November 26, 2014

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Samantha from The Reason Why

Hi, my name is Samantha and I occasionally blog over at the Reason why.  And by occasionally, I mean monthly updates for my daughter and the once in a blue moon post about something else.  I'm a slacker.  However, I wanted to be part of Julie's Breastfeeding Diaries because it helped me so much when preparing for baby.  I knew that I wanted to try breastfeeding, but I had myself pretty much convinced that it wouldn't work out for us.  In my group of family and friends I don't know anyone that was successful at breastfeeding.  It seemed so foreign and odd to me.  


Fortunately for myself and my daughter, Charlie, breastfeeding did work for us.  A quick trip down memory lane; Charlie was born two weeks early.  If you want the whole birth story, it's over on my blog, but the gist of it is she was born within 10 minutes of our arrival at the hospital.  The entire hospital staff was amazing.  My labor and delivery nurse was a rock star and she's the one that helped me with breastfeeding the most.  She asked if I wanted to and if I had taken any classes.  Funny thing about it, I was scheduled to take a breastfeeding class the following night.  Ya know, since I wasn't expecting baby girl to arrive for two more weeks.  Lucky for me, L&D nurse had 4 kids herself and had breastfed all of them.  Like I said, rock star.  

Our breastfeeding journey has been mostly without complications.  Unfortunately, my daughter does have silent reflux.  She spits up way more than she should with the occasional screaming session when it's bad.  Other than that, I have been very, very lucky with how breastfeeding, pumping/working have gone for me.  But what I really wanted to touch on were some of the subjects or thoughts that I never ran across in all my blog reading, research during pregnancy and even afterwards.  

My first thought about breastfeeding is that it's a huge sacrifice.  

It's a sacrifice for both parents but mostly for mom. Dad has to sacrifice the ability to feed baby. This can change as mom starts to pump and perhaps daddy can do a bottle a day.  But mostly it's a sacrifice for the mama. Baby is fussy or has a lot of gas? Mama needs to change her diet. Whether it's a simple fix as avoiding spicy foods or a major change as dropping dairy completely. Baby needs to eat every 2 hours? That's all you mom. Baby wakes in the middle of the night? Right again, mom, you're up. Mom returns to work and has to pump to supply for her baby.  It's a sacrifice of your body in the most amazing, extreme way possibly.

And although the first few weeks are painful, they're amazing. The cluster feeding is HARD and you'll want to throw in the towel. But don't. Because those only last for so long. Then you hit this honeymoon phase, where it's all just clicking. This is usually right before you return to work. The crappy part is, when you return to work it goes back to hard. Not the breastfeeding part, the figuring out how to continue breastfeeding and working. 

 Our first, at home, milk coma 

So since going back to work is the norm, there's the pumping while being a full time mom.  It is the most aggravating, annoying, rewarding task I've ever endured. Spoiler alert, you may not pump the number of ounces you need while at work. In fact, you may need to get up in the middle of the night or earlier in the morning to add in a pump session (while you watch your baby who sleeps through the night on the monitor). Only then do you (barely) have enough ounces for the day. Like I said, sacrifice.  And while we're talking about pumping, don't always follow the recommendations.  Follow your gut.  I was only pumping 20-30 minutes when I first came back to work and that certainly wasn't cutting it.  I simply thought my pump just wasn't the same as my baby and I wasn't able to empty out with it.  Wrong.  Now I pump 40-45 minutes to feel empty. And you should feel empty after you finish pumping.  That's how you signal your body to produce more. Play with your pump, push the let down button more than once and adjust the settings.  Find the right balance for you.  Also remember to eat.  And eat a lot.  I experienced a major decline in my already risky supply during a week that I just didn't feel hungry.  Once I got my appetite back, everything returned to normal. 

My breastfeeding tips to share it would be these two favorites. Because I'm so well endowed and my daughter is such a peanut, I have to hold my breast while I'm nursing. All of that careful preparation for my "nursing station" was not necessary. I can't reach a single item. Do not fear, you learn to adapt. For here is my secret - those trusty receiving blankets? Ball one up and stick it under the boob so you have a free hand. Another fabulous secret? Netflix and/or your DVR.  During our entire maternity leave, I would go downstairs to our living room for the middle of the night, early morning nursing time.  I'd watch one of my recorded shows while nursing.  Then once Charlie was satisfied, I'd lay her down on the couch beside me so I could pump.  All in all, it would take me about an hour to an hour and a half for this process.  

Every time she nurses, she sleeps... 

Breastfeeding in public is intimidating and scary.  At least it was/is for me.  I hate it.  I cringe when it is necessary.  After a while I've learned to adapt and find the right balance for myself and Charlie.  A lot of times, I found myself in the backseat of my car to nurse while out and about. As much as you prep for a nursing station in your house, prep for a nursing station in your car.  Find out where to plug in your phone that you can still reach it.  Where to sit that you can see the clock but still be able to nestle yourself down in so you're not completely visible to the windows.  And if you're in the market for a new car, may I recommend leather seating?  Baby spit up of your own milk is no joke.  When public breastfeeding was the only option, I'd recommend the Aden and Anais swaddling blankets.  Aden and Anais blankets are wonderful for covering up while nursing.  They're light weight and are plenty big enough.  Tie a knot in one corner, place the knotted end under your bra strap opposite of the side you're going to nurse on.  Then sling the blanket behind your neck and over the shoulder of the side you'll be nursing on.  Big cover, breathable for baby. 


Even if breastfeeding is going well, there's always the critics.  Perhaps its the type of person I am, but I have a bit of guilt over the fact that I was able and still am breastfeeding.  Several of my friends, family members have formula fed their babies.  And while that doesn't bother me a bit, it's the comments they make that bother me more.  Whether they realize it or not, they make me feel guilty for being able to breastfeed.  Most I think are trying to justify for themselves why it didn't work or they chose not to, rather than realize that they're hurting my feelings.  Just keep in mind that not only are there individuals that push the breastfeeding, there's always some on the other side of the fence too with their own opinions and everybody will let you know how they feel about it. 


 I didn't expect to enjoy breastfeeding.  But I have so much.  My daughter is still exclusively fed breast milk via bottle or nursing as of 5 months.  Currently we're continuing day by day and slowly introducing solids.  Although it gives me some anxiety trying to figure out when the right time for us to wean or if my supply will keep up, I enjoy it more than I can say.  Because this little girl is growing, thriving on what my body can give her.  How cool is that? 


Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries series at the top of my navigation bar. If you would like your story featured, please email me at thegirlintheredshoes @ gmail



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November 24, 2014

When Birthday Weekend Plans Go Amiss

You know the saying, live happens while you're busy making other plans? Well....story of our lives lately. Not this past weekend but the weekend before that was my husband's birthday. I mentioned on here that we had a little getaway weekend planned. My mom stayed at our house to watch Hudson and we high-tailed it up north to her lake house for a weekend of just the two of us. 

Well.

Bright and early Saturday morning my mom called saying Hudson was throwing up. She assured me she could take care of him, but then I would have totally worried about him all weekend...and I knew he probably just wanted his mama. So we packed up our things and went back home. Hudson was lathergic, but happy to see me. Luckily by the evening he was back to his usual crazy self. But...birthday weekend ruined.

This past weekend, we were determined to make birthday weekend happen. This time my mom took Hudson on Friday up to her lake house which left Jon and I alone for a night. We ate Italian food in our pjs and slept in until almost 9am the next day. I can't remember the last time I slept that well. Then we took it easy on Saturday, met some friends for a drink and then headed up to the lake just in time to kiss our sweet boy goodnight. Hudson was thrilled to see us but he had a blast at Gigi's house (as usual).

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and hanging Christmas lights. Hudson couldn't get enough of them and was SO excited to see our house lit up. Christmas is going to be so much fun this year!

 
In other news, we got a ton of snow this week and Wrigley was loving it. 

And up to his hat stealing antics, as usual. 

Most of the snow melted over the weekend....just in time to get some more this week. Tell me again why I live here?




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November 22, 2014

How to Look and Feel Your Best After Giving Birth

When you introduce a new little individual into your life, you realise that time is precious. Your pre-baby routine no longer works. You must adapt your lifestyle and become an expert multitasker. So in between feeding, changing and burping your baby, how can you manage to spend some time on yourself? We have come up with some tips and tricks that will help you to look and feel your best that will find around the demands of looking after a new baby.

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Sleep

Once your baby arrives, sleep becomes a rare and precious thing. But as obvious as this may sound, it is important that you get as much shut-eye as possible as it will make you look and feel considerably better. All professional baby nurses will tell you that you should sleep when your baby sleeps. Whenever your baby drops off, put everything down and lie down for a nap too. Although it may be tempting to get some chores done while your baby sleeps, it will be more beneficial to your body and mind if you get some well-earned rest.

Health

Don’t ignore that sore back from lifting the baby or any other symptoms. Ask your doctor to examine. Even if you do not have any particular health worries it is always wise to have a regular check up. Your doctor will be able to offer you some practical advice on how to keep your health in check while looking after your new baby. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed then don’t be afraid to reach out to family and friends for help.

When you are short on time, it might be tempting to eat something that is quick to make, but that is not necessarily good for you. You will look and feel much better if you eat right. Order plenty of fruit, vegetables and salad and avoid unhealthy snacks and junkfood.

Walk

Take your baby out in the pram for a walk in the sunshine at least once a day. The sunshine and exercise will make you, and your baby feel better and will help you both sleep. If your baby nods off during your walk, listen to some music and feel your mood improve.

Beauty routine

With your new baby responsibilities, you are unlikely to be able to find time to spend pampering yourself. However, there are ways to speed up your daily beauty routine. Reduce the amount of makeup you apply and prioritise the elements that are essential to you. Invest in a good quality foundation from Laura Mercier cosmetics, for example, to cover up those bags. Use an all-in-one product that can be applied to your eyelids, cheeks and lips. Finally, whip your hair up into a neat chignon or ponytail for a rapid transformation into a sleek, trendy Mum.

While beautifying yourself, it is a good trick to try singing and talking to your baby to keep them entertained.

Clothes

If you are feeling uncomfortable with your post-baby body then choose loose fitting clothes. These items don’t have to be baggy and unattractive. Go for bright and bold  patterned light dresses and use accessories to jazz up plainer outfits.



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November 19, 2014

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Nikki from Yellow Magnolia

(photo credit Jasmin Chen Photography)

Hi, I'm Nikki from The Yellow Magnolia. I'm currently a work-at-home mom starting my own children's room design business and working hourly for other design firms. I have a two year old, Abram, and a 3 month old, Julip. When I am not working or taking care of the kids I blog about our life, adventures, and design/diy projects. I breastfed my children for a combined total of 20 days, but my husband credits me with four weeks.

I have read the breastfeeding diaries since the beginning, and have come to realize that everyone has their own "story".

(photo credit Kelli Nicole Photography)

My story goes like this...

I chose to breastfeed because in my mind there was no other option; everyone in my family did it so I would too. I loved to read about the health benefits and bond you get from breastfeeding. I honestly didn't even consider all of the challenges that may come my way or the fact that it might not even be possible. Unfortunately, I had to stop with both of my kids within two weeks of having them; doctor's orders. It still tears me up, especially when everywhere you look you see the "breast is best" message.

Delivery was fairly easy for me; my second child was almost born on the car ride to the hospital.

When my first, Abram, was born I anxiously tried to get him to latch. He seemed to do ok, but within the first few hours the lactation consultant noticed he wasn't really latching. She brought me a nipple shield and he did much better. The first night home he screamed all night and stopped having wet diapers. At the recommendation of his pediatrician, I would nurse him and then supplement until my milk came in. On day 5 it came in fast and I became engorged within hours. By the next morning I had double mastitis; it was so painful, but I was determined. I visited the lactation consultant and came up with solutions to reduce the swelling, worked on my son's latch, and got an antibiotic from the doctor. For the next week I would try to feed my son while he screamed and refused to latch, then pump while massaging, ice, apply cabbage leaves, massage in a warm shower, and repeat. I was exhausted and by the end of the week I was drying up. I later realized that pumps don't really work on me. I tried drinking Mother's Milk Tea to increase my supply, but within days it was completely gone.

(photo credit Ryan Flores Photography)

My doctor ordered me to stop trying at the risk of hurting myself. I was so glad I did when I ended up in the ER that night with minor complications. It took awhile for me to forgive myself; I would read your posts and just cry. I ended up with post partum depression and every time something was wrong with my son I blamed myself. He had chronic ear infections and a chiropractor actually had the nerve to tell me that I should've breastfed to prevent them. I eventually realized that my son wasn't sick because of me, and when I finally let myself off of the hook, I was surprised to discover that we had a wonderful bond. There is really nothing better than looking your baby in the eye and having them stop eating just to smile and talk to you.

 When Abram was 15 months old I found out I was pregnant with Julip. I was completely panicked about it all; not the delivery, but trying to breastfeed. At nine months pregnant I had the mindset that I will try and I won't blame myself if it doesn't work. My daughter arrived 30 minutes after we pulled up at the hospital; I was so far along that I delivered her naturally. She latched right away and had a strong suck. I was thrilled! We met with the same lactation consultant, and everything looked great. I breastfed her for three days with my only complaint being sore nipples. I was normal!

Day 4: Engorgement

When I woke up that day I was so severely engorged that my daughter could barely latch. It was a Sunday, so while my husband called every other lactation consultant on the hospital's list, I began doing the process that I remembered so vividly. I knew I needed to hurry before it got worse, but of course the pump got nothing out. I would have to push down on my breast just so my daughter could breath while she ate. A lactation consultant agreed to see us and just like the first time, I had "text book" engorgement. She checked the latch, baby weight, and pump; everything looked great. She then mentioned that if you are a sweaty person, you can hyper-lactate because they are sweat glands. I have hyperhydrosis. It was the answer to the question I had been asking for two years! I was hyper-lactating from the very beginning which caused a back up. I also realized that the pump would work IF I was feeding her on the other side. I was so hopeful. 

The next day I woke with double mastitis. I was put on a 10 day antibiotic with a doctor's order that if the infection didn't go away by day 5, I would have to stop at the risk of it spreading to my blood. The next five days I did my routine of feeding her while pumping the other side, icing, cabbage leaves, and massaging...repeat. Five days later the infection was still there and I was devastated again. I was able to exclusively breastfeed her for 10 days. 

Breastfeeding was an impossible task for me, but what was the most challenging was coming to terms with the way I needed to nourish my child. Honestly, I can prepare bottles with my eyes closed so formula (for me) was much easier than breastfeeding, but the emotions of it all right after your body has gone through so much can overwhelm you. We have always talked about three kids. I find myself hesitating because I don't know if I can go through it again. Then I tell myself that this is just the journey I was supposed to take. 


If I could give others any advice, it would be to work with a lactation consultant before delivery and regularly afterward, but take it day by day and be open to a different path. Continue to take care of yourself, even if it means supplementing. Please ignore the people who will make assumptions that you just didn't try hard enough. If you must stop for any reason, try not to blame yourself...in the words of Elsa, who just finished singing on my tv, "Let It Go".

Thanks for letting me be part of such an amazing series with such strong momma's! I really feel that although it is the most "natural" way for most, it is just not possible for all. Much like natural, medicated, or cesarean births; with all have our own story and need to be more supportive of every mom who is just trying to do her best! :)

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.



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November 18, 2014

My Christmas Wish List

christmas wish list

It was SO hard to put together a Christmas wish list....there really isn't anything I need...except new carpet in our house. Does that count?

But, if I have to.....I could really use a cute new coat and who doesn't love a new cozy scarf? And I love my Kendra Scott necklace so much I need a white pearl one too...because it's that amazing. And some new every day earrings too! My Ugg boots get worn a ton and I think my husband would say it's time I get a new pair...considering I literally wore a hole through my old ones!

I also LOVE me some Christmas decor! I've always loved Pottery Barn's tree skirts and pillows. I think a personalized tree skirt (red or white? I can't decide!) would be the perfect addition to our little tree this year! And I might have already picked up that cute red car cookie jar....I just couldn't resist!

Finally, I would LOVE any sign from House of Belonging. Totally my new obsession. And I think I need the Eat Blog Love mug (personalized with my blog of course!) to add to my morning routine, don't you?

What's on your Christmas list?

I'm linking up with  A Liz Adventures, Cheers Y'All, Miss Dixie, and Southern Style.





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November 17, 2014

Bento Box Snacks with NatureBox



If you know us, you know we love our snacks.

NatureBox sent us this box of goodies...and we couldn't wait to tear in to it...literally. I had already opened a few of these before remembering to snap a photo. NatureBox delivers a world of carefully sourced and nutritionist-approved foods right to your door. You log in to your account and pick the snacks that sound the best to you...so everything is personalized to your preferences!

When you join NatureBox, you'll receive five different snacks every month. You can choose the snacks you want or be surprised with their carefully curated selections.Each snack contains wholesome ingredients - with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors, zero grams trans fats, and no high fructose corn syrup. You can view all of the yummy snack options here. For our box, I picked pumpkin spice nom noms (Hudson's favorite!), chocolate quinoa granola, country ranch sunflower kernels, honey macadamia pretzel pops (my favorite!), and sea salt pop pops. 


I love that all of the snacks are wholesome, so I didn't hesitate to offer them to Hudson. I also love that they were delivered right to my door....they know the way to this mama's heart. 

Interested in trying your own NatureBox? You can sign up for a free trial that contains one full-sized bag and four single-served pouches! Hello awesome deal! You can sign up here.

Got a dietary goal or taste preference? NatureBox has 100+ snacks to excite and delight every palate.
NatureBox snacks are perfect for this indulgent holiday season as a better for you snacking alternative – delicious snacks for your holiday party (and options for all of the picky eaters), easy and unique additions to fall/holiday recipes and fun ways to change up the lunchbox routine.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.






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