Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012!

          As 2011 comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on all of the many blessings I received this year as well as the many lessons learned. This has been a year of many smiles as well as many challenges. It has been my first full year as a mother and, trust me, I've had to learn A LOT! There have been many sleepless nights, diaper disasters, and breastfeeding challenges. There have also been many, many times when I look at Daniel and can't help but smile. I love my little guy so much and he never ceases to amaze me. He has changed so much this year. He went from being completely dependent on me for everything to starting solids, learning to crawl and then walk and even learning how to communicate with me non verbally and using some short words! He has turned into such a big boy what seems to me like overnight!

          This year has also been a challenge for my marriage as my husband and I have learned to adjust our lives, schedule, finances and relationship to include a third, wonderful little person. On top of that, I also became pregnant with our second baby this year so our family is expanding even more! This year I also became a blogger and have been working on a project to help normalize breastfeeding and I have learned a lot in the process. Daniel and I participated in the Big Latch On and the Target Nurse-In this year as well. I started out the year as a very self-conscious breastfeeding mom and have blossomed into a total lactivist!

          Although this has been a challenging year in many ways, I am very thankful for the many smiles, laughs, and joyful moments. I am extremely thankful for the many small victories such as every time we overcame a breastfeeding challenge. I am thankful for having a wonderful husband who loves me and supports me in everything I do and I am thankful for my sweet, very special baby boy as well as his baby brother who is on the way. I cherish every memory of waking up next to Daniel and having him give me a super sweet good morning smile as well as the joy of watching him meet new milestones, seeing him learn and grow. I am thankful for God and how much He has blessed me. I am thankful that our family has had a home and food and that my husband has a job at a time when so many are doing without. We may not be rich or have our house full of stuff we don't need, but God has provided everything we need. We also have each other and that is the most important thing. I am thankful for our extended family (parents, grandparents, etc) as we have forged deeper relationships this year and have received so much support. I am also thankful for the new relationships we have developed this year and for the many lessons learned. Although some of these lessons have been hard, they were definitely necessary and have only made me a stronger, more mature person.

          I am very much looking forward to 2012. I look forward to new opportunities, going deeper in my relationship with God, a stronger relationship with my husband, even more special times with Daniel, watching him learn so much more, and the arrival of his baby brother in April, of course! I am looking forward to getting into the field of breastfeeding support and counseling as well as seeing my project completed and watching my blog reach and help many more parents. I am looking forward to many more lessons as a mother of two and to tandem nursing my two little boys. I am sure that 2012 will bring with it many more challenges but I am looking forward to the many lessons I'll learn, the many new relationships I'll form, the many people I can help, and how much stronger and confident I'll become!

          I hope all of you have as much to be thankful for in 2011 and as much to look forward to in 2012 as I do. For those who have had a difficult 2011, may 2012 be a much better year for you. Enjoy the day with your family and friends in which ever way you celebrate and stay safe and healthy. Happy New Year to all of you. May you have many blessings in this new year to come!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections on One Year of Mothering

          A month ago today, my precious little Daniel turned one. Not only did that date mark one year of his life, but also a year of me being a mother. That is a year of being responsible for caring for such an important, defenseless and innocent little person. A year of breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping and cloth diapering. It has been a year of trials and struggles and learning as I went. It was also a year of loving my baby unconditionally with all of my heart and of striving to do the best I can for him. Even with the lack of sleep, my time being taken over by someone else, and not being able to always eat when I wanted to, I wouldn't trade this past year for anything in the world. I have learned so much and have been so blessed by having Daniel in my life and I'm looking forward to watching him grow up. I'm curious to see how he and his baby brother will get along, what kind of personalities they'll have growing up, what things they will like and what kind of men they will become.

          When I first became a mother, I was very unsure of myself. I had done some research on child rearing but did not fee I had done enough. There is, after all, so much involved in raising a happy, healthy child. I had decided to breastfeed, co-sleep, baby wear and cloth diaper but wasn't completely sure of how it would go. I can honestly say that i am glad for the choices that we made. As evidenced in previous posts, I had many struggles with breastfeeding in the very beginning and more recently while being pregnant again. However, I am so glad that I never gave up, even on the hardest days, and have been able to provide Daniel with the best nourishment possible and will continue to do so as long as he wants to continue nursing. The bond that we have created through nursing is something I wouldn't give up for anything in this world. Sometimes I still can't believe how amazing it is that I am able to both nourish and comfort my baby at the breast. I am looking forward to my nursing relationship with Daniel's baby brother as well as tandem nursing and the beautiful bond that my boys will develop not only with me but with each other as well.

          Although we didn't originally plan to have Daniel in bed with us, just in our room in a bassinet or co-sleeper, we have enjoyed every minute of sleeping next to Daniel. Cuddling with him at night and waking up to his smiling face and kisses make me feel great. And, of course, being able to nurse him without having to wake up and go get him from his crib is great too. Daniel barely even cried at night and once he started sleeping with us and will usually wake up happy and ready to play instead of crying because he's all alone. When hungry, he usually rolls over and looks for the breast. We are so in sync that I usually wake up around the same time and help him get latched on while we are both lying on our sides and then we both drift back off to sleep. Daniel feels secure and sleeps really well knowing mom and dad and his food are right there next to him. My husband has enjoyed Daniel sleeping with us as well and neither of us can even imagine putting our baby in a crib, all alone in a different room. We wouldn't change our sleeping arrangements if given the choice and plan to co-sleep with the new baby as well.

          As for baby wearing, both Daniel and I absolutely LOVED our Moby Wrap and he would be in it more often if it wasn't for me being pregnant. Daniel is now learning to walk and I am so proud of him but he's still wobbly and gets tired so he still requires a lot of carrying. Because I'm pregnant, I can no longer wear him in the front as that is too much weight on my pregnant belly. Unfortunately, i still haven't found the perfect carrier for me to wear him on my hip or back but we do use the Moby or Sleepy wraps in a hip carry from time to time. The rest of the time, I'm usually carrying him in my arms. On some occasions, he rides in the stroller but it is not his favorite. I can't wait to use the Moby and Sleepy wraps with my newborn once he's here and look forward to finding the perfect carrier to wear Daniel in soon. I have found that wearing Daniel has been more convenient than carrying a stroller around everywhere and Daniel has been so happy and content that sometimes people didn't even notice I had a baby in there. If given the choice of stroller or carrier, I'd definitely go with carrier and Daniel would probably agree.

          The big choice I'm sure everyone is waiting to hear about is cloth diapering. Most people we talk to assume that it's too much work to have to wash them, too inconvenient to carry them around, and too disgusting to deal with the poop. After a year of cloth diapering, I can honestly say, it hasn't been that big of a deal and is a normal part of our lives now. Whether it's because of food on his shirt, some pee that leaked on his pajamas over night, or some dirt he got on his pants at the playground, the fact is that Daniel usually goes through at least two changes of clothes a day so I have to wash his clothes pretty often. Since I'm washing anyway, an extra load is not a big deal. I must mention that I live in a 2nd floor apartment and must walk downstairs and across my apartment complex to the laundry room where I have to use quarters to pay for my wash. despite all that, the diapers have not been much of a burden. As I said, I have to go wash his clothes anyway. Even with paying for the wash, we have still found that we have saved a huge deal of money, especially since we got most of the diapers as a gift from my mother in law, which significantly cut down on our original expense. Daniel has never really gotten a diaper rash. His bum has been red sometimes but it has quickly cleared up with some olive or calendula oil and has never turned into anything serious. Also, compared to disposables, which we used in the very beginning and have still used occasionally on laundry day, we have found cloth diapers to be more absorbent, and we are much less likely to have a blowout in them. That was especially true in those newborn days with explosive exclusively breastfed poop messes! We have not found it inconvenient to carry them around when dirty. We have a wet bag to put them in that is waterproof. As for the poop, once he started eating a lot of solids, we got a diaper sprayer we use for the sticky poop and the harder poop just rolls off into the toilet. That step takes a little more time but not so much that we would want to use disposables instead. All in all, we are very happy with our decision to cloth diaper and plan to get more diapers before our new baby is born.

          I am very happy with the decisions we have made so far and only hope that the decisions we make for our children in the future go as smoothly. We are still faced with the ongoing decision on vaccines and in the future there will be the issue of public school, private school or home schooling as well as thousands of other every day and life long decisions. Although being a parent involves so much work, constant learning and so many decisions, including ones that are very difficult, it is also a very rewarding experience. I still can't believe that i have the capacity in me to love another person so much and I can't help but view parenting as a privilege and a blessing. I am honored that God has seen me fit enough to be responsible for such an amazing, sweet, loving and intelligent little person! I am blessed to have Daniel in my life and thank God for him each and every day. I would not trade him or my role as his mother for anything in the world, ever!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cake Lingerie's "Real Mums, Real Fit" Campaign


          As a pregnant or breastfeeding mom (and sometimes both), it is very hard to find bras and lingerie that are both functional and make us feel attractive and love the new bodies we are in. Cake Lingerie, a company based out of the United Kingdom, has been able to put both of these together to create a fashionable line that is appealing to nursing mothers. No more boring, plain black, white or tan bras! The line is sold in over 30 countries and 400 stores worldwide. Cake Lingerie is helping many pregnant and nursing moms feel beautiful in their new mom bodies and, in 2011, the brand was named the Maternity Brand of the Year in the UK.

           The makers of Cake Lingerie believe that every woman is beautiful and are encouraging each woman to embrace her femininity and new mom curves. For this purpose and to celebrate the beauty of motherhood, they launched their "Real Mums, Real Fit" campaign . The campaign features real pregnant and nursing moms posing in Cake Lingerie designs and is meant to show how real women are just as beautiful as any model. Any pregnant or nursing mother is able to participate and have the chance to be an international model for the brand. It is an awesome opportunity for any mom who wants to feel beautiful and embrace her body as it is. The campaign has previously run in Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Finland, the UK, Ireland and France and just ran in Canada earlier this year. It is still unknown when and where the campaign will run next.

The 4 finalists from the Canada campaign
        





   

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breastfeeding In Public Is Offensive: See for Yourself!

Nature's Mother posted this recently and I just had to share. The author is unknown.



I’m thankful for not having boobs thrown in my face all the time by offensive and indecent breastfeeding mothers like the ones below:



Wait…Well, this is a bad example. Let’s try again.



Hmm…Just a minute. I’m sure I can find better ones than these…



Eh, still not offensive enough. I’ll check one more time.





That is better. LOOK AT THAT! I see about a half inch of boob. DISGUSTING.



UGH. Look at that indecency! She must be from some third world country to be exposed like that!



Now that’s just…There are no words to describe how inappropriate that is.



Something needs to be done!
But why stop at breasfeeding women? There are boobs everywhere.Beware! If you thought the above photos were offensive, you WILL DEFINITELY be offended by the photos below.



Not this one, though. This one was in plain view on news stands and in mail boxes in 19 countries world wide!



Not this one, either. This one actually won an award!



Oh, and I guess this one is fine too. Everyone knows you can’t sell jeans without someone being topless.



Or beer, for that matter.



Or sunglasses.



Or movie tickets.



Or CDs…



You know what? Maybe I’m crazy, but I think that someone mixed up some photos here. The first batch are offensive, but the second batch are just fine and dandy???

People who live in glass bras:

Shouldn’t throw stones:

If you think women have the right to breastfeed their children no matter where they are, please repost this…comment vote it popular whatever . Support breastfed babies and their right to eat in public!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dr. Seuss for Nursing Moms- Author Unknown

Would you nurse her in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?

I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse her in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.

Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse her `till she’s full!

Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes her healthy strong and smart,
Mommy’s milk is the best start!

Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse her in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse her in the rain.

As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation.
Mommy’s milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.

Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!

I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk’s the perfect food!

We make the amount we need
The perfect temp for every feed.
There’s no compare to milk from breast-
The perfect food, above the rest.

Those sweet nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mommy’s milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can’t be beat.

I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I’ll meet her needs, I’ll always try.
It’s not about what’s good for you,
It’s best for babies, through and through.

I will nurse her in my home,
I will nurse her when I roam.
Leave me be lads and ma’am.
I will nurse her, Mom I am!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cookies, Then Milk Review and Giveaway

        
          About a couple of months ago, when I first started struggling with my milk supply due to the pregnancy, I had the privilege of winning a batch of Cookies, Then Milk lactation cookie mix from a giveaway on the Cookies, Then Milk Facebook page. When I emailed Nicole Bredeson, the owner of cookies, Then Milk, and told her how happy I was to be getting the cookies since I was pregnant and having low milk supply, she even threw in a package of her special lactation hot cereal to help me out. Nicole is a work at home mom of three who is also in school and, since she was so nice to me, I decided to help her out by writing a review of her cookies on here.Click here to read Nicole's story.

          Before eating the cookies and hot cereal, I had started pumping and the maximum I would get was 1.5 oz if I was lucky. Most of the time, I would get less than an ounce and that was after seeing a slight increase while taking several galactagogues! I received a one week supply of hot cereal and a 2 week supply of cookie mix. Both were easy to prepare and both were yummy, especially the chocolate chip cookies. I later bought her peanut butter chip cookies and those are awesome! After eating the oatmeal and eating the cookies as directed for a few days, I began to pump 2.5 to 3oz at a time!  I was so excited! Then I was put on antibiotics for a bladder infection and my supply went down again. After finishing the antibiotics, drinking more water, and continuing to eat my cookies, my pumping output was about 2oz and sometimes 2.5 oz again. The figures I'm naming may sound small but keep in mind that I am pregnant and the pregnancy hormones are working against my milk supply. I assume that if I wasn't pregnant I would see an even higher increase but I can't say for certain. What I can say is that I definitely saw an increase, especially when eating the cookies and cereal together and that both were very tasty. I would definitely recommend Cookies, then Milk lactation cookies as a convenient and delicious way to increase or maintain milk supply.Nicole has a variety of flavors as well as waffle mix, muffin mix, brownie mix and new mom gift baskets. She also has sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, and organic mixes available.

          Now for the best news of all: Nicole has been kind enough to host a giveaway for my readers! The winner gets a choice of three gift baskets: 1. Two batches of cookie mix in your choice of flavor, 2. One batch of cookie mix in your choice of flavor and a nursing cover, or 3. One batch of cookie mix in your choice of flavor, a cookie scoop, and a pair of handmade nursing pads.



There are four ways  to enter:

1. Like  Diary of a Natural Mom on Facebook and leave a comment here saying that you did. (1 entry)

2. Follow this blog publicly and leave a comment saying that you do. (1 entry)

3.  Like Cookies, Then Milk on Facebook and leave a comment saying that you did. (1 entry)

4. Visit Cookiesthenmilk.com and leave a comment here stating which of her products you would buy.
    (1 entry)

          You can only do each one once for a total of up to four entries per person. Please put your name and email address in each comment so I can reach you if you are the winner. Each entry must be a separate comment. Winner will be randomly selected using the sequence generator at Random.org and will be announced on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011.

          Nicole is  currently having a major inventory clearance sale and all original recipe mixes are 2 for $25 and all specialty recipe mixes are 2 for $29. Her winter special of the month, Black and White cookie mix is currently $14 for one, $12.50 each for 2, and $10 each for 3. Hurry on to Cookiesthenmilk.com and place your order while supplies last!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm Back!

          Hello everyone. As you have all noticed, I have been neglecting to write anything for a while. I would like to apologize to all my faithful readers for this gap in my writing. I have been dealing with a lot lately and had been busy and stressed out. Last month, Daniel turned one and I was really busy with birthday party preparations as well as some other personal issues. Then Daniel got sick, my milk supply tanked and he was refusing to nurse, and on top of that, he seems to be teething and may finally be getting his first tooth! With all that, I hadn't had much free time to write but I'm back now and promise to do my best to keep on bringing you great natural parenting information.

          Now let me update you on my journey on eating for three and how Daniel, my unborn baby, and myself are doing. On my last post, I told you about all the difficulties and the worries I had about me losing weight and Daniel not gaining any. I am now happy to announce that, as of this morning, Daniel weighs a whopping 22lbs 8oz and is 30.5 inches tall! I have also gained 7lbs in the last month and am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. My morning sickness is now gone and has been replaced by heartburn, oh joy!

          As far as nursing goes, we were doing fine until about a few weeks ago when he began to sleep through the night and then started to refuse the breast during the day. I have been able to get him to latch on about once every other day but only when he's sleeping. I struggled a lot with this as I planned to have him self wean when ready as is best for him. However, I felt like he was being forced to wean due to my chronic low milk supply. It was evident  by his crying at the breast and increased nursing frequency right before this, that he is not ready to wean and was very upset. I have struggled with feelings of guilt over this for the last few weeks, especially during the days he was sick and not eating much.  It has been heartbreaking for me but I have not given up. I have been offering the breast often even though he usually refuses. I went to see an awesome lactation counselor last week who made me feel so much better. Since then, I have been making sure Daniel and I get lots of skin on skin contact and have started weaning him from his pacifier. I have also been taking a combination of red raspberry leaf, nettle, oats, and alfalfa to support my pregnancy, enrich my milk, and maybe even increase my supply if that's possible at this point. With the support of my husband and my friend Reggie who has been very helpful and even lent me a Lact-Aid Nursing Trainer, I have been able to keep going even when I have felt like giving up.

          I am pleased to say that today is the third day that Daniel goes mostly without a pacifier and that the herbs I've been taking have helped me feel better emotionally. to top it all off, Daniel surprised me this afternoon by actually asking to nurse and then latching on for about 20 minutes before drifting off into a peaceful sleep! As if that wasn't enough, he stirred and cried out during his nap and accepted my breast instead of the pacifier and was latched on for another 15 minutes, as well as an additional 2 minutes when he woke up! I am so happy and excited and hope things continue like this and that I'm able to provide my baby with what he needs. I am pretty sure I am producing colostrum now and thought maybe he was weaning due to the taste but maybe what's really happening is that now that he's getting colostrum he is finding nursing more worth his while. I am not certain of what's going on or how our nursing story will go, but I am just glad he's showing positive signs. I was told by the lactation counselor that as long as he latches on every few days or so until the baby is born, he'll probably end up picking it back up when my milk comes in. I will definitely keep you updated on how that goes.

          Now I have a big announcement to make: Daniel is having a baby brother! I am now 21 weeks and we had our ultrasound on Friday morning. I knew it was a boy all along just as I did with Daniel but the ultrasound confirmed it: we're having another boy! I am very excited and hope my boys get along and get to enjoy a very special relationship growing up together.

          That's it for my updates. I plan to diligently work on my blog now that I'm feeling better and things are going well. Please be on the lookout for some upcoming reviews and giveaways and thank you for being patient and understanding why I had to be away from the blog for a while.