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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Newborn Favorites

It is hard to believe that tomorrow we will celebrate Katie’s one month birthday. How the heck did that happen? By celebrate, I mean that I’ll enjoy a glass of my favorite chardonnay and we’ll give her extra cuddles and hopefully capture a few pictures of her.  When I scroll through pictures on my phone, it feels like just yesterday we were in the hospital, cuddling her while the photographer snapped these pictures. So much has transpired in the past month including plenty of health scares, dirty diapers, feeding challenges but, more than anything, our house has become filled with SO much love.

bw-10-Diamond_062117-10Whether it’s the instant bond that both sets of grandparents felt with Katie when they held her or the excitement we have each time we share moments with her whether reading, cuddling, feeding, playing or even changing diapers.

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Since I benefitted so much from the recommendations moms and readers provided to me when Bo and I were building our registry, I wanted to share the items that have made the first month with a newborn far easier. Some of these were already stocked in our home when we came home from the hospital, while others were purchased during a few of our more frantic Amazon orders or BuyBuyBaby trips.

Newborn Baby Favorite Items

Kissy Kissy KimonoUnfortunately, we quickly learned that dressing a newborn can be a tedious, painful task. Katie can’t stand when we try to squeeze her head through a small neck hole so she has spent many of her days in either a Kissy Kissy Kimono, Gerber Basics kimono or a few wonderful newborn outfits that have snaps along the neckline for easy access. This particular kimono is our favorite due to its soft feel and perfect fit.

Keekaroo Peanut Changing PadLuckily, multiple friends recommended this changing pad to us when we registered. It has been such a lifesaver as the surface wipes clean and Katie seems to like the soft surface. I can’t imagine having to wash a cover everytime she goes to the bathroom mid-diaper change or drools. 

Portable Diaper Changing PadOur keekaroo changing pad stays upstairs near her bassinet for convenient nap time changes but the rest of the time, we use this soft changing pad. We’ve thrown it in the diaper bag, used it on the back porch and typically keep it downstairs as part of our secondary changing station for daytime changes.

Aden+Anais Swaddle ClothsWe use these large, square muslin blankets multiple times a day! While we primarily use them to swaddle her when she sleeps, we also use them as burp cloths and keeping her warm. I would recommend sticking with this brand and making sure that you check the measurements as certain retailers sell different Aden+Anais lines which are smaller or not as soft.

Carter Baby Burp ClothsI remember looking at the pile of six burp cloths we received during the baby shower and rolling my eyes. I asked my mom if I should exchange some and she laughed and said no I should hope to receive plenty more. Now, a month in, I’ve already gone out and bought more. I swear that if I had my way we’d have a burp cloth in every corner of the house as I always find myself without one in arm’s reach. These are inexpensive, soft and large enough to capture all her spit-up and drool when we burp.

What to Expect: The First YearThis book has been loved a lot already, even in the first 30 days. We read the weekly section as she enters the new week in hopes of better understanding what we can generally expect as well as using the index to search hot topics like gas, fussiness, and jaundice. While we both realize that Katie and babies, in general, do not come with an instruction manual and can’t be predicted, this book has helped us become better educated and prepared parents.

Boppy and Boppy LoungerI have used the Boppy daily to help support my arm during nursing since I often use the cradle position to hold Katie. In addition, it helps elevate my arms so that she is closer to my breasts, making nursing easier and more comfortable. The Boppy Lounger is one of her favorite spots when we are relaxing together. I recently discovered that the slight incline makes her more comfortable and a bit happier during our daily outfit changes, which she previously wasn’t enjoying.

UPPAbaby Bassinet + Cruz StrollerStrollers are an item that we researched for weeks before making a decision since it’s an investment as well as an item that the entire family uses daily. For us, considering our Brooklyn location, it was important to find a lightweight, durable, spacious, easy to use yet small enough to navigate stores and subways. The basket on the stroller has plenty of room for groceries or anything else we need and the standing fold allows us to easily store it when we’re at home.  It easily fits through doorways, can manage our neighborhood grocery store’s narrow aisles, has a very large sunshade that keeps Katie protected on our walks, and at 30 pounds I haven’t had an issue taking it in and out of our brownstone on my own.  While the Cruz doesn’t come with the bassinet, we were able to find a family in the neighborhood who didn’t need the bassinet which came with their UPPABaby Vista. The bassinet has been wonderful as it easily attaches, with just one handle, to the stroller base and provides a comfortable space for Katie to sleep safely at home as well as explore when it’s attached to the stroller. We’ve taken her for long walks on a daily basis since she was just three days old and have found that she still prefers this over being in a car seat when we’re out in the stroller.

Dr. Brown’s Infant Baby BottlesSince we didn’t think we’d need to use bottles during the first few months of Katie’s life, we never registered for bottles. Therefore, when we urgently needed to start supplementing with formula, we headed to BuyBuyBaby to buy bottles. Many people recommended buying a few different types so we could figure out what type Katie preferred. While we were initially intimidated by Dr. Brown’s bottles due to their multiple parts and pieces, after just a few feeding sessions we could tell that Katie loved them. She latched easier, suffered from less gas and they were easier for us to hold. When we burp her, typically 1-2 times during feeding, the burps come up far faster than before.  While they have multiple parts, I have found that they aren’t that difficult to clean and I tend to do my best to clean them immediately after each feed while she’s sleeping. I’ve found that the Dr. Brown’s specific cleaning brush helps greatly though!

Your Turn: As we move into the second month, I’d love your recommendations for things you or your baby loved as they hit months 2, 3 and 4?

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