The Rocking Chair

I love my rocking chair.  It was a gift from my parents for my 18th Birthday.  It is one that my mum found in a second hand shop and had it polished up.  I always imagined that the purpose of it was to sit in a baby’s nursery as a place of comfort.

Since we have moved into our house that is just where it has been and we do enjoy this place of rest.  The rocking chair is where most of Eva’s feeds happen.  Eva is still enjoying anywhere up to 4 breast feeds a day so I spend some gorgeous time in this chair.  I have my back to the window so Eva loves to sit on my lap and look out the window at the street, the garden and to check for birds.

I have lots of thinking moments in the rocking chair as Eva merrily sucks away.  Sometimes my thinking is interrupted by wandering fingers poking up my nose or finding my ears!  Time here is for me to daydream and Eva to restore her energy and sometimes composure.   This is when I focus on how I am most thankful to God for the gift of Eva and even more specifically the gift of breast feeding.  There were days when I thought that I would just give up in order to get us out of the hospital but now I am feeding an (almost) toddler.  What a joy!

This week is World Breastfeeding Week 2010.  This year the theme is ‘Breastfeeding: Just 10 steps – the Baby-Friendly Way‘.  Breastfeeding has an amazing amount of benefits for baby, mother and the family.  For the baby breastmillk provide nutrition, antibodies, helps to develop eyesight, speech and intelligence and a bond with the mother.  For the mother there is lower risk of anaemia, reduced risk of osteoporosis and breast cancer, promotion of postpartum weight loss and sense of personal achievement.  Breastfeeding is usually easy and convenient. Breastfed babies are very portable and you have instant, pre-warmed, ready-to-serve food wherever you go.  Also it’s great for the environment.  The production and feeding of breastmilk have a far lower impact on our environment and world resources than ANY alternative feeding method.  Babies breastfeed for comfort and closeness as well as to satisfy their hunger and thirst.  One of the most amazing things about breastmilk is that as your baby grows, your breastmilk changes to meet his developing needs – your breastmilk is always the right food for your baby.

As for breastfeeding a toddler the truth is that it’s entirely normal and natural to breastfeed an older child. According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association in Australia only 21.2% of children are still breastfeeding at 12 months. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the world average for breastfeeding is 4.2 years. WHO recommends that children be breastfed for at least two years. Anthropologist, Katherine Dettwyler estimated the natural age of weaning to be between two and a half and seven years, based on developmental factors and comparisons with other mammals.  Breastfeeding your toddler can provide: 31% of her daily energy needs, 38% of protein requirements, 45% of Vitamin A requirements, and 95% of Vitamin C needs.  Some inspiring statistics.  I hope to continue to feed Eva for as long as we are both happy.

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Day 105 – Monday February 23rd 2009

We are home with our gorgeous daughter! What a long wait it has been for this day to finally arrive.  Eva chose to wait until nearly her due date to grace our home with her presence.  Wonderfully Grace and Eva left St Michael’s at exactly the same time after the journey they have been on together.  It was really a lovely moment to be sharing with Claire and Barry after our girls were born 5 days apart.

The whole day was one of quiet excitement as the reality of taking Eva home was drawing near.  Eva weighed 2.10kg, which is an increase of 20g meaning that we can be discharged.  Dr Laura came to visit after her night duty and was relieved that all was well and we would be going.  Dr Manal came to do a final check and printed out Eva’s discharge summary letter, which is 6 pages long!

The nursing staff ordered some more medications from the pharmacy to make sure that we had enough to keep us going for over a week.  When at home we will need to get repeat prescriptions from the GP and then have them filled at the pharmacy.  Of course even this could be a challenge as they may not normally have these type of medications. 

Eva had her eyes checked this afternoon.  The area of concern has faded so Eva needs no further follow up, which is a great relief.  Of course it is always unpleasant for Eva to have her eyes checked, however today was the first time we have heard her scream.  Luckily Daddy was on hand to give her a cuddle afterwards!

We rugged Eva up in a warm growsuit, cardigan, hat and a snow suit to put her in the car seat.  Of course all these layers meant we had to extend the straps and she couldn’t move.  Eva and Grace slept soundly through the whole procedure.  They both look lost in their car seats.  Andrew very proudly carried Eva to the car and we managed to put the seat in without too much drama.

Luckily we had a mild day at 11 degrees but Eva was still cold when we came inside.  Luckily Daddy was on hand to offer warming up cuddles. 

Day 104 – Sunday February 22nd 2009

Eva had her first bath today and she rather liked it.  Eva calmly lay in the water and enjoyed it being gently splashed over her.  She wasn’t even bothered by the hair washing.  Pauline, the nurse, did her bath in order that it was done quickly to reduce heat loss.  It was very cute to watch her enjoying this comfortable experience. 

Eva is keeping her temperature well without a hat, which is great news for our impending discharge.  We have purchased another type of bottle today as yesterday’s bottle made her drink too quickly and have small vomits. 

Grace and her mother Claire have moved into the ward tonight which is great.  They may only be here for one night as Grace has progressed so well on her bottle feeding down on SCBU.

Andrew and I enjoyed going to Church this morning.  The Queen’s Chaplain, George Kavoor spoke about the wicked people and how they get their way in the world.  We put in a Praise Report to tell people about Eva’s imminent homecoming.  Pastor Pete has organised for the church to shout us to dinner this evening to celebrate Eva’s journey. 

It is with much excitement that we go to bed tonight with the thought of maybe going home tomorrow!  Please keep Eva’s continued good health in your prayers.