begins catching little things?  Will I even notice when he does?
A friend of mine posted on FB that her niece was singing "I wanna be a billionaire so freakin' bad", and how cute it was!  Sure, it's kinda cute.  But really... it's not.  It's not cute for a 3 year old to be singing about money and saying "freakin'".  It's already putting these evils into their hands and into their heads and into their hearts.  Then the desires of their hearts become the things they see and hear about... money, sex, etc.
We need to protect our children... and ourselves!  I don't ever want to think that what I heard was "normal".  I ALWAYS want to be offended and taken aback.  I should ALWAYS say "wait, that's not right" when I hear something that isn't.  It's important that if we want our children to be a certain way, that WE are also that way.  "Do as I say, not as I do" doesn't work too well.  So I say, I do not want to be DEsensitized... help me stay "sensitized"!

Boy, Oh Boy... We're having another BOY!

A little over a week ago, we had my BIG ultrasound.  We were estatic to learn that we are going to have another baby boy!  Naturally, we would have been "estatic" either way, but knowing it's a boy just seems right.  Marco's going to have a buddy!

So, since learning the news, we've been trying to teach Marco that he's going to have a brother.  We tell him, "Where's your brother?" and he comes over to me, lifts my shirt and puts a finger in my bellybutton.  I don't think he knows there's a baby in there... maybe he just thinks that MY bellybutton is called "brother". Regardless, it's super cute!  

Now that we know it's a boy, the first question people ask is "have you thought of names?"  NO!  Mau and I have tossed some names around, mostly just trying to annoy eachother with bogus suggestions.  He's really good at that!  Unfortunately, our parents think that they have a say in what we name our children... they are misinformed.  They were not fond of Marco, but we chose it anyway, and LOVE it!  So what if people are going to call him "Marco Polo"... there are worse things, after all.  Kids are going to find ANY excuse to make fun of other kids.  If it's not their name, it's their weight, or their height, or their lunchbox. The latest name joke is that we should name this one Paulo... you get it?  Marco and Paulo... hardy har har.  That's not happening! We just want to choose a name that WE (as in my husband and I) like and fit with our last name.  We've decided that we're not telling anyone our name options until we have DECIDED.  That way, when people object (because we know they will), we'll just say, what's done is done.  Maybe I'll get something monogramed or engraved so there's no turning back. 

During our ultrasound, we were also happy to know that everything is growing perfectly and he's measuring two days ahead.  We're expecting to have another happy and healthy boy.  

Here are some of the 3D pictures taken of his face... He's looking a little skinny, but then again, he's only half-baked.  I think he's going to look more like Mau... it's the nose.  What do you think?