Winning at Weaning

The time has come. Every breastfeeding mother arrives at this point sooner or later. I am talking about weaning. Initially, Kristin and I discussed my writing this post about a month or so ago as my intention was to wean Ellie on or soon after her first birthday. I’ve mentioned before, I am a planner. I like to have things in order and to be able to plan out, at nauseum, how things will play out.  What is it they say, the best-laid plans often go awry? That seems to be a quote that many parents can live by. Sort of a delightful take on Murphy’s Law for parents. Regardless, I find that with most mom things, life works itself out in its own way. Often not how you planned.

When Kristin and I discussed this post and I began writing, I quickly realized that I wasn’t mentally ready to share my weaning process. It took an emotionally toll on me I wasn’t ready for. Ironically, I can relate some of my feelings surrounding weaning to learning to breastfeed. Frustration. Exhaustion. Struggling to understand my kid in a whole new way. Crap. Maybe I actually have a pre-teen on my hands.

There are plenty of ways to wean, some people do the cold turkey method and others come up with some master variation of gradually reducing their feedings. I chose the latter. Mostly because I try to avoid pain and the possibility of getting mastitis at all cost. Plus I wasn’t in a rush.

Just a day in the life of a nursing mom.

My pump/nurse schedule on a typical (pre-weaning) day looked something like this:

6am – nurse on one side and pump on the other

9:30/10am – pump

1pm – pump

4pm – pump

7pm – nurse

10/11pm – pump

I was provided a lot of advice and did a fair amount (hours, let’s be real) of research. What I ended up doing is slowly cutting out the pumping at work. For the first couple weeks, I went down to two pumping sessions a day at work. Then the following week I pumped once a day at work. Then I stopped pumping all together at work and only pumped/nursed twice a day – and how glorious it was to no longer have to drag around that cumbersome pump. Initially, I then planned to cut the evening nursing, and finally, the morning feeding. Most people recommend cutting out the night nursing session last, because that’s the most challenging one to wean baby from. Zach puts Ellie to bed at night, so it’s actually the morning nursing session that will be hardest to wean for me and the one I intend to wean last.

Daycare has been great about transitioning Ellie to whole milk, she actually is just taking sippy cups there now. This is amazing for me because I no longer need to prep bottles in the morning.

Nursing 2
Nursing wears us out.

As a final note, weaning is something that is specific to baby and mom. No one can or should tell a breastfeeding mom how and when they should wean. I was taking in a lot of this static noise and putting unnecessary pressure on myself. Interestingly enough, not one single mother who is or has breastfed gave me their opinion on when a nursing mom should wean. I only got this unsolicited advice from mothers who never nursed or people who do not have children, yep, because their the experts (insert eye roll here). It wasn’t until I allowed myself a little grace that I was in a way better place mentally to accomplish this. In the end, Ellie and I will continue nursing twice a day until we decide we’re done. And I’m happy with that.




The Joy of Hand, Foot, and Mouth

What a doozy the last couple weeks have been around our households. As you can assume from the title of this post, Hand, Foot, and Mouth (HFM) Disease has been running rampant in our babies’ lives, and in turn ours. If you don’t know what HFM is, it’s not to be confused with the merry childhood song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, although all of these body parts feel awful in kids who get this. HFM is this annoyingly contagious virus that takes out daycare centers across the nation one slobbery toy at a time. The most common symptoms of this are blisters/sores in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. It shows up as varying levels of severity and discomfort. Ellie had a rash on her belly and hands and a REALLY bad diaper rash. She did not have a fever, which is a fairly common symptom, but she drooled a ton which tells me her mouth/throat was bothering her. She was certainly uncomfortable, the surly teenager in her was in full force. Sometimes the symptoms can persist for a week. For more information on what HFM Disease is, including symptoms and treatment, check out the CDC’s website here.

All in all, we had to pick up Ellie Friday morning from daycare and she was ready to go back Monday. This seemed somewhat short and was not too terrible if you ask me, but like any other time your kid gets sick, it sucks in the moment. To be honest, it was actually surprising Ellie was able to stave off this bugger for as long as she did. There had been reports of HFM going around daycare for a little over a week and a half prior to Ellie showing any signs.

Oh, and for funsies, this is not just a kid virus. Us adults can get it too. I picked this really fun virus up from sipping off the same cup as one of my nieces a few years back. She rode it out like a champ, not me. I felt like I was hit by a train for a couple weeks, as if I had been walking around on Christmas tree needles, with a fever, and a sore throat to boot. My advice, try your hardest to not pick this up by sharing cups, etc., if you know your kid has this. It’s a million times worse to care for a sick kid when you are unwell too.

So what can you do for it?

Sorry to say that I have little good news here. Nothing. Zippo. Just ride it out. It is not any fun for a few days while your poor kid is a puddle of discomfort. We did take Ellie to the doctor to confirm what she had was HFM and to see if there was anything we could do for the discomfort. Ellie’s pediatrician prescribed some anti-fungal cream that we mixed with Vaseline and diaper rash paste to help with her bad diaper rash. This brand (Boudreaux’s Butt Paste) of diaper paste is the only one that worked for us. Other than that, yogurt and other chilled food helped a little with her mouth/throat, but that’s about it.

Lastly, as a PSA, if your family comes down with HFM please keep your kid(s) home until they are no longer contagious, as with any illness. Your pediatrician can tell you when your child is no longer contagious and ready to rejoin the general public. Other parents will thank you immensely for not sharing this super pleasant visitor with their kids.

Be well, friends!


Vegetarianism: How a Chicken Nugget Won My Heart

So….. Kristin and I discussed my writing a post about weaning as I am knee deep in the whirlwind of weaning Ellie off of nursing/bottles. Because you all, at this point, know us for our frankness (at least I hope we have not let you down yet) – I am going to be completely honest. I couldn’t write it. Not right now. It’s exhausted, my friends. I began to write the post a couple days ago and came back to it last night. As I reread my Pulitzer Prize-worthy writing, I was putting myself to sleep. My robotic writing only was further proof of my need to wait to write about this until I am done and I can laugh at all the trials and tribulations. For now, you get to hear about how at one time I planned to raise Ellie vegetarian until I hopped off my high horse and was swept off my feet by a chicken nugget. Sorry, Kristin, I am going off the rails this week. 🙂

In early 2018, I made the decision to go vegetarian. I, of course, have had meat a couple times, but for the most part I do follow a vegetarian diet. The reasons really are not important for this post, but this did present Zach and I with an interesting decision to make. Will Ellie be vegetarian? I was pushing for yes, Zach, being the good midwestern guy, was not on board. After going round and round, we decided that she would be vegetarian. It was pretty easy at first since so many purees are fruit or veggie based. Soon after our nemesis, Mister Yuck Face (see photo below), began coming around. At around 8 months old, Ellie began rejecting ALL purees. Ugh. She pretty much would only eat peaches. So I began getting creative. I spent so much time in the kitchen, specially cooking down veggies and fruits. In the end, her favorite things ended up being peanut butter, toast, Gerber puffs, peaches, and that’s about it. I didn’t fret about it since really she just needs breast milk up until she was one to get her full nutrition.

Fast forward to Ellie’s 12 month appointment. At that point I was still attempting to force feed her purees on top of breast milk, I started buying the really tasty fruit purees that I liked because I would end up finishing off what she wouldn’t eat (win win, amIright?). I talked to her doctor about her nutrition and that I am worried about feeding her enough. I discussed having Ellie follow a vegetarian diet and said that I am now leaning toward feeding her meat. Ellie’s doctor is vegetarian and was absolutely supportive of our choice to feed her meat, in fact, she said it will actually be much easier on us this way. What made me change my mind? To be honest, it is super easy to heat chicken nuggets and it takes far too long to cook lentils. Also – daycare does not offer a vegetarian menu and I am not about to brown bag it everyday. When you pay for daycare, you take advantage of ALL the benefits of daycare.

There are days, like today, that we incidentally fed Ellie vegetarian food, but it was not intentional. It’s just what I ended up making, and did not really think much of it. Today’s menu was:

Breakfast – Pancakes (frozen – yep, I’m not embarrassed to say I bought frozen pancakes)

Lunch – Hummus & pita, tator tots, and kiwi (hell yes, well-rounded)

Dinner – Mac & Cheese (I made this homemade, giving Martha Stewart a run for her money. Also – I have achieved my monthly domestic-goddess badge.)

Snacks – Gerber puffs (because if I didn’t, I am certain someone would riot)

The point of this is that as a mom, I have too many bees in my brain to make things harder than they need to be. Some days she is going to be picky and eat nothing. Some days I can only bring myself to microwave leftover pizza. But ya know what, I am fine with that. She’s getting fed and that’s what matters.

Peace out queens! Have a great week and eat some Ben & Jerry’s.



And Just Like, We’ve Got a 1 Year Old

My baby is now one. How on God’s green Earth did this happen?! Can it really have been 12 months? When the reality hits you that that small creature you expelled from your body is now mobile and expressive as all get out, it’s challenging to wrap your head around. While it feels like she was born just yesterday, I’ve forgotten what pre-baby life was like. It’s as if she has always been here. Continue reading “And Just Like, We’ve Got a 1 Year Old”


Our First Mother’s Day

In this very special blog post we share what we did for Mother’s Day. Never having been through this, we weren’t sure what to expect. Our husbands and kids really made it special for us.


It’s actually a rather bizarre feeling to know that this Mother’s Day it was my turn to be celebrated. For my entire life up to this point I have spent Mother’s Day with my mom and the other moms near and dear to me and it feels so strange to be on the other side of the table. It’s like a super secret club I have now earned my membership to. This super secret club even gets a day for which we all get a fancy brunch. I am not one to be a part of the secret club, but if someone mentions “brunch”, I’m in. If I would have known having a kid would get me my very own day with brunch included, I would have had a kid long ago. Kidding, not kidding. Continue reading “Our First Mother’s Day”


Adventures in Crib Transitions 2nd Edition

When Kristin shared her story of how that first night went getting Finn to sleep, in his crib, I began to reminisce about how it went for me. Much like every challenging part of parenthood, my memory was foggy and replaced with a sentiment something like “well I don’t really remember so it couldn’t have been that bad, right?”. Wrong. I think evolution has wired us to forget the tough stuff so we continue to procreate. You got us good, God.

We began Ellie’s transition from the bassinet in our room to the crib at 4 ½ months. Initially, my goal was to keep her in our room for 6 months to a year since this is what the American Pediatric Association recommends. A few things made us reconsider and move her earlier.

Soon after Ellie was born, I opted into a program run by the county called the Follow Along Program. Every couple months the program sends us a packet with developmental milestones our child should be hitting at certain points, once completed, you send it back to them. If you write any concerns on the form, a county nurse will call to check in and offer guidance. Ellie has always slept fewer hours than most kids in her age group. She’s never really been a great napper. I noted my concern with her sleep on the 4 month documents so the nurse called to follow-up. We discussed Ellie’s sleep at night. Since she was a strong baby and we have not had any health concerns, the nurse suggested we consider moving her to the crib in hopes that she would adjust more to sleeping in the crib and, in turn, sleep more at daycare (she didn’t sleep anymore at daycare, but oh well).

The second reason we decided to move her at this age is that we have a heavy kid. We used a Pack’n Play for a bassinet but had to drop the bassinet down to the lower Pack’n Play level which was a delight for our backs. Plus, have you ever felt the base of a Pack’n Play? It’s like tagboard. Ellie, I think, welcomed the comfort of an actual mattress.

Lastly, selfishly, we wanted our room back. We were tired of tiptoeing around and wanted to be able to watch TV in bed again. And… we’re those crazy dog people who let their dogs sleep in their bed. Judge away, but I was getting tired of their stink-eye as we shut the bedroom door in their faces each night.

So, to get to the point of this post, we began transitioning Ellie to the crib on a Friday night and we were surprised with how smoothly it went. She still woke up her typical 1 or 2 times a night but went back down ok. We absolutely have had our bumps in the road, particularly when she is teething or sick, but we have not brought her back into our room. On those tougher nights, we tend to just rock her for longer. Lastly, we have gradually moved to Zach putting her down or going in first in the middle of the night. If I go in, she expects to nurse (mostly for comfort) so we are also making steps toward eventual weaning. At this point, she usually sleeps 11 hours a night, from 7pm to 6am.

The whole transition process has probably been toughest on me. During those first few nights, I was glued to the video monitor watching her chest rise and fall. I still do this occasionally. I tell myself this is normal and that all moms do this. I’m probably wrong, but don’t tell me, I prefer my delusion. What helped us out is that we tried to keep as many things the same for her as possible. We used a white noise machine in our room while she slept there and moved it to her room after she moved over. We also had a well established bedtime routine that we stuck with so that the only thing that changed was where she slept. If you are planning to do the crib transition soon, good luck. Every experience is different, but just be patient, it’s totally worth it!


Breastfeeding, Postpartum

When Mom Gets Sick

This post is a follow-up to the When Baby Gets Sick post, because we all know that baby is not the only one who gets sick. For those of you who live anywhere in a relatively northern climate, you feel my pain when I say this is the winter that will never end. With this forever winter, it seems that illness just keeps rotating through. Before baby, if I were feeling under the weather, I could lay around and binge watch Parks and Recreation for the 8th time. I didn’t have to do ANYTHING. But as we have talked about in previous articles, EVERYTHING changes when baby comes crashing through your life like Kool-Aid Man. Continue reading “When Mom Gets Sick”


Why I Took a Vacation Without Baby

Today, friends, I write to you from the beach. I had originally written the majority of this post prior to my trip, knowing the key points I wanted to share. Now, after being away a few days, I still want to discuss some of those points, but this post is going a different direction than I had originally intended. In part, this had to do with a book I began reading while on the beach. The book is called I Thought It Was Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown. I plan to do a future post or two later about this book as I believe the concept of shame is so relevant to all of us as women and mothers.

Continue reading “Why I Took a Vacation Without Baby”


Ellie’s Birth Story

I found out that I was pregnant in mid-September 2016. I could not wait to tell Zach. I took two pregnancy tests and did the first thing anyone does in this situation. I ran to Target and bought a box of Star Wars Lego and a box of fairy Lego. You see, I am married to an engineer who has a very large Lego collection – this was my version of pink and blue onesies to announce the pregnancy to my partner. Next, was announcing the pregnancy to our families. We’re Harry Potter fans as you can see from the picture below. Ellie’s name in utero was Dobby, we REALLY like Harry Potter. Here are our dogs letting the world know of our news.

Continue reading “Ellie’s Birth Story”


Meet Karen

Hi Moms! My name is Karen. I’m relatively new to the mom club, I have an 8 month old little girl named Ellie (here we are!!!).


I live in somewhat rural Minnesota and have been married for almost 7 years to my husband Zach. We have two large dogs with giant personalities – a 6 year old Australian Shepherd and a 5 year old Siberian Husky. Ellie has become our world, which some days we love and sometimes makes us want to run away to California to become grape stompers (you know what I’m talking about, don’t pretend you don’t). As all of you can – or one day soon will – relate, having a baby turns your world upside down, chews it up, and leaves your nipples in disrepair (more on that later). I’m here to share with you the things that I faced and continue to face, no filters… because sometimes we need to hear the real deal. Welcome to the community, let’s get talking.