Adventures in Night Weaning

First off, a big big thanks to everyone for the suggestions via this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and La Leche League.

Via a suggestion from someone at La Leche League, we’ve been mostly going with the ideas from Dr. Jay Gordon’s website, but we added some things that are suggestions from other people and/or intuitive.

I started off with telling Peanut what was going on. This is something that hadn’t even occurred to me in the past! It’s amazing how little we think to just have a normal conversation with toddlers for how often it actually helps. I told her that we were going to start getting ready to have her sleep all night long and that she would feel much better and Mama would too.

The second thing that really helped me was sticking to my guns. I decided it wasn’t just a “we’ll try and see how it goes” thing, but rather something that we were just going to do. Of course if she were absolutely miserable, I may have changed my mind, but if she figured out “if I cry for a few minutes, she’ll give me milk” then we wouldn’t ever get anywhere. Luckily, she never tested me on this one.

Weirdly enough, the first night we tried all of this she only woke up once. After waking up 5+ times a night before this, I was certainly surprised. I think that this is where the talking with her helped. She also didn’t fight going back to sleep as much as I thought she would. I gave her enough milk that she got letdown, but didn’t let her continue after that. I explained to her that she could have milk again after she cuddled and went to sleep. Even when she woke up 15 minutes later, I still gave her milk again (though that only happened once).

After the first three nights, I told her that after she went to sleep that she could have milk again when it was time to get up. For the most part, she didn’t fight it at all. There were a couple of nights here and there that we ended up going for car rides, but that was few and far between. I think it helped that I wore a hoodie to bed so that she couldn’t even feel my breasts through  my shirt. I also could tell that she woke up a few times just to have me come lay with her because she passed out again the second that I laid down.

Overall, I’m surprised how well it’s gone. She’s been very cooperative with it. Honestly, she doesn’t seem to mind at all. In the Dr. Gordon article he says that after a week or so that they’ll just stop waking up in the night. She’s still waking up to be cuddled about 1-3 times a night, but his whole article is on the assumption that you’re still co-sleeping and we’re not. The few times that I’ve fallen asleep with her in her bed when I put her to sleep I’m pretty sure she’s stayed asleep the whole night.

I’m amazed how much easier bedtime is now. She used to fight sleep so hard and if she wasn’t asleep by the time the first big letdown was over, I couldn’t get her to sleep at all. Now she’s happy to cuddle to sleep after getting some milk. She very rarely fights it and when she does, it’s easy to calm her. I think that this whole process has gone so well because it wasn’t just me that was ready for it—she needed a good nights sleep too.

Utah Has a Milk Bank Donation Site

Took you long enough.

Considering Utah had the highest birth rate in 2006, we certainly should have gotten one sooner. Then again, we also should have more than one baby-friendly hospital in the whole state too, but doubt that’s going to happen.

Either way, this is a great thing. All milk will still be shipped to Colorado for processing, but at least this takes away a big {money} barrier for Utah moms who want to donate milk. I will certainly keep this in mind if I have an over-supply with my next baby.

If you’re interested, you’ll still need to be approved through the Colorado milk bank. If you happen to have an over-supply or lots of extra milk left in your freezer, I urge you to consider donating it. Ideally all babies who’s moms couldn’t breastfeed them would receive donated milk, but right now getting milk requires a prescription and is quite spendy. Maybe if moms donate more milk, all babies will get breast milk some day.

Here’s an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about the milk bank donation site and a press release posted to the La Leche League of Salt Lake City’s blog for more information.

Minimalism and Organization

I am slowly, but surely, learning that I am not a person who lives well in chaos.

Somehow regardless of that fact, I’ve grown up a very cluttery person. I’ve never been one to keep trash or dirt around, but I’ve just always had so many things that my areas would be cluttered with stuff. I emphasize those words because that’s what I really valued for such a long time. I’ve grown up using “retail therapy”, buying things I don’t need, and spending more than my means. I’ve known for a long time that this is a problem because—having such a frugal husband—it has caused arguments and unhappiness in my marriage. Little did I know, it has also been causing unhappiness in my life.

Not to say my husband isn’t part of my life. Of course, he is a very important part of my life. What I’m saying here is that I’m not a happy person when surrounded by things. There are certain items that are necessary for living or that make life better, but—at least in my world—there are many things that are just unnecessary and adding stress to my life.

I was turned onto the idea of minimalism when reading this post by Hobo Mama. If Hobo Mama introduced me to the idea, The Minimalist Mom gave me the road map to get there. There’s more to minimalism than the lack of stuff, but it’s a mind-set. It’s buying less. It’s reducing your carbon footprint. It’s having a clear mind. It’s increasing your self sustainability. For me, it’s being at peace.

I’ve been reading through The Minimalist Mom’s blog (which I very much recommend doing) to get ideas and inspiration, but a lot of it is just finding out what I need to work on. I’ve already gone through my clothes, my shoes, my bags, Peanut’s old clothes, Peanut’s toys, my {intensely large} pen and pencil collection, my books, and I’m sure there’s more I can’t remember at the moment.

I figured it would be hard. I figured I would start regretting losing my possessions as soon as I put them into plastic bags. Surprisingly, it’s been incredibly gratifying and {gasp} has made me happier.

When I say that I used to rely on retail therapy, I am far from using that as a cliche. In our most recent money argument, my husband went as far as to say I’m a “shopoholic.” Really, he hit it right on the money. I’ve used buying things as my “hobby” for as long as I can remember. I thought that I just enjoyed buying things and had problems saving. Hindsight, of course, is 20-20, and now I realize that it’s how I spent money was the problem. I would buy something new and make myself feel better short-term, but almost instantaneously I would start to feel bad again, so I would covet something else. I became so reliant upon the cyclic spending that I would actually start to feel sad if I didn’t spend money.

I can’t say that I won’t ever fall back into my habits, but I feel like I have an amazing new view on my financial habits. I realize that so much of my self worth is tied into my possessions and that’s not healthy. So much of my time is spent buying things, wanting things, managing my life around things and so little is spent on just making lasting memories. I took my dog to the park today. I played with my daughter on the floor. I wrote two blog posts. I made lunch and dinner. I lived.

So even as I take trash bags full of things to sell at consignment stores or give to good will or throw in the recycling/trash, I feel happier. I feel a burden lifted from my shoulders because I don’t feel like all the stuff surrounding me is going to eat me up. I feel less stressed about going to this store and that store and cleaning my house. You know what? My house is actually clean. It’s an incredibly easy thing to do as you decrease the amount of stuff to clean and/or work around when cleaning.

It’s easy to find things to let go of too. Do I need to keep purses that I will never be able to use because being a mom requires you carry too many things? Does my daughter really need to keep the toys that are pull-your-hair-out annoying or broken or she never touches? We have yet to go through any of my husband’s things because he’s not comfortable with that, but that’s just it—don’t do more than you’re comfortable with.

Some minimalists don’t have a TV. Some live in studio apartments as a family of 3 or 4. Some live with a total of 100 things. These are things that won’t work for me. Getting rid of books that I will never read again, that I’m okay with. That, I’m actually happy with.

Valentine’s Day Craft

Still looking for something cute for your toddler to give loved ones for Valentine’s Day? Hop over to Strings to Things (a new blog I’m loving that I found thanks to the Carnival of Natural Parenting) for an explanation of how to make these cute toddler Valentine’s Day cards.

Peanut coloring the coffee filters.

Peanut getting thoroughly upset that she had to color the coffee filters before she could "paint" them.

Yay painting!

End product.

My Parenting Necessity

 

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without.
Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

 

There are many tools that are deemed useful—or even necessary—to their daily survival in the jungle of parenthood. Yeah, it’s a jungle out there. My child, in particular, seems to be a lion today for how much she is {literally} growling at me, but that’s beyond the point.

Maybe you have a certain toy that calms your babe instantly. Possibly it’s something sweet like cuddles or nursing. Maybe Daddy is the one who saves your day. It could even be a new product that just saves your life (as many claim to do). Either way, we all have at least one parenting tool that we feel we couldn’t live without. What’s mine you ask?

Audiobooks.

Wait, what? Did I really just say audiobooks? What do audiobooks have to do with parenting?! Am I listening to audiobooks about parenting? Heck no! Am I having Peanut listen to audiobooks to calm her in the car? No again!

Audiobooks keep me sane.

I’ve tried to be that mom. You know, the one who always devotes herself 100% to her child. The one who hasn’t left her babe’s side for even an hour since birth. The one who takes their little one everywhere with them, singing happily to them along the way. I’m just not that mom.

I’m the mom who needs “me time.” I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore. I don’t want to can’t spent 24/7 with my child and be happy about my life. It sounds like such a reasonable thing now, but it wasn’t too long ago when I thought I was a terrible mother if I gave into this urge to spend some time alone.

I think that’s part of the reason that I was so stressed last semester. I felt that because I was spending so much time away from Peanut that every moment I spent outside of class needed to be on her. That left only the time after her bedtime for homework, and it just didn’t work out. Taking science classes means I have a lot more homework than what can be done in a couple hours when I’m half awake.

I tried to spend every second I could entirely focused on her. I gave up all threads of hobbies I had. I didn’t even spend quality time with my husband, because our normal quality time was spent frantically trying to finish my homework! Forcing so much responsibility upon myself made me so stressed out that I feel like I failed at all facets of life for that time in my life(not meant to sound over-dramatic, but there’s no better way to explain it).

Suddenly it occurred to me that if I had some time to myself, that maybe I could survive. I’ve always loved books, so I tried reading them again. Of course, I found little to no time for reading, and when I did read to my heart’s content, my studies suffered even more than they were before. That’s when I found audiobooks.

I’ve listened to audiobooks before, but never so religiously. I’ve honestly gotten to the point where I have my headphones in nearly every moment I’m not mentally paying attention to something else. Yeah, I don’t spend as much time focused on my daughter, but now when I am focused on her, I’m giving her my full, undivided, happy attention. It’s entirely okay for her to go in the living room and “read” her books while I’m making dinner. If she gets hurt or needs me, I can still hear her. I still check on her constantly. I just don’t try to entertain her while I’m getting dinner ready or cleaning the house or even driving my car! What a thought!

Audiobooks are such an easy hobby to find time for because you can listen even when you’re doing something else. I listen a lot while I’m driving to and from school. I listen sometimes between my classes when I don’t have any homework to do. I listen while I clean my house (it’s never been cleaner by the way!). I listen while I’m making dinner. I even listen while I’m nursing Peanut to sleep!

Spending that little bit of extra time on me makes me a better Mama—and that’s a good thing.

 

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

 

I’m Excited to Give Birth

First off: No, I’m not pregnant.

The topic is just on my mind because we’ve decided when to try again. I kind of feel like screaming to the world “I’m gonna try to get pregnant starting ____”, but I also kind of feel like that would take some of the charm of it all away, so I’m waiting to give you all the details until we’re there.

Anyway, I want to write a post about birth. Peanut’s birth didn’t go as planned. For a long time I wasn’t okay with how it went. People called us stupid for not seeing the signs. I felt entirely out of control at the hospital. Honestly, I was not happy with how it went at all—even though I did get the natural birth I wanted. I’d like to take a moment here to say it’s okay to be upset about your birth. No matter how your birth went, it’s perfectly alright to be upset that it didn’t go how you pictured it. Don’t let people tell you that you’re not allowed because you have a healthy baby or you survived or blah-de-blah. If your birth didn’t live up to your expectations, you’re allowed to mourn. You’re allowed to take how ever much time you need to get to acceptance of the birth that you had.

Alright, I’m off my soapbox.

Since we have a plan now, I’m obviously starting to get excited. You might think that since I didn’t get the birth that I wanted that I would be afraid of going through it all again, but I’m not. While my birth was vastly different than I expected, it also changed my perspective. I am at the point now where I am able to see how great it is in that perspective. It made me change my birthing views for the better. Yes, I still plan on giving birth naturally, but this time with a twist.

I want a planned homebirth.

I am so excited at the prospect of giving birth at a home. I am excited to plan it. I am excited to connect again with my husband in the way that only birth can make you connect. I am excited to, when it’s all said and done, go upstairs and lay in my bed with my new baby.

(Chances are if you read this blog that homebirth isn’t such a crazy idea for you, but if it does freak you out, check out Bring Birth Home for more information.)

I’m excited to be pregnant again. Yeah, I complained a lot last time, but I still miss having Peanut so close to me. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m excited to go through all of the decision making. I’m excited to re-take our birth classes. I’m excited to hold my new baby in my arms. I’m excited to be that baby’s one and old food source. I’m excited to carry that baby around in my sling while I’m chasing Peanut. I’m excited to have them play together when new baby is older. I’m just plain excited.

I keep thinking I should be terrified and stressed, but I’m just not. I’m ready.

Anyone else looking to add some more love to their family? I’d love to get in touch with other moms who are gearing up to start again!

Breastfeeding Smiles

Breastfeeding smiles
make my day
even when it feels
nothing is going my way

We play peek-a-boo
and you smile ear to ear
not caring you’ve unlatched
because comfort is still near

Then I tickle you
and you squeal in delight
because breastfeeding smiles
mean everything is alright