Milestone Reached: Solid Food!

This past Sunday we officially started Gwen on solids, 2 weeks shy of 6-months. Part of me wishes I could’ve “stuck it out” just 2 more weeks to reach exactly 6 months. After all, EVERYTHING I’ve read about breastfeeding recommends exclusive breastfeeding until baby is at least 6 months, for several reasons. You can read about it on kellymom.com if you’re interested. But, I had to go with my mommy instinct on this one. Gwen had been super fussy and cranky while breastfeeding lately. The only time she wasn’t fussy while nursing was her very first feeding of the day (when my boobs are the most full and she’s the most hungry. Well, I assume she’ s pretty hungry after not eating for several hours overnight). I was starting to get paranoid that maybe my supply was low and she wasn’t getting enough milk, resulting in frustration/fuss. I don’t know if that was actually the case or not. The fussiness could be a result of teething or other unknown issues. But on top of that, she had also been showing “the signs” of being ready for solids. Especially the sudden interest in whatever mommy is eating. She stares with curiosity and longing. If whatever I’m eating is within her reach, she will reach for it (she’ll reach for just about everything that’s in her reach these days). So I emailed her pediatrician, explained how she had been acting and asked if it was okay to start her on cereal…and we got the “ok”.

Oh, and I also realize that there’s a risk of actually decreasing my milk supply by introducing solids now..so my goal is to approach solids as a complement to breastfeeding, not a replacement. I’ll only give Gwen cereal after nursing her. So she can have as little or as much as she wants, depending on her appetite. And since many of the baby-food recipes I’ll be making suggest adding breast milk for consistency, I’ll continue to pump, which will hopefully keep my supply up. I’m still planning to breastfeeding for another 6 months, until she’s a year old .We’ll see how it goes!

So, how did it go you ask? I’ll let this face give you the answer:

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She loved it so much! She quickly tried to grab the spoon and feed herself, and gave this big smile after every bite 🙂

I made brown rice cereal (homemade) using a recipe from this book. Since the recipe makes 8 servings, we stored the rest in these storage cubes.   We grinded the rice in our regular blender and it worked great (it needs to be super fine, like powder). Our big food processor didn’t really work…neither did our hand immersion blender (but it’s really old…). So, the blender it is!

We’re going to stick with the cereals for the next week or so (oatmeal and barley are next on our list to try). Then we’ll start introducing new fruits and veggies.

I can’t wait to see how she likes everything!

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Boob Juicing, 17 Weeks In!

For those of you just tuning in, I wrote a post about the very beginning of my experience with breastfeeding (“boob juicing”) awhile back. You can read it here!

Now we’re 17 weeks in and still going strong. When I wrote that post 12 weeks ago, I was still experiencing some soreness but I am happy to report that we are over that hump (pun intended). I haven’t had any more issues, except for the one boob being slightly bigger than the other. I probably should’ve NIPped that problem in the bud early cause I just can’t seem to fix it now. . .

Ok, I’ll stop with the bad boob puns. For now.

So one change since the last post is that I went back to work part-time for the summer, working mostly from home but going into the office once a week while Ivor stays home with Gwen. So to make sure Ivor has enough milk to give her while I’m away, I have to pump throughout the week (once a day is enough). I hate pumping. I do it because I have to but it is not an enjoyable experience. The act of actually nursing your baby is such a beautiful, natural thing. Pumping just makes you feel like a cow.

Pumping also means bottle preparing/cleaning/etc. which is kind of annoying. But you gotta do what you gotta do (I just hate doing dishes. My least favorite household chore). I tip my hat to you moms who work full-time and  pump the majority of the time. It’s definitely worth it though to make sure your baby gets the good stuff.

My plan is still to breastfeed exclusively until she’s 6 months old, but I’m going to chat with her pediatrician on Monday at her 4-month check up to see if maybe she should start cereal any earlier. I’m certainly in no rush, but I am excited about making baby food for her and seeing her try things for the first time. There will be lots of photos of videos to share I’m sure. I can’t remember if I ever shared the babyfood making book I have, but if not- here it is. So far I think it’s pretty awesome. Obviously we haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, so I can’t comment on that. But all the other information in the book is wonderful. More on that in the next few months…

That’s all for now. For those of you in the early, painful stage of breastfeeding (or pregnant and hoping to breastfeed)- be encouraged!! It’s normal to get off to a rough start, but it DOES get better. Hang in there, don’t give up. As I mentioned in the first post 12 weeks ago, support and knowledge were key for me. Read as much as you can about breastfeeding in advance (kellymom.com is wonderful) and find people who will encourage you not to give up.

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Boob Juicing, 5 Weeks In

“Boob Juicing” is just what we call breastfeeding in the Griffiths home. Why? Just because. And the pump is called the “boob juicer”. It’s more fun that way.

If you’re not interested in hearing about anything boob related, you can stop reading. I just want to talk about our experience, the challenges we’ve faced so far, etc. so others who are interested can benefit, be encouraged, etc. So again, if this does not interest you- move along. Also, if you’re worried that I’m just going to talk about how much better breastfeeding is than formula feeding, well..I’m not. And I refer you to my last post.

Moving on.

We decided to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of Gwen’s life for 2 reasons: health and money. Health– boob juice has amazing health benefits (both for Gwen and for me), there is no denying it. I won’t list them all here because you can easily do a Google search and find out. Money– boob juice is free, formula is not. So for us, the decision was kind of a no-brainer.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At least not at first. There are certainly a few challenges we’ve faced, which I’ll get into in a minute. But first- when I started looking into breastfeeding two of the most important things people told me was to get educated (read as much as I could about breastfeeding before giving birth in order to prepare myself), and get support (from other breastfeeding moms and from your spouse). And, 5 weeks in- I would give the same advice! Knowing about the challenges in advance, and having support/encouragement from others is probably the only reason I haven’t given up.

Ok, so challenge number 1: sore nipples. Even with a good latch, there is going to be some soreness, I don’t care what anyone says. It’s a very sensitive area of your body, and you have a little piranha-like baby born with a killer sucking reflex going to town on your boob. It kind of hurts. There were times in that first week when I was in tears because it hurt so much. I wished I could just go topless because any sort of clothing rubbing up against them was just too much (for the record, I did not go topless. It was just a thought). Enter support person: my husband encouraged me not to give up and told me how proud he was of me and how great of a job I was doing. He also ran to Target to buy Soothies or anything else I wanted to help with the soreness. Between the soothies and Lanolin cream, the soreness eventually went away.  The hospital gave us a small sample of lanolin cream, but I recommend having a larger bottle ready for when you get home. Also, boob juice itself has wonderful healing powers- you can use that too! Amazing.

Challenge number 2: clogged ducts. This can happen for a variety of reasons and it’s pretty common. I first noticed it when I felt my boob and noticed a hard lump that was very tender, and there was some redness surrounding the area. Basically you’re producing milk faster than it’s being expressed. So the solution: express express express! Gwen and I were able to resolve it within a day or so with more frequent feedings. I also used a heating pad to help with the tenderness in between feedings. You have to make sure you catch this early and resolve it quickly because it could develop into an infection called mastitis. And you don’t want that.

Challenge number 3: different sized boobs. This was all my fault. I favored one boob over the other early on because the other caused more pain/soreness. The more you breastfeed from a boob, the more milk that boob will produce, causing it to be larger if you neglect the other one. So make sure you give equal time to both of the girls (this also could’ve been a factor in causing the clogged duct, and a result of the clogged duct). If your baby happens to favor one boob over the other for whatever reason, you could just pump on the side your baby doesn’t like to make sure you’re still expressing that milk.

Challenge number 4: exhaustion. Being the only one who can feed your baby and get up in the middle of the night with the baby can be quite taxing. At least until you start pumping. We were told to wait until at least 3 weeks, and before 5 weeks, to introduce a bottle. After 3 weeks to make sure breastfeeding is well established, and before 5 weeks because baby might refuse the bottle if you wait too long. So that’s what we did. I’ve started pumping and putting the boob juice in a bottle so that Ivor can feed her occasionally and give me a break. Because yes, it’s kind of tiring. But it’s just for a short period of time and will go by quickly (or so everyone keeps telling me about parenthood).

That’s basically it so far. I wouldn’t say we’re over all the hurdles and it’s smooth sailing just yet. Gwen is getting more active and squirmy and she moves her head around sometimes while latched (um, ow…I am NOT a chew toy Gwendolyn!), so we’re still working on that. Overall though, even with the challenges, we’re still happy with our decision and we’re sticking with it. I know my baby is getting the good stuff in that juice and it’s keeping her strong and healthy, so that makes it all worth it.

Also- I just think it’s really amazing how God designed our bodies to completely sustain our babies’ lives for these first months. And how my body physically responds to my baby’s cry just blows me away. One night I was pumping and my husband pointed out that whenever I even looked at Gwen, my milk flow would get faster. How cool is that?

Anyway, I’ll check in again with an update after awhile. In the meantime, if you want more info (like, A LOT more info), check out kellymom.com!

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A Heads-Up Disclaimer

Just wanted to write a quick disclaimer about some things I will most likely be posting about in this here “mom blog”. I’ve noticed that people get offended easily when it comes to parenting and how you choose to feed, diaper, discipline, etc. your own children. I’m sure most people have seen this onesie floating around on the internet:

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Sure, I have my opinions about certain things (and I may even believe that certain things are better than others). But I won’t be sharing my “expert” advice (I’ve only been a mom for a little over a month, after all). Convincing the world to do things our way is not our goal. Our goal is to explain what we have chosen to do and why. That is, why we think it’s best for our family, in our circumstance, and talk about the challenges and benefits we experience, etc., in hopes that it just might be helpful to someone else.

So here are a few of of the topics I’ll likely be posting about:

Breastfeeding- Cloth Diapering- Babyfood Making

All of these things we have decided to commit to for many reasons, which I’ll get into eventually. But again, this is not to say that anyone who does things differently is doing the wrong thing, or the less than optimal thing. Cause I don’t know your kid, your family or your circumstance.

End disclaimer.

But back to the message of that onesie real quick. I have mixed feelings whenever I see it. I get the point they’re trying to make, to an extent (people tend offer unsolicited advice, pretty much as soon as you announce you’re pregnant). And some people tend to offer it in such a way that the advice they’re giving is the only way or the best way. Sure, that’s annoying and I don’t want that kind of advice. But I’d be pretty arrogant to think that I know everything and don’t need ANY advice. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve only been a mom for 4 and a half weeks. I certainly do not know everything and can greatly benefit from other experienced mom’s advice on certain things, if it’s given properly in a way that’s helpful (for example, “you’re totally doing the wrong thing, you should be doing THIS instead, like me” is the opposite of helpful).

🙂

That is all.