Tag Archives: Family

When to wean? My Experiences with Breastfeeding and Weaning

I nursed Amber for the last time this week and am still wondering: When to wean?

When I learned that I was expecting my first child, I didn’t give much thought to how I’d feed that baby.  At that time I was struggling with the other typical concerns: Will my body do what it’s supposed to?  Will the baby be healthy? Will I be a GOOD mother?

As time went by, and my due date fast approached, I started learning more and more about the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mommy and baby.  I then started considering nursing; “I’ll try it for a few months” I told people.  My grandmother died from breast cancer, and my Aunt is a survivor, so it was important to me to reduce my chances of also getting it.  (My friend Darwinian Fail would probably tell me to be screened for the BRCA gene).  So when Sierra was born exactly a month early very unexpectedly, I wasn’t prepared for the issues we’d have establishing a nursing relationship.  The human race has been birthing and nursing babies for centuries – it can’t be that hard, I thought. I had flat almost inverted nipples, she was incredibly tiny, and sleepy, and jaundiced. And a preemie.  (For those of you who’ve ever had a preemie, you know exactly what I mean).

As natural as breastfeeding is, establishing a nursing relationship is HARD for anyone – full term babies, small babies, large babies and preemie babies.  But thankfully I had the amazing support of the lactation consultants at our hospital, and from my family doctor (unfortunately he’s retired now).  With lots of perseverance, and support from my husband, my mom (she nursed my brother and I), friends (Kimmer) and the rest of our family, I successfully managed to get Sierra to nurse from the boob three weeks after she was born.

So I happily nursed and nourished Sierra for as long as she wanted: 13 months to be exact.  I knew she was ready to wean because nursing her was a wrestling match.  I’d offer and she’d squirm from my arms and ask for her “ba ba” (bottle).  I was also ready to be done. I wanted to play softball that summer without feeling guilty about not being there to nurse her to sleep at night.  And we wanted another child.

During my second pregnancy I had a list of things I wanted to do to make my parenting experience better/easier. I was going to offer a bottle early, I was going to pump, I was not going to stress over having enough milk. I wanted the best of both worlds – nurse the baby at home, and have her readily accept a bottle so that I could go out when I wanted to.

Brooke was born a very eager nurser. She was born at a good weight (6 lbs 10 oz) and had a great suck. Our nursing relationship got started without any problems at all.

Unfortunately our relationship wasn’t as smooth sailing as our first few days were.  Brooke was a very slow gainer and I was told several times to supplement her, or to give up altogether.  This made me even more determined to nurse her. My mom encouraged me to keep going because the Doctors had told her the same thing about me, and quitting nursing didn’t change that.

Fast forward 20 months. Brooke was still nursing, but I was done.  Again, softball season was approaching and I wanted to play.  For some reason there was not emotional guilt about it – maybe I was exhausted?  Brooke was the kind of baby that woke up every two hours to nurse and at 20 months she was still doing that.  In desperation for a good night’s sleep I offered her a sippy cup of chocolate milk. She eagerly accepted it and never looked back.

Less than a year later my running became very difficult. It felt like no matter where I was running, I was going uphill. So I complained to hubby about that, and he came home with a pregnancy test…  Ooooops!  We were going to be blessed again!

This time I had no preconceived notions of what nursing our third baby would be like, how long I would nurse for, or whether I’d be tied to her or not.

My pregnancy with Amber was super easy – I stayed active, and ran almost to the day I gave birth to her.  My labour and delivery with her was also easy – 67 min from start to finish!  She was also born sucking her thumb, so she had a great suck and was a champion nurser:

Amber was a great baby – we had no absolutely no nursing problems.  She gained well, she slept well and transitioned to food quite easily in comparison to her sisters.  Despite going back to work a year ago, we’ve managed to continue our nursing relationship.

Until recently.

Amber is turning two in less than a week, and has decided that playing with her sisters, and being just like them is far more exciting than nursing.

Sleep?  Well that’s more important than getting up to nurse too.  So over the past month she’s asked to nurse less and less to the point where the last few times that she’s asked, she didn’t stay long enough for me to let down any milk.  Today, as I write this, it’s been about      a week since she last asked for her “‘nack” (snack).

So I guess it’s official. After 57 months of nursing, I’m retiring the ta ta’s. Wow.  What an incredible journey it’s been.

Motivation Monday: August 2, 2010

This is my Mamavation post for Monday, August 2, 2010.

Hey everyone!

How was your week? Are you still drinking your H2O, eating your fruits and veggies and being active every day?

This week was much better for me – I kicked my lingering cold to the curb, ate a ton of fruits and veggies (thanks to the pre-cut platters available at the grocery store), and followed my workout plan almost to a T! My runs were getting super duper hard which I totally was blaming on my pregnancy, but later in the week the temperatures cooled down (a bit) and I found it was easier to run. I have switched from doing a straight run to doing a 4 min run, 1 min walk interval. The 1 minute walks really make it more bearable. In summary, here’s what I did:

Monday: Kick boxing work out with my awesome trainer at lunch
Tuesday: 3K walk with hand weights around the park on my lunch
Wednesday: Boot Camp work out with my awesome trainer at lunch
Thursday: 5K walk/run around the park on my lunch (3 min run/2 min walk)
Friday: 5K walk/run around the park on my lunch (4min run/1 min walk)
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: Rest day

I looked up my annual and monthly mileage totals on Dailymile.com and found that so far this pregnancy I’ve run 393 km – just 107 km to go to make it to 500 km!! To put that in perspective, in 2009 my annual total was only 280 km. No wonder I feel stronger, fitter and happier than I did last year!! I have 3 months of this pregnancy to go, so I’m setting a goal of making it to 500km: 45km in August, 40 km in September, and 25 km in October! (Instead of a baby pool based on birth date, sex etc… I should start a pool based on how many km I can complete before baby arrives ;) ).

Here’s my workout plans for the week (which will put me at 20 km for August – a great start towards my goal):

Monday: It’s a holiday weekend here, so I’m going to walk/run 5k around my neighbourhood.
Tuesday: 5K walk/run around the park on my lunch
Wednesday: Work out with my awesome trainer at lunch
Thursday: 5K walk/run around the park on my lunch
Friday: 5K walk/run around the park on my lunch
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: Kick the family out of the house so I can spend 2-3 hours cleaning…

This week my mantra will be: “Just keep running, just keep running” (Shamelessly adapted from Dori of Finding Nemo).

Congrats to Rachel S (aka @rachelsteffen) on being Mamavation Sista of the Week!!

banner Motivation Monday: August 2, 2010

Erica's Wish 5K

PS – I’m considering doing a 5 km “race” on August 15th called “Erica’s Wish” – do you think I should walk/run it? Hubby is a little concerned by my optimism…

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Fitness Tip of The Day: Replace your running shoes at least every 400-500 miles.

Related posts:

  1. Motivation Monday: Monday, August 30, 2010
  2. Motivation Monday: August 9, 2010

This post is from Fitness Cheerleader. Please visit the original post if you would like to join the discussion.

© Janice Smith for Fitness Cheerleader, 2010. |
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Coffee and a Muffin

artwork_images_181897_414235_gracemehan-devito When I was a pre-teen and into my teens, my mother worked at a bank on Saturday mornings and my brother went to a drama class.  This left my dad and I alone.  Now most normal dads would spend Saturday mornings puttering or watching sports re-runs, while most normal pre-teens would spend Saturday morning on the phone or watching “Saved By The Bell”.

But not us.

My dad and I shared a common bond – we both have ants in our pants and can’t stand to be cooped up in a house. 

We spent those Saturday mornings at the mall (Scarborough Town Centre) together having a French Vanilla or Hazelnut coffee from Mmmmmmmmarvelous Muffins and sharing a muffin.  We had a weekly date. Sometimes we’d sit in silence watching shoppers bustle by with their bags of goodies, and other times we talked about sports, or school, or even boys. 

I miss those days.

Tonight I had night school, and since hubby is away my dad babysat my girls for me.  When I arrived home the house was mostly silent, with the exception of a male voice and high-pitched girl voice.  I stood at the bottom of the stairs for a moment and listened in as best as I could. 

My dad was having an intense conversation with Sierra – just the way he did with me when I was a little girl.  It brought tears of happiness to my eyes, and the guilt of leaving my girls with a sitter while I was at school melted away.

I miss those Saturday mornings with my dad, I miss my coffee and a muffin.  I hope that one day my dad will also take my girls out on Saturday morning dates. 

I love you dad, thank you for babysitting tonight!

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