14,000 Ounces.

Fiona was adopted from birth.

When I found out we were getting her, I decided (very naively) that I wanted her to get breast milk until she was a year old. Every book, every class, every mom I had ever learned from said that “breast is best” and so feeding her breast milk made sense.

I researched milk banks, and that didn’t work.  Not only was I not the mother of a preemie baby, quite frankly, I couldn’t afford their rates and our insurance wouldn’t pay for it. Personally, I thought that was messed up considering how milk banks get their milk, but such is life so I kept looking.

Through our required parenting class at The Gathering Place, I learned about milk sharing.  They referred me to La Leche League for information, but they also told me about milk sharing sites such as Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Milk on Feets.

I made it my business to learn.

A year ago today I received my first donation from Dallas, a woman I met through Human Milk 4 Human Babies. It was 40 ounces. I was stoked. I thought that would last forever!

Fiona was born December 18th and came home with us December 20th. Very quickly it became apparent that 40 ounces weren’t going to take us very far and that getting donor milk was going to be a challenge…

I started scrambling and hustling and made getting her donor milk my number one priority in life after her well being. I joined mommy groups, posted on milk sharing sites, and put myself out there for the world to know what I was trying to do.

It was hard.

But the more I looked for reasons to quit and just give Fiona formula, the more I learned how important it was that I kept trying to get her donor milk. I did the research, I saw the studies, and I know that many people will argue with me about my conviction regarding breast milk, but I learned that breast really is best.

And we got lucky and the milk started coming…

Different women all over Florida (and some who were visiting) heard my pleas and stepped up to donate. Some donations were small, and some were huge.

I drove to places I’d never been. It was like a forced tour of Florida I never wanted. But each time I came home with milk for my baby, and each day I considered myself lucky that I had milk for my daughter.

With Fiona turning 1 in 2 weeks, today I received the last donation I will probably accept.

All in all, in the past year we have received from 42 different women a total of 14,000 ounces of breast milk donations.

Our daughter will make it to a year exclusively on breast milk.

My heart is about to explode from so much gratitude and love for these 42 amazing women who didn’t know us but stepped up to help us asking for nothing in return. And every single one, from Dallas, our first donor, to Waruska, the last one, even if I don’t see them again, will be my friend forever.

It really does take a village. ♡♡♡

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Eat Your Greens!

It is recommended by the powers that be that children are introduced to solids at the age of 6 months.  There are some additional guidelines one should take into account (they can sit, they can swallow, they want food), but generally the benchmark is 6 months.

When Fiona was 6 months old, we tried to introduce her to solids.  I bought the first of three avocados we went through before she finally ate, and made the first of the best virgin guacamoles (ie- mashed avocado) I have ever made.  She didn’t want it. It took about 10 days before she was ready to accept our food offering and it’s been all downhill since.

She loves food.

In the beginning I tried to go by the food guidelines the pediatrician gave us but that went out the window quick.  I have found that a combination of food guidelines and baby led weaning is what has worked for us. It’s been two months and there has not been food she has tried that she hasn’t liked.

Except pre-packaged baby food.

She doesn’t like that.  (I don’t even like that…ewww) So I make all of her food.

IMG-20150819-WA0009Since she started eating, Fiona’s meals have been homemade with ingredients that are mostly seasonal, local, and organic. I’ve become somewhat of a pro at the whole baby food making thing.  Frankly, I love it. And she loves it too because her food tastes like food.  To be honest, I wouldn’t feed her something I myself wouldn’t eat. Except rice or beans. I hate them but she has to eat them. She also eats cut up table food.  I am usually pretty good about letting her try whatever we are eating (as long as she wants it) so she can learn to be an adventurous eater.

One thing though that I decided early on was that I would not introduce her to meat. I mentioned this at Gymboree during discussion the other day and some of the moms were looking at me like I was crazy because apparently nobody can be vegetarian since birth.

Well, Fiona has been.  She does eat cheese and yogurt, but until she can go to the store and buy herself a piece of steak, she is not going to be eating meat. There is really no need for that.  I also can’t imagine being a vegetarian trying to raise a carnivore child.  I have read the discussion boards and ultimately it seems that it always comes down to the inescapability of meat in our culture, and whether or not the child will feel excluded from that culture.

To me, that doesn’t feel like a good enough reason.

I wish I knew parents of vegetarian children.  I would love to know how they manage.