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Jul 31, 2020 | Preparedness
1. Breastfeeding is hard and people will tell you that you cannot do it. You will be told that your nipples are not big enough. You will be told that you are not producing enough milk. And maybe some of that is true. But keep trying until you are satisfied. And then remember that you are a mama whether you breastfeed or not. Remember that skin to skin can be done at anytime. Take the time to bond while breastfeeding or not!
2. Remember to try to enjoy your breastfeeding journey- no matter if it's joyful or painful. It is the path to bond with your lovely babes, and it's amazing to see them growing up in your arm!
3. It can be so hard at the start, and it isn’t natural and easy for everyone. We had 2 lactation consultants and a tongue tie before it clicked.
If you pump, don’t feel bad if you are an exact producer - not everyone has a freezer full of milk. I stopped pumping at 12 months and had exactly 2 bags of frozen milk left.
One morning you might realize you are no longer nursing a sweet tiny baby and instead nursing a toddler doing gymnastics
4. No one told me how hard it would be. I felt it was harder to nurse than be pregnant. It was exhausting and emotional. The first 2-4 weeks were by far the hardest but every week it got easier and easier. By 2 months in it was much easier and was one of the most rewarding things I felt I could do for my baby.
I do always tell my friends when they are in their first few weeks that sometimes breastfeeding might not be for you and thats ok. You need to do what is best for you and baby. However, as hard as it felt they all stuck it out and made it through.
Lastly 2nd time mom and soon to be 3rd I can say from my experience it does get easier with each child. You are more relaxed and equipped to handle the cluster feeding, your body and mind is more prepared than with your first.
5. I wish someone told me how physically and mentally challenging it was. You are their lifeline, their source for food. That adds a tremendous amount of pressure. Trying to navigate this new skill, while also healing from major surgery was a HUGE feat! I also had a hard time not knowing exactly how much she was consuming. Babies are smart and they will let you know when they are hungry. If you need help – ask for it! Lactation consultants are a great resource. If you need to supplement with formula – do it! Fed is best. You got this mama!
6. Our baby fell off the growth chart when she was 2 months old and it was heartbreaking. I felt like I failed her, and failed at being her Mom. In between all the clogged ducts, blebs (yes its a thing, google it...and I'm sorry for those who suffer with these), salt water soaks, nipple creams, tears, and everything else...we somehow found our way to exclusive breastfeeding (going on 7 months strong with a healthy baby who is now in the 50th percentile for weight). #happyhormonaltears
For all the new mamas out there, I am with you wholeheartedly.
1. Believe in the magic that is in the bodily form of lactation consultants. They are incredibly helpful.
2. Get a Hakka silicone pump.
3. Learn how to hand express...its daunting but its so helpful.
4. Call your mom friends who have walked the road before you. They are a wealth of knowledge and will be able to help you!
5. If you have a partner, believe in the power of their help. They should be armed with the knowledge to support you. Snacks, water, emotional understanding and empathy.
Your body literally makes milk that keeps a tiny human alive.
Yep...we think you're doing pretty great, Mama.
Mar 24, 2020 | Preparedness
If you find yourself eyes wide open at 2 a.m., wondering if you should reach for your phone, get up and make yourself a snack, or power up the kindle, you’re not alone. Any parent’s advice to a mama-to-be is, “Enjoy your sleep!” But guess what? Sometimes it’s just not that easy.
Even the soundest sleepers can become total insomniacs once the creation of life is on our to-do list. And there’s a whole host of reasons why. Maybe it’s because you have to get up to pee every two hours, or because your new nightly heartburn makes it impossible to lie down. Or maybe it’s the cramp in your leg, the ache in your back, or the ever-growing belly you’re trying to maneuver every time you want to roll over (or the tiny human inside that’s kickboxing your uterus!).
And it doesn’t stop there. Our mind can be as big of an insomnia culprit as our body. What will labor feel like? How many prenatal vitamins do I have left? Did I remember to put those crib sheets on the registry? Cloth or disposable? Sometimes we can easily spin ourselves out till sunrise. There’s no tried-and-true secret for sinking into a deep, undisturbed sleep while pregnant, but there are a few ways you can set yourself up for greater success.
With your growing belly, stretchy hips, and achy joints and muscles, getting comfy at night can feel like a pipe dream. But a body pillow can be a huge help. And there are so many different kinds—S-shaped, U-shaped, wedge-shaped, and more—so if one isn’t right, don’t let it stop you from trying out another. Find one that gives you support where you most need it, whether that’s between your knees or under your neck or belly.
Lavender essential oil has been shown to alleviate anxiety and up sleep quality. Add a few drops to a diffuser and let that little machine mist you into dreamland. Or skip the diffuser all together and just go straight for the oil: add a couple drops of lavender oil to your pillow case before you go to sleep, or dab a drop or two on your wrists or temple.
When we’re having trouble sleeping, even a little bit of light (from a streetlamp, a bathroom light, or even a smartphone) can feel like a floodlight. If you’ve never been an eye mask person, now might be the time to try it—wearing one is the easiest way to you may just wonder why you went so long without one.
Yeah, we know you know—meditation makes everything better. But it’s kind of true! Especially when it comes to sleep and the mental acrobatics anxiety makes us perform. You can start small, really small, with just a couple of minutes a day. But see if you can keep it up, we swear it gets easier.
Here’s another one you’ve probably heard, but that’s ’cause it truly works—a bit of exercise every day has been shown to improve sleep. We’re not saying to benchpress your weight after you put your PJs on, but getting your body moving during the day will help it slow down at night.
They’re not just for babies! Having some soothing, consistent noise in your bedroom at night—hello ocean sounds!—can help lull you to sleep and then keep you there, by drowning out external noise and keeping your brain in a state of calm.
Jul 28, 2019 | Preparedness
When those first contractions hit, you know what you don’t want to be thinking about? YouTubing car seat installation tutorials or finding someone to feed the dog while you’re away from home. Going into labor just doesn’t leave much space in your brain for those kinds of details, so it’s best to tackle logistics beforehand—the peace of mind is worth it! Even if you’re a master procrastinator, your baby might not be, so giving yourself a deadline for these tasks at least two weeks before your due date is a great goal to have. And you know what? The world won’t end if you don’t get everything squared away before delivery. You’ll just figure it out on the go, which is a good taste of new parenthood anyway.
But here’s a helpful checklist so you’ll know what to do (or at least be aware of what you’re not doing—the fewer surprises the better!).
This one is the easiest to put off, but unless you want to end up in the maternity ward without your favorite robe and nothing but hospital soap to wash your post-delivery face with, you might want to make it a priority. You don’t need much, just the essentials and whatever else will make you feel comfortable and at ease, whether it’s a snuggly pair of socks, or your favorite rosewater face mist. Check out our hospital bag checklist here, for suggestions.
Hang out in a hospital parking lot long enough, and it’s almost inevitable that you’ll spot a flustered partner checking and re-checking the infant car seat they’ve just installed. It doesn’t have to be this way! Install your car seat ahead of time (don’t forget the newborn insert!), and you can ensure that it’s all buckled and secured exactly as it should be, for the safest transport of your baby’s first ride.
If you want to see a few offices and meet a handful of doctors in order to choose the one that feels right for you and your family, this might take a bit longer than you think. Many pediatricians hold open houses at particular times, or you can schedule individual appointments. Throw in the question of insurance coverage, and you might need more than one first choice. But taking the time to choose one beforehand will mean the first doctor your baby sees right after delivery will be someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
Maybe you packed your hospital bag and installed the car seat, but when you get home with baby realize you have nothing clean to put this sweet newborn in! Be sure to wash your crib sheets, bath towels, and newborn clothes beforehand, so that doing laundry isn’t the way you spend your first day at home.
News travels fast, especially when it’s this good! But you and your partner don’t want to be the ones having to share it with everyone when you’re recovering from delivery, figuring out breastfeeding, and basically making constant heart eyes at the tiny human you’ve just met. Tell the few people closest to you, and designate a point person or two that can communicate to the rest of your friends and family members. This is also a good time to think about who you want in the delivery room with you (if anyone!), and who you’ll want to see just after birth, ’cause pretty much everyone is going to want to see you, but that doesn’t mean you have to roll out the welcome wagon.
If you have any pets, any other children, or even any houseplants that you’ll need caring for while you’re away from home, designate someone who can be on call and ready to step up when the time comes. In fact, designate two people, so you have a backup if necessary. Make sure each person has a key to your house ahead of time, and all the instructions they’ll need.
If there’s one thing most new mamas are, it’s famished. Labor and delivery is grueling work, and constantly breastfeeding a newborn means you’ll need all the sustenance you can get. Rather than putting your favorite takeout spot on speed dial, set up a meal train beforehand, that can kick in as soon as you get home. Your friends and family will want to help, and this is the perfect way for you to get fed, and for them to support you.
The big day is approaching, are you ready mama? We've got a guide to help you get from hospital to home! Read more to create your birth plan!
Mar 29, 2019 | Preparedness
"Whether it's your first, third or fifth child you will quickly realize that people love to give all sorts of parenting advice."
Feb 19, 2019 | Preparedness
Contributor Ryann Donahoe, gives her take on the things she found necessary, things she could have lived without and things that were completely useless.
Nov 12, 2018 | Preparedness
Here's some information on Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) and how we should normalize this reality in our community.