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32 & 33 Weeks Pregnant

27 Feb

I really meant to write an update for 31 weeks, but the weekend just slipped past me. However, these last two weeks blend nicely together as far as pregnancy symptoms go.

I have been feeling more and more like a turtle, where, when I try to get up or move around when laying down, I’m rolling around and desperately trying to switch positions.

I have been sleeping extremely well and cannot believe that I haven’t been getting up to pee at all in the middle of the night!  I think my body thinks it is sleeping too well, however, because I have been waking up before 6am bright eyed and bushy tailed. I usually try to lay in bed and at least rest for awhile, but this morning was a bit more extreme.  I layed in bed for about a half an hour and finally looked at my clock and it was only 4:15am. I felt extremely rested and figured I might as well get up and do something productive. So, I unloaded the dishes, made a super yummy mango-avocado smoothie, and am currently in the process of making yogurt.

I also have gotten quite a bit more colostrum in in the past few days. I can easily squeeze out a bunch, although I am a bit nervous that I’ll be squeezing and looking and get majorly squirted in the eye.  But I don’t think that will happen until after the birth, but I could be surprised. Emmanuel has been almost like a newborn again in these past few days. I ask him if he is getting milk and if it is yummy, and he always says yes.  I guess he is enjoying this increased amount of colostrum. I was really enjoying our breast feeding relationship of nursing twice a day since my milk has dried up (well, I didn’t ever enjoy the pain, but I enjoyed the frequency). It just seemed balanced and normal. I have enjoyed the extra snuggling while nursing these past few days, but I’ve caught myself on several occasions staring blankly in to space while sitting on the couch, feeling exactly as I do when nursing a newborn: chained to the chair. And although the pain has decreased significantly since my milk initially dried up, it still isn’t super comfortable. I am not entirely sure if the discomfort is due to the fact that he uses his top teeth when he latches, or because I don’t have an ample supply of milk. I think it is due to the latter. I hope it is due to the latter. Only 7 more weeks of this!

This morning when I woke up, I think I couldn’t fall back asleep because I realized that today is Friday. That means I only have 3 weeks until spring break. After spring break, I only have 3 weeks until my due date. Even though there are a whole 7 weeks left of pregnancy, breaking it up in to 3, 1, and 3 weeks is making me feel FrEaKeD OUT! I have to file my taxes! I don’t know who is going to do it. I have to hire a new person at work. I have to NEST!  I have to buy Gentle Birth tincture. I have to clear my fridge of the yucky freezer meals I made in the fall and stock them with yummy freezer meals! I have to sleep while I can! I have to find an easy-to-read book series that I can read while totally sleep deprived. I have to investigate how to tandem nurse.  I have to exercise…

The last major symptom of the past few weeks has been an increase of hot flashes. Major hot flashes. I have never had real hot flashes until this pregnancy. And while I think menopause hot flashes are probably more extreme, I think I am getting a good preview.

Every day I become more in love with this absolutely sweet little baby. The baby just seems so happy inside my womb and I can best describe its movements as pleasant and content. I’m am excited to meet baby, but not too eager just yet!

  

14 Months Post Partum

2 Feb

Phew!  It has been a long time since I have posted anything.  Even on my other blog that I started about getting back to the grass roots of life, I have not posted in months.

I have been trying whole life pathways here and there, but I have not had any time to post anything.  I have been kept extremely busy with my new business of owning a school.  It has been a great experience, but it has left me exactly 0-amount of time for much else.

A bit of an update:

  • Emmanuel started sleeping through the night just AFTER his one year birthday.  I wonder how I functioned at all getting up in the middle of the night and not sleeping well for over a year.
  • I started cycling just before Emmanuel’s one year birthday, and we are still breast feeding.  I feel amazing, empowered, and complete/fulfilled that I am still breast feeding.  I just told my hubby this morning that I think I would feel depressed and incomplete if I were not breast feeding or pregnant.  Biology can be so annoying sometimes.
  • A few months ago, I was absolutely terrified of the potential of becoming pregnant.  Since I’ve started cycling, I have this weird, illogical desire to jump on the pregnancy bandwagon…
  • Since I’ve started cycling, I feel angry and MEAN and impatient!  ARGHHHH!  (Imagine a pirate accent, perhaps?)  Another biological indicator that I am designed to bear children, and not cruise through life.  Once again, biology can be soooo annoying.
  • I am so amazed at my opportunity to own a school and I am honored to participate in the education of children in my town.  While I’m excited to see what is in store and have plans to expand the grade levels, a part of me feels sad because I want to walk alongside expecting mothers and support them in labor as a doula.  I guess even if I did not have my business, it would probably be tricky to attend women in labor while I myself have two toddlers, so I guess that passion will be fulfilled at a later stage in life.
  • Every day I am feeling an increased passion for babies in the womb, women, and victims of sex trafficking.  I can’t wait to see where that leads!
  • I found a great recipe for sandwich bread made in a bread machine and am feeling pretty content.  It’s the little things!
  • As far as my adventure to whole life, I am feeling an incredible ITCH to learn how to do more things on my own.  Last week I was watching a video about harvesting wheat.  It seems so simple.  I seriously do not understand why I did not learn these things in school.  I have so much to say about this subject, but I probably should save it for my other blog.
  • Speaking of sustainability, I have a wild, but serious, notion that I am going to build my own earthen home, whether it is from Cob or straw bales or tire bales…I know this is a quick mention, but I became obsessed with living simply in the past week or so.  Once again, this probably belongs on my other blog, but I just wanted to get people thinking about freeing themselves from mortgage using non-traditional means.  This might lead to yet another blog someday soon…
  • There are two things people continuously search out about my blog: one is my fitness results, and the other is my hypnobirthing script.  I have two goals for this year:  Whip my butt in to shape with the 30 day shred (again) and hopefully provide even more inspiration, and write more hypnobirthing scripts.  Perhaps I can even post a ready-made (recorded) script with background music and everything.  I won’t pretend to have a great narrating voice, though!
  • I almost really-really-really-really want to get pregnant.  I wish I could just DO it, but I have this voice inside of me saying I need to “wait” and “be sane” and blah-blah-blah.  I actually have thought about how I would love to meet with a family-planning counselor, but I don’t know if those exist.  Should pregnancy just happen whenever, or should I take some control and make plans?  I can’t figure out what is best….

That is my disjointed update on my life, health, and dreams.  I have another post coming that intertwines with my increasing passion of babies in the womb, sex trafficking, and other similar things.  Hopefully it will manifest in the next few days.

Busy life

24 Jul

Aghhhh life is so/too busy!

I’m working. I now own a language school, which is awesome, but I did not imagine spending my summer working every spare second. I’m marketing, recruiting, interviewing, training, schmoozing, shopping (business stuff), and organizing like crazy. This is challenging when I am still holding my full time(+!) position of stay at home mom.

I’m menu planning. We just used our last freezer meal the other week. These were the freezer meals I made way back in October, I think. I had made 9 or 11 meals and I only used them in emergencies. In addition, if I ever made a big batch of something (that was more than we could eat for 2 days) I would freeze the extra for a quick meal. That lasted me about 9 months! Now, I’m planning on stocking my freezer in a similar but better manner! All of the website I’ve seen about freezer cooking claim making 12 meals (for example), but the cook tripled each recipe…

Part of my cooking woes are that I have a picky pallet. I like yummy and varied recipes that fill me up, are healthy, and are cheap. Is that too much to ask?!? Apparently it is, as it takes me days to menu plan.

With all of that said, I plan on doing some freezer meals in September, and, yes, I have already begun planning!

Lastly, I’m having insomnia and sleeping poorly. Little pumpkin Emmanuel has been starting out the night in his crib lately (instead of our bed, since he started crawling), and once we are ready to crawl in bed I cannot fall asleep due to the fact that Emmanuel is not in bed with us! I am addicted to having him in bed with me. Not only am I a sleep aid for him, but he is a sleep aid for me! (Insert here an audio of a scream of horror of the revelation).

I am thinking that there is a scientific explanation of this dependency. Since relaxing hormones are released during breast feeding, and Emmanuel is latched on literally all night long, I think my body has developed a dependency on this release of hormones to sleep. Crazy! I hate sleeping with Emmanuel because he is totally in my space, but I can’t sleep at all if he isn’t in bed.

So on that sleep deprived note I leave you…

Breast feeding essentials

25 Apr

I was recently talking with a friend about nursing gear and she asked me for my recommendations. The most essential item for breast feeding is the nursing tank. It makes nursing a cinch around the house and in public.

I have three different types of nursing tanks, all with pros and cons.

The nursing tank from Target:

This tank was, I think, the cheapest of the ones I own. I do not recommend it at all because the thread at the bottom completely unraveled, rendering it useless.

Pro: Cheap ($)
Con: Cheap (quality)

Thankfully, I only purchased one.

The nursing tank from Motherhood Maternity:

The great thing about motherhood is that they are always having sales! Sure, everything is probably marked up and then put on (quote, unquote) sale, but it makes you happy anyway.

I own about 5-6 tanks from Motherhood. They are not as cheap ($) as Target, but they weren’t that much more expensive as I recall. I think “on sale” they averaged out to $24 each.

Pros: They are really economical, and a decent tank for the price, hence the reason I have six of them.
Cons: After they get stretched out (like if I try to wear them more than 24 hours), they aren’t as supportive. In addition, they start rolling up at the torso area… a lot. Usually by the middle of the night I feel like I am wearing a belly shirt because they inch up so high.

The other con is that, while they are sufficiently supportive for me in my day-to-day life, I cannot jump around in them. Also, if someone is a little more endowed than I am (I am a DD/E while nursing but use a small tank), these tanks might be too flimsy.

Lastly, due to the thin material, I don’t really feel comfortable wearing this tank by itself in public.

Bravado Nursing Tanks:

I have one Bravado tank. I love this tank. It cost about $50.

Pros: The tank is made from a thicker material. I would feel much more comfortable wearing this tank out in public by itself compared to the others. It does not inch up at all and it doesn’t stretch out.

Cons: Besides the hefty price, I do feel a little bulkier when I am layering this with other clothes in order to nurse discreetly in public. Also, I don’t feel like Bravado has the perfect size tank for me. The tank I have is just slightly big for me, and the size smaller was just a bit too tight. Lastly, even though the clasps are more durable than my other tanks, they are a little more difficult to undo quickly and one-handed (which is quite important when you have a screaming baby in a public scene.)

Out of all my tanks, I would definitely recommend Bravado above any others. However, they are a little too expensive for me to fill a whole drawer with them, hence the reason I stocked up on the Motherhood tanks. I still would like to invest in one more Bravado tank.

I’m really not sure if there are other nursing tanks out there, but if there are, I’d love to know how they compare!

Below: the Bravado Nursing Tank

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I found the money tree! (Money doesn’t grow on trees)

22 Apr

“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” so I heard many times while growing up. If you haven’t ever heard this saying, it basically means we don’t have an unlimited supply of money that we can use without working.

Many times in my youth I wished desperately that I had a money tree (What for? I have no idea. How many needs does a teenager really have?!). I think several times I prayed and asked God if he might find it in his desire to plant one outside in our yard for our family. This is all quite embarrassing to remember, especially since I didn’t live in poverty or anything like that.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” I heard more than a few times in my life, and I believed it.

However…

Just today I realized that I have actually discovered the money tree!!!

That’s right. It is called breast milk! A common synonym for breast milk is liquid gold. It is indeed just that.

Hadassah was on formula for about 5 entire months. Formula cost us over $80 a month, and we bought the store brand. I’m sure it costs other families even more. By breast feeding, I am saving a nice chunk of change every month.

But how does this relate to money growing on trees?

Let me preface the answer with a drawn out example. Let’s say I want to do a good deed. Maybe I want to fill a shoebox with hygiene products and send it to a third world country. Maybe I want to sponsor a child in need somewhere in the world. Maybe I just want to donate some money or even some clothes or shoes to a struggling family. For all those above and noble examples, I am going to take a hit financially, unless I truly have dollar bills flapping in the breeze on my money tree… Which I don’t. What happened to my money tree!?

Be patient!

Let’s continue with the idea of a noble deed. What can I give a family that costs me absolutely no money and is rather effortless? I can give the gift of donated breast milk. A child/family that is receiving donated breast milk will not only receive amazing health benefits (which are translated into financial savings in less trips to the doctor, less medicine, less time off work for the parents etc), but they will also be saving a minimum of eighty real dollar bills each month.

What better way to help a family in need than this? It costs me absolutely nothing! One might argue that I will need to eat more calories (therefore purchasing more food) if I am going to be donating milk, but trust me, I can sacrifice a bit and drop a few pounds when donating and eat the same amount as always. I’m willing to take that hit.

So there it is – money tree if I have ever seen one! It is just camouflaged as a lactating woman.

One might argue that everyone could do just a noble deed by donating blood. However, a person can’t donate blood every day. Plus, it is uncomfortable to have a needle stuck in ones arm for 45 minutes. I agree that donating blood is great. I just also understand that there are some good excuses for not doing it habitually. With donating milk, on the other hand, there really isn’t a good excuse not to do it in a situation such as mine.

– I have a sufficient supply
– I don’t have to worry about pumping milk for Emmanuel due to going back to work, going on a trip, or going on medicine or having surgery.
– I have time in my day where I am at home with access to a double electric pump.

Ever since I learned about milk sharing and donating milk, I have felt very passionate about it. Please share the information about milk sharing with everyone you know, and if you are breast feeding and have any extra milk to spare, please consider finding someone who is in need of the milk! Blog about this, reblog this, post on social networking sites, and tell all your friends!

Pumping milk in my situation and storing it up in my freezer like a trophy instead of donating it would be extremely silly. It would be like storing up treasure on Earth instead of Heaven. It would be like hoarding manna from heaven.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact me, research your local milk bank, and/or get connect to Human Milk for Human Babies (a space to share milk with fellow mothers at no cost).

Got milk? Donate it!

Running like a leaky faucet

18 Apr

As I mentioned in my last post, I currently have no need for nursing pads. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

After having Hadassah, I only leaked milk two times in my whole nursing career. I was a little sad, as I thought it would

Milk!  Moo!

Milk! Moo!

be nice to feel like I had some sort of over supply.

With Emmanuel, my wishes were granted and I was leaking like crazy for about 6 weeks. It was during this time that I felt like I had two faucets running at all times. I quickly realized how annoying this was and wished it away. After about 6 weeks I realized that I was no longer leaking like crazy and it tapered off over the following two weeks or so. I haven’t had any leaking since.

I always viewed leaking milk as a good thing. Biologically, it must mean that a mother has a copious amount of milk, and as far as survival of the fittest, her genes would be preserved as she would be able to make enough milk for her baby and maybe even her older kids (since she leaks so much). However, I am wondering if maybe leaking isn’t an indicator of biological superiority, as I once glamorized it. Maybe leaking milk is like bladder incontinence. Yes, urinating is a voluntary action while letting down milk is not, but sometimes I hope that letting down milk might be voluntary and therefore under  our control. I have tried many times to close my eyes and command, “let down!” like a superhero using their powers, but to no avail.

This whole let down business is quite mysterious and perplexing. I can try with all my mental might to get milk out, but it doesn’t happen.  The whole “look at a picture of your baby while pumping” thing never worked for me.  Maybe I should take this post on an entirely different trail.  Maybe some moms can control their milk let down reflux with their mind, like Professor Xavier of the X-men.  Either way, Emmanuel has been falling asleep while eating and something curious happens. He doesn’t move his mouth at all, but suddenly 15 minutes later I get a let down and he gets a flowing refill whether he wants it or not.  This doesn’t seem mental or physical to me.  Although I think I recall reading somewhere that milk composition (and I supposed the flow) can be stimulated by a baby’s saliva.

Back to biology’s design: is leaking a sign of strength or weakness? Is leaking a sign of plenty or is it meaningless?

Argument for leaking being good:

  • It appears the mother has a lot of milk.
  • Mother can collect and store extra milk using Milkies, or other similar contraption.

Arguments for leaking being bad:

  • Predators can possibly smell the extra milk(?), therefore putting both mom and young in danger! (I’m talking about prehistoric times, not now.)
  • When is leaking bodily fluid ever good? Runny nose, drooling, and incontinence are pretty much considered not so good.
  • Speaking of incontinence, if you have it, something in your body isn’t working correctly, so I deduce that leaking milk means something isn’t working correctly.

Right now I am happy I don’t have to deal with the annoyance of leaking like a faucet, but part of me still feels jealous of those that buy nursing pads and Milkies.

This post is meant for entertainment purposes only, and not to make anyone feel bad about their leaking or lack of.

A pregnant girl’s/new mom’s goodie bag

12 Apr

My dear cousin is in her 3rd trimester of her first pregnancy. She had her shower 1,000 miles away the other weekend. Since we got snowed in on our travel date, which was also the date of the shower, I was able to join the shower via FaceTime (yay technology!). I saw her a week later just for a few hours, which was enough time to give her her shower presents.

Besides registry items, I put together a little goodie bag with random but important items.

Soothies Gel Pads Provide Relief!

Soothies Gel Pads Provide Relief!

  • Nursing/breast pads – I included 3 different brands of breast pads. I never used them with Hadassah and only used them for about 2 months with Emmanuel, and I soon discovered I had a preference. I wanted my cousin to be able to try different brands without buying a ton, especially if she is like me and doesn’t leak much.
  • Recipes for Labor Cookies and Lactation Cookies – when you are 9 months pregnant, it’s fun to occupy your time with crazy labor-inducing ideas to make yourself feel useful. Also, you might as well eat some purposeful cookies guilt-free while you can. Lactation cookies are yummy and every new mom is going to worry about having enough milk. Sometimes it feels good to DO something.
  • A packet of (dry) ingredients for above Lactation Cookies – I have more brewers yeast than I know what to do with. I decided to put together ingredients for a recipe of cookies so she doesn’t have to go find whacky ingredients right after having a baby.
  • Licorice Root Tea – to be taken at the end of pregnancy only, for inducing labor. Not to be taken while breast feeding.
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea – tones the uterus and helps prepare for labor.
  • A glob of nipple butter by Earth Mama Angel Baby – this stuff is more than necessary for the first days/weeks of breast
Nipple butter - much better than nipple creams!

Nipple butter – much better than nipple creams!

feeding and is much better than the lanolin provided by the hospital. I have a jar (2 or 4oz) and it is a copious amount. I’m sure it will last me for all my kids.

  • Soothies Cool Gel Pads – these are for the breasts and were a lifesaver when I had Hadassah!!! They are quite expensive so I didn’t actually give her the gel pads, I gave her the box. I decided to do this not because I am cheap, but because you can get them during the hospital stay.
  • Emergency condom – After over a year of not having to worry about birth control, it is hard to believe you will have to start thinking about it again, but you do!  And you don’t want to be stuck without one of those.
  • A pregnancy test – You just got done being pregnant and pregnancy tests are the furthest thing from your mind, but you will probably need one again some day. This is for that inevitable moment where you think you might be pregnant (but most likely are not) and dread going out to the store. It’s hard getting out with a newborn!

Those are some of the things I included. I feel like I am forgetting something. Some other ideas that I did not include are below:

  • A gift card to a restaurant that has food delivery, for right after having the baby.
  • An eye mask and ear plugs – so she can sleep (yeah right) while daddy gets up with the baby.
  • A few placenta pills (just kidding).