**disclaimer: this post is about nursing/breastfeeding, if you don’t want to read it and/or it totally seems weird to you, then this is my warning to move on and not read this post!**
I have been hesitant to write this post because I know some people get totally weirded out by nursing (whatevs!!), but when I was pregnant I read Sherry from Young House Love’s nursing story and I was so, so encouraged by it, so I thought I would share mine too in case there are any other new or expectant mama’s out there who read my blog! I think so often we read the horror stories of nursing (other blogs, Baby Center Message Boards, etc), I thought it would be good to share a positive experience with nursing…so,here we go!! I can’t say enough how thankful I am that nursing worked out for us and my heart breaks for the women who battle with feelings of failure because breastfeeding did not work out for them. I want to say, just because I nursed I have *no* issues with forumla feeding, by choice or because nursing didn’t work out for you - everyone is just trying to feed their baby!! (ahem…this is your last warning to stop reading if you don’t want to hear about this!)
I went into my nursing journey with Elliot with high expectations. My sister had successfully nursed 3 kids, my mom did the same, and I felt like I was (somewhat) educated to make this a successful journey for Elliot and I. Things started out GREAT as I had an incredible nurse in the first few hours with Elliot who helped me figure out latch, getting her positioned, what it should feel like, etc – I was so, so thankful to have her assigned to me (I wish I knew her name!!) as I think without her I would have been extremely flustered and frustrated. Elliot seemed to be nursing like a champ and I was thrilled with our progress….until the 2nd night in the hospital. In the middle of the night the night nurse came in and flipped the lights on, rolled our brand new (crying) baby in and sternly said “if you don’t give this baby formula she is going to end up in the ER.” Uhhhhhh….PANIC ALERT TO A NEW MOM!!!!!!! Seriously, I had been in a dead sleep and that is what I woke up to. As a new, very tired mom, I asked her what my options were and she said I needed to give her formula immediately if I didn’t want her to end up there…um, seriously?! So, I did what I was told – Chris gave her the amount of forumla she told us (I think it was .25 of an oz) AFTER she nursed for 30 minutes – we did this for 2 feedings.
The next morning we were able to see the lactation consultant and needless to say she was ANGRY at the nurses proclamation in the middle of the night! E had lost some weight (normal!) but nothing she (or the pediatrician) were concerned about, so the LC advised to stick to our original plan (only nursing) and get our girl on track with her weight gain! So we packed up (the ridiculous amount of stuff we had…) and headed home, which is where the journey really begins.
Elliot was an EXTREMELY slow nurser for about 6 months – for the first 3 months it would take her about 45 minutes to eat (seriously…I watched a lot of TV, read A LOT of blogs, and looked at a lot of Facebook statuses during that time….). Those first 6 weeks were like having a tiny piraña attached to my body – the first minute of so of each feeding was SO painful!! At week 5 I called a local lactation consultant and went in for a consultation - at that visit I found out 2 things 1) her latch was all wrong and 2) my girl could PACK IT IN! (she took 4.5 oz in a feeding which apparently was CRAZY for a baby her age!) That 90 minute visit was the best time and money I spent in my entire pregnancy/labor…seriously. She was able to help me fix her latch and continue on without any pain ever again (phew!!!) and gave me so much confidence as a new mom that I was doing it “right,” which is just what I needed! At around 10 weeks she started sleeping 10-12 hours (we do not co-sleep and she just started sleeping through on her own without waking up), and I am so, so thankful my supply adjusted on it’s own and didn’t cause any issues for us. We also gave her her first bottle at around 2 weeks (when I got mastitis…yeeeeouch!!!) and she took to that like a champ too – which I am SO thankful for, I gotta say, I feel for the mama’s whose babies don’t take bottles.
Around 6 months we dropped down from a 2.5-3 hour schedule to a 4 hour schedule and I felt like my world opened up! It was SO much easier to leave the house (I was not very good or comfortable at nursing in public!) and we were really down to nursing when she woke up, down for naps (2 of them!) and at bedtime…I loved it! I did nurse “on demand” (somewhat….), so there were days she would nurse a few extra times (if she was sick or having a bad day especially!), but since we followed a pretty regular schedule, her nursing just followed suit. This worked perfectly for us as it was just so much easier to plan our days! A lot of people think that if you follow a schedule you aren’t nursing on demand, but if she ever wanted to nurse, I let her…however, it was rare she ever wanted to nurse outside of wake up, naps and bed, which worked great for us!
We did have one “big” hiccup in this story….Chris and I had a trip planned in August of this year. Her pediatrician did not feel comfortable with us introducing milk yet (she was only 10 mos!), so the plan was to introduce formula to her since I didn’t have enough stored up in the freezer from pumping (my body did not love the pump). Welllll…after 2 or 3 times of giving her forumla we realized she was allergic to it (hives, horrible stomach issues, etc) and then started flat out REFUSING the bottle. After doing some research (and Elliot refusing any other kinds of forumla), I started freaking out that we would have to (a) cancel our trip or (b) bring her with us, until I talked to some other mamas and they suggested donated milk. This was a life saver. I contacted Human Milk for Human Babies and connected with some amazing local moms in the area who had an abundance of supply in their freezers and they graciously donated it to us and seriously saved the day. It took me awhile to not be weirded out by all of that, but then I realized….we drink cows milk and goats milk, that is WAY weirder than giving a HUMAN baby another human’s milk! So, it may freak you out, but…I don’t really care! It worked for us and I am so, so thankful for the women who helped us out.
Around 11 months I started the “Weaning” process and dropped the morning feeding. I always nursed E before going to sleep, but never nursed her TO sleep, which I think made this process a lot easier. So when we dropped that first nap feeding, it really wasn’t an issue! (in fact, she doesn’t even want to be rocked before naps or bed anymore, my girl LOVES to sleep – she just points at her crib until you put her in there!) We had pretty much gotten down to dropping all feedings except the morning one (which she refused to drop!!) …and then we hit a speed bump.
Elliot had chronic ear infections starting in July and in early October we were referred to an ENT and recommended to get tubes. We decided to move forward with the surgery (SOOOO thankful we did), but this put us back to nursing 4 times a day for about a month while she fought ear infections and then recovered from the surgery (she got a virus right after the surgery as well). So after her surgery we started the weaning process again! This time it was much easier and it took us about 2 weeks to completely wean. The hardest one to drop was actually the morning feeding – we had to have Chris get her (without her seeing me before she started her breakfast) or she would absolutely LOSE IT as soon as she saw me if she wasn’t eating yet and I would have to nurse her….hahaha! Thankfully that only lasted about 2-3 days though. I am SO thankful that this was such an easy process for her….no crying or staying up for endless hours, it was a seamless transition (I credit this to not nursing her to sleep!!). When we finally dropped the night feedings I had Chris put her to bed for 2-3 nights just so she didn’t expect to be nursed and after that she was all set!
The only other challenge we have is Elliot will not drink ANY kind of milk. We have tried almond (all kinds!!), goat, cows and coconut and she flat out refuses is. Thankfully she eats a super balanced diet, so we just have to be creative about getting calcium and vitamin D into her since she won’t drink anything other than water. Little stinker!
So that’s our (long!) breastfeeding journey. I am so, so thankful that we were able to have a successful nursing relationship for 14 months and I know that it is not an easy (or possible) journey for some mom’s so I don’t take our success for granted. If you are a new or expectant mom I really hope you consider nursing, and if you start and hit speedbumps, PLEASE contact a lactation consultant, they will really be able to troubleshoot and equip you with tools to succeed!!
In October I posted my personal results with the Ultimate Reset on my Facebook Page and got a TON of response asking how I did it and TONS of questions about the program, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a little post about the Reset, how it can fit into a normal, busy life, and how I feel after!
First of all, I want to tell you what the reset is NOT
- It is NOT a starvation diet – you eat 3 meals a day AND a snack
- It is not a crazy cleanse (like the Master Cleanse, etc where you drink a crazy concoction all day instead of eating…that is bad news, folks!)
- It is not a quick fix – yes, you will see killer weight loss results, but if you go right back to your old habits you WILL gain it all back!
- It is not a laxative or diet pill – yes, you will take supplements, but they are to enhance your body and not harmful in ANY way
What does it consist of?
The Reset comes with a VERY detailed instruction manual/book that lays out exactly what each supplement is, a detailed meal plan for each day, shopping lists, supplements, and access to support groups. As I said above, you will eat 3 meals and 1 snack every day…this is not about starvation! The first week you will work on eliminating meal, dairy, eggs and all animal byproducts from your diet, while weeks 2 and 3 are strictly vegan. Yes, it is a restricted diet (in the sense that it’s likely quite different than your normal diet!), but I’m telling you, I have NEVER felt better in my life!
Is it hard to stick to?
That’s a hard one to answer! For me it was not hard – I looked at the purchase of it as an investment and I wanted to make it worth it. I also kept reminding myself that it is only 21-days and I can do anything for 21-days…especially for something with such long term results! So really, if you are ready for a change and want to see some serious results in the health and state of your body, then I would say the results will keep you motivated to stick to it!
What kind of results did I see?
- the 3rd day I could FEEL my sinuses and ears draining – that was an odd sensation. I think it was from eliminating dairy from my diet.
- My sleep was more restful. Mind you, I am an EXCELLENT sleeper, but I always woke up feeling TIRED, even after 10 hours of sleep! During (and after the reset) I have been waking up feeling rested and not feeling like I have to drag myself out of bed.
- I had been experiencing some pain in my knee and hips for a few months and (as crazy as it sounds), I haven’t experienced those aches in my joints that I had been feeling.
- Increased energy – I don’t feel like I need caffeine to get myself going in the morning
- And last, I lost 14 pounds in the 21-day reset. I have been off of the program for about a month now and I have gained 4 of those back (which I expected!), but I feel like I am able to maintain this new weight and am LOVING how I feel with that extra weight off of my body and the extra “fluff” I felt like I couldn’t shake from pregnancy! And…bonus! I am 10 lbs lighter than I have ever been in my adult life!
well, of course…I am late on this update, but this is a big one!! My sweet girl is a YEAR old, that is so crazy. This has been the fastest, most incredible year of my life and I can’t believe she is ONE!
Elliot, at one year you:
- stand up on your own without holding onto anything! You are so, so proud every time you do it!
- You took your first steps! You are up to about 10 at a time before your fall, but you usually get right back up and try again. I have a feeling one day soon you will just take off!
- are saying more and more words. Right now you say: mama, dada, baby (you love your baby doll!), more, mum mum…and I am sure you say more than that and I just don’t know you are saying them yet.
- make funny animal sounds. You can do: dog (even though you cough instead of bark thanks to Jack!), cat, cow and duck.
- know where your head and belly are! You also know that when I say “hat” it goes on someone’s head!
- do NOT like ANYTHING other than water or nursing. I have tried to give you cows milk, almond milk, coconut milk and juice and you spit all of them out. Now you are even refusing bottles, sooo…still trying to figure out what to do with that one.
- started preschool a few weeks ago! You are going 2 mornings a week and so far you are loving it!
- loooooove your daddy! You love to give him kisses, especially in the morning when I take you into our room and he is still trying to sleep.
- love babies! Any time we see a baby you just point at them and say “more” and “please” …and if you get anywhere close to them you just try to cover them with kisses!
- speaking of kisses, you love to give kisses and blow kisses, and it’s the cutest thing in the entire world. You lean in close and go “ma!” – and you love for us to give you kisses too. You just lean your lead in close until we get the hint and give you a kiss!
- do not like going to the chiropractor…but it’s so good for you!
- have had 5 ear infections in 4 months and it makes me feel so sad for you. One time we had to take you to the hospital because your fever was so high.
- you had your first taste of cake (vegan and gluten free!) and well…you loved it!
and here’s some super cute pictures from your birthday….
Elliot, you have brought so much joy and love into our lives. I can’t even begin to express the amount of love your daddy and I have for you. People always told me the love you have for your children is something unexplainable, and that is such a true statement. Watching you learn and grow is such an honor, and I can’t believe I have the honor of being your mom. I pray daily that you will grow into a woman who passionately pursues the Lord, and I pray that I can model that for you. I cherish every single moment I have with you and look forward to kissing your sweet face every morning when you wake up. You are the sweetest little girl, and I am so excited to continue watching you grow up.
I love you!
I don’t think I’ve shared much about this on my blog yet, but I think I will document our journey to help other families out there that are battling food allergies as well. Food allergies are not something I am familiar with at all. Neither Chris nor I have food allergies, and for the most part our families are also allergy free, so I just assumed that our kids wouldn’t battle allergies either. Well…I was wrong!! We started Elliot on solids right at 6 months and almost immediately noticed she broke out in a rash on her face every time she ate. I was getting so confused as we were only feeding her homemade fruits and veggies…is it possible that she was truly allergic to EVERY SINGLE fruit and vegetable? Well, the answer to that one is…NO! *DENSE ALERT* She was allergic to the baby oatmeal I was mixing into her purees. DUH. I was using an organic oatmeal mixed in with every puree just to thicken it up a little bit and anywhere the food touched she got a raised red rash. She also had eczema pretty much all over her body that I couldn’t get to go away.
So, once I figured this out I switched her over to brown rice cereal in her purees and we were all clear. So as she got a little older we started moving onto normal foods and I just didn’t think about the oatmeal issue again as we moved forward (again…not real familiar with food allergies!!). One day I gave her a hunk of break to gnaw on while we were with some friends and I noticed she was rubbing her eyes a lot and I looked over and her lips were puffed up and her eyes were almost swollen shut – you could tell she was uncomfortable and itchy – needless to say I panicked so we ran home, took a bath and Benadryl and the swelling started to go down. That’s when I clued in to the fact that Elliot has a gluten sensitivity/allergy.
I won’t bore you with alllll of the details, but it turns out Elliot has a gluten/wheat allergy as well as egg (but only on it’s own, seems fine if it’s cooked into things), and she also has a slight dairy intolerance. She also has a ton of skin allergies which have been quite a doozie as well! We haven’t tried (and won’t for awhile!) nuts or any other high allergen foods, but it’s looking like we will be headed for allergy testing when she turns 1…poor sweet girl!
My goal is to post tips, recipes and other ideas for parents who battle allergies with their littles…it’s an exhausting journey, that’s for sure!
Wow, I can’t believe that the next update I will be writing she will be 1 year old…that seriously blows my mind! What a fun, exciting year it has been!! Every update gets more and more fun to write. This is such a fun stage right now! She is still a cutie little baby, but not quite as needy, has a HUGE personality, but is not to the crazy toddler stage yet – we are loving it!
Elliot, at 11 months you:
- officially crawl the regular way more than you do the belly scoot!
- figured out how to open the cabinets that we child locked (and we have the magnet ones that you have to use a magnet key to open!). Now all of the cabinets that are child locked are actually double up because you are…well, obsessed.
- are a total stinker. Sometimes (and by that I mean every meal), you throw food on the floor for Jack and when you do that I look at you very sternly and say “NO NO!” and shake my head. So now when YOU throw things on the floor you look at ME very sternly and shake your head no…it makes your whole body wiggle and it makes me laugh, which I am sure is egging on this behavior.
- love going places. I try to get you out of the house at least once a day because you are a much happier girl if you get to do something social or interactive.
- you are obsessed with emptying out my diaper bag. If I ever forget and leave it on the floor you find it (no matter where it is!) and immediately start pulling things out of it.
- are also obsessed with emptying out your dresser. You crawl in there, open the drawer and pull EVERYTHING out , it’s really funny to watch!
- you love being outside! Unfortunately I do not love it right now because of the bugs and heat, so when we are not outside you crawl over to the window, completely mess up the curtains on the front door and stand there looking out the window and talking. You have completely ruined the curtain rod at the bottom, but…that’s ok!
- can do a few basic commands using sign language. You really mostly do “more” and “all done.” You say “more” when you want anything – even if you want to watch something on TV. You point at the TV and then sign “more” over and over and over. And when you are done with things you sign “all done.” The other day you were crying in your carseat and doing the “all done” sign. You are so smart!
- know what books are which on the shelf. The other day daddy told you to go get “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and you crawled over and pulled it off the shelf that was filled with books. I have to admit, I was impressed.
- You love, love, love books and puzzles!!!
- sadly, you are very prone to ear infections. This week you had a tooth + molar coming in AND an ear infection…it was a long week.
- love wearing sunglasses and you try to put them on yourself, but you haven’t figured that out yet.
- are pretty much over your separation anxiety…yay!!!
- have 7 teeth and weigh 20.6 lbs… unfortunately I can’t remember how long you are…sorry!