Thursday, January 29, 2015

Party Decor From The Little Red Wagon

When I started looking on Pinterest for ideas for P's first birthday party. I quickly got overwhelmed. I was wishing that I had a Circuit and knew how to use it--and probably that I had the time to learn. I didn't, but I knew that I wanted some paper decor for P's shindig.

I quickly took to etsy and began looking around for the type and style of decorations that I wanted. I wanted a good sturdy paper Birthday Banner. I also wanted a shop owner who had the time (and patience) to help me figure out other items that might complete the very large space we would be using for the party. To top it all off--I wanted someone local so that I would not have to pay shipping costs. Enter The Little Red Wagon. Diana is a mommy-preneuer. She will be welcoming another bundle of joy sometime next year. She loves helping moms like her make their babies parties spectacular! I think that is just amazing, and I wouldn't want to give my money to anyone else :)

I messaged Diana, and heard back from her immediately. I told her that I was doing an owl theme, but that I didn't have much else decided on. She showed me a banner that she had made for an owl party already and I fell in love with the colors scheme of turqouise, fushia, and lime green. At first, I was really just looking for a banner, but after talking with Diana, I realized that I would need a lot more because of all of the windows and different areas of the party. So we decided on a sign for the front door, dot banners for the fireplace, 1s and owls on sticks for centerpieces, a highchair banner, and a gorgeous birthday banner.

I met Diana about a week out from Ps party and she had everything carefully wrapped in tissue paper to keep it safe until the party. I got so excited peeking at them in the box--I could hardly contain myself. The day of the party--the items were stunning. I received so many compliments on how pretty the banner looked and how cute the little owl centerpieces were. I even had a few people who wanted to take an owl home with them.

The items were made of various card stock and heavy scrapbook paper. They were extremely well made to the point that I think that I could use them again next year if I wanted. The Birthday banner was tied together by tulle ribbon that added the perfect feminine touch. I am just so pleased with the way it all turned out and looked on the day of the party. I know who I will be going to next year for P's birthday party supplies--and you should too.

Diana has some really cute Mickey and Minnie mouse ideas. I am hoping P starts to fall in love with them for next years party. Although, I am kinda leaning towards a bow theme. Yes, I am constantly planning. Check out all of her stuff  on  Facebook or etsy. Tell her I sent you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Bottle Dilemma

At P's 12 month check-up, I went in with a few small concerns. My child who for months fought me to take a bottle, was now taking them very well. I was happy with her milk intake except for one thing. She would only drink it laying down in her crib and right before she went to sleep. I knew from my Babywise training that this was doubly bad for several reasons: bad for her ears, bad for her teeth, and its a sleep prop. I was embarrassed even telling her doctor that I had allowed such a thing to happen--BUT at the same time, I knew that it was what I had to do in months 6-10 to get her to drink ANY milk. So I had conceded and allowed the horrible habit to form. Now, my child would not sleep without getting a bottle in her crib--any I wanted this to change.

There were some other issues relating to the milk. P was eating so much solid food now that she was having a daily battle with constipation. Nothing I was trying was working. We were also struggling with her eating any finger foods other than cheese and bread. Also, she wasn't drinking very much water. After listening to all of my concerns the doctor said, "I'm going to make it really easy for you. Take away the milk and take away the bottles cold turkey.

Excuse me, what? You want me take away the milk completely? I mean it only took me months to get her to drink it, and I just transitioned her to whole milk. Now you want me to take it away? Doesn't she need it for her brain growth. The doc assured me that she was getting enough whole fat milk from the foods I was feeding her. She eats a lot of dairy throughout the day from yogurt, cream cheese, cheese, and oatmeal with whole milk. The doctor told me that once I removed the milk and the bottles P would be forced to drink for water, and this would help with the constipation. Also, since I would be removing a lot of calories from her daily diet--she would be more willing to try some more finger foods.

So I took the bottles away, and as I previously mentioned it was awful. I mean she wouldn't go to sleep without them. This just reaffirmed my knowledge that this was a sleep prop and it was all the more important that I rid this from her life.

You see, I am adamant that my child learn how to fall asleep on her own. I believe that falling asleep is a learned skill. It is one that I did not learn until I was a teenager. my mom (sorry mom, I still love you) allowed me to sleep in the bed with her until I was in 3rd grade. I always fell asleep while she watched her shows on the TV. I never learned how to fall asleep on my own. Once, I was kicked out of her bed, it was traumatizing to try to learn to fall asleep by myself. I struggled with it for the better part of a decade. I am not letting P go through that. I will suffer in the short run to help her in the long run.

The problem was that I work from home and on certain days--I have live classes and I cannot be interrupted. I have very conveniently arranged P's naps during my class times. So when she did not sleep her naps--I could not console her as I wished I could. It hurt me to hear her protest like this. After that first day, I felt deflated. I decided to take a step back and strategize some by doing my research and tapping into my valuable mommy friend market.

Here is what I came up with:

1. It is completely my choice on what to do with the bottles
2. It is bad for her and should be removed as soon as possible
3. You don't have to do it cold turkey.
4. It may take up to 5 days for her to adjust to having them taken away.

So I decided to start the process again on a Friday so that I would have four days before I had to teach a live class again. That way if she was not sleeping her naps--I would have a few days to help her adjust first. Then, I decided to only take away bottles during the day (her bottles before her two naps). I left her morning bottle and her night time bottle for now. I also got a great peice of advice froma facebook friend to put a sippy cup of milk in the crib with P when she goes down for naps. That way she knows it is there if she really wants it.

It took about three days, but she has returned to her regular sleeping patterns, and now longer needs to have a bottle before napping. She has upped her water intake and is hungry all day long. I have added snacks to make up for the missed calories during the day and have upped her servings of dairy foods and snacks.

I decided to share this struggle in case any of you are having the same problems. Even if it doesn't apply to you yet, it might in the future. I also believe that it is a good example with any issue with your child. Do you research first, and then be patient. It takes them awhile to adjust to any change. They are just like you--they don't like being out of their comfort zones. Now I am looking forward (not at all) to taking away the pacifiers. Oh, lord!

What types of changes are you currently going through with your little one?

Friday, January 23, 2015

5 Things I Learned This Week

1. I would not be a good single mom
This week was Soccer tryouts at J's school. J is going back to coaching soccer after a year's absence. BOY--it is so hard without him. He left before P woke up and he got home after she went to bed. That left me with 12 solid hours of P by my self with no help. ALL WEEK LONG. It was exhausting. I am so glad that I do not have to do that every day. Plus--little girl was definitely missing her daddy in the afternoons. She kept looking at the door and saying, "dada?" Broke my little heart. These next two months are going to be really hard on me as J will not be home most nights until around 6 and a few nights a week he will not come home till I am probably asleep. I am going to need some alone time on the weekends. It really makes me appreciate all of those single moms out there. Ya'll are the true heroes. To do this without help everyday--incredible.

2. Teething is a bad mother
As I wrote about earlier in the week--P is cutting 4 teeth at once and she is miserable. Homegirl spent most of the week hopped up on Motrin and I am not the least bit sorry. Usually I try my hardest to keep from having to give her medicine--but teething is a bad mother. She needed relief.

3. Taking away the bottle is not an easy thing
So at P's one year check-up her doctor was really pushing me to take her bottles away cold turkey. OMG--it was horrible. I took them away and LG would not take either of her naps that day. She screamed like something out of the exorcist. I wish I had the patience to deal with that. BUT--I have got to work during her naps. Like I HAVE TO. So--back the bottles came. Everything is right in the world again. Today I am trying again. I am hoping that by Tuesday they will be gone and I don't have to worry about it. Send me all of your positive vibes.

4. P understands what I am saying--and she is ignoring me already
So this week I had an epiphany. I was sitting on the couch working and I watched P go over to the makeshift "gate" that I have created to keep her in the living room. I looked at her and said "no!" very firmly. She looked at me and walked away. Then, once she saw me return in my work, I watched her out of the corner of my eye sneak back over to the gate and push past it. I stood up and ran to get her and she started running from me. I realized--she understands that she is not supposed to go over there, and she is doing it anyway. HERE WE GO! Once I returned her to the living room--she pitched a mini fit complete with slapping in my general direction. I thought,"I am in so much trouble with her it is not even funny!"

5. I am quickly becoming one of those parents that gives in to their child's tantrums and I don't know how no to be that person
I never wanted to be that person. However, it is so hard. I just want the tantrum to stop, and so I give in. I know--it is horrible.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bitter-sweet Moments

If you have been visiting with me since the beginning, you know that one of the biggest reasons that I decided to breastfeed was because I wanted to prevent my little P from getting sick. I am happy to report that other than one little case of the sniffles P has been 100% healthy her entire first year of life. The one think that BF couldn't protect her from was teething pain. Little Girl, or LG for short (I have started to call her this lately and cannot stop!) has been doing great with teething up until this week where she is cutting 4 teeth at the same time.

I find myself dealing with, a semi-sick baby. She is irritable, and having a hard time sleeping (naps only) because of the pain. Poor LG has become increasingly clingy. She stays close to me, and often wants to crawl in my lap and lay her little head down on my shoulder and whine.

Yesterday she laid on my shoulder and watched a whole 15 minute episode of the wiggles without cracking a smile or lifting her head. She is usually bouncing and dancing along. I knew that she was in real pain. So I reached for the Motrin (which I hate giving her) and decided that it wasn't worth letting her be in this much pain. None of the other remedies were helping her, and she needed some relief. She slept all night and awoke this morning with a smile on her face. I hope that she is able to dance again today.

Days like yesterday are bitter-sweet for this momma. I know that the times that she will lie with me and watch a show are few and far between. I understand that the moments in which she will sleep on my shoulder are not infinitely numbered. So while I am sad for her because I know that she is in pain. I couldn't help but spend the time smiling as I lightly stroked her brown curls and inhaled deeply the lingering scent of baby. Toddler days are so busy that there are not many moments usually to spend holding, caressing, kissing, and hugging. I will be thankful for each and every one I can get, even in the worst of circumstances.

Do you secretly love sick cuddles with your little one?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Piper's First Birthday Party--An Overview

Onesie, Tutu, and Bow by The Paper Duck

On Saturday we had P's first birthday party. It was a big success and I am so excited to share all of the details with all of you! Our theme was Look WHOOs One (owls). As I mentioned in my post last week--I planned this party over five months because I wanted to spread out the money and the stress of the party. I also had a lot of help from family to ease the financial burden just a bit.

Happy Birthday Banner by The Little Red Wagon

First of all let me tell you how amazing my little miss P did at her party. She was very pleasant despite missing her second nap completely. She only cried a little bit when we changed her clothes to do her smash cake. I was terrified of the way that she would react considering she usually does not like strange people talking to her or touching her. She was passed around like a hot potato-- and took it all in stride. Like I always say--I doubt her and she makes me pay for it. I was so very proud of her.

Smash Cake by Shakeata

We learned that P LOVES Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets at her party. We had a large tray of nuggets, and I fed her a bite from one of my nuggets and she ate the remainder of nuggets on my plate. I know, I shouldn't be surprised since my girl can eat. BUT she is very picky and you just never know what she will like. She doesn't like macaroni and cheese--so I won't put anything past her. What kid doesn't like mac and cheese? Seriously! She did so good with her cake. She didn't cry when everyone was singing to her (like I feared she would). She dug right into her cake and ate very neatly without making much of a mess at all.

We also learned that P doesn't really like to share her toys. What little toddler her age does? She pitched a little mini fit when another baby took one of her toys at the party. After that we pretty much just kept her away from the toy station where the rest of her baby friends spent most of their time.

We had a pretty big crowd at her party and consider ourselves very lucky to have such a large and strong support system. I have always been one to have a small group of quality friends--I am loving the new friendships that P has brought into my life in the form of my mommy friends. I have found them to be an endless source of support, love and knowledge over the last 12 months and I hope that we will continue to grow in our friendship over the next 17 years.

 J and I were also blessed to have both of our families and extended families present at P's party. Real and honorary Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents were there. It struck me that the last time all of those people were in the same room at the same time was our wedding two years ago. That had me a little teary eyed. I am so very blessed to have all of these people in my life, and I am even more blessed that my baby girl gives us a reason to get together and celebrate once a year. She is so loved by so many.

There is nothing I would rather do than celebrate this life that I have. P is everything I expected she would be and so much more than I hoped for. My heart was very full as I looked around the room. You could just feel the love. I look forward to planning the future birthdays (even though I do think I set the bar way too high with this one).

I want to give credit for each aspect of the party. Below are the credits for the decor at the party. I have included links and contact information as well. I would also love to hear about fun things you did with your little one's party. I am always looking for new fun ideas. 

Picture garland made with twine and mini clothes pins I bought from Hobby Lobby

Credits for the Party:

Birthday, Dot, and Highchair Banner as well as Owls and 1s for centerpieces--Diana from The Little Red Wagon Etsy Shop (future review post coming). Shop her adorable stuff here.

 Dot banner pictured in background Highchair banner pictured below. Invitation and monogram label on centerpiece made by me.

P's Birthday Outfit--Anna from The Paper Duck

Anna and I grew up together--literally she lived right next door. She makes the cutest shirts, bows, tutus, banners, and various other party items. All of her items wear well and are excellent quality. She is local (Atlanta area), she has a VERY quick turnaround, and takes credit cards. She is my go to for all of P's personalized holiday outfits. Check her out here.

Chalkboard food labels, invitation, and birthday print poster and framed signs--Made by yours truly using PicMonkey and GIMP. I have my own etsy shop you can order them at here. I can make lots of designs. Just contact me with ideas.

Smash cake and Cupcakes by Shakeata.

Shakeata is a co-worker of my moms. She is always our person for adorable sweet creations. You can contact her at You can send her pictures of what you are looking for and she can make it happen! She is so talented.

The plain green and turquoise cupcakes are special order from Publix

The table clothes, paper plates, cups, lime green, turquoise, hot pink trays, and silverware were from Party City. The adorable Lime green Burlap table squares were made by my God Mother. The white serving ware is B. Smith brand from Bed Bath and Beyond. 

Thanks for all of your well wishes and virtual love for P's Birthday. We really appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Piper's First Birthday Letter

January 13, 2015

Dear Piper,

Today is your first birthday. I can't believe how quickly your first year of life has gone by. It seems like the day you were born was just a week ago. I can remember it all so vividly. I remember how I felt the first time I saw you. I remember what my life was like before you--but I cannot imagine my life without you. I everything before you were born feels like it is in a haze. I feel like becoming your mother has opened my mind to see the world in different ways.

 It truly is amazing how quickly you have grown. I have to start off by telling you how emotional this day has made me. Right now I just want you to stay this little baby. I have enjoyed the last year with you so very much that I do not want it to end. At the same time, I so look forward to the little girl you are becoming.

I am not completely sure of your weight--I will find out at your doctors appointment on Friday. I am guessing that it is somewhere around 24 pounds. You are really tall and still have the cutest little pot belly that I have ever seen. What can I say? You love to eat. Your favorite foods are cheese and bread. You will eat almost any kind of bread I throw at you from bagels to cake. You love shredded cheese, and especially cream cheese on a bagel.

You are quite the handful now. You have really started taking off walking in the last week before your birthday. You love to walk from the couch to your play kitchen and even around in circles. You babble non-sense constantly--although I am sure it makes perfect sense to you. You hardly ever miss a chance to sway and dance along to music. I hope you never lose that quality. You love watching The Wiggles in my lap. I don't mind at all because while you watch them--I can watch you. You are like a sponge. Everything is so new and exciting. You have no knowledge of any of the unpleasantness that is out there in our world. You are carefree and you love without bounds. I would give anything to be like you.

Almost nightly, Your daddy and I sneak in to your room and watch you sleep. We marvel at how truly beautiful you are. You have the longest eyelashes and the most gorgeous plump lips. You still have my green eyes, and I am hoping they will stay that way forever--but if they don't, then I have a feeling I will love their new color even more.

You love to play with our cat, Finder. You like to pet her and scratch her head. You often try to bite her. I have caught you dragging her by her tail once and by a clump of fur on her belly a few more times. She didn't really seem to mind. I know that she loves you a lot. She tries to sneak in your room to sleep with you at night, but we are afraid that she would wake you. Maybe one day soon we will let her. You also love our dog, Callie. You so badly want to play with her--but she is just not too sure about you. You see, she was mommy's girl before you came along, and she is not too happy about being replaced. She does love to hang out around your high chair while you are eating. You think it is hilarious to feed her your unwanted scraps.

You have a pretty big vocabulary. I am really impressed with the number of words and sounds that you can make. So far you have said: mama, dada, doggy, kitty, hi, bye, hey, cheese, tree, good, light, right, and eye. I think that it indicates that you will be one smart little girl.

Within the last two weeks you have fallen in love with books. Before you would hardly sit still for an entire book, but now you almost cry when I finish reading one and beg for me to read it again. Your favorite books are Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Those are usually the first ones you pull off your shelf every night before bed. You love to take baths as well. AND you sleep 12 hours at night and have since you were 9 months old. Overall you have been a very good baby. If your dad and I never have another it is because we are afraid that we would get the other end of the spectrum next time.

On Saturday we are having your first birthday party. All of your friends and family are going to gather together to celebrate you. It's an owl theme because we have owls in your nursery. I am hoping that you will smash your cake into a billion pieces. I am sure that I will shed more than a few tears. One day you will understand why I cry at the drop of a hat when it comes to you. It is emotional loving someone as much as I love you.

So, happy first birthday baby Piper. Today you are officially no longer  a baby to the outside world. You are a toddler. On the inside I know the truth--you will always be my baby girl. There is something really special that happens to a woman when she gives birth to a little girl--she becomes a mother. An irrationally protective, endlessly silly, yet constantly crying-- mother. Being a mother is so much more than I thought it was. It means caring and thinking of someone else before yourself. No one ever told me that having you would break my heart and rebuild it to be twice as big. I now know that I am capable of unconditional all-consuming love. In life--it just doesn't get any better than that. I thank you so much for giving me that gift. I promise I will try my hardest to be the best mother I can. I love you.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Planning A Party For A One Year Old

I can't wait for P's first birthday party on Saturday! I have spent months preparing and planning for this party. I wanted to go a bit big for her first birthday party because, well--It's the first one. Also, I feel that it is a celebration for J and I as well. And by J--I mostly mean me. One year ago--I did all of the work pushing that girl out. I should be able to celebrate that in a big way.

Planning a big party for a baby that is not going to remember it can be daunting--especially when you are trying to keep it from becoming ridiculously expensive. Here are some tips that I think have helped me.

1. Have it at your own home if you are able
If you don't have to rent a place to have it--then you have cut out a huge expense. For us--we did not want to have it at home for several reasons. We opted for a neighborhood clubhouse, instead.

2. Plan months ahead
I started planning P's birthday when she was about 7 months old. I did this for several reason, but mostly because I wanted to spread the cost of the party out over several months. I think that this is a great way to keep it from feeling like a shot in the wallet. I tried to spread out the cost as much as possible. BUT a lot of it still piles up to the end. Food and such.

3. Pick a theme and stick to it
I knew immediately that I was going to do an owl theme for P's party. Not because she likes them, but because I do, and because owls are all over her nursery and it was what she was for Halloween. It just made sense to me. Once I had that nailed down. I kept my eye out for owl decoration.

4. Make as much of the decorations yourself as you can
I really wanted to have cute food labels and invitations. I had an idea in my head and I couldn't really find anything that matched my vision. I have always been fairly crafty and good with technology--so I took to the internet via Google and figured out how to make my vision come to life. I used Picmonkey to make a chevron and polka dot background and I used that same background for a lot of the decor. More about this in a later post. I was able to do her invitations for about $10. I used GIMP to make her Birthday Chalkboard print and had it printed at Wal-Mart for $5. Talk about awesome!

5. Get your family involved
Some people would feel uncomfortable with this one, but I am not. I asked my Mom, Cousin, and MIL to help out with bringing food for the party. This just helps to spread out the burden of the cost of food. I also will be borrowing a cupcake tree and drink canisters from my God-mother.

6. Use what you have around the house
Another reason I chose owls is that I already had a lot of owl decorations that I knew I could take to the party and reuse. P's room is full of stuff that we will be packing up and taking with us on Saturday. I made a lot of signs that needed to go into frames. Instead of buying new frames for them--I just placed them in frames we already had around the house. After the party I will just place the original pictures back in them.

7. Find a good Etsy shop for the things you can't make
I was very fortunate to find an Etsy shop owner to collaborate with on P's party. I reached out to her and we made a deal for several items. I think you can get really good deals if you are willing to establish a relationship with the seller. I also wanted someone local so I could meet up and not have to pay shipping costs. That keeps prices down.

Overall planning P's party was a lot of work--but I had so much fun with the whole process. I can't wait to share the finished product with all of you.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Birthday Blues

I have yet to experience any sort of birthday blues when it comes time to celebrate being another year older. I have always welcomed each coming year of age. That is partially because I am still in my 20s--albeit, late 20s. I am sure number 30 will be slightly different for me. However, at this point I have always felt that I am in the general area that I expected to be in my life by this age. There are a few things that I would still like to do before I am 30--like be in my "forever" home and possibly planning on another child. Never-the-less, I feel at peace with growing older myself. So why do I feel such uneasiness and almost down right depression when it comes to P turning one?

I should be happy right? I should be thrilled to have survived this first year. I find myself dreaming about the day she was born. I'm crazy, right? This can't be normal. Wishing to be in labor again over celebrating having a perfectly healthy, beautiful, energetic 1 year old? I am not sure what it is, and I am not sure how to deal with the emotions that I feel. I am at a loss here. 

I have often felt that I could not control my mood and my emotions even before getting pregnant with P. I definitely have had that feeling, as well, since her birth. The last two weeks, I have been quiet, angry, snappy, and easily frustrated. I find myself watching a video I made for P's party (that I will share with you soon) and sobbing during her naps. 

I guess my point for this post is two fold. I want to know that I am not crazy. Some of you moms out there have experienced this, right? I'm not completely crazy? I just want someone to reaffirm these feelings as normal. Secondly, I want to vent and get it out because I always feel better after writing about my feelings. As someone that is typically very close to the chest with their feelings and emotions. I have no problem expressing them through writing. My audience is my greatest therapist in some ways. 

I am hoping that these feelings will get easier or disappear with each of P's Birthdays. Am I always going to feel this way when it comes to her growing up? It is so funny because J always says, "You have 17 years left with her in our house, plenty of time." In his mind 17 years is a ton of time. The whole time he is saying that I am thinking, "only 17 years." In the grand scheme of life 18 years with your child is not that much. If they live to be 80, then that is only 1/4 of their life. Again this may be irrational, but that is how I think. And I am with her all day every day. I have probably spent a grand total of 3 full days away from the child since she was born, and I would have preferred not to do that as well. I'm sick, right? Here comes that obsessive personality that I have (thanks, Dad). No amount of time with P is ever going to feel like enough to me. I want more. 

Endless snuggles, hugs, and kisses. Plenty of her sleeping on my chest and my shoulder. Hours of times watching the Wiggles on my lap. Countless agonizing hours spoon feeding and bottle feeding. Some parents look at them as the things they can't wait to be done with. They want out of this stage and into the self-sufficient stages of their child's life. Give me your unwanted hours. I will take them all.

How do you deal with the birthday blues and your babies growing up? Does it get easier with each coming year? Am I completely crazy, or only slightly?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Weaning for the Exclusive Pumper

It's that time people! It's time to wean. First of all, I just have to give myself a HUGE pat on the back for this one. I am going to make it to P's first birthday without her ever having a drop of formula( not that there is anything wrong with formula feeding). I breastfed exclusively for 2 months and pumped exclusively for the other 10. As far as commitment goes--exclusively pumping is one of the biggest ones I have taken on. You know, other than marriage and motherhood. It ranks a good 3--I guess. Anywho--I never would have thought that I would make it till 1 year when I first started exclusively pumping. I hated it so much. You can read my rant about it here.

Nevertheless, I will admit that I am a little sad to be giving it up. There are a few reason for this. One, Breastfeeding helps to keep the weight off. I am more than happy to be sitting here weighing 5 pounds less than I did before getting pregnant with P. Two, I just love the idea that I was able to sustain P with my body alone for so long. I mean--it's cool, right? What's your superpower? I birthed a human and fed her successfully for a year. Take that! Three, giving it up means that P is a year old. ONE YEAR OLD. I know, I know, get over it already. I promise I am going to stop complaining soon--but not yet. Oh why, why, why does my baby girl have to grow up? Can't she just be little forever?

Oh yeah, back to the topic at hand--weaning. Weaning was not unlike most undertakings that I have come across in my motherhood journey. I knew it was time to start the transition and I started doing my research. There are some different ideas about how to do it. A lot of women who exclusively BF--they just let their babies regulate them and wean naturally. As much as I would love to do that--it was not an option for me. Therefore--I have to decrease my milk production myself and try to stay as comfortable as possible. I am now down to only 1 pump a day and feel only slight discomfort at times that is totally manageable.  So--here are my tips for all my exclusive pumping friends out there.

1. Weaning can and should go with whole milk transition
I started the process of switching P to whole milk at the same time that I started weaning. It just makes sense to me. I do know a lot of women who wean before they transition to whole milk for their babies because they have a freezer stash big enough to sustain their babies. I had one too that I could have used--IF P would drink frozen milk. She just became such a picky milk drinker (we struggled with milk intake mightily for months) that she wouldn't drink the frozen milk. So I literally threw out around 500 ounces of milk. And by I--I mean J. I made him do it when I was asleep so that I wouldn't have to see it. I would have cried my eyes out. I donated all that was fresh enough and had him toss the rest--sigh! If your baby is like mine--then you can follow my same plan.

2. Use the 4 day rule
This rule applies to both transitioning to whole milk and weaning. With whole milk transitioning--every four days I up the percentage of whole milk in each of p's bottle by 1/4. So the first 4 days she was  on 3 ounces breast milk and 1 ounce whole milk in each bottle. Then it goes to 50-50, and then 75-25. At the same time I dropped from four pumps to three pumps. Four days later I was at 2 pumps. Then 1, and then none. Both processes take 12 days. By the thirteenth day P will be on whole milk and I will be free of the pump. PERFECTO!
For those of you who like charts and are visual-- here is a chart that I made

3. Decrease the quality of your Pumpings
Usually before I drop a pump I will stop worrying about how much I am getting from that pumping and instead just pump for relief. This helps to keep you from being really uncomfortable when you drop the pumping. I usually just cut my pumps a few minutes short each day during that 4 day cycle.

I hope this helps all of you out there in my situation. If you are not there yet--just file it away for future reference.

How did you wean, or what are your plans for when you do?