Disclosure: All reviews are my true and honest opinions. Posts may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from your purchase, but I will always let you know which links those are. :)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

11 Months Old : My Boy is Walking!

Here's Calvin's 11 month update! Enjoy!

For my YouTube video update, click here!

First steps
My precious little baby boy is an official toddler. He's walking like crazy these days! This month it's really hitting me that my baby is growing up faster than I could have ever imagined possible. Don't be surprised if I have a breakdown at your birthday party, babe! Haha.

"Hi Dada"
Yep, that's the story, isn't it? We carry them in our body, nurture them with all we've got for months on end, feed them with our bodies, love them with all our hearts, and their first word? No, not Momma. It's Dada. He even said "Hi Dada" when he came home a couple weeks ago. Thanks babe.
He also makes a "kee-kee" sound for kitty. We went to the zoo and he was saying it to the gazelles, so I'm sure he doesn't exactly understand what it means, but we're working on it. Haha.

Milk supply
I was so excited to have my period back around 9 months postpartum because we were wanting to start trying for baby #2 around Calvin's first birthday, but I seriously did not even expect to see such a huge drop in my milk supply. I've had two periods so far and for several days before my period shows up, I've seen a terrible drop in my milk supply. It even has Calvin waking up in the middle of the night to nurse (which he hasn't done in months). I went from pumping 6-8 ounces at work to 2-3! It was scary. I was afraid my milk was going to be gone forever, but it seems to be making a comeback now.

Tired of pumping
For the first time since going back to work at two months postpartum, I must confess I am genuinely tired of pumping at this point. I'm tired of worrying about my milk, taking supplements that don't help it, I'm just so done. I'm not going to just straight up quit this close to one year, but I'm counting down the days and keeping an eye on the frozen supply so I can stop pumping at work as soon as possible! Can't wait to wean from that pump! I love nursing Calvin, but I am just so tired of pumping! It's a tough decision though. I don't want to continue pumping at work after his birthday, but I'd like to still feed him on demand when I'm with him, I just don't know how my milk is going to work during the middle of the day in that scenario. We'll just have to see I guess.

Calvin is a very independent boy. He like never wants to sit still, he doesn't really like cuddling (unless he's nursing or super tired). It's so strange to already see that trait in him when he's so little. He loves to be on the move. He also loves to "talk" while you're talking. He just wants to talk over you haha. Before bed we read stories and he just talks and talks the whole time you're reading to him. I was even filming this update for my YouTube channel and he was very talkative the whole time. Haha.

First Hair Cut
I gave my baby his first haircut this month! At first I just trimmed around the ears and the neckline. After a week or two, I decided let's just cut it all. I did leave the top portion long, I like it long, and I didn't totally trust my own hair cutting skills enough to mess with the all important top hair haha. It was difficult. He is a squirmy boy. He was afraid of the sound of the clippers (I don't blame him), so I had to cut it by hand. That was my first experience cutting boy hair by hand so that was fun all on its own haha.

Weight loss
I had five pounds left to go last month, but I've since gained some of that back. I can safely say I'm about seven pounds from my goal weight right now. I was 127 when I got pregnant, my goal is 130 right now. I keep saying I want to be at my goal before we start trying for baby #2, but this is stupid! I keep having spurts of weight loss, then weeks of stagnation. Could I try harder? Yes. But I'm actually happy with the way my body is right now, so I'm not super concerned. Of course I'd like to start my next pregnancy at the same point as my last, especially seeing as I gained sooo much weight with Calvin haha, but I don't think I'm going to make it a definitive part of TTCing.

Weaning plans for 1+ year
I intend to keep nursing Calvin first thing in the morning and right before bed after his birthday and he can have cow's milk with the grandmas during the weekdays. He's still nursing five times per day. Sometimes if we have a really busy day he might only nurse four times. I think we're going to give up our middle of the day feeding next. That's the feeding he skips if he's going to skip one on our days together. So in a couple weeks he'll be down to first thing in the morning, before his first nap, after his second nap, and before bedtime. He loves food. He loves to eat what you're eating, he gets pretty upset if you try to give him baby food or even grown-up food with baby utensils or plates or bowls. He loves pretty much anything you eat, so he isn't really picky, but he doesn't like to be treated like a baby anymore. Haha. He likes to see you eating it along with him. Even if it's something he likes he doesn't want to be the only one eating.

I can't believe we're this close to his first birthday!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 10, 2017

10 New First Time Mom Breastfeeding Mistakes I Made

I got the idea to create this post after talking to a friend of mine about breastfeeding. I mentioned to her that we made a lot of mistakes in our early days and she asked me to share some with her so she would try not to make the same mistakes too. I figured if it was helpful for her, it would hopefully be helpful for somebody else out there too. I hope this is helpful for someone!

We are seriously so lucky we have made it this far! There are so many things I did wrong in the beginning and only looking back on them have I realized how little I truly knew about breastfeeding. Perhaps I needed to experience these things in order to appreciate the miracle of breastfeeding. I've learned a lot in these 10 months and hope to be able to retain this information for the next time around!

Watch the video here.

I do think it is necessary to give a little background before we hop in.
Calvin was born at 37 weeks and was in the NICU about 48 hours. I did not try to nurse him at all the first day, I instead pumped. (Long story short but essentially Calvin's delivery was traumatic for me and that probably contributed to me not even trying to nurse) He was fed my colostrum through a syringe and nipple in the NICU. They also had us supplementing with formula in the hospital. When he came back to us from the NICU, he would not latch. He didn't latch for more than a second in the hospital. He was born on Friday afternoon, we went home on Monday afternoon, and saw the pediatrician on Tuesday morning. That Tuesday morning was the first time he actually latched on the breast right there in the pediatrician's office after the nurse suggested a nipple shield. (I had actually planned on stopping by Target on the way home to get one that day beforehand anyway) We used that shield for nearly two months.


So now that you know a little about our experience in the beginning, here are all the things we struggled with in the beginning.

1. Not trying to wean from the nipple shield sooner
We used it for almost two months, but at five weeks we found ourselves in a predicament without the nipple shield and we figured it out. It was hard and took awhile, but we got through that feeding. Looking back, I should have used that experience as an opportunity to start the weaning process. But it was hard. It involved a lot of crying and fussing to try to wean for the shield. I wasn't yet familiar enough with his hunger cues to practice at other times. I didn't realize that I could just put him to breast whenever and let him use me as a binky to practice on. I didn't realize the boob would pretty much fix anything.

2. Bringing pumped bottles instead of nursing in public
The nipple shield didn't help either. It was hard to try and wear a cover (because I was afraid of exposing myself) and situate a nipple shield when you can hardly see what's going on, along with a baby who wasn't really good at latching to begin with. It was a mess trying to nurse with a cover in that whole situation.
I wish I just didn't care. I was even nervous to do it in front of my immediate family. Looking back, it was so silly! I tell myself with the next baby I will whip out the boob all the time!

3. Taking cold medicine!
Anything that dries up your sinuses could dry up your milk!

4. Not letting him use me as a binky
I just didn't realize how handy the boob was for calming baby in any circumstances. Literally, the boob will fix pretty much anything. Baby crying? Give them the boob.

5. Using a binky
I know there is conflicting evidence and opinions about this, but letting him use a binky could have contributed to the nipple confusion. (I also wonder if him taking my colostrum through a syringe and nipple in the NICU also influenced that too) I'm just pretty sure letting him have a binky did not help the whole situation.

6. Letting him nurse on right boob more because he liked it
I don't remember the exact series of events that took place, I'm pretty sure we were only like a week in, but I got a plugged duct in leftie and it wasn't producing as much as rightie. Calvin would fuss a lot on the left side, so I would pump that side while he nursed rightie. Perhaps leftie just didn't make enough milk from the start and my uneven nursing made the problem worse. To this day leftie makes half of what rightie produces. I realize this is a common issue, but I just wonder if I made it worse.

7. Pumping too much and not letting my supply regulate naturally.
I would pump all the time. We fed Calvin bottles overnight for awhile. I should have just locked the pump away for the first few weeks.

8. Not trying to nurse in the NICU
It was probably influenced, at least in part, by the whole being afraid to nurse in public thing. Stupid!

9. Not seeking more advice from a lactation consultant
The lactation consultant came in to visit us each morning we were in the hospital. The first day Calvin was not with us so I was pumping. She came in, saw I was pumping, saw that the flanges looked to fit correctly and that was about it. Once Calvin was in the room with us, the regular nurse came in to help me learn different nursing positions with Calvin. He would not latch for more than a couple sucks and she just told me to keep trying, maybe he was too hungry and upset about being hungry in that moment, so he wouldn't latch.
The next morning the lactation consultant came back. I told her Calvin wasn't latching and she pretty much just told me to keep trying. So Calvin never latched in the hospital. The first time he actually latched was at our first out of hospital pediatrician's appointment, the nurse suggested a nipple shield. She had me put it on right then and there, held Calvin up to the breast, and he latched right onto it and I was so happy! I got all teary-eyed to see him finally drinking milk right from the boob!
We made it, obviously, but we struggled a lot and perhaps a lot of trouble could have been avoided had I talked with an expert. I watched videos about nursing and read a lot of articles before he was born and in those early days. I had all this knowledge in my head but just couldn't seem to use it in real life! I thought I knew what we were getting into, but apparently not.

10. Not nursing right after birth
I pushed for two hours, after one hour of laboring down before they decided to do the c-section. They told us we'd have an hour with the baby before he had to go to the NICU. So even though we discussed beforehand and had decided we didn't want everyone to be there at the hospital ASAP, because of the NICU news, Justin called our immediate family when we were about to start pushing. So everyone was there waiting on us for hours to see Calvin. I felt guilty that they waited so long, so I wanted them to be able to spend time with him, so I didn't try to nurse him.
This is one thing I will not budge on next time. I don't care what my family has to say. Me, Justin, and new baby will spend at least one hour together all alone as soon as they're born.


I know this post seems overall pretty negative, so I thought I'd include a couple things that have been good for us:
1. not giving up!
It sucked. The first like two months sucked. Cal's latch problems were very difficult. The plugged ducts and mastitis sucked. The simple fear of getting mastitis sucked! When I got two plugged ducts in one week I felt my first bout of desire to give up, but I am legit so happy we didn't give up. It is literally second nature to us now.
"Don't quit on a bad day!" That is excellent advice.
I am not going to pass on praising myself for pushing through! I am in no way judging formula feeding families, but I'm proud of myself and I deserve to feel proud.
2. teething hasn't been bad
Calvin went about a week when his teeth first started to get big where he would bite me. I would set him aside, put the boob away for a couple minutes and tell him no, that he hurt me. After a couple minutes, we would resume. It took about a week. I'm not sure if it was Calvin learning that he hurt me or if it was just a particularly hard point in his teething experience, but we've been really good since then.

I really hope this helped someone!
Thank you for reading!
I love you guys,

Friday, April 7, 2017

Random Little Life Update + TTC Soon?!

Since Justin and I are planning to start trying for baby #2 in the next couple months, I had a few questions for my doctor. I went to my annual OB/Gyn appointment yesterday and let me tell you guys, I am just so happy to let you know that I got all the answers I wanted to hear from her!

(Justin never smiles for pictures)

Here's what I asked her:
When I get pregnant again do I need to stop breastfeeding my son?
Since my son was born via c-section, does that mean I'm destined to always have c-sections from here on out?
What is the likelihood of having PROM (premature rupture of membranes) again?

She said I could continue breastfeeding throughout my pregnancy and could even tandem nurse once new baby is here! I don't see myself tandem nursing, but who knows, I'm just glad she is supportive of it if we do decide to continue into pregnancy.
She said she would like to see me try for a VBAC since we want a large family, so long as things progress normally, especially if the next baby is looking smaller than Calvin was (Calvin was 8 lbs 6 oz when he was born at 37 weeks, so who knows how big he would have grown if he went those extra couple weeks and he was gaining about .5 lbs per week in the last few weeks).
And she essentially said PROM was a fluke and not to assume it would happen again. She did say they would monitor things more next time around just in case it happens again, but not to worry about it. The high risk doctor who did my c-section with Calvin had told me I'd have a 1 in 4 chance of it happening again. With Justin and I wanting four kids, we just hoped that Calvin was that 1 in 4 and we're safe!

So I heard everything I wanted to hear. I'm so glad I got these issues out of the way before trying for baby #2. I cried at the hospital when they decided it was time for a c-section. I was terrified of the idea of having to have four c-sections! I am so glad my doctor is giving me the opportunity to try again next time! Of course, anything can happen, but I'm just glad to have this worrisome weight lifted off my shoulders now! :)

I've had baby fever for a few months now, but we decided we wanted to wait to avoid having a baby around the holidays. And with the chance of having PROM again and baby perhaps coming earlier than anticipated, we essentially have put in a two month buffer, so we are shooting for a February or later due date.

And my period returned just in time! I was very worried about that. I thought it would come down to having to choose breastfeeding or conceiving baby #2. We are very fortunate that my period returned right around 9 months, so we have a few cycles for my body to hopefully regulate a little before we get to start trying.

And we can't wait to start trying for baby #2! Mr. Calvin is growing up so fast. Seriously. He took 9 steps last night. Nine! He's not a baby anymore! I'm both so excited and so saddened by his upcoming birthday (May 27). So many mixed emotions here in this momma!

Thanks for reading!