Scarlett is Weaned

Well, it’s official. My youngest darling is weaned! And now that I think about it, it wasn’t really that hard because I went the slow route of eliminating feeds until she was down to one.

I had wanted to nurse all my kids until 18 months. I thought that would be ideal. But I got pregnant with Lila when Logan was 9 months old. By the time he was 11 months I began weaning from the breast because my body literally felt like it was falling apart. Since he was still so young, I put him on bottles so the switch wasn’t too hard to do.

It was the same with Lila, only she was 10 months old when I got pregnant with Scarlett. Both Logan and Lila were weaned from the breast by their first birthday, yet they continued with bottles, mainly at night, until about 20 months. (You can read the complete details of their weaning process in this post.)

On to Scarlett: When her birthday rolled around I didn’t even consider weaning. I wanted to nurse her to a point when I wouldn’t need to put her on bottles. Around 14 months she sort of became aware of nursing. I guess up until then it was a need, then it just became fun because she would ask for it at odd times. She even came up with her own word for it: boof. She would lift my shirt and say “boof, boof” whenever she wanted it. It was cute.

I don’t think I ever really made a firm “I’m going to wean now” decision. I just slowly got it down to morning, before nap, and before bed, plus at least twice in the night, then before I knew it, she wasn’t asking for it at all in the day. About 3 weeks ago I eliminated her before bed nurse. She was already having a cup of milk and a snack so she didn’t really need to nurse as well.

The only one I didn’t know how to cut was the middle of the night one, and at times it was two or three times, depending on her moods. Also, I was always so tired that I often didn’t even remember taking her out of the crib and feeding her, but I know I did. She would be sleeping peacefully beside me and I’d be like “how did you get here?” Ha. Tired mommy brain doesn’t work too well at night.

So I continued letting her nurse at night. In the last week though, she was only waking once for it. Then the other night she asked for water. That was it. I knew she was ready. Last night I made sure to have her sippy cup by the bed and when she woke, I gave her water. She didn’t even ask to nurse.

So I guess I got my wish: I nursed one of my babies until 18 months. When the older two were that age I would have felt weird offering them the breast, but with Scarlett, is has felt weird to not offer it. I still can’t believe I am over and done with breastfeeding! And that I don’t have to deal with night bottles! Yes! Success all the way!

Now on to the next hurdle: sleeping in her own bed all night. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Weaning

The time will eventually come when you will either need or want to wean your child. There are so many viewpoints on this, how to do it, what age is best, and so on. Everyone has their own opinion so I won’t get into that. Instead, I will just tell you what worked for me.

I got preganant with Lila when Logan was only 9 months old. I kept on nursing him as long as I could, but by the time I was 2 months along, I knew I had to wean him. My body felt as if there was something permanently sucking my energy and ability to do anything. I was drained 24/7. I didn’t feel better until Logan was weaned.
It is possible to continue to breastfeed your first during your pregnancy and even nurse both children after your delivery, but it is not for everyone. If this is something you want to try, I’d advise you to reasearch it well, but in the end, listen to your body. You will know if you can do it or not.
Back to Logan: When he was 11 months old, I slowly introduced him to the bottle. At this time he was already eating solids well, having meals with nursing inbetween. He liked food and ate well, so the bottle was mainly for nightime and before naps.
I didn’t feel he needed formula, since he ate such a variety of food already, so I opted to give him milk in the day and yougurt and banana at night.(Cow’s milk should be introduced slowly, because in young children, it can cause alergies and constipation. My kids are not alergic but Lila did experience the constipation caused by too much too fast. Be careful.)
I gave Logan milk twice daily in 4 oz. bottles, slowly increasing the amount as he got used to it. At first I had to focus on replacing the nursing with the bottle. Sometimes he would nurse a little and then take the bottle, but by his first birthday, he was completely weaned off the breast. At night, I gave him 2 8 oz. bottles of yoghurt and banana. I gave him this cause I felt he was too hungry in the night and that was why he woke up so much. Later I realised that the banana wasn’t needed so I eliminated it when he was 13 months old.
To make these bottles I would mash a banana, mix it with about 6 oz. of yoghurt, and top it with water. They had to be shaken well to mix and then kept in the fridge until he needed them. The problem was that I had to make an extra large hole in the nipple to allow for the banana to pass through, and if he fell asleep without finishing it, it would leak all over. So I don’t recommend doing it with the banana. I didn’t do it for Lila and she was fine at night with just the yoghurt.
Shortly before Lila was born, I decided Logan no longer needed his nighttime bottles, so I slowly got him off of them by each night, replacing one ounce of yoghurt with water. Then after he was off the first bottle I did the second. Once he was off the yoghurt, he kept having water at night, but I let him have water bottles too long, until after he was 2. He didn’t need so much water in the night and because of this, his diaper would leak. When I took the bottles away and gave him water in a cup when he woke up, he started sleeping so much better at night, and eventually slept through the night.
Lila also had to be weaned early, but being a food-loving Tarus, it took longer with her. She didn’t take to the bottle as easily as Logan had, especially at night, but I had to persist. She also took longer to be weaned from her night bottles. Logan was weaned off them by 17 months, but I think Lila was almost 20 months when she was weaned. Every child is different. She would scream and freak out if I didn’t give her the bottle, keeping all of us up in the night, so in her case, it was better to go slow. After a rough first try, I waited a few weeks and tried again, and she accepted with no fuss.
I also gave her too much milk too fast. Wearas Logan tolerated it well by 12 months, Lila had problems with getting constipated until she was at least 14 months. Her body just took longer to adjust to milk, so I gave her more yoghurt and less milk until she didn’t get constipated any more.

My plan with Scarlett will be to breastfeed her for as long as possible. Since I can no longer get pregnant (I had a tubal ligation with Scarlett’s delivery), I hope to continue until she is at least 15 months, but we’ll see. Maybe she won’t even need to take bottles.

So to sum this up:

– The age at which you wean your child is up to you, when both you and baby are ready to quit.
– If you have to wean early, you will need to introduce bottles. Some babies take to the bottle faster than others, so have patience.
– If your child is already eating solids well, you shouldn’t need to use formula. But if your baby is still mainly breastfeeding and for some reason you have to quit, find a formula that works for you and is for your baby’s age. Babies who aren’t regularly eating solids get their main nutrition from their milk and need a good balance of vitamins and minerals. Ask your doctor what they recommend.
– Go slow with weaning. If you go cold turkey, you may get painful breasts and it could lead to infections. I found that slowly replacing one nurse at a time with either a bottle or meal of solids worked for me. By the time they stopped nursing, I had only been giving it once a day so I only had a little milk and never had any problem. Breast milk is produced by demand from your baby, so the less baby nurses, the less milk you will have.
– When you are ready to get your baby off the bottle, slowly replace one ounce of milk, formula, or yoghurt (whichever you are using) with one ounce of water. This dilutes it and gradually they get used to the taste of water and will take that.
– There is no need to continue water bottles at night. If they wake for water, give them some in a cup so that they see it as something different. If you want them to have milk in a cup instead of a bottle, either introduce it early (such as for their daytime milk while weaning) or explain to your older child that they are now big enough for a cup and that bottles are for babies. Of course, you don’t want to rush it. Follow your child’s lead. Your older toddler could even help you pick a cup to encourage them to use it.
– Make sure that your child is eating solids well before taking their bottles away. On the other hand, if you have a toddler who only wants milk all day and refuses food, you will have to cut the milk down somehow. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you.
– Above all, have patience. Weaning can take time, and it can be tempting to rush it when you are newly pregnant, overtired, and just need some sleep. If you have someone who can help you during this time, all the better. But if not, just remind yourself that it won’t last forever and that you will succeed.

Breastfeeding, part 2

First part is here.

One of the best things about breastfeeding is that it gives you a close bond with your child. You have to stop to feed baby numerous times a day, so you have to take that time with them. Of course, you have the option of doing something while baby is nursing, if you feel you need to make use of the time. You can read a book, work on a shopping list, check your mail, etc.

There are many things you can do so that you don’t feel you are just “sitting there”. It is tempting to hurry baby along so you can get back to work, but having something you can do while sitting will keep you occupied and you can allow baby to take his time while feeding. You could also just relax since you have to sit to nurse. You could even lie down and take a little nap while nursing. You know you need it so don’t feel bad about it.

For the first 3 or 4 months, you will need to burp your baby during a feed. There is no need to slap baby’s back hard; it is best to gently rub baby’s back with your hand or lightly pat until the burp comes up. Put baby on your shoulder, making sure to put a cloth there first to catch any spit-up. With a newborn you can also sit him up on your lap, cradling his chin in your hand, rubbing his back with your other hand, until it comes up. You will know baby has a burp when he stops nursing and refuses more, even if it has just been a short time. After burping, he will pick up again and continue until the next burp. Burping the baby is important, otherwise he will be uncomfortable, even in pain, and will cry until you get it up.

When I had Logan, I wasn’t sure when to burp him. I always thought he was done, but then he would cry unconsolably and I didn’t know what the problem was until someone told me about the need to burp him and not just lie him down when he stopped nursing. Things got easier after that, and by the time Scarlett was born, I automatically knew what to do.

As your baby gets older, he will eventually learn to burp on his own, usually around 4 months but will have to be sitting up to do so. Scarlett often falls asleep while nursing, so I lie her on her tummy. That way, if a burp wakes her, she just has to lift her head and it comes up. She always lies back down and sleeps again. I’ve seen this many times. On the other hand, if I leave her on her back, or if she rolls over, she screams in pain until I pick her up and she burps. But then she is awake and stays awake, and misses her nap, making her fussy until she can sleep again.

Oh, yes. Don’t forget that breastfeeding has an important benefit for you too: weight loss. Lots of the fat your body stored during your pregnancy will be used to make milk over the first few months. You still need a nutricious diet, but be asured that you will lose weight even if you can’t exercise yet.

Breastfeeding, part 1

Deciding to breastfeed your baby is probably one of the best decisions you will ever make for your child. We have all heard that “breast is best”, baby will be smarter, etc. But did anyone ever tell you it will hurt like hell when you first start? No? Ok, well, I’m telling you now. It hurts!
You may have seen other mommies nursing their babies and thought, “Well, that doesn’t look too bad. I can do that.” You get all excited, thinking that when the time comes, you will let your baby nurse as much as he wants cause you want your baby to have the best. And it is the best. But the reality check doesn’t hit until you actually begin.
The first time baby latches on and gets that first mouthful, you smile. You observe that tiny mouth working hard to get the milk, the closed eyes, the tiny fist on your breast. You feel like a mother.
The rest of the first day you don’t mind nursing whenever baby asks for it. You may even make it through the second day…then again, you may not. At some point the pain is going to kick in, and this isn’t just a little pain – it’s enough to make you yell. Your nipples will feel like they are on fire each time baby grabs them; you will cry, maybe even wish you had never started.
The good news is, the pain will only last about a week to 10 days, or 2 weeks at the most. Your nipples will toughen to a point that you lose all feeling in them. But what can you do during that time when it hurts so much?
At first, you have to endure, even if you are yelling and crying. I remember pounding the bed with my fist and yelling “ow, ow” until the painful point passed. Yes, it will not hurt the entire time, after about the first 30 seconds, the burn will pass and you won’t feel anything, unless baby lets go and you start over.
Since a newborn nurses so frequently, you may reach a point in the day when you say “enough, I’m done”. What I did was to keep on hand a jar of formula and use it whenever I needed a few more hours in between. Sometimes the hospital will provide this so that the baby has something to eat while your milk is coming in. If they don’t, then have someone get it for you. It won’t hurt your baby to have a little formula, and your nipples will thank you for the break.
Eventually the pain will pass and you won’t need the formula any more. I always keep some on hand though, mainly for use during outings. Where I live, finding a private place to breastfeed is not easy, and trying to sit and nurse the baby with a sheet over my shoulder while my other two were running off was not practical. It is also extremely hot here (current temperatures around 40 deg. C) so covering the baby’s head would make her sweat, too. So the easy solution was to pack a bottle with the formula measured out in it, and a bottle of water, and just mix it when she was ready for it.
You can find the next part here.

Announcing…

I finally get a chance to tell you our news. The baby is here!

I wanted to have a natural delivery but ended up with the C, mainly due to my doctor’s reluctance to wait longer and she was telling me all the things that were leading up to needing a C. I truly think it could have been natural had I had the chance to wait longer. Oh well. It is all past now. I came home yesterday and now have a chance to tell you all the details.

Lila Chanelle D’souza was born on April 27th, weighing 3.5 kgs. (7.7lb), and 20 inches long. Want to see her?

Her first picture, taken by daddy. I was still in surgery.


Daddy and Lila have some bonding time in the hospital.

Logan and Lila – 5 days old.

The little princess.

Her first bed.

Logan really loves his little sister.

I think my recovery this time has been faster than last, even though this time I have had the baby with me all the time and last time I didn’t. I did have help in the hospital though. Some friends took turns spending the first few days and all the nights with me, which really made a difference, especially when I couldn’t move. Daddy had to be at home with Logan and they got time to bond. Logan also learned how to run the house as daddy had to take him everywhere he went.

They came to visit me every day and Logan got used to me being gone, but I think he finally realized I was gone and started to miss me and cried the last time he had to leave. He was so happy when I finally came with him.

Logan still has to learn how to be gentle with her. He wants to touch her all the time and I have to remind him to be gentle or else he grabs her roughly, not trying to hurt her but he doesn’t know any better. So I can’t leave her in his reach, ha.

She is nursing well now that my milk has come in. She can be so demanding when the food is slow in coming. (I think this is a Taurean trait. They love their food.) She also sleeps well, even at night, only waking twice to nurse last night. That was a relief as the previous night she had a bad night and was awake screaming most of the night due to gas pains. I had eaten the food they served in the hospital and I think that did it. I was more careful yesterday and was rewarded with a good nights sleep.

I’ve forgotten how much newborns love to sleep. Today she has hardly been awake at all. Even now she is sleeping on my lap as I type this. I’d better go tuck her in bed so I can eat.

So now you can look forward to hearing more about her and life with two children instead of one.

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