Why I exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months

I get this question all the time!! People ask me when I am going to stop breastfeeding, they comment about how breastfeeding must be “annoying” compared to formula feeding. The number one reason I decided to exclusively breastfeed till Aria was 6 month old was because I had more than enough breast milk! This blog is not indented to shame any parent that chooses to formula feed. I would like the same respect back when I say this is just what is best for me and my child.

Most people do not realize all of the benefits of breastfeeding for not only baby but mother too. Breast milk contains the perfect mix of fat, protein and carbohydrate for the babies developing physiology.  It contains protective substances that give baby immunity to diseases and contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Research has shown that breastfed babies even have a better antibody response to vaccines than babies that are formula-fed; babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and have 8.6 times lower risk of diarrheal illness.  Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies and help to protect children against a variety of acute and chronic disorders. Plus, They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor!! Ladies, can you believe that we can make something so powerful ?!

Breastfeeding also confers intermediate- and long-term benefits on both the child and the mother: For the mother — Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster. Not everyone finds that it helps but the possiblity is also a nice hope! It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may lower your risk of osteoporosis.

Breastfeeding was and is very important to me. It has to be the choice of the mother and baby if they want to breastfeed. Please don’t think that breastfeeding came easy to us even through my supply was substantial. Breastfeeding is personal, and it can be very default. I believe that no one should be forced to breastfeed if its not right for them and no one should be forced to give up on breastfeeding if they feel they should continue.

I am still currently breastfeeding at almost 8 months but we have also introduced foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, eggs, non-dairy milks/yogurts and cheeses. I plan to breastfeed until Aria is 1 year old, as long as that still works for us.

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I use the evenflo milk storage bags. They have both oz and mL on every bag plus they include an encouraging message!!

Don’t say the “S” word

Many people shudder at the thought of having to implement sleep training. Why?
Does the thought of their baby crying make them feel like bad parents?
Do they feel like they have failed as parents because their baby isn’t sleeping?
Would their family/friends criticize them if they knew they were considering sleep training?
Do they feel their baby wont trust them if they don’t comfort the baby right away?

Every time I bring up sleep training many people either think that I am trying to make my baby sleep through the night or nap on my time and not theirs. This isn’t true at all!! For me I think of sleep training as giving my baby the tools to fall asleep independency. This gives my baby the ability to fall asleep when she is tried without the use of “props” (I define props as things like nursing, swinging, rocking, stroller and car seat.)

There are various sleep-training methods available to parents, but what you need to know is that they all involve some degree of crying. Why? Because your baby will object to the new routine you are implementing and the only way they’ll be able to communicate his objection is through crying.

The Sleep schedule that worked for me and my baby was:

Baby goes back down for a nap after being up for 1.5 hrs. Ideal nap times where 9am, 12pm and 3pm. Before each nape had a schedule of things we did like diaper change, sleep sac, story and song.

We made a bedtime routine to signal to baby that we were getting ready for the long sleep. Our schedule was: Bath, Massage, Feed, Sleep Sac, Book, Song and Bed. Our bedtime routine is about 45-50mins. After a couple days of following our bed time schedule, I noticed that Aria ate more right before as if she realized that this was her long sleep time.

Bedtime routines don’t have to be as long as ours. Professionals do suggest that you have a “fun” element like a story after feeds so that when you take out the feeds when they are older they don’t notice the elimination as much. If you child likes bath time it is also suggested that you include a bath into the nighttime routine to help then realize that this is the long sleep.

We started sleep training Aria at 3 months old and within 10 days we didn’t have an fussing and she can fall asleep almost anywhere on her own.

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Delicious Lactation Cookies that WORK

Aria and I have been exclusively breastfeeding for almost 4 months! As a treat to both of us I wanted to make a lactation cookie that taste great and worked like a charm. This was a prefect way to boost my supple for my stock pile or when Aria felt extra peckish

Yield: makes about 20 to 22 cookies, depending on your scoop
Total time: 45 mintues

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar ( or white sugar)
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk (or 3 egg whites)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chucks (I used 80% cocoa and milk chocolate)

    I also added unsweetened flaked coconut and chopped almonds about 1/2 cup of each.

Directions:

Preheat the oven the 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed. Stir in the chocolate chucks ( coconut and almonds if adding)  with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch rounds (I use an ice cream scoop so they are fairly uniform in size) and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.

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