Weaning a Toddler

To nurse or not to nurse? That was never really a question in our house.

I always knew I’d breastfeed my daughter. I mean, I apparently breastfed until I was about three years old, or so the story goes.

However, I had assumed it would come more naturally. I did not expect my daughter to have such a horrible latch. In fact, during her first few hours of life, I was left bloody and sore from her nursing.

I knew from a breastfeeding class I took while pregnant that nursing wasn’t supposed to hurt, but all the nurses post-birth kept telling me I was being a bit wimpy about it. So, I persevered.

Then I got a little mad and DEMANDED to see the lactation consultant. (My baby was born at the busiest time of the year, so we did not get great treatment due to the high number of babies being born during that time.)

And the lactation consultant got my baby supplementing with formula. While I wanted so much to breastfeed, I was so happy she stepped in so my baby could eat. She also gave me shells and lanolin to help with the healing.

And last of all, she gave me breast shields to use when nursing. While these were supposed to be used as a temporary crutch, we ended up using them for all 21 months of nursing.

Yes, I said it. Twenty-one months!

Was it easy! Um, no! That baby stayed attached to my breast, day and night, for almost a year. I just sort of had to find ways to settle in with her and have everything I needed within reach.

She did not want to be away from me or the breasts, meaning finding time or opportunity to pump was almost impossible.

This high-needs baby of mine was a milkaholic. She loved her “booby”.

But I was done with breastfeeding long before I made her wean at 21 months. In fact, I had been done for a while.

You see, when I started Keto when she was around 19 months, I found that the new me was focused on tackling issues in my life. Of course, for those who weren’t able to breastfeed this doesn’t seem like a valid issue since I was one of the lucky ones able to breastfeed. And, I assure you. I fought hard to breastfeed, and I felt like I sacrificed a lot to breastfeed. Another lactation consultant, two weeks postpartum, even handed me some formula and told me to stop trying to breastfeed and just give her formula. To say I was stubborn might be an understatement.

Yet, still, though I fought so hard to make it happen, at this point it was an issue and was greatly affecting my sleep.

So, with this newfound confidence that the Keto diet gave me, I decided to be more proactive and get her to wean.

Thus, we started talking about “booby milk” and how booby milk is for babies. Every time we’d see a baby, we’d talk about babies getting “booby milk” not big girls. Then, I’d ask her if she was a baby or a big girl, and she’d say “girl”.

Once it was clear she understood this, I decided to drop the middle of the night feedings. Meaning, when she woke up to nurse, I would just snuggle her. Did this tick my toddler off at first? Yes, yes it did. But she only really cried for a minute or two before going back to sleep. Of course, I’d remind her during this time that booby milk was for babies and she was a big girl. We had to keep this up for a week or two before she completely stopped expecting it at night. And some nights were a little rough, although not nearly as rough as I had expected.

Then, I gradually shortened our time nursing to sleep. (Yes, this was the only way I had been able to get my little one to sleep, unfortunately).

And finally, on June 9, 2018. I just didn’t nurse and held her to sleep. By this point, she seemed fine with not having the “booby” and didn’t ask for it. She hasn’t asked for it since.

Now, we snuggle to sleep every night, and, honestly, (and I’m probably in the minority here) I much prefer this to nursing.

Not Eating the Wall or Feeling Deprived

People hate the idea of deprivation. I hate it. You hate it. No one wants to feel like they’re missing out on something great.

For this reason, when people ask me how I managed to so quickly lose so much weight, they are astonished by my mention of “no sugar”. They look at me in bewilderment, as if I said I was giving up oxygen or something else just as vital.

But let’s face it. Sugar is not vital, and we all are eating too much of it!

And it will kill many of us. Yet, we still can’t give it up.

I’m not going to go into the dangers of sugar here, but I do want to talk about how easy the Keto dietary changes have been and how I DON’T feel deprived at all. Because I have alternatives, I can easily give it up.

1) The first week is the toughest. I’m not going to lie. However, after that first week, it gets so much easier. I even got accustomed to drinking unsweetened tea and coffee, which I NEVER thought I’d be able to do.

2) There are so many Keto alternatives out there. You will find something for your specific favorites! We found a pancake mix we love; we even add some Keto chocolate chips! We have found that an easy way to order these alternatives is through Thrive Market, an online store that will deliver your goodies straight to your door. (P.S. For the “syrup” on those pancakes, we use a simple recipe from Leanne Vogel. It’s just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of almond butter. So simple and so delicious!)

3) Now, of course, some of you don’t like the stevia, erythritol, or xylitol sweeteners. But, the longer you go without sugar in your system, the better these taste! I promise. We love Zevia (a stevia sweetened soda) and have these whenever we want a Coke or Dr. Pepper. They have quite a few flavors to choose from, too! And now they taste like the real thing to me. I also on occasion use Splenda Naturals with some heavy whipping cream and cinnamon in my morning coffee so that I still feel like I’m using my old sugary creamer. Ditching that creamer was the hardest thing for me, so I found that having a sweet alternative makes me feel like I’m treating myself! However, make sure you look at the ingredient list. It should only say erythritol and stevia. About a month ago, I bought a large bag of Splenda Naturals at Food Lion, and it was a stevia and SUGAR blend! The packaging looked almost identical to the erythritol and stevia blend, so be more careful than I was and ALWAYS look at the ingredient list. Also, sometimes this sweetener will send me quite quickly to the bathroom, so be aware of how your body responds to it. I also notice, too, that using too much of the sweeteners will affect my mood, making me feel like I used to on the Standard American Diet.

I also can’t forget to mention how much we rely on liquid stevia to sweeten various recipes. I use it in my Keto Lemonade and my Keto Milkshake recipes I got from Leanne Vogel’s Keto book, as well as these strawberry cheesecake fat bombs! The best thing about this liquid stevia is that you only use drops at a time, meaning one little bottle lasts FOREVER!

4) You can bake with Keto! My husband uses unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and confectioners Swerve to make the best fudge! We love it here at our house! We also made our own low carb bagels the other day following a recipe I saw someone post on Facebook.

As you can see, I have found lots of replacements. However, I do want to add a little caveat that it may be best to use these items as a crutch to transition from your old, standard diet to your new, healthy one. I, myself, need to start relying less on these options, and there are many, many days that I do just that; and, even when not indulging in my alternatives, I still never feel deprived.

Those old carb cravings are gone.

I can go longer between meals.

And when I do crave, I crave my Keto foods of some good fat and protein. I crave those seasoned veggies. I find myself wanting food I used to not particularly want to eat.

For example, I love my tacos on romaine lettuce and my burgers (with a fried egg and cheddar on top) covered in iceberg lettuce. To me, the crunch of the lettuce is far superior to the buns I grew up with. Even better, I never find myself feeling heavy or tired after eating these like I used to when they came on carby breads and tortillas.

You see, we find great recipes and eat delicious meals that make us feel full afterwards. There is no calorie deficit with Keto for us. We do not starve ourselves. We do not deprive ourselves.

Thus, I was a little irritated the other day to see a “low carb, no sugar” meme posted by an extended family member I had spent some time giving Keto info to. This meme had a dog being shamed for “eating the wall” and simply said “what happens when I go on a low carb, no sugar diet”.

This could not be further from the truth. But people have no idea how hungry a high-carb diet makes them. They have no idea how filling those healthy fats are. They don’t realize the effect sugar has on them, or how addicted they are. They also don’t realize how easy it is to go Keto and stay on Keto.

I mean, I, too, was one of them. When I was pregnant, I remember telling someone how much I hoped I didn’t have high blood sugar results because I could not live without my creamer. I realize now just how ignorant I was and just how much I was putting sugar as a higher priority than my health and my future child’s health. The power sugar has over us is, indeed, scary.

But without it, I don’t feel like I’m deprived. I never have an urge to eat the wall. In fact, I no longer feel hangry.

I don’t have to eat every couple of hours, I can resist temptation, and food no longer dominates my thinking.

(Please note, I am not receiving money for endorsing any of the abovementioned products. These are just items and recipes I have personally found helpful.)

Just Getting By

I stopped working when my daughter was born. Actually, since I was a teacher, I finished teaching that school year three months before she was born.

And having a relaxing third trimester was nice.

But being home with her that first year felt like a must.

She nursed all the time, day and night. I spent hours upon hours with her propped on a breast while I binged t.v. shows or read books.

This sounds serene and relaxing. But I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t getting out. I wasn’t getting visitors. I was a mess. A chubby, sleep-deprived, desperate mess.

But, as many would say, I was living the dream. I was a stay-at-home-mom.

Yesterday, I heard someone talking about her decision not to be a stay-at-home-mom, and what she said struck me hard.

She and her husband both make six figures. After going to school for as long as she did, there was no way she’d leave that behind. As a former teacher (who did NOT make six figures), I can understand that. In the time I’ve been home (2 years now) I did take an online class to get the rest of my re-certification points. I will file paperwork next year to renew my teaching license. I want to get back into my career eventually. I can understand now wanting to jeopardize a career you worked so hard for.

But I worry, will this hiatus break my career? Will I be able to just jump right back into it? Have I done myself a disservice because I took time off, took out my pension (because we needed the money), and left a tenured position?

She further stated that her and her husband thought it best to have both their incomes in order to give their child the best financial life possible, instead of a just-getting-by-financial life. Oh boy did this hit hard!

When my husband and I started trying, he was bringing in about $7,000 a month. Now, after hours have been cut, he makes about half that. And we still have bills to pay. I still have student loans. Did we make a mistake having me stay home with our daughter?

Before getting married and before having a baby, I was financially pretty limited, but I was always able to pay my bills. They were on auto-draft; I didn’t know when they’d be taken out. I just always had enough not to worry about what day they’d be pulled out.

Now, my situation is different. It’s a balancing act. One emergency wrecks us. With our daughter’s UTI costing us about $500 out of pocket and our dog’s arthritis injury costing $1000 and all the other times we found ourselves in a deficit this year, our credit cards are about maxed. This has never happened before. I used to pay it off every month just to get points. Now, I pay about the minimum every month to not go over the limit.

As you can see, what she said hit me hard.

Choosing to stay home or choosing to work is a hard choice. There are pros and cons to each. It’s a little too late for me to go back next school year, but it may have to be something I do the following year. At that point, I will have been out of the school system for three years.

I just hope that doesn’t hold me back too much!

Social Media Lies

How many people lie on social media? I’m starting to think it’s a lot more than I used to.

And I know that social media only really shows you the good stuff going on in someone’s life.

I know that I posted pictures today from Will’s second 5K. I didn’t write a diatribe about how he’s not getting paid this week and the stress of bills are weighing on me.

I showed the good and did not share the bad, just as I posted the best selfie we had taken and deleted the bloopers.

I understand the management of perception. What I don’t quite get is the out-and-out lies.

But I am starting to think that friends of mine use lies and/or absolute exaggerations on social media to get compliments and validation from others and to combat certain insecurities. Do you have people like this in your life? Or have I had a knack for attracting a certain type of person?

For example, last night, as I got a chance to sit down for a minute and unwind, I noticed this post from a friend of mine. She and I have been friends since preschool, but now, in our thirties, we don’t have much in common other than the fact that we have kids. In the past, I sort of accepted this as normal. You grow, you change—these things happen.

But this was the second post she made about someone “shaming” her for being a working mom. No descriptions of how this shaming was done. Just a general, abstract, I was shamed “boo hoo” post.

And the comments poured in. “You’re awesome!” “People need to mind their own business!” “Being a working mom is better for the kids, anyway.” “You are a strong, independent woman!”

But I just doubt anyone actually said anything. If not an out-and-out lie, my money is on the fact that my friend was feeling insecure and took something innocuous the wrong way.

In fact, I think I may have played a part in it. See, her son recently had an acute autoimmune response which put him in the hospital twice.

Knowing what I know about carbohydrates and sugar affecting immune responses in some people, I (after inquiring about how he was doing upon his return from the hospital) asked her if she had considered trying a low carb diet for him. Instead of asking questions or inquiring more, she told me her son was three and lived on carbs. My simple question was not appreciated.

As someone who has been exposed to more mind-opening information lately and who has first-hand experienced the big changes diet can make in a body, her unwillingness to learn more for her child’s well-being saddened me.

I hope, though, that his body does not respond that way again, and I hope that she doesn’t have to think about low-carb diets for her son’s health.

But I also suspect that her jab about how her she gives “her children proper nutrition” in her Facebook post about being shamed had something to do with what I said.

I think I hit a nerve.

And before learning more about nutrition, I used to give my daughter sugary yogurt snacks and goldfish and crackers. I always knew this was probably not best, but I didn’t know any other way.

When I asked if she had considered a low-carb diet for her son, I only wanted to help. It was not a shaming. I purposely only asked if she had considered it and mentioned I had heard good things about low-carb and autoimmune. I purposely phrased it in a way that wouldn’t sound preachy or pushy.

So what else had someone said that sent her over the edge?

My question is, how quick are we to think we’re being shamed? And how often do we fabricate and/or exaggerate being shamed to get those feel-good responses on Facebook? And are we doing this much more often than both prior to and in the early days of social media?

And are working moms being shamed? Have I missed something in my life experiences to make me doubt this is happening?