Weaning my LO off breast milk

Weaning my LO off breast milk

My baby girl is almost 11 months old, my milk supply is dwindiling and I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on what milk to give her next.  For my own personal reasons, I’ve never wanted to give her formula so I am extremely thankful and grateful that I’ve been able to produce my own milk for her this long.

I’ve read time and time again about all the different milks.  Oat milk, rice milk, almond milk, goats milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, flax milk, etc.  The biggest thing for me is that I don’t want to make my own milk.  I want to be able to buy something clean for me to just give her, but not create it from scratch.

I’ve been cows-milk-free for nearly 9 years.  I still eat cheese from time to time (usually just feta and goat) but not really.  I myself drink coconut milk and almond milk and I make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar, I make sure it doesn’t say “natural flavors” on the ingredients list (yuck to beaver secretions) and definitley, definitley make sure it’s carrageenan-free.

My mom used to make me my own almond milk (and bone broth) throughout my entire pregnancy.  She would blend measured overnight-soaked almonds, water, sea salt, vanilla extract and dates.  It was the most delicious almond milk I ever tasted but I know you aren’t supposed to be giving babies almond milk prior to 12 months (and it spoils extremely fast.)

Recently, I gave my daughter some coconut milk (in her chia seed pudding) and she loved it. Right away, she loved it.  So I had to compare my favorite brands which are Trader Joe’s, Vita Coco and Califia Farms.

These are the ingredients from Vita Coco:  Coconut Water from Concentrate (Water, Coconut Water Concentrate), Water, Coconut Cream. Contains less than 2% of natural flavor and Stabilizers (Cellulose Gel and Cellulose Gum). Fortified Vitamins and Minerals: Tricalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Vitamin A, Zinc Sulphate

These are the ingredients from Califia Farms:  Coconut Milk (Water, Coconut Cream), Coconut Water, Calcium Carbonate, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum

These are the ingrediends from Trader Joes: Organic Coconut Base (Water, Organic Coconut Cream), Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Guar Gum,  Xanthan Gum, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D2, L-Selenomethionine (Selenium), Zinc Oxide, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12.

At first glance it may look like Califia Farms is the winner, but it has 2 types of gums without telling you how much, they add salt to their milk and it has Potassium Citrate which isn’t great for you at all.

Trader Joe’s brand has one ingredient I can’t even pronounce, it has guar gum and xanthan gum and folic acid?

Vita coco is the one I went with. It explains it has less than 2% of the gel/gum and everything else is pretty healthy for us.

I’m leaning towards coconut milk because she loves it already! I am not looking at this to be a source of calcium, protein, or Vitamin D, for her… more of just a treat because she’ll still be missing a creamy milk.  So far, I’ve been mixing one date per 12 oz of Vita Coco coconut milk and she’s been guzzling down 1 bottle every day for about 4 days now.

She still drinks about 24oz of breast milk, 9oz of water and other foods daily. She has a super clean, super nutritious diet consisting of sweet potatoes, pineapple, beets, blueberries, A LOT of brocolli, leeks, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, mango, peaches, A LOT of spinach, pears, peas, apples, oats, rice cakes, dates, blackberries, strawberries, A LOT of avocados, prunes, zucchini, and chickpeas.

With that said, I’m not really worried about her lacking any nutrients. I just want to transition her easily from breast milk to another milk (as a treat) and plenty of water (which I’ve successfully done.)

How did you wean your baby?  What age were they?  What milk did you change to?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Vaccines for your baby

Vaccines for your baby

Today I read an article about a 5 month old baby getting measels in Chicco, CA and it got me thinking about vaccines.  In the past I have had mixed feelings about vaccines because there has been a lot of talk about how vaccines could cause autism and how we truly don’t know what goes into them.

Something like the flu shot, caused me to become hesitant with shots because the only times I personally got the flu were the years I got the flu shot.  I haven’t gotten the flu shot in about 5 or 6 years and I haven’t gotten the common cold or flu in 5 or 6 years.
Or how many people have gotten the HPV shot, yet 79 million Americans are still affected by HPV.  I made a choice to not get the HPV shot and I test negative for HPV everytime.  These situations could be mental, but they’re also true.

Obviously HPV or the flu is nowhere near as serious or severe as other illnesses. I would consider myself pretty hollistic, very into health and wellness and always seeking a natural alternative solution to a man-made one.  So topics like this are conflicting for me but I always keep an open mind to what makes the most sense.

After reading the most recent story about the baby boy with measels it got me thinking differently now that I have a daughter.  I, like most parents, would do anything to protect my daughter.  I would never forgive myself if she were to contract something that could have been avoided had I allowed her a proper vaccine.  I saw pictures of the 5 month old and it broke my heart.  You can’t give a vaccine for measels at 5 months old, the baby is too young.  Knowing a mother has to go through seeing her baby suffer at any age, is so terrible, let alone a newborn and something that severe.  She was quoted saying something along the lines that it’s up to us in our community to vaccinate ourselves to be able to protect the ones who are too young to get those kind of vaccines from contracting a certain illness.

I wish we were more educated about vaccines.  Sure, we can Google the 6 different types of vaccines that are given to our babies at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, etc.. but it would be nice to have every Pediatrician/Doctor give you a brief of how long the vaccination has been around, how they were able to create it, statistics of those vaccinated v non-vaccinated along with other appeasing and knowledgeable information.

At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping our babies as healthy as possible.

This blog post was just a free thinking post to put my thoughts out there. Have you had any thoughts like these?

Interesting facts about breastfeeding/pumping

Interesting facts about breastfeeding/pumping

  • Your breast milk is changing to suit your baby’s needs.  When his or her saliva enters your nipple, your body reads it and produces the right “formula” for your baby for that specific point in time. The nutritional profile of the milk changes and grows with your baby.
  • You get no period while you’re breastfeeding! BUT you can still get pregnant, so be careful!  We’ve all heard of Irish Twins.
  • A pumping bra exists.  I went 3 months pumping without knowing of a pumping bra.  I know, I know right.  3 months holding the cones and bottles for the entire 15-20 minutes.  Get yourself a pumping bra STAT.
  • I used to pump for about 10 minutes until it seemed as if my breasts were completely emptied out and then I’d stop, when in reality they weren’t completley emptied out, it just felt like it. Then I found this great article about pumping and how you should pump at least 15 minutes, if you can swing 20, do 20 minutes.  You do not want to rush this.
    The reason for this is because another wave of milk comes in as you’re pumping.  It comes in right at about 14 minutes, you’ll feel another round of milk coming in and you want to pump long enough to feel that and pump that out.  I always set a timer for 15 minutes and right at almost 15 minutes is when I feel this so be patient. Waiting the full time also signals to your body that you need more milk production!
  • The size of a woman’s breasts have nothing to do with the amount of milk she produces.  A woman with large breasts can make little milk and a woman with small breasts can make an abundance of milk.
  • Breast milk contains naturally occuring cannabinoids in it that promote sleep and calmness in babies.
Top three baby foods

Top three baby foods

Why I love Peter Rabbit Organics, Ella’s Kitchen Organics and Plum Organics, and use no other baby brand foods (yet, anyways).

Peter Rabbit, Ella’s and Plum have super clean organic non-GMO ingredients with nothing else.

While other baby food companies such as Happy Family Organics, Gerber, Wellsley Farms Organics, Go & Grow OptiGrow Organics and Earth’s Best have ingredients such as:
-Citric Acid
– d-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate
-Ascorbic Acid
-Corn
-Oil

So even if they’re organic and/or non-GMO as most of these brands are, you want to be mindful of the ingredients and ask yourself if your baby really needs certain ingredients added into their food while you have other options.

While other companies such as Peter Rabbit, Plum and Ella’s kitchen have the fruit and/or the vegetable in the pouch as their only ingredients along with lemon juice. *BTW* Plum Organics has a Just Prune stage 1 food avail, which can help a backed up baby! — See my article on babies with constipation.

I’ve also read and heard great things about Once Upon a Farm and Sprout Organics, but have yet to try them.

Have you tried them? What are your favorite baby foods? Do you make your own? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Introducing baby food = baby constipation issues

Introducing baby food = baby constipation issues

As soon as I experience something (good or bad) with my daughter my first thought is to write it out on my blog for others to read in hopes it may help.

Introducing baby food ages 4-6 months is great, and while constipation may not happen when you’re first introducing small amounts.. It definitely starts happening when you introduce bigger amounts.

At 7 months, some babies may be eating up to 8 ounces of foods, spread out through the day, which is my LO’s case. That’s almost two entire bags of Peter Rabbit Organic food pouches (in addition to her breast milk.)

My daughter was straining so hard one night, clearly very much in pain, confused and crying all night long. You could tell she was in a lot of pain trying to push anything she could out. Worst feeling for a mama.

I’ve tried giving her organic prune juice (only ingredient on the back is organic prunes) and some organic apple juice (only ingredient on the back is organic apples) but she really doesn’t like drinking either and honestly I’m not trying to get her to start drinking juice at 6/7 months, that wasn’t what I had planned for her… but I’m willing to try anything that helps right?

I called my pediatrician the next day and told him I’ve tried prune and apple juice and she was crying all night from straining. He advised me that in this certain circumstance I should go to any pharmacy and buy Pedia-Lax or the generic Children Glycerin Suppositories, cut one in half and insert it into her rectum with a baby thermometer about half an inch.
Side note: None of these suppository containers say baby or infant on them.

The suppositories are super silky/smooth and soft, also tiny (even before you tear/cut it in half), so I didn’t feel too, too bad giving it to her. She cried just a little bit, because I’m sure it was an unfamiliar and uncomfortable feeling and within 15 minutes she had a dirty diaper! I felt so relieved and she did too.

Then I started thinking how I don’t want her to go through this again. I got a baby medicine dropper and started putting about half an ounce worth of prune juice into her Peter Rabbit Organic food pouches so she doesn’t taste it. I do this once she’s eaten some of the food so there is room, and her bowel movements have, thankfully, been regular for her.

A little bit of prune or apple juice a day should keep your LO’s bowel movements moving right on through.

I also am sticking to buying her food pouches that have no banana in them, more greens such as spinach, peas, kale, broccoli and apples so that she has enough fiber from vegetables.

How to tell if your breast milk has gone bad

How to tell if your breast milk has gone bad

When I first gave birth I knew right away I wanted to breastfeed as long as possible. This came with 101 questions and more. Luckily I had my doula to help me along with several questions and now I’m going on 7 months of breastfeeding/pumping.

One of my questions was about keeping breast milk out vs putting it in the fridge vs freezing it. I didn’t want any of my liquid gold going bad because I wasn’t sure how long I would have a supply for. 
You’ll know if your milk has gone bad by the smell, but if you still can’t tell..

The answer to that question was simple. Babies won’t drink the milk if it’s bad.

If you try and give your LO milk and they reject it, rest assured that you can throw it out. 

(FYI: this may happen anyway if you have too much citrus in your diet or something else your LO doesn’t take a liking to. I learned this by being sick and stocking up on lemon juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, emergen-c and my LO was not having it those couple of days.)

Other than that.. your milk stays good in the fridge 3-5 days after you pump. And it stays good anywhere from 3-12 months in the freezer depending if you have a small, normal or deep freezer.

My advice is just date and freeze the milk after each pump. You’ll want to take as much air out as possible when sealing.  Then you’ll want to lay your bag flat in your freezer until frozen and then reposition them upright to conserve space so that they’re like little files. 
It takes about 3-5 minutes of running it under hot water to get it to a temperature similar to it coming out of your breast. 

Make sure not to give it to your baby a second time if he or she doesn’t finish your frozen breast milk.  Once unfrozen, you give it to your baby and if he or she doesn’t finish, you throw it out!

My favorite milk bags are the NUK storage bags and the Lasinoh storage bags.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you may have!

Congested baby (without a cold)

Congested baby (without a cold)

My 6 and a half month baby girl has been through the worst of congestion. I hear from everyone it’s normal for babies to get congested because their nasal passages are so small, but she has been through it really, really bad. I’m thankful it’s never associated with a cold, but it breaks my heart when she can’t breathe or nurse because she literally can not breathe.

I had a hard time finding any online help with congested without a cold. I had to really dig deep and ask my pediatrician (a Chinese practice doctor who has an eastern medicine way about things.)

Here are the things that have worked for us, if your little one is congested:

  1. Drink straight lemon juice with cayenne pepper once daily. I mean a lot of lemon juice and a lot of cayenne pepper. (This is for breastfeeding mamas only. Whatever you ingest, baby ingests in a small form and I truly believe this has helped my LO)
  2. I use Zarbee’s Naturals Soothing Baby Chest Rub on her chest (not touching their nipples), on her back and back of the neck and on the soles of her feet with socks over it.
  3. Boogie Saline Nasal Drops (I prefer these over any others due to their ingredients) in combination with a Baby Nasal Aspirator. My preferred choice is NoseFrida by Fridababy. Some parents prefer the bulb syringe but when your baby kicks, screams and cries the way mine does, I can’t help but to think its too rough for her — she doesn’t get that way whatsoever with the NoseFrida.
  4. Wrap your little bundle at night so they’re nice and warm, put an extra blanket on them, and lay him/her upright.. at about a 25 degree angle. They fall asleep just fine as long as their snuggled and bundled up.
  5. Put on a space heater if you have one and a humidifier. Yes, the heat dries the air, but it also makes the boogies come out of your LO.. and the humidifier moistens it. I got my humidifier on amazon after trying 3 or 4 and returning. I love this one because it’s big enough to last all night on full blast, it’s easy to refill and clean and you can use the mist nozzle to direct it where you want.
  6. Take a hot steamy bath with your LO or…. what I prefer because I don’t like taking her wet out of the shower, is putting her jumperoo in the shower (or any upright toy/chair you may have) and hanging out with her in the bathroom as it fills up with steam. When my LO was bouncing like crazy in her jumperoo in our steamy bathroom, all the mucus and snot was just falling out of her nose on to her jumperoo cushion, which I then washed and dried.
  7. Give your LO some organic chamomile tea, start with about 0.5oz of warm tea in a dropper. (This is for babies 6+ months)
  8. Nurse, nurse, nurse. Our bodies are amazing machines and knows what your LO needs through his/her saliva entering your nipple. The more your nurse her the more your milk will change to thin her mucus up and clear her congestion.

My fiancee suffers from congestion (without ever being sick). Every morning he wakes up a little congested no matter where we are living, no matter what the season is, it’s just how he is and how his dad is too. My LO may have gotten those same genetics and it’s important to know how to deal with them in the most beneficial way for your baby, rather than just giving baby OTC meds or infant tylenol.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, how you deal with your LO’s congestion, if any of my suggestions work for you or if you have any questions!