Mar 27, 2015

5 Tips to Boost Your Supply: A Breastfeeding Plan

I'm really eager to talk about breastfeeding again and how things are going this time around, but in order to do that, I need to take a step back. It's important to lay out things I'm doing different. This time, I went into the newborn phase with a plan of action.

Oh, breastfeeding. I had such a love/hate relationship with it the first time (more love than hate after we jumped through the initial hurdles, mind you), but I’m determined to do everything I can this time to make this happen smoothly.

I know every baby/pregnancy is different and I know things probably won’t go according to this “plan” of mine. We’ll have bumps, hurdles, cracked nipples, and sleepless nights, and we’ll have to take things one nursing session at a time. But last time I had the mindset that breastfeeding was the most natural thing in the world and I wouldn’t have to work at it to make it successful for both of us. This time, I want to at least feel prepared and know that I can control some things.

So here’s my plan:

1. I’m going to focus on is relaxing. I was so stressed last time that I’m pretty positive it contributed to many of my issues. Between every-other-day weight checks for my little one and post-pregnancy complications for me, we were in and out of the hospital/clinic every single day for a couple weeks straight. People told me to just slow down and enjoy my baby, but I wasn’t even home enough to relax and establish a good breastfeeding routine. This post by the La Leche League, while talking about extreme stress, explains that some situations can bring a temporary drop in milk supply. This time I’m going to do everything I can to have a peaceful and restful/relaxing experience post-baby.

Thankfully, the pediatrician we have is very breastfeeding friendly, and gives moms a chance to actually bond and feed their child before requesting more weight checks. Going in every two days for a couple weeks was extremely stressful, especially when Julia’s previous pediatrician pushed formula on us very early on. I’m going to listen to my gut this time. While I’m not opposed to supplementing if it’s for the good of the baby or going in for more frequent weight checks, I’ll do whatever I can to make breastfeeding work.

2. My next goal is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I’m not sure if I drank enough water last time. Yeah, I drank it all the time, but I don’t know if it was enough. I plan on drinking like a fish this time around. My husband is on “water duty” and he said he’ll make sure I’m sufficiently hydrated, especially while I’m actually breastfeeding. He even taught Julia how to say, “hydrate,” and she brings me my water bottle now!

3. I’m going to eat all the (lactation) cookies. Oatmeal can do wonders for milk supply, according to Kellymom, and what better way to eat it than in the form of cookies? I also plan on making a batch of my Baked Oatmeal Muffins, some “Booby Bites,” and of course, I'll eat a good ol’ fashioned bowl of oatmeal.

4. Next, I may pop some pills (fenugreek pills, that is). Galactagogues (like fenugreek, blessed thistle, etc.,) are also good ways to increase supply. I have a bottle of More Milk Special Blend (contains fenugreek seed, goat's rue, blessed thistle herb, nettle herb, and fennel seed). I also have a box of Mother’s Milk Tea on hand and ready to brew (contains sweet fennel seed, anise seed, coriander seed, spearmint leaf, lemongrass leaf, lemon verbena leaf, althea root, blessed thistle herb, fenugreek seed—whew!).

5. And last, but not least, I plan on drinking some beer (or at least cooking/baking with “it”). This goes hand in hand with eating cookies, but brewer’s yeast deserves its own category. After nine months of not having a drink, it’s nice to know that beer—or brewer’s yeast—is a galactagogue. I’m absolutely not suggesting I go out and get drunk now that I’m not pregnant anymore, but time and time again, I’ve heard and read that having a beer while breastfeeding isn’t a horrible thing. It helps you relax and contains brewer’s yeast—win/win. As far as actual brewer’s yeast goes, it contains iron, protein, and Vitamin B, and it’s easy to put a few tablespoons into recipes while I’m baking.

So that’s my plan. I’ll be back to update how our breastfeeding journey is going this second time around!
This post was originally published on Hellobee (february 27, 2015)

Mar 25, 2015

Four Things...And Then Some

I saw this post months ago on my friend Chantal's blog, Scattered Seashells, and knew I wanted to fill it out. I've been hanging on to it for awhile, and figured now is a good time to share it. These are always fun to read and fairly easy to write, so here it goes...

4 names people like to call you other than your real name:

1. Mama
2. Jesse T and the Rippers
3. Nappy (because naps are wonderful and I like to take them)
4. Lovey

4 jobs you’ve had:

1. Assistant editor for a city magazine
2. Worked at a local, and delicious, pizza place
3. Barista/server at a local restaurant chain

4 movies you’ve seen more than once:

1. You've Got Mail (Meg and Tom...classic)
2. The Princess Diaries (deployment movie...don't judge)
3. Iron Man (all of them, naturally)
4. Chasing Liberty (i heart mandy moore, and this is set in Europe. #winwin)

4 books you’d recommend:

1. Jemima J by Jane Green (classic chick-lit)
2. Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker (LOVED this book; I need to read it again)
3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (classic that everyone should read)
4. Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy (say what you will about her, but this book is HILARIOUS if you're pregnant)

4 places you’ve lived:

1. Maniago, Italy
2. Bournemouth, England
3. Albuquerque, New Mexico
4. middle-of-nowhere, Georgia

4 places you’ve visited:

1. Croatia (never in a million years did I think I'd ever step foot in Croatia)
2. France (and really wish we went there more, because outside of Paris is dreamy)
3. Turkey (another place I never thought I'd's on my list of things to write about)
4. Juarez, Mexico (many, many times. true story)

4 places you'd rather be right now:

1. In a bath
2. Either in Italy or in Albuquerque
3. On a cruise
4. At Cold Stone eating some ice cream (coffee ice cream with apple pie filling, cinnamon, and graham crackers mixed case you're wondering)

4 things you will never eat:

1. Truffle oil (don't even get me started on how disgusting that is)
2. Peanuts (love peanut butter, hate peanuts just on their own)
3. Indian food (had it once and it made me violently ill. Just smelling it makes me feel sick)
4. Menudo

4 of your favorite foods:

1. Pizza!
2. Green chile (on anything and everything)
3. Pie (specifically apple or blueberry)
4. Potato chips

4 TV shows you watch:

1. Scandal (duh)
3. Grey's Anatomy (loyal viewer right here)
4. Jane the Virgin (so good!)

4 things I'm looking forward to this year:

1. Watching Maddie grow
2. Going home to see family and friends
3. Working out again
4. Going on a trip somewhere (Disney, maybe??)

4 things you’re always saying:

1. "What do you say?" (To Julia...always, and hoping to hear "please" and/or "thank you")
2.  "Forehead kiss" (because I do silly things often and my husband kisses my forehead in an "oh, honey" type of way)
3. "K I love you, K good night, K bye."
4. "Bye-bye, see ya!" (Can you tell I'm always around a toddler?)

Fun, right? You should definitely fill this out, too; it's fun getting to know other bloggers out there!

Mar 23, 2015

Madilyn Rose (one month)

It's a common phrase thrown around way too liberally*, but it's true. So, unfortunately, true. "They grow up so fast." I mean, seriously. How a month went by (more now that I'm posting this), I have no idea. It's like I blinked, and here we are. Is it too soon to say that I already have baby fever for another? Too soon, right?

*You'll probably hear me say that every month from here on out...just FYI

This girl. Oh, my. This girl has stolen my heart. Sure, her cry (wail, really) is probably the loudest thing I've ever heard—it seriously makes my ears ring sometimes—but goodness is she a good baby. I hate to jinx it, but things at night seem like they're a million times better than they were with Julia. I remember not sleeping with all; I remember crying because I was so exhausted. But with Maddie? She sleeps!! I have to wake her up to feed her, and even though my night is still full of broken sleep (and I'm still tired in the morning), I'm thankful for her nights.

Julia and Maddie are already best friends...Madilyn just doesn't know it yet. Julia is in love with her; she gives her "Sister Maddie" hugs and kisses every single chance she can, and she helps me with throwing away dirty diapers. I mean, I feel like I hit the lottery some days with these two!

Don't get me wrong—there are still plenty of tears, meltdowns, and temper tantrums (from all four of us), but things are better than I expected, especially for the first month. Granted, one week was spent in a hospital and the other three we had family in town helping us out. I suppose the real test of how things are going will be to see what this second month looks like.

Dear Maddie Roo,
Hi! I don't really know how I came up with your nickname, but it stuck and now we all call you by that name all the time. Of course, I still love calling you Madilyn, too. My, oh my, did we have an interesting month together. First of all: I'm so, so, so incredibly sorry that I'm the one who most likely got you sick. As your Mama, I felt terrible, and seeing you in the hospital just added salt to my wound. I'm thankful you're a little fighter and got all better.

On the flip side to spending a week in the hospital, I need to thank you for being a rock star at breastfeeding. I know I have some experience under my belt, but you just picked it up right away, like it's your job. I mean, it kinda is your job, but still. You really rock at it, and I can't tell you how happy I am that it came naturally to both of us. You're gaining weight like a champ (the doctor was very impressed last week), and that makes me very, very happy. 

While I adore you in this newborn stage, I'm beyond eager for you to grow up a tiny bit. There are so many exciting things to come In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy your snuggles and cheek-to-cheek kisses that we have right now.

Love you, little Roo!

Dear Maddie,

Month one: Hospital. Screaming. Hugs. Poop. Kisses. More poop. Tub time. Tests. Road trip home! Dog licking. Poop. Big sister hugs. Food. Snuggles. Sneezes. More road trips around town. Ambulance. Another hospital. Tubes. Blood. Pokes. Medicine. Cries. Poop. Sleep. Wake. Test. Sleep. Poop. Etc………………………………………………………. Road trip home! Kisses. Snuggles. More poop.

So you had a very exciting first month lil lady. The above was just a taste of everything that happened to you over the last 30ish days. Despite getting a cold, getting a bad fever, and spending over a week getting better in a hospital, you’ve actually done pretty darn well. You’re big, by which I mean you’re already a pound heavier than when you were born (no small feat). You also have a realllllllllllllllllllly healthy set of lungs that are used almost hourly to let us know that you have peed you lil baby pants. All in all you’re a pretty terrific munchkin.

I love how you already can smile and coo at us, and it’s awesome watching you pass out in my arms when I rock you to sleep. It’s also great watching your big sister take care of you. She is always at the ready to rock you in your swing, get you a new diaper, or tell you to be happy when you cry. Hopefully you never ever ever ever get sick again and these next months are filled with nothing but more of your happy cuteness.

Love you,
Your papa.

Nicknames: MaddieRoo, Maddie, and Sister Maddie (maybe we'll get more original as time goes on)

Likes: Being on the boob. It's your favorite. Also, sleeping; I may call you Nappy Junior. 

Dislikes: Having a wet diaper. I mean, you really, really hate it. Also, gas...but nobody likes that either, so I don't blame you

Milestones: Getting over RSV and coming home. Also, you're up past your birth weight...

Weight/Height: 10 lbs and 21 1/4"

Clothing Size: Newborn...but I should really be putting you in 0-3 at least since newborn is super snug; I just need to dig around and find them!

Sleep: You love it. I wake you up to eat every 3.5 or 4 hours at night.

Random Tidbits: Our first month together was a blur. Not because of the normal newborn phase, but because of the hospital stay, having family over, and your sister's birthday party. Another thing: You also turn a shade of beat red whenever you get much so that I'm pretty sure I'm not going to put you in red or bright pink clothes, because you'll clash. True story.

How are Mama and Papa doing?: We're good! You like to freak out at night, just as your sister goes to sleep, which makes us sad since that's our time to wind down.

Mar 20, 2015

I Confess...

...that I put Tangled on for Julia to watch just so I could have time to write this

...that I've skipped taking a nap (when both girls actually slept at. the. same. time) two days in a row, just so I could snuggle my baby and read a book in absolute complete silence

...that I actually read a book in the past week! I guess breastfeeding multiple times does have its benefits 

...that I'm absolutely terrified of how I'll survive solo parenting in a couple weeks when my husband goes TDY for almost a month. My one and only goal is to make sure the three of us (four including Bella) are fed and somewhat clothed during that time

...that I genuinely love drinking ice water

...that I'm already over summer and it's barely spring

...that I asked for bug spray recommendations and now I'm even more overwhelmed than before. I need to just pick one already and be done with it

...that I'd love for you to head over to Hellobee and read these posts here and here (because I wrote them)!

...that I stole this "I confess" idea from Kelsey

...that I tune out a lot more crying from the littles than I'd care to admit

...that I'm beyond exhausted almost all the time now, which makes me even more thankful for not having to cook dinner much lately. My MOPS group and my husband's squadron put together a "meal train" for us and we've had home cooked meals arrive at our door step several nights this week. It's been a huge blessing

...that I couldn't stay awake to watch Scandal last night. I don't even know who I am anymore (just kidding; I know exactly who I am: I'm a mom with a newborn)