Breastfeeding Bites!

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You thought you had the hang of nursing, you’ve been comfortably nursing for 9 months, then WhaM!  Baby bites!

You’re not alone.  Not all babies bite, but all of mine have.  Some were more persistent biters.  But I got all 3 to stop, and I was able to continue nursing to around 18 months for each.

With my first it was a big surprise.  With my second… it was a big surprise.  And with the third, guess what?  It was still a big surprise.

Once your baby has bitten, it feels like every time the baby wants some milk, you’re about to stick your nipple into an alligator’s mouth… or a bear trap… or a stapler… you pick the metaphor.

If this is happening, first you should congratulate yourself, very few babies are exclusively breastfed until they get their first teeth!  Between 35-40% of babies are still breastfed at 6 months according to the CDC.

The two most effective strategies I have used are startling and negative reinforcement.

The first strategy does not take a genius to figure out, as soon as the baby bites, scream!  Let it all out mama!  The baby will let go, and probably cry.  Comfort your baby, because they’re scared, but you’ve got they’re attention.

Some babies are more persistent biters, my third baby went through a longer biting phase and what worked with the other two, a couple big screams, didn’t phase her.  If anything, she thought it was funny.  After speaking with my network of longer term nursing mothers, I decided to discontinue any nursing session where biting occured.  When she bit, I would say “No” firmly, remove her and her teeth, and put her down on the ground, or to bed if it was bedtime.  I would then get up and walk away.  I would not let her nurse again for a couple of hours.  For the more persistent biter, I have found they are the babies that frequently nurse for comfort and are not necessarily for hungry.  If they are biting, they are most likely not hungry, but looking for comfort, which can be given with a hug, kisses, tickles or reading a book together.

This is a really tough stage, that can result in blood and tears.  Don’t despair.  If one nipple is damaged, apply breastmilk and allow your nipple to air dry.  Optionally, you could pump 2-3 x a day for 1 to 2 days to allow for more healing.

This too shall pass.  Your baby will learn in a day or two that biting is not tolerated, and you’ll be back to your happy nursing.

Feel free to email me if you have any more specific questions about biting or nursing at DrKatherine@MommyCoach.ca.

Survival mode is ok

We all have periods where things out of our control make daily existence overwhelming.  Has it been two days since you’ve showered?  Laundry piled as high as your ears?  Kitchen look like a bomb went off?

Welcome to being in survival mode!  We have all been there.  Whether you are on bedrest, just brought home your first baby, or are sleep training your third baby by night, and with a whole bunch of hyper toddlers by day (me, right now)…

Here are a few ideas to make your survival mode a little more survivable (I hope).

First, I think, attitude really helps.  Don’t let “judge-y” people make you feel bad, NO ONE always has it all together… and if they did, they’d be pretty boring people to know, right??!  Although sometimes you must lower your expectations, there are also days when you need to just put your big girl panties on and get it done.

Try to remember this is temporary.  Be thankful for the good stuff, there’s always a silver lining.  Celebrate every success.  Finally doing that load of towels, is totally worthy of a kitchen dance party!

Secondly, as a mom there’s a few key areas that are musts (unless you’re on bedrest, in that case, they’re still musts, but get other people to do these things)

Food, Floors, Kitchen, Laundry, and Bathrooms.

Food, move to a very simple food rotation, plan every meal and snack for a week and repeat.  (I have one, if you e mail me, I can send it to you).  Also, no one ever died having pb and jelly, carrot sticks and a banana for dessert for lunch for 2 months straight….. just saying….  2nd tip, if you have some available time to cook, cook double or triple batches – you have already pulled out the ingredients and the dishes are already dirty.  When doing this, focus on making healthy meals that freeze well (chili, shepherd’s pie, or whole wheat pasta dishes).  Drink loads of water.  Don’t overdo coffee, avoid sugar all together, you don’t need that afternoon slump.

To keep floors reasonable, plan to pick up everything off the floor twice a day.  Put things in baskets, things always seem neater when they’re in baskets.  If it takes more than 10 minutes… you have too much stuff.  Box some stuff, and get rid of it!!  (or save it for less stressful times)  Then, give the toddlers some cloths and play “wipe the floors”… drag out the vacuum and leave the vacuum in an accessible place.  Trying to sweep after each meal is a good goal to keep the kitchen reasonable.  If you’ve got a larger sized home, block off areas if they’re hard to keep clean from little people.

To get the kitchen back into reasonable shape, set a timer for 5 mins, and do as much as you can in that time.  Do this as many times as it takes.  You’d be surprised how fast it goes.  This also counts as your workout for the day!  It also really helps to get everything off the kitchen table after each meal, and be diligent with filling and emptying the dishwasher… this machine is truly a blessing.

Laundry can pile up fast with kids… especially if you’re in the zone of potty training and spit up.  If you’re really behind, get all your little helpers to help you collect it all early early early in the morning.  Set LOUD timers to stay on top of switching loads immediately when they’re done.  Take each basket into the playroom, sit down and teach your 2 year olds (and older) to fold, while you fold the load.  Put your last load in by 3pm and aim to put it away by 4pm.  To stay on top of it, put a load in first thing every morning, or a few more, depending on your family size.  If you’re on bedrest, or just beyond overwhelmed, don’t fold.  Sort the clean clothes into baskets for each member of your family, and they can rummage.  If you’re struggling in this area, I would put away any excess clothing… the more you have, the more you have to manage.

Bathrooms can be done in little bits.  Every time you “go”, clean something (mirror, sink, top of tub, inside of tub, floor, toilet tank, empty trash, etc).  It will take you 1 minute, and it will at least remain a dull roar of a mess.  I also teach my littles to wipe the sink after they wash their hands, this is a huge help.

My last tip is to practice a morning routine, I get up, do contacts, floss, brush teeth, deodorant, get dressed and extras as time allows.  But I at least do the basics, so that if I have to leave or if someone comes over I am not freaking out.  I have at times also picked out 3 outfits that work for me.  I made the outfits my uniform, rotate and repeat.

FYI These tips are not coming from someone who knows it all, they’re coming from someone who’s learning what as she goes…. and making lots of mistakes too.

: )

And a bunch of these ideas have come from one the most useful books ever, Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman, unfortunately the book is out of print though.

Day 4 of no processed foods

Day 4 had some surprises in store.  First, this guy specifically requested a banana for his snack, instead of cookies, which is his snack time request. EV.ER.Y. DAY!

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Then proceeded to request TWO more!!  Yep, he ate 3 bananas in a row.  SAY WHAAT?!!

On top of that, we resolved one major issue, breakfast cereals.  The first thing the kids have done the last 4 days is rush for the boxes and try to get their hands into the sugar sugary sweet bunches.  soooooo.  We made 2 different kinds of granola.  First a basic granola, found here.  I omitted the brown sugar and the vegetable oil, instead, I added a touch more honey and used coconut oil.  I also added a few random items, like unsweetened shredded coconut, raw pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts.  It is YUUUMMMY!!  Next, we made a peanut butter granola, found here.  I didn’t have peanuts, so added a bit more peanut butter.  This time I just skipped the oil, because I plain forgot, and added baking soda instead of baking powder…. because I haven’t slept through the night in 3 years : ).  I also threw in a whole whack of unsweetened coconut, because I love it.

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Here’s a snap of the kid’s lunch plate.  It’s a handful of mixed greens, a little slow-roasted sliced beef (from a local farm), some steamed green beans and carrots, and a little granola.  For dessert, they had applesauce.20150108_120223

For dinner, I decided to try making whole wheat crepes.  However, this recipe had 2 issues.  First, it took a couple attempts to not look like this:

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Second, after 1 or 2 ish, unusable crepes, it only made 4 crepes..and we were out of eggs… ummm… ???  Not quite gonna cut it for our crew.  Solution: the kids got the weirdo crepes, and mom and dad got this,20150108_172716

It was awesome!  I sauteed some onions, peppers, and broccoli.  I threw on a bit of cheddar, and a bunch of kidney beans.  We had a side of mixed wild greens with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

In case you are wondering how this all came together with 3 kids, 3 and under… well… it was not exactly seamless… we took many many many hours to do 10 minute jobs.  The kids “helped” lots, and we had to take lots of breaks… we played “what time is it Mr Wolf”, with mom participating from the stove, with the baby in my arms.  And at one point, I had to shut off the burners and just sit and read books with the kids.  But looking back on the day, I am so relieved to have a couple week’s worth of cereal; and snuggling with the kids and a book are what makes up the best moments of mommyhood.

Day 3 of 100, no processed foods

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Day 3 went spectacularly well.  My normally picky kid, ate all his lunch, and his sister’s… and a few extra handfuls of greens that I had put out for a side salad for myself…

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was I hallucinating??

20150107_091035 …It’s possible … this little bundle of cuteness woke me up every hour last night… but with those cheeks… she’s forgiven!

Some highlights of what we ate: re-heated baked oatmeal, with steel cut oats and raisins, with a side of fantastic local strawberries.  Lunch was pitas with hummus, shredded greens sprinkled on top.  Dinner was a quick veggie stir fry with shrimp and brown rice.

Are we feeling any different yet?  Yes, I think so.  The kids helped clean all the bathrooms without any big meltdowns… and they seemed quite mellow this morning.  Could replacing their sugar-coated convenience cereal with more natural foods be the reason??  We have  97 more days to find out.

Day 1 of 100 days with no sugar or processed foods

Our first day of no sugar or processed food is coming to a close, and it went well!  I really think we’re going to be able to make it 100 days.

What we ate today:

Breakfast was these whole wheat pancakes  reheated from yesterday (with a slight variation, honey instead of sugar).  They were served with warmed frozen organic raspberries and strawberries and chunks of pear.  These are always a huge hit, so we made a triple batch yesterday, and they kids fought over the last one.

Lunch was whole wheat bread with hummus with a side of rainbow carrots and green peppers.  This was a flop, and the kids ate only a few bites… but I’ll chalk that up to having soooo many pancakes for breakfast.

For dinner, I made chicken, bacon, bean, cheese and veggie quesadillas.  I threw these together with things I had around the kitchen.  On the side, I served some avocado.  The kids had a few bites, but weren’t wild about them.

The snacks they got today were popcorn with salt and plain yogurt with leftover raspberry and strawberry sauce from breakfast with a touch of honey.

So far, I have found planning and prepping in advance are making the biggest difference to feeding the crew.

The prep I did: Yesterday, when I had a few minutes, I threw a pack of organic bacon into the oven at 350 (all spread out) for about 20 minutes.  I used some bacon for quesadillas, I’ll use a little tomorrow for macaroni and cheese, and the rest is frozen to use as a topping for pizza this weekend.  First thing this morning, I threw 3 chicken breasts in the slow cooker with a little salt and pepper, and shredded it around 4pm.  Half of that went into quesadillas, half will be a pizza topping, along with some veggies I chopped.

The planning: during the month of december, between all the craziness of the holidays, I put together a 7 day meal rotation that suits my time constraints (three itty bitty kids), our preferences, budget and fits the rules of the 100 day challenge.  The meal plan is posted in my kitchen, and although I love to cook on the fly… these days, if I don’t prep and plan… we don’t have dinner!  So I’m hoping the convenience of sticking to the meal rotation will overcome my desire to be spontaneous.