Category Archives: breastfeeding

Starting my babies on “solid” foods

Sometimes I blog about this kind of thing in the hopes that it would help someone.  Sometimes I do it just so that I can remember just what the heck I did since selective mommy memory is a real thing around here.  I’m saying this is a little of both. 🙂  Keep in mind this is just what worked for us and my girls.  All babies are different heaven knows.

I waited to start “solids” with both girls until 6 months.  I write the word solids in quotes because there isn’t much solid about the foods you start with.  I bypassed the standard 1st food of rice cereal due to the studies about the amount of arsenic in rice these days and went with an organic sweet potato instead.  I peeled, cut up, steamed, and blended a nice sweet potato, the orange ones, called jewel yams here in my area of California.  Then I mixed it with enough breast milk to water it down to a fairly liquid consistency, not pour off, but dribble off the spoon.

Homemade Baby Food

Both the girls took no time to learn how to take a bite from the spoon (they had been watching us eat for weeks) but it did take a few feedings for much to actually go down their throat.  Ha!  Most of it dribbled out of their mouths and onto the bib.

The first few weeks I only gave them “solids” at dinner time.  I would do a short nurse right when I got home from work then offer an ounce or so off food while we were eating dinner.  At around 7 months, we started in with lunch too, and 8 months, breakfast.  Still only 2 oz at a time.  All this time they would get 3 – 4oz bottles during the day and nurse first thing in the morning and right before bed.  As the months went on, they would eat more solids at meal times and decrease the amount of milk they drank.

As allergies don’t run in our families (except my shellfish allergy), we only fed a new food 2-3 days before changing it up.  If there are family food allergies, I would make it more like 4-5 days.  In the end Evelyn can eat everything and Rose is allergic only to Mango.  Luckily that showed itself quickly by giving the poor thing a flaming diaper rash.  We still have to avoid it which is harder then you think!

I make quite a bit of the purees myself as it its cheap and easy to do.  I would post recipes but really, it’s buy organic veggies and fruit, steam until soft, blend in the blender until smooth, add breast milk or water until the desired consistency.  If it’s too watery (I started to feed it thicker after a week or two), add baby oatmeal.  I like the Happy Baby brand with the probiotics.  Once you introduce a number of things you can start blending them together.  Especially the not as sweet veggies.  I add kale and broccoli to something sweeter like sweet potatoes or strawberries.  While my girls would eat the more bitter things at first, they stopped once they got an opinion.  Ha!  I freeze the pureed mixes in flexible ice cube containers then store them in the freezer in ziplock bags.  30 seconds in the microwave and you have a cheap and easy meal.

Homemade Baby Food 1

When Rose was a baby they had come out with square plastic containers which were nicer then the glass as they were lighter and you didn’t worry about breaking them in your diaper bag.  However, by the time Evelyn was born, they had come out with the fabulousness that is the squeeze pouches.  These flexible easy to pack things are so great.  They even makes tons of organic ones.  I just put a soft silicon top on it (not required but easier on her mouth) and she sucks it right down.  There are refillable ones that I put my homemade purees into.  They even have spoons that connect to them for when the babies are just starting out.

Baby Food Pouch.jpg

When you buy those don’t just run to Target.  My own hometown grocery store Raley’s actually has them 30-40 cents cheaper.  Score!

The baby food aisle in Raley’s.  Tons of organic at good prices!!

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I use the pouches when out and about, or when I want to feed more fibrous greens.  The companies industrial sized blenders make a much smoother puree.  I usually end up with unappetizing chunks.  😛

We also did some baby led weaning.  Sooner with Evelyn then with Rose (that whole second child thing) although I have found, at least until they get molars that can chew things more efficiently, I need to make sure I feed purees as well too make sure they got enough food.  Especially once I weaned and they were not getting a good amount of healthy breast milk anymore.  It just takes too long for them to eat to get enough food.

So there you have it!  Once Evelyn gets more teeth, we will make and buy less purees and do more of just what we eat but until then, it’s a great way to make sure she is eating all the good stuff she needs.

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Filed under breastfeeding, Evelyn, Rose, Tips, weaning

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit pumping…..

FYI, I’m going to be talking about my experience with weaning Evelyn so if anyone doesn’t want to read about nursing, engorgement, boobs, and lots of baby poop they may want to skip to the next post. I’m sure it’s about something cute the girls are doing.

As the title suggests (bonus points if you can identify the cult comedy I’m parodying), this post is about my decision to quit pumping milk at work during what turned out to be an inopportune time.

Just as I did with Rose, I had a goal to breastfeed Evelyn for a year. This included 3 pumping sessions per day after I went back to work. Luckily for me, I was blessed with easy nursing babies and produced the amount of milk needed to do so with no problem. As I look back on the two, year long nursing/pumping periods I can only thank my fabulous genetics (my mom had the same supply blessing) for letting me provide my daughters with a easy and really cheap food source. I have nothing against choosing to use formula but that stuff’s expensive!  I did have to cut out all citrus, caffeine, and alcohol as I discovered (the hard way) that all of those would give both the girls upset tummys. A small price to pay but man, I’m looking forward to a tall glass of fresh lemonade. Our lemon tree has been mocking me all year.

I have an extra incentive to stop this time as well. I’m going to Ireland in the middle of August with a friend and need to be totally dried up so I don’t have any clogged duct/engorgement issues when I’m there. That would be awkward.  Evelyn is such a gentle snugly nurser, I think I might have kept doing at least the evening snuggle/nursing session for a while otherwise. Once I’m done with that I’m done for forever. Forever! Sniff sniff.  <— by this I mean I’m a little sad but noooo second guessing on having a third.

As Evelyn’s birthday approached, I started to reduce the number of times that I pumped at work. Three weeks before, I reduced from 3 pumping sessions per day to 2. Two weeks before, I reduced from 2 to 1. The last week, as you can imagine, I went to 1. On a side note, while I am going to miss the evening and morning nursing sessions, I was waiting with baited breath to stop pumping. Totally worth it but man, work is crazy and taking 20 minutes out of my day 3 times a day was really getting difficult. Besides not being sure when I would have a chance to check Twitter anymore at work, I was very happy to pack those pump supplies up and take them home that Friday. By reducing slowly like I did, I only had minor discomfort and no engorgement/clogged duct issues.  Yay!

So then…. three days before my last pumping day Evelyn woke with a little fever. She didn’t seem to be too bad although we noticed that she pooped a few more times then normal. By Friday she still had a fever and the increased pooping had turned into diarrhea along with a decreased appetite. As the fever was a little high even with Advil, and the poop kept coming we took her into the doc. On the way, she threw up. Lovely. The doc said it was most likely Hand Foot and Mouth as her throat was a raw and the strain this year included a tummy issue. Fun times.

Because of her sore throat and tummy ichyness, the only thing she would put in her tummy was milk. And only straight from the source. And only for 5 minutes at a time. And often. Anyone who has nursed before knows where this is going. I went from my boobs being adjusted to being totally drained only 3 times a day to a small overly warm creature simply sipping for 5 minutes every hour for 2 days straight. Then I went back to work on Monday where I no longer had a pump. Whomp.

To say I looked like I had taken my lunch hour to get a boob job by the end of the day would be an accurate description. And then Monday night Evelyn would wake to nurse a little every hour or so all night. Then repeat the next day. And the next. And the next. By the middle of the week her poops were looking/smelling like newborn due to a diet of only breast milk for so long. Finally on Friday she woke with no fever, started having regularish looking poops and took up eating everything in sight. By then my body was so confused it didn’t know what to do. No pumping/nursing all day then tons of milk production at night. My hormones were off the charts let alone a clogged duct or two.

Now another week later, thank goodness things are back to normal both with Evelyn’s illness (which turned out to be a virus and not HFM) and my boobs. I can go all day or night without getting really uncomfortable but still produce enough milk for Evelyn on the morning and evening nursing sessions.

Soon I will drop those sessions too. That will be a little sad. I love the baby snuggles and the look of a milk drunk baby breathing gently in my arms. But the next chapter and Ireland awaits. 🙂

 It’s going to be hard to say no to this face.wpid-20130703_183553.jpg

 

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Filed under breastfeeding, Evelyn, working mom

Baby Sleep Issues Update Pt. 2

When we last left off on The Young and the Sleepless, our heroine was disparately attempting to wrap her sleep deprived brain around a solution to rid her life of the dreaded Sleep Bandit.  She tried everything she could think of but to no avail.  Finally after a seemly random full night of sleep, she used her slightly fuzzy powers of reasoning to determine the most likely cause of the Sleep Bandits temporary absence……

So was it the Vit D or the absence of decaf coffee and chocolate in my diet.  The Vit D was easy to try.  Her wonderful day care provider made sure that Evelyn was out in the sun off and on most of next day.  That night, she did go down easier and had one three hour stretch of sleep but then was back up every 2 hours.  Check that one off the list.

That left the decaf coffee and chocolate.  I already knew that Evelyn was sensitive to what I ate.  A single glass of anything citrus (orange juice, lemonade, etc) will cause her to empty the entire content of her tummy on whoever is holding her at some point by the end of the day (or on your aunt’s beautiful hardwood floor. Sorry Gayle!).  I had seen charts showing the amount of caffeine in “decaf” coffee (25 mg) and tea (12 mg).  Dark chocolate is on there too (20 mg). While the numbers are smaller in comparison to regular coffee (75-120 mg), it’s nothing to sneeze at when you think I was drinking three cups per day with the occasional piece (or 3 pieces) of dark chocolate per day (hey, it’s free at work).  I might as well have been drinking a cup or two of regular coffee.  I did a little searching of the internet and found that apparently this is a known issue for babies under 6 months.  If fact it can be worse for people who avoided caffeine during pregnancy.  Dang me and trying to be healthy during pregnancy.

To test this theory, I cut out all coffee, tea and chocolate for two days.  Then took the pumped milk from the third day directly to daycare.  Halfway through the second day of exclusively caffeine free milk, Evelyn had a huuuge diaper and then was a changed baby.  She was more smiley, napped better and generally gave off happy baby vibes.  That evening she woke only once to eat at 3:30 and then again right before it was time to get up anyway.  Humph.  As the days went on, the happier baby continued to be stick around and the sleep continued to go well.  Yay?

To cap off the study, on Monday she went back to daycare and went back to eating the older caffinated milk.  During the day she was cranky.  Night time sleep, up twice.  Tuesday night sleep, every two hours.  Uggg. 

So the conclusion is that if you have a cranky colicy no sleeping baby it may be the caffeine in the milk.  Poop.

Luckily milk chocolate has very little caffeine or I might have to switch to formula.  (kidding!!)

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Filed under breastfeeding, Evelyn, sleep issues, Teething, Tips

Still…..

I made the decision today to stop nursing/pumping during the day.  We were already planning on starting the transition to cows milk next weekend now that Rose will be one year old.  I was down to one nurse/pump per day anyway, the rest of the time we have been using up the stored milk in the deep freeze.  I wasn’t planning on doing this until next week.  I was giving myself just a little more time.  A little more time to hold on to the illusion that my little girl was still tiny enough to need me to have milk available whenever she wanted it.  To keep supplementing the freezer supply so that she would have plenty for daycare.  But as I looked into the freezer at work and saw the huge bag I had in there waiting to come home and thought of the two huge bags I have already in the deep freeze, I realized that it was time to let go.  I have more than enough to do a smooth transition.  Especially since I plan on nursing at bed time and morning for a few more weeks.  Still…

In a few weeks she will have fully transitioned into toddler hood where all of her nutrients will be coming from outside sources.  We will do our best to make sure what she eats is the best we can find (organic whenever possible).  Make sure she is getting all the food groups with all the recommended vitamins and grains (at least until she develops an opinion).   Still….

I can’t deny I’m looking forward to eating spicy food and caffeine again without guilt of maybe causing her to having digestive issues.  I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to sleep in a little while longer and not have to wake at 5am to make sure she has time to nurse before we head off to work/daycare.  I am looking forward to heading for a weekend away without having to carry along my pump.  I’m looking forward to no more nursing bras.  Still…

I will miss our time together. I will miss that intimate connection between a mother and baby.  I will miss her little hand softly caressing me or clutching my shirt as her eyes slowly close with contentment, our world reduced to a little bubble surrounding just us.  I will miss the sounds and sensations that tell me I am giving my baby the nutrients that she needs.

I know there will be other experiences, other moments, other things that will define our relationship and cement my love of her but still….

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Filed under breastfeeding, weaning