Friday Favorites - Late Summer Edition

I've been having a hard time maintaining my mom style since having Rohan. I don't get more than a few minutes to shower and get dressed - someone's hungry or crying or generally grumpy. I'm usually left with moments to pick out clothes and have been sticking with shorts and t-shirts, or skinny jeans and t-shirts with flat sandals or Toms. Both outfits meet my basic needs: can I breastfeed easily in it? Can I chase a preschooler in it?  My saving grace to making my uniform a little more me have been accessories. Here's what I'm wearing on repeat.

Monograms. They seem to be having a moment; I've seen monogram stickers on cars, wooden monograms on fireplace mantels, and all over accessories. They seem to be a fun, preppy way to personalize a common item. I can't get enough of them, particularly monogram necklaces. They're available at several different online retailers. While it does take some time for them to get created since they're custom, I think they're worth the wait. I have seen monograms available in a variety of styles, colors, and materials. I recently bought an acrylic monogram necklace in a sparkly silver - it's a lot of fun. Next on my monogram list is a monogrammed leather clutch.

Acrylic monogram necklace from ElizaJay Charm


Leopard sporty shoes. I've extolled the virtues of leopard print all over this blog. Lately I have been noticing lots of sporty shoes now available in leopard. The shoes I'm into aren't basketball sneakers or running shoes (although I just came across a pair of leopard print Nikes) - they're the Converse Chuck Taylors or Vans slip ons. I own a few pairs of Chuck Taylors and Vans, but none in leopard. When I saw that both are now available in leopard, they were quickly bumped up to the top of my must have list. I took the plunge and bought my first pair of high top chucks (I'm normally a low top kinda gal), in leopard print. You can bet I'll be going after the Vans next.

Leopard print Chuck Taylors from Free People



Delicate necklaces. Perfect for layering and a pretty way to dress up an ordinary v-neck t-shirt or button down, they're just enough. It's also a nice change from the chunky, colorful necklaces that have become very popular. I have several pendant necklaces that I've accrued over the years, but I'm loving the current trend of bar necklaces paired with others. If you're hesitant to try layering on your own, you have the option of purchasing necklaces that have multiple layers built in from retailers like BaubleBar (my referral link) and individual artisans on Etsy. 

Image from MichellePhan.com

Soaking It All In

Since Rohan is our last newborn, I have been trying to be very present for every tiny baby moment. This is especially true when it comes to breastfeeding. Daytime feeds can be quite chaotic and feel rushed. It seems like there's always a chore to be done, an errand to be done, a big brother battling for attention. The nighttime feeds are our special time together; the whole house is asleep except for us.

We've already started a few of our own nursing rituals. The initial letdown brings a contented sigh and his chubby little hands rise to hold my fingers that are holding my breast. I can't help but wonder if this will continue throughout the months and years to come. The little details have become especially precious to me. The sights, smells, and sounds are what I will lovingly recall years after he is too big to sit on my lap.

Baby belly. Swoon!

Those arms and hands.

Nursing feet and flexing toes

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!

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