Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gently Weaning a Toddler: 5 Tips

I never thought I'd nurse Mira until she was two years old. I remember the extremely accomplishing feeling of making it to 6 months, because those were honestly the hardest months breastfeeding. Then making it to one year, I couldn't believe. By that point I was working and having to pump 3 times a day, though. It sucked. After a few months of pumping at work, I decided to stop. Pumping that is. I just hoped that I was able to produce for Mira in the evening. Which I was! It was the best of both worlds; my production slowed down enough for me not to get engorged, but I had enough for her once I got home.

For a long time she was nursing 3-4 times a day (and getting up in the middle of the night to nurse). When she hit 18 months, she started asking for it herself, which was adorable. "Hummy?" she would say. She was also finally sleeping through the night! 18 months seemed like a significant enough age to start weaning; I just wanted to have my body be completely mine again. So I tried to wean the cold turkey way. Kind of. She would ask for it, and I would turn her down. She didn't take that too well. She'd throw an absolute fit and it broke my heart. For a child who had always nursed on demand, of course this was going to happen. I'd end up giving in within 20 seconds. I tried several times to replace her hummy inquiry with a sippy cup of milk. She was not into that. The worst was when we got home after picking her up from daycare. She wanted to nurse the second we walked in the door; I literally couldn't even take my coat off or go to the bathroom without her having a mental breakdown. She's one hard kid to wean!

After trying a few different things, we eventually cut down to two feedings a day, and after a couple months, once a day. Then towards the end it was once every other day. And as of today, it's been 10 months since she's nursed. All through trial and error. But every child is unique and handles weaning differently, so here are 5 things that worked for us.

1. Have daddy put her to bed. This can be any significant other, babysitter, etc., but not every mama has someone at home with them for bedtime, so I realize this can't work for everyone. Really anything you can do that changes the normal night routine could suffice. This made cutting out our bedtime feeding the easiest one.

2. Replace with a favorite snack or drink. I thought that giving her a sippy cup of milk every time she asked to nurse was the best thing, since it was the closest thing to the boob, but it wasn't. She wanted nothing to do with a sippy cup when it came to nursing. I tried a few other choice snacks and that didn't work either. I figured out it had to be her absolute favorite snack, something that brings her comfort like nursing does. For us, it was puree pouches, like Happy Tot and Plum Organics that got her to forget about nursing. She is definitely food motivated, this is the *key* thing that really helped the weaning process.

3. Do not wear low cut shirts. Out of sight, out of mind. Mira would be just fine crawling all over me like a jungle gym, unless I had cleavage showing. Then her face was all up in the hummy and there was no turning back

4. Set times of day to nurse and stick with them. This is mostly the hardest for weekends when you're not on a schedule. I always made sure to tell Mira "it's not hummy time" if she asked mid-morning or at supper time. I also started the "no nursing in public" rule after she was already a year and didn't rely on it for food. Part of it was that people get judgy (unfortunately), but most of it was just me wanting to keep my boobs to myself.

5. Don't cut out more than one nursing session at a time. Go slowly. Like you can read from above, each time I cut out a session, I would leave it like that for months at a time until deciding to cut out another one. Trying to wean too fast will make your littles feel betrayed and hurt.

So happy for our nursing time together, it was truly a joy :)

Some kids are easier than others. Some are just plain stubborn (like mine)! Take it at their own pace because after all, this is their nourishment, their comfort, and probably their favorite past time that you are taking away, so do not rush them.

Now let's hear from you!
What are some tips or tricks you've learned from weaning?
Thursday, January 14, 2016

5 Parent Clichés that are actually true

You know when you're pregnant and people start telling you all this stuff and you're like yeah ok.... Well they were right about most things. Here are 5 of the most cliché things that you hear that are actually true.

1. You talk about your baby's shit everyday with each other. Sometimes after 2 minutes I have to stop the conversation and bring us back to earth. 

2. You become ultra boring on weekends. If one of you wants to go out, the other will not. No one will be upset about it though, deep down neither of you wants to do anything but sit in front of netflix anyways. 

3. You are a worrier. You side-eye that new day-care room college volunteer as if they aren't fit to be in the presence of your child, you think a 99 degree temp is deserving of an ER visit, if your kid sleeps in one hour longer than normal you go in and check on them seven times just in case. 

4. Parenthood is actually the hardest job out there. I don't even know how to elaborate on this. It just is. It's more mentally exhausting than it is physically though. Especially when you have a toddler who's in that "pushing the limits" stage, whether it's your limits or the blueray player's limits or simply just gravity's limits. Something is always getting wrecked. 

5. Your life completely changes when you become a parent. I didn't really take this fully to heart when people told me that once I got pregnant. I thought, "yeah, I can't go out partying all the time, so what?". But it's more than that. You no longer can be selfish. You hardly do things or buy things for yourself. It's not even because you can't, it's because you don't want to. You don't get to put on headphones and jam out to music while reading a book. You have to wait until your kid is sleeping to do that. Instead of reading those "coming-to-age, 20-something-books" you are reading books about vaccinations and breastfeeding and things like "how to raise a grateful, contributing member of society". You just want to be the best "you" you can be for your kid. 

Let's hear from you!

What was one thing that you did that made you think "this is SO cliché!"

Monday, January 11, 2016

5 of the Most Common Blogging Mistakes

Okay, there are a thousand mistakes we can make while blogging. Trust me, there's not just 5. I'm still always learning, but know that there's naturally going to be growing pains no matter how much you learn. You end up learning many things the hard way. So I'm sharing some of my growing pains in hopes that maybe it'll leave you with less growing pains. 

1. Choosing not to write about topics you really want to
"I'm not expert enough to write about that", "Someone else probably wrote it way better already", "People will judge me for that"
I struggled with this so much. I didn't want to appear like a know it all. For example, this topic, blogging? Yeah, I'm no expert. But I figured I would just write about things I learn and sell it that way. Don't pretend you're an expert, address it like, "hey this is what I've learned so far". Your voice might be exactly what someone wants or needs to hear. So what if you're not an expert, your piece of advice is perfect for someone.

2. Writing in a different way than you speak
Sometimes when you read a blog, it feels stiff and cumbersome. Like you're reading a cold email or someone's research paper. Some people try too hard to sound impressive, or sometimes just don't speak in enough of a conscious stream of thought. It ends up awkward. It ends up wordy. It doesn't have a conversational flow. Come on. Make some jokes, make fun of yourself, use some clever metaphors. Blogging is about telling a story, and if you don't sound conversational, people aren't going to want to read what you have to say. Blogging is just unique in that way. (I promise I'm not trying to rhyme)

3. Not posting enough
You can't post once a month and call it good. Once a week or every other week is ideal, if not more! You gain credibility when you're consistent and that way your readers won't feel abandoned. That being said, there's nothing worse than seeing a fellow blogger with a new post that is literally a paragraph long. Lame! Don't disappoint your readers like that. I will say, though, it totally sucks when you work full time and still have to keep up with weekly/biweekly blog posts. I wrote about it here; hope it helps!

4. Ignoring your readers
It's kinda tacky when you bloggers never reply back to their readers' comments. Some sort of listening service needs to be in place. You will lose readers if you ignore them. That simple.

5. Trying to appeal to everyone
If you decide your audience is everyone, it will be no one. People like to feel special and they like to find blogs that speak to them. You want your readers to feel personally connected. So zoom in on who exactly your blog appeals to. Think of age, gender, interests, values. What kind of magazines do they read? What kinds of food do they cook? What kind of clothes do they wear?

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