Dairy-Free Me

About four months ago, we were struggling to figure out the cause of Hannah’s eczema flares. There were days that she almost seemed to try to tear her skin off, sometimes experiencing tummy bloat and painful grassiness (which, for a 4-month-old means fussing or downright screaming A LOT, and forget about sleep). There’s some amnesia on my part but looking back, it was miserable for the little thing and, in turn, for us and her daytime sitter, Grandma.

For awhile I just assumed it was from the winter weather or that it would just eventually get better as it seemed to for her older brother. I read that eczema is hereditary (luckily her sister doesn’t have it – or at least only a teensy amount – but her 6-year-old brother gets bad rashes now and then), and that nothing really causes it beyond that. Heredity.

However, that’s only partly true. After putting several puzzle pieces together between hints from the doctor and my own research, we have determined that while she’s inclined to have it thanks to genetics, it is made far worse by certain factors. Call them allergens, call them triggers, but whatever they are, they CAN be cut out to avoid flare-ups.

So, we did our work. We switched her soap. We switched laundry detergent. We cleaned more frequently (hello, cat dander and dust). We bathed her with super gentle soap every other day (sometimes too much bathing is a trigger, sometimes too little. This seems to be her sweet spot). We tried to keep her skin close to breathable 100% cotton as much as possible. And, finally, we started cutting out two of the most common triggers from my diet (since she is nursing): peanuts and dairy.

Sure enough, within a week, she was looking and acting better. Within a few weeks, she was almost completely clear.

Over time and as we introduced regular foods to her diet in addition to breast milk, we have determined that there are other allergens at play. So far, specifically seafood on my end and apples in her baby food (seriously…the fruit they most frequently mix with others) are also bothersome, and even carbonated beverages for Mommy get her stomach roaring. So, while we’re not out of the woods completely, I thought I’d share the experience and see if anyone out there can relate or use our experiences to help guide your own decisions.

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The struggle is very real. So, for the past four (almost five) months, I have been dairy-free. This pizza-, cheese-, yogurt-loving person has gone without.

But, it’s more than just that. It’s butter. So, it’s necessary to ensure that whatever I’ve ordered isn’t cooked in butter or that the burger bun wasn’t slathered first before grilling.

It’s almond milk (which doesn’t seem to bother her) in coffee, which simply doesn’t have the same depth and creaminess. It’s a first world problem and I still do the happy dance when I find ANY dairy alternative at a store, but it’s something that makes me feel human so it’s still better than black. (I just can’t bring myself to do it.)

It’s skipping the cake and ice cream, and very often everything else at a child’s birthday party. (Legit, I just made a pasta salad cheese-free so that I could have that, plus some of the side fruits and veggies I was sure to provide. When everyone else is downing pizza and dips and cheese puffs and chocolate…it’s a different type of celebration.)

It’s no more pizza night Fridays because the factor of not having to cook isn’t in the equation. Might as well make something for everyone.

It’s having to Google before going to a restaurant (chain only; local restaurants are usually ill-equipped) to see if there’s anything I can eat there.

And then there are those “wait, really?” moments. Really, I can’t have that thing you made with cheese just this once. Really, I can’t have one piece of cake because it takes days if not weeks to repair the damage to my little girl’s system. Really, I can’t have that because the breading has dairy, or the margarine because, yup, it has dairy, or that pepperoni because it was made with a milk products, or Lactaid because IT’S STILL DAIRY, or “non-dairy creamer” because IT’S STILL DAIRY (if it says dairy-free, it’s most likely free of dairy…but non-dairy doesn’t mean what you think it does). The list goes on.

And, unfortunately, if “MILK” isn’t listed as an allergen on the package, she’s still sensitive to the stuff that touched a machine that produced a dairy ingredient elsewhere. So, there’s that.

What I Miss. I miss not having to second guess everything I eat. I miss not putting my dear family members (who try SO HARD, even buying expensive dairy-free cupcakes from the store so that I can celebrate a birthday) out every time I come over for a meal.

Normalcy, I guess. I miss that most of all.

The Million Dollar Question. So, why don’t I just quit breastfeeding? It’s as simple as asking that question, right?

Our pediatrician is amazing. He trusts our parenting instincts and allows us the leeway we need to make our own educated decisions.

That said, when I last brought one of our kids in, he asked how the no-milk thing was going…then reworded it to ask how it’s going FOR ME. I loved him for that. He then offered that, if it gets to be too much for me, he can direct me to the couple of formulas that are on the market that she COULD have (a vast majority would still affect her negatively). I said that I’d take him up on that if necessary but that I’d most likely be sticking it out. He nodded, smiled, and said, “I figured you would.” At least he knows me by now. I appreciate that.

There are two things at play here. I feel that, for my family, the benefits of nursing outweigh these dietary challenges. I’ve done it for a total of 36 months for our other two kids and it’s not like I want to handle a learning curve of formula right now. What we do is easier in many ways and, most importantly, healthiest for Hannah. While I stand up for the rights of other moms to give their babies formula, I also stand up for my own right to nurse mine.

The other factor? I’m a Taurus and stubborn as a bull. Don’t test me or tell me that I can’t do something. My brother told me that playing oboe would be too hard; it was, but I pushed through and finished my senior year still playing.

My Saviors. There was a time that all librarians hated Google. I’m here to say that the times have changed and Google is my freaking BFF. It has brought me to find resources like fckdairy.com and godairyfree.org, among the other amazing articles that have taught me about what’s going on with my little girl’s body (to say nothing of the awesome vegan blogs that share a slew of recipes).

I also have some go-to’s that help get me through when I just want something yummy. I have discovered that I’m really into mild curry simmer sauce (tossed with rotisserie chicken or sautéed tofu, some whole wheat pasta, and ALWAYS with sautéed mushrooms, which the family otherwise hates). Organic Oreos get me through those tough “can’t have birthday cake” and “the kids want ice cream” days. Organic sun butter is my go-to on toast or whole wheat English muffins (a girl’s gotta get her protein somehow). The occasional almond milk yogurt doesn’t totally suck. Vitamin D and calcium-fortified orange juice is a must.

I also can’t stand dairy-free cheese, so far. Overly salty, weird texture, and smells and tastes suspiciously like feet. Just not worth the money. I’d rather have veggie pizza with no cheese at all, thanks.

What I’ve Learned – The Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected. When you have to live slightly more hungry, it gives you a bit of perspective beyond the surface obsession over what I’m putting in my mouth (although I’ve learned a lot about, literally, what I can eat).

I ate and snacked too much before. I was mindless. I had no discipline whatsoever. The baby has given me a gift; there is no way I would have changed for anyone other than my kids. I lack the willpower otherwise; simple, sad, true.

So while I haven’t done a huge diet overhaul (well, I have, and I’ve even gotten down below my pre-baby weight, but those organic Oreos still make me feel human from time to time), I’m on my way to a bigger revolution for myself as well as my family. I don’t want to cut out a HUGE section of anyone’s diet altogether (I tend to think that’s unnecessary and doing more harm), but cutting certain things out and maybe hitting reset with a Whole30 or something is way more in my realm of possibility than ever before. It’d just be a small hop to get there rather than a giant, scary leap.

My biggest take-away is that I’ve been so damn spoiled my whole life because, for lack of better word, I’ve been NORMAL. This has taught me what it’s like not to be in the mainstream. What it’s like not to have the world at my fingertips and to have to go without. I’ve been SO lucky up until this point.

In a broader sense, it has shown me how entitled we are as people and, to an extent, as a nation. There is rarely a time that I can get, say, appetizers that don’t contain a dairy breading or cheese option, so I just go without. Yet I now see how quickly people are to tack on an appetizer without a moment’s thought. I think of those in the world who go without, whether it’s for financial, religious, or cultural reasons, and I feel for them. This has opened my eyes to a lot more than I could have expected.

An unintended effect for sure, but an overall awareness of those beyond my scope of experience is downright humbling. It ties into a greater mindfulness and is teaching me to appreciate what’s in front of me. In a strange way, it’s also forcing me to slow down and be more mindful in other areas: of what matters to me, like reducing our waste, eating generally cleaner, going outside and enjoying the sun on our faces, and more.

So, What’s Next? I have a follow-up appointment to see how she’s handling things and to discuss how to introduce certain foods to test the waters. I’m going to tell you right now that, while I’m not sure about peanuts, I’m almost positive that she’s still susceptible to dairy (an occasional rare restaurant that cross-contaminates tells me that she still gets symptoms) and her eczema is currently flaring, so I’m curious if there’s an ingredient we’re missing, like soy or wheat. So, who’s to say where we’ll be 6 months from now?

That said, if people are interested, I’d be happy to share some vegan and dairy-free recipes that work for my family (needless to say, I tend to keep it simple since I have a house with 5 very different tastes and needs). Heading into the fall and craziness of the school year, I’d like to get really intentional about make ahead meals and prepping for successful, healthy habits, as well. Oh, and finding replacements for those beloved comfort foods is a must.

So, let me know in the comments! Have you ever experienced a dietary restriction and how did you handle it (whether literally in your diet or mentally)?

Are you interested in hearing more on this topic, whether through recipes or by sharing more resources? Drop me a line here or find me on Instagram @megactsout.


This is kind of an emotional post for me to write. Not for you to read, just for me to write. Please bear with me, and apologies for the lack of super dorky graphics.

Hadley and I have been nursing (“I” because it takes both of us…can’t nurse him sleeping, can I? If so, I never figured out a way ;-)) for various periods of time for just shy of 22 months. I declare this number because just at the end of last week, I finally decided to have a talk with him.

See, I had no idea how to ween him. He had gotten down to one pre-bedtime nursing session (a very brief one, at that) and one extended middle-of-the-night/early-AM nursing session (which generally took a good hour to hour-and-a-half out of my sleep schedule nightly…if I could get back to sleep, argh). During the day, he had moved on to watered-down whole milk and juice, and plain ol’ water, so I wasn’t pumping anymore.

I realized that he was going to continue on with the nightly sleep deprivation until college until he understood that if he needed it, I’d be happy to get him up and nurse, but that if he was doing it for some unknown internal reason, he could sleep through it if he wanted.

So, during one of the pre-bedtime sessions last week, I chatted with him using the sweetest language I could muster, thinking that a) I was quite possibly borderline insane for thinking he’d comprehend and b) I was a horrible mother for taking this experience away. I still feel a deep twinge of sadness over it all, but let’s just say that a miracle happened. He stirred a bit at his usual “get up and nurse” time, but fell back asleep after a brief back rub, not to awaken again until the morning.

Next night: Even better, no stirring.

Following night: Same. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

Sunday night: A touch of whining, but back to bed like a champ. (Of course he awoke a bit; it was a school night. Why wouldn’t he get me up?)

Noticing a trend? We’re still doing our very brief, pre-bed “snack”, along with a heartfelt mother-to-son chat about whether he wants to get up for a nurse later on, but the killer middle-of-the-night wake-up calls have pretty much stopped. One night, he sat up wide awake and I chatted with him about it — he didn’t really want to nurse, he implied (yes or no questions are da bomb), so I explained that it was time to go back to sleep. Head down, eyes shut, bam. Asleep.

It’s almost (pretty much) the end of an era. I kept hitting milestone points. We made it to 12 months. We made it to 18 months. He’s hardly gotten sick, hooray for breastmilk.

So, why am I still feeling guilty that I’ve ended it? There’s a badge of honor amongst nursing mamas these days — not all, mind you, but a handful — that the longer you do it, the more…I don’t know…the better(?) you are.

At the same time, I try to remind myself that this is what works for us. I wasn’t planning on having a 4-year-old still regularly nursing. Our nursing wasn’t much about comfort for Hadman, either (different kids do it and use it for different reasons; he never sought nursing out when he was emotional or upset or hurt). I’m proud that I was the first woman in generations of my family to “make it work.” And I still hold firm to the belief that if it doesn’t work out for you, it’s NOT your fault, and you can only do what’s best for you and your family.

Not that there’s one “best” that works for everyone. Or that my “best” is better than yours. It’s not.

It’s just mine. And ours.

Happy 22-month birthday, Hadley.

Pump No More

Dairy-Free Me - image  on https://megactsout.comI made a decision this morning. It may not be earth-shattering (there are important things happening, like the death of Nelson Mandela, after all), but it’s a change for me.

I announced to Dave in ceremonious fashion that I wouldn’t be bringing my pump to school today…meaning, no more.

(Fun fact: He usually carries my pump out to my car when he loads his car with baby stuff in the morning. One of those examples of chivalry.)

It could’ve been because I woke up late after forgetting to set my phone alarm after our 3:30 feeding, putting me in a rip-roaring mood. It could’ve been my crazy hormones. Or, it could’ve been because I thought to myself after pumping a total of 1/2 an ounce yesterday, “This is nuts. He doesn’t need it during the day anymore.”

I’m in a sullen mood today, and I had hoped this decision would come when I was at the top of my game and mentally prepared…but, it had to happen in its own time, I suppose. So, I’m dealing. It’s not the end of the world. He’s still feeding at night and wicked early in the morning. It’s not like he’s done breastfeeding. And, even if he was, it still wouldn’t matter. I don’t want a 20-year-old breastfeeder, after all. But, the best way that I can put it is that a connection we shared will be gone. That’s the part that will suck.

So, a chapter in my life is closed. I may write another chapter on breastfeeding with any future bambinos, but my “training manual” chapter is done. I know there’ll be more to learn, but Hadley was a great teacher for this first adventure. Now, to sterilize the crap out of all the components of the pump and throw that sucker in the basement. On the bright side, at least there’s one less piece of high-maintenance baby paraphernalia to deal with.

*SIDE NOTE: I didn’t get my pics uploaded to my post for Foodie Friday, so I might just have an extra post for you guys next week…maybe…if I can get it together by then. 😉 Have a great weekend!*

Another Boobie Update

I’ve talked about it time and time and time and time again (probably more times than that, but those are my main rants). But I realized a few days ago that we’re nearing our end, so I’d better get my thoughts out (just in case anyone else is dealing with the ups and downs of breastfeeding and happen to be following my little journey).

When I say “nearing our end” on breastfeeding, that’s actually an unknown…as with most things in life. He’s just over 16 months old and still nurses (albeit for a shorter amount of time) early in the morning and just before bed. I pump once at work now — sometimes I add it to his cow’s milk to drink at the sitter’s, and other times I test to see if he’ll just eat the cow’s milk. Unfortunately, he’s become a sporadic milk drinker, so he doesn’t always drink it very well. Other times, he downs it like a champ.

But, when I do pump, I’m to the point of getting — get this — only about an ounce to 1 1/2 ounces. ONCE a day.


I’m reminded of a year ago when I used to get over 28 ounces a day, plus feeding throughout the night. Consider this cow one hay bale short of being put out to pasture.
Then there are those random times in the middle of a Saturday where he comes to me and gestures to his chest — his little “sign” that he’s hungry — and we nurse for a minute or two. I don’t know if he’s REALLY hungry, or if he just wants some snuggle time (since he really doesn’t snuggle unless you get silly and tickle him; he loves to laugh), but I’ll take it. I’m sure I don’t “give” him as much as he may want since demand begets supply, but he doesn’t fuss, so it’s all good.

I’m sure I’ll do one final update when he finally kicks the habit, but for now, this is how life seems to be going. And, on a terribly personal side note, I think this up and down of breastfeeding is throwing my hormones (hence my “cycle”) totally out of whack. So not cool. 😛

And now you can go about your day knowing a tad too much about me. You’re welcome.

I’m Sorry! I Didn’t Do It On Purpose

Dairy-Free Me - image  on https://megactsout.comThis may be a controversial post (or you might peruse it and go “feh” then move onto red vs. blue arguments; to each his own ;-)), but I’d just like to address something. And, sure, offer an apology.

Okay, here goes: I didn’t lose my baby weight on purpose. I didn’t go out of my way to shed the pounds. I don’t exercise in an intentional way, and I don’t watch what I eat (beyond the usual, “don’t gorge yourself to the point of embarrassment” thought process).

And to those of you who may feel uncomfortable that I lost the weight so quickly (and that I seem to have kept it off), I apologize. While I’ve never been overweight (um, aside from, y’know…pregnancy), myself, I’ve fluctuated over time and remember “pudgy” times; I also have some very close friends and family who have struggled with their weight since I can remember, and have always felt deeply for them — and every other woman who deals with this issue. Seriously, I just saw an episode of “Super Fun Night” and, while the star is a great comedienne and deserves a voice for her humor, I found myself growing angrier and angrier that the overweight individual isn’t shown as a NORMAL person in regular (read: non-comedic) positions.

Oops, jumping off the soapbox. Anyhoo, I am genuinely sorry to anyone who may feel uncomfortable (or, perhaps, jealous…hate to use that term), but I thought I’d explain exactly how I inadvertently lost not just the “baby weight”, but that “extra 10” or so that has always followed me around.

#1: Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. Back when we first had Hadley, between the exhaustion and constancy of parenting a newborn, and the super regular feedings, the weight seemed to literally disappear within a week or so. I was ravenously hungry (because HE was ravenously hungry) and couldn’t seem to get enough calories, no matter how hard I tried. (And, boy, I tried.) So, that was a kickstarter to the whole thing.

Today, we still breastfeed, but we’re tapering off to 2-3 times a day, far far far less in each feeding. I’m getting emotionally used to it. My mother always warned me to expect the weight to come back in full force when this happened, but so far, I think I’ve just adjusted. It is what it is. Of course, I’m not eating as much because my body doesn’t call for as much, but I still eat…like…lots. (Healthy snacks all day sort of stuff.)

Dairy-Free Me - image  on https://megactsout.com#2: That sweet little helpless newborn grew the hell up…seemingly overnight. How do they DO that?! Anyhoo, with that baby-to-crazy-little-boy growth came running…and getting into EVERYTHING. Which means lots and lots of chasing for Mama (and Papa, who also seems to be whittling down his waist an ounce at a time). Who needs a gym membership?

#3: Did I mention he’s a hungry boy? Hadley’s officially a gourmet connoisseur. This means he not only wants the food he’s getting…he wants what I’m getting, too. Whether I like it or not (hint: I don’t), he’s in the habit of begging for food off of MY plate every time we sit down for a meal. If we eat at the exact same time, SOMETIMES I’m able to get most of my food down my gullet. It never fails, though; his attention diverts to my plate and it’s meltdown city until he has at least a few bites.

And don’t get me started on my ‘nilla ice cream.

#4: Water. I’ve gotten into the habit of consuming tons more water than I used to; I can’t even make it through the night without downing an entire full glass. I do believe that these not only keeps me feeling healthier, but makes me feel a tad fuller when I do sit down to eat. And, for the record, while we do our best to eat “real food” and organic, I doubt it has anything to do with my weight loss; we by no means go without, if ya know what I’m sayin’.

Hopefully this doesn’t come off as sounding rude or even defensive; it’s not meant as such! But, when I hear folks, 15 months after having the baby, sneering “You’re SOOOO skinny!!!” “Megan! You’re TOO skinny.” or any variation regarding having a baby and “tininess” (dude, I ain’t tiny! I’m a tall lady!!), my feathers get a little ruffled. The tone is generally a mixture of disdain and disgust (I kid you not). Most of the time, these folks aren’t my friends, so I try to brush it off, but nary a week goes by that a comparable phrase doesn’t grace my ears.

So, I say, “Sorry.” Really. Maybe we’ll all feel better when baby #2 (SOME DAY!) comes along and I’m unable to bounce back to my pre-baby weight.

Booby Business

I’ve been a mommy for over a year now, which means that we’ve officially been a breastfeeding family for as much time, too. Over that time, I’ve written here and there about our breastfeeding experiences, but now that we’ve reached the one-year point (which was my mental goal all along) and are still chugging forward slowly but surely, I thought I’d give a little update.

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When last we met our heroine, Hadley was tapering off his feeding amounts and she was taking it tough. (Okay, third-person mode off.) Since summer vacation got out, I (obviously) haven’t been pumping and have taken to an “on demand” sort of schedule — in other words, he hasn’t needed to eat as much throughout the day.

We’re on a schedule, but it revolves around his meals (real food – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sometimes snack) and nap times. He always breastfeeds in the morning (around 5am) and before bed (around 8:30pm), plus a couple during the day (often before or after the nap), with a bottle or two of 1/4 apple juice (and 3/4 water). So, I’d say that breastfeeding is becoming irregular, but still “a thing.”

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As I’ve said before, this makes me happy (to be continuing on as long as he needs it, and for the bonding, loving-my-little-boy time), yet torn (I. Miss. Wine. And a handful of other selfish things, like leaving the party or having to sequester ourselves from folks). Hearing folks (well…just my mom, who’s been incredibly supportive considering she didn’t breastfeed, herself) encourage me to move on to cow’s milk since I’ve “gone long enough” whips me back to trying to enjoy those 5am feedings again.

In fact, I was reminded by the bitter side of this bittersweet milestone (weaning) today when I finally offered him his first bit of cow’s milk. As with absolutely everything else that goes into his mouth, he liked it quite a bit. (He was confused, I could tell – continually taking the bottle from his mouth to look over while smacking his lips – but at least he’s been on a bottle while at his grandmother’s during the school year, so that part was fine. And, no, we haven’t been able to transition to a sippy cup yet. One battle at a time, I suppose.) His stool was a little more, um, shall we say “active”, and I’m not going to make it an everyday occurrence quite yet, but knowing that it’s on the horizon puts a lump of sadness into my throat.

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He’s not walking on his own yet. He’s still got his fine, golden baby locks. He only has two adorable teeth. He still needs me more than anyone, and doesn’t care who knows that he’s my biggest fan. He only communicates in guttural sounds and the occasional “oof” (which started off meaning “dog” but now means “cat”, “zebra”, “my favorite commercial, let’s dance” and a hundred other things). He still eats “with me” (as I say it)…but not for much longer.

The milk in a bottle is the first stepping stone towards growing up. When I finally resolve to accept that which I cannot change, I’m pretty certain that I’ll handle it better than, say, his father. But, in the meantime, I’m taking it awfully hard. The only way to get through is to cherish the mundane everyday occurrences and the experiences that we can share joyfully.

Now, what to pick for a Halloween costume before he can really say “No! I wanna be Superman!!” (or, God forbid, Spongebob or some other crap)…

Slowing Down

Dairy-Free Me - image  on https://megactsout.comSo, we’ve officially been breastfeeding going on shy of 11 months now. It hasn’t been a rollercoaster, necessarily; maybe more like a walk with peaks and valleys, days that were natural and easy with others that brought about pain and frustration and a sense of failure.

I’m in the crux of one of those “am I failing?” moments right now. Since writing this last week, I’ve reverted to “natural and easy” but still thought it would benefit me (and some reading, maybe?) to share my thoughts. 🙂

See, there was a time that the little man was “demanding” about 28 – 30 ounces while at the sitter (plus feedings at home, possibly several throughout the night, at about 7+ oz. per feeding) and I could easily pump that much by lunchtime, and then some. I hate stores in the freezer, folks.

Now? It’s after 4pm. I have yet to reach tomorrow’s full amount, three bags of 4 ounces each. Yes, folks, 12 ounces, and I’m at about half. Plus, I have to try to store up 8 ounces for a sitter to feed him while Dave and I travel for an award ceremony this weekend. That being said, I may not be going, and that just sucks.

Of course, the Hadman is the #1 most important thing on Earth. Of course. But, my supply’s slowing down because his demand is less. The fact that we’ve made it this far in the world o’ nursing is miraculous, in my mind. Especially after his teeth came and he started using me (very rarely, but still!) as a chew toy with his razor sharp little grinders. And the day that I must’ve blown out a blocked duct while pumping only to see a bottle FULL of milk and blood, mixed together. And the early days of soreness and squirting and weird latching and gassiness (on his part) and screaming (on both of our parts). It is a bit of a feat, actually.

But, my goal — for myself, for my family, for Hadley — is to make it to one year. If we go past that, AWESOME! But, there will be so much to celebrate on this kid’s birthday, it’s ridiculous.

Now, it’s time for me to go brew some mother’s milk tea in this sweltering heat and do some meditating to reduce stress and hopefully pump up the ol’ pumping ability. I can see the finish line from here and I’m not giving up.

Crying Over Spilt Milk

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I try hard — REALLY hard — not to blog when I’m upset, angry, or otherwise feeling negative. (Maybe I’d post more if I wasn’t so Irish-tempered! Ha. Totally kidding. Kind of.) But, I realized that my current frustration is something that some may either a) relate to or b) use as a tool to learn more about the world of breastfeeding. (Plus, as usual, I’ve tempered out a bit since I originally started writing this…so I’m a TAD less pissed.)

On average, I try to keep my cool when stupid stuff happens. Cats (Winston) dumping food EVERYWHERE. Cats (Winston) dragging opened Christmas gifts from the tree to their litter pan for a dip. Hads pouring copious amounts of bathwater all over me, the kitchen floor and throw rug. Husband using all the small glass storage containers which means I can’t take yogurt to school until he finishes those lunches. See? Stupid crap. None of it important. None of it making me want to disown anybody. Just daily silliness.

But when I got a text from the hubs (undoubtedly terrified to have to give me the news) telling me that a 5-6 oz. bag of milk had leaked and was, therefore, unusable, I felt like someone punched me. To make matters worse, it was a defect with the bag; I couldn’t even just be mad at myself. Being upset with an unknown machine in some unknown factory just makes me feel helpless and fearful that it could happen again, at any time.

When I’m upset, I yell. (Sorry, it’s what I do. My poor husband.) When I’m REALLY upset, I cry. So, I cried. On an average work day, I pump at 6am (at home, after feeding the baby his first of the day), then four more times at school throughout the day, then if I can sneak it in once at home before the “men” get home. I don’t pump for long; it takes 5-10 minutes out of my life each time. And I’m not complaining here (because Hadley is priority #1…in bold…and breastfeeding means A LOT), but it’s hard to continue one’s momentum of gettin’ sh-tuff done when you take time out like that. It’s a huge commitment.

Spilling one ounce is enough to make you gasp and yell and put the cat in time-out. (Yes. I’ve done this. Damn you, Winston!!!) Losing an ENTIRE serving of the stuff?? Can you say incendiary device?

In this case, we were REALLY lucky that the sitter had a couple of bags in an emergency store in the freezer. She still has one extra at her place, but otherwise we’ve got zero “extras.” I JUST keep up with his current needs. I am ecstatic on days that he decides to eat 3 rather than 4 (he’s on “solids”, too, so he’s not starving) just to be able to have ANY surplus. Don’t even get me started on my fear of getting into a car accident or having some other crazy emergency happen, knowing that I don’t have a surplus for him.

On one hand, I could be getting up at midnight and 2am to work on storing some more, but Hadley’s gotten into a routine of needing night feedings again (like, sometimes one, sometimes two), so I’d rather not pump in the event that I’ll be too “empty” for him. It’s a scary prospect. Plus, I lurve sleep.

Oh, and any little “extras” I can eke out go towards mixing with rice cereal, so there’s that, too. I do often pump after I’ve put him back to sleep on weekends (he eats around 5-6am but goes back to bed — the one time he’s generally easy to put back down), so while he and the hubs are snoring away, I’m pumping SOMETHING. Unfortunately, these are the days I most want to lay back down, and it’s kinda tough after the “excitement” of pumping to get back to sleep. Blerg.

It may seem uber-petty and probably complainy of me to get SO upset over something as silly as milk getting spilled and wasted, but as I look at it, breastfeeding will go one year (if we’re lucky; more than one year if we’re REALLY lucky). It’s an important time in both Hadley’s and my life. And, for the record, I’m not complaining about BFing or pumping; I’m complaining about the complete disappointment when you finally feel “on top of” learning this very new, very speed bump-riddled activity (no pun intended) only to have another REALLY STUPID speed bump thrown into the mix.

So, yes. Yes, I WILL cry over spilt milk. Then get over it and appreciate the moments I get to have him close by, knowing he’s getting what he needs, knowing that he has learned, alongside me, how to get the hang of this crazy thing, loving when he’s bored and running his fingers through my hair or when he’s finally past the “I NEED FOOD NOW” moment and briefly stops to grin like a fool.


It’s so worth the spilt milk.


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With a name like “The Baby Bullet,” how can you NOT be on board? (But, seriously. I know the original machine was “The Magic Bullet,” but WHO comes up with this stuff?!)

Well, I always thought that we could just use our regular blender when it came time to make the little man’s baby food. After all, who has room for one more gadget? Apparently, WE DO!! Especially when it’s lovingly passed back and forth between sisters (and was originally a gift from our parents).

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So, I tried out the sucker last night. I cooked a couple of small sweet potatoes (buddy’s favorite) until they were soft — you can steam, too, but I didn’t have much time. C’mon, we hadn’t eaten dinner yet and Dr. Spaceman was making his *final* appearance on 30 Rock!! (My favorite line of the night: “That’s a wrap on Leo Spaceman. Out.” Or something to that effect. Genius! And who totally thinks Jim and Pam are going to separate at the end of “The Office”???)

After some initial issues (the durn thing wasn’t turnin’ off!!! The look on both my men’s faces was priceless. My bad, had to tighten the blade), we got it whirring and, after adding some filtered water, actually came up with a product that I deemed both texturally equal and flavor-wise BETTER than the Earth’s Best stuff we’ve been giving him. And, yes, I have tasted his. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really seem to taste that much like the food it’s supposed to be. This stuff actually tasted like a dang sweet potato. Imagine that.

Unfortunately, we didn’t use organic sweet potatoes, so this is the first thing he’s ever had that hasn’t been organic, but they’re on the clean list so I’m not losing sleep. Er, I am, but not because of this. #sleepdeprivedmama (First. Hashtag. Ever.)

We used the accompanying BPA-free containers to store the stuff; bottom silicone container in the freezer, plastic ones on top for fridge. You can even turn that little ring around to select the date you made the stuff. ‘Cuz, y’know. My memory su-hucks. I appreciate that little reminder.

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I fed the monkey (how many nicknames is that now?) some of the excess from the blender and he deemed it delicious. As much as an almost-6-month-old can. Heck, he might’ve hated it, but he didn’t give me “squinty face”, so I’m calling it a success.

I was going to do bananas (said in Elephant and Piggie voice “BA-NAH-NAAAAAAS” in our house) but they’re neither on the clean list nor the dirty list, so I consider them still pretty dirty. Not XXX-tina dirrty but not baby-friendly. I can’t believe I’ve been eating nanners in an ignorant, non-organic haze. Der. Lesson learned!

But, regardless, I’m looking forward to playing around and making more nummies, especially thanks to the cost difference. Considering that the blender was free (yay!) and his lil’ Earth’s Best containers (which hold less than these) cost around .75 each (depending on where we find them), and we bought a bag o’ sweet taters for (I think!) around $3 (could’ve been less than that, with maybe 10 in the bag…could’ve been more, I don’t recall) 8 servings cost us…get this…about $.04. No, not 40 cents — FOUR CENTS. I suck at math, but even if it was 40 cents, I’d be stoked. Dude. This is crazy cheap.

It makes me feel okay about getting him only organic in the future, since SURE it’ll be more expensive, but when it comes down to the math…wowsa.

Oh, and as far as the monkey’s eating habits, he’s currently doing — “regular” feedings every 3+ hours (more time goes by when he has some extra food) with a jar of veggies in the morning with the sitter and some oatmeal mixed with a bit of applesauce for “dinner.” Next week, we’re going to have the sitter give some plain ol’ oatmeal, maybe veggies for lunch and dinner will still be oatmeal ‘n applesaaaaaauce. (Get it? Brady Bunch? No?) Yes, he eats a lot. Yes, if he eats more “real” food during the day he’ll want to feed less. I’m kind of okay with that, mostly because I’m going to pump the same amount at school and am hoping to stock-pile some more in the freezer; I’m down to ONE pouch, which will be used tonight while I go to a family wake. That will not do.

So, that’s the latest in our baby adventuring. A happy Friday to all, and to all some delicious num-nums.

In Your Face!

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There was a time when I would stick my hand in my mailbox and find an unexpected rush of emotions. Perhaps stress, perhaps guilt, but always a general sense of negativity. Damn you, mailbox. Damn you.

But, I’m friends with the mail again. (Really, it’s not Mr. Mailbox’s fault. He’s just doing his job, quiet and stalwart.) Aside from the rather normal frustration of bills, those “surprise” packages and large envelopes don’t get to me anymore. The only remorse I feel is the fact that I’m adding to the waste issue in America by dumping the contents in the garbage or recyclables.

I’ve gotta say, though, Enfamil and Similac really have their marketing schemes tuned perfectly to the New Mom Channel. Considering the cost of formula, I’m sure some parents are grateful and even relieved to find a $5 off coupon here or there, or even a whole box containing a free, full-sized sample of their product. I get it, I do.

But, for those of us who are making attempts at nursing (and I won’t get into the “breast is best” stuff — doing what’s best for YOU and YOUR situation/family is truly what’s best, no judgment!), those packages can be a punch to the gut. Actually, yeah. It does truly feel like someone’s punching you. Best way to describe it.

There are even reminders on the envelopes saying, “If nursing isn’t working out…” or “Breastfeeding can be hard, there’s no harm in supplementing with formula” or “You’ve reached the 4-month mark, it’s time to give yourself a break”. ARE. YOU. KIDDING?! *words that aren’t really words but I utter them in my own language to avoid extensive profanity* Yes. Words. Blerg.

They’ve got their fingers on the pulse, alright. They know that breastfeeding is a downright challenge. I’ve never ran a marathon before, but I imagine it’s similar — ups and downs, a very long trail to a very emotional end that, once accomplished, you feel victorious for. And, for those who can’t make it through, it must feel just like quitting a race — deflating, demoralizing, downright depressing. And they’re playing right into that emotion.

I’m lucky. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs, but aside from some mysterious issues that are non-food-related (we hope), it has been what I like to call “an eventual success.” We no longer have to fight to get a proper latch. We no longer have *ahem* glorious, obnoxious, unexpected fountains. We no longer find him crying during meals (other than when he WANTS to eat). We no longer have an ounce of pain. It might have started miraculously, then reality sank in, but our new reality is that we’re a BFing family. I have an awesome son who now does exactly what he’s supposed to, an incredible husband who has the perfect instinct (definite Papa Bear going on), and I have finally learned, through trials and tribulations, how to feed my son. Not everyone is this lucky.

My supportive family, luck and general stubbornness have brought me to this point, and nothing else. So, thanks to those reasons, I find that I have developed an armor — an armor that Similac can *poink* bounce off and a shield that tells Enfamil to kiss my…erm, hand.

If there wasn’t such a fast expiration date, I’d try to put aside the coupons for anyone who may use them (but you find out so-and-so only uses the soy version of Similac and you only have Enfamil, or vice versa). No one at school has babies that are using formula (got another BFer in the house, though, yay!). And, in a horrible excuse for humankind, we’re simply too busy to drop them off at a home for women in need. So, the guilt of waste (and being unable to help) is still there…but my mail emotions are no longer of guilt. Triumph? Yes.