Tag Archives: family

Today: I woke up like this | Cape edition.

Who needs a vacation alarm clock (set for 3 hours earlier than you desire to wake up), when you have a toddler at the foot of your bed?

I woke up like this.  With Grace pinching my toes and yelling, “Hellooooo!”

In an effort to spare the rest of our family the 4:30 wake-up call over the 4th of July weekend, we snuck out for some early morning walks down to the beach.  The Cape might be my favorite place on Earth.  Except for the place where they make popcorn (I’ve never been to a popcorn factory, but I just know it’s magical).

Not a bad way to start the day.

We covered 3.5 miles on Friday on our own, and 2.5 miles on Saturday with my brother and sister-in-law and their own mini-human alarm clock, my niece.  

6 AM pajama parties on the beach are the best.

And with the entire world still sleeping, we had the beach to ourselves and our pick of the prettiest shells.

Any day we are lucky enough to wake up at the Cape (even if it’s at 4 AM), we are lucky enough.

Also On Tap for Today:

How did you spend your holiday weekend?

 

Today: What a difference a year makes.

Oops.  This post is longer than anticipated. 

This time last year, I was wearing a very unattractive, very orthopedic boot thing, having tripped over Grace’s bouncy chair and subsequently broken a toe… just an hour and a half before my family showed up for Mother’s Day brunch at our condo. (Also: My parents were trapped at an airport somewhere, so the guest of honor wasn’t there to be showered with praise and gifts and affection… and to listen to me moan about my toe.)

Ready to party. Or something.

In addition to being temporarily physically crippled, I can’t say I was in the best shape mentally, or whatever, either.  I had been back at work (after a not-so-work-free maternity leave) for a few weeks, was getting up to nurse Grace every couple of hours, couldn’t find anything that fit (nor that matched the boot), and sort of had no idea what I was doing at any given moment.  Having people over to a mostly-clean home, serving mostly-edible food, and not having an entirely unexpected crying episode provoked by a diaper ad, or a cheesy song, or a faint, passing breeze felt like a major, major accomplishment.  

This time last year, I was second-guessing every decision I made, and agonizing over the longterm effects those decisions would have on Grace.  Was she eating too little?  Was she eating too much?  You’ll notice I wasn’t asking myself if she was sleeping too much, because… well… neither of us were sleeping.

I worried I was falling down (no pun intended… but sort of yes, pun intended because I really still can’t believe I tripped over that darn chair) as a wife.  I had no idea how I would manage my work responsibilities and my family responsibilities.  And how, on God’s green earth, was I ever going to get all the laundry done?  Would my body always feel so foreign (and lumpy)?  What would my first work trip away from Grace be like (Fortunately, I didn’t have the capacity at the time to imagine myself using a breast pump in a bathroom stall at the Detroit airport… but now I do.  And you do, too.  Sorry.)?  Would I ever see my friends again (this would likely require staying up past 7 PM)?  Would I ever have anything to talk about besides diaper pails?  Would every single drop-off at daycare feel so heartbreaking?  

It’s taken some time (and I don’t think my toe will ever be the same), but my goodness… What a difference a year makes.  I’m not perfect (you should see what I’m wearing) and life’s not perfect, but so much has changed for the better.  It’s amazing what a little time and confidence (and SLEEP!) can do.

Last weekend I had the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day with my parents and family on Saturday, and with Nick, Grace and Clark on Sunday.  And I felt calm.  And relaxed.  And happy.  And grateful.  And I couldn’t help but notice that life is sort of following the seasons this time around.  Not only is it actually (finally!) Spring, but I’m in the middle of my own transition of sorts.  And it’s full of (I almost said “blooming with”… but I stopped myself) promise and excitement and optimism and a “who knows what might happen?” sort of thing.

At the end of this week (though it’s been in the works for months… aren’t I a good secret keeper? Tell me everything!), I’ll be stepping down from my role at an organization I’ve been with for eight years to be home with Grace.  

I sort of always thought I would work (in the capacity I’ve been used to working, like, in an office).  And I am realizing now, as I make this transition, how much of my ego and self-worth have been tangled up in being busy.  And important.  And in charge.  I’ve also come to see, though, how much of my last eleven or so years have been spent moving from one mini-crisis to the next,  closing out the day with just barely enough energy to be a semi-normal, non-awful person. The good has far outweighed the bad (truly), though, I have loved my work.  I have loved the people I have worked with.  I have loved the people I’ve had the privilege of serving.  I have loved the challenges and the lessons and the surprises.

I know there will be pieces of all this that are not easy, but I also know how lucky I am to have options.  It took a lot of confidence and courage to make this choice, but I wouldn’t be able to make the choice if I didn’t have options.  I know this is not always the case.  Meanwhile, that new boss of mine?  She’s pretty cute.

Also On Tap for Today:

Looking back, what has changed most for you this year?

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram 32.

For the first time since living in South Boston, we didn’t head out to watch the parade.  Instead, I was being that mom at the pediatrician’s office.  We got a contagious illness report from daycare this week (the dreaded conjunctivitis is going around), so when Grace started rubbing her eyes, I started becoming a nutcase.  A word of advice: Don’t Google “pink eye” at three in the morning.

The nurse I spoke with this morning encouraged us to come in today, just in case.  By the time 2 o’clock rolled around, I started to wonder if it was more likely Grace had accidentally squirted yogurt into her own eye, or that part of her bagel got in there or something.  Needless to say: no conjunctivitis.  I love our pediatrician, though (and the fact that they’ll see us on Sundays).  We had no trouble getting out of Southie, but heading back in during the parade proved to be a bit more challenging.  

One of the (presumably many) upsides to not being infected and being out and about?  We had a little impromptu visit with my sister and brother-in-law during which Grace tried to eat a crayon and I learned that Selection Saturday is actually Selection Sunday.  And I wonder why people don’t invite me to join their March Madness pools.

Oh but before I say anything else, sorry for talking about pink eye.  I promise we did non-gross things this weekend too.  Like the things pictured below.

The Weekend According to Instagram 32

  1. First things first:  The snow is melting… AND THINGS ARE GROWING.  I spotted these little sprouts alongside our driveway on Sunday afternoon and literally shrieked in delight.  I immediately emailed a photo to my husband and our neighbors.  And I’m now taking bets on who thinks I’m crazier, our neighbors or Grace’s pediatrician.  This weekend was great for my personal brand.  Whatever that means.
  2. Our neighborhood is ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  I don’t want to live any where else.  Most of the time.  
  3. A little weekend doodling.  Watercolor + pen + birds.
  4. I am obsessed with the artwork on these seed packets from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.  I am kicking myself for not buying their calendar at the Flower Show.
  5. Aaaand another photo from this year’s Boston Flower and Garden Show.  Nick and I always talk about living in a tiny house one day, and I think I found the one this weekend.  Technically, I think this is more of a garden shed, but I am pretty sure there’s room for Grace and Clark’s imaginary bunkbeds. And if I take after my maternal grandfather at all (which I hope I do), I’m only going to get shorter so…. I think it will work.   
  6. After the Flower Show, we ducked out of the rain and grabbed tacos across the street at Rosa Mexicana.  Aren’t my lunch dates adorable?
  7. I started Saturday morning with a big cup of organic peppermint amour and some to do list-ing.  Of the 900 things on the list for the weekend, I think I accomplished 3.  One of those things was “make a to do list.”  Can’t win ’em all.
  8. A peek at my art journal (you’ll find more pages here and here).
  9. Did anyone else read Richard Scarry books as a kid?  They were a family favorite of ours.  I ordered a copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever for Grace and seriously… it’s the best word book ever.  Not surprisingly, her favorite page is the one where the bear gets dressed.  She is all about her shoes these days.

Also On Tap for Today:

How was your Selection Sunday weekend? 

Today: Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 3 + 4

Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement on my last art journaling post. I’m playing a bit of catch-up, but most of my pages were at least in some way inspired by the Get Messy membership prompts for weeks 3 and 4.  (You can learn all about– and join!– the program here.)

Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 3 + 4

Real talk: This has been a bit of a challenging week.  In a good way, but also in an exhausting, nerve-fraying way.  I knew spending some time making crap would help.  And it did.  

I worked on most of these pages in one sitting.  And that sitting happened to be on the sofa, with a bowl of peanut butter cups, after Grace was sound asleep, with our temporarily disabled Frenchie snuggled close, while Nick watched the CrossFit Open live announcement.  

I didn’t want to break out all of my art stuff, mostly because I didn’t want to give up any space already occupied by Clark.  Or the peanut butter cups.  Limiting my materials proved to be surprisingly helpful.  I spent less time thinking about what to use, and more time using what I had in my lap.  Also, using permanent black ink while sitting on a cream colored sofa?  This is me living on the edge, people.

One of the prompts was “What would the world be like devoid of love?” I can tell you, I wouldn’t want to live in that world.  I worked quickly on this one, to avoid getting depressed (just kidding… kind of).  I used black and grey watercolors (I’m obsessed with this travel set) with a water brush, a white paint pen and a red Micron.

I mostly stuck with black watercolor and black ink.  The result: most of these pages look tense and moody.  Which, frankly, is how I’ve felt lately.  Until the sun came out on Wednesday… and I became a normal person again, along with everyone else in Boston.

I started the backgrounds for these pages a few days ago before having a clue what I wanted them to become.  I used a thick coat of white gesso on the left side and added very watered down acrylics along with a spritz of watercolor while the gesso was still wet.  On the right side, I used a more aggressive spritz of that same green watercolor and doodled a bit with a grey sign pen.  I used black ink and a detail brush to paint the abstract-map-ish design on the left hand page, and used strips from a Chanel ad for the right hand page.  I believe the letter stickers are from a Studio Calico kit, but my mind is full of Raffi songs at the moment, so I could be wrong.

One of the prompts for Week 4 was to describe the greatest act of love.  This time of year, a lot of my work centers around families and clearly that’s on my mind (see the crop top photo below).  There are so many different ways a family can come to be.  I knew the second I heard Grace’s heartbeat that we belonged together.  But I also know you don’t need a biological relation to belong to someone.  This may not be my final answer, but I think that giving someone a place to belong, and being open to belonging to someone else, takes tremendous love.

 

 I like how the hand-stitching from the previous page peeks through on the lower left.  The stamp is from A Beautiful Mess, and I used black archival ink.  Which never. Comes.  Off.  The ripped paper on the left is a e.e.cummings poem (supplied as one of the prompts).  I can’t really decide if these pages are done are not.  I’ve been trying to let them be, rather than over-work them.  Perfectionist habits die hard (that’s a movie script Bruce Willis and I are currently co-writing.)

This photo is of me and my mom (I am the one wearing the hot shorts and crop top.  That’s not something I get to say every day.  Or, really… ever.) I am not sure if my head is actually shaped like that, or if I am scissors-challenged.  The full quote is “We are born of love; love is our mother.”  Preach it, Rumi.  When working through many of this season’s prompts about love, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am to have come from such a loving home, and to have such a solid foundation. I love this photo and owe so much to my parents.  

I’m already itching to sit back down with my sketch book.  But I think I will stick to the table going forward.  I’m certain I’ve jinxed myself with the ink on the sofa comment.

Also On Tap for Today:

What kind of mood are you in this week?

Today: Snowed in take-out (+ a Blue Dragon giveaway).

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Blue Dragon. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Unless you’re living somewhere especially remote (and maybe especially tropical), you know that it’s snowing in Boston.  And not just in a normal, Oh, it’s winter! sort of way.

Snowed in take-out and a fabulous Blue Dragon giveaway

We’ve run out of places to put the snow, but it keeps on falling. Our public transportation system effectively shut down at 7 o’clock last night (a few buses are running, but no trolley, subway or commuter rail service) and hasn’t reopened.  Schools are closed.  Again.  My office building is closed.  Again.  Day care is closed (I’ll take all the family QT I can get).  And there’s a happy Yeti roaming the streets.

All things considered, we’re faring pretty well.  [Side note: I think this article, A Blizzard of Perspective, is well worth a read.] We have a safe, warm home, reliable tank-like transportation (snow tires 4 life), a stockpile of necessities (diapers, water, hot pink MagLites and batteries, tea and salty snacks), and, you know, one another.

Snowed in take-out and a fabulous Blue Dragon giveaway

Oh and food. This weather just begs for comfort food.

Is it me, or does being snowed in make us all extra hungry and a tiny bit lazy?  Forget the Freshman 15, I’m working on the Snowmageddon 15.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

With the roads so messy, we can’t really order delivery in good conscience, so we’ve been enjoying some take out favorites at home, thanks to Blue Dragon and the generous package of goods they send our way.

In addition to the Chicken Pad Thai with Blue Dragon Pad Thai Stir Fry Sauce pictured above (how cute is that little take-out box?!), our Sunday night snowed in take-out menu also featured:

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Blue Dragon Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce (vegetarian)

Snowed in take-out and a fabulous Blue Dragon giveaway

Stir fried tofu and vegetables with Blue Dragon Szechuan Pepper Stir Fry Sauce (also vegetarian)

Stir fried vegetables and tofu with red pepper sauce

I think this was my first time cooking with a wok, which Blue Dragon kindly sent me along with their delicious sauces, noodles, and rice paper wraps.  Whipping up dinner was so quick and easy. I know we’ll be coming back to these recipes and sauces for busy mid-week dinners.

Blue Dragon giveaway

Blue Dragon is named after the Chinese symbol of good fortune and was founded thirty years ago to help people create authentic Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes at home. Their sauces are available in several flavors including Szechuan Pepper (my favorite), Chow Mein and General Tao.

Sauces that are vegan and vegetarian are clearly labeled (this lady appreciates that!), and include a really helpful shopping list and suggested recipes (which can easily be made vegetarian) on the back. 

Blue Dragon giveaway

Blue Dragon products are available locally at Roche Brothers, Shaws, Market Basket and Stop & Shop.  Several stores are hosting tastings this month, including the Demoulas/Market Basket in Revere on February 14th and 23rd.

Blue Dragon Giveaway

Blue Dragon giveaway

Looking to make your own take-out at home?  I’m thrilled to be hosting a Blue Dragon giveaway today.  One reader will win a fantastic cooking kit that includes:

  • Samples of Blue Dragon sauces
  • A wok and spatula! 
  • Take-out containers and chopsticks
  • … five feet of snow not included

To enter, please comment below.  One winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, February 17th. 

Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.  To learn more about Blue Dragon, you can find them on Facebook and YouTube, or check out their online cookbook, Chop To Chopsticks, for authentic Asian recipes and inspiration.

And now, back to shoveling.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Getting started on the Get Messy Art Journal Challenge <3
  • Thinking spring (it’s not really working…)
  • Teaching Grace how to High-5 Clark (I can’t stop laughing)

What is your favorite take-out inspired meal to make at home with friends or family?  (Feel free to share a link!)

 

Today: One year of Grace.

Technically, it’s been a year and five days, but hey.  

Grace turned one last week.  And what a fast, happy, wonderful, challenging, beautiful year it has been.  I snuck into her room at 12:16 last Thursday (she was sound asleep, a rare occurrence) just to see her and watch her and think about that first time we met her at that very same time, on that very same night.

Happy Birthday, Grace!

Yes, that barrette is for real.

 

Becoming and being a mother has been overwhelming in the best possible way.  It has made me tougher and it has made me softer.  It has made me infinitely more in love with the Universe, and it has made me infinitely more worried about things I never paid attention to before.  Like electrical outlets.  And the measles (don’t get me started).  Being Grace’s mother has made me so proud of myself, but it has also put my ego firmly in check.  

Being a parent has made me appreciate my own parents in a way I wish I could have before.  Because I would have been a more grateful, more delightful, better behaved (maybe) child.  I am hopeful that whole “better late than never” thing applies here.  My parents are just the best.  

I used to wonder why people called their children 13-month-olds and 17-month-olds and whatever.  Mostly, I have no idea how people keep track (so math challenged).  But when I think about how much Grace changes each day, let alone each week or month, I kind of get it.  When you’re nearly 33, you really shouldn’t give your age in months.  Because whether you just turned 32, or you almost 33, you’re pretty much the same person developmentally.  In my case: still bad at small talk, still pretty great at color coding, still hate most pants and cooked vegetables, still love checking the mail and taking naps on my yoga mat.

Our 1 year old/12 month old, on the other hand, has become such a person since being the born.   All the changes are both amazing and a tiny bit bittersweet.  

She started talking a few months ago and seems to know new words every few days.  Right now the b-words (not the b-word,  not ever I hope) are her favorites: bath, bubbles, books, baby, and bye.  We’ve practiced some baby sign language (this book has been a great resource) — Grace has mastered the signs for more, eat, milk, all done, and book.  

She has 3 teeth (and 4 on the way), 900% more hair than even two months ago and the teeniest, cutest feet that fit in precisely zero pairs of shoes.  The only thing more confusing than women’s jeans sizing is baby’s shoe sizing.

Grace is starting to let go of our hands and the furniture when standing up, but hasn’t started walking yet.  She likes to dance, climb, crawl, and sneak her way over to the printer and cable box.  She can point to people when we say their names, turn pages in her books, nod when she says “yes,” and wag her finger when someone says “no” (I still don’t know where she learned this — it’s both hilarious and kind of strange). 

She is obsessed with Clark and recently started feeding and kissing and hugging him… and trying to take naps on top of him.  He likes the first three, and tolerates the fourth. 

Grace loves to eat.  She likes being fed, and really enjoys feeding herself.  She has mastered drinking water through a straw, and will soon stop taking a bottle at daycare. I am still breastfeeding her in the morning, evenings, at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM (or whenever Grace feels like it) and on the weekends, but I’ve stopped pumping at work (hallelujah).  I never imagined we’d make it this long (and it hasn’t been easy), but I am grateful.    

We chose to name our baby Grace because we loved the name, but she really is such a grace in our lives.  What a year it has been.

Oh and P.S.: If you’re in the early part of the first year of parenting (or really any time, but especially in the beginning), be gentle and kind with yourself.  You are doing a great job. 

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s changed for your this year?  How many months old are you (just kidding… unless you know…)?

 

Today: Our 2nd Anniversary.

What a wild, wonderful two years it has been!

Photo (c) Henry Photographers, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Nick. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you celebrating this week?

Today: Weekend Essentials

It’s Friday.  Which means it’s almost the weekend.  Except that I am working all day tomorrow, but… let’s pretend I’m not.

My Weekend Essentials

What I love to do on the weekend

  • The minute Grace reached six months, we became those bad 21st century parents who over-schedule their children signed her up for a baby/parent swim class at the YMCA.  While the class is more singing The Wheels On The Bus and splashing than actual swimming, I knew it would be important for us to get Grace comfortable in the water (and even in some small way, start working on water safety) as early as possible.  We live across the street from the ocean, my parents have a pool, and I am, like, at least 16% mermaid.  So… It’s important.  Also: It’s really fun!
  • Along the lines of over-scheduling, Grace and I take a child development class every Sunday (the session runs 12 weeks, I think) at the same place where we did our First Connections/moms’ group.  The first few weeks were a little slow, but I’m learning so much and Grace seems to enjoy each session.  There are five or six other families in attendance, and our facilitator leads us in all kinds of songs (there is a lot of singing going down on the weekends) and activities designed specifically for 6-9 month old babies and their cognitive and language development, as well as fine and gross motor skills.  Each week, I leave with something new to research or practice (baby signing, new foods to try with Grace, edible finger paint).  It feels good to be able to keep adding to my parenting tool kit.  And I fully acknowledge I am a tool box for having just said “parenting tool kit.” (But seriously, if you’re in the Boston area and want to learn more about the program, let me know.)
  • Go to Mass.  Confession (how very Catholic): I don’t go as often as I would like, but when I do… it’s just the best.  We have such a warm, welcoming community at our parish.
  • Be even a tiny bit social. I feel that it’s important to strike a balance between being a lazy blob on the sofa (that would be a fun business card) and being on the go all weekend.  But with our weekdays spent either in the office or soaking up as much family time as possible, it’s nice to pop out and see friends on the weekend.
  • Think about our meals and snacks for the week (sometimes I even make a plan and go food shopping).  I often bring Grace with me to the market on Sunday mornings while Nick is at CrossFit.  A few weeks ago, we were cruising down an aisle when I heard a crash behind us.  And then I noticed that my daughter had somehow clotheslined a Wheat Thins display.  Can’t blame her.  Salty snacking is in her genes.
  • And, you know this already, but I always try to do my Sunday things on Saturday.

What I love to wear on the weekend

  • No pants.  Just kidding.  Nope.  I am very serious.
  • My linen Sakura Bloom ring sling (a Mother’s Day pressie from Nick).  I am obsessed with baby wearing.  And sometimes I wonder if Clark would fit in it.  And then I think of this inventor.
  • A new fitness tracker.  I don’t even want to think about how many fitbits I ruined by accidentally sending them through the washer and dryer.  I wore a fitbit flex and then a Polar Loop for a while, but I felt like I was forever charging both devices.  And neither were exactly fashion forward.  I’d often stash them in my bag (mind you, I never wore both at the same time… I hope that’s obvious) during work events or meetings.  When I read Caroline’s review of the Misfit Shine, I was like, Finally!  The Misfit Shine runs on a watch battery and looks like… a watch.  Bonus: The related app is great.

What I love to watch on the weekend

  • I am obsessed with The Amazing Race and have this deluded idea that I would win the show (obviously) if I were ever a contestant.  Nick refuses to be my partner, which is probably saying something (I don’t know exactly what… but it’s something).  It’s one of only three shows I’ve watched in real time (the others being Jeopardy! and 60 Minutes) in recent memory (Hulu+ for life).  I find myself assessing the likelihood I’d succeed at each task or challenge, and weighing the pros and cons of my abilities (and lack thereof).

Potential Amazing Race Contestant Strengths and Weaknesses

Weaknesses: My own husband does not want to be my partner; Claustrophobic; Tendency towards motion sickness; Picky eater; Wears contacts; Allergic to wool (I feel like this could be especially problematic in Nordic countries)

Strengths: Knows lots of words in lots of languages; Pretty great sense of direction; I remember everything; Strong fight and flight responses

What I love to eat on the weekend

What I love to listen to on the weekend

  • Hockey on the radio, on my iPhone (via the I Heart Radio app tuned to 98.5 The Sports Hub), it’s old school meets new school meets we canceled cable.
  • Lots of Frenchie snoring
  • Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! I usually listen to Saturday’s episode while out for a walk or running errands on Sunday and always catch myself actually L-ing-O-L. (You can download episodes here.)

Weekends are essentially the best.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s are the essential elements of your perfect weekend?

Today: Feeding baby, Part I (and a Delta Labs giveaway)

Sort of obvious disclaimer: This post is about breastfeeding.  If Google brought you here because you searched for “breasts” and now you’re sorely disappointed and regret clicking through, that’s okay.  You do you, boo… no judgement.  

Slightly less obvious disclaimer: I am not, like, a breastfeeding specialist.  I am grateful to be able to breastfeed my daughter.  It is what I hoped for, and it is what works for our family.  With that said, it is not the only way people care for and feed their children.  And I feel like that’s important to acknowledge.  Something I think all parents need to hear more of: You are doing a good job.  You are making good choices. In other words: You do you, boo… no judgement.  

Real talk of the day: Being a parent means being on a permanent learning curve.  (I guess that’s true for all humans, though, right? Life is one long learning curve.)  Now that we’re past the newborn phase, I figured I’m semi-qualified to share a bit about what I’ve learned along the curve.

I was very fortunate to have access to great lactation consultants when Grace was born.  Expectant mother friends, if you have access to lactation consultants while you’re in the hospital, I think it’s totally worth meeting with them.  I was hesitant, I thought it would be weird, and I kind of just wanted to stay in my Craftmatic adjustable hospital bed.  It wasn’t weird.  It was actually quite, well, normal.  They taught me very helpful things like how to hold my tiny baby like a football (but first, I needed to learn how to hold a football), how to tell if she was actually eating, and what hunger cues might look or sound like.

Someone’s ready for their 22nd meal of the day.

It didn’t long for us to establish a BF relationship (in this case, I like to think BF stands for both breastfeeding and best friends… but I guess that last part is sort of up to Grace).  Because Grace was born with jaundice (I initially thought she was just super Portuguese…) and lost weight rather quickly, our pediatrician encouraged us to feed Grace at least every 2 hours during those first weeks.   Needless to say, by the time she was a month old, I felt like a seasoned BF pro.  I also felt like my bum was permanently attached to the rocker in Grace’s nursery, but hey.

I rarely had time to pump when I was on maternity leave, so when I went back to work, I felt acutely aware of being on that learning curve again.  I stared at the woman on the package of my pumping bra and wondered, Who the H looks that casual and yet perfectly put together while pumping?  Why is there no spit up in her hair?  Why does she look so well rested?  When did she have time to get a manicure?  And those were just my questions about a bra.  You can only imagine the inner monologue about the actual pumping process.

If this is what it looks like to pump “in style,” I can only imagine what the pumping while frumpy version looks like. Also: Thank you, Obamacare.

Eventually, I figured out how often I needed to pump in order to have enough milk for Grace while she is at daycare.  I (mostly) learned how to avoid spilling milk all over myself five minutes before a meeting.  I even managed to pump in an airport bathroom while a work colleague tried to engage in conversation (I have a strict no talking in the ladies’ room policy).

And so, of course, just as soon as started to feel comfortable pumping, it was time to introduce solids.  I think solids warrant a post of their own (Cliffhanger! Just kidding… but seriously… stay tuned.), but I will say this: I was terrified of feeding Grace anything that didn’t, like, come out of my boobs.  Everything new is scary.  It’s been about two months now, though, and our little lady loves to eat.  And we’re having quite a bit of fun with it too.  OK.  But back to best friends breastfeeding.
I am really happy that I was able to exclusively breastfeed Grace until she started solids at approximately 6 months.  (I am still nursing her, but we started supplementing with one bottle of formula a day at 8 months, just a few weeks ago.) I was worried I wouldn’t make it to 3 months, so when we made it 8 months I nearly erected a breast-shaped statue in my own honor.  For the most part, I’ve had a very good supply.  There have been days, though, where I’ve had to pump at home in the early morning or late evening (when I’d much rather be doing, well… anything) in order to have enough milk to send to day care.  Without fail, those have been days when I’ve slacked on water, eaten like a bird, stressed too much, or slept too little.

I am obsessed with Ball jars. Like, I would live in one. If I could fit in there.

Which brings me to this:

How I’ve kept my supply up

  • Drink water.  And then drink some more.: It’s so important to stay hydrated while breastfeeding.  Your body needs fluids to, you know, make fluids… plus it needs fluids to perform its normal functions. In other words, you need to drink more.  I keep a giant mason jar on my desk (complete with an adorable drinking straw #targetdoesitagain) and refill it every time I pump and every time I get up from my desk.  At home, I make sure to drink up after nursing Grace.  It’s helped to associate the two (feed the baby, hydrate thyself).
  • Eat more, not less.: While I’ve felt the same pressure I am sure most new moms have felt to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, restricting calories seems like a surefire way to decrease milk supply.  I’ve tried to focus on eating healthy, quality food, but I am still eating more rather than less.  One day, I’ll fit into my skinnies again.  But in the meantime, I’m busy taking care of my girl.
  • Nurse often.:  We’re fairly scheduled on week days.  We’re like a cellphone plan during nights and weekends, however: unlimited texting and minutes breast milk!  It’s the best.  Come Monday, I definitely see an increase in how much I am able to pump.
  • Think positively.: I find that when I focus on Grace and the health benefits we both receive from breastfeeding, that milk flows like water.  (Or is it wine? How does that saying go?)  When I worry about having enough milk, however, not so much.  I’m no scientist, but I don’t think this is a coincidence.
  • Supplement with herbs.: This may sound a little hippy-dippy, but several people recommended herbal supplements when I first started breastfeeding (the facilitator of our moms’ group swears by fenugreek).  I worried that my supply would drop off when I went back to work and stumbled upon Delta Labs Postnatal formula during some late night Instagramming.

In addition to fenugreek, their postnatal formula also contains glucomannan, white kidney bean, and marshmallow extract (herbs proven to help enhance lactation, and in a combination safe for babies and mothers as determined by the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines). An added bonus: The capsules also contain decaffeinated green tea, CLA, L-Carnitine and vitamin B6 to safely and naturally increase energy and promote weight loss (though it’s not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise… if only obvi).

I’ve used this product for several months (and was running low when Delta Labs kindly sent me a complimentary bottle) and would definitely recommend it for mothers looking to increase or sustain their supply.

Giveaway: Delta Labs Postnatal formula 

Fellow new moms: Would you like to try Delta Labs Postnatal formula for yourself? I’m happy to be hosting a giveaway, thanks to Delta Labs and FitFluential.  One winner will receive a bottle of Delta Labs Postnatal formula.  This giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry, neighbors to the North). To enter, please leave a comment below AND Like @DeltaLabsUSA on Instagram.  A random winner will be chosen and contacted on October 20th.

Delta Labs Discount Code 

Use code FitFluential to save $5 on any item from Delta Labs (one time discount; no expiration date).
Also On Tap for Today:

Got BF (best friend or breastfeeding, depending on your area of expertise) advice to share?