Capture the Moments

Do you remember looking through old photo albums and seeing random, candid pics of your mom or dad holding you on their lap? Maybe even both of you sleeping in a chair? Or someone with a plate of food with a fork midway into their mouth? How about you or a sibling in a baby swing, mouth open in a joyful scream?

Was mom or dad the designated photographer of the family so he/she was always missing from those candid photos?

Well, I feel like the designated photo-taker in my family. I will notice a precious moment between my husband and our kids and scramble to get my phone so I can take a quick picture. But, unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of pictures of me and my girls immortalized in the same way.

A girlfriend of mine once said she was much better at taking candid pics of her husband with their kids than he was of her. I believe the same may be true of my husband and many other spouses.

Maybe it’s because they don’t think of capturing those random, special moments. Or, in my case, I don’t always feel like I’m camera-ready. And I hate the way I look in pictures, candid or posed. And he knows that haha.

But to that I say just take the picture. It doesn’t have to be posted on social media or shared with anyone else. But it will be a moment captured forever. You will look back at that picture years from now and be happy that you have that little memento.

You can share those memories with your children. You can tell them the stories behind those pictures and laugh at how funny your hair looked. πŸ™‚ Or how cute your little ones were at that age.

I hope I will have albums (or whatever photo storage method we’re using these days) full of memories to look back at and remember these fleeting moments when my girls are so young. Time goes by so quickly and the next thing I know, my baby will be starting kindergarten. Or graduating from college. Or getting married and having babies of her own.

And I don’t want to miss a thing. πŸ™‚

Until next time,

XOXO

Losing It

Yesterday, I lost. I lost my patience. I lost my focus. I even broke my phone. And I almost lost my mind.

I had just come to the end of my rope. And that happens to the best of us. After telling my 3-year-old to stop picking her fork up off the floor, with her feet, for the 15th time, and to turn around and finish her dinner, I was done. I looked at my husband and said, “I can’t.”

Baby girl fussed all day. And when I was preparing to take her for a walk outside (the change in scenery calms her down.. plus it was beautiful outside), I dropped my phone and it shattered. What. A. Day.

I had to do some reflecting at the end of the day yesterday. I needed to take a couple of deep breaths and regroup.

After Nina was in the bed (kind of… she found an excuse to get up 3 times before I told her I was going to lose it if she got up again) and my husband took over with baby girl, all I really wanted was another cup of coffee. (Coffee makes me so happy and I just wanted to sit, sip, and watch mindless tv for a bit.)

But what I needed more than anything was sleep.

Parenting is hard. And sometimes (all the time!) patience is a virtue. That is one thing many don’t prepare you for. The amount of patience it takes to allow your children a little bit of grace when they are being… well, children.

Grace and patience are two things that I pray for regularly. Because I want to be a parent who allows my 3-year-old to be a 3-year-old. And doesn’t feel guilty about holding my baby all day.

We miss so many moments we can never get back by focusing on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

So the moral of the story is – sometimes I come to the very end of my rope. And I am the first to admit when I am on the verge of losing it. Fortunately for me, I have an amazing husband whom I can turn to when I need a break. He tries to understand (as much as he can) and he extends me a bit of grace by not judging or asking questions.

Don’t feel bad if you find yourself wanting, no needingΒ a break. Even superwoman needs to rest every once in awhile. And if you feel like it may be more than just new-mommy-burnout, don’t be afraid to ask questions, do some research, and reach out to your doctor.

I’m rooting for you, mama! You are amazing, you are capable and you are doing an awesome job! Keep up the good work πŸ˜‰

Until next time,

XOXO

 

The BF Struggle is Real

**This post contains affiliate links.**

Have you ever smelled something funky and can’t figure out where it’s coming from? Like, is it me? Does my shirt smell like mildew? Is that my hair smelling like moldy vegetables? Or is it the baby? Why can’t I find that smell!?

Sometimes, as a new (totally, completely, 100% exhausted mama) you just don’t have the energy to locate the source of the odorous offense. That’s me right now. My husband said he doesn’t smell anything so I’m ok with that. If it’s me, at least I’m the only one who smells it. *insert shrug here*

P.S. I totally forgot how to spell “completely” so I let autofill put that in for me. Thank you, Apple. #thesearemyconfessions

Anywho, that has nothing to do with today’s post but I had to get it off my chest (but not really because I still smell it..)

She’s Here!Β 

My littlest angel was born on May 18th at 6:14 p.m. She was 3 weeks early but she was ready to enter the world. And I’m so in love with her. In fact, I’m completely obsessed with my children. Is that weird?

This is what I like to refer to as “milk drunk.” She definitely gets the good stuff. 😍 And she looks so much like her big sister it’s a little scary.

We were expecting her to be a big ‘un like her sister. For one, I had Gestational diabetes and two, according to the sonogram tech 4 days before delivery, she was measuring at 8lbs. But alas, my princess was 7lbs, 8oz. And she’s absolutely perfect. I can’t stop staring at her and daddy hardly ever puts her down. Men with daughters, amIright?

Here We Go Again

I wrote about my struggles with breastfeeding Nina in this post. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do in my life. We were able to get some of mama’s good stuff for about 5 months (in addition to supplementing with formula) but my goal was 1 year.

Well, here we are again. I’m not going to start this journey off in a negative space. I’m not. I’m determined to breastfeed for as long as I can again and hopefully that will be the entire 12 months.

But we’re starting off a little rough already.

I’m more mindful of my caloric intake this time around so I’m definitely eating. And everyone says the key to pumping mass quantities of this liquid gold is to drink lots and lots of water. (Although, according to kellymom, drinking more water than is necessary – like outside of thirst – does not increase milk supply.) So I’ve been chugging water like the world’s supply is going to dry up before I have a chance to get a refill. (And apparently, caffeine (aka coffee!) is not good for increasing milk supply. I mean, can I live?? Seriously. πŸ˜’)

I’ve also made a batch of lactation cookies, I drink Mother’s Milk tea daily, and I’m pumping right after I nurse. And so far, the most I’ve gotten is about 1 1/2oz. That’s a little discouraging but it’s something.

Side note: A friend of mine (who happens to be a nurse and also has a newborn) turned me on to the term “lazy boob.” While my left breast will yield anywhere from 1/2oz to 2oz on its own in a single session, I’ve never gotten more than 1/2oz out of the right. So yeah, Struggletown, U.S.A. But I’m trying. Really, really hard.

So Much Pressure

The pressure to be a breastfeeding pro is real. And so is the struggle. I realize my stress and anxiety about breastfeeding probably led to a lot of the difficulties I had the first time around. It’s all a mind game. But isn’t everything?

I feel pressure to be successful with this. I feel pressure to fill up my freezer with bags of frozen milk. I feel pressure that my daughter gains weight and has those cute little wrist creases like fat babies have. (I’m completely obsessed with the wrist creases and the dimpled hands. So. Stinkin. Cute.) I feel pressure to supplement with formula (like I did with Nina) because she’s not gaining a ton of weight.

But in the back of my mind I know I got this. I’ve read a lot of Pinterest posts about the best ways to increase milk production and a lot of them say to just relax. Visualize your baby. Pump close to her. In fact, pump while she nurses. (Probably won’t be doing this because it’s just too much. Nursing and pumping at the same time? Umm, no. Besides, my daughter nurses on both sides because she’s greedy. Despite her small size.)

So when I go to pump, I do take a chill pill. And I scroll through my Facebook or Instagram feeds. Or take a lap around Pinterest. Or read a book. (Right now I’m reading How to Be a Bawse by Lilly Singh and it’s not only entertaining but puts me in a good headspace.)

Btw, I made my own hands-free pumping bra. I basically followed these steps with an old/inexpensive sports bra. And I love it.

Then, when I’m finished, I celebrate my pumping success (whether it be mere drops or the 2 1/2oz I literally JUST pumped #winning!) with a nice hot cup of decaf. And cuddles with my little miss 😊

My first freezer bag of breast milk! P.S. I love Lansinoh products. I even use the Lansinoh pump. But that’s a post for another day. πŸ˜‰

So what is your experience with breastfeeding/pumping? Do you have any advice for me? Leave a comment below.Β 

Thanks for reading. Until next time,

XOXO

A Few of My Favorite (Pregnancy) Things

**This post contains affiliate links.**

As I’m nearing the end of my (last) pregnancy, I’ve become a bit nostalgic. I’ve been thinking about some of the products I’ve used for both pregnancies that I absolutely love. I want to share them with you mamas in case anyone wants to try them!

(Sidenote: I don’t promote anything I don’t use or haven’t used myself. And if I don’t love it, you’ll never hear about it.)

First thing’s first…

  1. Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter – After having 2 very big babies (Nina was 9lbs and baby girl is gearing up to surpass her big sister’s weight), I have 2 tiny little stretch marks. And, to be honest, they may have already been there before I got pregnant. 2 tiny stretch marks about 1″ long is pretty impressive considering how big my belly is and was. This stretch mark cream is ah-may-zing. It kept my skin moisturized without feeling greasy. And it smells sooo good. I’m a super fan. Seriously. Read the reviews then getchu some! It is worth every penny.
  2. Three Lollies Preggie Pop Drops – There were few things that helped with my morning sickness (remember I have Hyperemesis Gravidarum so only prescription meds work for me most of the time) but these worked great at the onset of my nausea during both pregnancies. They’re little candies that are described as having “powerful essential oils of fruit and plant botanicals that are proven to help relieve nausea.” The ginger stuff didn’t work for me. In fact, a lot of it made me more nauseous. But these did. And they taste good. πŸ™‚
  3. Boba Baby Wrap – Again, this is a product I absolutely love. I had to dig it out to use again with baby girl because I used it so much when I had Nina. It’s very similar to the Moby wrap but a bit thicker. Although Nina was born in the winter and baby girl will be born in a couple of weeks, I’m not concerned about the weight of the material. I can strip baby down to a onesie or just a diaper and wear a tank underneath. Or I can get in some serious skin-to-skin time if we’re just lounging around the house. It also allowed me to nurse without having to take her out of the wrap. Of course, I ordered the pink one (I love pink) but there’s a whole slew of colors available. And you can carry up to 35lbs. My 3-year-old is 35lbs so if you’re an avid baby-wearer, it’ll grow with your toddler too.
  4. Shrinkx Belly Postpartum Belly Band – I know some moms are adamantly opposed to wearing the postpartum belly band. I get it. But I didn’t mind trying it after I had Nina and I believe it worked for me. Especially after a c-section. And a 9lb baby. (Let me also say I am a believer in waist-training so there’s that too.) This one is super soft but sturdy. I didn’t feel like it was too constricting and it didn’t hurt to wear it. I also dug this out of storage so I can wear it after I have baby #2 in a couple of weeks. My snapback was great when I had Nina so I can either contribute that to some really good genes (which is entirely possible) or to the belly band. I didn’t want to take the chance of having a kangaroo pouch so I just wore the band. And I liked it πŸ˜‰

So there you have it. A few of my favorite things that I’ve used for both of my pregnancies. What are some of your favorite pregnancy/baby items? And have you tried any of my faves? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

XOXO

4 More Weeks… Let the Countdown Begin

I’m sitting here, 4 weeks away from delivery, about to pop. I’m so unbelievably uncomfortable and my feet are the size of ring-bearer pillows…..

Ok, I’m done complaining. For now.

But I am gearing up to welcome baby #2 in a few weeks. I find myself wanting to nest (like I did with Nina) but not having the energy to do it. My BFF told me the other day that I need to be in “full-on do nothing mode.” And I have to say I completely agree with her.

Whereas when I was pregnant with Nina I was constantly buying something new for her (clothes, swaddles, little baby socks, etc.) that needed to be washed, now I have to dig all of that stuff out for little miss and wash it again so it’s fresh and clean. But I don’t want to.

I feel bigger, slower, and more swollen now than I did when I was pregnant before. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have a preschooler this time around (I can’t really call her a “toddler” anymore, can I?) who always wants mommy to play with her. Or the fact that I’m 4 years older. Or I’m just plain ol’ lazy. Who knows? But mama’s tired. And I’m not making any apologies for wanting to sit on my behind and do nothing for the next 4 weeks.

I quit my job in January with big plans to make this blogging business a real, lucrative thing for me and my family. But it hasn’t really panned out the way I planned… yet. I’m a little slow getting started (Really?? Getting “started” after 4 months!? C’mon!) but I’ll get there.

This pregnancy has been much harder than I anticipated. Along with the usual pregnancy stuff, I also have been extremely sick (like I was when I was pregnant with Nina) as well as having some issues with staying hydrated (landing me in the hospital twice) and I have also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. (Sigh.)

So, yeah, I’m tired. And sick. And sick of being tired. Can’t I just sleep for the next 4 weeks and wake up only to eat and go to the bathroom? No. Ok…..

I’ve been given some suggestions to get my energy level up that I haven’t tried yet (because I’d rather complain) but maybe I should. Complaining isn’t really getting me anywhere and I’m kinda getting sick of doing that, too.

So it has been suggested that I try:

1. Drinking more water. Like, until my eyeballs float. Which isn’t a bad suggestion since I have issues staying hydrated. It is a little hard with the extreme sickness that I have to drink that much water but I am trying. Not really seeing any differences with my level of tiredness, though.

2. Doing yoga… Ha! I can barely walk (seriously) let alone get on the floor and do some yoga. I do have a prenatal yoga DVD that I have done exactly 2 times but that was early in my pregnancy. And that stuff was hard to do even in my first trimester.

3. Taking a 15-30 minute walk every day. This was suggested as a way to manage my gestational diabetes. And I enjoy it. But, again, at this point in my pregnancy, I can barely walk from the living room to the bathroom. So taking a 30 minute walk around my neighborhood isn’t really happening too much lately.

4. Have sex. – Ok, so, this isn’t a bad suggestion. And the husband and I do get it in. But I’m so uncomfortable and so ginormous now, it’s not really that enjoyable for me. I can’t do the things I want to do (wink) with this belly in the way. We’re usually limited to one or two positions and that gets old. Fast. Plus, if I’m being honest, I’m a little afraid of pre-term labor. It seems to me that little miss may be ready to make her appearance before it’s time for her to show up.

So, yeah, this post has been all about how tired I am. Do you have any suggestions for how I can combat by exhaustion and gain a bit more energy? Leave me a comment below.

Until next time….

What More Can I Take??

I want to write a bit about 2 pregnancy disorders that are rare but can be quite serious… and frustrating! Hyperemesis Gravidarum and Gestational Diabetes.

I’m not sure if I posted about having HG with my first daughter, Nina or not. If not, let me give you all a little background.

I was severely sick with Nina. I had a rare pregnancy disorder called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) that affects about 1% of pregnant women.

It’s basically one of the cruelest jokes a pregnant woman can experience. It’s extreme sickness marked by constant vomiting and nausea.

I know.. Some of you are thinking, “Don’t ALL pregnant women experience that???”

Lots of pregnant women do experience “morning sickness” (that actually usually strikes at any time of day, not just in the morning) but it’s not severe and it goes away shortly after the 1st trimester.

But with HG, the symptoms are extreme and can last the entire pregnancy. We’re talking every time I put something in my mouth, it comes back up almost instantly. And this is all day, every day. For 9 1/2 months. A pregnant woman who can’t eat!? Why, God????? Why is this happening to me!? That’s the experience I’ve had… twice.

I have been on multiple medications as a result. Some have their own unpleasant symptoms.. severe dehydration (resulting in the need for an IV or picc line), constipation, headaches, etc.

There is one medication that has proven effective for me in both of my pregnancies. It’s brand name is Reglan but the generic is called metoclopramide. It was the last medication I took with Nina, close to my 3rd trimester.

I have actually been taking it since the end of my 1st trimester with my current pregnancy. And it’s been working about 95% of the time. I’ve had a few episodes but they have been few and far between. I just take it religiously 3 times a day, before every major meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner), every single day.

Well, now I’ve been dealt another serious blow that complicates my pregnancy a bit more. I have recently been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD), basically high (or low) blood sugar that only affects pregnant women.

And I. Am. Struggling. To say the very least…

During pregnancy, you have to take what is called a Glucose Test. The doctor gives you a really sweet, sugary drink and then tests your blood sugar (through a blood draw) at timed intervals. Depending on how your body is processing that glucose (or not processing it) will determine if you are diagnosed with GD.

After taking 2 different timed tests, my glucose numbers were pretty high. Therefore: diagnosis. Now, I have to prick my fingers and test my blood sugar multiple times a day with one of those testing kits and it gives me a glucose reading. I have also taken a class specifically for GD education where I learned how to (try to) control the disease with a meal plan and regular exercise.

Notice I wrote “try to.” Because it ain’t workin’…….

Let me tell you.. this “meal plan” is constant eating. We’re talking 6 times a day. Literally from the time I get up until the time I go to bed. And it’s a LOT of food. Protein, fat, carbs, with EVERY MEAL. 3 meals a day PLUS 3 snacks. Who can eat like that!?!?

I’ll tell you who….. a pregnant woman who is NOT suffering from HG. πŸ˜’ The last thing I want to do is eat. All day long. I’m getting nauseous just thinking about all the food I have to eat today. Ugh.

But that’s not the worst part. The kicker is although I am following this meal plan to the letter (and sometimes vomiting said meals right back up) my numbers are STILL HIGH! Seriously???? How, Sway????? Could this be any more frustrating!?

Ok. Woosah………… I guess frustrating is not the right word to use. More like, I quit. I’m done. What else can I do? Besides write a blog and complain about my uncomfortable, pregnant life.

But I am honestly truly grateful for this blog because sometimes I need to vent. And I need to laugh at myself. And I need to admit when I’m feeling overwhelmed, or frustrated, or silly, or clueless. As mothers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves (and sometimes other moms, Judgey McJudgeypants) but at the end of the day, we have to be ok with making the best decisions we can and living with them…..

After speaking with an RN about my conditions (the HG + the GD), we concluded that I may not be able to control my blood sugar with just diet and exercise. Sometimes we need medicines. And that’s ok.

More than likely I will have to go on some sort of medication to control my GD. And if that means my baby girl will be healthy at the end of all this, it will be totally worth it. I’m not going to stress about this. I’m not. I’m going to continue to do what I can with what I have. And that’s a great team of doctors and nurses and the most amazing support system I could imagine. (Shout out to my husband and my sister-friends for your encouraging words and texts/calls! You know who you are 😊.)

It’s amazing how different one pregnancy can be from another. I thought my pregnancy with Nina was bad. But baby girl is showing out already. She’s letting me know in utero who’s the boss lol. (Lord, help me..) And this is why the “bakery” will be permanently closed for business as of June 1, 2017 πŸ˜‰

So tell me, have any of you experienced HG, GD or both at the same time??? How were your pregnancies different from one child to the next???

Leave me a comment and let’s discuss!

Catching Up

Hello again.. It’s been a while. I apologize for my absence. I got caught up with life and all that jazz. I was rereading my previous posts and I see that, not only did I only publish 5 posts, but I haven’t written anything since my daughter was still an infant. Well…. times sure have changed. We now have a full-on toddler. 20 months on the 12th. As you can imagine, she’s a completely different child than the one I wrote about previously….

catching up

Isn’t she cute?? πŸ™‚

She’s funny, charming, smart, manipulative, loving, possessive and independent.. that’s my girl! She loves her stuffed bunny (that we named Penelope) something fierce! And she is a HUGE fan of Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She can sing her ABC’s and count to 10. She claps and cheers furiously for her own accomplishments (and some of ours if she feels the urge to celebrate) and gets very frustrated when she can’t do something on her own. (But will adamantly refuse our help if we offer it to her.. she would rather throw whatever is causing her frustration than gently hand it over and ask for some assistance. Not that a 20 month old knows what that means but we’re still working on that.)

She’s also in the throws of potty training. I, honestly, thought it was too early to start that. But she is actually doing so well with it, we believe she will have the hang of it very soon! Yay!!

(This post was created July 2015. Although it is not complete, I felt it was necessary to bridge the gap between my previous posts and my new ones. My baby doll is now 3 years old and we are expecting another soon. My future posts will be about how I have adapted as a mom and how I am juggling a new freelance writing career with my family responsibilities… and continued faux pas :). Thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate your support and feedback. Stay tuned!)

The Skin I’m In..

Let’s talk about the post-pregnancy body.. And the pressure to get re-snatched after having your baby.

Pregnancy wreaks HAVOC on a woman’s body. Think about it.. We create another person with our bodies. That is no easy feat, let me tell you. And the destruction that results from this creation is evident once baby is evicted from her residence after 40 weeks. 40 weeks (!!!) of growing, stretching and swelling. According to the obstetrics and gynecological community, pregnant women (should) gain anywhere between 25-35 pounds during gestation. (I gained 33lbs total but I was as sick as a dog my entire pregnancy and couldn’t keep anything down.. I even threw up in the operating room just as they were preparing to perform my c-section. And let’s not forget my daughter was almost 9lbs.) But, let’s be honest. Many pregnant women gain 50.. 60.. 80lbs during pregnancy. (Did I mention that pregnancy wreaks utter HAVOC on a woman’s body??)

There are certainly those cravings that everyone has heard about (ice cream, donuts, double cheeseburgers or, my personal favorite, Skyline!!) . And then there is the constant acid stirring around in your stomach (causing the horrific nausea and vomiting only a pregnant or post-pregnant woman can appreciate) that can only be satiated by eating an entire loaf of French bread. Or that little voice that tells you it’s totally ok to eat a whole large meat lovers pizza because you are, in fact, “eating for two.” Not to mention the sodium, water-retention and horrendous constipation. So, sometimes, doubling (or tripling!) that acceptable weight gain is totally out of your control. That 6lb baby you end up with warrants the additional 55lbs of weight you’re carrying around. No wonder your ankles are the size of basketballs.

Now here’s the part where we talk stretch marks. I am totally not bragging, but my little angel only gave me 2 little stretch marks. And no, I’m not being facetious.. I literally have 2 tiny stretch marks no bigger than an inch. (Which is mind-blowing considering this was me at 38 weeks….)

38 weeks

Again, totally not bragging. Hey, something good had to come out of that torture.. Besides my little pocket-sized twin πŸ™‚ But, I digress..Β  Now, I’ve seen some stretch marks that would make Hannibal Lecter vomit. And pre-baby my reaction was always one of horror and disbelief. I would think – How gross!! Yuck! Can’t she do something about those disgusting stretch marks!? She was NOT moisturizing! However, after going through the laborious (no pun intended) initiation into motherhood, I would wear those war wounds proudly! You grow a person inside your body for 9 1/2 months and have to share the same space you have always had and tell me what your body looks like afterwards. I’ll wait……

I wasn’t really uncomfortable with my body while I was pregnant. Getting bigger was to be expected. That was the point. My after-baby body, though, is a different story. I have pretty much always been comfortable in my own skin. I went through that awkward pre-teen stage but who didn’t?? I’ve always had enough confidence to move mountains. One thing I’ve never been accused of is being insecure. It’s not conceit, or ego, or narcissism. It’s simply self-confidence. I know my potential. I know what I bring to the table. I know what I’m capable of. Period. I know my worth. I was comfortable with myself.. Flaws and all. But having a baby will alter your entire state of being. After 31 years of comfort with my body, I’m struggling to accept this as my new normal.

I guess most would say I “bounced back” pretty quickly. At my 2 week check-up with my OB, I was already back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. And I’m breastfeeding so that helps everything shrink back down to size. I’ve heard countless times – “Look how skinny you are!” Or “You lost that baby weight so fast!” Or “You’re back to your normal size!” I don’t think people realize how much pressure that is.. Because when I’m starting to gain some weight back, and I can’t get into those jeans I wore before I got pregnant, and I’m walking around looking like I have a kangaroo pouch, that self-consciousness I’ve never really had washes over me like a tidal wave.

I’ve already written about my struggles with breastfeeding. I have to eat constantly to keep up with these 2500 calories/day I’m supposed to be consuming. To help balance out the massive amount of calories, I could (and should) workout, right?? Makes sense. Especially to keep up my energy for the long days and to get myself right and tight. But how about having a baby is the most exhausting thing I’ve ever endured?? I’m tired right now just sitting here typing this post. On top of getting up super early in the morning to shower and prepare myself for the day before baby wakes up.. waking baby then feeding, changing and getting her dressed.. preparing her bottles for daycare and my lunch (because, again, I have to eat constantly).. making myself halfway presentable.. dropping baby off at daycare.. going to work.. picking baby back up from daycare.. getting home to nurse, change and entertain her until daddy comes home to get in some daddy/daughter time.. giving her a bedtime bath (Matthew and I split this responsibility.. Sometimes he does bath time, and sometimes I do) before daddy puts her to sleep.. then eating dinner, I’m supposed to workout too!? You’re kidding, right??? I barely have time to use the bathroom let alone workout. I don’t care who’s 20 minute workout you recommend.. I do not have time. If getting in a workout means waking up any earlier than I already do, I’ll just get used to the loose skin and poochy stomach. Because I’d rather sleep.

I know my body will never be the same. And I’m coming to terms with it. I’m not saying I won’t ever put any effort into getting “snatched” again but right now, at 3 months postpartum, I’m focusing my time and energy on other things (like sleep!) I’m still settling into a routine. And I just started back to work so I’m juggling a lot. But confidence in oneself is important. And I would be lying right now if I said it’s not something I’m struggling with. I pray for acceptance of this new body. And patience with myself. And the skills to manage everything on my plate. I love my baby and I would do it all over again for her if I had to.. Every swollen ankle, extra pound and inch of flesh that hangs over the top of my jeans. She was definitely worth it. πŸ™‚

worth it

Mother’s Milk

Let me tell you all something.. The breastfeeding struggle is real. It is not easy. One would think that producing food from your own body to feed your child would be the easiest thing in the world to do. I mean, it’s your body. It happens naturally. You literally need to do nothing.. Or so I thought.

I knew before I got pregnant that I would want to breastfeed my child. I was breastfed, my sisters breastfed, women all over the world breastfeed their babies. Aside from the health benefits of breastfeeding (which I won’t get into.. you can certainly make your own decisions), it’s F-R-E-E. And formula is expensive! But it’s also convenient (remember what I said about my daughter sleeping in our bed for several weeks?? Imagine if I had to get up 4 or 5 times a night to make a bottle..) and natural. Women’s bodies come complete with mammary glands specifically for the purpose of breastfeeding.. Perfect!

But, what they don’t tell you is that it is hard work to breastfeed. You have to drink a TON of water/fluids. You have to consume 2500-3000 calories a day (who on God’s green earth has time for that???) You have to nurse constantly or pump frequently to communicate to those mammary glands to produce the milk. The baby has to properly latch-on to your nipple in order to get a good feeding and trigger the body to, again, start producing milk. Do you see how much work that is?? Let’s add on top of that being a new mom, being exhausted and feeling like you have no idea what you are doing.. That’s a LOT of pressure.

My daughter was a BIG baby. We’re talking 8lbs 14.6oz at birth. As most babies do, she lost weight while we were still in the hospital but the problem came in when she lost too much weight (should be less than 10%.. in my big baby’s case, that would have been less than 14oz.) She lost close to an entire pound in the first 3 days.

I was nursing.. I had a lactation specialist check her latch.. I was eating (because I could FINALLY eat without puking up my entire stomach contents!) Why was my baby losing so much weight??? When the nurse told me I had to supplement with formula (to ensure my daughter could gain weight) in order to be released from the hospital, I had a breakdown. I cried my eyes out. I felt like it’s my job to provide nourishment to my child and I couldn’t do that. I felt awful that I wasn’t providing her with what she needed. I was heartbroken.

But, alas, she gained weight and all was right with the world. We went to her first checkup when she was 6 days old and she was up to 9lbs 6oz. Great! So I stopped supplementing. My milk was in and my baby was GREEDY! I assumed we were good…

Wrong! At her 2 month checkup (she was actually 10 weeks old) she only weighed 10lbs 1oz.. That means that since birth, she had only gained 1lb 1.6oz. Not so good. Statistically, babies should gain 2-4 lbs per month. So, she should have been at least 13-14 lbs. The pediatrician was concerned, to say the least. She gave me the option of supplementing again…. Or putting my baby in the hospital. I’m pretty sure you can guess which option I chose.. I’ll take door number 1, Wayne.

This time, I wasn’t so upset about having to supplement with formula. My baby has to eat. Her health is most important. The problem was that I wasn’t eating enough. Calories in, calories out. My daughter was “eating” but she wasn’t getting any calories. So her belly was full but there were little nutrients for her little body to absorb. Thus, the slight weight gain. I may as well have been giving her water. (This is another example of being a new mommy and having no idea how this works.)

We had a weight check a week later and, SCORE, she gained 11oz!! In 8 days!! That was magical music to my ears πŸ™‚

The moral of the story is – sometimes a mother’s milk is simply not enough. Period. I understand the debate that all our babies need is the milk we produce from our bodies. And breastfed babies fair differently than formula-fed babies. I get it. I still nurse my daughter several times a day. And now that I’m back at work, I also pump. But, I also don’t have any problems with giving my baby formula in addition to my God-given sustenance. She’s healthy, she’s happy and she’s finally gaining weight. And I’m trying my hardest to eat, eat, eat! I couldn’t be happier (or more full!) I love her so much, I would move mountains for her. Thankfully, all I have to do is mix up a little Enfamil πŸ˜‰

mother's milk

*How cute is this little girl!?!? She’s 3 months old today. She laughs, she coos, she blows spit bubbles.. She’s my perfect little princess.*

Sleeping Like a Baby…

The 1st time my DD (darling daughter) slept by herself in her room was a little heartbreaking for me. She slept in the bed with me and my fiancΓ© until she was about 8 weeks old. (I know, I know.. “That’s dangerous.. You can suffocate the baby.. I know someone that happened to.. You should get a cosleeper..” etc, etc. I got the memo.) That just worked for us. She absolutely hated the bassinet.. And she had two (that we borrowed so no money was wasted) but she refused to sleep in either one. And mama was exhausted. So, if she would sleep snuggled up next to mine or daddy’s warm bodies, then so be it. It also made it ridiculously convenient to nurse. I just popped it out, in her mouth and we both drifted back off to sleep. It was beautiful. I was also hyper-aware of her at all times so actually getting a good night’s sleep didn’t really happen. But at least I was rested and lying down instead of up and down getting her in and out of a bassinet. And she slept like.. well, like a baby πŸ™‚

But the older she got, I was told the harder it would be to get her out of our bed. So.. the time came for her to sleep by herself in her own room. The first night, it took about an hour and a half to get her to sleep (and I was very proud of that because I was prepared for an all-nighter.)

naptime

One thing you need to know about my daughter is that she fights her sleep tooth and nail. I don’t know why she does that at all but I am not a newborn (not anymore) so I guess there really are some things parents just don’t understand.

She doesn’t often cry, but she can fuss with the best of ’em! So she fussed. And I rocked her. And I walked back and forth across a squeaky floor (I hate the floors in our townhouse because they ALL squeak.) And I reassured her in a soft, soothing voice that it was okay to go to sleep. And she did. Finally!! YESSSSS!!!

And that lasted for all of 5 minutes..Β  Then she was awake again. And fussing.

So we rocked some more. And I played lullabies for her on my iPhone. I tried sitting quietly with her in the rocking chair so she could hear the heartbeat sounds from her teddy bear. I even sang her the alphabet song. Nothing was working. I was so tired.. All I wanted to do was take a shower and go to bed. I finally decided to swaddle her and, ALAS, that worked! She. Was. Out.

*insert Hammer Dance here*

(Sidenote: what took me an hour and a half to accomplish, my fiancΓ© can do in 5 minutes. So I no longer put my baby to sleep. I can’t handle bedtime; it gives me anxiety. I let her daddy take care of that.)

That night, she got up 3 times to nurse and I put her right back to sleep. I was tired as all get out but mommy was so proud of her. The next morning, I was so happy to see her! And it seemed like she missed me too (or, at least, that’s what I told myself.) She smiled when she saw me and we laughed and played as we went about our morning routine.

Since then, my baby is not only sleeping in her own room in her own bed, but she’s also sleeping through the night. She started by sleeping for about 6 hours before waking to nurse, then it was 8. Last night, she actually slept for almost 11 hours straight. She didn’t wake one time. And she’s only 10 weeks old! When I went to wake her up at 9am, she was bright-eyed and ready to start the day. And she was happy to see me again.. Or, at least, that’s what I told myself. πŸ™‚

Nina NYE turn up

*This was my daughter on New Year’s Eve long before midnight. She looks like she was turned all the way up but she was literally asleep 10 minutes later lol.*