Gently Weaning a Toddler

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!
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How Do You Support Moms Who Struggle With Breastfeeding?

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.
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The Truth About Breastfeeding and Survival in Those Early Months

Breastfeeding is an amazingly glorious experience that can take your breath away as you look into your baby’s newborn eyes at 3am.  But let’s be honest.  In the beginning, it can be brutal.  There’s the all-important latch, the endless night feedings, the chapped nipples, and the general loss of sleep.

And it is great, really.  But no one tells you how hard it can be at first!

There is a sudden transformation of something (your breasts) that once seemed sort of like an unnecessary but attractive part of your body into something that drips, leaks, hardens, and chafes.  What a shock!

Luckily I had access to a free weekly baby clinic through the Peacehealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center where I delivered.  I desperately needed those appointments, both for the time with the midwives and for the discussions in the waiting room.  We, the haggard, un-showered,  spit-up-upon crew of mothers and fathers instantly bonded like a herd of war veterans.  There was hysterical laughter, there were tears, and there was a general sense that no one really knew what they were doing.  And that was the most reassuring of all.
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Breastfeeding Support for New Moms: Our Top Lactation Posts

After hours of labor, I always assumed that I would nestle my new baby to my breast where he would quickly suckle and then fall into an eight hour slumber.  Instead, breastfeeding a newborn was a tricky business for the first few months.  I only wish I would have had the resources we’ve compiled over the years at Greenbabyguide.com.

Low breastmilk supply can be a major issue, especially when rest and fluid intake are so hard to keep up in the early days.  Why not have someone whip you up a batch of homemade lactation cookies, or “milk making cookies” to boost your breastmilk supply?
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When a Breastfeeding Baby Rejects the Bottle: Help!

breastfed baby refusing bottleWe all know breastfeeding is best for baby, mom and the planet, but what happens when mom goes back to work and baby decides not to take those bottles full of expressed milk?   Today my baby went ten hours without eating just because she would NOT accept any form of bottle at any temperature from anyone.  We’ve tried while she’s asleep, while happy, while she’s incredibly hungry and the result is the same. My stay-at-home husband is desperate for a solution that will make her happy and end the hours of screaming.  Any ideas?  We need all the help we can get!