Two weeks ago I begged for your collective wisdom to help wean my two-year-old daughter. After implementing a few strategies from our readers, my daughter and I gently gave up nursing within just three days.
First I stopped the morning feedings, which did involve some screaming and sadness, but with a little distraction she quickly acclimated. The next day we nursed at nap again, but at bedtime we had a special discussion of how this would be her last time drinking my milk. We snuggled, talked and really enjoyed it. The next day, my husband put her down for nap and bedtime and she peacefully went to sleep. If I would have known it would be that easy, I might have started sooner!
For those of you still struggling with weaning, Kathleen Huggins’ book, Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning – Revised: How to Bring Breastfeeding to a Gentle Close, and How to Decide When the Time Is Right looks like an excellent choice. Does anyone else have a favorite resource to support weaning a toddler?
Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, is a record of how we saved thousands of dollars by going green. In my podcast with Tanya Lieberman of Dandeliondish.com, I got to reflect on how The Eco-nomical Baby Guide can support new parents as they save money and the planet. If you’re wondering exactly what the book is about, take about fifteen minutes to listen to this interview and see if it might work for you. (And The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is still miraculously cheap right now at just under eight bucks on Amazon–it will earn several dozen times its cost in savings!)
Did your toddler simply lose interest in breastfeeding, or did you have to wean her? If you’re in the latter group, how did you do it?
My daughter, Jovi, turned two last week and I feel thoroughly ready to cut off her supply. She has different ideas. Jovi would like to nurse morning, noon and night for hours a time. She affectionately calls the source of her precious milk “eyes” or “boo-boo’s” and emphatically makes the milk sign (grabbing at an invisible cow’s udder) while she wheedles a long and desperate “plleease.” It’s hard to resist, I admit. But she’s still trying to nurse in the middle of the night, when she’s lonely, when she’s tired, when anyone else is nursing, when she’s cold, when she’s hungry and when she’s thirsty. And, honestly, all of those things happen during the day multiple times–which leaves me trying to fight her off as she reaches her chubby little fingers down my shirt and tries to abduct my breasts. It’s time.
Please, please, please share your wisdom with me! I so wish to have full possession of my body once again! Do you look forward to weaning or dread the day that you’ll lose the special bond of breastfeeding?
For the record, I fully support extended breastfeeding–but I also believe that it’s totally acceptable for a mom to decide when she’s ready to stop. And I’m there!
I remember sitting in the filing room in the middle school where I teach and frantically eyeing the clock as my ten allocated minutes for pumping ticked away. The more I worried about letdown, the less I was able to produce. Eventually I brought photos of my kids and a tiny bouquet of lavender to help that file room feel more comfortable for pumping. Now pumps like Hygeia’s EnJoye Breastpump (pictured above) actually record your children’s cries or coos so that you can play the sounds while pumping. Brilliant! I suppose you could do a quick video on your Ipod of your baby and get the same results. What do you do while you pump to help you relax enough to letdown quickly and maximize your time? Other moms will greatly appreciate your tricks!
A new mom is struggling horribly through her first few months with her baby. She can’t seem to nap during the day. At night, when the baby awakens, her and her husband spend hours trying to soothe her down. Neither parent is getting needed rest, and everyone is at the breaking point.
I don’t actually know this woman, but a close friend of mine has been sharing her story with me and it pains me. Why? Because I remember that desperate hysteria of exhaustion from my first days as a new mom–and how impossible it was to even think of solutions.
I worried that I’d never emerge from my fatigued haze, but some wise friends were able to help me set up a feeding schedule that made a huge difference. If I could just get four hours of sleep each night, I enjoyed my baby so much more the following day and could problem-solve other challenges of early parenthood. I pumped after each feeding so that there was enough available for my husband to do the 11pm feeding. I went to sleep at 8pm and sometimes even slept for a whopping six hour stretch. It was amazing!
Can’t get enough milk pumping? If you pump just a few minutes after each feeding, your milk supply will increase over time since our bodies automatically respond to higher demand. (You can also take an herbal pill called fenugreek, which will naturally increase your milk supply while making you smell like maple syrup. Pancakes anyone?)
Are you currently in the haze of exhaustion? Do you have good solutions to offer other tired souls?
A hilarious quiz in Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, made me think about the difference between support and pressure when it comes to breastfeeding. Nursing is hard work, especially in those early days, and new moms need encouragement, meals and commiseration. (And humor. They might need a copy of Tina’s book, or just a glance at the photo to the right.)
My best strategy for supporting new breastfeeding moms is to let them know that the really hard part comes right at first in those grueling early weeks. It does get easier month by month, and more precious as babies start to become toddlers and those moments of snuggling start to disappear.
I also candidly share that I often totally felt exhausted and frustrated by nursing early on. New breastfeeding moms can feel physically chained to an infant and then have secondary feelings of guilt that they aren’t enjoying nursing. It’s a relief to know that lots of breastfeeding women feel that way at some point.
What happens when we provide all of that support and advice and a few of our friends decide to switch to formula anyway?
Hopefully, we veer far, far away from pitying their child, loading them up with guilt, or reflecting on how great our breastfeeding experience was. Hopefully we let them know that they don’t have to make a hard and fast choice–that it’s possible to part breastfeeding and part formula and alter that ratio in whatever way works for mom and baby. And if they do switch exclusively to formula, we respect their choice.
What do you do to support new moms in their breastfeeding efforts? What was helpful (or unhelpful) to you in those early days?
Juley A. from Anchorage, Alaska will soon be getting her copy of 15 Minutes Outside on her doorstep. Enjoy! Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, it will be even easier to gain inspiration to be outdoors with baby.
In just a matter of days, Andrea B. from Chandler, Arizona will be able to toss a the Smartklean Laundry Ball into her washer without using any laundry detergent–for an entire year!
And, our biggest winner so far of the Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump is….Ashley B from Los Angeles, California.
Thank you so much for your comments and interest. We have some more exciting giveaways coming up so keep coming back to see if you’ll be our next lucky winner!
Is it deciphering cloth diaper vocabulary? (Like hybrid, chinese prefold, pocket diaper, all-in-one?) Is it being able to afford the organic produce you’d like to buy? Is it the physical challenge of early breastfeeding? Do you need some homemade babyfood recipes? Or are you still trying to prepare for baby’s arrival with the planet in mind?
My children are now leaving the realm of babyhood and hearing your questions and challenges keeps us connected with what our readers need in those early days of parenting. If you have a problem, chances are there are dozens of other women face the same dilemma. Thanks for sharing ideas that we can present to our readers for future Friday questions!
Just a friendly reminder that you have until this Friday, May 6th to enter our Hygeia EnJoye Professional-Grade Breastpump Giveaway! There are multiple ways to win and the prize is pretty fantastic so make sure you get your entries in by Friday. Great luck!
In our research for The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, our favorite organic choice was Nature’s One Baby’s Only Organic Formula. And in our recent exploration of hexane, Baby’s Only again stands out as the best choice.
So what is hexane anyway? It’s a petroleum derivative that’s found in glue and gasoline and has recently been used in infant formula to help obtain the DHA and ARA fatty acids from fermented algae and fungus. Since breast milk is packed with DHA and ARA, there has been a recent drive to get these components into formula. (Don’t get us started on the advantages of breastfeeding. If you possibly can breastfeed, there are a million reasons that it will provide you with better health, your baby with better immunity, and save you heaps of cash. Since not everyone can, we want to be sure to share organic formula options. If you are breastfeeding, don’t forget to enter our Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump Giveaway!)
Similic Organic Formula and Earth’s Best Organic Formula both state that no trace of hexane is detectable in their formula and that it’s just used to process the DHA and ARA. But Nature’s One Baby’s Only is the only organic formula to derive their DHA and ARA fatty acids without hexane. They are also the only organic formula to have 100% BPA free packaging.
There’s just one problem with Baby’s Only Organic formula. In an effort to encourage breastfeeding, the company recommends their formula as a follow up to a full year of breastfeeding. However, they offer a nutritional chart comparing their formula to others on the market and recommend that you consult with your health care professional. It’s clear from viewing the chart that Baby’s Only meets or exceeds other brands with its nutritional components and would be more than adequate as an infant formula.
Baby’s Only Infant Formula isn’t even the most expensive option! It comes in at $0.88/oz. while Earth’s Best Organic Formula costs $1.15/oz. and Similac Organic is a bit cheaper at $0.73/oz. (These are my current rough estimates based on buying from Amazon in large quantities)
What’s your favorite organic infant formula? Any tips on finding the best prices on formula?