Tag Archives: new mom

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?

Today: October goals.

I showed some serious restraint in not naming this post Goaltoberfest.  This month, I am committing to some much needed life adjusting.  With fall and the back to school rush being one of my busiest times at work, I’ve found myself feeling spread more thin than usual.

I’ve caught myself cutting corners (I ate a donut for breakfast the other day and barely lived to tell that sorry tale) and I’m only slightly exaggerating about the effects of gluten on my fragile digestive system.  I could eat bread by the loaf (and sometimes did) while pregnant.  These days?  No.  I’ve been making convenient choices rather than good choices.

There are days lately when I feel particularly sluggish and slow, both physically and mentally (not a shocker: the donut day was one of these days).  Case in point: Last week, I drove all the way to daycare before realizing that I had left Grace’s bag (and bottles and food and extra onesies and a love note and whatnot) at home.  I don’t forget anything. Like, anything.  (I know what you did last summer and in the summer of 1988.) The security guard saw me whip a safe-ish u-turn and jokingly asked if I had forgotten the baby.  I almost cried because Oh, my Lord! What if I had forgotten the baby?  I’m still recovering from that panic.

Even my dreams are telling me I need more sleep (just in case the dark circles under my eyes weren’t sending the message loud and clear). In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I dreamt that Nick and I decided we should skip Grace’s swimming class and sleep in a bit.  When my alarm went off, I silenced it.  When Nick’s alarm went off, he wondered why everyone else was still in bed and not running around the condo yelling “Swimmy time!”  Fortunately, getting ready for parent and baby swim class requires little more than a diaper change for Grace and shimmying into a bathing suit for me.  No hairdos.  No makeup.  No six hundred outfit changes.

Oh, and that pesky back and hip pain I was feeling after each run?  Apparently that’s not normal.  So instead of enjoying three blissful runs each week, I’m hauling my sorry ass bum to PT until that’s resolved.

Are you regretting attending my pity party?  I wouldn’t blame you.  And at the same time, I’m making a concerted effort to not blame myself.  With so much pressure to have and do it all, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a quest for that ever-elusive balance.  Being a wife and a mother and a friend and a career lady with cool outfits is both incredibly fulfilling and incredibly challenging.  Lately I’m seeing (more than ever) how important it is to take care of myself in order to take the best care of everyone else.  I feel like I’ve said that before.  Many times.

Simply put, my big goal for October (and like, for life… because LBS, important things usually take longer than 31 days) is to get out of my own way.  When I think about what would make my days more blissful and less stressful, it’s clear that I am often my own worst enemy.

  • If I want more peaceful mornings, I need to change my evening habits.
  • If I want to spend more quality time with my family, I need to make plans and stick to them.
  • If I want to make better food choices, I need to have better food ready and available.
  • If I want to reap the benefits of physical activity, I need to commit to what I can do and stop bemoaning what I can’t do.
  • If I want more space in my life, I need to make the room.

Don’t things seem so simple when you free them from the chaos of your busy brain and write them down?  Man.  After thinking about what I want and how to get it, the practical, smaller steps came easily.

  • I will pack our bags (and meals) the night before.
  • I will not wait until I have a smidge of gas in the car to fill my tank.
  • I will plan several dinners at home with Nick each week, along with a few weekend plans to look forward to.  Oh, and we will dance every day (we forgot to do this for a little bit and my moves have seriously suffered).
  • I will not let the laundry back up to the point of becoming an international underwear crisis.
  • I will embrace the fall weather and take more frequent walks with my favorite little lady and our favorite little Frenchie.
  • I will practice more yoga (even if it’s for 10 minutes between meetings in a dress and control top pantyhose).
  • I will carve out time each day for religious practices that are important to me and central to my wellbeing: prayer, reflection and gratitude.
  • I will ask for help when I need it.

You may have been expecting something more along the lines of “Do 3 workouts a week.” Or “Go leaf peeping.” (I love the expression leaf peeping. Love it.  It sounds both creepy and enchanting.  Also: I accidentally typed “leaf peeing” and laughed so hard that I almost left it.  Almost.)  Or maybe you saw me walking into work yesterday with my fly unzipped and thought, “This lady needs to get her act together before she even thinks about working out or leaf peeping.”

Either way, there you have it.  My grand October life plan.  Octoberlifeplanfest!

Also On Tap for Today:

What grand plans are you working on?