Friday, March 16, 2018

Freeing the boobs & weaning my toddler

Well, we did it, we exclusively breast fed for 1 year.  I saw in a breastfeeding group I am in on Facebook a few days ago the discussion of what "exclusively breastfed" means; does it mean your baby only ever fed at the breast and you never pumped, or does it mean that your baby was exclusively fed breast milk?  I agree with the latter—my baby only drank breastmilk for an entire 365 days (minus some beef bone broth), that girl was EXCLUSIVELY breast fed.

Ok so now that I cleared that up, I've been trying to give updates on my IG stories about how the weaning process has gone for me and several people wanted to see an entire post on the process.  I try to be as good of a resource as possible in my writing, but I can only tell you what has worked for me and Georgia who is extremely adaptive & not picky at all which I think helped our situation.

When I started to wean, I began a month before G turned one.  I really wanted to focus on eliminating pumping sessions before actually weaning her off the breast.  A typical day before I started weaning looked like this:

5:30am—Georgia wakes & nurses

7:30am—Pump @ work

9:30am—Pump @ work

12:00pm—Georgia comes to work to nurse or I pump

2:30pm—Pump @ work

4:30pm—Georgia nurses

6:30pm—Georgia nurses

7:00pm—Georgia goes to bed

So on Mondays and Thursday's when G was at daycare, I would pump 4x a day, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday she would come visit me at work and I would nurse her at noon so I'd pump 3x on those days.  For the majority of the time I would get an average of 3oz. per pumping session and it was like that pretty much from when I returned to work til the end.  There were a few times when my supply dipped, but overall, 3oz. x session which is a totally normal amount.  Most days I would have 9oz. to send with her to daycare and 3oz. to freeze, that's how I built my stash.  Some days I would have more, some days less.  But ON AVERAGE, 3oz. to the freezer, 9 oz. to daycare.

When I was ready to cut a pumping session I cut the first one at 7:30am, I did that for about a week, I would keep my 2nd pumping time of 9:30am so the stretch between her 5:30 feed and my first pumping session was about 4 hours.  On the days that G did not come to me to nurse at lunch I would push it even farther, sometimes not pumping until 10:30 or later.  Eventually I stopped pumping at all in the morning and there would be roughly 6.5 hours between when I nursed her and when she would come to nurse or I would pump.  This was signaling to my body that the milk was not needed in the morning so my supply began to decrease and I would get less and less engorged during that time each day.

I then began to cut out nursing sessions, particularly the 4:30pm one.  I still wanted her to nurse before bed so I could be empty for the night & I still wanted to nurse her in the morning to empty out before my day started.  It worked out well, however G started nursing 3-4x a night for a few weeks at this time.  This was in the 3 weeks or so before her birthday.  So my supply at night stayed up, but during the day it continued to decrease as I was only pumping 2x a day now.  I also began cutting my pumping sessions down from about 10 minutes to 7 minutes, emptying the breast is very important for milk supply, when you don't empty all the way, you're signaling to your body that you don’t need so much milk so it starts to decrease production. 

The day before her birthday was the last day that she came to see me at lunch time.  I was only pumping 1x a day in the morning now, she nursed at lunch, and then before bed so we were continuing to cut down.  Her birthday was Thursday and then I was off that Friday, I nursed her in the morning and then had my mom take her for the day so I could prep for her birthday party.  I brought my pump home but did not pump at all.  I realized I was done with it.  Through the weekend I nursed her just a few times.  Always in the morning, and maybe before bed, but during the day I was giving her water only plus she eats several small meals throughout the day so she's getting plenty to eat without the breastmilk.

When I came back to work that Monday I did not pump at all, I brought my pump for a few days, but have not used it since.  I bought her Simply Balanced Organic whole milk from Target the weekend of her party and slowly started introducing it to her that weekend too.  I've also been using Horizon Organic whole milk.  I continued to only nurse her before bed and in the morning until the weekend following her birthday.  That Friday Joe and I had a parents-night-out and G slept at grandma & grandpas.  I nursed her around 7pm that night and then did not nurse her again until about 24 hours later on Saturday night.

I knew that things were going to be coming to an end quickly.  When she would fuss at night I began giving her a bottle of water, she was only nursing for comfort so the water in the bottle gave her something to suck on then she'd get the paci back and be fine.  On Monday March 5th I nursed Georgia for the last time that morning.  Now that she has 100% weaned she is sleeping through the night which is really great for mama.  I am finally starting to slowly dry up.  It's been a very bittersweet experience so far and I'm sad that it is over but excited to be moving on to the next chapter in our family building journey.
To sum up this lengthy post, I basically just slowly cut out pumping and then nursing staring 1 month prior to her birthday.  I knew that we'd go a few days past her birthday but I didn't want to much more.  As far as the whole milk/breast milk combo goes, I leave it up to daycare just making sure she's getting a little of both each day.  She drinks a few sippy cups of whole milk at night at home along & has a bottle of 3-4oz. of breastmilk in the morning that replaces her 5:30am nursing session.  My parents take care of food for her when she goes to their house but for daycare I started sending a plate of food for lunch along with a waffle and some other snacks for the rest of the day.  I will do an entire post on toddler lunches soon.

Some people asked about cups, we introduced a sippy cup to G at around 6-7 months which she would drink her beef broth out of.  She's been using a sippy, a straw cup, and a bottle and we just kind of rotate.  The bottle she gets in the morning and the sippy and straw cup are what I fill with the whole milk or water for her to drink throughout the day.  For sippy cups we like these from Twistshake that have handles on them so they're easy to hold.  They are leak proof and work really well plus they come in tons of fun colors.  You can get 20% off using code LENARIDLEY20 at checkout & the neon line is currently at 60% off!  I also really like this Pura Kiki stainless steel cup that came with both a sippy and a straw that can be changed out.  We use ComoTomo bottles and also have a Munchkin straw cup that has a weighted straw which G really loves.

In my experience the weaning process was relatively easy.  It was emotional and if it wasn't for prepping for an FET we would definitely be doing extending breastfeeding and I would've allowed her to self wean.  It's something that I will miss, but I am also happy to have my body back for a few months before I am hopefully pregnant again.  I would love to know how the weaning process went for you.  What tips and tricks or advice do you have that you can share with others to make their experience better and easier?

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Current Favorites - 1 Year

So I thought I would round up the products we have been using most over the last several months.  These are things that we have gotten tons of use of and things that we have gotten the most questions about when I share them on my Instagram stories or on a post.

As we all know there are literally a billion different products out there so these may not work for you, however these have all be total hits either with Georgia or with mama!  

When it came time to start introducing Georgia to a sippy or straw I didn't really have preference but I knew I wanted her to try both.   I saw in a mommy Facebook group I am in that this cup was stainless steel and didn't contain any harmful BPA or other crap that plastic can sometimes contain so we opted for this Pura Kika Stainless Steel Cup in pink swirl.  What I really like about it is it comes with a silicone straw or sippy so you can use it both ways!  It's also nice because it's spill proof!  It's also slim so it fits into all of the pockets of our diaper bag too!
Before Georgia was even born my best friend Jodie was buying her tons of gifts the Zany Zoo was one of them and now that Georgia is a little bigger, we brought it out and she's been playing with it quite a bit.  Since she's still not walking or standing by herself yet she also uses it to cruise on, she'll go from the Zany Zoo over to her walker and then her Learn & Groove Activity Table which is also a big hit in our house!

This Vtech Sit-to-Stand Walker is what Georgia has been using for months now.  She can practically run with this thing.  I'm hoping to see her walking on her own soon but for now she gets along just fine with her walker. 

Georgia got My Pal Violet as a Christmas present and it's been a total hit!  It sings to her and plays games, the best part about it is its customizable through your phone.  It will spell and say her name & you can input their favorite color, animal, and food for Level 1.  As they get older there's most customizing you can do based on their age.  This also has a bed time music feature that will play for 5, 10, or 15 minutes and I use this a lot when I'm rocking her to sleep.  

I have mentioned this a few times but we still love the Space Saver Highchair.  We have a breakfast bar on our island with 3 stools and we just put this on one of the stools so it doesn't take up any extra space.  The cover comes off and is washable too.  Georgia loves to watch me while I cook so I put her in her chair, give her a snack, and I can get dinner cooked while she watches.  We listen to music sometimes and she likes to dance and stuff string cheese in her face.  This was definitely one of our most used items and it was something that I registerd for and got at my shower.

Our donor texted me around Georgia's birthday and asked if I cared if she bought Georgia a Ball Pit for her birthday.  Of course I did not mind and I thought it was so sweet that she wanted to give something to G for her birthday.  It was the perfect gift because as soon as we opened it Georgia started her new "oooo ooo" noise and was so excited.  She absolutely loves it!

Another birthday gift Georgia got was the Fisher Price Camper.  Georgia loves it and I think it's absolutely adorable.  We love camping and it's something we are hoping to do a lot with Georgia and our family over the years.  This little camper has 2 little people and a dog, the inside has a firepit and a couple of little lawn chairs.  It's really cute and it's one of her newest favorites.

What were your 12 month favorites for your little? 

Friday, March 02, 2018

Georgia's Sweet as a Peach 1st Birthday Party

I knew from before Georgia was born that the theme of her first birthday would be Sweet as a Peach.  Once we decided on her name, it was totally obvious to me that I would become with all things peach.  I began pinning away like a mad woman and saving all kinds of fun things on Etsy that I would have to have for her first birthday before she was even born!  

I was very specific about every detail of this party.  I have dreamed of a first birthday party for years and now that I finally got the opportunity to throw one, I went all out.  First and foremost, invites.  Invites give people an idea of the theme & it's where first impressions are made.  I scoured Etsy for one that was feminine and colorful but not too cheesy.  I found these and was so happy with how they turned out, plus the shop owner was extra helpful which is always big in my book. 

I also knew I had to have the peach cut out cookies and cakes made by my little sister in law who does baking on the side for fun.  You can check out some of her awesome creations on her Instagram.  I was soo happy with how all of her treats turned out.  She did an amazing job and they looked exactly like I had pictured them.  She added a peach gelatin to the cake mix to give it a little extra flavor and it was so yummy!

For food I decided that chicken salad would be easiest.  I bought an entire chicken and a bag of frozen chicken chicken breasts and boiled the chicken and the chicken breasts then threw it all in my Kitchen Aid standing mixer with the paddle attachment to get it shredded up really fine.  I added some avocado mayo and some chopped celery along with salt and pepper.  That was it.  It was yummy and everyone liked it.  I also made a cold pasta salad and my mom made a fruit salad and MIL made a spinach salad with mandarin oranges.  It was all really good and really light.  I served the chicken salad on sweet Hawaiian rolls which are always delicious.

I made a peach sangria that I found on Pinterest but ended up modifying it a little bit.  It was champagne, peach schapps, frozen peaches, frozen raspberries, and Pinot Grigio.  I really kind of just threw it in how I saw fit and it was really good.  I also did peach bellinis, peach pear LaCroix, Dasani white peach, and these adorable little canned wines from Trader Joe's in a peach flavor.

One of my favorite details about the party was the gift that I found for Georgia.  I found it months ago and ended up getting it for her as a birthday gift and it came FedEx the morning of her party.  I had my eye on this Rifle Paper Co Illustrated Peach for a long time and thought it would work perfect as a gift for her rather than more toys.

The puzzle was another gift that we received from a friend of ours and the faux peaches I actually got at Walmart online for her newborn pictures and we have used them several times for photo props and even used one has her cake topper.  The peach garland is from Hooray Everyday on Etsy!

We had an absolute blast celebrating our little peach turning one.  We had a packed house and it was amazing to see all the people who just love and adore her as much as we do.  She got some really great gifts and loved opening all her presents.  She was such a trooper and enjoyed her smash cake and partied til bed time.  I still can't believe we now have a toddler.  The time continues to fly by, but I will always remember how special her first birthday party was.  Thank you to Capture By Lauren for the amazing photos.

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