Now that my son is seventeen-months-old and walking (running!); we are really using our backyard. We live in sunny Miami, so as long as it isn’t raining, we are out there nearly every day—normally in the late afternoon when the yard is in partial shade to avoid the sun. With him safely fenced in, I can relax a little and let him explore, get dirty and make a mess of anything he chooses.
Out there today, I found myself mentally taking notes about the yard and what needed fixing.
“The plants are overgrown, and the grass needs a trim. We could use some new outdoor furniture and some better looking planters. The vegetable planter needs to be moved because the Swiss chard isn’t getting enough light…the spider webs are out of hand and this stuff needs to be straightened up. That paint on the porch needs a touch up…”
My mind went on and on. Then I noticed the slanting rays from the sun and how beautiful they looked. I grabbed my camera and changed my focus.
Walking around the backyard and looking through the lens, I saw how the overgrown grass and plants looked a little wild, the spiders webs caught the light and sparkled; their bodies like colorful painted armor…and look at all those bugs they were catching!
My old planters where crusted with moss and the cracks and weeds were a little charming. If you didn’t look too close, the furniture wasn’t so bad. My son sure didn’t care.
I watched him squeal in delight as he ran in the soft overgrown grass, and threw sand out of his sandbox. I looked up and saw the clear sky and felt the soft, warm breeze. I listened to the sound of parrots in the trees and was thankful.
Someday I’ll get around to fixing up the back yard. It will be well-manicured and everything maintained and in its’ place, but not today. Today we will enjoy it. I’ll enjoy spending time with my son and we will laugh and run and squeal and make messes. We will make memories because he’s growing so fast and he’s not going to be my baby boy much longer.
I want to take a quick moment to share my gratitude this Easter for all I’ve been able to share through this little blog. Love and Duck Fat isn’t a year old yet; but it’s become a big part of my life. I’ve met some wonderful people and learned SO MUCH by showing up every week to share my recipes, family and the things I love.
Who would have thought people would actually show up to see into my little kitchen? I’m thrilled everyday when they do and it only inspires me to keep going.
This Easter marks a big change around here. I’m returning to work full time and will no longer be a stay-at-home mom to my son. Grayson. It’s a bittersweet time; making every moment even more precious.
This Easter Grayson shared his first Easter basket and egg hunt (if you could call eggs tossed in grass a “hunt”). He bit off his very first chocolate bunny ears and sucked on a Peep.
We had a lovely Easter breakfast with deviled eggs, honey ham, an asparagus & tomato salad and toast. There is a leg of lamb marinating for Easter dinner, waiting to be paired with creamy mashed potatoes and fresh peas.
It’s a wonderful day. And I’m grateful to share it.
I wish you a happy Easter full of family and love. Thank you for stopping by!
P.S. If you missed it, check out our Easter baby photo shoot from last year.
Breastfeeding was the only option I considered when my son, Grayson was born. What I didn’t anticipate was spending the first few months of his life struggling to get him off of formula. Feeding people is something I do best, so not being able to feed my son was heart wrenching to me. With lots of work, I overcame my low milk supply and kicked formula to the curb. I hope sharing this story helps moms out there who are trying to breastfeed.
I was a new mom, and the only thing I knew about breastfeeding was from what I read in numerous baby books, and the horror stories I heard from friends (you know what I’m talking about) . Still, I expected everything to go as planned.
My son’s birth went as smoothly as one could expect. He was delivered at 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was able to stay with me in my hospital room. In my birth plan, I specified he not be given a pacifier, formula or sugar water so I could have the best shot at breast feeding.
The nurses and lactation consultant instructed me on how to breastfeed and Grayson seemed to latch on (with some struggle). Still, I wasn’t doing very well on my own and needed a nurse’s help each time I tried to feed him. On the second day, I had a new, less knowledgeable nurse and everything went downhill.
In the hospital, only the nurses and doctors who were present during the birth were aware of my birth plan. During a morning examination without family present, one of the nurses gave Grayson sugar water. The sugar water made him very sleepy for the rest of the day. When I tried to feed him; he would just fall asleep. We also had family and friends visiting that day, and I felt shy whipping out my breasts in front of them. Not knowing any better (or what to do), several hours went by without a feeding. I asked for the nurse’s help but she didn’t know what to do. That afternoon, I requested the lactation consultant to help me.
By the time the lactation consultant showed up that evening, nearly eight hours had passed since his last feeding. With some struggle (and crying from Grayson and I), we got him to latch on . We were scheduled to check out of the hospital the next afternoon, but after a morning weigh-in, we were told that Grayson would not be able to leave because he lost too much weight–over 10% of his birth weight of 7.7 pounds.
We were given two options: Stay another day in the hospital or feed him formula in the hopes he would gain enough weight during the day to meet the required weight percentage.
Eager to go home, I decided a little formula wouldn’t hurt. I read in the baby books that a newborn’s tiny stomach could only hold 2 teaspoons of liquid, so I was astounded when my difficult-to-feed son quickly and easily drank down the full 2-ounce bottle of formula. Another bottle later, he weighed enough for us to go home. We left the hospital with a box of formula and my long struggle to breastfeed had begun.
Over the next few days, my milk came in just fine, but I couldn’t get Grayson to latch on correctly. He would cry, and when he did latch on, he would suckle for an hour or fall asleep. I started pumping every few hours, getting maybe an ounce of liquid from both breasts. Grayson would sometimes nurse for an hour at a time, then drink down a whole bottle of formula.
At this time (and for months afterward), I wasn’t producing enough breast milk to feed him. I would alternate filling his bottles with pumped breast milk and formula, making sure he drank the breast milk first. At least he was getting some.
Pumping for bottle feeding takes twice as much effort and time as breast feeding or bottle feeding alone, so I wasn’t getting much sleep during this time. I would pump after every breast feeding, and/or every two hours. That means an extra 15-20 minutes of sleep I wasn’t getting 24 hours a day. I was a zombie.
My pediatrician recommended a lactation consultant. She came to the house and immediately said the baby wasn’t latching correctly. My middle-of-the-night hour-long feeding sessions were just pacifying the baby, not actually feeding him. Basically, Grayson preferred the bottle at this point, because it was easy. With a bottle, he got a full belly quickly without all the struggle of breast feeding.
She recommended a few things:
I used her methods for about a month, until pulling the bottle out of his mouth every 5 minutes turned into a battle at every feeding. The poor guy just wanted to eat, and I decided to let him do it without restriction, giving in to the idea that he would be bottle fed–but with as much breast milk as I could pump.
I tried everything to get my breast milk production to the point where I could match Grayson’s voracious appetite. He was quickly eating 4 ounces in a sitting, while I was producing half that amount. Some of the things I tried at this time:
I noticed that every few weeks, my breast milk production would drop off, and then pick back up again. I would start pumping more often at these times. Into my third month, I was sometimes producing 8 ounces of breast milk in a sitting and reduced pumping to every 4-6 hours. I was finally producing enough milk to eliminate formula completely.
Over the next 6 months, I continued to attempt breast feeding and Grayson started to get the hang of it. I was able to rely more and more on breast feeding alone. Breast feeding soon became his preferred feeding method and by the time Grayson was 9 months old; he refused bottles completely and breast fed, along with eating solids.
Fast forward and my little guy is 15 months old and I’m trying to wean him. Pumping is well behind me (thank goodness) and I can look back at all the hard work I did to breast feed my child.
My story isn’t a typical one, and I hope my struggle to get my baby off formula will help moms out there who may be having difficulties with low milk supply and breast feeding. Below I included links to some of the products that helped me, plus my favorite recipe for breast milk cookies (yum!).
This is the breast pump I used. It costs less money than similar brands and it is still going strong (after a few replacement parts).
This helps a lot with soreness.
I love, love, love these storage bags. To this day, I have breastmilk in the freezer for my little guy and give it to him mixed with cows milk. Great product!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
Premix the flax seed meal with water and let sit for 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. In another bowl, sift together the flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda and salt.
Stir together the dry mixture with the butter mixture. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
Scoop tablespoons of batter onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes before removing from tray.
Do you have any suggestions for what helped you overcome low milk supply? Please share in the comments below!
This post may contain affiliate links to products I purchased and used myself. I recommend these products. If you decide to buy any of these items, I may recieve a small compensation.
Both my husband and I grew up in sunny South Florida, so you would think we knew all about going to the beach.
Our son, Grayson, was 10 months old at the time, and while we “visited” the beach before, we were never there for more than 40 minutes on an overcast day. That morning, we spent a lot of time packing up the car, but we brought all the wrong things. We packed a picnic lunch, a waterproof blanket, sunscreen and some cold drinks. What we didn’t take into account was the sun, or conversely, the lack of shade.
Trekking out to the beach, carrying our provisions in the stroller and the baby in my arms, we soon became bogged down in the sand. We squinted at the vast beach full of people, devoid of even a spot of shade. Of course, people brought umbrellas, pop-up tents and sun shades, but we were completely lacking. We promptly turned around and ate our sad little lunch on a picnic table and then drove back home.
The next week, I spent a bit of time on Amazon shoring up our defenses against the sand and sun (Amazon Prime is my friend). There are no excuses for Miami natives to be so amateur at beach-going.
Note: I grew up spending zero time on the beach. That is where all the “tourists” are. Boats? I can do boats.
Our next outing was more of a success. We had a UV tent this time and an easier beach, on the sleepy west coast of Florida. Our trek from the car was only a few feet, and my husband was able to erect the tent after a minor struggle. Shaded from the sun, and sitting in some borrowed beach chairs, we watched as my son played in the sand, crawling back and forth like a little turtle.
Round two on Amazon and we are properly equipped for many years of future beach trips. Our third trip to the beach with the baby really tested us. After a long hike from the car with a heavy (now 13-month-old) baby and gear, we arrived at the beach of our original failure, on the tip of Key Biscayne.
We scooted our chairs back and zipped the little tent closed. A little rain leaked in, but we stayed dry. Grayson napped in my arms to the sound of the rain splashing on the tent roof. After about twenty minutes, the rain cleared and for a moment, we had the beach to ourselves. It was a good moment.
I’ve been slacking on recipes this week because we are visiting family for Thanksgiving. This was a big week: baby Grayson’s first Thanksgiving and also his first birthday! I will be posting photos from the nautical-themed party once we return. In the meantime, I’m going to share a little from this weekend.
Thanksgiving is always a big event for us, but this year we had to make sure everyone had some time to spend with the baby, because he won’t be one for much longer *sigh*. This first year was one of the hardest of my life, but also the most rewarding. A baby truly changes everything in your life and I’m grateful I was able to spend this first year with him.
Starting Love and Duck Fat has been my way of channeling my creativity through this time, and I thank each and every reader out there. I had no idea what to expect when I started this blog. I’ve learned so much and look forward to the year ahead. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday. I’ll be back in the kitchen in a few days!
You can find Mimi’s Calvados Rustic Apple cake in her Etsy shop.
Give your baby their very own turkey dinner any time of year with this delicious homemade baby food recipe. Your baby will love the rich, comfort-food flavors (mine does!) of creamy mashed potatoes, green beans and roasted turkey. Even though it tastes yummy, you won’t find anything but healthy ingredients in this turkey dinner. Full of fresh green beans, potatoes, lean turkey and creamy yogurt, it tastes just as good as an adult version without the added salt and fats. It freezes well too, so you can make a big batch to freeze for later.
This recipe is appropriate for babies 7 months old and up, who are eating yogurt. Make it a smooth puree for youngsters and chunkier for bigger babies. Either way, this is sure to be a big hit!
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the green beans, potato, turkey, broth and herbs. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Allow to cool.
To puree, add the cooled mixture and yogurt to a food processor and blend until smooth, adding more broth if necessary. Puree until you reach the desired consistency.