More Blueberries, Please

Ever since Little Lady was born it’s been a challenge to feed her.  Whether from breast, bottle, spoon or fork, this has been our major struggle.  She is many wonderful things, but “good eater” is not one of them.  Because she’s inherited my lovely chubby cheeks, people think she’s just fine, but I completely disagree.

On the week that she turned 1, Little Lady realized that she was in control.  Gone were the days of mommy shoving a bottle into her mouth to try and get to that magic 16 ounce minimum of formula.  Gone were the days of tricking her into opening her mouth for an extra spoonful of oatmeal.  She could shake her head ‘no’ and purse her lips shut.  She decided that she didn’t want to drink anything for a week and there was nothing I could do to change her mind.

Since that week, it has been an on again off again struggle to get her to eat/drink what I’ve read to be the recommended amount of calories per day for a one year old.  In case you’re wondering, that number is 900.  I’m pretty sure Little Lady maxes out at 500.  But maybe I’m underestimating. You be the judge. Take a look at what she typically eats for breakfast, morning snack, and lunch.

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She pretty much just ate blueberries for the first 6 hours of her day.  Sigh…

Now here’s lunch:

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Now, I’ve read a few things stating that forcing a child to finish their food causes eating issues down the line.  So what’s a mama to do?  No, seriously…I have no idea.  I’m pretty much letting her dictate when she’s done eating, but that is not coinciding with the whole recommended calories thing.  Should I trust that she knows when she’s full? Or should I try to coax her into taking one more bite? For now, I’m just going to buy some more blueberries.

Getting Fit the Lazy Way

 

IMG_4794Sweatpants are for lounging around the house and sneakers are for making you look sporty, not running outdoors.  Am I right? Is there such a thing as getting fit AND being lazy?  The hubs and I are attempting to prove that there is.  We’ve both put on, and kept on, a significant amount of weight since R came along (about 10-15 lbs each).

It’s been a long journey of just getting to this point for myself.  After gaining 45 lbs with the pregnancy, the first 30 lbs required a lot of exercise and careful eating (can anyone say Whole 30?).  I was super motivated to do it, but then I got to these last 15 lbs.  My motivation dwindled because I didn’t feel as huge, I just felt a little bigger.  I could hide my pooch with loose clothing, and I bought bigger jeans with REAL buttons.  This was just the new me–until I started seeing the number on the scale start to rise again.

We were so used to being exhausted from new parenthood, that as soon as baby went to bed at 7pm, we would get into our jammies, whip out the snacks and start bingeing on our favorite shows until 11pm.  That’s 4 hours of being couch potatoes. Nightly! After 6 months of this we started to feel kind of gross.

Here’s where the problem lies, we are both so lazy that neither of us wants to go to the gym or go on a real diet.  We made a plan that works for us, and we are committing to it for 30 days.  I’ll let you know next month if our Lazy Plan works.  I’ve detailed the rules below in case you’re interested in joining this little experiment.

Get Fit the Lazy Way

  • cut the lattes (drink plain coffee instead)
  • cut the snacks at night (no replacement for this one)
  • half your dinner and lunch portions (at this point it means eating a normal sized meal since we were overeating)
  • do this 30 day workout challenge by Melissa Bender (it’s free and doesn’t require any equipment)
  • weigh yourself once a week to motivate yourself

We are one week in and I’ve already lost 4 lbs.  I am pretty sure my weight fluctuates by 4 lbs on the daily, but I’m gonna take it! 3 more weeks to go!

The Side Effects of Breastfeeding

Everyone tells you having a baby is hard.  Going through the labor process can be scary.  But I’m here to tell you that labor is not as hard as you might think, but breastfeeding…breastfeeding is the hardest thing I ever tried to do.  I blame this on my naive idea that it was going to be a cake walk.  Everything my mom ever said about breastfeeding was positive.  I was a Jabba the Hut sized baby because I nursed constantly.  So, when friends told me it would be hard I didn’t know what they were talking about.  I mean, my boobs practically grew two cup sizes during pregnancy, so clearly my body was ready for it.  I was so sure that it was going to be a natural and smooth process that I almost threw out formula samples, and only bought two bottles (just in case I needed them for pumped milk).  The following is a timeline of how my unrealistic expectations shattered over the course of a few weeks.

My haul a month into pumping.

My haul a month into pumping.

Day 1

Baby is born and I put her to my breasts every 1.5 to 2 hours.  It hurts but what do I expect? a little creature has never gnawed on my nipple trying to get liquid out of it before.  I cannot wait to see the Lactation Consultant in the hospital to tell me how to make this feel better.

Day 2

LC (Lactation Consultant) comes to see me and asks if this is my first child because I’m handling the breastfeeding like a pro. Baby’s latch looks good and my milk should be coming in any minute now (it IS only day 2).  This gives me a false sense of success.  Could this be just as easy as I thought it was going to be?

Day 3

We are leaving the hospital, but I want to see the LC one more time because it’s still hurting and I just want to make sure I’m doing it right.  The LC reassures me that everything looks good and I can come to a free support group on Tuesdays at the hospital.  (“I won’t need that,” I think)

Day 4

Baby has been crying off an on the past few days and falling asleep on the boob, but today she is inconsolable.  She cries all night and won’t latch on.  Good thing I made an appointment with the LC at her pediatrician’s office tomorrow.

Day 5

We see a new LC and she immediately looks at Baby and says she has jaundice.  She also thinks Baby has a good latch and that my milk just needs to come in.  I am told to put her to the boob as I have been every 2 hours and to supplement because guess what? She’s not getting anything and she’s starving!  I find out today that she has lost 12% of her body weight already, and is so jaundiced she needs to be put on bilirubin lights.  We rent a light bed you can take home and are told only to take her out of it to feed her.

Day 6-7

We continue to try and nurse, but she is so tired from the jaundice she will only eat from a bottle.  I try to pump and put it in a bottle but I’m only able to get about a quarter of an ounce.  I start the cycle of nurse-bottle feed-pump every 2 hours.  This is rough since baby is so sleepy and I still don’t have milk.

Day 8

Baby’s levels are looking better and she no longer needs to be on lights.  However she still isn’t nursing well and we continue the nurse-bottle feed-pump every 2 hours.  I find myself crying all the time for being unable to provide milk for my baby and practically starving her for 4 days.

Day 9

The LC makes a house call.  She determines that Baby is not getting anything out of my breast while nursing and sells us an Supplemental Nursing System (SNS).  She says I should use this and continue to pump, but to stop the bottle feeding except for the middle of the night.  She also sells me an herbal tincture and some teas.

Day 10-17

I try the SNS and pump after every feeding session.  I am now pumping every 2 hours, drinking teas, taking herbs, and eating tons of seaweed soup to increase my milk, but am still only able to pump 1- 2 oz max at each session.  I go to the free breastfeeding support group at the hospital out of desperation.  The LC there says perhaps my milk hasn’t come in because I had an epidural and retained water, not allowing the milk to come out.  She shows me how to massage my breast to help the milk move out.

Day 18

I get mastitis.  Yes, even though I am not producing enough to feed my baby, I get a clogged duct which becomes infected.  I want to quit so badly because it hurts so much.

Day 19

I go to another breastfeeding support group at a local mothers’ store.  The LC here tells me my baby is not sucking efficiently and sells me a nipple guard to help.  She says use the guard then pump and give the baby the milk in the bottle.

Day 20-21

I try the nipple guard and Baby shrieks every time I use it.  The milk gets stuck in it and she is unable to get anything.  I decide to stop nursing because she’s not getting anything anyway.  We move to pumping and bottle feeding.

Day 21-55

I continue to pump and feed our baby a combo of formula and breastmilk.  At this point 70% of her food is breastmilk.  I should be ecstatic but I’m miserable.  After I feed Baby I have to pump, which means she sits by herself while I spend 30 minutes massaging my breasts and hoping to get 2-3 oz. I cry about not being able to spend more time with her.  I get numerous clogged ducts.  I believe that I’m making enough milk, but neither the pump nor baby are effectively extracting it.  I cry about it.  I feel like a failure for not being able to breastfeed. I cry about it.  Every few days I am determined to nurse and put Baby to breast only to be reminded that she is not inclined to suck it.  It seems that everyone around me is breastfeeding successfully and that there must be something wrong with me that I can’t seem to make it work for us.  It is all my fault.  I cry some more.

Day 55-59

I decide to pump less frequently so that I can spend more time with baby.  I set my alarms for every 3-4 hours rather than every 2.  This seems to be working out better, but then my milk starts to decrease.

Day 60

On the verge of a breakdown I decide to stop pumping and go full formula for Baby.  This is the hardest decision I’ve had to make.  I just want that bond with baby that nursing moms talk about, but realize I’m not getting it through pumping, and decide to bond I need to spend more time with her and not be so obsessed about breastmilk all the time.

After making this decision, I am plagued with guilt.  I still can’t stop thinking about breastmilk and my baby and my body and my failed attempt at breastfeeding.  It takes a good month to stop obsessing over it, and clearly I’m not done since I am writing this post.

Today is day 94 and I have constant wrist pain from massaging my breasts that won’t go away, but I’d like to think that I’ve finally gotten over the PTSD associated with my attempt to breastfeed my child.  I mean, I wrote this without shedding a single tear (that says something). People always talk about the criticism breastfeeding mamas get, but in my experience formula feeding moms get way more flack.  As a formula feeding mom I feel it.  Perhaps it’s a self inflicted criticism, but it is there.

So if you are starting your breastfeeding journey, I hope the milk gods are kind to you, and your baby has a miraculously pain free latch and sucks like a vacuum.  I truly do!

Healthy Eats: Paleo Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

The other day my mom gave me about 3 dozen peaches and nectarines. I told her it was too many for just the two of us, but she insisted that I take them all. She had buckets full in her kitchen, so I think she wanted to unload them on me. I took to eating one peach a night, and soon realized that I would never make it through the lot. So I scoured Pinterest for an easy peasy cobbler recipe and found this one on Paleo Fitness Mama’s website. It stood out to me because it was simple, required few ingredients, and no added sugar.  The part that took me the longest was cutting all the peaches.  For a non-baker, this recipe was awesome to follow for its simplicity.  Sad news is: it turns out that about 5 peaches is all it took to make this cobbler (I still have a good amount of peaches left.) 

Peaches, Blueberries, and Honey for the filling

Peaches, Blueberries, and Honey for the filling

Here’s her recipe:

Ingredients
For the filling:
  • 5 cups peaches (sliced)
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 – 4 tbsp honey 
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (not required, but will help thicken the juices)
For the topping:
  • 1½ cups of almond flour
  • ¼ cup of melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cinnamon is desired
 
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the filling and gently toss (hands work great)
  3. Lightly grease pan with butter or coconut oil.
  4. Pour into an 8 in. by 8 in. baking pan.
  5. In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the topping and then spread evenly over the top of the filling mixture.
  6. Bake until the topping is slightly golden (about 40 minutes)
voila!

voila!

I left out the arrowroot powder and it came out fine.  The only thing I will say about this recipe is that the peaches didn’t soften enough in the oven.  Next time I’ll use over ripened peaches.  The crumble part of the cobbler seems to be the tastiest bit (of course), I might increase the amount of topping I make next time.  And there will probably be a next time.  If you have an easy and tasty peach recipe, send it my way.  I’ve got quite a few to go through yet. 

This Feeling is Normal

First pregnancies are hard for the hypochondriac prone.  You never know what sensations are normal, or whether certain feelings mean something terrible is about to happen.  Not only am I a hypochondriac, but I also know of a few friends near and dear to me that have suffered extremely late miscarriages.  We’re talking 20, 21 weeks.  The knowledge that one could have an incompetent cervix especially frightened me.  In fact, I went to the ER twice because of feelings I just knew were bad signs.  Perhaps if you feel this way, I can persuade you that it may be nothing at all.

Around 19 weeks I started to feel like there was a heaviness down low.  It became so bad, that it felt like something was falling out of my vagina.  Seriously.  With every step it felt like something was creeping out.  It made it really uncomfortable to walk, and was somewhat relieved if I propped my hips up on a pillow and relaxed.  I googled nonstop about this pressure, and all the message boards agreed, “go see your doctor.”  Except, every time I felt this way it was a weekend.  Of course.  Cue the visit to the ER.  After an ultrasound that confirmed my cervix was indeed long and closed, it was decided that our little bundle of joy was doing acrobatics off of my cervix causing the heavy pressure feeling.

A similar situation happened around 22 weeks, only this time lying down didn’t help it any.  I headed over to Labor and Delivery this time, since I was far enough along to skip the ER.   They monitored the baby (who was extremely active), and my uterus.  Turns out I was having contractions (not Braxton Hicks and not normal).  I ended up having a UTI which can cause contractions and uterine irritability.  But again, my cervix was fine.

Here I am, three weeks later,  feeling this pressure again.  This time though, I can feel our baby moving around like mad.  I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that this feeling is normal.  I think I’ll put my feet up and let baby do her thing now.

Placenta Previa, Anyone?

I’ve been having a bit of spotting randomly throughout this pregnancy.  While it is not too much, it still worries me.  Every time I see it, I call my doc and she inevitably asks me to come in for an u/s.  She checks my cervix length, the heartbeat of the baby, and the placement of the placenta.  I went in two weeks ago and found that my placenta was dangerously close to the opening of my cervix.  Then it happened again and guess what?  I went in again.

The doc reported that the distance from my placenta to my cervical opening was but 1 cm and that it could be causing the spotting, especially if I’m exercising or straining.  Makes sense, I’ve been trying to walk a lot this week. I also noticed on the ultrasound that our baby was head banging the placenta…haha…so maybe that has something to do with it too 😉 She said to take it easy, and that in fact it is very common for the placenta to be this low, this early.  As my uterus grows, my placenta should shift upwards.  (fingers crossed!)  She reassured me that if I continue to see the amount of spotting I have been seeing, it shouldn’t be something to worry about.  (YAY!) I have my next appointment in 2 weeks, so hopefully I can be spot free til then.

For those of you that don’t know much about placenta previa, here’s a little graphic.  17146eeea69760ba266e2ac8410e7a9a

If you still have a placenta previa near your due date, you need a C-section.  It could also cause lots of bleeding in the third trimester and preterm labor.  Right now, mine is about Marginal.  So I’m going to start chanting, “Grow uterus, grow, move up placenta, move UP.”

Scared Stiff

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How many times will I google “miscarriage rates at ___weeks?”  When will it end?  I am so frightened that this isn’t real.  Each day I assess whether my symptoms are stronger, dwindling, or the same.  To make me even more crazy, today was the day I took my last progesterone supplement.  Now I’ll have to add checking my underwear every hour for spotting to the equation (wait, I already do that.)

I really want to enjoy each day of this pregnancy, but it seems my joy is overshadowed by doubt.  I pray that in a few weeks I can be comforted by a healthy check up and that I can rest easy and enjoy growing this baby.  Although, who are we kidding, I’m probably gonna worry the entire time.

I wonder if this preoccupation with loss is heightened because of our long journey to get here, or if every fertile woman out there goes through the same predicament.  Hmm…