Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Season of Motherhood...

Wow. It has been a long while since I sat down to write a blog post. I can already tell you that I have 35 minutes left in nap time, and laundry that needs to be switched over. I think it is safe to say that this blog post will be fairly short.

When I had my daughter, who is now 9 months old, I was over the moon excited and ready to tackle motherhood. I knew it would be hard, but I reckoned I had the support of those who have gone before me, and those that I was going through motherhood with now. A.K.A other moms. 

You know those formula commercials (I forget the brand that puts them on), but they talk about the "Circle of Sisterhood" that you join when you become a mom. How you have this endless support of moms across the country, world, perhaps universe...if you wanna go that far. We want the MOM group when we have kids. It is a great group to be apart of...I love the sympathetic looks I get when my daughter is crying in the store (you know you can only get those from other moms). The play dates and being able to talk mommy with someone who GETS IT. Because lets be husband doesn't always understand the baby eyed, wipe her hands, don't let her eat that, she hasn't pooped today, does she look okay?, CRAZY mom monster I have become.

It is nice to have other moms to share in this journey with.

That said, I have recently been convicted. We started a mom bible study with several moms in our church and our pastor's wife is leading the study. She picked out the book "Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood" by Melissa Kruger. I was really excited to start this book! It is hard to find time to spend in the word when there are a million things demanding your attention. We had our first meeting this morning. We were able to meet some new moms and get to know the ladies in this group. However, I didn't get to share my conviction and while it's on my mind I'm going to share with you. Right here. Typed out.

I was convicted before I even opened the book. I did not even turn the cover to open it. I simply read the title and reflected introspectively. 

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood.

Right there. WALKING WITH GOD!

You see...this Circle of Motherhood that I so craved. This bond with other moms. Wanting, and at times forcing, mom friendships to have the acceptable status quo of mommy friends. I wanted other moms to walk through this journey of motherhood with. So much so, that I put aside the fact that I should desire walking with God through motherhood FIRST.

There is nothing wrong with mommy friends, obviously. So don't take this the wrong way. I don't know what I would do without my mom friends. Especially, my loving, supportive sisters in the Lord. But it is with God whom I should continually strive to walk through motherhood with. He is my biggest supporter and has nothing but my best interest at heart. He knows my heart and my everyday motherhood struggles (which to some may seem insignificant). He so carefully designed the relationship between a mother and her child. Who else would you go to but the designer Himself?

Anyway...naptime is ending, therefore so is this post. I hope other moms can share in my conviction; and remember that while it's great to be part of the circle of motherhood, nothing is greater than being in the circle of God's chosen for His kingdom.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Meal Plan Monday!

I've decided to start posting my meal plans on Monday here on the blog. I know I get inspiration from seeing other people's meal plans, so I'm sharing mine. Hoping to post these every Monday :) 

Would love to know what you are cooking this week...leave some meals in the comments below!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Peeking Around the Corner...

I've caught myself doing something over the past few months.
 As K has grown, we have a short period of time (usually in the mornings) of independent play. Typically this is after breakfast while I have some cleaning up to do in the kitchen. I set her down on her play mat in the dining/play room and she plays with her toys.

In the beginning months she wasn't super happy to be alone. She didn't really know how to "play" with her toys, and I spent most of my time going back and forth from the kitchen and the play room. But as she has gotten a few months older, she has come to enjoy independent playtime. I often find that she is much more apt to practice her developing motor skills to reach new  milestones when I'm not right there with her.

Nonetheless, back to my beginning statement, I've caught myself doing something as this new liking of IP (independent play) has surfaced.
I peek around the corner.
Yes, I know. Every mom has done this and most do it several times in a day like me. However, I've noticed that this simple action of peeking around the corner brings to light so many emotions as I watch my beautiful daughter play.

Love: This is first because I love my daughter. This goes without saying. Watching a mini me discovering her new skills and enjoying time with a monkey rattle (I'm no fan of monkeys btw) brings a flutter to my heart that I feel only other mommas will understand.

Pride: With the love I feel as I watch my daughter, I feel pride. This is MY daughter learning all these cool things. It's MY daughter who just learned to pick up the monkey rattle by the ear with her thumb and forefinger. MY daughter is in there playing contently. Every mom smiles with pride for their children as they learn; even the small milestones that we as adults have taken for granted.

Sadness: How is this possible? Because I realize my daughter is enjoying herself, by herself. She has her toys laid out before her and she beats two stacking cups together. She is happy and content without me. It's a small, quickly vanishing feeling of sadness, but it's there. I partly wish she would look around the room for me or cry out for me. I'll admit it, I like to be needed by my daughter. She needs me most of the day, but for those 20 minutes that she is happy in play I'm not needed. *tears*

Happiness: Ultimately, before I leave the corner I'm peeking behind, I feel an unexplainable joy. I'm happy my daughters happy. And for a small moment... the drool that got in my mouth while playing airplane, the poop I had to spray off her cloth diaper that got all over the bathroom, the spit up on my carpet I had to clean (for the fifth time in a day), the fussy/teething days that never end, and the crying that can make your heart break into a million all forgotten while peeking around the corner.

 Cheers to peeking around the corner mommas!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Current Favorite Toys! {5 Months}

My daughter is just over 5 months now and it is amazing to watch her "go to" toys change. Well as much as a 5 month old can. We try to limit the amount of plastic toys in K's collection. We prefer to purchase wood, but sometimes you just can't help it. For us it's just a preference when shopping for her, not a hard fast rule.

I figured I would show a few of her current favorites here on the blog today. The name of the toy will be linked below.

O'Ball Rattle by Rhino Toys

This toy is too advanced for my daughter, obviously. We like it because she can sit at it (on her own) and play without having to look down at smaller toys in her lap all the time.

What are some toys that your babies can't part with? Or any other toys you recommend?
*Disclaimer: All toys were purchased by me. I was not compensated for posting these toys on*

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Exclusively Pumping Update {5 Months & Going Strong...}

A few days ago I officially earned my 5 month pumping award!!!

I figured I would do another small update, like I did at 3 months, in order to continue to share my pumping journey.

To Date:

PPD (Pumps per Day): 3
OPD (Ounces per Day): 45-50
Freezer Stash: 3000+
Donations: 300 Ounces Pending
Hours Spent on the Pump: Approximately 482 Hours

Since my last update a few things have changed. I dropped a middle of the day pump which means I'm only pumping 3 times a day now. I set my alarm and pump at 6AM, 1PM, and 9:30PM before bed. I noticed a small decrease in my supply, but I added 5 extra minutes to my pumping sessions to help with that. I probably pump 35 minutes each session.

The cube freezer we had to purchase for my milk storage is full and I have continued to freeze my over supply in our other freezer. I have around 300 ounces currently set aside and ready to be donated; we are just waiting to make a few arrangements. I'm hoping that I will be able to make another donation in the future.

I get a few questions about EPing from my blog followers, friends, and even family at times so I wanted to put together a small list of "lessons learned", if you will, to help EPers if they are just starting or anyone interested.

How do I know EPing is for Me?: I think as a mom you just know. You know your limits and if you have exhausted all other resources in your breastfeeding struggle. Or, you are going back to work sooner than later after giving birth, and you just want to pump. Or, maybe breastfeeding just isn't for you, but you would like to offer breastmilk instead of formula. Only YOU know if EPing is right for you. There is no shame in it, only the utmost respect.

Where do I Start?: First off, if you have decided to pump full time, GET A GOOD PUMP! It makes a world of difference when it comes to fully emptying your breasts. A poorly functioning pump can tank a good supply. 
Second, in the beginning, PUMP, PUMP, PUMP! I cannot stress this enough. 8-10 pumps per day for 25-30 minutes a session. Yes, you will be tied to your pump and you WILL hate it; but it all pay off a couple months in. Eventually, after establishing a good supply, you will be able to drop a few pumps here and there getting back those precious minutes to spend with your little one or tackle the household items.
Third, have a support system in place from the beginning. Your husband, significant other, mom, friends...anyone who can help encourage you along. We will need the support. I also found comfort by joining the Exclusive Pumpers Facebook groups. All those moms are rockstars and often they have the same questions and can offer advice.

What Pump do you Use?: Spectra S2

How to Increase Supply?: O man...there are so many "ways" to try to increase supply. I will give you a few things that I do to increase/maintain my supply.

1. Power Pump: This is key. It mimics a cluster feeding like a baby going through a growth spurt would have. You want to pump until empty, then turn pump off for ten minutes, pump for ten minutes, off for ten, pump for ten, off, pump for ten. In the beginning this is a good idea to do once a day or every-other day to help get supply up.

2. Mother's Milk Tea: I feel like you have to drink a lot of this to notice a difference, but I actually like the taste (some don't) so drinking a few cups a day wasn't a chore for me.

3.Gatorade: I swear by this. Especially if you are having trouble getting a ton of water in during the day (also a HUGE must have for breastfeeding).

4. EAT!: It can be kinda annoying to not loose the baby weight as fast as some other moms, but you HAVE to keep your calories up throughout the day or your supply will take a hit. Don't plan on dieting while EPing.

5. Don't Stress: It's really hard to do this. If you are an under-supplier worried about getting enough breastmilk for your baby, you worry. If you are worrying then you are stressing, and if you are stressing it can cause a dip in supply. Try not to stress about pumping.

There are several other things you can try, but I have tried the above and found they help.

Is it hard work?: O MY HEAVENS...YESS!  You essentially have to do double duty. Pump AND deal with bottles/cleaning/sterilizing etc. Plus, in the beginning you are tied to a pump so much it makes going out for a second really tough. You need to find places to pump on the go, deal with keeping milk cold if out for more than a couple hours, and save all that liquid gold you can because you never know when aunt flow will show up and your supply take a dive. All that aside, if you are dedicated--it is doable. NEVER, let a lactation consultant  tell you it isn't possible (sometimes they try). There are so many of us out there and we do it everyday :)

Does your supply even out?: Yes. Just like an exclusively nursing mom's supply will most likely even out after 12 weeks, so does an EPers. That is why it is very important to keep up your 8-10 pumps per day in those first 10-12 weeks. If you are an over-supplier you may be able to drop a pump or two sooner than that, but be watching your ounces.

What bottles are your favorite?: ComoTomo

How long should I pump for?: It is totally up to you! Any little bit of breastmilk you can offer your baby is wonderful! 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and is all up to you. Don't ever feel down on yourself if 3 months is all you want to do. Personally, my first goal is 6 months and since that is looking doable, I plan on working toward my second goal of a year.

Does it hurt?: It can. Try to use lanolin or coconut oil on your breasts to help. Using the correct flange sizes is key for long term pumping.

Any additional equipment that I need?: I would recommend a hands free pumping bra. Life saver! A few others: nursing bra (not needed, but great for pumping out and about), nursing cover, nursing pads, milk freezer bags, freezer, and a good book to read while pumping.

Should I keep milk stash?: That is a personal choice. I keep one so that I may be able to stop pumping sooner then a year and still offer breastmilk to my daughter. It may also be helpful if during your pumping journey you need to take medicine that is not safe for breastfeeding.

I hope that answers a few of your questions. If you have something specific, please feel free to email me or comment below.

We are 5 months and going strong! O what a journey!

Keep Pumpin' Mommas :)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

We made it 3 months EPing!!!

I have to admit that EPing is hard. It takes a lot of work and dedication. But, I am BEYOND dedicated to my beautiful daughter and I am going to keep on pumping :) I plan to do a look back on EPing blog post when I start to wean, but I did want to give y'all an update on how it is going now.

To date:

PPD (Pumps per Day): 4
OPD (Ounces per Day): 55 ish
Freezer Stash: 1500+

I have been blessed with an over supply so that I am able to freeze milk to use for my daughter in the future as I start to wean or if I want to drop another pump per day. If my supply stays the same and I am able to make it a year with pumping/ my minimum stash, I plan to donate the additional ounces.

This is not how I originally intended to breastfeed my daughter; but I will say that right now I can't imagine doing it any other way. Miss K is happy, healthy, and thriving.

My first goal is to make it to 6 months before weaning and my second goal is to make it a year. I have to two goals because EPing is hard (I mentioned that already so it's definitely true). There are days that all I want to do it throw my pump out the window and be done. There are days when I cry hooking up to the pump. And, there are days when I just want to snuggle with my baby girl instead of pump. But, it's all worth it. I keep reminding myself that I'm doing this for my daughter and that's all that matters.

We are on a great schedule during that day that allows me to pump during her naps so that it doesn't take away time we have. It doesn't always go according to plan and my pumps have to be flexible but we are making it work.

Thanks for all your encouragement! I have received so many emails and messages from you all with similar experiences. It is a journey for sure!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Back-up Baby Bag!

As I travel out and about with my beautiful daughter, I've started to notice a pattern of what I carry in my diaper bag. It's the usual items; diapers, wipes, changing pad, change of clothes, pacifier, a toy, boogie wipes, hand wipes, and so on. And while I have what I need for a day out, I began to worry about what would happen if I got caught out longer than expected.
Maybe even an overnight stay?
I put together a quick and simple back-up baby bag to keep in my car. Just in case.

1. The Bag: I have this reusable Vera Bradley tote bag that I wasn't using. It fits everything perfectly and there is room for more if need be. (See pic below)

2. Extra, Extra Clothes: I carry a change of clothes in my diaper bag for the random blow out diaper. However, just in case I'm kept longer or overnight for some reason; I packed a pajama zip up and extra onesie with a pair of socks.

3. Diapers: I put ten extra disposable diapers in this back up bag as well. We (sort of) cloth diaper at home, but use disposables when we are going out. Having disposable diapers in this back up bag is just easier. But this way, I have about a days worth on top of what is already in my diaper bag.

4. Wipes: This is a extra package of Earth's Best Organic Baby Wipes.

5. Blanket: I keep this in my back up bag for several reasons. First, I may want this when going to a friend's house to put down on the floor, but it doesn't fit in my diaper bag. Therefore, I just keep it in the car. Second, if I were to be stuck overnight somewhere I now have something to put down for my daughter in hotel or something to cuddle up in etc. Like I mentioned, this is worse case scenario. Ideally, I would have our pack n play if traveling.

6. Nursing Pads: Just a quick back up, again, to what I already keep in my diaper bag. I can never have enough of these!

And finally, I keep some bottled water in my bag. Just to have for me. I can't make milk without water :)

The bag.

It gives me some peace of mind knowing I have a few back up items in my car for my daughter. I'm sure I will add to this as I feel she needs more :)