9 things I wish I knew about weaning

Just a few weeks ago, I weaned Kiwi. Although I had a goal to wean her by her second birthday, I thought it’d never happen: She asked for milk all day, every day. Yet bit by bit, we decreased the amount she breastfed. Finally, there came a day when she didn’t nurse at all. And then there was another no-milk day. And just like that, weaning was complete.

Pretty much. (More on that below!)

It’s no secret around here that I’ve both struggled with breastfeeding and loved it. I nursed Peeper until she was 15 months old, and Kiwi until she was almost 2. But even though we’d semi-accidentally become an extended breastfeeding family, I was ready to wean.

Yes, I was ready to wean, but I wish someone had clued me in to some details about weaning I’d never heard—or read—about.

9 things I wish I'd known about weaning, 'cause stopping breastfeeding is a big deal. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

A little-known trick to pump more milk

A dear friend of mine (whom I’ll not name so I don’t embarrass her) recently texted me. She was at work on a short break and was pumping milk for her baby at home. Not only that—she was catching up on emails, sending me pics of her munchkin and blow drying her hair (which she’d left in a wet bun until now). I couldn’t believe all her multitasking while pumping at work. Wow, she is a supermom! I thought.

As her need to do so much during such a short time shows, pumping at work is not easy. Plus, many moms feel a lot of pressure to make enough milk for their babies while they are at work. So it’s no surprise that nearly every pumping mom I know has, at some point, wanted to pump more milk.

The $2 trick to pump more milk and increase your supply for breastfeeding! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

What breastfeeding should feel like

When Peeper was born, I visited lactation specialists several times a week to try to get breastfeeding to work for us. She was my first baby, so I didn’t really know what breastfeeding should feel like—but I was pretty sure it shouldn’t feel stabby/excrutiating/make-me-cry painful.

When I asked one of the lactation nurses what breastfeeding should feel like, she gently pulled on my thumb. “Like that,” she said. I was bewildered; when Peeper latched, breastfeeding was definitely not that gentle.

Fast forward past many lactation appointments, a belated tongue tie correction, the use of a nipple shield and a lot of persistence, and breastfeeding finally did feel good—I finally got to the point where breastfeeding didn’t hurt.

But that’s not the only part of how breastfeeding actually feels. In short, it can hit a whole bunch of emotions, too. So if you’re wondering what you’re in for when you breastfeed your baby, read on.

What breastfeeding should feel like: Nursing moms may feel these emotional and physical parts of feeding her baby. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Sometimes motherhood is awesome

If you’ve read this blog often enough, you’ve seen my posts about how hard motherhood can be—like the time one kid trailed poop after her all over the house, or the long length of time breastfeeding was insanely hard, or the roughly 12 months I didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a row. But sometimes motherhood is awesome.

Take, for instance, the other day. Peeper and I made cookies for absolutely no reason other than the fact that sugar and chocolate chips are delicious. When they were done, the heavenly smell of perfectly browned cookies filled the house.

Shockingly, Kiwi was still asleep—couldn’t she smell the chocolate chip cookies?—so Peeper and I got some more one-on-one time.

I decided to teach her a vital life lesson.

Teaching my kids how to bake and sharing the ritual of cookies and milk—2 ways motherhood is AWESOME! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dunking cookies and bonding

Some life lessons are hard to teach—like that friends aren’t always nice to you, or that there are people in the world who value girls less than boys. This was not one of them.

I poured two cups of milk. I placed two chocolate chip cookies on plates. I sat Peeper down at the table.

And I taught her how to dunk a cookie in milk.

Peeper had never dunked a cookie, but the practice combines two of her favorite things—dessert and milk.

She and I ate our milk-softened cookies, still warm from the oven, and giggled. It felt as if we were sharing a beautiful secret. The feeling of doing something special just for us filled the room like the scent of baking chocolate.

Cookies and milk and motherhood

Kiwi woke up a few minutes later. I still try to limit her sugar as much as I can, so before I got her from the crib I cleaned up the evidence of cookies and milk.

When Kiwi and I rejoined Peeper in the living room, Peeper looked up at me and smiled. She had a smear of chocolate on one cheek. As I smiled back at her I thought, Motherhood is awesome.

Kiwi is 18 months: 10 memories of my big little toddler

Kiwi is 18 months old—a whopping year and a half. She runs, she throws a ball, she does her darnedest to jump, she understands so much. I can hardly believe how big my littlest has become: a big little toddler.

My big little toddler - Ten Thousand Hour MamaAt 18 months, my toddler loves to go on hikes. Ten Thousand Hour MamaEat dirt? Sure! But good luck trying to get this toddler to eat real food. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis 18 month old toddler says, "Let's go outside, Mom!" Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I recently read a few past milestone pasts about Peeper. The posts reminded me of some things I’d forgotten (that she used to call oatmeal “wee-mo,” for example). I also realized that I’ve slacked lately on keeping Kiwi’s milestone posts up to date.

This month, as Kiwi turns 18 months, I captured ten things about my big little toddler that make her uniquely her.

At 18 months, I'm capturing memories of my big little toddler. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

For one boob nap, a second child becomes an only child

As I tap this one-handed on my phone, I’m nap trapped. My toddler has fallen asleep breastfeeding, leaving me unable to put away all the kids’ new toys, go through unopened mail, unpack our suitcases or do any of the other things on my list. But I am not complaining. Today, I’m happy for this boob nap.

Kiwi rarely falls asleep on me these days. And on the occasions she does, I can’t let her snooze on me. I don’t have that flexibility; I have a preschooler.

But Peeper went down to Eugene with her dad to pick up our dog, so for today I am mom of only one kid. And that “only child” has a doozy of a cold. So it’s really not that shocking she fell asleep at the breast—and why I let her keep sleeping on me, boob nap style.

When my toddler fell asleep in a boob nap, I stayed put. She and I both got exactly what we needed. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

On my first pump and dump (and crying in a public bathroom)

I was holding back tears in the airport restroom so, yeah, I suppose I looked as if I needed a friend.

The lady at the sink next to me smiled. “That’s liquid gold,” she said, nodding to the still-warm bottles of milk I had just pumped. “Don’t lose it!”

I tried to smile back as I tipped the bottles and watched the milk swirl down the drain. She looked aghast—and I felt like I was going to throw up. It was the first time I had to pump and dump in my almost three years of breastfeeding my two kids, and it felt awful.

I hadn’t been drinking in the airport (though on second thought, maybe I should have been.) I explained to the woman next to me that I’m traveling for work, and I decided not to save the milk I pump.

Deciding to pump and dump brought an avalanche of mommy guilt. Then I decided to forgive myself. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more