maternity

How I’ve Successfully Breastfed For Over 300 Days

If you would have told me when I first had Brave that I would still be breastfeeding 10 months later, I wouldn’t have believed you! This has by far been the hardest thing I have ever done. It is a continuous journey that takes on a life of it’s own.

I remember when I first started nursing Brave, I purposely set low-expectations because I didn’t want to be bummed about having a short-lived experience with breastfeeding. To my surprise my body knew exactly what it was doing to nurture my son.

Nothing about this journey was easy. The early morning or late-night feeding was tough to get through, the drop in supply that I experienced around month 5, the planning outings, dressing to breastfeed and beyond made things just a little more difficult.

Even with all of the set backs and adversities, I knew deep down I wanted to breastfeed my son. It was much more than just feeding him, it was build a bond that stands the test of time. It was showing him that I was everything he needed. It was showing myself that I could do the impossible. It was much more than just food, it was sustaining life.

If you are considering breastfeeding regardless of your timeline goals … whether it’s 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, a year, or beyond … here are a few tips from an experienced mom that may help you too:

  1. Have Support. The best thing I could have done for myself is surrounding myself with the proper support. From friends who had success with breastfeeding (both nursing and pumping), to having a lactation consultant with vast knowledge to offer professional advice. This is critical. Knowledge and experience is your “breast-friend” when it comes to breastfeeding for the first time. As a first time mom, you will have tons of questions and uncertainties that need to be addressed. Use your supportive mom friends for those middle of the night emergency questions, and follow up with your lactation consultation for professional insight and assistance. I recommend having 2-3 sessions with a lactation consultation after having your baby to ensure you are actually breastfeeding properly. This will be the difference between a positive and negative breastfeeding experience.
  2. Eat well, stay hydrated. You don’t realize how much you are pouring into your baby. Breastfeeding a new baby is equivalent to working a full workout. You lose a lot of important nutrients from your body each and every time you feed your baby. It’s important to eat well and stay hydrated. You will notice a huge difference in your milk supply if you are hydrated.
  3. Leave Stress Out. There’s just no way to have a successful breastfeeding journey if you’re constantly stressed out. I understand that as a new mom you have so much on your plate, but try your best to not welcome stress into your nursing / pumping sessions. Why? Because stress factors in your milk supply. Anytime I nursed or pumped stressed there was a significant drop in my supply, I wouldn’t have much milk output. I learned that I needed to relax. Sometimes I would take a nice hot shower, watching videos of my son, or go and lay down for a while to sooth my body then try and pump or nurse again. It made a huge difference.
  4. Don’t Compare Your Journey. Your journey may not be like another mamas. I would often find myself scrolling for hours in breastfeeding groups saddened by how much less milk I made in comparison to other moms with their full eight ounce bottles of milk output. I had to reprogram my thinking to understand that MY BODY was making milk for MY SON and it was everything that he needed and the perfect amount that he needed.
  5. Let Go of Timelines. I would often stress about how long I had been breastfeeding. I remember thinking that I couldn’t make it to 6 weeks, then I would look up and it would be 8 weeks later. I remember thinking I couldn’t make it to 3 months, then I would look up and noticed I had been breastfeeding for 5 months. That’s when I learned to take things one day at a time. I realized, however long I breastfed on my journey was a blessing in itself. Every single drop of golden milk poured billions of good antibodies into my son and wherever our journey ends is exactly where it’s suppose to.

So mama, if you’re about to begin your journey, or if you’re already on it, I hope you know that you are doing amazing and you have every single thing your baby needs already inside of you. Keep your head up, ask for help and support, and enjoy these precious moments. They don’t last forever.

My 6-9 Month Must-Haves

Blogging right now has been a real struggle, between balancing being a new mommy, all of the craziness in the world, and so much of it weighing on my heart, I just haven’t been feeling inspired.

Despite being inspired, I realized I have some mama’s following me that need all the tips and recommendations they can get as their little one grows.

Brave has hit a growth spurt, as he develops, the items I use every day for him have changed. I wanted to share some of my go-to baby items during his 6-9 month leap!

First up: this Oribel high chair. It is absolutely AMAZING! Seriously, I shared a review on it when we first got it. He’s been using it since he came home from the hospital since it can recline in a laying position. But now that he’s trying solid foods, we’ve been using it for feedings. It’s perfect! The height changes to fit whatever chair I am using, the position reclines for easy access and it’s extremely easy to clean! You won’t regret this high chair. Click the link to shop it HERE

Now that Brave can officially sit without toppling over –well he still topples from time to time; but now that he’s more stable we’ve brought a play mat into our space. It’s perfect for independent play so that mama and daddy can get some work done! The bright colors draw him in and he hangs out on his mat for long stretches at a time! This mat is thick enough to not phase him when he bumps his head and the perfect size for a small space (approx 5×7 area). Trust me, you need this mat –and Target allows same day drive up pickup so you don’t have to wait on a long shipping time. Click HERE to shop!

When Brave was learning to sit up on his own, we started him out in this Sit Me Up Floor Seat by Fisher Price. He was only about 4 months old then, I truly think it got him ready for sitting early on. It gave him the proper position to really engage his core and sit up assisted. Now that he’s 7 months old we use it often for moments when we need him to sit without distractions, when he’s eating, when we are doing learning activities, or when I’m in an area of the house that isn’t baby friendly (my craft space etc). This seat is perfect for that! Click the link here to shop it: Sit Me Up Floor Seat

A few months ago Brave began to refuse bottles and pacifiers, he only wanted milk from my breast. I knew I had to figure out a solution QUICK because I’m not home 100% of the time, and he needed to drink while I was away. That’s when I introduced this LATCH Sippy Cup. It’s perfect for transitioning from bottle / breastfed baby to cup. It has a slow flow spot with a gentle touch to avoid nipple confusion. Brave now drinks from his sippy cup when I’m away. He understands that the cup is for water, only and he actually enjoys drinking from it like a big boy. Mama’s transitioning your baby to sippy cups –trust me you want this! Click the link HERE to shop.

Everyone LOVED the Brave’s new walker! I mean, the Jeep is pretty freakin’ cool! Aside from being cool, it grows with him! He can use it as a walker, once he begins to stand and push he can use to push around the house, and as a toddler he can use it as a full Jeep toy! We knew the small investment would take us through a few years of good use! To shop the walker click HERE.

With Brave trying new foods –I didn’t want to have to eliminate yummy fruits because of seeds. So I knew we needed a fruit feeder. It’s perfect because he can use the pacifier-like feeder to practice hand-to-mouth, and he can try yummy fruits like watermelon and cherries without choking on seeds! This is probably Brave’s favorite baby item right now lol! Click the link HERE to shop!

And the last thing I would say is a must is definitely this Evenflo door-way jumper! This baby comes in handy so much! It travels easy, it’s inexpensive and most of all it tires baby out! We use this jumper twice a day to burn energy! Once before Brave’s mid-day nap and once before Brave’s bedtime. A good 15-minutes bouncing can easily burn any built up energy out of baby for a great night’s rest. Plus, this thing is less than $25! You can’t beat that! Click the link to shop, HERE!

That’s it mamas! Click those links and shop those items. Tell me all about what you think, or if you have any recommendations for me! I’m always looking for new baby items!

10 Things No One Told Me About Becoming A New Mom

I remember when I was pregnant, I knew I had it figured out. In my mind I was prepared for motherhood. I was auntie of the year to over a dozen nephews and nieces, and I knew all about babies. There’s literally a new baby born in my family every year so I figured I was covered with experience. It wasn’t until I had Brave, got home from the hospital, and all of my ‘support’ left to go home that I realized, I wasn’t prepared.

While I love my son with every single fiber of my being, there are still times that I doubt myself, question my role as his mom and how I am handling the biggest responsibility of my life –nurturing a whole human being into an amazing man. These are all normal thoughts, might I add. If someone says otherwise they are completely lying. Here are 10 things that no one told me about before I became a new mom.

  1. Your emotions will be all over the place for a while, and it does not necessarily mean you have postpartum depression. It’s crazy how you can go from one extreme to the next in a matter of minutes. Some moments I feel a burst of joy from being someone so incredible who made this perfect little human. And in that same breath I feel like I am drowning with not-so joyous emotions. These feelings come and go, and that’s normal. I’ve learned to give myself grace to have the emotions, acknowledge them, and let them pass. After all, my body has been through a lot in the past year from making, housing, and birthing a human, to nurturing and physically caring for that human. If you ever feel like your feelings could be harmful for you and your baby, please reach out to someone. Postpartum depression is real.
  2. Everything jiggles and you become so soft. I didn’t gain any weight during my pregnancy, this is common for a lot of plus size women. I think I gained about 6 lbs the week I had Brave which my doctor confirmed was mainly water weight. I’m 5 months postpartum and I am just as jiggly as I was the day I delivered Brave. One thing HD can’t stop talking about is how soft my body is now. He loves it haha. I tell him I think it’s because as a new mom you literally become a human couch. Who wants a hard couch? lol!
  3. Sometimes you will feel isolated and alone. Not only is your body physically changing at an astronomical rate, but mentally you’re going through a lot too and not everyone can relate which leaves you feeling lonely. For me, while I had the support and help, no one really knows how you truly feel inside. Your body can be doing the craziest things, from heavy bleeding, healing, or maybe you had a traumatic experience with birth like I did –that alone makes you feel lonely.
  4. Breastfeeding is an ongoing marathon. In my mind I thought I had the concept figured out: a few days later after delivering my milk would magically come in and I would live in the overflowing land of milk and honey. WRONG. The truth is breastfeeding is an ongoing-exhausting journey but it’s totally doable. You will go through all of the milk woes… an oversupply, to low production, to feeling like you may not be able to meet the needs of your baby’s hunger cries. And. it. doesn’t. stop. I find myself going through these mixes of emotions day by day and my son is 5 months old. My best advice is to take it one step at a time if you plan to breastfeed. Every day is a new day. You may have a tough nursing day but don’t take that energy into the next day. You will look up and be surprised at how far you’ve made it feeding your baby from your own body. It’s MAGICAL.
  1. You CAN survive on little to no sleep. I know it sounds insane, but for some reason your body adjusts to the new life you’ve chosen to live. Mentally it’s exhausting and extremely taxing on your nerves but physically you figure out how to run off of sleep in 3 hour increments, if you’re fortunate enough to even get that. Despite the lack of sleep, it’s the cutest thing in the world when your baby wakes and gazes into your eyes. There’s no better feeling.
  2. You will GAIN and LOSE friends. The truth is, having Brave showed me who was really in my corner. While I’ve had my fair share of friends growing up, I never knew I needed people so much until lately. Surprisingly not many of my friends supported my like I thought they would –but the ones that did, really stuck their guns and landed themselves in the friendship hall of fame lol. Those friends that come in town for the weekend just so that you can take a shower, have a nice nap, and check in on your well-being. And the new mom friends that you text at 3am because they are most-likely nursing their little ones back to sleep, too. Forever grateful for the way my life shaped and transitioned my friendships.
  3. You will love to see your husband in his new role as daddy, and your marriage will be tested. When I tell y’all, HD is the GOAT at this dad life. He had no experience with babies before Brave. He’d never changed a diaper, never held a newborn, never fed a baby –but when Brave came into the world, it just clicked! He is the middle of the night feeding, let me sleep in on weekends, daddy-comedian, MVP. I wouldn’t know where I would be without HD. He and Brave have an irresistible bond, it literally makes me ooze with love. But with that being said –having a new baby in the house can and will totally test your marriage. HD and I are absolute best friends, we’ve always respected, valued, and loved each other as equal partners in our marriage. But when a baby comes along, you’re both exhausted and have very little patience –things can get rocky. Frustration builds. Attitudes change. And things can go from zero to one hundred really quick. So pray over your marriage during these testy times and allow yourselves grace to learn this new space your in. Try your best to carve out time for each other. DO NOT leave each other hanging. It’s so easy to get caught up in your new role as a mom and dad, that you forget you were a husband or wife first. The last thing you want to do is look up and realize your an excellent parent, but you forgot how to be an excellent spouse. You have to do the work and be conscious about your marriage or relationship.
  4. Intimacy gets BETTER after baby. I always hear that sex is amazing while pregnant, and it was! But boy … let me tell you, it gets BETTER after baby. Now this may just be me because I had 4th degree tears and practically got a ‘face lift’ down there –so my junk is basically brand spanking new. But it is the absolute best part of sparking my relationship back up with my husband post baby. I’m 100 percent sure he would agree with me.
  5. You will learn to be okay with your never-ending todo list. The reality is there’s no way you can get to everything without hiring an assistant and a housekeeper. So something will lack. You cleaned today, but you may not get to meal prep, and that’s okay. Count your victories and merge what you didn’t finish to tomorrow’s to-do list.
  6. You will never believe you’re actually a mom. I probably say to myself “I can’t believe I have a baby” at least twice a day. It still blows my mind that I made, housed, produced, birthed and am now nurturing this little boy that actually looks like me and has his daddy’s mannerisms. It will never really sink in honestly. I still stare at him all day long out of pure obsession and complete shock that he’s mine.

Brave’s Nursery Reveal

It took me a while to wrap my head around Brave’s nursery. I knew I wanted him to have his own space to dwell, but for some reason I didn’t want him to be too far from us. Of course he doesn’t sleep in the room just yet but he does get dressed, changed and nap in the room quite often.

Finding a theme was tough because I get so bored with ‘themes’ so easily and because his nursery is the first room in the house. We keep all of our doors open so that good energy can flow, and I didn’t want to get bored with seeing the room so much being that it’s in a central location.

One thing HD and I knew was that we wanted a theme that he could grow with. The typical nursery rhyme concept wouldn’t work for us. We wanted something that wasn’t too ‘baby-ish’ that could live with our boy for a long time. HD and I have been working on living a minimal lifestyle, so not too excessive. We really wanted to practice that with Brave’s room.

We decided to go with a ‘paper airplane’ theme. Paper airplanes symbolize following your heart, going where your heart desires, limitless living, and endless possibilities. We knew this was perfect for our boy and really represents everything we plan to instill in him. Again, it wasn’t too ‘baby-ish’ but had just enough touch of innocence to it for our liking.

Here are the links to all of the custom items we used in Brave’s nursery:

His GORGEOUS wood sign: Hickory Hollow Designs (they had EXCELLENT customer service and shipped so fast!)

His crib was gifted by my sister: Pottery Barn Kids

His dresser: Delta Children

His custom crib sheet: Carousel Designs

His paper airplane decals: Amazon

His rug: Amazon

I’d like to think this is our most favorite room in the house! 🙂

Buss’ Down Mommiana

Finding my confidence while pregnant has been completely different than what I imagined things would be. At first I found myself shying away from showing my curves or my personality in the clothes that I wore. I would grab loose fitting items and really hide this beautiful journey that my body was taking me through. That all changed when I started to feel like myself a bit more.

I decided I would really take the time to enjoy this body that I have, even if it is rounding out to perform a complete miracle! Brands like Zoe Tosca really helped me tap into my zone for finding my confidence. I went from being low-key hiding behind loose silhouettes to full on Mommiana vibes! I’ve never felt so FLY in my life!

Check out these fly looks from Zoe Tosca. The black and white set is not plus size, but the tie-dye set totally is!

What’s your favorite?!

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