Friday Favorites - Post Partum Edition

I thought I'd ease back into blogging by writing about a few things that've been really enjoying since Rohan was born. I haven't been able to do a whole lot since I spend the better part of my day breastfeeding a newborn, but here are a few things I am loving for Friday Favorites. These are vastly different than the Friday Favorites I've done in the past... here's hoping I get to write about some of those things soon!

aden + anais for Target Swaddle Blankets. These were on our registry and we ended up getting two packs of them. My husband wasn't sure what we would do with 8 swaddle blankets, but trust me, we've found uses for them now that baby's here. Since E was born in December, the thick fleecy swaddle/receiving blankets would be way too hot in Texas in May. These linen blankets are just the right thickness to keep baby warm when the A/C is blasting. They're super soft, but durable, and make a great surface to change a diaper or lay baby down. They're great for swaddling, too!

Boba Wrap in Stardust. This has been a lifesaver during growth spurts, when Rohan wouldn't sleep unless it was on me. Wearing him close to my chest in the wrap has been wonderful. I get to sniff and kiss his head, he gets to sleep and be close to me. Everyone wins. I had a different stretchy wrap when E was a baby, but I didn't care for it. I never felt like I could get it tight enough. The Boba Wrap is very stretchy, which allows me to get it really tight. I'm not sure if it is actually longer than the other stretchy wrap, but I am able to wrap it around myself several times. I wasn't able to do that with the last stretchy wrap I had. Plus the Stardust print is gorgeous!

In the midst of a growth spurt where someone is refusing to sleep.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter
 and Motherlove Nipple Cream. Unfortunately, I did not buy these before I had the baby and was stuck using lanolin in the hospital for a few days. I'm not a fan of lanolin because it doesn't absorb well into my skin and it likely leaves a film in baby's mouth. The baby has a pretty significant lip tie and a tongue tie as well. As you can imagine, my nipples were pretty torn up before we even left the hospital. I prefer these to lanolin because they absorb into my skin and don't feel slimy like lanolin does. I typically alternate between the two of them, even though their ingredient list is similar. I keep one in my bathroom and the other in the pocket of my nursing pillow.

What were your can't live without post partum items?

Breastfeeding the Second Time Around

This is my experience with breastfeeding my second baby. Please note that my experiences will not apply to every mother-baby dyad. If you are in need of breastfeeding assistance or support, please contact your local IBCLC or La Leche League.

My little man is now a month old and we're starting to fall into a little bit of a rhythm, growth spurts notwithstanding. Breastfeeding has not been a walk in the park. I expected issues as this is a new baby I'm breastfeeding, but I know so much more about the early days, book learning and from experience with E. However, all of the knowledge that I repeat to other moms flies out of my head when it comes to me. I found myself worrying about all of the same things any mom would - supply, diapers, growth spurts, you name it. Here's what I thought would happen with breastfeeding the second time around and what actually happened.

What I thought: milk supply would increase like crazy between days 2-5 post partum and I would leak like crazy.
What happened: my milk supply did increase between days 2-5 post partum, but my milk "came in" with a whimper rather than a bang. I didn't have the rock hard, lumpy breasts that I had with E. Instead, my breasts felt full, but not hot, throbbing, or rock hard. I've leaked a little bit, but most days I do not wear nursing pads. It was the opposite with Ethan - I would soak through my nursing tank and t-shirt if I sniffed his head.

What I thought: it'd be smooth sailing with supply since it was my second baby and I had encapsulated my placenta this time around.
What happened: it was smooth sailing with supply for the first few days. Unfortunately, due to some complications with my post partum recovery, I had to take a medication that was known to reduce prolactin levels as a side effect. My milk supply did drop due to the medication. In addition to starting fenugreek, I asked a two trusted friends to pump some extra milk for me. I did have to use their donor milk on a few occasions when Rohan didn't seem satisfied. One of those times was during a growth spurt at 7 days - you can bet I was thankful for those friends! These were the times where I felt like I was drying up. I finally feel like my supply has caught up with his demand, but it took a while.

What I thought: if there's a tongue tie or a lip tie, we'll get it taken care of quickly and move on with our breastfeeding journey.
What happened: I noticed Rohan's lip tie in post partum the night he was born, but I wasn't able to get a good look under his tongue. His lip tie is a class 3 (out of 4); it was so bad that even the on-call pediatrician at the hospital pointed it out to me. After an IBCLC friend came over to help the day after we got home, she pointed out his tongue tie as well. Although, I could've confirmed it thanks to my sore and bloody nipples. Yowch. I made an appointment to get them corrected with a popular and reputable dentist in the area, but there's quite a wait. Our appointment is not for another few weeks. Things have improved, but I'm often sore after a feeding. If I'm not careful with how wide he opens his mouth, I can easily undo all of the healing with one bad latch. I'm making it through thanks to alternating Earth Mama Angel Baby's Nipple Butter and Motherlove Herbal's Nipple Cream, and ibuprofen.

A quick snack in the car while waiting to pick up Big Brother
And there you have it. That's what breastfeeding the second time around has been like for me.  It has been more difficult in some ways but easier in others. Despite the ties and the lowered supply, Rohan was a half pound over birth weight at two weeks! Ethan wasn't back at his birth weight until he was a month old. I'm glad that Rohan was a full term baby and a great eater, but the reduced supply has been very tough to bounce back from. Thanks to a very supportive husband reminding me that I can do this and not waiting too long before calling in some professional help, I believe that things are only going to get better. Here's hoping Rohan and I make it to two years!




33

Wow, another year has gone by already. Today is the third anniversary of my 30th birthday. The past few years, I have focused on what I have accomplished rather than focusing on what I didn't accomplish since the birthday before. I'm doing the same this year.


  • Motherhood, Wifedom, and Family: this is probably where the most changes have occurred and will continue to occur. I had a miscarriage last July and then got pregnant again in September. I nearly lost the baby at 21 weeks due to an incompetent cervix and then was on bed rest until 36 weeks. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. It put a strain on my family, my marriage, our finances, friendships... nearly everything. But we got through it and have a perfect little baby boy to show for all of our hardships and sacrifices. We're slowly (very slowly) adjusting to being a family of 4. It has been difficult to stick with the gentle parenting philosophy in which we believe. I'm hoping this experience of adjusting to two children will make me a better mother and wife. More changes are in the near future for our family as we prepare to move from DFW to Austin at the end of the summer.

  • Body Acceptance: the weeks on bed rest took a toll on my body. While I lost a lot of weight (I'm weigh about 20-25 pounds less now post partum than I did before I got pregnant), I lost a lot of muscle mass as well. I'm not as happy with my body now as I was pre-pregnancy... believe it or not, but I miss the way it was. I know the muscle will come back once I'm cleared to exercise and can start doing something, but I still miss it. Jeans are baggy in strange places and not very flattering.

  • Self Acceptance: the best part of being in my thirties so far is that I am very confident in my beliefs and in myself. That has continued in the past year. Sure I have moments where I'm self conscious or less than sure of myself, but overall I like who I am and who I am becoming.

  • Work and IBCLC: I got the amazing opportunity to work as outreach coordinator for the local non-profit milk bank and it was a dream job. Sadly, the bed rest cut me down to part time and moving to Austin has made me resign altogether. It was the first time I was able to say that I truly enjoyed going to work and felt that I was making a difference in people's lives. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to fully do the job - there's only so much I was able to remotely from home. My favorite part of the job was to work fairs and conventions where I could speak to moms about the power of pasteurized breast milk and just how much they could make a difference. Once we have moved, I will be able to stay home with the kids. I understand that it is a blessing, but other than my 12 week maternity leave with Ethan, I've never been at home in that capacity. I'm a little apprehensive about how I will fare as a stay at home mom.

    I'm still working towards becoming an IBCLC. The pregnancy and baby have pushed the exam back about a year, but that's okay. I still have a few classes left to take to complete the educational requirement and will then need to take another class that lasts for 3/4 of a year. The move to Austin means I will have to give up my mentorship with the IBCLC I've been working with and learning from. I'll also have to give up my position as chair elect of our local breastfeeding coalition. Definitely sad about leaving those "jobs" behind, they have been incredible experiences. I plan to join the breastfeeding coalition in Austin and hopefully hook up with an IBCLC as well.
Going from 32 to 33 certainly put the emphasis on family and was a life changing year for me. The next 12 months also seem like they will be huge for my family and I. While I'm very sad to leave Fort Worth, my friends, acquaintances, and opportunities behind, I am looking forward to the new challenges, people, and opportunities 200 miles south of my comfort zone. Get ready for me, Austin!

This week's fruit: mini-watermelon

Alternate title: #stillpregnant

In some serious shock about how pregnant I am...

How far along: 39 weeks. 39 WEEKS. I have never been this pregnant before. I don't know what to expect anymore! I'm officially full term by ACOG's recently revised standards!

Total weight gain: Probably about 8-10 pounds.

Maternity clothes: They barely fit. I usually wear yoga pants and a t-shirt that barely covers my belly.

Sleep: It is so interrupted at night! Heartburn, prodromal labor, and getting up to pee every few hours makes it very hard.

Miss anything: Sleep, being able to wear sandals without assistance, shaving my legs without getting winded.

Movement: Yes, but it's a different type than before - still pretty powerful, but not so many jabs. More like moving around trying to get comfortable with what little room is left.

Food cravings: Those soft pretzel appetizer things from Chili's, milk & Oreos, watermelon, apples, avocado, mangoes.

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I'm not sure of which ones until I smell them.

Have you started to show yet: There's no hiding it, that's for sure!

Baby's Sex: Still unknown. We will find out when Baby makes his/her debut!

Labor signs: Consistently inconsistent contractions, I've spotted a little of my mucous plug in the toilet, was told of some cervical changes as of 3 weeks ago when I got my stitches out.

Belly button in or out: Still in, but maybe it will pop! Now I know why they're referred to as a navel orange.

Wedding rings on or off: On.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, but I can go from happy to weepy in seconds.

Looking forward to: Maternity leave starting on Monday, whether Baby is here or not. My water birth (fingers crossed), learning whether this little one is a boy or girl, a baby in my arms! Breastfeeding, being a mom of two, Ethan meeting his little brother or sister. Newborn noises and gulps and smiles and smells.

Lets see if I make it to pumpkin, shall we?




It's Out

15 weeks ago to the day, I started bleeding and cramping while at work. I went to maternal observation only because I was 21+4 and I knew they wouldn't turn me away. I was told my cervix was funneling and that my bag of waters was making its way down. I was told I had an incompetent cervix. I got an emergency cerclage that night. I've been on some form of bed rest ever since - in fact, it was 13 weeks of strict bed rest at home. The past 15 weeks have included a half dozen trips to maternal observation or labor & delivery because I could've sworn something wasn't right. It has meant not going to work anymore, stopping all other activities, and living a very different life. It has meant not being able to pick up E and cuddle him when he was upset and sobbing, "Mommy, pick me up!"

Well, about an hour ago, the same doctor that put the stitches in took them out. My baby has grown stronger by the day. I am an incompetent cervix success story, an emergent transvaginal cerclage success story, proof that bed rest (while incredibly difficult) does help. This has by far been the hardest thing I've ever done.

BUT


Photo by Valerie Cannon Photography

it has been worth it. Every twinge, ache, worry, and tear has been worth the rolls, kicks, punches, and hiccups that I feel. I can finally exhale and stop worrying about having a preemie. I can focus on labor, breastfeeding, and life with two kids. I cannot wait to meet you, Baby. I can't wait to introduce you to the people who already love you so much.


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