Hi Balanced Beauties! Happy Friday!
Honestly, I have been so excited to write this post because I am so proud of this journey that I’ve been on for the last year and a few months: motherhood and breastfeeding. I started blogging about my journey when it was hard to see the light at the end of tunnel because of how hard and demanding it was in the beginning to nurse. Like any other adjustment to motherhood, nursing became second nature and truly was one of my favorite bonding times with B!
From almost crying tears the first few weeks when it hurt so bad to nurse Brooklyn, to it slowly becoming easier and easier, and eventually, something I started to look forward to. Almost 14 months in and my nursing journey with Brooklyn has come to an end.
It’s funny because I am a total open book on this blog about my experiences. On instagram I (usually) focus more on just fun, light hearted things. I absolutely love nothing more than when mamas reach out because they read a blog post that they can relate to. This part of my life is real, raw and unfiltered, so I am beyond excited when I write a post that speaks to you, and have a space to be brutally honest and share what real life looks like for us. Nursing has been a HUGE conversation for a lot of moms that follow my blog. Some mamas have been on this journey alongside me, before me, or will be after me. Some tried and prayed it could’ve worked. Some said they knew it wasn’t for them from the start, and already knowing that makes you a good mom. Some mamas have the desire to, or plan to nurse their babies in the future. I truly believe we all have to do what is best for our situation, our mind, bodies and souls. Happy moms are the best moms (to themselves and babies) and that is all that matters.
As many of you know, I am 27 weeks pregnant with Brooklyn’s baby sister. With that being said, I knew that I wanted to nurse Brooklyn to at least one years old (even before getting pregnant) and that was my ultimate goal. After we found out we were pregnant with #2, nursing started to take a bit of a toll on me again physically. I noticed that I would get dehydrated very easily and I was feeling quite lethargic. Feeding one baby in my belly and giving Brooklyn all of my extra nutrients with breast milk became very challenging. At the end of the day, I am not sure how much was left to replenish for myself. Although I knew that I wanted to nurse Brooklyn to at least one, this helped me come to peace with my decision as it made it a tiny bit easier emotionally to start the process. I knew it was best for my mental health as a pregnant mama, best for the tiny baby growing inside of me & best for Brooklyn, hoping I could give her even more of my energy and best self once she was weaned. I posted a Q+A on instagram and received some questions and so many sweet comments from so many of you. I am going to answer these questions as best as I could!
How do I wean/How do I stop nursing?
- Ok so I think if I wasn’t pregnant, weaning would’ve been a lot harder for me to come to terms with. I was still sad, but I also came to a point where I was hanging by a thread (it sure felt that way) physically and mentally. Brooklyn started to nurse a lot less once she started truly loving all the good food and in a sense, that helped too. I feel like it was a very natural process for us. I knew I was ready and I knew she was ready. Just listen to your mama heart and you will know when it is time for you & your little!
- I gave myself a full month to wean. I think this is something you can talk to your doctor about, but in my situation, I knew I wanted to ease both Brooklyn and I into it. I went from feeding 3 or 4 times a day, to 3 times a day, for one week. Our first step was to cut out the middle of the day feeding. The following week, I reduced the feedings to only twice a day. As you can guess, the last week was reduced to one feeding a day. The order of feeding reductions that I decided to follow was; first to go was the day-time feedings, second feeding to go was the morning feeding, and the last step of our weaning journey was to eliminate the night time feed. What was so crazy to me, was that first day/night with no feedings and her reaction to it. You guys, she didn’t ask for it at all, which was so sad to me, but I also think the slow wean helped her come to terms with it. Her love for all the food also helped her come to terms with it! I think my mama heart hurt more than she even knew what she was missing.
Do you miss it?
I miss sharing that bond with her. And I miss feeling like she needs me. All of a sudden, I feel like she graduated to a little human, from a true baby. She doesn’t need me like she did. That for me is hard to let go of since she is my first baby. I had the best year of my life with her and I attribute nursing exclusively to being a huge factor in creating that special first year with her. I was amazed at the progress we made together, from the sleepless nights, to sore boobs. It wasn’t always an easy journey but it became one of my favorite parts about having a baby. Our bodies are capable of so much more than I would’ve ever thought.
How did you feel physically, mentally or hormonally?
Great question!!! First two weeks, I felt horrible. I felt extremely exhausted and kept getting dizzy spells. I am also pregnant while weaning, so I am wondering if this had something to do with it. However, after taking out the bulk of the feedings, I felt so much better and so much more energy. Dizzy spells stopped! Hormonally, I feel happy. Again, I’ve heard mixed reviews on this when it comes to weaning. But I am not sure if I wasn’t pregnant, if it all would’ve hit harder hormonally. I will find that out with my second and get back to you in a year or so from now 🙂
Did Brooklyn miss it?
No! She has not asked for it AT all. This was probably the most emotional I felt about it, because it was like she didn’t even miss it!!!! But that also tells me that maybe she was done too, and in my mind, that made it more peaceful for me to know she was totally ok and happy with or without. I can’t say that if she was asking for it over and over, I would’ve said no. I most likely would have gave in and said ok I tried and give her a bit more time.
How did you know you were ready?
Brooklyn turning one, her eating all of the healthy whole foods, and pregnancy. I knew we put a lot of time, effort and love into this journey and I could tell it was ending. She would start to go very long stretches without it, and wouldn’t ask for it. And I was so lethargic from pregnancy, attempting to stay hydrated and getting the nutrients I needed.
Will you nurse baby girl number two?
YES! God willing it works and she latches. Praying my milk comes in easier round two and hopefully not as painful. But we will work through whatever is thrown at us like we did the first round <3 I love nursing despite the challenges.
How did you nurse while pregnant?
In the beginning it was easy and then as my pregnancy progressed it got harder and more taxing on my body (for me). I also have had very sick pregnancies with both Brooklyn and little sis so that did not help. I throw up a lot during my pregnancies and I lose a lot of energy from that too. I pushed through, and I feel at peace with making it to 13/14 months. I was so amazed that my body could feed two babies. This was my main motivation and truly rewarding.
Not BF related but any recommendations on how to get my 8 month old to sleep through the night?
I am not one to ask since I didn’t really “sleep train” B until almost one lol. She was the most inconsistent sleeper. At 11 months we finally gave in and took the “taking cara babies” class (you can find her on instagram). It literally CHANGED our life, and Brooklyn’s life. We were not only educated on how important it is for our littles to get long stretches of sleep from research based articles, but we were taught how to work with Brooklyn to help her learn how to sleep consistently and longer. I didn’t believe in the type of sleep training that has a lot of crying and leaving your baby, which is why I never looked into it. However, her program has you going for the ride with your baby, and by night 3 of following her class, Brooklyn was sleeping 12 hour nights and continues to do so. She is the BEST sleeper ever now, and if you asked me this 4 months ago, I would’ve told you the opposite. Taking. Cara. Babies. Worth the money. Worth your little one getting better sleeps. Worth the parents getting a full night sleep without waking up. Hardly any tears. Worth it all! She also gives 14 day money back guarantee. A lot of my mama friends recommended this to me, and I am so glad Christian and I took her class.
Did you have to pump and did your boobs hurt?
I didn’t have to pump! I think it helped that I weaned throughout a month and did it slowly. My boobs were definitely full but nothing too uncomfortable since I took out one feeding at a time for a whole week. It gave my boobs some time to adjust. I can totally see if you weaned cold turkey having some serious discomfort or even possibly having to pump!
Do you still give Brooklyn a binky? I am trying to wean my daughter who is two and it is so hard!
Brooklyn has a binky for naps and bed. Occasionally when we are out all day and she is the stroller for a longer period of time, but a few months ago she started to spit it out. I think she knows it’s mainly for sleep and associates it with sleep. She has never been a baby to grab the binky all day long though. It took her three months of life to even take a binky so I guess that could be why! She spit it out then and she spits it out now from time to time. She loves it for sleep though! Wondering when we will break that cycle as well. I am thinking we will start around 1 1/2. If any wiser mama are reading this, when did you wean the binky? DM me or comment below!
I’ll make a blog post about this when we get to that point.
Can you recommend a good breast pump?
Yes! I used the Medela pump and it was great. Personally, I hated pumping. Since I was home and covid played a huge role in how much time I spent home with Brooklyn, I luckily only pumped for the first 3-4 months she was born. I was able to save and store a lot of milk for when I left the house. Call your insurance company, they usually will send one to you complimentary!
What does Brooklyn drink now that you weaned?
Girl hates whole milk. Like, hates. She spits it right back out. We will use whole milk or almond milk when we cook her eggs, give her yogurt with whole milk 3x a day and incorporate cheese in her meals. This is an alternative to whole milk but always check with your doctor!
I can not get over how scary led weaning is. Did you do this with Brooklyn?
I totally agree with you! We did a bit of a mix. We started solids around 4 1/2 months (cereal with breastmilk) which she wasn’t that interested in. Turns out she was allergic to oats and so we stopped all solids until closer to 6 months. We introduced a fruit/veggie puree here or there until 6 months. This helped with knowing any other allergies and testing them out slowly (which she didn’t have other than oats thankfully). Once she turned 6 months we went right to whole foods. She preferred this which is why we ultimately skipped out on purees. Plus, it was a lot of hard work trying to make my own! I felt the whole foods were easier and she loved them/showed a lot of interest in eating what we were eating. Do what you feel most comfortable with honestly! Eating has always been scary for me (I choked as a kid in the car so bad that my mom drove into a building!!) Maybe it is trauma from that, but I am right there with you. On the other hand, babies are so smart and if Brooklyn has a big piece she will either show me to take it off her tray, spit it out on her own, or give it up me to break up. I’ve learned how she can handle food and we learn together.
Not nursing related but my baby is one and doesn’t walk yet! When did B start walking?
She took her first few steps end of 12 months. She started picking up her steps around 13 months. Now she is very brave and attempting to run (not ok). Haha. She was standing on her own, pulling up, walking with a pusher around 9 and 10 months. The independent walking took time and confidence. Every baby is SO different. My one niece started walking at 9 months and my other niece started walking at 14 months. Something to bring up to your doctor if you want to be reassured!
You do the cutest inspo stuff with Brooklyn and so good at taking photos! Can you take my babies? lol
I love photography and always have. I am far from professional but thoroughly enjoy taking photos in my free time. I am usually the photographer behind my own photos and my sisters/family photos! I also love being creative and coming up with fun and unique shoots. Glad you love them! Brooklyn and I usually have so much fun doing it together (even though she is usually moving around everywhere) We try to use as many props as possible!
Are you excited for baby girl and do you have a name?
Beyond excited for baby sis!!! We would’ve been so blessed with either a boy or girl but we were both especially happy to hear we were expecting another girl and a sister for Brooklyn. I have two sisters and they have been my best friends and most solid friendships since birth. There is no bond like it and I can’t wait for B and baby sis to experience that!
We do have a name <3333 We are in love and it is meaningful to us for a lot of reasons. I wouldn’t say it is a popular name but I have been hearing it more than ever. So obsessed with her name and can NOT wait to share when we meet her.
How many kids do you want?
God willing 3 or 4!! Love me some babies and I would have a million if it was realistic.
Do you love being a mom?
Beyond! Best job in the world. I’ve always worked with kids, taught in schools and worked one on one with kids. I have always dreamed of having my own babies. It is not always easy, and I get tired, but nothing beats it. I am my best self as a mama.
I got so many similar questions to the ones above, but these were the most frequently asked, and hopefully I was able to answer them all and help in any way that I could! Always remember this is just my personal experience. If I talk to my sisters or friends, their experience would look very different because all babies and bodies are different. However, we can all share similar challenges, and hopefully help each other figure everything out as we go. To me, that is Motherhood summed up.
I hope this post helped and answered your questions!!!