First fruits and veggies for baby are exciting, but can be confusing. Here you’ll find a fully comprehensive list of baby led weaning fruits and vegetables. Make the transition to solids easier and less stressful[Read more…]
Hey everyone! How’s your Tuesday? Be sure to check out the post that went up last night!
OKAY. So, I’ve talked about our sleep struggles lately and how we’ve been weaning Ryan in preparation for babe number two. It’s definitely been a trying experience and has been both easier and harder than I expected. A few of you have had some questions about how we’ve been doing it and how it’s been going, so I’m putting together a mini series on it. Today’s post is going to focus on weaning daytime nursing.
Before I go any further, I want to make a bit of a statement: to get Ryan weaned from nursing to sleep for naps and bedtime, we did in fact use Cry It Out. There is a lot of conflicting literature and research regarding this method, (some say it can be detrimental, others say don’t worry about it) so use your own judgement and do your own research before choosing this method. I went with my gut (and the recommendations of others and our pediatrician) when deciding and I really suggest you do the same. And if it doesn’t feel right, go with your gut on that as well! I tried CIO with Ryan when he was about 6 or 7 months and after a few nights of it feeling wrong/him not improving, we gave it up. I don’t think he was ready and I know that I wasn’t ready. As parents, we know what is best for our children, what they need and what they are ready for.
OKAY, so now that that disclaimer is over, let’s get to the nitty gritty. At my first OB appointment for baby number 2, my doctor asked me about nursing Ryan. She’d asked me how often I was nursing, and I said not too often (which was true, for Ryan) to which she said, “So once in the morning and once at night?” And I laughed. At that time, on the best days/nights Ryan was nursing when he first woke up, before his nap, after his nap, before bed, and then 2 or 3 times a night. “Oh, so you’re still nursing a lot.” Uhm, I guess?
Thankfully, I love my OB who told me she would never tell me to stop nursing Ryan. Great! A load off my shoulders. BUT she did tell me if I was still nursing by 20 weeks, she would recommend a lactation consultant who would insist I cut nursing down to one side and teach me about tandem nursing, AKA nursing 2 childen. No, thank you. Women who can and chose to nurse a newborn and a needy, clingy toddler are heroes in my mind, but it’s not for me. So I immediately stopped nursing on my right side, which was easy since Ryan always favored the left to the point of having super lopsided boobs and made a note to talk to Ryan’s pediatrician.
After discussing my options with the doctors and Alex, we decided it was time to start weaning Ryan. So around 15 months I began cutting day nursing. Below I’ll detail how it went for us.
First to go was the bedtime nurse. I knew Ryan was capable of it because he often fell asleep in the car on the way home at night and wouldn’t need a nurse back to sleep until 10 ish. We decided on a routine to encourage him to fall asleep that looked (approximately) like this:
6:30 – tub if it’s a tub night. Ryan has dry, sensitive skin so this is every other night.
6:45 – brush teeth, dry off, PJ’s, run around to get out last wiggles.
7:00 – hold Ryan on my hip while I read him a book or two. He doesn’t like to sit in my lap and be read to these days because he is a squirmy wormy and wants down.
7:10/15? – sing and rock. I sing Ryan a song or two and rock him with the lights off and door shut while he gets comfy and relaxes.
7:15/20 – (ish) set Ryan down in his crib.
At first, this part was hard. This is where the real “cry it out” part starts. We let him cry 5, 10, 12, 15 minutes before going in, rocking him, comforting him, etc then putting him down and leaving the room. Rinse and repeat. There are a lot of really great articles on how to do CIO as kindly and pain free as possible, but my advice is if you decide to, commit for at least that night. Start on a weekend. Have someone else go in if you need to (Ryan would FIGHT ME the first night to try and get at my boob. Like, kick me in the ribs.) and just know it won’t last forever.
It only took 2 rough nights of this before (on average) Ryan started falling right to sleep. Some nights he fights it and I have to go in once to calm him, and some nights I’ll hear him laughing and talking to himself before he falls asleep, but for the most part he falls asleep easily each night.
We started naps a week or so after I felt that he was weaned from bedtime. After a weekend of nursing only first thing in the morning and during the night due to car naps, I put him down for a nap without nursing. Again, it was rough. He wasn’t happy with this new turn of events. We did the whole book/song thing like we do for bed, and then I went in to his room in 10 minute intervals. After about an hour he was asleep. 2 or 3 days of this, and now he mostly whines for 2 minutes, if at all, before falling asleep. This has been the best change we’ve made. Knowing that I don’t have to spend any where from 10-45 minutes rocking and nursing Ryan until he falls asleep has been such a weight off my shoulders. And we’ve been able to actually schedule naps! It’s amazing.
The last to go was morning nursing, which I think was the hardest for me. It’s my favorite time of the day, to cuddle with Ryan while he wakes up and is relatively calm and not kicking me/trying to escape is amazing. I’ll definitely miss it. A few times before dropping this nurse, I would attempt to drop it. It ended in wails that would shatter glass and me caving. To be honest, the main reason we were successful in dropping it was two consecutive mornings on the weekend Alex got Ryan out of bed in the morning and brought him into bed with us. (Also: this kid does not cuddle. He crawls over your head, screams in your ear, kicks, pulls your hair, all with a smile on him face and laughing) And then we went about our day. When I tried to get him out myself it was a little tough, but not as tough as it had been in the past. So then it was gone.
TIPS & NOTES:
-Make sure they are tired for naps and bed, but not overtired. Know your child’s cues of tired, and go with that. Don’t rely on an arbitrary time or hour just yet.
-Replace, replace, replace. Cuddling with Ryan on the couch and watching cartoons first thing in the morning was the only way I could get him to wake up without nursing. Now we watch cartoons and I give him a chunk of apple to chomp on while I wake up.
-When transitioning from nursing-to-nap to falling asleep on their own, embrace the car nap (obviously, the Wieboldt fam digs a good car nap). I highly suggest spending an entire week of naps in the car – it will really get them more accustomed to the idea of falling asleep without the boob before you need to enact it.
-Be ready with snacks and, if they can tolerate it, milk. There are definitely calories and nutrients that will be missing temporarily from your little one’s diet. Talk to your pediatrician about what you can/need to do. (We give Ryan more snacks and a big smoothie made with just frozen fruit and whole milk each day for his mid-morning snack)
– No one tells you that you will be hormonal as shit for a week or so. Hormones were creating your milk and now your body is very confused as to how many it needs. You will cry and be irritable and miserable until your hormones balance themselves out, and if you’re pregnant all bets will be off. I cried so many times the first week after we cut night nursing and oh my goodness. Just be prepared, because I was not anticipating that.
-Your child may be a little clingier for a bit. This could just be Ryan, who has always been pretty clingy with me, but for a week or so after it was definitely kicked up a notch. I’m chalking it up to his need to replace the closeness he felt when I was nursing him with something else. Just show ’em some extra love. Trust me, you’re going to want it, because it may be more emotional to stop than you anticipate.
-Don’t listen to the haters. There will ALWAYS be someone who has an opinion, but you know what? It’s not their child. You and only you know what is best for your child, what they need AND the best way to give it to them. In a perfect world, I probably would have nursed Ryan until he decided he was ready, or at least space the weaning more (if I ever got to it – if you ask Alex, I continually was putting off even thinking about it.) but I did what I had to do for myself and my family and that it is all that matters.
So that’s part one, AKA how I stopped nursing during the day without too much of a headache. I hope to get a post about breaking night nursing soon, but while we aren’t nursing any more, we’re still struggling on the sleep front there.
Any questions I can answer regarding this? Any tips for me or other readers? Please leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
At Ryan’s 9 month appointment, his pediatrician told me that it was time to start giving his 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. Uhm. That’s a lot of food, right? Between nursing, naps, and playtime, I wasn’t sure when we would find time to strap him into a high chair five times a day and keep everyone sane.
In the beginning we stuck to about 1 snack a day just because I was still nursing him a lot and he wasn’t that hungry. Plus, have you ever put a 9 month old in a high chair to eat? Do you know how long it can take a 9 month old to eat? A long, long time.
Eventually Ryan started showing signs that he was needing a bit more. Since he is such a crazy and active little boy, I knew putting him in his high chair that often was just not going to happen, so we had to get creative. Snacks in the car, jumpy, and on the floor have become the norm.
Another question – have you ever watched a baby/toddler (TODDLER?! Do I have a toddler?!) eat anything? It’s gross. So the second task was to find snacks that were clean(ish) and wouldn’t get smeared all over my house, car, or baby equipment. I came up with a pretty good rotation of snacks that Ryan loves and that I feel good about giving him.
Baby Led Weaning: Clean Snacks
-Raw apple. This is Ryan’s ultimate right now. The kid goes through a whole apple a day these days. He eats a big chunk in the morning in his jumpy while I wake up, and another chunk after each nap. He wakes up hungry now, and I’m trying to cut down nursing especially since he nurses to nap. Steamed apples with the peel on work as well for babies with less developed chewing.
-Freeze-dried fruit. Freeze dried apples are awesome “first” snacks instead of puffs. We didn’t want to give Ryan processed foods, and the freeze dried apples kind of melt in your mouth, perfect for babies. We like the Crispy Green brand, and it’s the perfect snack for the car. The cantaloupe, mango and pineapple (pineapple is smaller, harder and crunchier so maybe hold off on it for little bitty snackers.) are our favorites. Target also carries a great apple and apple cinnamon flavor that we love.
–Banana cookies. Anytime we go anywhere for more than an hour or two, I throw a bunch of these into a zip top bag and throw it in the diaper bag.
-Tortilla roll-ups. Take a tortilla (we use flour – homemade with Spectrum shortening makes them MSPI friendly) and put PB&J or PB and sliced bananas (honey too, if 12+ months) roll up and slice. For Ryan, they usually stay together, rolled up, and clean. Serving them like long, uncut cigars may keep the mess at bay even more.
–Pancakes. With Ryan’s first few snacks, I cut up pancakes and drizzled syrup or PB and jelly for his snack in high high chair. But now, I make XL pancakes and cut them into sticks sans toppings. They’re a little crumbly, but not covered in stickiness.
-Sliced grapes. Slice grapes lengthwise and put into a snack cup and let ’em go. Make sure your baby is ready for small items, though.
-Annie’s Bunnies. Okay, so I know what I said about boxed/processed food, but once Ryan was throwing a fit at the store and I was also hungry so I caved. There are definitely worse snacks out there, so I don’t feel too bad. These bunnies are so good, and they’re become my secret weapon.
As with anytime you’re giving a baby food, please keep an eye on them to make sure that they’re not choking, having a reaction, etc. Ryan will literally run around the house holding an apple, so I’m constantly walking in circles to keep an eye on him.
While these snacks aren’t 100% clean, they are cleaner than some other snacks like yogurt or some stickier fruits. Sometimes I need to wipe off Ryan’s hands and face, and none of these are completely mess or crumb free (heck, what is with a baby?) but it’s definitely helpful.
If you’re new to baby led weaning, or just want more information on the process, check out the other posts in my baby led weaning series:
Why We Chose Baby Led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning: The First Steps
Baby Led Weaning: Step 2
Baby Led Weaning: First Foods, Fruits and Vegetables
Baby Led Weaning: Meal Prep
Baby Led Weaning: On the Go
Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
What are your little one’s favorite snacks? Do you have as much trouble as I do keeping crumbs off everything? Let me know in the comments!
Happy Wednesday! I personally am pretty pumped that the week is halfway over, especially since we’re celebrating our anniversary this weekend! The original idea was to make a beach weekend out of it, but its supposed to be gloomy and cold, so I’m bummed. Either way, a weekend with my boys, relaxing, sounds pretty good right now.
As always, I’m posting my eats for a whole day for What I Ate Wednesday. If you’re new to What I Ate Wednesday, head over to Peas and Crayons to get the full scoop, where Jen hosts this lovely link-up each week. So here, you go!
Breakfast: Half(ish) of a bagel, and yogurt with honey, PB and chopped apple for me, and eggs, tomato, sweet potato, peas, carrots, and broccoli for the boy. Fruit is now given after the meal or else he won’t eat, so some strawberries and apple we eated later.
Snack: Alex sent this on Monday because he’s the sweetest husband ever and knows that food is the way to my heart, not flowers. As you can imagine, we’ve been snacking on this non-stop. The fruit is all perfectly ripe and delicious!! Ryan ate chunks of apple all day, leaving the chewed up, spit out peels all over the house. Thanks, bud.
Lunch: Salad with spinach, chopped turkey, apple, tomato, onion, broccoli, peas and corn, shredded carrot, shredded cheddar and lots of balsamic. Pretty much whatever was in the fridge. Ryan had the same, separated.
Snack: Have you ever tried cream top yogurt? It’s UNBELIEVABLE. I instantly regretted not buying more. This was my second cup, and the first day Ryan had his first few spoonfuls of yogurt (IE, he ate half) and, obviously he loved it. He cried when I took the spoon away.
Dinner: This was pretty similar to lunch, but a million times better. First, spinach, chopped with scissors and sprinkled with seasoning and a good amount of balsamic. Add veggies (I used tomato, onion, peas, carrots) and shredded parmesan and toss together. On top, add warm sweet potatoes (I had just finished roasting some sticks for ryan, so I chopped them and put ’em on top.) and some form of meat. Beans would also work. I used left over beef rib from lunch on Sunday, and OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. I can’t. I also tried this Zevia cola, which was pretty good, but no beloved Coke Zero. It tastes like a melted Coke Slurpee, which I’m okay with. Ryan had balsamic chicken and veggies!
Dessert: I can’t end my day without a tasty treat, so some of that delicious fruit and a big ol’ squirt of whipped cream were in order. Uhm, those chocolate covered strawberries? SO. GOOD.
In my opinion, one of the best parts about baby led weaning is the freedom of it. I can go anywhere and not have to worry about a spoon or a jar or pouch of food. I can eat my meal without hovering over Ryan, or having to feed him myself. I always eat a hot meal because I eat with Ryan. I’m never (okay, rarely) rushed and we get to eat every meal as a family.
We have been taking Ryan out to eat with us since he was about 3 weeks old. Our first trip was Chipotle (cue surprise) and about a week or two later we went to our favorite sit-down Greek restaurant and he slept the whole way through. When he was about 7 months old and getting really into eating, we started bringing him his own little meals when we went out to eat. Like I said, he eats when we eat. People are always amazed watching him eat like a little grown up as well as his surprisingly good table manners.
Along the way we’ve picked up a few tips, tricks, and gear for making baby led weaning on the go easier for both you and your little eater.
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A Mat. We bought this silicone place mat by Summer Infant and fell in love almost immediately. It has 4 suction cups to stick to the table, a spot that catches all the dropped food, it’s easily wiped down and cleaned, and folds up into a little tube shape to throw in your diaper bag. Sometimes the suction cups don’t work perfectly, depending on the material of the table, but it’s never been a huge issue for us. Also, if you wet the cups a little, they stick much better!
Wipes. This is a given, but it’s a huge part of making this work. I use antibacterial wipes on the table and then normal baby wipes to clean off hands and face and we’ve never had a problem. Find what works for you and make sure you always have at least 1 full pack in your bag. Trust me, being out and running out of wipes during a meal is no fun. Not that I speak from experience.
Containers. I like Ziploc Twist n’ Lock containers the best. They have a screw top so they have never leaked in my bag, and they’re the perfect size for a meal. I use these for everything and end up buying about a pack a month. Inevitably, one gets left somewhere, I throw one out, or I give one away.
Sippy cup. This is the sippy cup we use, but bring whatever your child is using at the moment. We like this one for younger babies, and this CamelBak one for older kids. The CamelBak one is AMAZING and basically indestructible. I suggest one with a lid if you plan on bringing water or whatever with you, but I’ve brought an empty with me and filled it up at the restaurant many times.
Baby Led Weaning On the Go Tips:
-I prep a few meals on Fridays, or before we leave. I know that we’ll be going out to eat once or twice during the weekend, so I make a few before so I’m not scrambling. Here’s what ours look like:
Essentially, it’s whatever we would put on Ryan’s tray at home, in a container! Then I dole out a little at a time as needed. I usually put a little extra of everything in case he’s feeling one thing over the other that day or in case, a lot of it hits the floor.
–Prepping food once or twice a week makes making quick meals (both for going out and staying in!) easy and stress-free. Meal planning and prep isn’t just for your meals!!
-Frozen corn and peas make great ‘ice packs’. If it’s going to be warm or I know that we’ll be out for a while I put a generous handful of corn or peas on the top and bottom of the containers and by the time we eat most are defrosted so they’re edible and it’s kept the rest of the food safe to eat.
-Never go straight from the pan/pot to the container and out. This is dangerous and can breed bacteria if not kept at the right temperature or eaten in a timely manner. For more about food safety, check out foodsafety.gov
-I know it’s a bummer, but clean up the best you can before you leave. Especially if it’s somewhere you plan on going again. It’s common courtesy!
-As you get more comfortable, sharing your meal is fun as well! We didn’t start this with Ryan until he was 12 months, partly because of his allergy, but also because of recommended sodium. Use your gut, do what feels right for you and your family.
-Put in a few “sure things” that will keep your little one entertained, happy, and willing to sit for an extended amount of time. For us, it’s larger chunks or slices of (now, raw) apple, tomato, corn, bread, or fruit in general. Also, things that they love but take a while (see raw apple – if I know it will be a longer outing, I’ll give him a half of a raw apple to munch on) to use up time.
If you’re new to baby led weaning, or just want more information on the process, check out the other posts in my baby led weaning series:
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