In the works

Today I went through my fabric and pulled all I could use for nursing necklaces. I knew I had some, but was delighted to see the bin-full I was able to gather.

Fox enjoyed helping me go through it, snuggling the fabric pile on the floor. How could I resist a snuggle break?

fabric snuggles

As I was gathering supplies, I stumbled upon ways to improve my work space so what I need is close at hand. I got out a lidded box for precut fabric pieces, emptied a small vintage suitcase for my ribbon and beads, and brought out my thread pegboard to hang on the wall above my desk.

I was also able to fine-tune my business card design and get them ordered. Yay, progress!

I called to catch up with my mom, telling her I just needed to buy wooden beads and ribbon and I’d be ready to get cracking on some nursing necklaces. As luck would have it she has boxes and boxes of exactly that in her craft supply stash!

A few years ago she attended an auction at a craft supply store that was going out of business. Being the crafty Girl Scout leader she was, she bid on what she thought was a single shelf of supplies. However, upon winning she discovered it was actually for the entire shelf. Top to bottom. But I digress.

After Fox wakes from the nap he’s currently taking, I’ll be getting the fabric ready for when the beads and ribbon arrive next week. So thrilled to be making headway while still being able to break for naps, nursing, reading, and snuggles with my sweet little guy.

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My Breastfeeding Journey

 

While it hasn’t always been easy, it was important to me to get breastfeeding to work for us. We’ve had our share of bumps in the road, but I’m delighted to say we’ve made it to 16 months with no signs if stopping.

This is our story.

 

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The day my son was born a lactation consultant visited our hospital room and taught me how to hand express colostrum and feed it to him with a flexible little cup. Throughout our stay various lactation consultants helped us learn about proper latch and gave us bottle/nipple recommendations for a breastfed baby who was still getting the hang of it. They taught me how to use a breast pump and got me set up pumping for 15 minutes every 2 hours, around the clock.

I am exceedingly grateful for lactation consultants.

Since he was jaundiced we had to set alarms to wake him up for feedings. And we had to keep him awake long to get enough to eat. Tickling him or removing his swaddling blanket.

We had to use donor milk for a couple days, to help get his bilirubin levels down, while waiting for my milk to come in.

I’d wake up my husband and have him start warming a bottle while we’d try to nurse. He’d usually get too frustrated and need the bottle, but sometimes we’d get a good latch and he’d nurse for 15 minutes to an hour.

I continued pumping for about two weeks. I was so exhausted I remember closing my eyes, for just a moment, while pumping and instantly dreaming. I also recall feeling a bit like a cow, hooked up to that machine when I just wanted to hold my baby. (My hat’s off to exclusively pumping mamas).

12 days after his birth, he had a bottle in the morning then successfully nursed the rest of the day. And he hasn’t had a bottle since.

At first I could only nurse sitting up, with the football hold, but we gradually transitioned into the cradle hold and I was excited to learn about laid-back breastfeeding from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. That was a game changer for us. Especially at night. Being able to nurse while lying down meant I could latch him on and go back to sleep, barely having to wake at all.

Once we got on a roll, our biggest hurdle was managing my over supply and overactive let down. My little guy would often arch his back and cry while nursing. It was awful not knowing what was wrong or what to do to make it better.

My husband and I tried to determine the issue and remedy online, but found contradictory advice.

In desperation I called the WIC breastfeeding line and left a voicemail for the WIC peer counselor. She returned my call shortly after, listened to my story and gave me some suggestions to try before our appointment.

I also made a lactation consultation appointment at BABS. It was there we discovered my little guy had a tongue and lip tie. Fortunately it was minor enough that he was still able to get a good latch and, since he was gaining well and nursing wasn’t hurting me, we decided not to have it lasered. It merely caused him to nurse more often, since he’d get tired with the extra effort of moving his tongue.

I learned that block feeding was the answer to our oversupply issue. (Keeping him on one side for a time, still nursing as often as he wanted, then switching to the other side for the same length of time). I had been trying that at 2 hour intervals already, but I had to gradually increase the time I kept him on one side until I was at 5 hours. I think it took about a month to get my supply under control after implementing my block feeding plan with my lactation consultants.

You might think that oversupply would be a good problem to have, (FEED ALL THE BABIES), but in addition to a fussy baby, it made for plugged ducts and mastitis. Luckily the remedy to those issues is more nursing, (and antibiotics for mastitis). What a beautiful design!

At 16 months, we’re still nursing on demand, often to and during sleep. Not only for nutrition, (along with solids), but also for comfort and bonding.

My soft goal is three years. That’s how long my mom nursed me. We’ll continue to nurse as long as he wants to.

My story is not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Everyone is different. If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty breastfeeding I highly recommend making an appointment with a lactation consultant.

Flying with a Toddler | Story and Tips

I woke up before the alarm at 4:30am. Fox kept right on sleeping as I rolled him off me, onto his back and quietly slipped out of bed.

I swiftly changed into the clothes I’d laid out the day before, applied minimal make-up, popped some waffles in the toaster, and added a few last-minute things to my bag.

As I was thinking of what to do next, I heard Fox waking up and dashed back into the bedroom. I found him sleepily sitting up in bed rubbing his bleary eyes. We snuggled and nursed before getting ready the rest of the way.

I’d been concerned about how the early morning wake up would go for such a little guy, but it worked out even better than I’d hoped.

Most of the drive to the airport went happily, with just a touch of fuss as we were nearing our exit ramp.

He was intrigued by the sights and sounds of the airport.  Luckily, there wasn’t a line at the check in counter and we had no luggage to check. We breezed through security, picked up coffee and a cookie on our way to our gate, and had just enough time to visit the restroom before they started boarding.

 

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Fox nursed during take-off and after a little reading and singing he was asleep. Russ leaned his head on my shoulder and fell asleep as well.

There were a few tears upon descent when Fox didn’t want to nurse anymore, but some Cheerios got his ears popping again and all was well.

 

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Glad to get to skip baggage claim, we went straight for our rental car, giving Fox some time to dance to the car radio before putting him in his car seat and heading to my parents’ house.

My family came out to meet us as we pulled into the driveway.  It was the first time my brothers and sister got to meet Fox and I was super excited to see them all after being away for three years.  A very happy reunion for all!

 

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It was wonderful to visit with friends and family while showing Fox my hometown and my childhood home. My parents were charmed and impressed by Fox. So sweet to get to share him with them.

Such a big trip for my little guy. Lots of firsts. First time getting up and going so early. First bus, plane, escalator, moving walkway, and flight. First time out of Indiana. First time meeting uncles, aunt, and great grand mother. Truly special.

For our return trip I checked us in and printed our boarding passes from my parents’ house. That way we were able head straight to security.  But while focusing on getting us where we needed to go, I forgot to empty my water bottle beforehand.  My loving husband had to be escorted back to empty it and go through security all over again.

Fox explored the terminal by our gate, walking and crawling around and making friends with a 10 month old little girl.  I enjoyed chatting with her mom about traveling with a little one.

Below are some tips based on our flight experience.  Hope they help make flying easier and more fun for you and your little one as well!

 

Tips for Flying with a Toddler

1.  Snacks

Not only to keep them occupied and full, but to get them swallowing so their ears pop on the plane.

2.  Travel Light

Carry-on only if possible, even if it means doing some laundry at your destination.

3.  Books

To keep up as much of your nap and bedtime routines as possible as well as entertain.

4.  Toys

I found them most useful in the car.

5.  Diapers and Wipes

More than you think you’ll need, to be prepared for flight delays.

6.  Sleep

Try to swing it so that your little one is sleepy in the plane or car.  Depending on how long your flight is and how they do in the car.  (My little guy has a hard time falling asleep in the car, so I was aiming for him to sleep on the plane).

7.  Water Bottle

Remember to empty it before heading to security.  If not you’ll have to go back, empty it, and go through security again.

8.  Check in and Boarding Passes

You can usually check in online at the airline’s website and print your boarding passes.

9.  Babywearing

Having a sling or other type of baby carrier made it easy to move through the airport and helped our little one feel safe and comfortable in a new environment.

10.  Have Fun
Remember it’s an adventure.

We’re going on an adventure!

We leave for my hometown this week. The first time back since my husband and I moved away three years ago. I hadn’t imagined it would be for so long when we left. That’s just life I guess.

I’m nervous about how the traveling part will go down. About my husband who’s afraid to fly. How I’m going to get us all out of the house and on our way at 5am. And how our son will do in the car. (He hates the car seat and usually refuses to sleep in it). Praying all goes smoothly at the airport.

It will be my toddler’s first big trip. First time out of state and first plane ride. He’ll finally get to meet my brothers and sister, some of my best friends and hopefully some more family.

I’m excited to go back to the place that I’ll always think of as home with my little family. Looking forward to sharing the place where I grew up with my little guy.

All our reservations are made. I have a list of things to pack, places to go, and people to see. Just have to remember to relax and have a good time.

Here’s to a wonderful adventure!