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Nov 18 2014

Baby-Led Weaning is Pretty Much the Best Thing Ever

By at 2:20 pm

penrose

I love to cook and I love to feed people. At the theatre commune where I interned during college, I was the one who baked the vegan cookies for the Tuesday night “Shapenote Sings.” The happy stress of preparing the seder for 20 of my closest non-Jewish friends is the highlight of my spring. I love cooking so much that in the summer, when I could be relaxing and enjoying my time off, I run a small bakery and breakfast restaurant. I assume it comes with the territory of being Jewish, although my Italian grandmother-in-law stakes a big claim to the food-is-love territory, too.

My daughter Penrose is 6 months old, which means it’s time for her to start eating solids. I take all things cooking and eating seriously, and so after talking with friends and doing some reading, my husband and I decided to go with Baby-Led Weaning. And as disdainful as I can be of capital-letter parenting methods, this is one I’m on board with all the way. For the uninitiated, BLW entails giving appropriately sized and seasoned (with no or very low salt) pieces of food (no honey, egg whites or peanut products for now) to a baby for them to play with, drop, feed to the dog, or eat as they see fit. No spoon-feeding, no rice gruel. Lots of mess and actually, lots of fun. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 16 2014

Weaning Has Been the Hardest Thing Yet

By at 11:55 am

weanin

We’re done. We nursed for two years, three months, and five days, and now we are finished. Check that life milestone off the list. My first baby is a big girl now.

It’s been three weeks and my boobs still hurt. And so does my heart. I’m angry, sad, and a touch melodramatic. While I know it was a good time to do it, and I knew it would be hard, I didn’t think it would be this hard.

Charlotte is doing fine, and I am a basket case.

The timing was right. I went away for five days to sunny Southern California for a work conference, and Charlotte stayed home in Seattle with her dad. I’ve tried weaning by going away, unsuccessfully, two other times in the past year. This time around, I figured with no other upcoming solo travel opportunities on the horizon, I better just do it. We’ve been talking since she turned 2 that the milk in mommy’s booboos was running out because Charlotte was getting to be such a big girl and didn’t need it anymore. So, the morning before I headed off to the airport, we had our final morning nursing snuggle. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 13 2014

I’m Glad to Be Done with Breastfeeding

By at 10:07 am

beautiful baby with bottle

We’re not supposed to say that we’re glad to be done with breastfeeding. But I’ll admit it: My name is Jordana and I’m kind of, sort of, glad to be done.

Without question, breastfeeding is terrific when it works. But “when it works” is often interpreted as the simple: when you can get the kid to latch, for example, or have no problems with supply.

But what if it makes you crazy?

Not literally crazy, of course. I’m talking colloquially crazy. As in, “God, this is driving me crazy.” As in being perpetually stressed out, tired, and miserable. As in finding yourself screaming at your other kids because you are so hung up on making sure the breastfeeding is going OK. What about that? Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 15 2013

I Can’t Bring Myself to Throw Away the Breast Milk

By at 10:07 am

shutterstock_82906351

About four months ago, I stopped pumping.

I know. It’s a big deal. I’m a part-time, work-from-home mom, so pumping was something I had to do in order to go out and get in a few hours at the office. Every night, around 9 p.m. I’d get my water, wash my hands, set up the pump, and watch TV. After an hour of being attached to flanges that made an arooga sound as they pulled on my nipples, I’d have a few ounces and I’d know that I could leave the house the next time the babysitter came by.

Oh man, that pump. I know I’m not the first to complain about the noises it made (the TV volume was always up so high so I could hear over the damn thing) or about the way it could hurt or about how my relationship with cow’s milk has changed now that I myself have been like the cow. And yes, I would multitask, working my way through my DVR, sometimes attempting to respond to emails, but still–it was a huge commitment of time and energy, every night. Every night for almost a year. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 10 2013

My 5-Year-Old Daughter is in Love with My Breasts

By at 11:57 am

bra

Really.

I don’t mean she loves the idea of one day being a grown woman with big boobs who gets to wear pretty bras like her mama. I mean she’s completely and utterly head over heels in love with my breasts.

When she was 2 ½ she finally–after what felt like thousands of failed attempts and pink lollipop bribes and hours of pleading–quit nursing. If she had it her way, though, she’d still be breastfeeding every night until she goes off to college. (Law school, specifically. That girl can convince you a thousand different ways that dogs meow and cats bark–and you’ll believe her.)

But for the second half of her little life, she seems to be making up for her lack of nursing by grabbing my breasts whenever and wherever she gets the chance. We could be at the doctor or at a wedding–she really doesn’t care. She wants my boobs and she wants them now. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 26 2013

No More Screaming at the Breast Pump for Me

By at 10:10 am

breast pumpOne of the things I’m most proud of as a mother is nursing my older son for a year. And now one of the other things I am most proud of is weaning my younger son at 6 months.

Nursing my older son Ari wasn’t easy. Like many moms, it took weeks to find our groove. Just as I was getting the hang of things, I had to head back to work when Ari turned 3 months old. From there my love-hate relationship with my breast pump began.

Due to my son’s (amazing) sleep schedule and my work schedule, I would often go days at a time with only one nursing, if even that. It was just me and the pump. At some point, my pumping became only about the milk and not the feeding of my son. I was constantly worried if I was making enough milk. Was there a deep supply in the freezer? Would I have to give him what I thought was a dreaded bottle of formula? I was pretty miserable breastfeeding. I distinctly remember hating nearly every minute of it, but I persisted. I didn’t think I had any other choice.

I swore with my next child that I wouldn’t be all consumed by the milk. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 7 2013

The Pains of Parenting with Arthritis

By at 9:35 am

arthritis handsTwo weeks after my second son was born, I woke up one morning with swollen wrists that were too stiff and painful to hold my baby. Using my forearms, I handed our son to my husband and whispered, “It’s back.”

It, in this case, was arthritis that had plagued me since before I hit puberty. Brought on by a virus? Possibly tied to that horrific case of the chicken pox I had in sixth grade? Or maybe passed down from an elderly aunt? All the doctors had different opinions. I just wanted to get through my ballet classes in one piece, and maybe work on my tennis game.  Read the rest of this entry →

May 17 2012

Once I Wean My Daughter, How Will I Relax?

By at 10:41 am
dior shoes

Before breatfeeding, I used to look at pictures of designer shoes to unwind. Now what will I do?

I’m going to miss nursing. People keep asking me when I plan to wean, and I tell them what I’ve said since Lila was born. My plan was to nurse for a year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one year of breastfeeding, so that seemed like a good guideline, and I adopted it as my personal goal.

But the thing is, we’re racing toward the year mark. I had no idea how quickly it would pass.

We have certainly had some hiccups along the way, with my milk supply initially being low, along with bouts of mastitis and thrush. But Lila and I mastered nursing, and I’ve come to really enjoy it. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 19 2012

A Weaning Story

By at 3:44 pm

tamara reese weaningWe talk a lot–a lot!–about breastfeeding on Kveller, but something we don’t talk about so often is what comes next–the weaning process. We’ve heard from Tamara Reese about her shaky start with breastfeeding and her eventual success with extended breastfeeding, and now, with teary eyes and proud hearts, we bring to you her story of weaning her first child. From the piece:

When I was seven weeks pregnant we went on vacation and my son nursed around the clock. I was incredibly nauseous and his cries for milk made me equal parts enraged and exhausted. I don’t think I have ever been that tired in my entire life. Upon returning home from our trip, I considered weaning him. I felt that every ounce of energy I had left was being drained by nursing and with his second birthday approaching, I knew he would adjust.

And then I actually pictured a day where he and I weren’t nursing anymore and it brought me to tears.

Read the whole piece on Kveller here.

Jan 24 2012

Mama’s Baby Milk

By at 11:50 am
fist pump

Pumping takes on new meaning.

Before I had my son, I fully intended on breastfeeding. My mother breastfed three children at a time where breastfeeding wasn’t the norm and in a family where feeding  from your breasts was (and is) seen as disgusting. I went into nursing with the goal of one year because that seemed to be what was socially acceptable and by many people’s standards, “once he’s old enough to ask for it, he’s old enough to stop.” Read the rest of this entry →

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