This Post Is For Everyone

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As I type this post, I’m sitting in our master bedroom watching Katie sleep while I pump. Actually, I should change that last sentence to read “wishing and hoping Katie would sleep, pumping and trying to type this post.”

We are currently 15 minutes into our nightly “witching hour.” The 1-2 hours each day when Katie tends to be most unpredictable. Some days this is her best nap of the day while others she is only happy if being held either while I rock her in the glider or am dancing with her as Disney tunes play in the background.

When I sat down, I wasn’t planning to blog during this pump session. In fact, I have a book sitting next to me. But, as I scrolled through Instagram and saw the outpouring of support on today’s post, my heart was moved to share those same thoughts with you all, especially for those who haven’t been through the journey of breast feeding.

I titled this post This Post Is For Everyone as the last thing I want, is for someone to see the picture of me and Katie and think that this isn’t relevant for them. I understand that many of you probably skip over the motherhood posts, hoping that soon recipes, workouts and fashion posts will become more frequent. But, I promise you, today’s post is for anyone and everyone.

Before I was a mother, I often wondered how to best support my friends as they became mothers or announced their pregnancies. Since I hadn’t been down that path before, I felt clueless.

Whether you are a mother, a soon-to-be mother, a friend, a sister, or an innocent bystander, today I want to share with you the number one word of advice I’d give to you.

Show the mothers around you support and compassion as they develop their style of keeping their baby nourished.

I am so thankful to the friends, relatives, doctors and you all, my readers on Instagram and Facebook, who helped me through the initial days and weeks that were filled with questions, challenges and moments of joy as I figured out how best to nourish Katie.

Like everything in life, this too is very personal. However, we live in a society that often portrays one image of feeding a child. For years, that image was formula feeding. Now, there are hashtags, videos, books and articles portraying the belief that “breast is best.”  In fact, I clearly remember, one vivid moment during the first few minutes of our parenting class that we took at Tribecca Medical. The woman leading the class, asked whether anyone in the room planned to feed their child using formula. I leaned over to Bo, asking why in the heck anyone would do that when the best food a child could receive was free and readily accesible. At that point, everything I’d read and heard followed the “breast is best” your child school of thought. It all seemed so simple to me at that time. Of the 20 or 25 people in the room, no one raised their hand.

Over the past seven weeks, as I’ve taken my own journey to understand how best to nourish and feed Katie, I have come to learn and appreciate, that what our pediatrician, my mother and others said to me is so true – FED IS BEST.

If you have a new mom in your life, show her compassion and support as she makes this journey. There will be hard days and wonderful days even for a woman who has the simplest of experiences. The issues and challenges are numerous and sometimes, all someone needs is a friend or loved one who can smile, support them and bring over anything to help. It may be ordering them extra bottles on Amazon Prime when you hear their woes about the constant washing of bottles. Or, maybe they never expected to need a bottle so you help by bringing a random assortment of bottles, with the receipt, so they can quickly test and try the different models. Or, if your friend is breast feeding, maybe you send them a care package of self care items especially for breast feeding – nipple cream, therapeutic gels, lactation cookies, or lactation tea packs. Let them vent to you about the trials and tribulations, even if you’ve never been in their shoes.

In case you don’t know what to say, here are a few things I wouldn’t recommend saying:

    • Don’t worry, it will get easier. For some, it does get easier but for others it may never improve. Whether it is insufficient supply, blocked ducts, mastitis, latch issues or a host of other challenges, the road may be tough for them the entire time they choose to breastfeed.
    • Your milk will come in soon, I’m sure formula is only temporary. That mom’s milk may never come in or come in the amount needed to fully support the baby. So many people have said this to me and at first it made me want to curl up in a ball and cry but now, I’ve started using it as a moment to educate them.

So yes, in a society where we have more media in our face than ever before, sometimes the moms need support and love because not every breastfeeding journey is filled with the smiling babies, perfectly fitting nursing covers or nursing clothes and wonderfully full breasts you see in so many ads, stories and articles. Just like everything every other type of media, images projected are far different than reality. The difference is, this act which is so natural is so difficult and sometimes impossible for many women. 


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Katie’s Six Week Update

I can’t believe that Katie is already six weeks old! She is growing so quickly and her personality is starting to shine a bit more each day. The other day she gave us her first smile, which completely melted our hearts!

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It’s incredible how much she has changed in just six weeks as you can tell from these progressive pictures which were taken during each of the six weeks. She now weighs 9 lbs 12 oz and measures 24 inches in length. I washed all her newborn clothes last week and put them away as she has progressed to her 3 month clothing due to her length.

Katie six weeks

We’ve had visitors off and on throughout her first six weeks with both sets of grandparents visiting twice already and lots of friends and family coming to meet sweet Katie.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, eyeglasses and babyAs we moved into the second month, we were able to find a loose routine that works for the three of us and allows Bo to spend plenty of quality time with her before and after work while also giving this momma some time to shower and do some things around the house.  When Katie wakes up, sometime between 6 and 7 AM, Bo and I spend the next hour cuddling with her and enjoying the morning feeding together as a family of three. After I finish nursing Katie, Bo gives her the bottle of supplemental formula before burping and changing her. In the evening, around 8:30,  Bo does the same for her bedtime feed after I nurse her while I jump in the shower.

We are still following the Moms on Call method which is working out very well for us. Katie has thrived and gained weight while also beginning to nap well and sleep longer each night. While the Moms on Call method isn’t perfect for everyone and there are many different opinions on schedules, we have been pleased with it thus far and would have changed if it wasn’t working or if she wasn’t gaining weight. In fact, last night she slept from 10pm to 6am and woke up this morning filled with smiles.  During the day, she tends to love her morning naps while she is more active, alert and awake in the afternoon which is when we enjoy reading together, tummy time, long walks in the stroller and playing on her activity mat. She is starting to notice different things, especially white and dark or high contrasts. She is mesmerized by our ceiling fan and loves staring at the movement while I’m changing her. 

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Speaking of tummy time, we are amazed at how quickly she is gaining strength! She began turning herself onto her side last week and is also holding her head up unassisted these days. I have a feeling she’s going to be active and full of energy as a toddler! She loves gripping anyones hand or even little stuffed animals on her activity mat. When she’s awake she prefers to be upright or at an incline versus flat on her back, with her favorite spot being people’s chests. It’s adorable to watch her “climb” up people’s chest and then fall asleep. I call her our little tree frog when she’s in this position.

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Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoorAs we expected, based on what we read and what friends shared with us, Katie tends to be happiest in the mornings and a bit fussier in the evenings. Her “witching hour” tends to be right when we try to cook dinner, around 7-8 each night. At first, this drove us crazy as we were unsure how to soothe and calm her while also trying to eat dinner. Luckily, we’ve found that she loves being near us even during this fussy period so we bring her into the kitchen, either in her Baby Bjorn Bouncer or Fisher Price Rock ‘n’ Play. She also loves dancing to music so sometimes one of us will cook while the other will hold her and dance in the kitchen.

As a mom, I am getting more comfortable with leaving the house and am actually forcing myself to make dates a few times a week. Whether it’s a stroller date, quick coffee or catching up in one of our homes it has helped me a great deal. 

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On a personal note, a few people have asked for updates on my breast milk production. While I do not expect to ever produce enough milk for her to be exclusively breast milk fed, my milk is increasing each day. She feeds on me six to seven times per day before taking 3-4 ounces of formula. After feeding I pump 4 to 5 times per day. I put the milk I pump in the fridge and then give it to her during the next feeding. Since I know this is a bit confusing, here’s an example:

  • 9 AM feed: 5-10 minutes on each breast + 1.25 oz of pumped breast milk + 3 oz of formula

Our lactation consultant recommended 5-10 minutes of nursing as Katie will likely get a lot during this short period while also allowing us time to supplement and burp within the recommended 45 minute feed period. Ensuring that Katie feeds within the 30-45 minute period will help ensure that her body has time to digest the food before her next feed.

I’m sure I forgot to mention a few things so if you have any questions, as always please feel free to email or leave a comment. In addition, if you want more frequent updates, I’m sharing lots on InstaStories and Instagram. Also, in case you missed it, here are our favorite newborn items!

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Post-Baby Workouts

Walking with Katie

Now that five weeks have passed since giving birth, I’ve started to crave a daily workout. While I am still sticking with my plan of waiting six weeks before working out, that doesn’t mean that I can’t start doing some research in advance. While my daily walks with Katie have provided me with fresh air and endorphins, I’d like to focus on regaining strength over the next few months.

One of the things you will not see on this blog is a body after baby series where I detail my weight and measurements. I’ve thought a lot about how I want to share my journey with you all and one of the most important things is that I’m a healthy role model. It takes nine months to gain the weight and therefore I fully expect and recognize that it will take at least that long to lose the weight. Moreover, I am not focused on the number on a scale. Instead, I want to focus on building strength and, eventually, my running speed and endurance. Workouts will be different this time around as I no longer have the luxury to workout as often as I’d like, nor as long as I’d like. Yesterday, while pushing our daughters in their strollers, my friend Elizabeth and I discussed workouts after baby. Since she is a month ahead of me, she has already started working out again and shared her perspective during our walk. Throughout life, our priorities change. Right now, my priority is to spend as much time with Bo and Katie as possible. His work schedule means that the precious early morning, evening and weekend hours are the only time we have as a family of three. The last thing I want to do at this point is head out of the house for a workout.

Therefore, I am currently researching two types of post-baby workout options to enjoy during the 13 weeks remaining in my maternity leave.

    • Workouts that I can do at home while Katie is napping.
    • Workouts in our neighborhood that I can do during the day with Katie.

Yesterday I asked for advice on Instastories and after receiving so many replies as well as requests to share the information with you all, I wanted to make the same request in today’s post while also sharing the feedback I’ve received thus far. Please keep in mind that these are reader recommendations. I have not tried any of these workouts yet and therefore can’t vouch for them. In addition, if you are pregnant or postpartum, please remember to check with your OB-GYN before beginning any workouts.  The below are listed in no particular order and any comments or details provided are the ones that people left when they responded to my request for postpartum workout suggestions.

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Your turn – What are your favorite post-baby workouts?

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