Breastfeeding, Postpartum

Traveling for Work While Breastfeeding a.k.a. Guess what? You have a bunch more crap to lug around in the airport

A few weeks ago I took my first work trip to attend a conference in Portland, Oregon. I was excited and then instantly anxious. Why? I’m still breastfeeding so I need to pump around every 3 hours when I’m away from my son. PLUS, this would be the first time I would be away from Finn overnight so…anxiety. (Now, of course, he would be with my husband so obviously he would be fine and happy to get solo dad time but it was still weird to think about!) This post is focusing on the logistics of pumping while traveling but we’re writing one addressing being away from baby overnight for the first time later! Continue reading “Traveling for Work While Breastfeeding a.k.a. Guess what? You have a bunch more crap to lug around in the airport”

Postpartum

Childproofing Your Existence

Did you wake up one morning and found that you had a crawler or walker on your hands? In that moment, I bet you cheered your little one on, thinking this kiddo is the cat’s meow. Every new development is such an exciting milestone, it’s no wonder we are thrilled when it happens. But that thrill quickly turns into the familiar ‘oh shit’ ball of worry in your stomach.

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Scheming her way out of this prison.

My home is barely safe for my husband – I say this in earnest as Zach nearly broke his face after tripping over my weights strewn about the floor the other day (sorry pal, I owe you some Ben & Jerry’s). While we have already done  what feels like a ton of childproofing, we are finding something new everyday we need to change or update. Inevitably Ellie finds a new cable to chew on or a ledge to tumble into. I caught this kid actually somersaulting off the couch a few weeks ago. It was quite graceful but not ideal. So, while I am working on getting Ellie down from the ceiling fan… enjoy reading just a few home childproofing recommendations:

  • Stairs: If you have them, get a gate up… like yesterday. Babies seem to be attracted to stairs like moths to a bug zapper.
  • Outlets: Purchase those cheap plug things and plug any open outlets you have. Ellie loves finding outlets. One day she is going to resemble Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, red hair and all.
  • Cords, cables, and the like: These can be challenging if your living room is set up like a Van Gogh painting and you have to configure your set-up in the most inconvenient way. We’ve taken to using packing tape to hide our cables in plain site. #classy
  • Hard edges (fireplace, tables, etc.): There are these great padded furniture edgings that can be cut to fit and stuck to most edges. These have saved Ellie from many bruises and tears.
  • Vacuum: The most random things can fall on the floor which are prime pickings for little curious hands (and mouths). A word to the wise, if you have guests over, make sure to vacuum and pick up after they leave. People often forget that there is a baby around that likes to eat everything. Also, maybe they left some change or valuable jewelry between your couch cushions – no one said daycare was cheap.

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    Ellie pets her PUPPY.
  • Pets: We have two decent size dogs we watch like hawks. Our dogs are pretty good with Ellie, but you never know if some new things she’s doing (like running across the room screaming “puppy, puppy, PUPPPPPPPYYYYY” and throwing herself on them) will bother them. We fortunately have never had an incident but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

While there are about a million and a half other things that could be done, I believe this is a good start. Just remember, while we can only do so much to keep our kids safe, sometimes they are their own worst enemy.

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Feel free to let us know what your tips are! Happy chasing!

~Karen

Postpartum

Winning at Weaning

The time has come. Every breastfeeding mother arrives at this point sooner or later. I am talking about weaning. Initially, Kristin and I discussed my writing this post about a month or so ago as my intention was to wean Ellie on or soon after her first birthday. I’ve mentioned before, I am a planner. I like to have things in order and to be able to plan out, at nauseum, how things will play out.  What is it they say, the best-laid plans often go awry? That seems to be a quote that many parents can live by. Sort of a delightful take on Murphy’s Law for parents. Regardless, I find that with most mom things, life works itself out in its own way. Often not how you planned.

When Kristin and I discussed this post and I began writing, I quickly realized that I wasn’t mentally ready to share my weaning process. It took an emotionally toll on me I wasn’t ready for. Ironically, I can relate some of my feelings surrounding weaning to learning to breastfeed. Frustration. Exhaustion. Struggling to understand my kid in a whole new way. Crap. Maybe I actually have a pre-teen on my hands.

There are plenty of ways to wean, some people do the cold turkey method and others come up with some master variation of gradually reducing their feedings. I chose the latter. Mostly because I try to avoid pain and the possibility of getting mastitis at all cost. Plus I wasn’t in a rush.

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Just a day in the life of a nursing mom.

My pump/nurse schedule on a typical (pre-weaning) day looked something like this:

6am – nurse on one side and pump on the other

9:30/10am – pump

1pm – pump

4pm – pump

7pm – nurse

10/11pm – pump

I was provided a lot of advice and did a fair amount (hours, let’s be real) of research. What I ended up doing is slowly cutting out the pumping at work. For the first couple weeks, I went down to two pumping sessions a day at work. Then the following week I pumped once a day at work. Then I stopped pumping all together at work and only pumped/nursed twice a day – and how glorious it was to no longer have to drag around that cumbersome pump. Initially, I then planned to cut the evening nursing, and finally, the morning feeding. Most people recommend cutting out the night nursing session last, because that’s the most challenging one to wean baby from. Zach puts Ellie to bed at night, so it’s actually the morning nursing session that will be hardest to wean for me and the one I intend to wean last.

Daycare has been great about transitioning Ellie to whole milk, she actually is just taking sippy cups there now. This is amazing for me because I no longer need to prep bottles in the morning.

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Nursing wears us out.

As a final note, weaning is something that is specific to baby and mom. No one can or should tell a breastfeeding mom how and when they should wean. I was taking in a lot of this static noise and putting unnecessary pressure on myself. Interestingly enough, not one single mother who is or has breastfed gave me their opinion on when a nursing mom should wean. I only got this unsolicited advice from mothers who never nursed or people who do not have children, yep, because their the experts (insert eye roll here). It wasn’t until I allowed myself a little grace that I was in a way better place mentally to accomplish this. In the end, Ellie and I will continue nursing twice a day until we decide we’re done. And I’m happy with that.

xoxo,

Karen

Postpartum, Pregnancy

What should I pack in my hospital bag?!

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At some point during your pregnancy, this becomes a frantic thought that spins around and around in your head. If you’re anything like Karen, you may be anticipating being in the hospital for the next several months and pack your entire house. Ok, so that was a little tongue-in-cheek (not really, just ask Zach), Karen really did pack far too much. Kristin was much more mindful of what was necessary while in the hospital, mostly because she obsessively read recommendations on what to bring.

Read on for our own recommendations – and let us know if we forgot anything you think is essential!

Continue reading “What should I pack in my hospital bag?!”

Postpartum

The Joy of Hand, Foot, and Mouth

What a doozy the last couple weeks have been around our households. As you can assume from the title of this post, Hand, Foot, and Mouth (HFM) Disease has been running rampant in our babies’ lives, and in turn ours. If you don’t know what HFM is, it’s not to be confused with the merry childhood song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, although all of these body parts feel awful in kids who get this. HFM is this annoyingly contagious virus that takes out daycare centers across the nation one slobbery toy at a time. The most common symptoms of this are blisters/sores in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. It shows up as varying levels of severity and discomfort. Ellie had a rash on her belly and hands and a REALLY bad diaper rash. She did not have a fever, which is a fairly common symptom, but she drooled a ton which tells me her mouth/throat was bothering her. She was certainly uncomfortable, the surly teenager in her was in full force. Sometimes the symptoms can persist for a week. For more information on what HFM Disease is, including symptoms and treatment, check out the CDC’s website here.

All in all, we had to pick up Ellie Friday morning from daycare and she was ready to go back Monday. This seemed somewhat short and was not too terrible if you ask me, but like any other time your kid gets sick, it sucks in the moment. To be honest, it was actually surprising Ellie was able to stave off this bugger for as long as she did. There had been reports of HFM going around daycare for a little over a week and a half prior to Ellie showing any signs.

Oh, and for funsies, this is not just a kid virus. Us adults can get it too. I picked this really fun virus up from sipping off the same cup as one of my nieces a few years back. She rode it out like a champ, not me. I felt like I was hit by a train for a couple weeks, as if I had been walking around on Christmas tree needles, with a fever, and a sore throat to boot. My advice, try your hardest to not pick this up by sharing cups, etc., if you know your kid has this. It’s a million times worse to care for a sick kid when you are unwell too.

So what can you do for it?

Sorry to say that I have little good news here. Nothing. Zippo. Just ride it out. It is not any fun for a few days while your poor kid is a puddle of discomfort. We did take Ellie to the doctor to confirm what she had was HFM and to see if there was anything we could do for the discomfort. Ellie’s pediatrician prescribed some anti-fungal cream that we mixed with Vaseline and diaper rash paste to help with her bad diaper rash. This brand (Boudreaux’s Butt Paste) of diaper paste is the only one that worked for us. Other than that, yogurt and other chilled food helped a little with her mouth/throat, but that’s about it.

Lastly, as a PSA, if your family comes down with HFM please keep your kid(s) home until they are no longer contagious, as with any illness. Your pediatrician can tell you when your child is no longer contagious and ready to rejoin the general public. Other parents will thank you immensely for not sharing this super pleasant visitor with their kids.

Be well, friends!

Postpartum

When You Drop the Ball

So I was sitting up with Finn at 3am this morning, nursing him overnight (even though I told myself I’d try to be better and just let him cry) and I realized we hadn’t written anything to post for today. Oops. But that can happen when you have to take care of a tiny person…it tends to consume all your time and some other things can fall to the side. BUT. We’ve never missed a week and this will be no exception. So I present to you…some stuff that made me laugh. Yes, it’s meme time because…giphy

~Kristin

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And Happy Pride to all our friends and family out there!!

Dad Stuff, Postpartum

Father’s Day: An Ode to Kris and Zach

For this post, Kristin and Karen will be writing a little special something for Finn and Ellie’s Dads, Kris and Zach. These two guys are pretty awesome and we are so thankful to have such loving and supportive partners.

A Father’s Day Ode to Kris

To my amazing husband,

I still can’t believe we have this perfect, loud, smiley, goofy kid – can you? Watching him grow and learn is an incredible adventure, but it’s also been a thrill watching you become a dad, a role I think you were born to do. Continue reading “Father’s Day: An Ode to Kris and Zach”

Postpartum

Vegetarianism: How a Chicken Nugget Won My Heart

So….. Kristin and I discussed my writing a post about weaning as I am knee deep in the whirlwind of weaning Ellie off of nursing/bottles. Because you all, at this point, know us for our frankness (at least I hope we have not let you down yet) – I am going to be completely honest. I couldn’t write it. Not right now. It’s exhausted, my friends. I began to write the post a couple days ago and came back to it last night. As I reread my Pulitzer Prize-worthy writing, I was putting myself to sleep. My robotic writing only was further proof of my need to wait to write about this until I am done and I can laugh at all the trials and tribulations. For now, you get to hear about how at one time I planned to raise Ellie vegetarian until I hopped off my high horse and was swept off my feet by a chicken nugget. Sorry, Kristin, I am going off the rails this week. 🙂

In early 2018, I made the decision to go vegetarian. I, of course, have had meat a couple times, but for the most part I do follow a vegetarian diet. The reasons really are not important for this post, but this did present Zach and I with an interesting decision to make. Will Ellie be vegetarian? I was pushing for yes, Zach, being the good midwestern guy, was not on board. After going round and round, we decided that she would be vegetarian. It was pretty easy at first since so many purees are fruit or veggie based. Soon after our nemesis, Mister Yuck Face (see photo below), began coming around. At around 8 months old, Ellie began rejecting ALL purees. Ugh. She pretty much would only eat peaches. So I began getting creative. I spent so much time in the kitchen, specially cooking down veggies and fruits. In the end, her favorite things ended up being peanut butter, toast, Gerber puffs, peaches, and that’s about it. I didn’t fret about it since really she just needs breast milk up until she was one to get her full nutrition.

Fast forward to Ellie’s 12 month appointment. At that point I was still attempting to force feed her purees on top of breast milk, I started buying the really tasty fruit purees that I liked because I would end up finishing off what she wouldn’t eat (win win, amIright?). I talked to her doctor about her nutrition and that I am worried about feeding her enough. I discussed having Ellie follow a vegetarian diet and said that I am now leaning toward feeding her meat. Ellie’s doctor is vegetarian and was absolutely supportive of our choice to feed her meat, in fact, she said it will actually be much easier on us this way. What made me change my mind? To be honest, it is super easy to heat chicken nuggets and it takes far too long to cook lentils. Also – daycare does not offer a vegetarian menu and I am not about to brown bag it everyday. When you pay for daycare, you take advantage of ALL the benefits of daycare.

There are days, like today, that we incidentally fed Ellie vegetarian food, but it was not intentional. It’s just what I ended up making, and did not really think much of it. Today’s menu was:

Breakfast – Pancakes (frozen – yep, I’m not embarrassed to say I bought frozen pancakes)

Lunch – Hummus & pita, tator tots, and kiwi (hell yes, well-rounded)

Dinner – Mac & Cheese (I made this homemade, giving Martha Stewart a run for her money. Also – I have achieved my monthly domestic-goddess badge.)

Snacks – Gerber puffs (because if I didn’t, I am certain someone would riot)

The point of this is that as a mom, I have too many bees in my brain to make things harder than they need to be. Some days she is going to be picky and eat nothing. Some days I can only bring myself to microwave leftover pizza. But ya know what, I am fine with that. She’s getting fed and that’s what matters.

Peace out queens! Have a great week and eat some Ben & Jerry’s.

~Karen

Breastfeeding, Postpartum

Things We Like: Breastfeeding Edition

As two breastfeeding moms, we’ve tried a ton of stuff to try to make ourselves and baby more comfortable and these are the winners! Do you have any others you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments!

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, we may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and we only recommend products we love! We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Prices are subject to change. 

Spectra S1 Breast Pump – $200

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This is my #1 recommendation for you if you’re planning on pumping. Continue reading “Things We Like: Breastfeeding Edition”

Postpartum

And Just Like, We’ve Got a 1 Year Old

My baby is now one. How on God’s green Earth did this happen?! Can it really have been 12 months? When the reality hits you that that small creature you expelled from your body is now mobile and expressive as all get out, it’s challenging to wrap your head around. While it feels like she was born just yesterday, I’ve forgotten what pre-baby life was like. It’s as if she has always been here. Continue reading “And Just Like, We’ve Got a 1 Year Old”