Friday, February 27, 2009

Ali's Annals 8.0: Pump up the Jam




It's that time, folks. I figured it would be appropriate to complete my pumping post after my standard 10pm pumping session. I kid you not—I sing this song in my head every time I hook the udders up. I have to do something to bolster my compliance. I’ve said it before; pumping is my frienemy. I intellectually recognize how important and essential it is as a woman who works outside of the home who also wants to keep her child breast milk fed, but I have never found one iota of pleasure with the process. It began immediately upon Miles’s birth. I was attached to the hospital pump for most of the day, banking milk for Miles to be tube fed. If I wasn’t in the NICU visiting him, I was in the hospital pumping room, staring at the dirty Dora the Explorer Doll with marker tattooed on her face.

Three random things that make it displeasing:

THE SOUND. I know, I know…how bad can it be? It is not that I need ear plugs because it rivals the noise of a Metallica concert, but the sound is as naughty as this post’s categorization (Pumping Annal). There is a rhythmic pulsating that I am convinced sends my office into high alert. Once I shut the curtain to my window and lock my door, I know there is a flurry of e-mails that go around—“here she goes again! Better take a 20 minute break because you know you cannot get work done with that naughty noise.” So I exaggerate, but the noise really does carry through the walls so I try to muffle the noise with a cardigan. I always emerge and scurry to the kitchen with my “secret stash” of bottles that I slip into the freezer. And it is always on my way back that I look down making sure all my buttons are fastened, and that I didn’t forget to cover the udders. I have this fear that as comfortable as I have gotten at home being shirtless, that one of these days I am going to walk out of my office bare chested.

THE FEEL. Breastfeeding has never hurt. Pumping can get uncomfortable if you crank up the suction too high. (Note! Increasing suction does not increase production…). Additionally, if you do it for too long, you’ll come away with white nips.

THE “FEEL.” By this, I mean that pumping does not make you feel particularly attractive. The image of a woman nursing is pleasant, natural, comforting. I have yet to stumble across any paintings hanging in a museum of a woman hooked up to the Medela (Grunkle Seth--any at the MFA you can speak of?). Find any photo of a woman pumping and she has this saccharine smile only encouraged by the paycheck she is receiving as a pump model. (In this economy, I would gladly take a job on as a pump model!) I get done pumping, my chest is empty, and I feel like going back to my corral in the cow barn.
(See that woman in the last picture? There is some evil in her corneas; after the photo shoot, you know she wants to take the pump and go outside and throw it on the ground Office Space style). First, let’s get to the equipment. I have already trumpeted my preference for Medela. There are a host of different types of pumps—all expensive, but all worth it. I have the freestyle, which allows me to go hands free during my pumping sessions. This is especially convenient at work when I can still type on the computer or do paperwork. (I am not nearly as happy as the women above while pumping, nor do I do my work in white pajamas with strategically placed silk flowers when I work from home. I tend to lean toward the oversized sweatshirt and sweatpants option).

Where does all of the milk go? I did not have luck with the milk storage bags. Actually, it was primarily that it took too much messing about strapping them to the pump apparatus. For a long time I pumped into the Medela bottles provided with my pump or into the 2 oz volume feeders I got while Miles was in the hospital. I froze the individual bottles as well as kept this organized little line of ten 2oz bottles arranged by seniority in the fridge. In the early days, we really did go out quite a bit, and my lack of confidence in nursing led us to use breastmilk in bottles quite a bit. My supply suffered later on. D'oh.

After my frozen stash dwindled, I basically began pumping milk to get me through the next day, and that is what I still do. Everyday is a challenge to get three 5oz bottles. My freezer hasn’t seen breast milk since this summer. Because milk can stay in the fridge for 5-7 days, I really have no need to freeze it as I would be getting it out within 5 days. There isn’t a way in God’s green earth that I could produce enough to warrant freezer storage anymore. I guess I could quit my job and truly nurse and pump all day, but there are so many reasons why that won't happen.

I began pumping into the Medela bottle and then transferring the milk into our Born Free bottles. This got old, too, and I finally figured out that there were adapters I could buy so that I could pump directly into the Born Free bottles that Miles drank from. No transfering or pouring. Well, that's not completely true. I'll attach one adapter and bottle, and the other side I'll just attach a medela storage bottle (no need for an adapter). Then, at the end of the session, I pour what I retrieved from the medela side into the Born Free bottle.
Ah bottles. I registered for/purchased bottles during the beginning of the BPA craze. There weren’t many bottles that were certified BPA-free. Born Free was essentially the only option. We have been extremely happy with the bottles. They don’t leak, are sturdy, easy to clean, but they are expensive. Now, pretty much all bottles are BPA free, and many options are cheaper. I cannot speak to any other bottles’ functionality, but needless to say, y’all have more to choose from now. (We did try Adiri bottles. They leaked a LOT for us. I love the look, but they failed to perform.)

I am a list kind of girl these days. Composing elaborate text requires too much mental and cognitive gymnastics, whereas lists allow fragments and save a whole lot of time to do things like PUMP. Here are my pumping pointers, problems and ponderings. Any other pumping moms out there, feel free to use the comment section to add your own.

  • You will never get as much pumping as your child gets from nursing for the same amount of time. Babies are far more efficient at emptying the breasts. Additionally, I have always experienced a significant decrease in milk production at night, most evident when I pump.

  • Pumping can be isolating, unless you are comfortable doing it in front of guests. I DID do it in the back of my father-in-law's van the first week of Miles’s life. Not recommended.

  • Although, I have pumped in the car with Eric and Miles more times than I can count. I pretty much do it every weekend, or any time we are on our way as a family to an event--dinner, shopping, you name it. It helps to sit in the back, and have a supportive husband who is willing to strategically drive so that truckers don’t pull up next to you at a red light for a free boobie show.

  • Working full time and pumping is hard. Point blank.
  • I have now found a system where I pump for 10-15 minutes and then spend 5 minutes hand expressing. I get more milk this way. I feel like the pump sort of primes the ducts, or brings the milk to the front and then my hands are better at getting it all to come out. You’ll find a system that works for you.

  • I wish I didn’t stop pumping after each nursing session a few months back. It gets really hard to do anything else in life if you pump after nursing, but I truly believe I wouldn’t be so strapped for my stash if I kept it up. (Some people are blessed with over abundant supply, too. That was just not me.) True, I could start it up again, but when your life adjusts to a new schedule that is relieved of pumping every blessed hour, it is really hard to go back. It is like running a marathon, walking at Mile 22, and then trying to pick back up running to finish the last 4 miles--it takes every ounce of your being to get running again. And with pumping, there is no medal at the finish line, or throngs of cheerleaders on the sidelines with posters that say "Yay Ali! You can do it!"

  • Pump for 2-5 minutes after your milk stops flowing. This helps your body register that it needs to make more milk.

  • You need to wash your pumping equipment every day. Although, I just rinse it while at work, and do a good wash at night. I just started using the dishwasher for bottles and the pumping parts (top rack). Prior, I hand washed everything with special soap. Necessary? Not sure. But I was pretty anal back then, and am now becoming that "negligent" mother who lets her baby play with knives and eat rocks. Just kidding! But I really have calmed down and don't feel like Miles is so fragile and susceptible to sickness. I also realized that I used a whole heck of a lot of water and decided that with natural detergent, the dishwasher would make life easier. I am happy to report that it has.

  • I cannot wait to stop pumping, but I have a feeling that the second I stop pumping, I’ll need to start up again with another baby. I would be lying if I said that I don't think about hitting that 12 month mark and making a concerted decision to stop pumping. I may make a paper chain to count down the days.

  • I have usually only been able to pump around 4-7 oz in one session. I could get more when he was younger, and now really do struggle to get 5 oz/session.

  • Because you all are just dying to read my schedule, here is where we are at 9 months:

Miles wakes up between 5:15-5:45 am. Until he leaves for school at 7:15 am, we engage in “ADD” nursing. (i.e. nurse him on demand) in our bed. Miles gets b-fast in bed, and Dad kindly gets me b-fast in bed consisting of usually tea, OJ, oatmeal and a bagel.

Go to work and pump between 10-11am for 20 minutes.

Pump again around 2-3pm for 20 minutes

Pick Mee-lez up and ADD nurse at home at 5pm

Nurse again at bedtime while Eric reads a story

Pump between 9-10pm

(On the weekends I just nurse on demand throughout the day, but I do have to figure out how to get three 5 oz bottles for him to take to school on Monday).

I hope this post isn't as boring as it is to actually pump.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dad Uploaded Two Small Movies

Small as in file size (and quality I guess), but big on entertainment value.

Miles making funny sounds...
video

Miles being surprised (by a guy with only his head hidden).

video

Flash Dance




I am putting off the Pumping Annal (can that benign label sound any more raunchy?) to share our excitement of a new addition to our family--a new flash for our camera! (Got ya there, didn't I?) We had a wonderful weekend experimenting with our new flash, and I think it was a good purchase. To be honest, we really just attached it to the camera and started snapping pictures. I am trusting Eric to read the 100 page users' manual to figure out how to figure out all of the functions. Just as an example, I am including a "before flash" and "after flash" series of photos. For the second set, I transferred the "after" to a B&W photo so you can see that even the B&W look better.
We also took some fun photos in the bathtub.
We made a decision to "shape" Miles's hair (read: cut off his mullet), and the results were tragic. No blood, but our child has the stereotypical "Amish" haircut. Nothing against the Amish--in fact they give a good haircut considering they do them by candlelight--but it wasn't the look we were going for.
Good thing he is still wicked cute from the front:
Mommy musing: Even as babies get older, they have no concept of sleeping in on weekends. A girl can dream...

(A full album of photos can be found on our Picasa)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We interrupt this Ali Annals series for a Mum Moment

Instead of including gratitudes in my posts as I have in the past, I am going to start peppering my posts with the mom version of deep thoughts: Mum Moments. They may be general observations, fleeting opinions, parenting questions, or even fatigued rants. Tonight I have a few things I wanted to get off of my chest.

MUM MOMENTS:
  • 9 month olds do not like the sound of hail crashing into the house, but they do like to eat remotes for comfort
  • Try not to start conversations with moms of children aged zero to ~2 with, "is s/he a good sleeper?" I'll volunteer that information when it happens.
  • I finally have "pinned the smell" of Miles's poop. Since he started eating solids, the unoffensive sour milk smell has been replaced with poop that smells like horse manure at Old Sturbridge Village in MA.
  • Following, you know you are a parent (or a Grunkle with C.diff) when you obsess about poop (and that includes talking about its color, consistency and frequency with any other parent).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ali's Annals 7.0: My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...

And by yard, I mean boobs.

Let me interrupt myself and provide you with a "deep thought" of the day: did you ever notice that babies don't get bad breath? As adults, when we sleep with our lips cracked, seeping our most private dreams with each exhale, it always seems that upon waking everyone is met with your unmistakable death breath. Miles not only sleeps with his mouth agape, but his little tongue pulsates as though he is suckling, which I am sure helps distribute all sorts of mouth muck around his oral cavity. And yet, he wakes up with nothing but sweet winds blowing from his tiny lips. Perhaps it is an evolutionary design meant to make Mums happy after a sleepless night. 5am smiles and sweet milk breath are enough to make the whole night worth it.

Let me interrupt myself for a second time and say: Happy Valentine's Day! Gold stars for anyone who can name the show this is from...We had a rather low key V-day. I have picked up 3 extra projects with the CDC and am working nights and weekends to get it done, so I had a romantic date with 500 abstracts Friday night. Eric and I did order in Indian and shared in a beer and a late night on demand viewing of Tropic Thunder. We are a class act I tell you... We went as a family to music class on Saturday, confronted the jungle that is the Dekalb Farmer's Market, and spent the afternoon making baby food and organic Barley Apple Stew (yum!). Here Miles is gnawing on his spork and feeding himself his new banana puffs from Happy Baby. At this point, he just likes to manipulate the puffs until his soggy hands break down the puffs into a sticky paste.

After dinner, we took an evening stroll. Miles is sporting his usual poker face for the camera. (The end of the post I have included a silly little "ditty" from our walk. I am having trouble uploading videos, now, so this was all I could do!)




Back to the post topic. Before we jump into the reviews and recommendations, it is essential to mention that breastfeeding (BF) is not for everyone. Either by choice or circumstance, some babies are not fed with 100% breast milk (or any at all). As mothers, I believe we should respect and have compassion for families' decisions and situations surrounding how we feed our infants in the first months. And for those who face obstacles, learn to give yourself a break! (I write that for myself as much as for the readers.)

Breastfeeding can be hard. Well, it was hard for me. I thought it would be a matter of mouth to nipple, but it wasn't. Despite the struggles, I can say at 9 months, we are still going strong!

Complicating things for us is that I work full time outside of the house, and went back to work at 6 weeks. Additionally, Miles was tube fed and fed breast milk in bottles for the beginning of his life. Pumping and nursing is the best of both worlds, but it is also the WORST of both worlds. I'll focus on situations in which one pumps and nurses, but for this particular annal, will focus solely on breastfeeding. Pumping will come next post.

Obviously, as the dairy cow, mom's diet is part of the process. I believe that nursing moms should extend the adage "dieting and pregnancy do not mix" to breastfeeding. (It is universally suggested not to diet for at least 2 months postpartum.) Nurture yourself--in mind, body and spirit, and your milk will benefit in both quality and in part, quantity. I hesitate to talk too much about weight because I do acknowledge that I am fortunate in not being confronted with the struggles of losing weight after having a baby, but in my heart I feel that for those who breastfeed, restricting foods and consuming "diet foods" is not in your best interest. Kellymom (my fav boobie site) has some telling information regarding diet and breastfeeding. I think a well balanced diet is correlated with more than just the composition and volume of milk, but eating well will provide you with the energy for midnight feedings. I also think that if you take the time to eat a well balanced diet, you are more likely to pass on the healthy habits to your children.

So I begin with my nursing mom's food staples:
  • Mother's Milk Tea. I have grown to love this tea. I add milk to increase my calcium and protein. I have the Yogi brand at work, and the Traditional Medicinals at home. I drink anywhere from 2-4 cups a day. One warning: if you drink a LOT of the tea, you may start to smell like you are perspiring syrup. This is just from personal experience...
  • Prenatal vitamin. Keep that folic acid coming! Although this is old news for many, the FDA has published a list of prenatal vitamins (along with children's vitamins) and their lead content. It may be a good idea to check out your vitamin against their standards.

  • Natural peanut butter sandwiches. The lactation consultants at the hospital suggested these as a great snack. I know there is the whole PB scare, but at this point, this kind of PB is not indicted. Additionally, there is some research to suggest that high levels of PB consumption in a mother may contribute to later allergies in the kids. Well, I am taking that risk!

  • Avocados. I could eat this at every meal. I have been known to split an avocado and eat it in less than 5 minutes. I put chunks in salads, soups, and even eat Miles's leftover avo mash. Great source of "healthy" fat.

  • Flax. There isn't enough room to here to sing the praises of flax. I have both meal and oil. I actually use the oil in Miles's food if he is constipated, but the flax meal I hide in lots of my food--oatmeal, baked goods, yogurt, nursing balls.

  • And some other staples that give you a big bang for your buck: Trader Joe's steal cut oatmeal, quinoa, barley, nursing balls (go on a hunt through my other posts for the recipe) Greek yogurt and eggs.

Some mums find that their diet dramatically affects their children's milk and have to adjust what they eat, but I cannot say that has been the case with me. Some swear that eliminating dairy or wheat from their diet reduces colic and gassiness, but I defer to the professionals and suggest you talk to a lactation consultant. My bff Kelly does have some thoughts.

I won't offer advice on latching on or the mechanics of BF, as you'll receive those from lactation consultants and can read about it in about every resource designed to provide BF information. What I will outline is my biased opinions and thoughts.

  • Not all babies latch on for 45 minutes during which time you can catch up on reading or file your taxes. Miles will rip on and off. In the beginning, it was just his style of feeding. Now, he will pull off at any change in our environment (e.g. Dad walking into the room, our solar powered crystal beginning to cast rainbows around the room when the sun emerges from a cloud, a car passing by...), and he is accustomed to rolling over onto his belly. He also has no concept of modesty for his mother. I'll sit there with the "faucet dripping" if you will, until he decides to roll back over and find his lifeline.

  • Speaking of dripping, breast milk doesn't actually come out like a faucet. Although I wasn't too shocked by this, I think Eric had some idea that milk would come out of some central vein in the form of a big stream. Think of it more like a lime crusted shower head, or a sprinkler with last year's mud stuck in half of its holes. Sometimes, you'll even have a sprinkle that shoots out at a crazy angle.

  • You can spend hundreds of dollars on nursing bras, nursing tanks, etc., but you don't have to. I have one $40+ nursing bra that I wore only a handful of times, and 2 nighttime nursing bras that are just a glorified sports bra with easy access to the goods. I quickly found that just wearing a tight tank top under every piece of clothing sufficed. Or, you can just do it jungle style like I did for a few weeks, and go topless. For work, I add a bra without underwire, but it is your run of the mill, cheap Target number. Yes, I am not well endowed, so my perspective may only be relevant for the other under C club members.

  • Another potentially less useful than you first think BF accessories of note: the Boppy. I found it more comfortable to NOT have a Boppy to nurse. While in the NICU, I also tried another type of BF pillow aide (not sure of the brand), but found it to be more of a distraction. I did end up using a worn down feather pillow that I have kept between my knees for 20+ years at night as a wedge while nursing. The Boppy actually came to use more when we were working on sitting up, so I am glad I had it. So, if you don't find use in the Boppy, don't feel like a failure--it doesn't mean you are doing it wrong.

  • There are a number of different holds while BF. Find one that is comfortable, and don't let people convince you that one is "better" than another. I was a total football holder in the beginning, but now have some sort of contortionist hold that is not recorded in any book. The truth is, if you are uncomfortable, BF will get old really fast. I will suggest letting your back be supported by a chair/couch. This is related to the idea of bringing the baby to you instead of bring your boob to the baby. In the beginning, I would lean over and dangle the food in front of Miles's mouth. More than one NICU nurse told me, "save your back. If you get in the habit of doing that, you'll be crippled in a matter of weeks." Okay, so they didn't say I would be crippled, but they did tell me that leaning forward would result in long term back trouble. It was a habit that was hard to break, but I am glad I did. Finding those positions in the beginning are challenging. Take deep breaths, and do what works for you.

  • You don't need to rent a hospital grade scale to determine if your baby is drinking enough. I was convinced that Miles could not come home if we didn't bring a pulse ox lead, heart rate monitor and scale to weigh him after feeds. Sometimes you can tell by the "weight" of your breasts if your baby has drank a considerable amount, but that was not a reliable subjective measure for me. And after months, you will most likely not feel that ridiculous fullness you felt in the beginning, but somehow you produce just as much milk. Wet diapers are a much more reliable measure of hydration in your baby. You WILL have moments of thinking, "How do I know how much s/he is eating? Is it enough? how do I know it is enough?" Luckily, you'll be going to the pediatrician frequently, and s/he can help you determine if your baby is gaining enough weight.

  • Some may subscribe to the "document every feed and diaper" routine. You would think that a type A, OCD survivor, mother who still color codes her closet would be the type to keep a binder in the nursery of all of the feeds and diaper changes--especially because it was done at the hospital! Well, you're wrong. For me, it was too overwhelming, and I just wanted to "be" with Miles. I am an "on demand" kind of parent and if he was hungry, he ate. If he needed a diaper change, I changed it. I trusted that I would remember, even in my new mommy haze, if he hadn't had a good 6-8 wet diapers in a day. The extra chore of writing it all down on paper, or even documenting it through one of those electronic devices seemed like extra effort that I a) didn't have and b) didn't want to be bothered with. If it works for you, though, more power to you...but again, don't feel like a bad breastfeeder if you don't!

  • To switch or not to switch. Related to BF gadgets that you may or may not find useful (you know where I stand), they have these tags you attach to your bra to remind you what breast you last fed with. I never used these. For the first few weeks I was pretty much topless; unless I wanted to use temporary tattoos, the little gadgets would serve no purpose. Some say switch after every 5 minutes for every feeding to be an equal opportunity employer. Well, here's my take: your milk has different layers/flavors or courses if you will. (I am not talking about the colostrum elixir you will have in the beginning). Appetizers are composed of a light fare or foremilk--low in calories and fat. For the main course, you get the hindmilk with lots of fat and protein. (Appetizer on the left, main course on the right. I know, crazy, huh?) If the baby doesn't get enough of the main meal, it can actually lead to slow weight gain, fussiness, and frothy stools. I found it easier to just favor one side for each feeding. I tried to mentally note which side I started with for the previous feed, but I really tried to let go the control I could demand in tracking this information.

  • You will probably have one side that is a poor performer. My left side is just an over achiever and has been since day one. It's normal. Don't freak.

  • Here is a list of things that I was sure would happen or I was confident I would experience, but didn't.
Extreme let-down. For the first few weeks, I would get a tingly pins and needles sensation...like my chest fell asleep. It went away rather quickly, but I still managed to produce milk just fine.

Leaking. No matter what the circumstance, I never leaked. Maybe I am an insensitive mother, but no amount of any baby crying had me leak through a shirt. I would and still do "feel" my milk sort of "churn" when Miles cries, but nothing extreme. Again, it doesn't mean you are a bad mother or a bad breastfeeder.

Breast infections. I did not (thank you sweet Jebus) get mastitis. If you think you are heading down that path, seek medical advice swiftly.

Nipple injury. Your nipples will not always crack, bleed or chafe. Breastfeeding has been a logistical and technical challenge for me, but I can say that it has never hurt. Even with 2 little pearly teeth, I have remained relatively unscathed. I wholeheartedly believe this may be luck of the draw. DO NOT take it personally if this happens to you. It does not always indicate an incorrect latch or a failure on your part. There are a host of creams to slather on injured nipples that are safe for both mom and baby.
  • Here is a list of things I didn't expect.
Multiple bouts of clogged ducts. This is truly uncomfortable, and feels SO strange. A section of your breast will get all knotted and ropey. Somewhere in the duct system, a little clog lodges itself. My suggestion: heat, massage and nurse. Eventually it will dislodge with persistence. It can actually be kind of funny if you witness its release. It's like a garden hose that has sprung a leak.

Babies will play with your face, tank top strap or anything he can get his paws on while nursing. It's so darn cute.

I am not good at BF in public. I have done it in the car, on a plane, at a friend's house...but I thought I would be one of those moms who could whip it out and feed like it was as normal as taking out a tube of chapstick to apply. In part, this is because Miles is the ADD nurser, but also I have an intense fear that others will be offended. There, I admitted it.

There have been moments that I wished, prayed and made bargains with God that if he developed a way for fathers to nurse, I would do anything in return. Except become a nun (as Eric reminded me).

You most likely will fall asleep while nursing. The first time you do it, you freak out and think "negligent mother! how could I?" And after a few times, you almost look forward to midnight nursings when you can find a cozy position so the two of you can fall asleep.

Eric's additions:

It is difficult to run in the beginning. I forgot about this! It was more a matter of learning to run with a full cup size bigger.

Steer clear of low cut dresses/shirts. There were a number of occassions that I walked out of the room, looked in the mirror and said "nope, that is obscene," while Eric would comment, "looks great!"

I will address a lot more with the pump portion of the breastfeeding annal, but that's all for now.

I don't love BF, but I certainly don't hate it. There are moments I wish that time and space would hold still so I can sit with Miles nursing forever. And there are other times that I just don't want to do it.

In conclusion, treat BF like pregnancy: you can have expectations, but be willing to accept that it may not go as planned. And learn to really appreciate your efforts, or if you don't journey down the road of BR, appreciate and honor your situation as well.


video

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ali's Annals 6.0: Hand Jive

Apologies for being delinquent in my postings; I could offer a litany of excuses, but who has time for that?

Apologies also for this "junior varsity" post (a select few are with my on that description). During my runs and showers (daily, thank you!) I compose these amazing reviews, and then 8pm hits, and I tend to find myself sitting with a cup of Mother's Milk tea feeling that all too familiar brain rot.

Today I will be passing the review torch on to another Mama (from my high school!) who provided a great review of using ASL with your babes. I not only defer to her post because 1) I am drowning in work and haven't had time to compose my own review, but also 2) because we just started the journey into signing about 7 weeks ago; we are still riding the bench of the junior varsity team.

I hope to somehow get my paws on some of the Rachel Coleman DVDs.

I will add that currently we use the ASL Browser to have real time signing (not focused on baby signing), but the video is small, and not too clear. Let it be known that the list of signs is extensive--how many times have I been pulling my hair out trying to remember the sign for "myopic!"

Perhaps I was primed by my intention on doing this post today, but I kid you not, Mee-lez signed "milk" this morning after I signed it to him prior to nursing. Of course, I kept signing and asking him to sign it in excitement as Eric screamed from the shower "well, REWARD him with milk, honey!" Oh yeah...I totally forgot that part. Of course, this kid also makes the sign for Daddy when he nurses in between stroking his hair. I am certain he doesn't know that he is beckoning his father while he is on the udder.

Because MomA needs her fix, her are some photos of Miles from last weekend. Dad played with him all morning after a breakfast of something pink (I am guessing blueberries or plums). You'll notice him clutching his empty Happy Bellies cereal containers. I kid you not--between those, and the orange/green lids, who needs toys?