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And just like that, we were done

It happened so slowly that I barely noticed it.  But in hindsight I guess I also grieved it slowly.  Every day.  Across months.  And said good-bye minute by minute, session by session…until, finally, my little nursling was no more.

A little more than two years and little W is, I’d say, officially weaned.  For the last several months my energetic toddler has nursed less and less, and still less.  Our once three-times-a-day sessions dropped down to just morning and night.  And, when he was just as eager to wake up and eat breakfast we dropped another session and just nursed before bed.  And finally, when he was just as eager to start reading books with Daddy…

We were done.  There were no more nursing sessions left to drop.

And much to my surprise, I was OK.  I am OK.

There were so many times leading up to this day that I’d look down at him while he was nursing and my heart would just about burst in my chest.  Explode.  Threatening to scatter tiny fragments of my soul across his serene nursery.  I know.  That sounds so dramatic.  But two things: (1) if you’ve ever self-sustained a tiny human (from the breast or bottle) you know what I’m talking about and (2) nursing makes you all sorts of hormone-induced-crazy.  So, it was the silent kind of catastrophe that usually just resulted in big, silent tears seeping from my eyes while my little one happily nursed away none the wiser.  I was already heartbroken and dreading something I knew would come…

But I just couldn’t imagine the day we’d no longer nurse.  The day we’d no longer share this indescribable bond.

It was, after all, a bond forged over engorged, bloody nipples…clogged ducts…and mastitis.  A bond forged through what seemed like endless all-nighters, cluster feedings and days where we spent more time nursing than we didn’t (and I have the app to prove it…).  Across a seemingly endless journey from 32As to 32Es..every size in between…and arriving at my new boobs that more closely resemble tiny, shriveled grapes.

But it came and went.  As I knew it would.  As it had for many of my friends, whether it was before it ever started…or sooner than they would have liked.  I’d grieved with them, too, and felt joy for them as they found new ways to connect and keep their special bond alive.  But I was so surprised that I almost didn’t even notice.  It happened so gradually.  So peacefully.  Not at all the dramatic explosion my anticipation foreshadowed.  Thankfully.

I know that, each and every day, he’s growing and changing and developing and evolving – just like our relationship.  But, nursing or not, I know that our bond is just as strong.  We just express it in different ways now.  A running hug from across the room.  A kiss on my imaginary “boo boo.”  A snuggle before bed.

And, you know what?  It kind of feels good to be wanted just for me.

But, honestly, little W will still ask for milk every once and a while…even though these shriveled milk-makers aren’t making anymore milk.  And I happily oblige because I miss having his little head lay on my chest as we snuggle.  So when it happens, I breathe in every second of his warmth and am grateful for just one more moment.

Gratefully yours,

MomME

 

 

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The art of using utensils

It’s time for W to start cleaning up his act at meal time.  Literally.  The mess is killing me!  Clearly W loves it, but me on the other hand…am left scraping avocado out of his ears all day.

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Let’s hash out what we’ve accomplished thus far with the baby lead solids approach, though, because I couldn’t be happier.  W does a great job feeding himself.  He chews incredibly well and rarely gags or bites off more than he can handle.  My favorite?  He’s so adventurous when it comes to trying new foods!  Win. Win.  And win.  We ate out a ton while we were on vacation in Disney (post to come soon!) and it could not have been easier (note I didn’t say cleaner…) thanks to his stellar attitude towards food.  With our amazing rubber bib, disposable placemats, a handful of Cheerios and the LED ice-cube (below), we were golden.  So no complaints on that end.

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But, as with all things, an evolution of process and procedure is in order.  It’s time for a spoon, folks!  The avocado face-and-hair masks are getting too much to clean up three times a day and, frankly, make me dread meal time.  W is nursing less and less (we are at about 6 times a day), so it’s pretty important that I not be dreading feeding the growing little dude.

So, I decided that introducing a spoon was a good idea…when black bean soup was on the menu for lunch, no less.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I must not have had my third cup of coffee yet…

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This first attempt was probably messier than it would have been had I just let him scoop the soup out of the bowl with his hands (which he did half the time).  He quickly discovered that his spoon was a great way to catapult food to the dog instead of his usual delivery method.  Our dog, Rex, is a food-motivated Frenchie who is always underfoot come meal time.  They’ve got quite the symbiotic relationship – W provides the food and Rex provides the entertainment.  It’s a habit we are SERIOUSLY trying to break.  But, W thinks that our head-shaking is part of the game.  So, he holds his food over the edge, drops it, looks at us with a scowl on his face and shakes his head, “No.”  Unfortunately it’s funnier than it is problematic.  At least for right now…

But, back to the spoon.

He does a great job grabbing the spoon with his right hand and usually gets a good grip on the handle – not to high, not too low.  He understands the motion he’s supposed to make and that he scoops the spoon in the bowl and then it goes into his mouth.  He’ll sometimes use the other hand to guide the spoon there with a bit more precision, which is so sweet to watch.  His fine-motor skills are improving so quickly, and it melts my heart to watch his tiny hands make such slow, deliberate and gentle movements.  And the prideful grin?  Agh.

So, I don’t have a calculated plan moving forward.  No benchmarks for the little guy to meet.  But, I think we’ll keep giving him a spoon at meal time and encourage him as he goes!  He has been picking things up so quickly, that I’m hoping he’ll be on his way to a cleaner eating routine in no time…

I know this is wishful thinking, but if you don’t have hope, what do you have?

Spoonfully yours,

MomME

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Adventures (and updates) in BLW

cider and maple glazed pork tenderloin with pear, onion, apple

W gobbled up this scrumptious dinner and only gagged twice!  One of the pears happened to be a bit less smooshy than the others and it was a bit tough going down.  Granted the apples, pears and onions are super mushy…and the pork was torn into bits…it’s still a major win from where we were in the not-so-distant past.   His gagging is FAR less emotionally traumatic…and with a few swift pats on the back, the food is back up, and he’s chomping at the bit for more.  Pun intended.  His palate is also pretty impressive.  Just yesterday he couldn’t get enough chipotle cilantro lime white bean soup (I added chipotle and chicken! Long name, but easy and amazing dish, too.)

But BLW updates aside, this recipe is the perfect seasonal dish.  I made a slight modification since babies aren’t supposed to have honey…so I used Maine maple syrup instead!  Even more seasonal and local.  Yum.  I also added a healthy slosh of fresh apple cider and a fresh-picked apple, both from our weekend fall bucket list outing at Snell Family Farm.

It was melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

Yours truly,

MomME

http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/todays-recipe-glazed-pork-tenderloin-with-pear-and-thyme/

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Chew on that, mom

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Lots of things are complicated when it comes to a new baby, but I didn’t think feeding W was one of them.  Until, like most things lately, I did a little research.

When the topic of starting solid food came up I didn’t think twice – we would spoon feed W yummy purees.  Being on the healthy side, I’d actually MAKE the purees here at home.  Take that, store-bought-purees, I thought.  I’m going to feed my baby the best.

Sigh.  Yet again, my new-mom-naivete slapped me in face. There is new research.  There are new schools of thought.  More decisions.  More explaining those decisions.  And that’s when I learned about BLW (another annoying mommy-blog-o-nym short for baby lead weaning…or baby lead solids).

The concept makes sense, I’ll admit that.  Baby learns to eat just like we eat.  Give them normal food in a sort of soft stage and let them feed themselves.  It puts the wheel (or the carrot stick) right in baby’s hand.  They decide if they’re hungry.  They decide if they’re not.  Research shows that babies who eat in this way are less picky because they’re introduced to more foods and textures.  Research shows that babies who eat this way have less allergies because they’re introduced to more foods.  Research shows that babies who eat this way choke less because they learn how much they can or can’t put in their mouths…and they actually learn to chew before they learn to swallow (with purees, they learn to swallow first…so when they begin to need to chew they’re tempted to swallow first).

Choking.  That’s where I’m stuck, folks.  I can NOT get passed the fact that gagging is a normal part of this learning phase with BLW!  I have an active imagination as it is.  I go into worst-case-scenario-mode in a matter of seconds.  To make things worse, this isn’t something totally imagined (like when I’m driving over a bridge and I start to think how I’d get W and the dog out of a sinking car if the bridge collapsed…).  This is actually happening, and the line between gagging (there is noise associated with this) and choking (silent) is so very fine.  I.Can’t.Deal.

Bottom line, I have to wait for the hubby to get home because I can’t do the BLW by myself.  If anything ever went wrong I couldn’t live with myself.  As I’m typing this, I’m thinking, Wow, this sounds so serious…like you’re talking about letting your kid play with knives while you’re home alone.  Nope, just talking about eating some avocado.

When did eating go from my FAVORITE pastime to something that now scares the living daylights out of me?  Where’s the fun in that?  I certainly don’t want my anxiety to scare W into thinking that eating is scary.

We’re going to keep trying.  Little by little.  Wedge of food after wedge of food.  Some nights I might have to call it quits after a serious gag/choke.  Some nights I might survive a few.  But, if it means he’s less likely to choke when he’s older…I guess I’ll *try* to stick with it.

Updates to follow.

Anxiously yours,

MomMe