Friday, June 28, 2013

21 Weeks into Our Breastfeeding Journey

1 day old
I knew from the day that I found out that I was pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed our baby due the all of the amazing benefits that mother's milk has to offer. I was so nervous about it though because I would be the first in my entire family to breastfeed and I knew I couldn't rely on my mom, aunt, or grandmother for help. Luckily, my best friend had lots of advice for me and helped me out along the way. Honestly though, it's a learn as you go process of finding what works for you and your little one. I know that I spent a lot of time reading books and articles about nursing but I think I gained the most knowledge from reading blog posts about other's women's experiences; so I thought I'd share our journey so far...

4 hours old
 We were very lucky because Aubrey latched immediately without any assistance as soon as she was born and she's had a great latch all along. I really couldn't believe how nature just took over like that and her instincts just kicked in, it truly was amazing. I started off thinking that I was going to exclusively pump or at least pump for the majority of the time because I wasn't sure how I felt about the whole nursing thing but I knew that I wanted her to have my milk. My thoughts changed on that completely after the first day of her entering our lives because it wasn't until then that I realized what an incredible bonding experience it is.

My husband and I took a breastfeeding basics class at our hospital and the lactation consultant said to exclusively breastfeed and not pump until the baby is at least 2 months old. I think she was a little extreme though. I had an over-supply and engorgement issue so not pumping was simply not possible for me. I was still full after her feedings and I needed to relieve some of the pressure so I pumped. I also had to pump in the morning before her feedings because by morning my breasts were ready to explode and not only was I uncomfortable, and leaking everywhere but if I fed her she would choke so it was a mess all around. My nipples were also extremely sore in the beginning so I sometimes pumped a bottle out to feed her because it was less painful than nursing her.

Speaking of being sore, before I left the hospital I told the lactation consultant about my discomfort and she gave me a prescription strength nipple cream and it worked wonders. I use Medela lanolin here and there but the stuff from the hospital works magic, ask for it.

I pumped about 50% of the time and nursed the other 50% for the first month and a half and then I switched to primarily nursing. I still had to pump sometimes after her feedings because she would feed from one side and then the other side would be uncomfortable so I pumped to relieve pressure and emptied the breast. Luckily, I banked all of that pumped milk and have an entire compartment in my freezer filled with that liquid gold.
Aubrey, passed out and totally milk drunk 2 months old

Your milk is supposed to regulate around 12 weeks but it wasn't until about 3 weeks ago that my milk fully regulated. I had a scary thing happen at 12 weeks. I went from being engorged all of the time, with rock hard breasts (sometimes) to a major drop. It was right around this time that Aubrey started to sleep through the night and I can't help but wonder if that was the reason for this. Maybe my body needed time to adjust to her new demand. However, for one night, 12 weeks in I was so low that I had to give her a bottle at night of milk that I had pumped and saved. The next day I went out and bought fenugreek and the very next day my supply was back up and I had enough to feed her. I'm still not sure if it was thanks to the fenugreek or not but either way I was relieved.

Once I had that scare and my supply went back up, I found that I wasn't engorged anymore, my breasts were softer but I was making enough to satisfy her at each feeding. Then at 16 weeks I had another scare. I was almost completely dried up for an entire day, I was popping fenugreek like mad but it wasn't working, I was low for a few days following too. I persistently nursed her as much as I could, pumped after each feeding to stimulate milk production, continued to eat oatmeal for breakfast every day, continued with the fenugreek and finally after about 4 days of this, my production went back up. I don't know what happened but I wonder if stress may have been a factor that week.

So here we are, 21 weeks in and so far my production seems to be satisfying her needs and she is exclusively breastfed. I work from home all but one day out of the week so I nurse her most of the time. She does have bottles (of breast milk) here and there though throughout the week when I need time to get work done and my husband is watching her and she is bottle-fed all day when I'm gone for the day (working outside of our home). I've noticed a bit of a drop when I pump though. I went from pumping 5-6 oz. during each session to an average of 3 oz. (and only sometimes 5 oz.).

I know that the baby is supposed to be able to extract more than the pump can so you can't rely completely on what you are pumping as a gauge. Also, it's important to remember that factor when/if your supply drops because your baby is the best stimulator for production. Another tip that my L.C gave me is to make sure the breast is being completely emptied when you pump. An emptied breast signals your body to make more. Usually you can get two "sprays" so it's important to keep pumping even if nothing is coming out to stimulate the next spray or to at least send the message to your body that your baby needs more.

4 Months
Breastfeeding is hard work and it really takes patience, persistence, and practice but it's all so well worth it. Having a supportive husband certainly makes things easier too and I'm so thankful for all of the support and encouragement that my husband gives me. There have been a lot of ups and downs along the way, that's for sure. I'm doing all that I can think of to maintain a supply, my plan and my goal is to breastfeed Aubrey exclusively for the first year but if something happens beyond my control, I'm hoping that I can just roll with it without loosing it completely. I'm not taking anything for granted after having those scares.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bye Bye Reader, Hello Bloglovin'

I know most of you are aware of the major change that is due to take place on July 1st so I'll make this short and sweet. Google Reader is going to be a thing of the past but there's no need to get upset because Bloglovin' is a fantastic reader service that I actually enjoy using more that Google Reader!

So check one thing off of that "to-do" list. Make the switch today so you don't wake up with your coffee in hand on the morning of July 1st, ready to scroll through your blogroll only to find that it's nonexistent.  

It's so quick and easy and you can quickly set it up so that all of the blogs that you follow are transferred into Bloglovin's reader.

You can do that by clicking here:

You can find my blog here:

...and you can search for individual blogs on Bloglovin' too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Sun, Fun, Food, & Burns Oh my!

Finally! The weather has gotten warmer and we've hit the upper 80's and low 90's and I couldn't be happier! We spent the entire weekend outside enjoying the beautiful weather and soaking it all in.
On Saturday morning, I grabbed my lounge chair, towel, and magazines and had an hour and a half of "me time." I laid out in the sun and finally caught up on the stacks of magazines that I had piling up and it was great... until an hour or so later that is. I got my very first sunburn. ever. 

I spent my late teens and most of my twenties in tanning beds and outside slathering on tanning oils, never using and SPF and never burning either. Last year I absolved to start using sunscreen, it must have been the mother in me coming out or maybe my new fear of wrinkles and skin damage. I stayed out the sun last summer when I was pregnant for the most part and when I was in the sun I religiously wore sunscreen. 

I'm blaming my burn on myself being the most pale that I have ever been in the last 10 years of my life, crazy hormones, and stupidity. I couldn't find my full body sunscreen so I just applied my facial SPF to my face, neck, and shoulders. So my chest and tops of my legs are red and burnt. It better turn into a tan and fast.

We fired up the charcoal grill and had my parents over for a BBQ on Saturday.
This was our first time using flavored wood chips and let me tell you--- amazing!
It was also our first time using the charcoal grill to make corn and again, it turned out amazing! It was so easy too- just brush the corn with olive oil and season it with pepper and parsley (or whatever seasoning you'd like), wrap it in foil and cook for 15-20 minutes. 
...and I made sweet tea for the first time. I found this recipe in a magazine that I was reading earlier that day and I decided that I needed to try it. We followed the recipe above and added a little lemon and it was so refreshing!

I made kebobs too- prosciutto, salami, and fresh mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar- YUM!

...and finally, I'll leave you with Saturday's outfit.
Tank Top- Old Navy (last year)
Shorts- ON Kids
Sandals- Burlington (I think) (old)
Bracelet- Tiffany's

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quick & Simple OOTDs

These days I find myself more concerned with what Aubrey is wearing as opposed to what I'm wearing. Life with a baby is so much different and getting dressed (finding the time to get dressed is another story) is all about quick, simple, and functional. When you think of "mom outfits" you think of the infamous "mom jeans" but you don't have to dress like a stereotypical mom. You can create plenty of baby-friendly outfits that are both stylish and functional and it's pretty easy too because less is more in this situation.
So with that, here are some of my recent outfits:
T-Shirt- Old Navy
Jeans- ON Rockstar Skinnies
Ballet Flats- JCPenny
Necklace- F21 (old)

Tank Top- ON
Shorts- SO (Kohls)
Sandals- JCPenny

Monday, June 17, 2013

Aubrey's Favorites

I love this set up because the car seat clicks right into the stroller frame so we can easily transport her. She always falls asleep in the car so this allows us to easily (and usually seamlessly) transport her from the car to the stroller or the car to the house without disturbing her sleep. Often times we'll let her sleep right in her seat once we carry her in the house. We have two car seat bases for each of our vehicles and one seat that easily clicks into the base. 

She just started using this new toy a couple of weeks ago and she loves it! She jumps and bounces and plays with all of the toys surrounding her. I love the silly music is plays when she bounces too. This little activity center keeps her entertained for quite a while which is such a help for me when I need to get some work done.

This swing is a lifesaver. She gets some of her best naps in this swing. There are adjustable speed settings, a rotating mobile, and several different tunes to lull her to relaxation.

This no-rinse cleaning fluid is gentle and so easy to use anywhere because no water is needed. I use it on her hands all the time because she is constantly putting them in her mouth.

She's just starting to grow out of this but we used this from day 1, well day 1 that she was home anyway. She slept in this while she was in our room and it folds up so we would bring it with us when we were visiting family. She really loved the feeling of being snuggled when she slept and the curvature of this bassinet gave her that cozy feeling. We swaddled her but she wasn't happy being swaddled in her crib until just recently. I think she really likes having her room to spread out now that she is getting bigger. 

This is the only way that I can get a shower. I bring this right into the bathroom with me and she is perfectly content sitting in it while it vibrates and plays music. She hung out in this a lot during her first and second month but now that she is becoming more active she just relaxes in it here and there. Also, now that she's getting older I can sometimes put her down for a nap in her crib, bring the monitor in the bathroom and grab a quick shower.

I really think we are getting close to entering the teething stage because she is drooling like crazy and she'll chew on just about anything she can get her hands on these days. We pop this in the freezer and give this to her on hot days. It's easy for her to hold and she loves it.

We just started putting her in the high chair a few weeks ago and she is really liking the idea of being a part of dinner time with us. It straps right onto the chair and has adjustable seat positions which is great. Right now she is reclined a bit. She hangs out at the table with us and plays with all of her toys while we eat dinner. 

This is by far her favorite toy right now. She holds onto the seahorse with both hands while she tries to fit the entire thing in her tiny mouth- it's hilarious! She also likes to shake it and make noise. It has an easy to hold handle and the top fin and bottom tail are soft chewable teethers. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rainy Days

When I saw these ballet flats I knew I had to have them because they reminded me of the jelly shoes that I loved so much when I was little... and they have bows, and how pretty is this shade of green?!
My J.Crew shipment arrived yesterday and it couldn't have had better timing because it rained today and I got to wear my rainy day flats. They're cute, comfortable, and perfectly ventilated for rainy days or any day really.

It's true what they say, babies really do take over the house! Please excuse the swing and jumparoo, we are I am (I'm the clutz) constantly tripping over stuff anymore and we're definitely out of room.
Tshirt- J.Crew
Jeans- Abercrombie & Fitch (old)
Silver Glitter Belt- Old Navy
Flats- J.Crew

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bathing Beauty: Mommy & Me Swimwear

This past weekend was filled with a bunch of firsts for our little Aubrey- 1st time playing in her jumparoo~ total success! She loved bouncing and playing with all of her new toys.

1st taste of rice cereal~ semi-successful. She is still exclusively breastfed but we decided to try a couple spoonfuls of rice cereal because she is showing all of the signs of being ready for foods: head control, doubled her birth weight, chewing motions (she's chewing on everything these days), curiosity about what we're eating, and a growing appetite. She did pretty well but it was a mess, as expected for her first time. We're not introducing veggies or fruits until 6 months so for now, we'll offer her rice cereal here and there to slowly get her used to the spoon.

...and last but not least- 1st time in the pool~ total success! She had so much fun playing with her bath toys in the pool. She's all about accessories, like mother like daughter. She kept her sunnies and hun hat on the whole time like a true fashionista. She's too young for sunscreen (6 months+ is the recommended age for that) but she was shaded the entire time by the beach umbrella. We brought her Bumbo out for her to sit in which worked out well. She wasn't heavy enough to weigh it down but I kept my feet under it to elevate her a bit while she played and I got some sun on the other side of the umbrella. The rest of the time, she was on my lap under the umbrella, of course. I can tell this is going to be one very fun summer!

If you remember this post, I was discussing the post-baby body swimsuit debate. I decided to go with a one piece after all, mostly because I still have some tightening to do and I don't want to expose my linea nigra to any sun and risk any darkening that may set me back. It keeps getting lighter but I feel like sun exposure could do one of two things: make it blend into my tan or darken it even more. I have a feeling that once my tan fades, the line would stay darker. I may be over-thinking it but I just don't want to take that risk for the sake of a tan tummy.
Mommy's Suit: Old Navy
Aubrey's Suit: Carter's
So I decided on this one piece from, you guessed it- Old Navy! It's not on their website so I was pleasantly surprised to find it. I bought the pool and decided that I needed a suit that day too so I was all in for a quick impulse buy. This was a good impulse buy though- I'm really happy with the fit, style, color, AND Aubrey and I are kind of color-coordinated too!

I'm so obsessed with her bathing suit that it's part of the decor in her room right now along with her seersucker sun hat. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

MMR: May 2013: Go-To Recipes

Question of the month from Kristen: "What's your go-to recipe? Drink, dinner, dessert, whatever..."

I have several go-to recipes that are in our weekly dinner rotation but one of our favorite quick and easy dinners to make is Pan Seared Chicken with Shallots.
What you'll need:
  • 3 tbs. butter 
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1b. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Melt 1tbs. of butter and 1 tbs. of olive oil. Season the breasts with salt & pepper and pan fry. When the chicken is done cooking, remove from the stove, cover, and set aside. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and sear for 30 seconds-a minute, just until they are slightly softened, then add the wine and chicken broth. Let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes or until reduced and slightly thickened, then melt in the remaining 2 tbs. of butter, drizzle the mixture over the chicken and serve! 

My go-to dessert depends on the season and since it's summer, I'll share my go-to treat for the warmer weather: Hawaiian Delight Cake
What you'll need:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 20 oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple with juice
Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into a greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, let cake cool, then frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 tbs. vanilla
  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
Combine all of the above ingredients and frost! Optional: add cherries to top for garnish.