Monday, December 30, 2013

Got Milk?

There have been big changes going on with Iyla Grace in the nursing department.

Admittedly, I am not someone who does things halfway when it comes to big baby transitions. Case in point, moving Iyla into her own room & crib coupled with de-swaddling AND some mild "cry it out" all at once when she was 5 months old.

Now? We are simultaneously weaning AND moving to whole cow's milk (WCM). And of course, Iyla is like 'whatever.'

At her 12 month appointment, the Pediatrician asked about weaning and let me know that developmentally it was much easier to wean before 15 months. I was a little miffed by her saying that, as I did not feel ready to wean at all. I wondered if there would be a day when I did feel ready, and hoped it would be clear to me. We were still nursing 3-4x/day- in the morning, before each nap, and sometimes in the late afternoon.

I was also told at this appointment that we should start replacing Iyla's nightly bottle of formula with WCM. So of course, in my typical 'black and white, all or nothing' way I tried replacing that bottle cold turkey with warmed milk.  Iyla took one sip, smiled, spit it out, and then waited not-so-patiently as I quickly made her bottle of formula. I immediately came to the conclusion that she didn't like whole milk, and that we'd have to try goat's milk or almond milk or something else.

Then I spoke to another mama friend of mine who told me that she had very gradually starting mixing WCM with her babies' formula. The first week she did 25% WCM, 2nd week 50%, 3rd week 75%, and finally all milk.

Um…. yeah. It made TOTAL sense and I couldn't believe that this hadn't even occurred to me.

And so we began the more gentle transition, and Iyla did great. We are now up to all WCM in her bottles, though I am still putting in 1/2 a scoop of formula for the 'taste,' and will wean that out in the next couple of days.

Also? I suddenly felt ready to start weaning around the same time we started folding in WCM. I was often gone for the nursing session before her first nap due to the nanny or BC helping out, so decided to eliminate that session first. The following week I cut out the 2nd nap's nursing and let my body adjust to nursing only in the mornings. This week the plan is to cut mornings out too.

Admittedly there is a little bit of sadness with this transition, as it officially signals the end of 13.5 months of the special connection that nursing brings. But it also signals the beginning of increased independence for both Iyla and I, and…. it is time. She takes her bottles like a champ, and I think actually prefers the instant gratification. I still get to snuggle her and hold her close while she takes them, and definitely luxuriate in that time together.

The next step is to wean off of bottles completely, transitioning to drinking out of cups. Of course, just when we get in a great new groove it is time to adjust again! I am in no immediate rush to move on to cups… and trust a time will come when we feel intuitively ready for that step.

Until then, I am going to keep snuggling this little lady and celebrating her daily steps toward greater independence!

'Just don't you try to take away my bedtime paci!'

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