Breastfeeding Essentials


My journey with breastfeeding has definitely been interesting.  Ever since Petra was born, I knew she would be breastfed.  There are so many advantages, medically and financially.  That isn’t to judge anyone that has done formula.  I know that I got lucky in having Petra immediately latch and my supply grow steady. And while I haven’t had any lactation problems so far (except one mild case of mastitis), there isn’t a day that goes by where I question whether I’m producing enough breastmilk or wonder whether Petra is getting the adequate amount of nutrition to help her grow.  She’s only at 8 weeks old but it has been a tough two months full of self doubt and a lot of work, from sore nipples to crazy pumping.  I don’t know about you guys but I very stupidly assumed breastfeeding would be easy.  Gosh, was I wrong but I did want to share the things that made it a little bit better.

1. Nipple Shields: I didn’t even know what this was until I was home from the hospital for 5 days and my nipples began to hurt from, well, Petra breastfeeding so much.  Łukasz is actually the one that brought it to my attention and I was rather impressed at his knowledge of such a thing.  Anyways, a shield is a thin piece of plastic that you put on your boob to create a barrier.  Some hate it because it eliminates the skin-to-skin contact.  Others hate it because they say it might cause nipple confusion.  For me and Petra it was a lifesaver.  My boob-skin (what?) got a break and after a few weeks of wear, I actually didn’t need it anymore.

2. Breast Pump: Oh the breast pump. I began using mine about a month after Petra was home from the hospital.  I love mine.  It was actually gifted to me by a friend who is expecting herself.  Sort of a test run to see how I like it, haha. Mine is electric although I have heard that manual pumps are amazing.  I have personally never tried a manual pump but I have no complaints from mine.  It gets the job done and it’s quick and it has two pumps attached so you can pump simultaneously.  I’ve only done that once though, it makes me nervous when at least one hand isn’t free.  Sort of negates the purpose right? Oh well.

3. Bamboobies: Boob pads! For those moments when you spring a leak the moment you hear a baby cry! No, but let’s get serious for a moment.  How weird is that? I will literally be about to hop in the shower when I could swear I hear Petra cry and bam, my body responds almost immediately.  It has settled down a bit now that my supply is established but these breast pads have been amazing.  I first got them as a sample from a baby expo and I loved them so I bought a whole box. I considered buying the reusable ones but I just can’t deal with the thought of having to wash them all the time. But I’m sure they’re great too! I’m just the laziest.

4. Water: I’ve googled a million lists on nutrition for how to maintain your breast supply and to be honest, keeping hydrated is the only thing I found consistent in those lists.  I now know there isn’t a magical food that’s going to make you produce more milk although women swear by oats, and fenugreek, and lactation cookies.  Maybe they work but I’m tired of eating oats.  Breastfeeding has made me incredibly thirsty though, but it makes sense: you make milk, you expel milk and while water won’t magically become milk, it helps to keep hydrated. Thus, my water bottle is literally always next to me.

5. Ziploc Bags: Lastly, these babies for storing milk.  I haven’t been great at increasing my milk storage in the freezer but I am trying, slowly but surely.  I remember wondering what I’m going to put the milk in and bottles are expensive and bags made for breastmilk are too. So one day while perusing the usual mom forums, I saw a mom say that she uses freezer ziplock bags.  Just make sure you get the ones with a zipper.  They’re inexpensive and they hold milk well. Bam, bought a box the next day and now I have a freezer fullllll of breastmilk.  Well not full but, like I said, slowly getting there.

This all being said, once again, I’m not an expert.  I’m just a first time mom trying to figure it out as I go along and what works for me might not work for others.  Maybe a shield just isn’t for you or maybe you prefer a manual pump, that’s all cool too.

Xo,

Karen

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#MomLife

Let’s start this post by talking about sleeping habits, both mine and my daughters. Petra has gone to bed everyday for the past week at 9pm.  She has slept until about 3am, when she wakes to eat for about 20 minutes. She then goes back to sleep until she wakes up on her own, happy as a clam, in her own crib at around 7am.  I don’t know how we managed this but it has been amazing for me, to be able to get some decent sleep for the first time in 2 months.  I say “decent”, it could be better but I have no one to blame but myself.  I should sleep when the baby falls asleep and still, I am up until about midnight reading.  I never learn. Can you even believe I just spent a whole paragraph talking about sleep and sleep schedules?  This is it, guys.  This is the #momlife.

I’m fascinated by all things “baby”.  How she distracts herself, what is it that triggers her adorable smile, how many wet diapers she has in one day.  It’s all part of it, part of the glamorous life of being a new mom and having this little eleven pound nugget consume your thoughts and actions. Even after she’s fallen asleep, I can’t help but wonder what I could have done differently with our day and I really miss her when she sleeps.  It’s kind of a bummer because I know this time is so short and sweet and soon she’ll be at daycare and I’ll be working again and I’ll wish I was at home instead.

She’s such a good baby though.  How did we get so lucky?  She doesn’t cry BUT she has these little outburst to get your attention. Her voice is adorably squeaky and sometimes the only way to get her to take a nap when she’s fussy is to hold her tiny face against mine as we pace our apartment.

Petra is seven weeks old today.  Seven whole weeks! Where does the time go?  Can it really be true that she’s going to be 8 weeks old in just a matter of days?    The more time passes, the more cognizant she becomes and during playtime, my mind wanders and I think about what she’s going to be like in another whole month.  It’s so bittersweet to be so excited and yet so sad to think that time is fleeting.  Can I just hold her and she can stay this size forever?

xo,

Karen

 

First Father’s Day

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Of course I am one day late to this post because I am always late to everything but yesterday was Father’s Day.  I am so filled with love when I think about this being the first of many Father’s Day for Lukasz and our little family.  It was an interesting day, seeing as how our daughter is only about 6 weeks old but still capable of flashing us that adorable smile (especially when she’s about to poop.  Poops are hilarious).  So maybe “eventful” isn’t the word I can use to describe this particular Sunday.  Let’s also mix in the fact that Lukasz also had work all day.  It did give me a chance to think and really let certain things sink in, like the fact that we’re now parents.  Sometimes I watch Petra sleeping and think about how we have a daughter now.  It’s a scary thought but I take comfort in knowing that I have a solid partner by my side.  Lukasz, in the last 6 weeks, (and longer if you count the dog parent he was before) has been an amazing and caring father, always wanting to be involved in everything Petra does.  I am so excited when I think about the future and what’s to come and thankful for the person he is, always teaching me to be patient and to not worry about the small things, to constantly be looking at the bigger picture. Plus, he’s a babe 😉

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And a happy Father’s Day to my own dad who I had a chance to talk to briefly yesterday and gave him a chance to see his granddaughter through FaceTime. The man who taught me how to rollerblade and ride a bike and everything in between, thank you for everything. I love you so much.

How lucky I am to have these two great men in my life.  How lucky Petra is to have the same.  I hope everyone had an amazing Father’s Day.

xo

Karen.

Weekly Findings


Ah yes, the end of the week! After I posted my last blog post, I feel like the day sort of went downhill.  Petra decided not to nap for the rest of the day, I had some package problems, and lastly, I got sick.  I’m not a doctor, obviously, but after a quick internet search, I think I might have Mastitis. I really need to drop the habit of googling symptoms and actually go to the doctor but I’m ok for now. I’ve also been debating taking Petra on the subway so we can take a walk around Manhattan and maybe go to Central Park so I think those might be my weekend plans.  In the meantime, he’s some fun internet reads:

1. Winnie: I’ve actually quit Facebook this week and have been spending more time reading articles on Twitter.  From TechCrunch, I came across this new app called Winnie.  Aimed at parents that like to spend time exploring with little ones, the app shows you kid friendly attractions nearby like parks and kid-friendly restaurants.  It even offers details like whether the restaurant is stroller friendly or can accommodate high chairs.  I love it!

2. Social Media Etiquette for the Newly Engaged: Obviously when Łukasz and I got engaged, one of the things I did was follow a few wedding blogs on social media to gather inspiration.  Style Me Pretty posted this article about social media etiquette do’s and don’ts.  I’ve always been a big fan of etiquette, I’ve even read Emily Post books for fun but in this day and age, it’s definitely a little confusing how etiquette plays into our social media lives. This list is definitely perfect. 

3. #EverestNoFilter: This, THIS is probably one of my favorite things that happened this week. Two climbers decided to snap chat their way to the top of Everest.  What a feat!  If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be on top of the world, definitely give this a watch.  I’ve literally watched this like 3 times so far. 

4. Can Tylenol Help Heal a Broken Heart?: The latest essay of Modern Love just really intrigued me but, really, they all do.  If you haven’t checked out the New York Times column, you definitely should.  They also started a podcast at the end of last year where a celebrity reads a modern love essay followed by a 15 minute discussion with the author.  It’s so good and they’re all so heartfelt.

5. Northside Festival: If you guys are in the North Williamsburg area, check out the Northside Festival happening this weekend.  It officially started last night but the festivities are ongoing.  Last year, they even closed down Bedford Ave.

Xo,

Karen

*Picture source: Tumblr

I’m Still Here

It has been four weeks since I came home from the hospital and what a whirlwind of a month it has been.  I’m definitely still here, alive, a little tired but finally falling into a groove with our daughter and things are looking good. I will definitely tell you that the first two weeks after Petra was born were the hardest weeks of my life.  Not only was her feeding schedule incredibly demanding and exhausting but I did suffer from a hardcore case of the baby blues.  Those hormones, man.  THOSE HORMONES. I cried because I was sad that my life was changing so quickly but I also cried because I was happy to start this new chapter (confusing right?) and I cried because the feeling of loving a little baby SO MUCH was so hard to bear.  Like I told Lukasz, my rock through all of it, it was all just so heavy.  I tell you this because 1) I don’t want to sugarcoat anything and 2)Because I didn’t know this was going to happen.  I was worried that this was post-partum depression but after a dark couple of weeks, I can honestly tell you that I feel much better.  I feel like myself again.

Another thing that happened this month that has my head spinning and my heart bursting is Lukasz and I getting engaged.  We got engaged a couple of weeks ago out on the North Fork of Long Island.  We packed our two week old baby girl in the car along with some essentials and took a two hour road trip to end up at the very end of the fork. A quick 10 minute hike to a secluded pebble beach with crystal clear water and he proposed with the most beautiful ring.  I’m so incredibly happy with my little family and we can’t wait to start planning our festivities.  So far we have a few venue ideas and with a baby, I know it might be a little difficult to plan but I’m not bummed about it, I’m just happy in this moment.

As for our baby girl, she’s officially going to be one month old on June 11th and I’m in shock at how fast this time has gone by.  I can hardly believe that a month ago, she was experiencing her first day on this earth and now she’s smiling and cooing!  It’s amazing how quickly babies develop in their first year.  She loves being in her carrier and taking walks outside and she loves the sound of her dad’s voice and when he sings to her.  It’s pretty magical to watch and makes me love them both even more! While she’s definitely not sleeping through the night, her cycle hasn’t been terrible.  She usually falls asleep at 8pm and then doesn’t wake up until midnight to eat.  Then another 4 hours to sleep.  Wakes up, eats and wakes up for the day around 6 or 7am.  Despite the long hours of sleep, I definitely still need my coffee, like, the MINUTE I wake up.  One giant cup usually does the trick for the day.  Plus I’m still breastfeeding so I can’t go caffeine crazy like I usually do.  And lastly, I’m finally starting to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes! It’s not the first thing on my mind, but it’s a nice afterthought.

I hope to be doing more regular updates now that things are a little less crazy so FINGERS CROSSED. 🙂