Experimenting with Baby-Led Weaning

My last baby turned six months old and couldn’t wait to eat some solid food. He’d been reaching for tomato slicesour foods, imitating us eating, and generally freaking out during meals because he wasn’t doing the same things as his brothers. But I resisted giving him foods–mostly because he wasn’t able to sit unassisted, but also because he’s my last baby and as soon as he starts eating food, he may as well enroll in college. [Cue Mommy weeping]

Nonetheless, this kid wanted to eat. We dabbled with baby-led weaning with my second son. We’d occasionally toss him soft chunks of whatever we were eating. This is primarily because we didn’t feel like we had time to sit and spoon feed him, much less puree things or open jars of already-pureed foods. As a result, my second kiddo didn’t really eat much food until he was 15 months old.

It might not feel like it, but for me, breastfeeding is just so much easier than introducing solids. I don’t have to vacuum after I breastfeed…usually.

I have 3 sons, and their table manners are about as refined as you might expect from a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, which means a lot of food winds up on the floor. This is how baby-led weaning began for us.

My youngest wee babe began to scoot around on the floor in search of his brothers’ floor d’oeuvres.

One morning, I caught him eating a cheese quesadilla left unattended by a brother who was fully engrossed in Ninjago. The baby ate a whole slice before a distraught kindergartener realized his snack was gone. Then my baby snatched and ate a soft pretzel and I knew I had to get serious about feeding him.

Now, even though it takes longer than breastfeeding and even though it’s messy, we bring the baby to the table with us and just hand him small bits of what we’re all eating. Lest you worry he’s getting too many spices, please know that my older children can detect a mere whiff of pepper or oregano and deem a meal “too spicy,” so all of these foods are about as bland as a box of matzo meal.

My oldest son had (and outgrew!) a peanut allergy, and we’re very excited about the LEAP study results, so we also offer our baby bits of peanut butter. He eats oatmeal with his fat fists. He sucks on strawberry slivers. You should see him go to town on cooked, buttery carrots.

Once our daycare provider told me he was eating more food than our 2-year-old, I had to start packing them separate containers of lunch.

I will never forget my amazement to watch my friend’s daughter consume an entire hamburger as an 8-month old. This baby just sat in the grass at a picnic and ate a burger. As my son approaches 8 months and eats ground beef and noodles with gusto, I’m certain he’ll be performing similar feats. Maybe he’ll gobble down a burrito instead, because he seems to prefer messy foods.

Have you tried baby-led weaning? Leave us a comment to share your experience. 

Sorting Kids’ Seasonal Wardrobes

I need some pointers. I’ve finally reached a point where my bins of kids’ clothes are not organized, where I have no idea if anyone has pants that fit, and what to do with all the extra stuff that nobody pile of folded clothesfits into at the moment. It was all manageable until I had 3 kids. Now, it’s a mess! Here’s what I’m working with:

I have three sons, aged 5.5, nearly-3, and 7-months. The baby is wearing 18-month stuff I just took off my toddler a few months ago. The big kid blows through knees on his pants on the reg, so I’m nearly certain there just aren’t any bigger pants hiding anywhere. He’s also been pretty rough on shirts, so I might have gotten rid of those, too.

My boys are all sort of in between sizes and we’re in between seasons. Nobody seems to have any sweaters that fit. Nobody has anything nice to wear to Seder. I simply cannot locate a 3T bin and my toddler needs pajamas.

I’d like to know how people plan ahead and buy clothes. It’s almost spring. What should I be shopping for? How should I store it?

What specifically do you do as the kids outgrow clothes? Do you revisit piles once a month? Sure, I have labeled bins in the basement, but it’s a pain to go down there and get to them. Maybe I need to just get over it?

I’d love your best tips on managing your kids’ wardrobes as they change sizes and seasons! Leave a comment to share your advice. 

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Let Elomi Elevate Your Enormous Bosom

I’ve always had an ample bosom. That’s not entirely true–I still feel the sting of hurt from eighth grade math class when AJ slid a calculator across the table and it said “BOOBLESS.” I sure showed

Elomi nursing bra

Look at this bra, holding up her ample bosom. You, too, could enjoy such support for YOUR ample bosom!

him! Even before kids, I rocked a DD.

I didn’t get a proper bra fitting until I was pregnant with my second son, and at that point I was wearing a 34F.

Now, 23 pounds and yet another baby later, I knew I needed a new bra. I’m tandem nursing and I can just feel that my bosom is sagging. I never really felt supported, even in my beloved full-bust nursing tanks.

So. When I drove up to A Mother’s Boutique for a fitting, I found out I’m now a 36I. Like ice cream. I!

But nobody in the store batted an eye at this. Instead, they just handed me not one, but five different bras to try on. So just know that if you have large breasts, you still have options!! Some were even pretty! With lace!

Amber asked me what I was looking for in a bra and I wanted underwire, wide straps, and comfort.

I tried the Biscuit and it was just ok for me.

I tried a Sophie, and it was just ok.

Then! Then, I tried on the Elomi. Oh my! For the first time in years my bosom was elevated and separated. It looked almost perky!

I had no spillover. I had a smooth line on my shirt. I had wide, comfortable straps. Instead of my boobs banging into my postpartum belly, they bonk me in the chin when I look down.

I feel like the prow of a ship. I bought 2.

I had totally forgotten what it feels like to wear a bra that both fits and supports and now I never want to go back.

I will say that, for me, closing the nursing clasp is a two-hand job, which is an adjustment when I’ve been used to snapping something opened and closed quickly. But come on–this bra is really doing some heavy lifting here. I’m glad the clasp is heavy duty.

I need to point out that I received an employee discount to purchase this bra, but my overwhelmingly positive opinion about it is my own and I would have happily paid full price.

So often, I hear women with similar bra size ask for something “quality and inexpensive.” I don’t believe those words can describe the same product. I wear my nursing bra almost 18 hours a day, and I plan to be wearing it for another 18 months at least. I’m confident my two Elomi bras will see me through (if I keep remembering not to put them in the dryer…I do stick them in the washer because they get spit up on a lot). This bra costs $55, and that feels like the right price for what I’m asking for and what it gives in return.

If you, too, sport a pair of ice cream scoops (size I! I still can’t believe it!), I hope you’ll take the Elomi for a ride.

Do you wear the Elomi? Leave us a comment to share your experience!

Common Root Causes of Supply Concerns

Lots of breastfeeding mothers have concerns about their milk supply, especially if they don’t have

close friends and family members who breastfed to set an example or offer support. If you have a genuine concern that your baby is not getting enough to eat, you should definitely schedule an appointment with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

In the mean time, we’ve noticed a few common culprits when women suspect low milk supply. These issues are easily fixed from home and can make a big difference!

The Observation: My baby gulps down milk from a bottle, so I’m afraid he is starving

Common culprit: Fast flow from the bottle. There is a technique called Paced Bottle Feeding that helps a caregiver more closely mimic breastfeeding and allows a baby to control the speed of a feeding session. Nursing babies take breaks, drink at different speeds, whip their heads around to look at interesting shadows…lots of times, these experiences are missing from a bottle feeding session. Paced bottle feeding can help baby slow down and recognize when he’s feeling full!

The Observation: The quantity of milk I can express with the pump has decreased, so I’m afraid my milk is drying up.

Common culprit: Pump parts! You know how you’re supposed to periodically change your oil and your filters in your vehicle? The same is true of your breast pump parts. Valves, “white flappy things,” and tubing need to be replaced, sometimes as often as every 3 months, depending how frequently you are pumping. If changing out the parts doesn’t yield more milk during pumping, you can also check the motor strength of the pump itself–you might not be getting enough suction to properly drain your breasts.

The Observation: My baby is refusing to latch and seems frustrated, so I’m worried she’s not getting enough milk. (See also: My baby bites my nipple and seems frustrated)

Common culprit: Teeth. Imagine growing teeth. It sounds miserable and painful, doesn’t it? From what I’ve seen with my 3 boys, it is. The appearance of a tooth where there were just empty gums before can change a baby’s latch, the way the breast feels in the mouth. This can take some time to adjust. Sometimes, when a new tooth is emerging, your baby might chomp down on his very favorite comfort source–you! Yikes! This does not necessarily mean your milk supply has been affected. My best response for a teething biter has been to stop the nursing session and offer a chilled teether instead and then try again a bit later.

Did you ever suspect you had a low milk supply and learn there was something else going on that was easily fixed? Leave us a comment to share your experience!

How to Spend Your Maternity Leave

While pregnant with my first child, I had visions of a decadent maternity leave. The first week, I imagined, I’d probably be a bit sore and tired, so I’d likely sleep a lot and just chill with my family. After that, since babies sleep all the time, I planned to do All. The. Things. . . . → Read More: How to Spend Your Maternity Leave

Keeping a Crawler Safe from Big Brothers

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My older two boys have become accustomed to trashing our house by now. I’m either changing, nursing, or napping the baby and haven’t been very present to intervene, you see. Every surface is sprinkled with coins, Lego bricks, pebbles, and shredded bits of paper they use with their toy construction vehicles.

. . . → Read More: Keeping a Crawler Safe from Big Brothers

Family Info Cards for Babysitters

Once I had more than one child, it got trickier to keep writing notes for new caregivers. We had to repeatedly write out our address, both of our contact information, allergy info…it just got to be a lot. I also kept meeting new families I wanted to connect with again, but never had my phone . . . → Read More: Family Info Cards for Babysitters