To Wean or Not To Wean?

My daughter is almost 10 months old, and about a month ago she decided to stop breastfeeding. I figured it was due to teething, which might have been the case at first, but now I think she just prefers the bottle over me. This has caused me to exclusively breast pump, which SUCKS! It’s so much easier to just breastfeed my baby and not have to worry about pumping, warming up milk, or cleaning pump parts and bottles.

My husband and I strive to do things as naturally as we can with our daughter.

With that being said, I’m trying desperately to get her back to breastfeeding.

So, I started doing research, and one major thing I learned is that babies don’t usually wean off the breast before they hit a year old. If they do, it’s usually because they are teething and their gums are sore, or they’re starting to prefer a bottle instead. With my daughter, it’s probably a mixture of both, but there are ways to get her back to breastfeeding.

Another thing I learned is that babies don’t really need more and 1oz – 1.25oz per hour, no matter how old they are or how big they’ve grown because their stomach (the actual organ, not the “belly”) is only but so big. So, if she’s eating about every 3 hours, then she shouldn’t really be drinking more than 4oz at a time.

This whole time I’ve been worried that I haven’t been expressing enough milk when I pump. In actuality, I’m really getting the amount she needs, which is also the amount she would be getting if she breastfed.

What a major relief!

As she has gotten older, we’ve been filling her bottles with 5-7oz of breastmilk because we thought she needed more. I also got a bigger size nipples that allow faster milk flow because it seemed like she was getting frustrated with the slower flow nipples. But as a friend told me, “your milk flow doesn’t change, so neither should the bottle nipple.”

Essentially, we’ve been overfeeding her. She typically doesn’t take that much all in one sitting, which is good, but sometimes she does. And we let her feed herself since she can hold a bottle on her own, so she definitely hasn’t been pace fed via bottle since she was much smaller.

Things I’m now doing differently to try to get her back to the breast:

-I’ve switched the bottle nipples from the size 2 that she’s been currently using, which makes the milk come out faster and she gulps it down too fast; back to either a preemie nipple or size 1 nipple, which both have a slower flow and more closely mimic my natural milk flow.

-When I’m with her, I’ll keep offering myself to try to get her back on track.

-I’ve asked her other caretakers to still hold her while she feeds and hold the bottle horizontally in order to pace her.

I think that since she got used to the faster flow and increased amount, she didn’t want to wait for my let down and slower flow, which is why she refuses me. Hopefully with these changes, she’ll be more willing to breastfeed again.

All of this has revealed to me the huge knowledge gap that moms have when it comes to breastfeeding their babies. Even as a NICU nurse, I didn’t know all the breastfeeding do’s and don’ts. We need more education BEFORE the baby comes, not just a quick course the day baby is born after hours or days of labor.

We are then sent to fend for ourselves thereafter.

It’s not right!

And it does a disservice to both mother and baby.

I know many moms who’ve gotten frustrated with breastfeeding or burnt out so they stop way before their baby is a year old.

To each her own, but I think if moms were fully educated and fully supported, babies would be getting breastfed much longer and wouldn’t go on strike at 9 months old.

Who’s with me?!

A Salute to Stay at Home Moms

I spent the last week being a full time stay at home mom (SAHM) because I had a week of vacation time away from work.

It was a staycation because I didn’t actually take a trip anywhere.

It was a much-needed break from external responsibilities.

Sure, I was a full time SAHM for the first 9 weeks of my baby’s life when I was on maternity leave, but that was pretty much just 9 weeks of high-level exhaustion.

Then, she was a newborn: fresh out the womb, needing me to watch her 24/7, clinging to me for nourishment and comfort, keeping me in a cycle of feed, change, console to sleep, every 3 hours. I didn’t have much time to eat. I could barely think. I was basically a highly-functioning zombie mom.

Now, she is practically a premature toddler; getting into everything, showing her personality more-including a bit of sass (yes, already!), following me everywhere, yet also declaring her independence. It’s so much fun watching her learn and grow…yet it’s also tiring.

I used to think that I wanted to be a full time SAHM, but this week has shown me that it’s much harder than I thought.

My job, though it can be extremely busy and grueling at times, is a healthy break from momming. I can go to work, take off my Mom hat and put on my nurse hat. Then, when I leave work, I switch back.

Sometimes the only break I get is my car ride in between locations. I realized this week that SAHM don’t even get that. (Until their kids are school-age; then, I imagine, it becomes a lot more fun.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love love LOVE my daughter and everything about her. I absolutely adore her! She makes my life so much brighter. I wouldn’t change a thing at all. I just want to shed light on the real things that moms experience for those who may not have an accurate picture, and to show other moms that they’re not alone.

In many cases, it is the Mom that does the primary child-raising.

Of course, in two-parent homes, the Dad/other partner also raises the child(ren).

However, Moms are always on the frontline, watching, bathing, cooking for, feeding, changing, transporting, laundering for, healing, protecting, etc. around the clock.

Our job never stops. Not even during the night when we’re supposed to be sound asleep, but the child has a need for something (even if it’s just attention).

So SAHM, I salute you.

You are doing a PHENOMENAL job!

The evenings you stop for fast food on the way home from soccer practice instead of making a home-cooked meal because you are just beat.

The days when you take 5 minutes to yourself in the bathroom with the door closed because that’s the only “me time” you get.

The days when you let your kids eat goldfish for breakfast because you haven’t gone grocery shopping yet, or because thats simply what they want and you don’t feel like fighting it, whether it’s nutritious or not.

The times when you mistakenly (or not) go a few days without showering because you’re just so busy there’s no time- or when there finally is time, you’d rather get some well-deserved sleep instead.

In case you don’t hear it enough:

You are AMAZING!

You are LOVED!

You CAN do this!

Keep doing what you’re doing, because you are doing it wonderfully, and your kids appreciate you.

Love,

Meg

P.S. important note: the same goes for stay at home Dads; the roles are different for each family!

Somewhere between newborn and toddler

It’s been about 2 months since my last blogpost.
Such is #momlife

My little one is so busy these days! She’s 8 months old, crawling and following me everywhere: to the toilet, to the kitchen, to the laundry room, to the shower…we share each other’s space all day every day. She’s like my little shadow.

I find it fascinating what objects keep her occupied. Her most recent favorite object is an empty water bottle. She loves the sound it makes when she squeezes it. She also loves anything with a button, zipper, cord, string…yeah, pretty much whatever she can get her hands on.
Its so fun observing her exploration. She’s learning so many new things every day!

I make sure to keep an eye on her while also giving her her space to learn and grow. As a mom, it’s important to have that balance. I don’t want to be a helicopter parent, hovering over her every move, but I also don’t want to be a negligent parent letting her do off-the-wall things.

These days she has to keep me (or other caretaker at the moment) in her view, or she gets upset. So, that keeps me busy, alert, and on my toes.

The good thing about me being her constant entertainment and always moving around? Continual weight loss. I have more energy and am getting closer to my pre-pregnancy weight each month. I honestly don’t understand how women snap back within a month or so!
But, I’m enjoying my body’s changes and embracing its new look: the stretch marks, the flabby areas, etc. I’ll spare you specific details.

I tell myself that once I’m done breastfeeding, I’ll start a workout regimen again. For now, sporadic neighborhood walks and constant movement at work will do. My body has been through a lot the past year and a half, it deserves a break. Plus, I’m still burning tons of calories every day from breastfeeding so it’s a win-win situation.

I will try to keep momentum going with this blog.
If you have any suggestions or things you want me to write about, feel free to tell me!

Love,
Meg

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Pregnant Women

I can’t believe how fast my little one is growing! Around this time last year, I found out I was pregnant with her. So, that made me reflect on my pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. But there are also things that aren’t so glorious about it.

The people that surround a pregnant woman during those nine months can really impact her experience.

Here are a few things you probably should or shouldn’t say or do to a pregnant woman (in no particular order):

10. Don’t – ask how she’s feeling.

I know you’re trying to be polite. You might even genuinely care. But trust me, you don’t wanna hear the truth.

It would go a little something like this:

I feel awful!

I don’t recognize my body anymore.

So many odors make me wanna vomit.

I’m actually nauseous right now and currently trying not to throw up on you.

I’m exhausted. My body is constantly doing the same amount of work as a marathon runner. I just want to stay in bed until it’s time to push this baby out.

I can’t see my feet.

There are strange smells coming from places I shouldn’t mention…

Shall I go on?

Do – ask if there’s anything you can do to make her more comfortable. And if there is, do it to the best of your ability!

9. Don’t – randomly come up to her and rub her belly.

I personally didn’t mind this.

However, some women HATE it.

Do – ask first or don’t do it at all.

8. Don’t – spontaneously tell her horror stories about your own or someone else’s pregnancy/labor experience.

She’s currently pregnant and soon about to birth a baby. She does NOT want to hear about how you were in so much pain that you wanted to die.

Unless she asked you…

Then, by all means, tell her every nitty gritty detail, because she really does want to know.

Do – encourage her! Let her know that she’s doing a great job with her pregnancy and that she can get through the labor and birth of her beautiful baby.

7. Don’t – tell her “It’s okay, it’ll be over soon and you’ll have a precious baby at the end, so it’ll all be worth it.”

Just don’t. “Soon” isn’t right now so it’s not helpful. Depending on her stage of pregnancy, she’s most likely super ready for it to all be over and is on the verge of tears at any given moment.

Do – tell her you’ll be there for moral support, emotional support, and physical support every step of the way.

6. Don’t – ask when she’s gonna have another one.

She might want another, she might not.

She probably doesn’t even know yet.

She definitely doesn’t wanna talk about it while currently pregnant. You’ll find out if/when she’s ready for you to know.

Do – mind your business. 🙂

5. Don’t – Treat her like she can’t do anything.

She’s pregnant, not an invalid.

Do – give her freedom to do things by herself that she would normally do before she became pregnant (within reason, if safe).

4. Don’t – Get annoyed when she asks for help with something, no matter how small. She can’t do everything she used to do, and many simple tasks are downright exhausting now.

(Yes, this contradicts the previous point. We’re complicated beings because of the being(s) we’re creating. Deal with it.)

Do – help her out without complaint.

3. Don’t – Ask how many babies she’s having and if she’s sure.

I’ve seen multiple friends of mine post statuses saying that a random person asked them how many babies they’re having, and when answered the person further asked “Are you sure?!”

Whether joking or not, I’m sure I don’t have to explain what’s wrong with that.

Some women carry better than others. One woman at 15 weeks might look how another does at 30 weeks, it doesn’t mean she’s having multiple babies. Don’t be rude.

Do – not ever say something like that to a pregnant woman.

2. Don’t – Say she doesn’t look that bad for a pregnant woman.

*heavy sigh*

Do – compliment how good we look pregnant; because we’re all a smidge extra self conscious.

1. Don’t – Constantly ask if she’s in labor yet. Please. Please. PLEASE. Just don’t. She’ll probably calmly respond but inside she’ll be screaming unpleasant things at you. It’s beyond annoying. No woman who is close to her delivery date wants to constantly be harassed about her labor progression. She could be 3cm dilated for days or weeks. Don’t keep asking “Is the baby here yet?” “Is it time?!” Or anything of that nature.

Do – wait patiently for the announcement of the baby’s birth. I promise you, if Mom can wait, so can you.

Overall, just be kind to pregnant women. They need and deserve it. 🙂

Love,

Meg

P.S. This isn’t meant to be a personal attack on anyone who might have inadvertently done any number of these things to me or to any other pregnant woman. It’s just helpful information for those who might not understand how much of a rollercoaster pregnancy is and offers a few ways to support the pregnant momma through it all.

My First Mother’s Day

How fitting that I launch my Mom blog on Mother’s Day?

This holiday has made me reflect on the journey of becoming a Mother, and the past 3 months with my daughter.

Motherhood started the moment that I found out I was pregnant, and it will never end. It’s a beautiful lifelong journey, bound to have many ups and downs, twists and turns, because life isn’t perfect 100% of the time.

Pregnancy brought on a 10-month-long series of physical and emotional changes. Because, c’mon, 40 weeks is equivalent to 10 months, not 9. I don’t care what anyone says, you feel those changes in the first 4 weeks. THEY MATTER!
(More to come on that.)

Labor and delivery was the most empowering experience I’ve ever had in my life! If I could bypass pregnancy and go straight to birthing, I’d probably have a tribe lol.
(More to come on that, also.)

The newborn phase is without a doubt the most exhausting phase thus far. It takes a toll on your body, mind, and general state of being. I feel like a highly-functioning zombie most of the time. I do strange things like put the almond milk away in the pantry. (Luckily, I usually recognize mistakes like that before they get too out of hand.)

I know each stage of life from here on will have its own challenges, and I may complain throughout them. But, I wouldn’t trade my beautiful baby for the world. She is perfect and I’m blessed to have her for the rest of my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mommas out there, rookies and veterans alike!

You are strong. You are honored. You are loved.