Tag Archives: new mom

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!

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,

Cheap bookshelf alternative for nursery or toddler room

I am a reader, I have always loved books. It was one thing I really wanted to pass down to my son when he was born. I asked for people to give me baby books for my baby shower if they preferred as a gift instead.

Let me just say. He has A LOT of books.

I am also happy to report that he loves to read… or at least be read to.

Here is my cost friendly bookshelf hack.

 

1. Buy any color of paint you wish your shelf to be. If you like the light wood pine color, then you don’t even need to buy paint and can save yourself that money.

2. Go to your nearest IKEA and get the BEKVÄM Spice Rack or order online here for only $3.99 each

3. Paint your shelve pieces and let dry.

4. Put together the spice rack

5. Mount on the wall and enjoy!

Due to all of his books, we now have ten racks, and they are FULL.

While this may not be ideal for an older child or teen with many books, this is perfect for those early toddlers and young child years.

Here is my end result for my son’s room.

Happy Savings!

We’re going to the zoo!

What happens when your husband is Military, and you get placed temporarily (read four months) in a hotel, in a city that is not going to be your final destination, and you have a 1-year-old?

You get a zoo membership of course!

Reality is, being a military spouse is hard, but you have to learn very early on to make due with what you have and what you are given. Otherwise, the results can be devasting as not only a person but a family as well.

So about a week into our stay in our temporary “home” (read standard hotel room), I realized the walls were very quickly closing in on my very active, then 14-month-old, son. Toys, books, and cartoons were just not cutting it anymore. I needed to find another outlet for his energy that would be entertaining for him and save my sanity at the same time. So that weekend we all went to the zoo.

As we were going to go and get our admission passes, I saw the military tickets were $14 per adult and my son would be free as a child under two. My eyes then went a little south and saw the member section, and Military annual was $89 for two adults and unlimited children of members. My brain quickly turned into a calculator. Each visit to the zoo would cost us in admission fees $28. So if we could come just four times in the four months that we were going to be here, it would more than pay for itself. After very little convincing, my husband agreed and got us the membership.

In the past four months, we have been to the zoo a total of 17 times. So that means we have saved $387. You cant do better than that!

I know some of you are wondering how the hell do you not get tired of going to the zoo so much! Well one, I have a toddler who LOVES animals. I am pretty sure I could take him there daily, and he would never tire of it. Secondly, we don’t do the whole zoo every time. Sure there are some days we walk it all, but mostly we’ll do a loop or segment per visit. Making each visit on its own a new adventure since we didn’t see those animals ‘last time’.

Of course, there are certain parts we see all the time. Tigers and the monkey sections are always a must. He just loves screaming ‘ooo-ah-ah-ah’ at the poor orangutangs that have no idea why the little imp in front of them is screaming and bouncing around so much.

Even though for me as a mother and wife, it has been difficult living in a hotel room for the past four months, these zoo adventures are something I will cherish forever.

I have learned to take the bad with the good and make the most out of any situation.

So if you are unsure of what to do, just go to the zoo!

Until Next Time

After the baby comes the…blues?!

When you are a first-time mom, I feel confident enough to say nothing truly prepared me for what came after the birth.

I read the books, saw the videos, heard the stories, babysat, cleaned the diapers of any parent crazy enough to give their child up. And yet, the one thing nothing talked about, that one thing no one told me about, “baby blues.”

Baby blues by definition is different than PPD (post-partum depression). With baby blues, they last a couple of weeks only and go away quickly on its own. PPD more times than not require some form of medical intervention, whether through medication or therapy and can last from months to years if untreated.

With me, PPD nor Baby-Blues ever crossed my mind. It was never even a possibility for me. My pregnancy, though full of trips to the toilet to puke my brains out, was happy and content. That doesn’t mean I had no idea about PPD. I knew a couple of close family members and friends that dealt with it. For me, it never seemed to be a real thing.

 

Then came one of the happiest day of my life. I had my beautiful baby boy. I managed to survive pushing “the thing,” as I called him in the middle of labor, unmedicated. He came out, clean, healthy, and even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined him to be. I felt great right after surprisingly, didn’t need an episiotomy (TMI sorry), didn’t tear (again, sorry TMI), all I wanted was a shower and food. So about 20 minutes after my baby was born, the pizza was on its way, and I was requesting a nurse for a shower. This is the point where things began to change for me.

The ten steps that it took me to get from the bed to the bathroom were horrible. I was severely lightheaded and had to admit to the nurse I didn’t think I could make it back to the bed. The nurse quickly helped me sit on the toilet, told me to take deep breaths and she would give me a hand back. After that, I didn’t feel quite ‘right’ for a couple of weeks.

I got the joy of having two blood transfusions and two extra days in the hospital. My husband had to get me the baby for a good week after, because I was afraid if I stood with him I would faint.

It was hard I felt like I had just started my role as a mother and was already failing. I couldn’t get up to get my child when he needed me, and I had to rely on someone else.

I also struggled with breastfeeding in the beginning. I was an overproducer, so I was in constant pain and in fear of mastitis (which I somehow magically avoided), and my sons suction was tearing my poor nipples up.

Yes I know, all sorts of TMI here, again, sorry.

The days were long. I remember sitting on the couch, my son in his swing, calmly, being the best baby I could have ever asked for. My husband cleaned all diapers for the first three weeks. I only touched him to feed him.

I recall how my husband would ask me daily what was wrong, why was I crying? My response was always the same. I DONT KNOW. By this point, I could walk, and I was no longer reliant on him. Reality is, I didn’t know why I felt so much sadness. There was nothing I could pinpoint what was triggering the feeling of hopelessness.

 

So on it went, random times of the days, I’d cry for ten minutes and then go on with life as if nothing happened. Day after day, for about five weeks. Then one day I just stopped crying. The feelings went away. I no longer felt constantly sad, and for the first time I could carry and look at my son and enjoy being in his presence without the fear that I would break out in tears.

Once the fog lifted, I began to research. What had plagued me? What was this thing that was such a taboo to talk about? So I spent weeks reading and learning. It was interesting to read that both baby-blues and PPD were common that we could expect.

It’s so important to learn about baby-blues and PPD and to seek help especially when the When you are a first-time mom, I feel confident enough to say nothing truly prepared me for what came after the birth.baby-blues seem to linger.

So many mothers are criticized and judged for thinking or having these feelings, something that is so common. Rather than keep this to ourselves we should strive to talk about it, take it out of the shadows, get it out of the taboo sections. The more we embrace and empower ourselves and those we know who deal with this secret ‘ illness,’ the more that women hear about it, the easier it is to treat and learn that you are not alone.

For those of you that have ever experienced or are experiencing baby blues or PPD, know you are not alone. You are not the first person to feel like that, nor will you be the last. But know you are amazing!

To those of you who have experienced or are experiencing “baby blues” or PPD, I hope that you are aware that you are not alone. You are human, and you are amazing. And more importantly, seek help, this is not something to be ashamed of.

For more information on PPD go here.

To learn more on the difference of baby-blues vs PPD go here.

Our Breastfeeding Journey, 16 months and counting!

We hear the stereotypes all the time, the crazy uber liberal breastfeeding mom that walks around everywhere shirtless.

There’s also the hermit breastfeeding mom that never leaves home for fear that the baby may need to be fed in the ten seconds she manages to step foot outside of the house.

Yes, they may exist. You may know one, or maybe even be one! But the reality is, those are the extremes of breastfeeding, most are just regular moms.

Then you hear the horror stories. The teething child that clamps down on nipples. The one lady who’s kid bit off a chunk of said nipple, the pincher, the distracted nurser, the hour long drinker.

So how did I survive breastfeeding for this long? Simple, I didn’t listen. I shut my ears to the “stories” and decided to experience nursing my child for my self.

That is not to say that I didn’t deal with my share of horrors because believe me I did. But there so many sweet moments in between that just made it all worth it.

I lived through an oversupply issue, which for you just enoughers or those that don’t make enough, it’s not as great as it sounds. Severe constant engorgement (even with my ‘baby’ being 16 months old), the endless purchases of breast pads, mastitis (which I have miraculously avoided), plugged ducts, pumping for ‘relief.’ The list could keep going.

There was also the whole him exposing the nerves on my nipples thanks to his monstrous sucking powers. Side note, it was just his sucking, there was no lip or tongue tie, latch issue involved. We were checked, by at least five professionals.

We lived through nipple confusion which lasted six weeks, only to go back to the breast and refuse bottles. I mean the kid still refuses them, wouldn’t even take water from it, though he now just uses cups and straws.

Of course, he is a typical child and hates nursing covers, so I had to learn how to breastfeed in public without using a cover, as discreetly as possible. By the way, the double shirt method is probably the best way.

Those were my bad, the moments that made me question my sanity for continuing the path that caused me so much pain. But I did continue because it brought me so much joy.

I get asked by new moms how do I do it? And why am I still breastfeeding at 16 months, with no signs of stopping?

Well, how do I do it? I just do. Whenever he needs milk, i take out my breast and feed him, regardless of my surrounding or needs to myself. Why? Because this little being is solely dependant on me and I want to be able to give him what I believe I could best give him. And whats better than milk created by the person that created him, milk personally tailored to him and his needs. That is what I think of when I question myself or feel some pains caused due to breastfeeding. I focus on the broader picture.

As to why I am still breastfeeding my now toddler. Well, you try telling him no.

Breatfeeding isn’t a one-way relationship. It is a relationship your little person is highly invested in. Not only is it a food source, but it is also a soother, some quiet time with mom, a cuddle session, a snack, a boo boo fixer, it is so much more to them.

Plus, there is nothing wrong with adding those extra nutrients and vitamins in there when they go through an “only chicken” phase.

So this is my breastfeeding journey. It has been long, and gone on for more than the ‘average’ time frame, had its ups and downs, but it is mine. There are many stories out there, and sure you can read them all in hopes to prepare yourself for your breastfeeding journey. Or perhaps you are here reading this in hopes of a magical answer to make it instantly better and easier, but sadly that doesn’t exist.

Some have very easy and smooth journeys, some have some bumps along the way as I did, but the goal is the same. To do the best you can do for your child.

If you can push through the bumps and continue breastfeeding, congratulations. Welcome to the “you’re breastfeeding a toddler” group, be ready for all sorts of comments on what a weirdo you are for doing so. Know, you are not alone.

What happens if you are one of that 40 % of women who don’t make it to breastfeeding past three months? You grab your bottle, prepare the formula and feed your baby. You are doing right by your child. You breastfed for however long you could or wanted to and now you formula feed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Know, you too are not alone.

If you can take one thing from this, I hope that you understand each journey is different. Do not expect yours to be like anyone else’s. So close your eyes, and enjoy your time breastfeeding, because before you know it, it will be over.

Until next time!