The Life of Bon

Monday, July 06, 2015

10 Tips for Successful, Happy, Easy Nursing

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and healthy mama® , but all my opinions are my own. 
#pmedia #gethealthymama 

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we are starting to wean June.  So far things are going along swimmingly.  (Or not so swimmingly, if you ask June. She's losing her battle!)  We are down to two nursing sessions on most days- when she wakes up and when she goes to bed.  She wasn’t taking the milk the first few days, and in a desperate attempt to get something into her little belly, I resorted to mixing in a little chocolate instant breakfast.  She guzzled it down in record time!  I thought I was a genius for doing that, but now it's the only way she'll take her milk, so looks like I'm just an idiot and June's got me beat on this one.  Ah well, you can't win em all!

In celebration of our year of nursing and our upcoming complete weaning (think positive thoughts!) I want to share a couple of things I learned during the year that made breastfeeding easier for us and helped both June and I to have a pretty happy year nursing.

(In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I am not a breast feeding expert, nor a lactation consultant, nor do I really know anything about nursing except for that I can do it.  Every woman’s body is different so take this all with a grain of salt.  What worked for me may not work for you.  Remember, my experience is not your experience.  All that being said, here is my experience.)


1.  Push yourself to nurse in public!  Or, like I call it, N.I.P.!  Babies usually aren’t too fussy about where they are getting fed, but mamas sometimes are.  I got comfortable nursing EVERYWHERE with June.  I never felt tied down because we were breastfeeding.  I nursed at campfires, baseball games, while playing cards, while walking around a museum, in a store, in church, watching Greg direct plays, EVERYWHERE.  The more I did it the less I cared, and the easier our life got because we interrupted nothing for nursing.

 Can you tell I'm nursing a very small child under there?

2.  Always carry a blanket for cover// Don’t be suspicious As per the point above, I found a lightweight swaddle to be the trick for any and all N.I.P. needs.  I personally am not a fan of nursing “covers”.  They’re big and awkward and kind of scream HEY! I’M NURSING OVER HERE!  I would much rather drape a lightweight blanket over me and let June do her thing.  It's a lot easier than dealing with a big, bulky cover and I feel like it’s so much more discreet—I like to think that half the time people didn’t even realize I was nursing. (Notice in the picture above I actually tied the swaddle blanket around my neck so it wouldn't fall.  That way it can double as a nursing cover or a blanket or a burp rag or whatever you need that little swaddle blanket to be in that moment.)
Nursing at a baseball game.  Do you think the guy next to me knew I was nursing? 

3.  Use nursing time as a break for yourself.  Nursing takes time, especially in the beginning.  My favorite thing about nursing was that I had an excuse to sit down, cuddle baby, and READ.  It’s not very often in life that you can say every four hours “Oh, I need to sit down and read now for 30 minutes.”  Or, if you’re a tv nut, save this time to watch all your favorite shows.  Or read your favorite blogs.  The point is that it should be a time for mom to relax and enjoy, not just time to do another chore.  (Next time I nurse I want to try to do better at not farting around on my phone so much.  I definitely wasted too much nursing time looking at facebook or instagram.)  

4.  Nurse in bed.  I've had friends tell me this doesn't work for them, so it might not work for you, but if you can master the nursing in bed thing, then your middle of the night nursings are a cake walk.  The first four months June slept in a bassinet next to the bed.  She cried, I pulled her out, rolled on my side and fed her.  Most of the time I fell back asleep.  Once she slept in her own room down the hall, Greg would go get her when she wanted to eat and bring her back to me.  I’d nurse her in bed, and then when she was done, I’d take her back to her crib.  Most nights.  Some nights we’d both fall asleep and in the morning she’d be there in the big bed with us.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that!  (I really really love nursing in bed, but the one thing I hate is that it makes my lower back ache like the devil.  I have tried putting a pillow behind me as I nurse and that helps some, but the achy back is definitely the sucky part of the deal.  Any of you have suggestions?) 

5.  Get a good rocking chair.  I didn’t get a rocking chair until June was almost four months.  What a fool am I!  I definitely don’t always nurse in the rocking chair, but my night time nursing I usually do, and sometimes before naps.  The rocking puts June down faster than about anything else and it's comfortable for mom too!  I found mine for $100 at Wal-mart.  (I got a glider without the ottoman- the ottoman was strangely uncomfortable for me.) 

6.  Nurse when baby wakes up.  I this really well the first six months of June’s life, and after that her feedings were okay to be a little more flexible.  This was crucial to me, though, to help me know why June was fussy.  If I fed her right when she woke up then I knew when she was fussy an hour later it was because she was tired, not hungry.  When you’re a fist time mom it’s hard to know what the baby is crying about!  I also loved that feeding her right after she woke up allowed for full feedings so I didn’t have to nurse as often and I could always feel assured that she was getting all the nourishment she needed.

 June's not the only one always trying to nurse on me!

7.  Pump and make dad (or grandma or other person who loves baby) feed baby AT LEAST once or twice a week.  I pumped right from the start and we trained June to take a bottle right away  because we knew she'd need to take a bottle for daycare.  This saved us in daycare and out of daycare.  Knowing that I could give feedings to someone else was really important to me.  I loved that Greg could bond with June through feeding her, and that I could go to a baby shower at 6 pm and leave all the feeding/ bedtime routine jazz to Greg.  This one is such a big one so that moms can have a break.  It is worth the trouble of getting baby to take a bottle!

8.  Walk!  I was going to put exercise, but that sounds too intense.  Nursing takes a TON of energy and it’s hard to always feel at your peak.  Nursing moms need energy and don't need to excessively exercise.  That’s why I found walking to be so important to me- it allowed me to get that exercise without going too intense.  I tried to walk at least 20 minutes a day while breast feeding and it’s amazing how it boosted my energy. 

9.  If you are hungry, eat!  Don't think about it too much, just eat!  Eat everything!  Nursing moms need calories!  Every person and each body is different, but I am constantly starving when I’m nursing.  Way worse than I was pregnant.  The fattier, the yummier it sounds to me- hamburgers, pizza, French fries- I want it all!  I hate the pressure on moms to get back to their pre pregnancy weight.  Being thin is not our first priority- feeding baby and feed mom is first priority!  I think nursing moms don’t give themselves enough of a break.  Your body just made a baby!  And now it’s feeding that baby!  Ease off on the self loathing!  And if your tired, busy body wants a milkshake, give it a milkshake!  (Obviously you can’t just stuff your face with every fatty and unhealthy food imaginable when nursing, but you get the idea.  Be nice to your body.  Feed it when its hungry.  It’s working so hard for your baby.) 

10. Make sure you are getting all your vitamins and protein that you need to stay healthy.  One thing I have started doing in the past month is drinking healthy mama® boost it up!.  This is a new drink hot on the market for pregnant and nursing mamas, and I am dying that it wasn’t available the whole time I was nursing.  Rachel, the founder of the drink, is on a mission to give more shelf space to prenatal and nursing mom’s needs.  healthy mama® boost it up! gives moms the extra protein, fiber, and B-Vitamins they need while nursing.  It is lightly sweetened energy drink that also helps eliminate nausea. (It’s great to take if you’re nursing or pregnant.)

Also make sure to try out these other great products
    1. Shake the ache ($9.99)
    2. Move it along ($14.99) (To help with your post baby… ahem… bathroom business.)
    3. Tame the flame ($6.99)
    4. Nip the nausea ($5.99) 

    I kind of can’t wait to be pregnant again so I can try all of these products.  I found my  healthy mama® boost it up! energy drinks at Walmart.  They are located near the vitamins and prenatals.  Also, I couldn't help but try some of the nausea drops.  I'm not pregnant, but I took them on our ten hour road trip to Arizona last week to help with my motion sickness.  Totally worked!

    Please share any of your breastfeeding tips.  I figured some stuff out, but I definitely don't know it all.  One thing I am far from mastering is the nursing wardrobe.  I basically lived in the same five v neck stretched out tees to make for easy nursing.  I tried pulling up but it was always hard to get the shirt up in any kind of discreet way.  Send your tips!  And as always, thanks for supporting me and the products that support this blog.

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015

    A family of 36 people went to Mexico and this is their tale

    I'm starting this post at 12:34 in the am and that has never once been a good idea.  But we are headed on a road trip to beautiful, cool Phoenix in the morning and I promised myself I would get these pictures up before we left.  I know you are probably thinking, "Weren't you just on vacation?"  The answer is yes and the explanation is that Greg and I are both teachers so when summer rolls around we do what we want!  Ask me if there is anything in the world as great as having ten weeks off of work with your husband and your baby.  There is not.

    We got back from Mexico two weeks ago and I am mad that I still haven't gotten around to posting these pictures.  It isn't so much that I haven't gotten around to it, as I lost the cord to transfer the pictures.  I am technology disabled.  It is no fun.

    I am tired enough that I probably won't go in to a lot of detail about the trip.  Here's the short run of it- I went to Cancun with my entire family- my husband and baby + my mom + all seven of my siblings + their spouses + their kids.  There were 36 of us.  It was wild!  And so fun.  I don't remember a time in my life where we have all just hung out for a week.  It must mean we really like each other, right?  Either that or we're just totally nuts.

    My mom planned and organized the entire trip.  She's a soldier.  I don't know how she did it all.  Organizing a trip for that many people- she should practically be a travel agent at this point!

    And now, an absolute ridiculous amount of pictures.


    My mom found a beautiful home with ten separate bedrooms.  Each room had a bathroom and small living area for each individual family + a room for my mom + a room for some of the older grandkids.  The accommodations were awesome.  Our only slight disappointment was that it said the property was beach front.  We thought that meant we'd be right on a beach and be able to play on said beach all day.  Well, beach = lots of dangerous rocks but you know, at this point we're just arguing semantics.

    Almost all of our activities involved water.  We swam in pools, in the ocean, in a cenote! (A spring.)  It also rained every single day we were there.  It was warm enough that it didn't matter too much except for the two days there was a hurricane and we literally couldn't leave the property.  Ah, mother nature, you sneaky vixen you!  (I'm mad I didn't get any pictures of the hurricane.  It was unlike anything I've ever seen.  I seriously wondered if we were all going to blow away.)


    Our tour guide was really nice to always offer to take pictures for us, but sheesh, he ain't got no picture taking skills...  I'm so bugged you can't see ANYONE'S FACE in this picture.

    Again.  Awesome sight; bad picture.

    My handsome beau... check out that sweetmaroon/ bright red color combo.  You're telling me you're not in to that?

    Greg insisted we make human sacrifices when we got to the top.  I obliged.

    That hat that Greg is wearing is my favorite history in the history of ballcaps.  We lost it that day.  A moment please, for the ballcap.

    Hands down the coolest part of the trip was when we stopped in a village to give away school supplies, clothes, toys, etc.  My mom had organized a humanitarian effort to bring some of the extra stuff we have to those who need it more.  She somehow talked Delta into letting us all bring an extra suitcase free of charge (my mom is AMAZING) so we each stuffed a suitcase full of stuff to give away and brought it down with us to share.  (The last day of school I sent an email to teachers asking for any old notebooks, pens, pencils, binders, etc.  The response was overwhelming.  We filled three full, big suitcases with school supplies to take down.  People are good.)

    The experience was very sweet, but also very painful.  The distribution of wealth in this world confounds me.  It was so sweet to see how the people gathered and crowded, anxious for our supplies.  It was heartbreaking though, at how quickly the stuff was gone.  I felt like it was a matter of minutes and the suitcases were empty.  There just wasn't enough.  And when the stuff was totally gone people kept coming, hoping to get clothes for their kids, notebooks for school.  We had to keep saying, "Ya no hay. Ya no hay." (There isn't anymore.)  It was crazy because I felt like we had brought an absurd amount of stuff down with us and then it was just gone.  Like that.  There will never be enough in the world to fill the need and gosh, that's a hard truth to stare in the face.

    Even though we couldn't give "enough" and there will never be "enough", it was still a beautiful experience.  I'm so grateful for my mom who always encouraged us and continues to encourage us to think about more than just us and to look out for the world around us.  My mom is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. (You can see her in the left of this picture giving something away to a little boy.)

    Even though it was rainy and cloudy most days, Cancun was still plenty hot.  We were sweaty all day (Oh, the humidity!) and jumped at any chance to get in the water.

    My mom and two grandbabies.  Jensen and June were born weeks apart.


     Well, some of us slept on the beach anyway...

    A rousing game of smashball.  It's like four square meets racket ball meets tennis.

    Xel-ha (Pronounced Shell-ha) is basically a huge water park for snorkeling, tubing, jumping off cliffs, ziplining, and eating!  All you can eat food the whole day and all the outdoor adventure you can imagine.  It was the perfect day.
    This is my pretty mama who organized the whole trip.  I'm sure she'll be mad that I put the picture of her up with her snorkel on, but she's gorgeous nonetheless, right?

    Above and below are pictures of me and my adventurous, free spirited niece, Josie.  She's one of my favorites.  Sometimes I wonder if she is me in a five year old's body.  We also share that spirit with Davy, my 12 year old fun loving nephew.

    One of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.  EVERYBODY GRAB A HAMMOCK.

    The afternoon we all left for home.  WHAT A TRIP!

    If any of you are thinking about traveling to Cancun/ Tulum area I'd be happy to answer any questions or share any advice we have.  All of our activities were so much fun, but my favorite part was just the uninterrupted time with my family.  We played late night games of mafia, talked about books, shared spiritual insights.  The cousins played and played and played with each other.  I feel so grateful for my family.  They are everything.  And I like to think that my dad was there with us too- watching us run wild around Mexico and being so dang happy for all of us.

    P.S.  A short short side note on vacations with a baby.  They're awesome!  I loved having June along for all of our adventures.  There were definitely things that were different or that we couldn't do in the same way that we would have pre-June, but having our girl with us on the trip made it that much sweeter.  Before I had June I thought kids would be the end of vacation and the end of traveling and that's not the case at all- if anything vacations and traveling are better with kids in tow.  It is so fun to experience everything through their eyes.  Somehow it makes everything a little bit more magical.  I am totally of the mindset that you shouldn't let having a baby stop you from doing any of the fun things you would have done before kids- it is easy to make it work and so worth it for me.