Chase seems to be absorbing everything these days and I’m continually shocked by how quickly he picks up new skills and tricks. He watches our lips move so intently to try to replicate words and noises and loves pointing at his hair, tongue and nose all day long. (For a while there he thought his mouth was his nose, but we’ve seemed to clear that one up for now!)
Chase is so vocal and loves to sing, babble, scream, laugh and talk all day long. His favorite words are “da” which means dad, dog and duck to him, “blease” (“please”), ball, “mo” (“more”), “dis” (“this”) and “booah” (“book”). Making animal noises entertains him to no end. If he so much as sees a dog on the sidewalk or in a book or magazine he starts panting (or “woofing” if they are barking) and is absolutely obsessed.
(The above picture is Chase mid-“woof” after he heard Sadie barking!)
Cars and trucks are a second favorite and we hear lots of “vrooms” all day long over here as well! He thinks snorting like a pig is hilarious even though his snort is more like a soft, aggressive inhalation at this point.
Chase continues to be Mr. Social and loves being around people. He waves at everyone and blows lots of kisses. We get out of the house every single day because I know enough to know by now that Chase at home all day long is a recipe for disaster. He needs lots of stimulation and loves observing and interacting with everything. This is such a fun phase of toddlerhood right now and experiencing the world through Chase’s eyes gets better and better every day.
He’s so, so active and also quite independent. We still love our regular Gymboree classes and I have to laugh now because it feels like Chase is like, “See ya, Mom!” the minute I put him down when we walk through the door. He’s so curious and loves exploring and even though I miss my cuddly baby, I kind of saw this coming months ago. Chase has always been so easily distracted (<—very frustrating for nursing!) and curious, so now that he’s mobile, staying in one place isn’t in the cards for this active dude!
I felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of babies who walked early at 10 months and even though I knew Chase was just fine, I kept feeling like walking was a million miles away for our little guy. (This was probably the ONLY time Googling made me feel better in my motherhood journey. I read a bunch of stories from moms with kids who didn’t walk until 16-18 months and that definitely eased my mind.) He’s walking a lot more these days which is so fun and though he can walk by himself all the way across a room, he’ll still grab our finger if we put our hand down for him. His confidence seems to be growing by the day and I have a feeling we’re not too far off from walking becoming his preferred mode of transportation.
I feel like we’ve seen so much change in Chase in the past two months alone as he truly does seem more like a little man than my tiny baby right now. Aside from his obvious physical changes, his personality seems more and more defined by the day and we absolutely love watching him grow into the most fun little toddler.
The End of Breastfeeding: The Logistics
The last time we left off I was still nursing a lot. When Chase turned one, I was still nursing multiple times a day and wanted to work toward gradually decreasing my nursing sessions over time. Ever since Chase was born, he’s always been more of a snacker and preferred to nurse for a short amount of time many times a day. Working from home gave me this flexibility and I pretty much catered to his cries for breastmilk, for better or worse.
Once Chase turned one, I wanted to introduce whole milk into his diet and worked to gradually decrease our nursing sessions. Dropping the daytime sessions was pretty easy but dropping his “evening snack” was harder. He seemed to roll with it pretty well, but for about a week or so he’d get pretty darn fussy around 5 p.m. and would even tug at my shirt if I was on the ground playing with him around his usual nursing time. By the time Chase was around 13 1/2 months, we were successfully down to two nursing sessions a day (first thing in the morning and right before bed).
The next month, I dropped Chase’s morning nursing session and he didn’t bat an eye. Dropping the evening session went well until he decided to wake up at 11 p.m. crying like crazy. For a month or so, we were down to one nursing session between 11 p.m. and midnight. It wasn’t too bad but I found myself feeling more and more ready to be done with breastfeeding.
At the end of October, I ended up going out of town for a weekend and since Ryan was alone with Chase, we thought that might be the weekend I officially finished breastfeeding. Ryan said Chase woke up around 11 p.m. as usual but when he went in to comfort him, Chase settled down after a few minutes of dad time. He woke back up at 2 a.m. and Ryan went in, readjusted him and gave him a kiss and headed out. When I was back in town, we stuck to Ryan being the “point person” at night because when I tried to go in to settle him, Chase tugged at my shirt and didn’t relax at all. I’m not sure why we didn’t think to have Ryan try this earlier since Chase clearly associates me with middle-of-the-night nursing, but once we realized the issue, I stayed far away from the nursery and within a couple of nights Chase was officially sleeping through the night. Yep, it took us 15 months of sleep struggles to get there but we FINALLY have a child who (usually) sleeps for 12+ hours straight! Can I get a WOOHOO!!?!?!?
The End of Breastfeeding: The Emotions
On the mental side of things, finishing breastfeeding our little boy was admittedly harder for me emotionally than I thought it would be. Since Chase has always been extremely active, easily distracted and just plain wiggly, nursing was the only time I had moments of quiet calm with him for several months. I truly cherished my nursing sessions with Chase and would honestly find myself overcome with the most vulnerable, intense feeling of love many times as I looked at his beautiful cheeks, stroked his soft hair, inhaled his intoxicating baby smell and watched his whole body relax in my arms.
Toward the end of our breastfeeding journey, I kept wondering if every time I’d nurse Chase, it would be my last time. It made me slow down and focus on my baby and remind myself just how fleeting this time is and how much I loved nursing my baby. It wasn’t always easy… from cracked, sore nipples, navigating nursing with a tongue tie, figuring out how to travel with breastmilk, following our pediatrician’s advice and nursing Chase every two hours for weeks and trying not to get ragey when someone would ask if he was hungry when he was a newborn… It was an adventure for sure!
Once I was officially done breastfeeding, I noticed a few changes I don’t think people talk too much about but I wanted to share here just in case someone else is going through a similar stage or will be going through this transition soon. On the positive side, I didn’t realize how whacky my hormones were at times when I was breastfeeding and honestly felt a surge of energy when I stopped nursing. My appetite also normalized a little (if I thought I was extra hungry when I was pregnant, that had nothin’ on my nursing hunger) and I felt more like myself. It is also nice to feel a sense of freedom and spontaneity again. I don’t have to worry about pumping fresh milk if I’m leaving and can enjoy wine at the end of the day without worrying about Chase crying for breastmilk when I’m a glass or two deep. On the negative side, I definitely miss my nursing boobs (when you have a small chest, breastfeeding can feel like a pretty sweet boob job for a while there) and nighttime baby cuddles and worry more about Chase’s nutrition.
Now that Chase is no longer nursing, he’s eating more, drinking milk 1,000 times better and sleeping longer stretches at night. I joked to Ryan that Chase would’ve survived on breastmilk and puffs for years if we would’ve let him, so now that I’m done nursing and he’s eating better, I feel myself beginning to loosen up and exhale a little bit regarding the amount of food he is eating.
Chase’s favorite food is, without a doubt, my whole wheat pumpkin muffins and he eats one almost every morning for breakfast. I make large batches at a time to freeze and when he sees me take one out of the freezer to microwave for 20 seconds, he gets so excited and says, “blease, blease” on repeat which I think it just way too adorable. He also loves practically any fruit (though he’s never been huge on bananas) and would happily drink smoothies all day long. Peanut butter and almond butter sandwiches are a favorite (I always have one in my purse) and he definitely prefers fresh vegetables to cooked vegetables at this point.
I was so grateful to so many of you guys for your support when I shared some of our sleep struggles on the blog in the past. I was admittedly embarrassed to have a toddler on my hands who was still not sleeping through the night, but hearing I was not alone made me feel so much better. And to those of you who encouraged me to hang in there and assured me it would get better… You were so right! Once I stopped nursing, it was like a switch flipped and Chase began sleeping better at night and we can now pretty much count on a solid 12 hour stretch of sleep at night. High fives all around!
Right now our sleep-related challenge centers around napping, but I’m trying not to stress about it too much. We’re basically down to one nap a day and though Chase seems to want to go down early (between 10 and 11 a.m.), I try my best to stretch him to at least 11:30 so he’s not completely wiped by 5 p.m.
Bed time is between 6:15 and 7 p.m. (usually depending on how well he napped) and ever since the time change he’s been waking up at 6:30 a.m. most mornings. Since I always wake up early to work, the mornings he sleeps past 7 a.m. feel like such a treat since I can get more done before the craziness of the day sets in.
- Dogs (x 1,000,000)
- Magazines with ads that feature pictures of dogs and cars
- Going for walks with his plane toy
- Throwing balls
- Blowing kisses
- Pointing at his hair, nose and tongue
- Running around and racing us with his plane toy
- Hiding things in the seat of his plane toy
- The car cart at Publix
- Climbing all over pillow forts on our couch
- Pumpkin muffins
- Getting his face and hands wiped
- Staying inside for too long
- Getting dressed
16 Month Favorites
Something about the past couple of months flipped a switch in Chase and he is now ALL about books! He’s always liked them but was previously way too wiggly to enjoy them. It’s such a treat to be able to look at books with him now and he has the best time pointing at animals, cars, etc. and has definitely developed a small collection of favorites which I have listed below. Books definitely trump toys right now!
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear Slide and Find
- Pat The Bunny Touch and Feel
- Grandma Wishes
- My First Words Board Book
- Jingle, Jingle Little Reindeer (A cute toddler stocking stuffer idea!)
- Munchkin Snack Catcher Cups
- Munchkin White Hot Infant Safety Spoons
- Chicco 360 Hook On High Chair
- Chicco Booster Seat (A new addition and we love it! Super affordable, too!)
- Twelve Months
- Eleven Months
- Ten Months
- Nine Months
- What I Wish I Knew Before My Baby Was Born
- Eight Months
- Seven Months
- Six Months
- Our First Sleep Training Experience
- Traveling With A Baby For The First Time
- Five Months
- Four Months
- Three Months
- Two Months
- And Then He Smiled
- Three Weeks
- The First 12 Days
- Q&A: All About Birth & Life With A New Baby
- Chase’s Birth Story: Part I, Part II