4 Tips to Successful Breastfeeding

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In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would share some tips that helped/help me in my breastfeeding journey.

1.) BE PREPARED:

I know that special season of life when preparing for a new baby, things can get hectic and a bit overwhelming. We’re all kinds of anxious about labor, delivery, getting the nursery ready, adjusting to a newborn, etc. But let’s just add one more thing to the list! Getting prepared to breastfeed! It is no small feat, and I think the more prepared you are mentally, the easier it may be! So just do your research on it. What to expect, what is normal, what to watch for, benefits etc. (Reading all the benefits can really remind you of WHY you are doing this, and help you push through the difficult times!)  There are a lot of mental mountains to climb with bfing: nipple pain, cracks, bleeding, clogged ducts, mastasis…I can go on and on. Not everyone has all of these issues of course, and there are a lot of tools/information out there to avoid or remedy issues like these, however, you never know and it’s better to be safe and have the materials you need ready.(nipple butter, breastpads, nursing bras, blahblahblah) The greatest struggle for me, was feeling “touched out,” getting prepared to ALWAYS have a body on you 24/7. It can be tough at first, and exhausting, but you did just push out a human after all! You’re supermom already! YOU.GOT.THIS!

2.)  HAVE/ACCEPT SUPPORT:

Weather it’s your spouse, mom, MIL, grandma, sister, friend, or the whole village! For crying out loud please educate and use the people who will spend a lot of time with you and your little! This is probably THE most important one! This may be hard to ask for or be clear with. Some may think you just want to deal with bfing privately, they may pretend they don’t see you, not make eye contact and so on…other’s may ask you if u want to go to another room for some privacy, and u may want to…but IF YOU DON’T,  that’s ok too! Just explain how you are alone enough and don’t care to feel isolated while you feed your baby even in public *gasp!* which leads me to, making sure your partner or anyone who spends time with you and your L.O in public understands your bfing habits weather you would rather find a quiet spot in private, use a cover, or just go about your business while feeding…whatever it may be, just allow yourself to be transparent and true to yourself. It really helps you feel confident and secure when you have someone who supports your decisions. also don’t be shy to ask for a glass of water and a snack while you’re bfing…I know you are thirsty and hungry mama! Babies take it all out of us! Your appetite is probably increased even more than when you were pregnant.

3.) GET COMFORTABLE:

The most annoying thing about being a new mom, (aside from the major lack of sleep lol) is sitting down to feed your baby and feeling STUCK. you forgot your phone, or book, baby just latched and you feel an immediate surge of thirst as if you just walked through the desert for 3 days straight, you don’t have a burp rag or bib, you pull your breast out and feel your nipple ripping off of your breastpad like a wax strip off of a grizzly bear and so on, and so forth. So, my tip for this one, is to have a comfy spot or couple of spots you designate to feed your little and make yourself a little breastfeeding basket! (Also a great baby shower gift😉) fill it with a couple of water bottles, a healthy snack, breast pads, a burp rag, a book, nipple butter, even a couple of diapers and wipes so you don’t constantly have to keep getting up and down with your newborn.

4.) STICK IT OUT:

The first few weeks of bfing are the hardest for several reasons…

Your breasts are regulating to your L.O’s appetite causing  frequent engorgement and constant leaking. Every time your baby cries, your breasts will let down and it is a painful tingly feeling. It is difficult to leave the house or even wear clothes because your constantly whipping your boobs out, or leaking everywhere. Choosing clothes to wear, is a challenge because you need to be able to accommodate a hungry, ravenous baby and still look like you belong in society.

But I promise all of this gets easier! Your breasts regulate according to L.O’s appetite, eliminating the need for a strong let down every time they cry, the leaking stops, no need for breast pads (thank God!) you get the hang of what clothes are easiest and most accommodating for you and baby. And the best part, nipple cream doesn’t stay a necessity! Baby will start to give you longer breaks between feedings and there is no more pain or discomfort! So if you can stick it out the first few weeks, the benefits far outweigh the struggles!

Potty Training Sucks!

 

Hey there! I have been slacking really bad on this blog. However there is good reason! I’m pregnant! After 8 mnths of trying, we finally did it! With that being said, my 1st trimester kicked my butt! Nothing like my first pregnancy! I basically stayed in bed trying not to puke for 3 mnths all while trying to take care of my toddler. Finally in my 2nd trimester, I feel great but I have a lot to catch up on. One thing being, potty training our daughter Aria before the new baby comes.

Aria will be 18 mnths in just a few days. I know…it’s early! But I’ve read all these articles about moms training their kids at this age and even earlier! and I had already gotten a head start by sitting Aria on her potty every morning when we got up and every night right before her bath and she consistently went each time. So I thought, this should be a breeze!

Well…I was dead wrong!

A few articles I’ve read, talked about a 3-day method or potty train in a weekend.  This way consists of basically baby going bare bottomed all weekend with potty right near by as mom feeds preferably salty foods and lots of water or juice all day while encouraging child to sit on the potty every 15 min and when they inevitably have accidents, carry them onto the potty and say peepee/poopoo goes in the potty FIRMLY but without yelling or getting angry. Some articles encourage giving treats when successful while others discourage treats and focus more on praise. I chose the latter. This week seemed perfect to start because tropical storm Hermoine was in town and leaving us to stay in-house a few days anyway.

Well let me just tell you how this is going…

Day 1:

I went in with a positive mindset. I KNEW she was going to have accidents and I felt prepared!….what I was not prepared for, was complete failure! She did not go ONE SINGLE TIME!!!! I felt completely defeated already!

Day 2:

She went twice the entire day. One of which she actually told me “potty!”and actually went! That made me SO happy! Finally some progress!! Well that was short lived because that happened early afternoon and for the rest of the day continued to go on my floor and/or couch.

Day 3:

Again, just twice the entire day. No asking either…however I did take notice that each time she had an accident she would run toward me while going, whimpering “peepee” or “poop”  which told me at least she seems to be TRYING to make it to the potty and maybe she isn’t recognizing the cues that she needs to go.

So we’re on day 4…I’m exhausted. I feel defeated. If I could make a wish list for today it would be that Aria: 1)consistently communicates that she has to go 2)goes more than twice 3)goes 2-3 times consecutively. I know most of you are thinking just give up for now! Try again later when she’s a little older!

Well I haven’t decided yet exactly what I’m going to do…I may do that if I feel the exhaustion is overcoming me and doing more of a disservice to me and my family. However I don’t want to confuse her. Kids thrive on consistency! Any prayers and/or encouragement is very much appreciated!

Yes. We Are Trying. (my journey of breastfeeding and conceiving)

Our precious baby girl Aria is a Toddler now! Currently almost 16 months going on 3! She is feisty, intelligent, and oh so loveable!!! I could write a book on how amazing she truly is, but for the sake of getting to my point, I’ll just leave it at that. Lol Everyone who meets her, loves her! So naturally they ask when do you want another one? Are you trying? Etc.

At this point in her life, Peter and I eagerly want to give her a sibling! She is very attatched to me still, as she co sleeps with us and still breastfeeds through the night. I believe gaining a sibling she will learn to detach a little and learn to be sacrificial for the benefit of her sibling. (Not without challenge of course lol) I also want her to be blessed with a life-long friend! Siblings are the best friends you can have and I so deeply want that for her. I’m starting to get anxious because truthfully, I planned on being pregnant a long time ago so they could be very close in age. Just goes to show, you can plan all you want, but God’s will is, God’s will and it is HIS timing that will prevail, not our own. 

A little background info:

  • I chose to exclusively breastfeed
  • Didn’t introduce ANY solids until 6mths
  • By 1 yr 3-4x/day + night feedings
  • Now when she wakes up, before bed, and throughout the night
  • My postpartum period came at 11 months post birth (later than most)

After giving birth, the human body is so thoughtfully and wonderfully made that it creates a child spacing mechanism so that you are allowed to completely heal before putting your body through the hardships of pregnancy and labor again. Breastfeeding is part of that process.(When you breastfeed, the same hormones that make milk, called prolactin, also suppress the release of hormones that cause eggs to mature and become fertile and the lining of the womb to nourish fertile eggs) Of course there are a lot of different factors at play here, that contribute to the length of time it may take to become completely fertile again. Some examples are: bf frequency, duration, night feedings, increase of solids, return of menstral cycle, co sleeping and of course the fact that everyone is different.

Although I am not positive about where exactly my body is on its journey to becoming completely fertile, I keep my faith that God has a plan for our family and that His ways are far better than ours. Whenever He chooses to bless us with another baby we will be so thankful and excited! Until then, we will continue to pray and ask God to give us patience in this circumstance and to guide us and prepare our lives and our hearts for another family member. And of course I invite you all to pray WITH us since there is no power like the power of prayer!

 

If you want to learn more on this topic, I encourage you to read these articles I found them extremely informative:

Resources:

http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/fertility

http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-breastfeeding-as-birth-control

Yes He Works So Hard…So Do I.

A few days ago, I encountered a conversation with an acquaintance in which she said that she and her spouse cleaned their home together earlier.I then hithered my husband over and with my sarcasm tainted voice said “how nice! He cleaned WITH her!” Then, in true peter fashion he rolled his eyes and exclaimed how hard he worked this week. (Another cook is away for a month leaving peter to pick up his hours) YES he has been working really hard!…But what about the rest of the weeks or months or years?? I ADORE my husband! He has so many strengths as an amazing husband and father! However…HE IS A SLOB!!!!

So another acquaintance hears the exchange and proceeds to say “oh but that IS hard work!”….

Now, me trying hard not to be confrontational I didn’t say what I was thinking. Which was: AND I DON’T?!

First of all, I’ve grown up IN a pizzeria myself. My family has been doing it for years and years! That’s HOW I met my husband! We worked together for a short period of time. I am completely aware of the difficulty level of the restaurant business. So I don’t appreciate when people (especially other moms) assume because I’m a sahm, I don’t know what hard work is! Because I have the hardest job of all!

Secondly, if a working spouse works so hard at his/her job, is that really an excuse to not do anything at home??? I surely don’t think so! I did not create this child or this mess on my own! I worked throughout my entire pregnancy as a dance instructor no less! And still had to upkeep the house. So why would my husband be excused from all household chores because I’M a sahm? Yes I agree to do more than he does because he does work hard however, that is not the same as doing absolutely nothing or next to nothing.

Most importantly, when a working spouse clocks out of work they are done for the day. When my husband comes home from work, Aria is already fed, bathed, read to, teeth brushed, nails clipped put to bed etc. The house is best described at this point as “there appears to have been a struggle” LOL and I am exhausted and missed my Hubby all day so I sit with him while he eats his dinner and spend our only alone time together. And I awake at 7 am the next morning and try to simultaneously care for our child and clean up the house while he sleeps in before his long day at work. I am in charge of all feedings, diaper changes, clothing, activities etc. for the entire day. Most days it is just me and my girl which is awesome…but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t envy my husband’s ability to leave the house and socialize with other adults all day even if it is just work.

Then I remember why we decided to have me be a sahm. I have the hardest most rewarding job in the world! My Aria is absolutely thriving, physically, intellectually and emotionally. I am so proud of her and amazed by her every single day! And I know that being a sahm is helping her thrive to her greatest potential. I have the most sacrificial, thankless, discredited job in the world. I have to remember why I am doing this and not seek approval from others. God has blessed us with this opportunity and child by child I could change the world as I intend to and wether or not others see it as important or hard is irrelevant.

DIY: shabby chic toybox

After the holidays ended, I was ready to move because my house was being overran by TOYS!!! Aria was incredibly spoiled by everyone. However, she didn’t have a neat little place to keep all of her toys…like a toy box. Her Birthday is coming up so I could have bought her one for that occasion, but we had so many tote bins lying around that were not designated for anything specific. So why waste money when we have exactly what we need?  I’m glad you concur. Well, the only issue I had was that well…totes aren’t very pretty. So of course the first place I looked was Pinterest. There were some good ideas on there, however either a lot more work than I bargained for or I didn’t have the required materials. So I looked around my house and came up with something great!

Materials I used:

  • old bedskirt
  • Tote bin
  • Hot glue
  • Twine

How I did it:

  • Lay bedskirt seamside down on a flat surface
  • Fold up the material up the sides (one side at a time) hot glue the seam of the skirt to the inside of the tote
  • Wrap twine around until desired thickness is reached
  • Tie a bow and fill with toys!😁

*depending on the size of the bedskirt your folding method may vary. Mine was a king so I actually had to cut some material as well.

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what’s for dinner?: lentil chilli

We’ve all been there, you have what seems like a lot of nothing in your fridge, (or at least a very random looking selection) so you decide to whip something up. No recipe. No solid foundation. Pure creativity!😉

When this happens, I’d say soup and/or chilli are safe go-to’s. I personally don’t love soup unless its super hearty. So I opted for chilli. The only problem is…I didnt have any chilli powder! 😟

Well I looked up a recipe in which I had just a couple of the spices called. So I improvised! For example, it called for a tsp of oregano but not having any, I used “italian seasoning” which contains oregano. I also didn’t have cayenne or paprika so I used a cajun spice I had that contained both. 😃

I also didn’t have meat so I chose to use lentils. Which makes this meal vegan friendly! 😃

Ok, Ok so what DID I have???

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1 can red beans
  • Leftover marinara sauce
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Tomato

First I mixed my spices

Next, I got out my crockpot, plugged it in and set it on high.

Then, I mixed my spices with the marinara sauce and put it in.

I added the beans, lentils, diced tomato and zucchini and mixed all of it together.

Cover and leave alone for 4 hrs.OR you can cook the lentils separately until tender and just cook the whole thing in a pot for 10-20 min.

I put it in a bowl and shred some cheddar on it and garnished it with 2 pieces of  zucchini.

And with my hubby in mind, I fried up some zucchini on the side!😉

It came out great! And Hubby approved!😁

Why we only give 4 Gifts on Christmas

20151212_184001.jpgMy baby girl’s very first Christmas is upon us! We are so overjoyed to watch her enjoy her first Christmas experience! At 10 months, she is old enough to walk around, get into everything and have some fun. So much thought and love went into every single gift from every family member. We can’t wait to watch her rip open her gifts and to see her reaction to it all.

As a mother, I am constantly thinking of the example I set for my daughter. The lessons I can teach her on a daily basis. I yearn for my daughter to be loving, kind, humble, strong, confident and everything a good woman should be. She is like a sponge absorbing everything I give her. So I must be cautious about the actions others may not see as bad or influential. The truth is…EVERYTHING is influential to a child with a vastly developing mind! I simply want to be the best teacher to my daughter. That is why my husband and I decided to give by the 4 gift rule. 

  1. Something you want
  2. Something you need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read

We want to encourage a humble spirit that is grateful and not spoiled. It seems like children are becoming more and more entitled while parents are (with good intentions trying to give their children everything they never had) enabling their self absorbed behavior.

Don’t misunderstand me…it was HARD not getting every little toy I thought she might like! It’s my first Christmas as a mom! Even if I know she won’t remember this Christmas or any of the toys she’ll get. It was so difficult narrowing down the choices! But at the end of the day we stand by our choice and think it will be a very beneficial tradition for our family.

Lord I pray today for all of the qualities I wish my daughter to have. May I exemplify qualities of a good woman like the one in proverbs 31. Guide me in being a good teacher for my family. Continue to be with our marriage and let us work as a team always. May every decision in our home be made prayerfully. Let us do ALL things for your glory God. All of this I pray in your precious name Jesus.Amen.

Christmas Craft: salt ornaments

 

As a wife and mother who is always looking to start new traditions and save money anywhere I can,  I was thrilled when I came across these super easy handmade ornaments! Let’s face it, those overpriced, cliche “baby’s first ornament” at every mall are so monotonous. And if you make them yourself you can get totally creative! So here’s what you’ll need:

  • salt
  • Flour
  • Warm water
  • Ribbon/string/twine
  • Baby hands/feet, cookie cutters etc. *optional*

First preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Grease a pan. Next, combine equal parts salt and flour. (I would suggest starting with 1/2 a cup each; you can always make more if you need to) add 2 tbsp of warm water 1 at a time. Mix together until the dough becomes nice and malleable. Create whatever shapes you like. Use a toothpick to make a small hole at the top big enough to pull ribbon through. Bake for 3 hours at 200 degrees F. Let cool. Decorate. Glaze with modge podge if u want a shiny finish. Hang. Enjoy😃

 

*Tip: if you choose to do hand/footprints, grease those too before molding into the dough. It will STLL take a few tries! 😜

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Recipe: Spaghetti Squash

Ok this is quite possibly THE easiest recipe ever!!! Again this is a healthy alternative so hubbies may not approve. LOL However, it IS baby approved! 😉(before seasoned)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • salt&pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flake (optional)

STEPS:

  • preheat oven to 350
  • Stab squash all over
  • Place on cooking pan and let cook for 1hr
  • Take out and let cool a bit
  • Slice in half vertically
  • Scoop out seeds and mush and discard
  • Use a fork to scrape out the rest into a large bowl
  • Season and enjoy!😁

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Blessings

FB_IMG_1446325717202~2Sometimes, when you least expect it, or even are so unworthy of it, God gives you blessings. Today my husband was at work and received his paycheck. It was not what he anticipated it to be. In fact he was 30 dollars short of Rent that our landlord was on his way to pick up. Well my husband happened to be the only cook that day which meant he didn’t have to split tips. In that short window of time he got 2 separate tips if 15 dollars each. Which never happens!!! Not even for a whole day of tips.  It was the exact amount we needed! Thank you Lord! He couldn’t believe how exact that was. I know that God always provides but it is so heartwarming to actually see  his blessings so clearly.

It just goes to show that God cares even about the little things. He listens to all your worries no matter how miniscule they might be. It reminds me if Matthew 6 which reads:Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

So thank you Lord for all of your blessings big and small, let us be conscious of your unconditional love and grace. We are so unworthy and you love us anyway! I am eternally grateful.