Tag Archives: motherhood

Help a new mama fluff her nest with the gift of “gentle clean”! #PampersWipes #DDDivas

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided with the featured item free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Pampers

What’s up with moms not getting baby showers after the first baby? I guess that’s a thing, but I think ALL pregnant moms deserve to be celebrated, whether it’s the first baby or the tenth. I have one friend in particular, Jennifer from This Crunchy Life, who is expecting her third baby this summer, and I definitely want to do something fun to celebrate her newest addition! Continue reading

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Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Uncategorized

On My Mind: Weaning

Weaning.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about this particular topic for quite a while now. Months, even.

But I just haven’t been able to get it down on the page. Every time I try to write anything about what the early stages of weaning look like in our house, I get about 2 lines in and my mind starts to race. Trying to put my thoughts down in a linear perspective frazzles my brain, and I end up putting my laptop to sleep and zoning out on DVRed Top Chef.

Why the struggle? I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s because I know that good information about weaning is important, and there are lots of mamas out there who need a seasoned perspective (hard to believe I’m a “been there, done that” mom now on some topics!) but it’s very difficult to put into a box. I’d love to write a post chock full of helpful tips and witty observations, all tied up with a bow and some kind of enlightening conclusion at the end. But for us, this process is so fluid and ever-changing that the best I can do is relay my experience and save the definitive answers for another time.

First, a little history:

My son was exclusively breastfed until 6 months, when we began to introduce solids. He is now closing in on 18 months, still nursing and eating lots of real, whole foods (mostly fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains; no cow’s milk (some yogurt), very little meat and very, very little sugar.) I work away from home about 50 hours a week, and he spends 4 days a week with my Mom and Dad, who have been very supportive since day 1. We are hoping to add to our family ASAP!

So, why wean?

This is where it gets complicated, because I can’t answer this question! Here’s the jumble in my head:

I would like to start initiating weaning because we really, really want another baby SOON and at 17 months I still had no return of my cycle (except for a random 2 days in December that didn’t amount to much) so I think I may be one of those moms who has to fully wean to concieve, but I know that my son is still reaping great health benefits from nursing past infancy, plus I work more than full-time, so nursing still provides a huge chance for us to reconnect each night. But it’s hard – I’ve been pumping for over a year now, and it’s draining, and I am ALWAYS hungry and unable to lose any weight, and frankly, toddler nursing is a whole different beast than infant nursing. He tugs, he pulls, occasionally bites, and never sits still. The mysterious “full night’s sleep” still eludes us, as he nurses on average twice a night, but I know that’s totally normal, so how can I complain? Frankly, I’m a little scared. I feel like I’m playing with fire by cutting out pumping sessions and letting my supply drop, trying to jumpstart my cycle, because I could wake up one day with no supply and a sad, feeling-rejected baby and I don’t want to know what that kind of guilt and regret feels like. BF has been his biggest source of nourishment and nurturing since the night he was born, so I could never just take it away unless he was ready. But IS he ready? He’s off the bottle, and down to about 6 ounces per day from a cup at my mom’s house, and he might get another 6 throughout the night, so would it be that big a deal if he didn’t get it anymore? On the other hand, it’s been such a comfort knowing that he’s getting such quality nourishment, tailored perfectly to his little self, while I get used to preparing table foods for a toddler. It’s like a backup plan for nutrition that doubles as a remedy for pinkeye, ear infections, diaper rash, and boo boos, while also providing a great way to calm an overstimulated or crying toddler. Who in their right mind would stop producing milk when it’s so multi-purpose and valuable? Oh yeah, maybe a haggard, exhausted mom who really wants another baby before the clock ticks any louder… I mean, extended health benefits are a gift, but a sibling is a gift, too, right? Ugh! Who says I even get to decide any of this anyway? Every time I give in and decide I’m not ready to push weaning yet, he says “Nononono!” and takes off in the other direction, no milk on his mind. It feels like any day could be the last day…

Do I even know how to be a mommy without it!?

See what I mean? I’m all over the place. But with all that being said, there are a few things I’ve figured out for sure:

  • While we didn’t use Baby Led Weaning in the proper sense (we gave our son purees), I do fully believe in letting baby take the lead in ending the nursing relationship. That’s not to say I can’t nudge a little, though, so we are currently practicing the “Don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach, and I’m limiting the length of each session whenever possible.
  • This is one emotional subject! Much of my purpose and identity as a mother is wrapped up in our breastfeeding relationship, and my heart just aches at the thought of its end. But, I’m realizing that parenting only gets deeper and more complex as the days pass, so I’m sure the bond we’ll develop in the next stage of our lives, whatever it may be, will be just as precious to me (and maybe a little easier on my sleep schedule.)
  • No matter how much longer we go, I have met several goals already: 6 mo, 1 yr, nearly 18 mo. It has been wonderful, but it has not been easy, and I get choked up every time I think of how proud I am of our accomplishment. Even if we stopped today, I sleep better at night knowing that I’ve provided my son (and myself) with an entire lifetime of better health!
  • I’ve been told right to my face that I am disgusting for nursing my toddler and that if we continue, I will damage him for life. To those people, I say: Make NO mistake about it, this decision couldn’t have less to do with you and your ignorant judgement. 
  • Every time I think I have something nailed down, it up and changes on me again. After a long conversation with my LLL leaders about this very topic several days ago, I woke up the very next morning to a happy monthly surprise! It seems that we are back in action, for real this time. So I may not have to entirely wean after all (even though my boy may have other ideas at this point.) I guess I’m right back where I started, confident that (as with most parenting issues I’ve found) I need to just follow my heart and my son’s lead and we can’t go wrong.

And with the developments over the last week, my hope to tandem nurse just might not be completely out of reach after all… :)

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Motherhood: It’s never boring, is it?

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Filed under Breastfeeding

A Long, Rambling Post About the Year to Come

I’ve been tossing around ideas for my “New Year’s Resolutions” post for days now, and I’ve realized: This is a lot of pressure!

Lose weight, write a book, exercise more, eat healthy, learn to sew…

8O Does it ever end?

2011 will, no doubt, be a big year for us. Besides working on new career goals, we are planning to sell our home and buy a new one, have another baby (fingers crossed!!), get our finances in better order, and continue on our journey toward a more eco-friendly, made-from-scratch, “get your hands dirty” kind of existence.

I’m a little overwhelmed just thinking about it.

The new year also brings with it lots of inspiration for change on a personal level. Internal change.  I’m seeing it everywhere: ”New Year, New You!” But mostly from companies that are trying to sell me stuff to make me look better (translate: skinnier).

But I’m not one for exclusion, restriction, or self-deprivation, so I’m not making any of those “no more chocolate” or “Big diet starts on Jan. 1st” resolutions. For me, heading into the new year saying that I’m going to eat less, spend less–do anything less– is a recipe for failure. In relation to food, I believe that inclusion is the way to go–include all the things that your body needs, and there won’t be so much room left for the junk–and I really think that applies to most aspects of life.

So, what issues are big for me in 2011?

I’ve had a complex relationship with food and dieting for years. So, I tread lightly around it now. Do I want to lose 20 lbs? Yes. Do I want to fit easily into my tiny jeans, and “get skinny”? Sure I do. But, I stand firm in my belief that those things are secondary to the bigger picture. So, my goals for 2011 in regard to food are simple: I intend to continue searching for and learning about the best possible choices for my family’s health, and the rest will follow. Period. (Oh, and that includes learning some new recipes that include lots of beans. I’m all about beans in 2011.)

The fact that I’m not going to obsess about weight doesn’t mean that I don’t have a little work to do on my health and general fitness. I lost all my baby weight months ago, and I’m actually about 2 lbs lighter than when I got pregnant. But, that means nothing considering the fact that I am not in good shape after months of focusing solely on baby and getting back into the swing of my work schedule. I have zero core strength and my chronic hypertension is still a concern, so I need to get my arse moving. I’m planning another pregnancy so the motivation is hard to muster, but I want to go into it as strong as possible, so adding in some exercise (preferably in a way that will include Little Man) is key for me in 2011.

I want need to write more. I work in advertising, and my writing there is very brand specific. I think the Brand Standards monster is eating my words, so I need to do a little more work on my own to maintain my own voice. That means utilizing the potential of my blog a little more, and recording more memories privately for my son so he has them to look back on later. Maybe I’ll even write a poem or two, like I loved to do back in college.

Actually, I could go on and on….I want to make sleep a bigger priority, take care of my health, work on keeping stress levels down, save more money, spend more time with my husband, make more time to simply play with my boy, go after more freelance work, read a new book of poems just because…but none of these things really have to do with the new year. Those aspirations are with me all the time.

It’s funny…as I write the things I want to focus on in 2011, I realize that they share a common thread. Whether I’m talking about food, fitness, finances or my own personal passions, the answer to the question of happiness and fulfillment always seems to come back to balance. It’s the hardest part of family life for me, because I tend to overshoot, overwork, overaspire, then feel massive guilt when I can’t do it all.

If I boil it down, my success in the new year can be summed up with one simple idea: Moving forward in a positive direction while maintaining a healthy balance. I want to actualize the things that make me feel productive and full, while still meeting the needs of those who need me.

Sounds a lot like motherhood, doesn’t it?

So, I guess my conclusion is that my goal for 2011 is to be (what I define as) a good mother?

14 months in, and I’m learning new things about motherhood every day. It just never stops surprising me with how complex it is.

Happy 2011, everyone! May it be your best year yet!

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What are your goals for 2011? I want to hear the INCLUSIVE ones!! What are you going to do MORE of?

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Filed under The Everyday

Adjusting to Motherhood: My Biggest Challenge

I’ve always been a classic Type A personality–a chronic overachiever, and frankly, a bit of a control freak. That’s not to say I did everything perfectly, but I always strove to, and I based my own personal self-worth on my achievements and ability to do everything, all at once.

To me, unless I got an A+ while standing on my head, it just wasn’t good enough.

All through school and into college, if there was a chance to take on more responsibility, I jumped.  If I could fit in a few extra credits in, I would (especially online courses, which gave me the flexibility to pack my schedule with even more things, which fed my need to stay busy.) I loved being active and involved (expect for a brief rebellious phase in high school…) and by the time I became an adult, I was a pro at cramming more into a day than anyone I knew. It became my very definition. I was the girl who did a lot. A champion multitasker, and I rarely missed a beat.

I’ll save you all the details, but I’m sure you get the jist of it. If I wrote a paper, it had to be honors-worthy. If I baked cookies, I wanted them to be magazine-worthy. Nobody expected it of me, expect for me, and I was my own worst critic.

Becoming a mommy rocked my world in many ways, but perhaps the hardest adjustment has been realizing that I just can’t do it all, all the time, and I sure can’t do it all perfectly.  And no one cares. (which makes me realize that no one but me ever really did…)

My goals upon finding out I was bound for mommyhood? Here goes: Exercise and eat right and keep weight gain below 25 pounds, have an entirely natural labor, breastfeed exclusively, choose organic, non-toxic baby items whenever possible, grow much of our own food, feed my family organic food from scratch, make all of our own homemade, organic baby food, phase out plastic, use cloth diapers, begin freelancing on maternity leave, keep a clean, organized, non-toxic home, spend adequate time with my husband, and look good while doing it all. A half marathon was in the more distant future plans, too…

Can you see where I’m going with this?

OF COURSE I didn’t do it all. I accomplished a good bit of it, but there are things every day that I don’t get done. The sad part is that those things are the ones I think about when I lay my head down at night. I don’t congratulate myself on a job well done. Instead, I criticize myself for those jobs not finished, and even those not finished to my own crazy standards. Some days, absolutely nothing gets done. (In a fight, New Baby will kick To-Do List’s butt every. single. time.)

My son is now 10 ½ months old, and I’m just starting to realize that I’m not failing at this whole mommy game. Accomplishment and achievement mean different things to me than they once did, and though it’s taking a lot of getting used to, I’m adjusting. I try not to compare myself to other mommies, because we all have different priorities, and we all accomplish what we can each day. I know that my choice to do things my way, the natural way (like cooking dinner from scratch or washing diapers) might slow me down in the Mom Olympics, if there were such a thing, but there isn’t. Really, there isn’t.

I live a more thoughtful, examined life now, and I’m very conscious of the example I’m setting. I want it to be positive, so telling myself that I’m not good enough because I can’t keep up just isn’t OK anymore.  I need to teach my son that your worth is about who you are and what you do, not how much you do. He really is the only person I have to answer to, and he’s one happy little boy, so I must be doing something right. Making sure his needs are met is my new top priority, and although making time for exploring the plants in the garden and reading bedtime stories isn’t immediately productive in the same way a full schedule of tasks, goals and challenges can be, the challenges this new life brings are pretty darned fulfilling and I wouldn’t trade it for all the applause or A+’s in the world.

So, while the house may be in a bit of disarray, I have several stalled writing projects, and I may or may not have a piece of food in my hair, I do have the occasional small moment of victory. I managed to change a 3am diaper the other night without disturbing my nursing boy one bit. He didn’t even unlatch.

Now that’s multitasking.

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This post contains a link for which the author has been compensated.

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