6 ways to increase your breastmilk supply

The moment is here!

Your little baby bundle has arrived, and everything is all sunshine and rainbows. At least I hope that’s the case for most, but if you are a first-time momma wanting to breastfeed the fear of not producing enough milk is real.

I remember being always worried I would dry up even though I had an oversupply issue. The fear of not being able to feed and nourish my baby was real! And while the formula is a fantastic thing, I couldn’t help but feel that if I could not breastfeed, i was a failure as a woman and mother. Of course now looking back I know it is all nonsense, I could have quickly grabbed a formula bottle and fed my baby happily if I needed to, but the fear was there, and it is like that for a lot of moms trying to breastfeed.

To save you all some of the agonies, I went through I decided to share the top # tips on increasing milk supply. We all know its called liquid gold for a reason, so here is what worked for me.

1. Lactation cookies. These little morsels will not only help with the constant gnawing hunger you seem to feel the first few weeks breastfeeding but help increase your supply as well. You can see one of my recipes here.

2. Frequent milk removal. This is key. You want to try to empty your breast as much as possible. This is what signals the body that you need more milk, hence tells it to produce more. So a good pump, some storage bags and before you know it you may even have a good stash going!

3. Mothers Milk Tea. This is another of those nifty things that is great to help improve supply. Please note it does not work for everyone, and on some fenugreek which is a known ingredient to increase milk supply, causes the adverse effect. I personally like this one.

4. Putting the baby at the breast. This is for obvious reasons more efficient than a pump. Not only are babies more effective than a pump, but they remove milk more efficiently too. When trying to increase your milk supply be sure to nurse your little one on demand as much as possible. Try to limit pacifier and bottles if possible and have them use the breast for drinking and soothing.

5. Power pumping. This is done to simulate a growth spurt and kickstart the supply. You want to do small pump sessions in a short period. So you may want to pump for 10 min 3 times in an hour period. Then do this once or twice a day for two or three days.

6. Hands-on help. Many times an issue with supply has to do with how the child removes the milk. You can go here to find a local lactation consultant and many useful resources.

Keep trying. Do not get discouraged, and sometimes our bodies need a little extra help and time. You won’t go from half an ounce to four ounces in a day, so if breastfeeding is something you want to do, keep trying.

If after seeing a Lactation Consultant, and doing everything else you could think of there is still an issue, know that giving a bottle of formula is perfectly fine too.

Everyone has their own journey, some harder than others. When it comes to breastfeeding some need a little bit of extra help, know you are not alone. So keep trying and I hope these tips and tricks help you.

 

Cheers!

4 Quick, Easy and Delicious Meals

There are days I just don’t want to cook.

After spending almost the entire day chasing my soon to be two years old and cleaning up the toys that I am sure I have already cleaned up three times … that same day, I just don’t want to cook.

Unfortunately, I cant feed my husband and son pizza every day, even if I want to ( because if you know me you know, i can eat it every day!). So on the days I cant justify eating out and have no energy to spend hours in the kitchen, I pull these recipes out.

I usually already have all of these items in my fridge and pantry, so its easy for me to do these at any moment.

Quick and Easy Homemade Chili

The first time I made this for my husband he said it was crack, as he served himself his third bowl. To say he liked it was an understatement.

If you love thick and chunky chili as much as I do, but hate the 6 hour cook time, then this is the recipe for you. It won’t take more than 40 minutes start to finish, and it will taste like it has been on the stove all day.

Pancetta Pasta

This lovely dish I learned from one of my fellow military wife friends who was born in Catania Italy. She said this was a weekly staple in her home as a child.

Everyone in my house devours this, and it’s ridiculous how easy it is. Keep in mind if you don’t have Pancetta you can use ham or thick cut bacon.

Potato Soup

I have been told this recipe is better than Outback’s ( Sorry Outback). The funny thing is, I created this recipe while pregnant and tried to curb my want for their potato soup. Thick and creamy with a smokey taste coming from the bacon, this soup is great at any time, especially on cold winter nights.

 

Chicken Pot Pie

So I have a few pot pie recipes, and this is my latest tweaked recipe. It has so far been the favorite. Now I am lazy, and realistically, just don’t have the time to make pie dough, so I bought the premade stuff. BUT if you have the time, I am sure freshly made dough would make this recipe that much better.

 

 

 

These are my go-to staples. Each one of these four meals gets made at least two times a month in my house. They are not only approved by my husband and two years old, but time approved by this tired mama.

Happy Cooking!

Our Love Story

With February and Valentines around the corner, I figured it would be appropriate to share our beginning.

We are not your typical love story.

We did not meet in school or at work, or even through a mutual friend. Believe it or not, we lived across the street from each other for years without really knowing each other.

When I was about ten years old, we moved neighborhoods, and in the house catty-corner to ours lived a couple with two children, a teenage girl, and a boy roughly my age. Surprisingly enough as the years went on I met the daughter, she was nice enough and would see the boy every so often as I left the house or him mowing the lawn. We had different friend circles, so I never got to know them. If you asked me who they were, they were “Maria and Marcelo’s” children.

Fast forward to me being 19 years old. There was a knock on the door, and there was Maria and her son. I didn’t even recognize him how much he had changed. He had entered the military and had just gotten out of boot camp and basic training and had come home for the first time in a year, so she was parading him around. I kid you not! She was taking him to all the neighbors she knew to show him off!

I say hello, hope you are doing well and thank you for your service, get in my car and left.

Even as I write this, I roll my eyes. I was so self-centered and worried about myself and the fact I was going shopping with my girlfriends that I left him with his mother in my parent’s house.

I still remember getting to the mall and telling my friends how he had changed. He wasn’t that tall skinny kid with long curly hair anymore. He had bulked up and looked different with a haircut. But he was leaving the next day back to his squadron for work, so I would probably never see him again.

A couple of days later I hear the door knock again, and my dad gets the door. I am upstairs in the loft watching tv, and I hear his mothers voice. “Georgie called and asked me to get Michelle’s number that he’d like to talk to her, so I wanted to ask you.” I don’t know if there was more to her comment or not. To say I was mouthy was an understatement. I quickly stood and looked down into the foyer where they were standing and said very smugly with the attitude only a nineteen-year-old could perfect, “Shouldn’t you be asking me for my number and if I want to give it?”

After a few more comments and quips, I gave her my number to pass on to her son. It was

2008, and we started dating shortly after.

We’ve been together ever since.

We got engaged in 2010, married in 2012, had a wedding and our honeymoon in 2014, and our first child in 2016. Apparently, we do something every two years, who knows maybe we’ll get pregnant or have another child in 2018!

It wasn’t your typical love story, but it sure is my favorite one!

Want to share your love story? We are doing guest posts every Saturday and Sunday for the month of February, just send us an email or contact us through the contact me page.

Cheers!

Co-Sleeping, is it worth it?

There are many challenges when you talk about babies and sleeping.

With us, we co-sleep, and our challenges are clear, and I like to think very commonly amongst co-sleeping parents.

First off, yes our son sleeps in our bed. I know there are many risks to having a child in your bed, but I do try to minimize the ‘standard’ risks as much as possible. One he doesn’t use a pillow. Secondly, he sleeps on my side, not in between my husband and me. I have a barrier making sure he cannot roll off the bed.

One thing that sucks is when he goes to sleep I have to go to bed as well. If he stirs and I am not beside him, he will instantly wake up, and bedtime will be prolonged for another two or three hours. Sure maybe that is because he also breastfeeds, but I do believe this is due to the co-sleeping. The lack of body warmth beside him wakes him quickly.

Another challenge is the lack of sleep. You may have heard that you get more sleep with co-sleeping, but that is just not true. While my son sleeps the whole night through, every time he moves or stirs I wake up. Call it mommy instincts or what have you, but the number of times I wake up outweigh the ‘extra’ sleep I get by already being in bed after breastfeeding.

Now it’s not all horrible. One thing that co-sleeping was wonderful for was breastfeeding. We are now going on 17 months of breastfeeding.

It also helped put the baby back to sleep quicker during those midnight feedings when he was younger. For one they are already in bed, and your body warmth will quickly lul them back to sleep. Which will help overall the amount that your baby sleeps.

My son is currently 17 months old. We still co-sleep, but lately the minimal amount of sleep has had me thinking it is time to get him to his bed. There is only so many cups of coffee this mama can consume in a day!

So overall for us co-sleeping was the way to go, I will let you know later on how that goes,

Cheers,

When you feel like a horrible parent

Am I a terrible parent?

I had one of those days recently.

You know the ones where from early in the morning you just KNOW nothing will go right. Where the tension and irritability kept rising, where every response out of my mouth had to be measured and held short to refrain from yelling at my son, or at the poor unsuspecting adults around me.

The day started out with my son screaming bloody murder because of a diaper change, and I usually get the first few ones of the day changed with no fuss. Not that day, right off the bat it was a fight.

Then I had to choose if I wanted to cook breakfast while carrying him or hearing him cry and tugging at my pants.

Another fight for said breakfast.

And another diaper change fiasco.

And all of that was before 8 am!

By the end of the day, I was in tears, my son finally asleep beside me, because he would not sleep anywhere else. I was in the middle of one of my biggest pitty parties ever. My husband was deployed, my son was losing his mind, causing me to lose mine.

Then it started, the part where I began to think of what a horrible mother I was. I let my kid watch tv all day sometimes, or allow him to survive the day eating nothing but puffs. Kept him in diapers longer than I should have, didn’t bathe him for two days straight. Heck, I didn’t even take a bath for two days straight!

I went to sleep like that, feeling like the biggest failure, the worst mother on the planet. But then, the next morning the storm had passed, and some reality began to seep in.

I remember, before having kids, I swore I would limit my children’s electronic usage time, I would make sure they ate a healthy variety of food each day, they would play outside and interact with children, bathe daily, read daily. Well, this was all planned pre-child.

There are days I can achieve all of that, but there is nothing wrong when you cant do all of the “planned” things.

TV all day, well I get tired. So if my son is content watching Peppa Pig all day, then go for it! It’s not like its happening every day. So if you need a down day, there is nothing wrong with making the TV your nanny.

A healthy variety of food, haha, yeah! I have a kid that if I let him survive off of breastfeeding at his age now (17 months), he would. So while MOST days I offer a nice mix of foods in hopes that he will nibble on a few of the things before him, there is nothing wrong with the days he just eats puffs. Toddlers are weird little creatures, and some days it may just be red foods, or green, or puffs for breakfast lunch and dinner. As long as it doesn’t become an everyday thing, have at the puffs kids!

Daily baths, well ideally yes, right before bed. But after fighting eight diaper changes in the day, sometimes I just want him to go down to sleep without a fight. So he stays in the same clothes he’s had on all day sans bath. It’s not like he was playing in the mud. A quick wipedown of the face hands and feet and off to bed he goes.

Going outside for sunshine, yeah see above about tired mommy and TV days.

Sleeping on his own and quietly, not my kid. We co-sleep, he won’t sleep for long if he is by himself. Lay him in bed with me, and he sleeps like a rock all night no problem. By himself, a whole different story. So one day he’ll sleep in his bed, hopefully before he goes off to college.

Cant clean, because he wants you sitting beside him watching, said Peppa Pig, sit beside him. No one will die over a little dust and mess. Odds are it will all be there tomorrow for you to clean.

So amongst this brilliant realization that just maybe, I am not the worst mother in the world, also came the knowledge that everything will be ok.

In an ideal world, things would go about differently, but that would also mean that your baby wouldn’t be how they are now. My kid wouldn’t be the spunky, hyper, animal loving pain in the ass he is, and the truth is I love him just like that. I would not want him to change.

So along with learning that everything is not in my control and that everything is ok, I learned that it is also ok to feel. I am allowed a pity party.

It’s ok not to be perfect. I promise while someone’s house may be cleaner than yours, but not everyone else is. Mine is probably messier!

Don’t compare yourself to other moms. Each has their battle they fight with, from the outside looking in it may seem like they have it together, but you just never know.

Leave with this.

You are enough! You are not the worse mother in the world, and your house isn’t the messiest, your child isn’t going to ruin a day of TV.

Here is to hoping for a better tomorrow.

Cheers

Delicious Easy Cookies and Cream Pie Recipe

I love Oreo’s.

Anyone that knows me knows I will try anything that says Oreo’s or Cookies and Cream. It’s an addiction I know, but I have come to terms with it.

However, I struggled to find one Oreo pie I loved. So I did what any real addict does, I made it myself.

Here is my Cookies and Cream Pie Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 tub of cool whip

1 package of cream cheese

1 Oreo package (or any chocolate cookie and cream brand)

1 Oreo Pie crust (you can make this yourself instead of buying one.

 

Directions:

1. Place cream cheese in a bowl and mix until smooth.

2. Chop 2 rows of cookies into small chunks. (you can put them in a blender for quicker chop)

3. Mix cookies with cream cheese.

4. With a spatula mix in the cool whip to the cream cheese and cookie mixture. Once thoroughly mixed scoop into pie crust.

5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into it to let the mixture set.

6. Enjoy and try to not eat it all!

 

 

 

This pie is easy to make, cost effective and delicious! Not only a hit with me, but with my family as well. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Happy “Baking”

Deployment and Toddlers

The toddler years can be hard for any parent, but add a deployment in there, and it may feel like your life has been wholly tossed upside down.

If as an adult, you find deployments hard and stressful, imagine on those little ones that cannot fully comprehend why their parent is gone. It is a perfect recipe for stress.

I know what it is like, I currently have a two-year-old and a deployed spouse.

Knowing that you are the only one there to change diapers, to cook and clean all the while watching the kid/s. The fact that no one is coming home later tonight to give you those ten blissful moments in the shower.

That feeling of how am I going to survive this, or even more simply how will I survive today? Normal. Don’t worry. You will survive simply because you have to. That toddler that is driving you nuts, that doesn’t understand why mommy or daddy is gone needs you. That is the driving force behind the best motivation to keep going.

As hard as all of this is on us, we must stay grounded. I learned that one of the most important things for me this deployment other than keeping my sanity was to keep somehow my son connected to my husband.

Here are some things that have worked for us:

1. Facetime/Skype- There is nothing more satisfying and heartwrenching as seeing your child’s face light up when they see their parent on the screen. It takes all of me to not sob uncontrollably. The joy they get out of those few and treasured ‘face to face’ calls are amazing. Some have more chances of these than others, but be sure to stress to your spouse how important and significant this is for your child’s emotional connection to them.

2. Videos – Afraid they are missing something amazing in your child’s life? Record it and send it via email. It may not be the same as having them there, but they will at least not miss those precious moments.

3. Making countdown boards – Sure dates can change, as we know, nothing is ever set in stone with the military. But having a form of a countdown for your child can get them to grasp the fact that the parent is indeed coming back home. Using a jar with marbles is a great visual for them to use and understand.

4. Books – There are many books out there for kids on deployments. There are also many books out there for spouses to read. I love ” I love you near and far.”

5. Recordable books – If your spouse is usually the one to read your child books, then this is a great thing to have. They can record themselves reading the book, and your toddler can still have mommy/daddy reading to them every night. This is one of my favorites.

6. Recordable bears – This is kind of like the book, but this has a more personal aspect to it. A cute message for your child, or a simple I love you recorded in their voice. Great way for the toddler to feel connected to their parent. This is the one we have.

At the end of the day, the goal is simple, keep your sanity as much as possible and help your child feel connected to their parent as much as possible during such a difficult time.

If you have any more tips, please comment below. I love to hear what everyone else does!

Cheers!

How I survived a 12 hour flight with a toddler

Flying anywhere can be difficult when you have a child, even more so when your flight is over 12 hours long. That is what I dealt with this weekend.

You may have read in our last post that we are now living in Japan. And while our adventure has just only begun, I am looking back to our flight and giving you all the dirt on how we survived.

First off let me say that we had three flights within 24 hours. Our first leg of the trip was 3 hourslong. Since we had to be up and out the door by 4 am, my little slept almost the entire first flight. So that was easy peasy.

I should also mention that he had his own seat on the flight which was a lifesaver since I got to lay him out.

Then came the layover, which was not bad. I let him run around the waiting area a bit in hopes that he would tire out and sleep more on the plane. I also hoped that having my parents over three days before our flight keeping him up during naps would make him extra tired for the flight. Well, it didn’t help.

The first hour of the flight went by pretty quick, and between being newly on the plane, wanting to discover the personal TVs and trying to look at the people around him he tired himself out quickly and fell asleep.

That only lasted about a good hour.

After that began the battle to keep him entertained, TV only caught his attention by spurs of moments. He’d see an episode here or there throughout the flight, but nothing continuous. However, it did give me a small 30-minute reprieve every so often.

Toys, overall this was the most prominent lifesaver. My son is very into animals and dinosaurs right now. To make the toys even better I made sure they were new toys he had never seen before. The awe and excitement of not only having toys, but new toys was terrific. I want to say he spent a good hour with each one when first opened.

I would say, for future flights, I will probably buy about ten small new toys, wrap it and give it to him every hour or so. Like this, he is always busy with a new toy. For us, this was where the biggest form of entertainment was.

Towards the end of the flight, he became extremely exhausted. He had bearly slept, and back “home” it was about 3 am. At this point, he began crying and very irritable. I got up and took him to the bathroom and let him walk in there. Yes, the bathroom was small, but he seemed content in walking those three paces over and over again. I could have let him walk the aisle, but my kid is way too friendly, and I was afraid he’d wake someone up to “talk” to them. For us, the bathroom was the best option. We were in there for maybe 5 minutes, enough to calm him and the crying. Then once back in the seat, I managed to get him to go back to sleep. He slept for the duration of the flight … 45 minutes. Oy!

Once again, in the airport, he was awake and walked about until it was time to board the plane once again. Once back on the plane for our short and final 1.5 hr flight he fell asleep before we even took off. At this point, the local time was 6 pm. He slept through the flight, through the luggage claim ordeal, through the car drive, and even putting him in bed. He did not wake up until 5 am in the morning, poor thing was exhausted and more than likely very Jetlag.

I cant say flying with a toddler is easy, but it is not as difficult as you’d think. As long as you have snacks they like, some tv, and toys, things will go ok.

For me, the stress before the flight was much worse than the actual flight.

I hope this in some way helps you, whether it be to prepare or ease your mind. Just remember at the end of the day they are kids, and people will more than understand. Even with his crying at the end, I kept getting told by the surrounding passengers how amazing he behaved. Maybe people just expect kids to cry the whole time, who knows.

So deep breath, all will go ok.

Safe Travels!

What happens when your favorite season and a move collide? You end up in Japan of course!

The crisp mornings, the feeling of a warm cup of coffee between your hands, looking out the window and watching the turning leaves slowly fall and hit the ground. Yes, Fall is finally here!

For some, it means Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Which let’s admit, they are pretty tasty. For others it apple picking, hay rides or pumpkin patches. Then there are those that Autumn represents the start of the never-ending holidays.

For me, it means the start of not sweating profusely every day. Having most recently lived in Key West due to my husband’s military career, meant we were living in an endless summer. This Autumn you will find me enjoying watching the leaves change colors and fresh cool mornings in JAPAN!

Yes, I am officially living in Japan!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would speak those words. Reality is, it was hard for me ever even to imagine living outside of Florida, considering I was born and raised there.

If I am truthful with myself, I have to admit that I am a little scared about this move. If it were just my husband and myself moving, honestly there would be no worry or hesitation, but with 1.5-year-old things are a little different. I worry about him, how will he settle in, not only into a new country but a new home with none of the family and friends he has come to love and accustomed to seeing near him?

And yet, there is so much excitement and wonder at living in a new foreign place. There is so much to learn and to experience. To teach our son at such a young age about a new culture. Experiences like this do not come by easily, something I truly do appreciate and am grateful for.

I look forward to sharing a few of our Japanese adventures as we get settled a bit more and begin exploring. I can’t help but think such a life-changing move was just meant to happen during my favorite season, maybe to help me acclimate and accept the move a bit more.

Look forward to hearing from you and seeing those fall inspired homes.

Happy Autumn!