Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Budget Friendly Green Tips for the Home

I love to research, I love to teach and since I write a blog, I obviously love to share.

Here are my top tips for being budget friendly and trying to be a little green. These are some of the things we actually do. Which means they are cheap, easy, and they work. Because we don’t have time for anything else.

1. Making our own deodorant.

Coconut oil + essential oils + cornstarch (arrowroot powder) and baking soda. I do leave out almost all of the baking soda because it really irritates my armpits. It doesn’t bother Damien at all. He loves tea tree and peppermint in his and I use only lavender since peppermint oil can reduce my milk supply. It is not an antiperspirant, but the deodorant works great. And Damien loves it. Which means it must really work.

2. ‘Make’ our own foaming hand soap.

We buy Dr. Bronner’s soap in the big bottles and mix it with equal parts water and a little bit of olive oil (to keep the pump working smoothly) and it works great. I’ve heard of adding tea tree, but that would take more effort on my part. We just reuse a foaming pump from one of the store green brands after we finished it.

3. Cloth diapering.

I know it’s not for everyone, and my intimidation factor with starting was super high, but after 2.5 years, it has been so worth it! We’ve spent well under $1000 to diaper two kids. And once you get started, it’s not nearly as big of a deal as you thought. Just a little time spent learning about it and how to properly do the laundry will save you thousands of dollars PER KID!

4. Cutting out processed foods, especially snack foods like granola bars.

I’ve always been under the impression that eating super healthy has to be more expensive. While it is definitely true that fruits and veggies are costly (especially if you buy organic), I have noticed a drop in our grocery budget when I stopped buying things like granola bars. They are often not very healthy at all and the cost adds up quickly. Same with junk food snacks like cookies, chips, and ice cream. They are often very expensive and it’s easy for me to overindulge. If I buy apples, they may cost a little more, but I’ll go through them more slowly.

5. Breastfeed.

Well, the obvious answer here is it’s free! And it’s the exact formula God made. You can’t really go wrong with that.

6. White Vinegar

This stuff is amazing! It’s the best toilet bowl cleaner I’ve ever used, it removes soap scum like nobody’s business and it removes hard water buildup on things like faucets. They should empty the cleaning aisles and just stock vinegar. Seriously. And to combat the lovely aroma, just save citrus peels in a mason jar, fill with vinegar, let it sit for a few weeks and voila! citrusy vinegar. It also works great as a laundry stain remover and just a general counter/table cleaner.

7. Make our own soda water (and not drink soda).

We finally(!!) made ourselves give up soda. It took a while, but we grew to like just plain soda (carbonated) water. Once we knew we liked it long term, we wanted to stop buying the bottles from the store since it can actually be more expensive than soda if you’re not careful! I researched the SodaStream and each liter would only cost $0.25. Since we were paying double that, and sometimes more, we grabbed a machine on Craigslist with two of the CO2 cartridges which saved us even more. We have been using it for a few months now and it’s awesome. It not only works great, but we get to use our better tasting filtered water and it is so convenient to never really run out. We can always just make more in a few seconds. If you like soda water or even want sodas without high fructose corn syrup, I would totally recommend the SodaStream.

I’m looking to add more things to my hippie green list, but we add things in slowly. We do use natural products in the shower, but have not gone the no-poo super cheap way yet. I plan on trying it out in the coming months. Right now we use shampoo and conditioner from the Honest Company thanks to special coupons and other discounts. Another thing I’m hoping to try is oil cleansing for our face and trying activated charcoal for teeth whitening. I would also love to try un-paper towels in the kitchen.


Night Weaning Round 2

So we’ve been working on getting the little one to sleep better for months now. It’s been a series of baby steps. Some forward, some backward, but last night we had a huge success!

Little C went from 9:30 – 5am without any milk!!! And he slept until 7:15.

We’ve been doing so many different things, here are some of our victories:

-We taught him to fall asleep without being attached to me.

It took a night of extreme patience, but it worked wonders. I intentionally detached him before he fell asleep and then I rocked him, patted his back, held him, sang to him, set him down and finally laid down on the ground and let him crawl, squirm, and scream on me until he finally fell asleep on top of me – 45 minutes later. Since then he has gone to sleep in between 5 and 10 minutes with very little fussing or complaining.

-I limited his night feeding’s length.

He was nursing a million times a night and I knew he didn’t need it. And since he could fall asleep on his own, I have been intentionally cutting the night feedings short. It didn’t seem to add much time between feedings, but I knew it would be helpful as we continued.

-We cut out dairy from his diet.

Since we have stopped giving him dairy, he falls asleep faster, stays asleep longer and eats more real food during the day. This has been the biggest improvement in sleep we’ve had. It’s only been a few days, but he actually went 3 or 4 hours at night.

And……

-We officially night weaned him between 11pm and 6am.

He fell asleep around 7:30pm, woke up at 9:30 (I fed him like normal) and then did not wake up again until midnight. I did not feed him. Instead I picked him up and sang to him and just hugged him. At first he was pretty mad, but he fell asleep in about 10 minutes. I was happily stunned and went back to bed. He woke again around 2 am (I’m not sure since Damien took this one) and Damien got him back to sleep in about 10 minutes as well. Another wake up at 4:30 and 5am went pretty smoothly. But at 5:30, Damien pointed out that he had actually gone from 9:30-5:30 without any milk so I fed him as much as he wanted. He went back to sleep until 7:15!!!

Here is our journey from the first time around. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

And here is a link to Dr. Jay Gordon’s page about night weaning. It has been so successful for both boys, I would highly recommend it. We still have more nights of adjustment ahead of us, but I am so impressed with how Little One did. I was hoping it would go well since we had already been ‘messing’ with him at night, but I didn’t dare hope for how well it went last night. I’ll update again after we have some more milk free nights under our belt.


No Dairy for Little One

So, I feel a little silly. How could I not have noticed?

This week we figured out that Little C has an issue with dairy. I don’t know if it’s an allergy or a sensitivity or what, but since we intentionally cut it out, he’s had the first ‘normal’ poop of his life. And he seems way happier. And I think he’s sleeping better. And all of that makes me feel at least a little terrible that we didn’t figure it out way sooner.

He has always been a weird eater. We delayed foods until almost 8 months (thanks to a cross country move) and so he never was a fan of purees. We gave him bits and pieces of anything we could think of and he’d take some, but most of the time he wouldn’t even put it in his mouth. For awhile he’d eat some baby food, but he demanded that he hold the spoon. Which we let him do, but it did not exactly lead to him consuming much. Through it all, the one food he managed to actually get in his mouth pretty well and he consistently liked from day to day was yogurt.

Since he is still primarily breastfed and barely eats much, I was never too concerned that his poop remained pretty runny. (Sorry, but what else are we parents supposed to talk about?) In the last few months I have been thinking more and more that he should be having more solid poop, but I was not concerned about it. Until this past two weeks.

While we were visiting family in AZ, Little One ate more yogurt than he previously had at any one time. And he had several servings a day. I figured – Hey! He’s eating – but man, was that a problem. His poop turned completely white and he went several times a day. I’m not a huge worrier, but when we googled it things like liver/bile duct blockage and Celiac’s disease and other fun things came up. I also saw that it could be from drinking too much milk. I figured he didn’t really drink milk. And then I remembered the yogurt.

Since then we have cut out all dairy for him and he is doing so much better! I can’t believe it took us this long to figure it out, but I’m also so thankful to know now. I think he was having belly/gas issues and that seems to be better. He’s going more regularly and it’s solid and I’m hoping he’ll sleep a little better. We had a great night, but then we’ve been traveling so only time will tell. And someday we’ll actually night wean him. And I’ll tell you all about it.


Falling Asleep

So our biggest challenge has been/is teaching Little C to fall asleep without nursing to sleep. This week we have been trying to make small changes that will make a big difference. And so far, they are helping. Not magic, but helping.

Last Sunday night God gave me a crazy dose of patience so I nursed the little one, but took him off before he fell asleep. And then I held him. And sang to him. And pat his back. And walked him. And he SCREAMED. But I just laid down with him and tried to comfort him as best as I could. He was mad, but I knew he wasn’t hungry. And finally, after 45 minutes, he fell asleep. He still woke up a bunch and I just nursed him like normal.

Monday night I have Bible study, so Damien had him. For some reason, Little C wouldn’t take the bottle so he ended up falling asleep without it. A bummer, but a victory too. When I got home, he actually took the bottle from me when he woke up the next time and then went to sleep easily. That kind of counts as not nursing to sleep.

The rest of the week I tried to take opportunities during the day at nap time and at least once at night to lay him down awake. He seems to accept it better during nap time and I had a lot of success getting him to sleep on his own. And each night got easier. We weren’t doing it every time and Damien helped me when he could. We planned on making our efforts official this weekend.

Last night was Friday night. The weekend. We set the goal as I would nurse him every time he woke up, but he had to go to sleep in the crib. Not attached to me. He protested the first time and Damien was able to get him to sleep by singing to him. (happy *sigh*) It took about 10-15 minutes. During the night the plan was for me to try and if he was being too difficult, Damien would come take over. Amazingly, he really didn’t complain too much. Our saving grace is that the boy loves to sleep. He definitely WANTS to be sleeping, he just has a hard time staying asleep. He cried when I set him down, but I was able to use white noise and pat his back. He didn’t fight me for more than 5 minutes. And he slept better than he has in weeks.

And the biggest blessing? Big C hasn’t seem to notice that his brother is screaming right next to him!! In fact, the big one actually seems to use the little one’s cries as a kind of white noise. There have been several times during nap time that I have tried to put them both down at the same time. Inevitably one of them is crying, but if Little C cries, Big C lets me comfort the baby instead and often falls right to sleep himself. It has been a huge relief that we haven’t been waking up big brother.

I know this will be a somewhat slow process. Even after one official night and several partial nights he slept from 11-3. That’s the longest he’s slept in weeks or even months! He woke up at 4:30 and then for the morning at 6. But that is such a victory! I’m sure we will have more challenges this weekend, but I’m confident we will stick it out and I know we will have a happier kiddo. We’d love your prayers while we try to figure this out, but for the first time in months, I’m really hopeful. There is more sleep in my very near future.


Who Needs Sleep?

Second kids like to challenge the rules.

Little C started sleeping through the night (for real – 8-10 hours) during his first week on the outside. I kept quiet. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to mess it up. And it lasted for almost 6 months. It was glorious!

I should have known that meant trouble.

At 3 months I found out I had a supply issue that was brought on and aggravated by how much he slept. My boys are both little, but this time, Little C wasn’t really gaining weight. I had been enjoying the amazing sleep and for some reason I had never thought about the need to pump at some point during the night. Thankfully, I found an amazing friend who donated about 200 oz of milk to us so I could supplement him a few ounces each day while I let him nurse as much as humanly possible and pump at least once or twice a day to bring my supply back.

Fast forward to 6 months and he no longer slept through the night. I’m not sure what changed. Maybe the lack of milk had caught up so he was hungry? Maybe the 6 teeth almost all at once did it? Maybe the first cold he had? Maybe the 6 month growth spurt? I don’t know, but suddenly he started sleeping (or not sleeping, in this case) like he ‘should’ have as a newborn. At first he woke up every 3/4 hours, then down to 2/3. For the last few months it’s been more like 1/2 hours. It’s been tough and I feel like a zombie, but I tried not to complain (too much). I knew this was payback for those first few months. And I just kept trying to remind myself that soon enough I’ll be begging him to wake up. And technically, he’s easy. I just have to stumble in there, feed him for 5-10 minutes at the most and lay him back down in the crib. He goes right back to sleep. It was ‘easy’ to just keep trudging along because he didn’t stay up or fight sleep – he just woke up every hour or so.

We weren’t sure how to help him, and me, get more sleep and we were scared to try much since both boys share a room. It didn’t seem to be a good idea to make the little one scream just to wake up the big one. But now Little C is 1. We know he can go longer between feedings. And more importantly, we know he needs more sleep to be the happy baby he should be. In spite of the broken sleep, he is a pretty happy kid, but on the days where he sleeps better there is a marked difference.

So we’ve been in sleep boot camp this week and will be for the next few weeks, I’m sure. We’re not ready to night wean yet. Between his size and my supply issues, I’m just not ready, but something needs to change. After thinking through everything that goes on we’ve come up with a plan:

  • Try to be more diligent about putting him down for 2 good naps a day. I would make many of his naps be in the car because we had errands, etc and then sometimes we’d miss the second nap. In this week alone of making sure to follow more of a routine (with some naps still in the car) he has been way happier during the day. Especially in the early evening.
  • Create more of a bedtime routine. He is a champion nurse-to-sleeper so we haven’t really done much of a routine. If we want him to sleep without having to nurse so much, I really think the routine is vital.
  • Pay attention to ambient lights. Caleb doesn’t seem to be bothered by lights much so we hadn’t really thought about it. Paying attention this week, it seems that the light from our bedroom can wake up the little one if we’re not careful. We’ve been trying to keep the door closed and it seems to help.
  • Teach him to fall asleep separate from nursing. This is HUGE! He falls asleep SO easily if I just let him nurse long enough. And he just lets me lay him back in bed no problem. But now he can’t stir in the night and get back to sleep without my help. This week we’ve been working on it and I’ll share more in a post tomorrow!

The End of an Age

I’ve been radio silent for a little bit. The reality of raising a now one year old (ahh!!!) and a 2.5 year old is a bit overwhelming and so rewarding. I have lots of things I’d like to post about and I’ll be working to get them up.

Today’s news is that I’ve done it. I’m officially only breastfeeding one kiddo. You may or may not realize that I have continued to nurse Big C this entire time. I don’t talk about it much, but maybe I should or at least should have. I am proud that I nursed him for 30 months. I think it has been an amazing, important, crazy journey. It has not always been easy, but I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

Over the course of the last 2 and a half years, I have become more and more passionate about breastfeeding. When we first had Big C, I didn’t necessarily have any thoughts about nursing except I knew it was best for his health and even better, it was free! I had no idea how long I would nurse, I just knew that I was going to start.

When Damien and I first talked about length, he mentioned that it seemed weird when kids could ask for milk by themselves. But the first time that our infant signed for milk was amazing! I looked at Damien and joked that “Alright, he’s done now,” and we both knew that was absurd. When I found out I was pregnant, I assumed that we would wean at some point near the end of the pregnancy, but our main man showed no interest in giving it up. After the little one arrived, nursing Big C was sometimes inconvenient, but it was a brief moment where I could focus on him and let him know we hadn’t forgotten about him. And now, as time has gone on it has been such a blessing to be able to comfort him in times of loneliness or pain or sadness. There have been many times that I thought, “What would I do right now if I couldn’t nurse him?”

But now, I feel the time is right. I prepped him for a few weeks that once it was Little C’s birthday, we would be done with milk. He has only been nursing once a day, if that, for months now and although he likes it, I just need this one thing off my plate. It’s officially been 10 days since I nursed him last and he actually asks me every day. It’s almost become a silly ritual. He giggles and laughs and asks, “I want some of your milk.” He has the most ridiculous sly/coy/manipulative faces that he tries to get me to give in. I can’t guarantee that I won’t. But I think I won’t. It has been such a small part of our world lately that I didn’t think I would care, but I definitely feel sad.

It’s interesting, the nursing relationship. It’s something I can’t really describe. And something you can’t possibly understand the intricacies of if you aren’t there yourself. It definitely isn’t all good. There have been many times where it has been a major source of frustration. But I do know that I couldn’t possibly imagine having stopped any earlier. And now my boy is officially that much more grown up.


Birthday Boys

This week Big C turned 2 and Little C is 6 months!!

I can’t believe we really have a two year old. The sandbags we had to put up around our house because of floods are still there. We put them up right before we found out we were pregnant.

I’ve been cloth diapering for two years, and nursing for two years, and I’ve successfully kept him alive for two years!

The transition to two kids has definitely not been all peaches and cream. The boys are great and we are so glad to have them close together, but life can get pretty crazy. They have an uncanny knack for needing things at the exact same time. Lately both of us have been getting frustrated pretty easily. The crazy emotions of a two year old and the constant needs of a 6 month old are wearing us out! We would love your prayers for patience and understanding, because we sure need it!


An Incredible Blessing

It’s been a little while since I updated everyone on Little C’s weight gain issues.

At our 4 month appointment, the Dr. said he looked good, but wanted us to continue supplementing him with 2oz of milk a day. I’m not really sure how long she expected/s us to do this, but I’m hoping to schedule another weight check in the next couple of weeks to see if we can stop.

The bad news is that I have officially run out of my own expressed milk. I continue to try to pump, but I get roughly 1/2 an ounce at night before bed and if I pump in the morning I am just stealing it from him; it’s not really a supplement at that point. I can pump 3 oz, but then he doesn’t have those 3oz to drink when he wakes up. I’m not refilling as fast as I would like so it’s not really working.

The good news is that I have an incredible friend! I knew that one of my friends had/has over 400 oz of milk in her freezer and I took the risk and asked if she was willing to share. I know that sounds pretty crazy, but I decided I would rather use breastmilk (from a healthy friend I trust) over formula. In the end if we need formula, that’s fine. I just knew I had a potential source of mama’s milk and I didn’t want to not ask. God is so good, because not only did she say yes and give me 50 0z!!!, but it’s from when her daughter was the same age as Little C. He has had a few bottles now and he didn’t even notice. It is such a blessing that she was able to share and hopefully I can use the time while I have her milk to pump at least some of my own.

Both boys are doing great and they are such a blessing. I am so thankful that God has given us two perfect little boys.


And We’re at it Again…

So… After all that we had a not so good third weight check this week. In the past week he has only gained one ounce! I’m not even sure how that happened. He eats constantly, and I definitely feel like there is more milk for him.

In general, I do pretty good about avoiding mommy guilt, but knowing that he’s not getting enough food is tough. He’s a pretty happy kid and I just need to focus on that, but it’s so easy to feel like a failure. I just want the best for him and currently, my body is not cooperating.

Over the next few days I need to focus on pumping and I think I’ll focus on having some more cuddle time with the little one. Let’s see if I can get him to nurse all day and boost my supply that way.

I would appreciate your prayers and encouragement! Thank you for supporting me, even just by reading.


Supply and Demand

A little over a week ago, I found out I was having supply issues and little C wasn’t getting enough food. I am happy to report that we had our check up with the lactation consultant and all is good!

God’s timing is pretty amazing. I just happened to find out that I would need to pump several times a day as I was headed home to Havasu for a week. Talk about a mini miracle. Pumping when I’m home alone with the boys is basically impossible. If it’s a good time to pump, Big C needs me. If he’s happy or asleep, little one needs to eat. It’s a¬†vicious¬†cycle. Pumping with my family around to take care of the boys was actually nice. Pumping became a time where I got to sit by myself and be left alone for a few minutes. Because I was able to pump a bunch my supply has seemed to recover nicely. Little C gained 14 oz in 8 days! I’m excited to see how much he continues to grow between now and his 4 month appointment.

I do still have to make sure I keep my supply up and pump sometimes, but not constantly. I am so thankful that everything went so smoothly.