All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!



We have begun the weaning process.  I am logging our progress here.  I have read a few posts from other bloggers that gave me the courage to bite the bullet and not come up with yet another excuse to not start today.  HA!

I just revisited my milk tracking spreadsheet to see how much of a supply we have built up.  This spreadsheet was my main motivator when I was pumping – it kept me on track and focused on the end goal.  If I felt like skipping a pumping, I would open up this spreadsheet and remind myself that keeping the “average per day yield” up was paramount to our success.  I had an end goal in mind, and I’m proud to say that we have exceeded that by a long shot!

As of this moment, I have 1034.5 ounces of breast milk in my freezer.  Counting the pumped milk he’s already consumed, I pumped a total of 1,301 .75 ounces.  That just sounds insane!

When I started out on our breastfeeding journey, my goal was to get to 3 months before re-evaluating.  We got to three months quite easily (after that difficult initial 6-8 weeks) and then I said that the goal was 6 months.  Then, 9 months.  Then, 1 year.  As my goals got extended, so did our freezer stash.  This was a win-win situation!

Matthew will have breast milk until September 10th or a bit later.  I figure I’ll have to start introducing whole milk at the beginning of September so that he has a smooth transition to that, so I bet that pushes us out until September 12th or 13th.  This makes me happy because that means he will have had breast milk exclusively for the first 14.5 months of his life.

Not bad.  Not bad at all.  Breast feeding WIN!*

* (Prior to our IF struggles, I never planned to breastfeed.  I was going to pump exclusively for three months and be done with it.  Oh, how times change!)


Hope Floats

Something big happened – I got my first post-pregnancy period.  Not exciting to anyone but me, I suppose, but it’s worth a post.

All this time, I’ve worried about weaning Matthew solely because I need to get that first period post-nursing so that we can move onto TTC Matthew’s sibling.  I have written several posts and comments about this topic, I was so upset about it.  Our RE said it would take 2-6 weeks given that I’m still nursing him exclusively (aside from his 3 meals a day) – he nurses 4 times a day still.  I figured that it would take 6 weeks for me to get my first period once he was weaned – but I got it today!  Why the exclamation point?

Well, this means that my cycles are coming back and when I am fully done nursing (some time in July – notice how that got moved out from June?!), then the first post-nursing period will come on cue and we can begin our FET!  I decided the other night that I am nursing Matthew into July just to help my own heart get through it, and if that pushed our FET process to September or October – then so be it.  But if I’m cycling now, then that means that we can still start our FET in August, most likely, even if I nurse into July because I won’t have to wait 6 weeks for a period!

And then there’s this.  We can start trying naturally now.  I even asked B today if we could run some tests to see if anything has changed because maybe we don’t need IVF/FET – maybe with his new paleo lifestyle, things have changed and we can (gasp!) get pregnant naturally or with an IUI.  He enthusiastically said yes, so I will call our RE next week to get that setup.

My first thought when I saw the blood was, “well, I guess I’m not accidentally pregnant.”  How silly is that?  After all the IF business we went through to get Matthew, I thought that maybe, just maybe, we could get pregnant naturally without a single period?  I mean – it happened to my younger sister who only has one ovary.  HA!

This all reminds me of one of my favorite corny movies – Hope Floats.  At the end of the movie, she says, “Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So, when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”

Here I am at the beginning, all over again, and my hope is already floating up.


PAIL – Breastfeeding Fun!

Oh, the wonderful topic of breastfeeding!  When we started TTC-ing, I was adamant – I would not breastfeed but I was interested in pumping exclusively.  The idea of a baby being attached to me (more specifically, by breasts) was uncomfortable, and I wanted nothing to do with it!  Well, time went by, and it went by, and it went by – without a baby – and I think that afforded me time to rethink the topic of breastfeeding.

By the time I was in my third trimester, I was signing up for every pre-birth class that our hospital offered.  The one that I was not going to sign up for was the one on breastfeeding.  At that point, I had decided I’d give it a try – so what was I thinking not signing up for the class?  My friend told me I should go so I went.  I am so glad I did!

I was one of the only a couple people there without their husbands, which struck me as odd.  But once the class got going, I realized that husbands have a role in breastfeeding as well – they need to know how hard it can be, they can help position the baby, and they can remember things from class that you may be too frustrated to remember when your baby refuses to latch on.  If I could do it all over again, I would most definitely invite my husband along with me (we didn’t know it was a coed class) and he would go.  He wishes he had had the opportunity.

I learned all about latching, lactation services at the hospital, what all can go wrong, and the different kinds of breast pumps.  I came out of that class convinced that I would not only TRY breastfeeding – but that I would DO it – for as long as possible.

It was not easy at first.  M did not latch correctly and it took a few visits with Lactation to get that resolved.  We even went back after two weeks at home with him because I was in so much pain and on the verge of quitting.  Marg, the consultant, put me at ease and got M to latch correctly every single time.  From that point forward, we were golden.  It took a while for my nipples to recover from almost three weeks of torture, but it worked out and we’ve been nursing exclusively ever since, with the exception of M’s 7 weeks in daycare before I quit to be a SAHM (and even then, he was only drinking expressed milk).

I find myself a little judgmental, at times, of mothers who don’t try nursing, which isn’t fair of me.  I just know that if I had stuck to what I had originally thought, I would have missed out on this wonderful bonding experience with my child.  If I would have believed that we couldn’t fix M’s latching problem, I would have quit.  I, too, would have said, “I just couldn’t do it.”  The truth is, I could do it, WE just needed some help.  M and I had to be taught how to work together.  If you don’t seek help, it’s very easy to quit.  I think breastfeeding is NOT something that comes naturally to many, many women – leading them to think that their body just can’t do it.

I am so pro-nursing that I own a hospital grade pump.  Why a hospital grade pump, you ask?  Because it’s stronger, it does a great job of getting your milk started, and it keeps it coming strong.  Seriously – I tried a consumer grade pump at first and it was doing me no good (or limited good).  The first time with the hospital grade pump produced almost twice as much as the consumer grade pump did the day before.  Here is a tip that no one shares with you.  When you go to nursing class at the hospital, they talk about renting the hospital grade pumps ($60 a month!) but they don’t say you can buy them.  But you can!

Yes, they are very expensive (4-5 times the cost of the consumer pump), but hear me out.  The consumer grade pumps aren’t as strong as the hospital grade ones – hence their lower prices.  However, in the US, you can use FSA (flexible spending account) money to purchase a breast pump – including a hospital grade pump.  You can then legitimately resell the hospital grade pump (because it’s a closed, sterile unit) for about 75% of the cost you paid for it once you’re done with it.  In fact – I spoke with Medela about this and they said absolutely resell it.  If you do the math, you save 30% up front by using FSA money, and then resell it for 75% of the what you paid.  At the end of the day – it truly is free.  When I resell my pump, I will likely sell it for more than I paid when you consider the tax benefit of using FSA money to purchase it.

I tell everyone who nurses to buy a hand/manual pump.  We keep mine in the car, with disinfecting wipes, and I have used it on the interstate, in restrooms at the airport, at my parents’ house, etc.  When M isn’t in the mood to eat, I can pump on the go.  I love it!  I never thought I would be the type to schedule my life around breastfeeding and pumping, but I am!

M was on a very set schedule from the start – I didn’t want to be a snack bar – so we got a schedule down within the first two weeks.  I think that’s important!  I don’t know that we would have stuck it out as long as we have if he was eating on demand and just snacking.

So how long have we been doing this?  Eight and a half months!  I cannot believe it!  Just last week, I said I wasn’t ready to start fertility treatments for baby #2 until after June so that M can be breastfed for a full year (mind you – I have 2 months of milk stored up in the freezer – so this is just me being emotional about it!).  However, he is starting to bite me and that hurts – and he’s also starting to get very distracted and disinterested in nursing during the day, so he may be weaning himself.  If we can get the biting under control, I’ll nurse him as long as he’ll let me up to his first birthday!