Drying it up

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It’s been so long since I’ve blogged! Lots has been happening in our little family… lots of changes, and even more in the next few months as my husband starts back to school. I’ve had in my mind several ideas for blog posts but just haven’t had time to sit here and flesh them out! It seems between weaning my second baby, potty training my first, keeping the house picked up and the meals cooked around here… not to mention my recent efforts to lose weight and get back in shape… there just hasn’t been much time left, haha! But stay tuned… my busy days and recent projects have inspired even more ideas for blog posts, so time permitting I will hash them out too!

Today, it’s all about my lessons learned in weaning my little one. As I talked about in this post, I had no trouble weaning Sweat Pea because we had trouble from day one. I never did make enough, but was unaware that there were things I could do to boost my supply. I just decided one day I was going to be done nursing and really never looked back. I had no trouble drying up. My oh my was Little Man’s story different! He was always a better eater than Sweat Pea, and I learned about the things I could do to boost my milk supply. Which was so wonderful for the 9 1/2 months that I nursed him. It only proved to be a problem when we decided it was time to be done. Glory! I tried to work my way down slowly, but apparently it wasn’t slowly enough, because around 48 hours after my last nursing session I seriously felt like I was going to die. Like, I think it was worse than when my milk originally came in after he was born. Horrible horrible pain. So I decided to nurse him one more time to help relieve some of the pressure. BIG mistake. That made it even worse! So only after about a week of not allowing my husband to even come near me because I was in such pain did it occur to either of us to do some research about what can help in the drying up process. Here’s what I learned that worked for me. Hopefully it will help you if you are having the same trouble.

1) Work your way down slooooooooooowly. Cut out a feeding at a time and wait until you don’t feel any pressure at the next feeding (i.e. after your supply adjusts) to even think about cutting out another one.

2) After you cut out your last feeding, you will more than likely become engorged again. Things that I figured out help dry you out faster:

  • Binding. This was the thing that single handedly made the biggest difference for me. I slept with an ace bandage type contraption wrapped around my chest absolutely as tightly as I could stand it. Not gonna lie… the first morning after I woke up, I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. But I also noticed that my breasts were markedly less full.
  • Antihistamines. For the same reason that your doctor tells you not to take them while nursing, it helps to take them when you’re trying to wean.
  • Avoid warm water. As in, try to keep your back to the water in your shower as much as humanly possible.

So that’s what I learned! Hoping it can help any of you trying to work through it. Feel free to comment with anything else that you learned that made weaning/drying up easier for you and your little one.

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Things I wish I’d known the first time around…

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Well, the time has come.  This sweet little face is 9 ½ months old and I’ve made the decision to start weaning him.  This is a decision I’ve come by very thoughtfully and I know it’s the right time and the right decision for both of us.  That being said, it’s also a decision that hurts my heart every time the reality of it sets in.  It’s so hard to explain to someone who’s never been through it… and those who have been through it assure me it’s normal for that heartache to hang around for years to come whenever you see another momma nursing their baby… but one thing is for sure, nursing is a precious and irreplaceable bonding time with your little ones and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to do so with both of my babies.  It’s funny though… thinking through weaning my son brings back memories of the very different circumstances under which I weaned his big sister, and the things I wish now that I’d known then.

I only nursed Sweet Pea for 6 months, and to be honest that was as long as I could possibly muster.  I was basically a ball of nerves that entire time.  I was so unsure of myself and afraid that if I missed one feeding I would ruin everything.  I wouldn’t nurse in public, even with a good cover, because I was so self-conscious I couldn’t relax.   I was so afraid she wasn’t getting enough milk and gaining enough weight that when I went to her 6 month well baby visit and was told she was in the 25th percentile in weight, that was all I needed to hear to push me over the edge.

It didn’t take long after weaning her to regret my decision.  It was too soon and I lamented it for months (this decision, consequently, is also where her brother came from, if you remember that story… you can check out the story here on my old blog if you’re interested), but I was silly and didn’t know that there were solutions to almost any problem that you encounter in nursing!

SIDE NOTE:  My childhood friend Claire wrote an amazing blog post recently about the things she wished she’d known about breastfeeding.  It plays in perfectly to what I’m saying here and they are all things I, too, wish I had known beforehand.  So go on over and read her post now then come on back.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you here……

Great post, isn’t it?  Such wisdom… and I went through almost all of these the first time around.  I would actually add two things to her list that I learned from my own experience.  The first is:  even if you feel like your supply has gone down to the point that it’s affecting your baby’s nutrition level, there are things you can do to boost your supply right back up with no problem!  Everything from eating foods that are known to boost milk supply (like these cookies!) to taking fenugreek to get your milk back faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  Seriously, if you are making any milk at all, you absolutely don’t have to be done nursing unless you want to be!   The second is:  I figured out that a great deal of my self-consciousness in nursing had to do with potentially exposing my big nasty post-partum belly… it had nothing to do with my boobs at all!  Quite a revelation for me.  So the second time around, I invested in some good nursing tanks (these undercover mama tanks are THE.BEST!) and suddenly I was self-assured and relaxed to nurse whenever and wherever I was at mealtime.  And guess what?  Me being relaxed makes my son relaxed!  And as a result it has been the precious bonding time that it was supposed to be the first time.  Don’t give up!  Relax and enjoy the precious months you are given to bond with your little one.  Take it from someone who’s now on the other end of it, the months go by way too quickly.

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Time to put your big girl panties on!

I found lots of excuses this spring not to think about potty training.  She’s not showing interest yet so it’ll be torture to try to force it on her if she’s not ready.  I’ve got about all the stress I can handle running around after her and her brother all day long, I’m just not ready to add something even more stressful.  She’s in Mother’s Day Out, and it’s not fair for them to have to deal with that for the weeks or months it will take to make it happen… I’ll just wait until the summer, after she turns 2, and we’ll make it our project to send her back in the fall potty trained.   {….famous last words….}

So it’s summer now, and I have no more excuses except that everyone tells me it’s the worst thing ever, especially with strong-willed kids… which of course mine is.  Don’t misunderstand, I want her to be potty trained!  To think of only having to buy half as many diapers as we buy now… that would be amazing!  I just don’t want to go through the torture of her getting her there!  A funny thing happened a while back though, that made me think maybe, just maybe, this potty training thing doesn’t have to make us both want to kill each other.

A friend of mine mentioned that she potty trained her son using the principles taught in this book called “Toilet Training in Less than a Day” and that I should check it out when I was ready to cross that bridge.

I’m sorry, what?  You’re going to have to say that again, because I’m certain you just said I could potty train my child in less than a day, and I *know* that can’t be possible.  Do you mean to tell me that this most torturous of developmental milestones doesn’t have to be all that torturous after all?  It can actually be a positive event?  No way.  Too good to be true.

But now, as the summer sits before us and I have no more excuses, curiosity got the best of me and I ordered it from Amazon.  Got it on Friday and spent the free and calm bits of my weekend checking it out.

I’m only about a third of the way through, and to be honest they spend the first third trying to prove to me all the reasons I should buy into their method, so I’m just now getting into the actual procedures, but I’m not gonna lie, so far I like what I read!  It gives me hope that this can be a short, pleasant, and positive experience!  They tout a complete success rate, if not within a few hours than certainly within a couple of days.

Have any of you tried this book?  Did you have success with its principles?  If not this, then did you find other things that worked well for potty training?  I’d love your feedback on what worked and what didn’t with your little ones.  I’ll try to post our progress as we get ready for “the big day!”

Here’s hoping we really can be saying goodbye to diapers and hello to big girl panties in the near future!  🙂

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Just Call Me June

Quick post from my phone to show you what I made today! So back in February I found one of those “pillowcase dresses” with this adorable Sesame Street fabric that I thought would be perfect for C to wear to her birthday party. And I’m still not sure if it was this particular dress or pillowcase dresses in general, but whatever the reason, it looked ridiculous on her. It was boxy and shapeless and too short for my tall kid. Luckily I had her Abby Caddaby shirt as a birthday party back up, but it left me with this adorable fabric and no cute new dress! So the wheels started turning yesterday and I went to Pinterest to see if I could find a good repurpose project. The fact that the original dress was basically a big rectangle worked in my favor, and I found this cute little “snappy toddler top” pattern and tutorial, and there you have it! I am new enough to this blogging business that I didn’t think to take a before pic or any progress pics, and I definitely had to undo and redo a few seams in the course of the afternoon, but all in all I love how it turned out! Here’s a quick iPhone pick of the finished product (minus button holes).

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Cute huh? I just love the things I’m discovering and accomplishing through the world of Pinterest! It makes me feel like I’m channeling June Cleaver or something. It doesn’t take long for me to snap back to reality though, when I look up from sewing and my house looks like a tornado hit it. Oiy. June probably never let dishes sit in the sink or stayed in her pajamas all day either. Not that I did that or anything… 🙂

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Sweet Pea is Two!

Welcome to my very first blog post! I’ve tried blogging before but just felt like I didn’t have anything interesting to say. But recently I’ve gotten the bug again. I decided that even if the only thing this is used for is so my kids have precious memories of their childhoods, it’s totally worth it. So here goes! We’ll see if I can stick with it, ha!

Two years ago is a day I will never forget. My sweet girl made me a momma for the first time… and right after we got back to the hospital room from the C-section room, they had to wheel us all back down there because a tornado was in the area! I, of course, was blissfully unaffected by our potentially life-and-death situation as I cuddled this little thing with a head full of black hair and the most girly, dainty features I’d ever laid eyes on. I knew my life would never be the same.

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See what I mean? So darn cute, this little one. Well, two years later we are obsessed with all things Sesame Street, so it wasn’t difficult to know which direction to go for a birthday party. We decided to keep things small this year (because let’s be honest, until she gets “friends,” it’s all the same people who came to her first birthday, and I fed them dinner last year!), but I think we still turned out with a great little shindig befitting the most precocious, energetic, adorable 2 year old I know. I was particularly proud of a couple of the details we came up with, so I thought I’d add these ideas to the multitude of great Sesame Street-themed party ideas out there in the blogosphere.

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Honestly, beyond plates and cups and such, I just used stuff we had around the house. As I said, small scale party here. The picture is one we took of her when we went to Sea World San Antonio for vacation last month. Side bar: TAKE YOUR KIDS THERE. We had kids in our traveling group from 8 months to 8 years and they were all thoroughly entertained. And seeing your 2 year old get to meet Elmo, who as we all know is as big a celebrity as there can be at that age, is absolutely priceless. Alas, you have to pay for pictures with Elmo, so a pic with Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Zoe was sufficient as free decoration for our party. 🙂

Also, found this idea somewhere on Pinterest. So cute for party favors, right? Little cookies in the shape of Cs and 2s! I can’t find the original place I pinned it because I had to follow like three links the first time to get it… so I’m sorry to that person whose idea this was, and please believe me that it wasn’t my original idea.

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My biggest struggle of the day turned in to my biggest triumph. My daughter is in many ways, but one in particular, a freak of nature. She has serious texture issues, and she doesn’t like sweets! Are you kidding me?!? What toddler doesn’t beg her mom for candy 20 times a day? Well, mine doesn’t. So how do you make a birthday “cake” for a two year old that doesn’t like cake, nevermind keeping it on theme? Well, I’ll tell you how:

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You make an Elmo fruit pizza, that’s how! My sister the artist came over to help with the composition of Elmo himself (thanks sister, you’re my hero!) but I just love the way it turned out! Here’s the recipe and how-to, for those that may be interested:

Fruit Pizza Recipe (courtesy of bff Kristen)

1-8oz. pkg cream cheese

1pkg refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 cup powdered sugar

1 small tub cool whip

your choice of sliced fruit

Press cookie dough into a pizza pan (and PLEASE for the love of all that is pure use some parchment paper… no matter how much non-stick spray you use IT WILL stick if you don’t. I learned this the hard way, so I’m trying to save you the pain! …you’ve been warned!) and cook at 325 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or til cookie is done. Let cool completely. Combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, and cool whip and spread over cookie crust. (really need your cream cheese to be softened/room temp… if it’s not your creamed mixture will be lumpy. Still tastes good but who wants lumpy creamed mixture?) Arrange fruit on top (in this case, in the shape of Elmo!) Chill before serving. Makes about 12 servings.

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strawberries, blueberries, and oranges made the perfect fruit Elmo for a 2 year old who doesn’t do sweets!

I know, so easy right?? And I just knew she was going to gobble it right up. But seriously, what do I know…?

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Remember what I said about texture issues? Well, my lumpy creamed mixture was apparently too much for her. She just wanted the fruit. humph. Well, still, it was cute and all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles ooh’ed and aww’ed at how delicious it was so I was pleased. 🙂

And there you have it! All in all a very happy birthday for my sweet girl. 🙂 Even little bother joined in the new toy festivities…Image

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