Power of the Post

I post about the hardness of marriage & parenting. And boom. In the last weeks, things have been great with Zach & Lucy, and much better with the husband. We’ve enjoyed lots of playing as a family, & thanks to Cici & Pops babysitting, J & I had a day lunch & movie date last Sat!

Then I post an update on breast feeding where I note Zach might be weaning. And boom, he’s gone back to nursing great overnight & in the morning {much easier for us}. He cut a new bottom right tooth Sun am. Maybe pre-teething was part of the strike?!

In the same post, I noted I was a little stressed about making the transition to sippy cups for daycare with them. So we tried it this week at daycare’s strong suggestion, & boom, they do great! They’re up to two sippy cups of 1/2 breast milk & 1/2 formula & 1 bottle. The bottle just in case they need to use it if they refuse the sippy & because I wasn’t prepared & we don’t yet have enough sippys yet.

I shouldn’t doubt the awesomeness of the kiddos. & just how great {even better than their momma} they roll with changes. Nor the awesomeness of the husband & our marriage.

And/or really, maybe it’s all due to posting? To putting it out there? Maybe there’s real power in the post{s}?!

Anybody have something going on I need to post about so it can be fixed for you?! ūüôā

Breastfeeding Update

Lucy & Zach are in week three of their 12th month {thanks baby center email for reminding me how old they’re getting}. So that’s 55 weeks of the three of us breastfeeding. Before we switch things up {again}, I thought I’d do a quick update to remember these days.

At the suggestion of our trusted pediatrician, the change will be us slowly adding whole milk {either mixed with carnation instant breakfast or done half/half with pedi sure for added calories} within the next couple weeks. & sooner than later we’ll be weaning from nursing {but don’t tell Lucy}.

Lucy’s on a streak of night wakings where breastfeeding is almost the only {& most definitely the quickest} way to get her back to sleep. I’ll side-lying nurse her so we both can be¬†barely awake through the whole feeding. Then we just roll over & co-sleep til morning.

I try to grab her as soon as I hear her on the monitor, so we just have one awake baby. Zach tends to be a light sleeper, but if he wakes up, he’s quick to go back to sleep with just snuggles & doesn’t typically need milk. He’s actually refused nursing {overnight & in the morning} multiple times in the past week. I’m not sure if it is/was {he nursed Thurs am, overnight & Fri am!} a temporary nursing strike or if he’s beginning to wean or if he just likes how quick he can drink from a bottle better.

His strike means I’ve been pumping some in the morning before work & always after they go to bed as I’m trying to make sure we have enough breast milk for at least 7 6 oz bottles per day {so my goal is 21+ oz}.

After a couple weeks of a struggle, they’ve taken great to their half formula/half breast milk bottles. If it’s much less than half/half, Lucy will still do fine, but Zach will protest a bit.

After my last formula/ milk supply post, I tried {just about} everything to up my output. I went through a huge bottle of fenugreek pills. I drank {yummier than I was expecting} mother’s milk &/or fenugreek tea all day. I drank a lot water. And I started looking at what {& how much} I was eating.

And from all that, I realized that the pills & tea & water probably didn’t hurt matters, but what makes the most difference in my supply is food. Adding in an extra carby second breakfast means I pump an extra couple of ounces. So we keep donuts, bagels with cream cheese, & cereal/granola bars on hand. Or I swing through chicfila drive through after doing daycare drop off for a chicken biscuit & tea/lemonade. This extra mid-morning meal is key for me. I keep a healthier snack {like Greek yogurt & fruit} for after my afternoon pump.

And yes, we still use bottles. Transitioning to sippy cups will start to be in the works very soon {like starting this weekend}. We offer water or water with a lil apple juice in sippy cups at home but they play with them way more than actually drinking. I’m thinking we’ll try moving to sippy cups before we introduce whole milk. That way they don’t have two big changes at once.

PackIt Love {giveaway}

I discovered PackIt through a friend a little of a year ago. I won a blog giveaway for their original Personal Cooler. When they heard I was expecting two babies, they graciously also included two of their smaller sized mini coolers too.

I use the Personal Cooler as a lunch bag for myself or as the bag to take Zach & Lucy’s 6 daycare bottles & food in. At 8″ x 10″ x 5″, it’s big enough while still fitting in our {giant} diaper bag along with their cloth diaper wet bags.

The Mini Cooler has become my go to so much that I asked for {& received!} a third as a Christmas gift. I take one every day to bring home my pumped bottles. Three 9oz tall Gerber bottles fit perfectly in the 8″ x 8″ x 3″ bag. I store the bag & bottles in my work mini fridge door through out the day then know my milk will stay cold while running errands & on the drive home in my PackIt. The mini will also hold three daycare bottles & a couple small baby food containers, so when we don’t use another PackIt cooler for daycare, we use two minis. I pack the Packits the night before so I rotate between the¬†different sized bags.

I chatted again recently¬†with PackIt as they just¬†launched a couple new bags. My babies big bottles & ever increasing solids containers for daycare means we’ve started almost outgrowing our smaller PackIts. Just in time, PackIt sent me the Social Cooler. This bag is like my others that its gel lined so the bag itself goes right in the freezer then keeps bottles {or whatever you want} cool for up to 10 hours. But the social cooler is big! It’s a roomie 12″ x 13″ x 5″. Perfect for six bottles, four containers of baby food & room to spare. It’d also be great for a day at the beach or a family picnic lunch.

PackIt

My PackIt freezer shelf, the social cooler: front, back & all ready for daycare.

PackIt is willing to generously offer you, my awesome readers, a PackIt bag of your choice. Do you want a wine bag {or two!}¬†for your BYOB girls’ nights? Or is a double baby bottle bag more your speed right now? Check out the different bags & leave a comment letting me know what you’d choose & why as your giveaway entry.

As a second entry, follow me {@suzstreats} & PackIt {@packitcool} on twitter & tweet something like “Enter to win a @packitcool cooler #giveaway of your choice with @suzstreats http://suzstreats.com/packit-love-giveaway/”. Leave a link to your tweet¬†in another comment, please.

Feel free to also like PackIt on facebook & instagram.

I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Friday May 24th at midnight. I’ll draw a winner using random.org & let the winner know by Memorial Day Monday May 27th. Good luck!

I won three PackIts in a long ago giveaway. I was sent the social cooler for purpose of this review but I was not compensated in any other way. Nor did their generosity sway my honest opinion on their awesome product. 

Formula Feeding Fail

We’re one week into no frozen milk stash. Which has meant one week of Zach & Lucy receiving bottles with half {or more} formula. And it hasn’t gone well.

We did luck into finding their preemie formula on sale at our local grocery store BOGO last week. After coupons, I spent $73 for 12 cans. So we’re fairly committed to staying with Gerber Good Start Nourish.

I’d hoped they’d get around 4 oz of my milk & we’d top off the other 2 oz with formula. But my supply over the last week has meant we’re doing the opposite.

And Lucy & Zach are mad.

Last Wednesday, they spent most of the day refusing to take their bottles. Which left them cranky & very hungry. I was able to nurse Lucy to full & Zach finally drank close to 10 oz of half/half freshly made bottles from my husband over a four hour span.

So our current goal is to try to increase my supply. I’m taking fenugreek- 3 pills a time breakfast, lunch & dinner. I’m drinking mother’s milk tea throughout the day. I’m drinking more water. My mom’s making me lactation cookies.

I’m wondering if my Freestyle pump isn’t helping matters. I tweeted Medela today & if I don’t get a reply, I’ll call them tomorrow. {*update* they tweeted back for me to call customer service.} My Freestyle came out of the box with one of the tubes bent & cracked. It has still worked up into the last week or two. But as I’m using it more frequently {my borrowed at work PiS had to be given back}, I’m noticing it’s only as strong as it should be if I hold my fingers tightly over the crack. So much for hands free pumping then though. I’m feeling a bit more engorged in this afternoon & can’t get the pump to get it out. It’s very frustrating.

I’m mulling over re-renting the Symphony to see if that would rekick start my supply. And hoping that I’d be able to have my Freestyle fixed during that rental period.

My other thought stems from yalls’ comments in my last formula post about calling the pediatrician about going straight to cows milk for Lucy & maybe Zach. I’ll be honest that I haven’t called the office yet. Been trying to make this switch work for now.

But we’ve had evening wake ups with tummy pains. And Zach hunger pains. And not pooping issues {I bought pears Sunday & have upped their fruit intake overall & taken rice cereal out of their food}.

Babies are stressful in general. But this is very stressful.

Any other advice y’all have for increasing supply?

For getting babies to like formula? We’ve only done mixed bottles for fear that would completely push away the formula only bottles. Should we try that though?

*evening update* I called the pediatrician & talked to a nurse for a while. She said no cows milk etc until at least 12 months which is what I expected. She said to try formula instead of 50/50 more like 75/25 {why I’m trying to up supply}. She also found & put our name on four cans of the Enfamil preemie formula we used to use to see if they like it better. And said to make sure they’re getting bottles before solids so they aren’t full or pushing them aside to go for yogurt or yummy puffs instead.

I also talked to Ann from Triangle Lactation to reserve one of her Symphony pumps {all currently rented}. While we chatted, I mentioned my Freestyle & she disclosed that it was the LCs least favorite. She felt the small motor {which makes it attractive for working moms} also means it can’t be as strong.

So my awesome friend Brandy is letting me borrow her pump in style while I get my Freestyle repaired &/or rent the Symphony. I’m going to add back in a right-after-they-fall-asleep pumping session.

And while I was working {& blogging/tweeting/making phone calls}, Lucy & Zach finished all but one of their bottles today. I’m going to chat with their daytime teachers in the am, continue trying to build supply/pump more & hope & pray they’re starting to get used to the formula.

Formula Feeding

Twelve. That’s our current number of frozen bags of breast milk. I checked out our stash last night¬†{all I’ve stored from Feb – present}¬†& realized we’re mere days away from a day that’s been looming. The day Zach & Lucy have their first bottle of formula.

Yes, you read that right. My duo have gone almost 11 months on breast milk alone {not including the tsp added to Zach’s bottles}.

With me bringing home approximately 20 pumped ounces every work day & us needing 42-48 oz daily, we use 3-5 bags every night to make 6 daycare bottles & 1-2 evening bottles for Zach. So I’m calculating that we’ll be giving formula by Monday, if not before.

This is a bit of a bittersweet moment for me. After blowing by my 10 week goal, & well surpassing my 6 months of solely breast milk goal, I’d dreamed of Zach & Lucy having only my milk {other than their first days’ donor variety} until they could have whole milk at 1 year.

Looks like we’ll be just a month shy. So I could mourn failing to make that lofty goal. Or I could pat myself on the back knowing 11 months kicks ass & continue to cheer us forward. I’m not giving up on pumping & nursing.

Our new plan will be me continuing to nurse both overnight & in the mornings, pump at work, & nurse Lucy in the evenings. But instead of both getting breast milk bottles for daycare & Zach in the evenings, these bottles will now be a mix.

So my combo breast/formula feeding friends, what do you suggest when it comes to adding in the new stuff? Make bottles half formula/half breast milk at first? Start with another ratio? Will they like it? Anyone have Gerber Good Start Nourish coupons?