January 25, 2015

The Stages of Night Weaning a Boob-Obsessed Toddler

I don't claim to be an expert at anything, except when it comes to boob obsessed toddlers. I have been nursing for the last four years straight, part of that time pregnant, and the other part of that time tandem nursing. Out of the last 48 months, I've probably had about four months total that I wasn't woken up every two hours or less to nurse someone. I only tell you all of this so that you may trust me when I say: I GET IT. I hear your cries sister and I wish we could hold each other right now.

There comes a time for many of us when we have to put our foot down and our boobs away, at least during the night so we can be functioning human beings during the day. Dacky is turning two this week, and he has just recently been night weaned. I decided to night wean him because if left to his own devices, he will wake up every two hours or less to nurse.

I know those of us that nurse older toddlers might be more in the minority, but I also know there's a lot of us out there. And from what I've seen from my friends who nurse older toddlers, it seems like half of them start to naturally night wean themselves, and the other half start regressing back to freakin newborns and want to nurse all night. So I'm going to share with you the stages of trauma my experience and tips for night weaning a boob-obsessed toddler.

First Stage: Oh hells no.

Despite conversations that your "mimis" (as we call them around here) will be going to sleep and not coming back until the sun comes up, they will wake up as usual for their first nursing after falling asleep, and they will be outraged to the core of their little souls that there will be no having of the mimis.

Envision back arching, scream crying, fully waking up in bed...every 30 minutes after they finally fall asleep...all night.

Second Stage: Eye of the storm.

Usually after the first night (or two) there will be a strange calm that takes over. They don't wake up as frequently and they fall back asleep faster. But you know it's too good to be true, and it is, so don't prepare for a full night's rest just yet. They're just refilling their energy stores and preparing to go to battle.

Brace yourself. Shit's about to get real.

Third Stage: The gnashing of teeth.

Don't watch any horror movies about possessed children during this time so you're not scared shitless at night by your own small child who will be making guttural, non-human sounds you've never heard before. They're fully aware of your little plan to try and get more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep since birthing them years ago and they are pissed. Hold on for dear life like you would to a pole during a huge tornado...it will all be over shortly! Eye on the prize Mom, keep your eye on that prize.

Fourth Stage: Scattered storms.

Your toddler's head isn't spinning in circles at night anymore, but you've still got to make it through a few nights of wakeful fits. Depending on your toddler's level of boob addiction and individual perseverance, this stage can last up to a week and in some cases, two. BUT...by now you might have noticed nap time during the day increase and they will go several hours before waking at night. MAJOR IMPROVEMENT, right?! You can do this.

Fifth Stage: They sleep.

Like in those movies after a horrible monster or debilitating storm has passed and everyone starts to come out from hiding, laughing and embracing...this will be you and your spouse or other children in the house. It's safe, everyone can come out! Sleep is actually happening!!! You awake in the mornings and don't feel like death. Welcome back to life!

Things that helped me:

1. Water and snack by the bed. The first few times I offered a sippy cup, Dacky demon-screamed NO at me, but he eventually wanted some water. I also kept some crackers by the bed for him in case he really was hungry. He ate them once for novelty but he's never truly hungry.

2. There were a few nights that I gave in probably around 4am. What was nice was that he would go back to sleep for, usually, several more hours. It's an amazing thing how much longer they'll start to sleep even before they're completely done being night weaned.

3. Keep talking about it during the day. Keep reminding them that "mimis" will be going to bed at night.

4. Set your coffee timer the night before. Make it strong.

And that was my experience of night weaning Dacky...I wanted to share it here before my mind blacked it out for my emotional and mental protection. If you've gone up against the wrath of a boob-obsessed toddler and lived to tell the tale, please leave your tips below!

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January 22, 2015

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Being Published on The Huffington Post

I know that when I finally got a piece accepted by The Huffington Post, I was frantically searching around the internet for answers or experience from other HuffPo bloggers. I found a few things here and there, but hardly.

Well I'm here to hopefully help anyone who was in my position or for anyone in general who is considering being published on HuffPo. Here's a few things that I wish I would've known beforehand!

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1. You get your own account. 

It didn't occur to me right away, even after I'd made up a username and password, that this was my Huffington Post blogger account. And then I saw something like this in my blogger's guidelines section: "post if and when you want; you are the boss." Say whaaaat?! A voice with a bad New York accent in my head took over and was like "So you're tellin' me, that if I get accepted once, it's done. I'm in foreva?"

Yes, that's what I'm saying.

2. It may take forever to publish. 

If you're anything like me, you will screenshot the submission acceptance email from Huffington and post it to all of your social media sites, you will make all the phone calls to everyone you know and have hour long conversations explaining what Huffington is to your mother, and you may or may not ask your husband if he wants your autograph.

You will submit everything with shaky, sweaty hands and then wait. Every morning you will immediately check your email to find nothing from Huffington. You will check your archive and will get an error page that says "OH NOES!!! SOMETHING WENT WRONG!" Your post will sit there, untouched. You will think the universe has played a cruel, cruel joke and you'll try to convince yourself that it doesn't matter if they don't post it (oh but you know it freakin matters!).

You will finally harass the editors and they will write you back and kindly tell you that it's in queue (or that they loved it so much they're holding it for feature, true story).

Relax and stay near a toilet if anxiety tends to get the best of your stomach. They will publish it.

3. Link back to your blog. 

Huffington will link back to your Twitter, but beyond that it is up to you to link back to your blog. I know this may sound like common sense, but I thought it would automatically be done for me. Which is kind of idiotic, because why would the super busy Huffington Post editors have time to flit about the interwebs getting links and inserting them into each submission they receive, on top of all the editing and tagging they have to do?

Besides linking back to other posts from your blog in your article (if you have any), at the bottom always put This article was previously published on ___________. Follow ___________'s Facebook for more updates." Or something like that.

I didn't do this on my first post, which actually I'm glad because I got a lot of haters and I've seen haters travel to the blogger's personal site just to spew their vile thoughts, so I thankfully avoided that. But on my second (and super sappy and happy post) I linked my blog and Facebook at the bottom; the traffic was unreal and my Facebook gained several hundred new followers.

4. Your post may take on a life of it's own.

My first post was a featured post, meaning Huffington placed it in plain view and promoted it, and it gained around 3,000 likes over the course of a few days.

My second post, You Won't Remember But I Will, was something I submitted in December kind of as a test post to see if Huffington really would publish it (I was still in disbelief that I had a freakin HuffPo account). They published it a few days later, it gained around 300 likes total after a few days, and I didn't check it again.

Someway...somewhere...somehow...someone shared it and it gained momentum. I started getting all these Facebook likes and I was like "Ha! The Facebook algorithms aren't affecting me, must be my awesome manifesting powers!". And then I started to get a lot of traffic back to my blog and people started leaving comments about that specific post. When I went back to check it on Huffington, I watched it literally go viral. Once it got to around 80,000 likes, Huffington shared it and they moved it to the top article spot in the parenting section. Last count it had half a million likes and over 100,000 shares...moral of the story...anything can happen on HuffPo, even if HuffPo themselves didn't see it coming!

5. Have your blog ready. 

Get your top posts together and post them somewhere, either in your sidebar or in your About Me section or at the bottom of the post that the Huffington readers will be coming to. Get social media buttons put specifically below that post if you don't already have them there and make sure you have a box for them to subscribe to your blog in close reach as well.

They will go to your About Me page, so spruce it up. Make sure that it says exactly what you want them to know...remember, they're deciding on if they want to read your blog or not. They want to know if they can relate to the person behind the post. Give it some extra attention so they can get a clear picture of what you are all about!

I hope these tips helped you out! If you have more specific questions, please ask in the comments below and I will try to help you out!

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January 20, 2015

The Blogger's Digest #74

Welcome! The Blogger's Digest is a weekly gathering of bloggers to share their most recent posts and build community with one another. All genres of posts are welcome and visiting other's blogs is highly encouraged!

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