Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saying No!

That title of the post makes me think back to elementary school days when we all learned the slogan, "Just Say No", right? Well, I am not talking about drugs today, but I am talking about something else that can steal your life. Saying YES to everything. I am soooo very guilty of this. Yesterday, I was updating a calendar that Ryan and I share to make sure we don't double book ourselves...Ryan texted me as he got the updates and said, "guess I will see you next week". He was being sarcastic or was he?

I totally am guilty. I can't say NO! It's awful because it takes away from the people that matter most. It takes away from my two guys and that is not ok. My plate keeps filling up for other people and I try to keep them all spinning. But you know what's gonna happen? They are all going to crash if I don't keep the most important ones first: God and my sweet family.

Today, I am writing this to make a point for myself to say NO. I love what I read yesterday on Proverbs 31 (it's a fantastic site if you aren't following it). It's titled Overcoming the Need to Please Disease. Man did it hit me hard at 6:30 am. I loved the response she gives people who are asking of her time: “Thank you for asking me. Let me check my calendar and think through some other commitments I’ve already made. If you haven’t heard back from me by the end of the week, please connect with me again.”  

That is awesome. I would totally respect that if a friend responded in such a way to a request I had. 

So, here are some things I will consider before making a decision:
*How will it impact my husband?
*How will it affect my son? 
*What will we gain or lose from this commitment? 

Of course I will always think of what others' concerns are, but at the end of the is about those who care the most about you, those you love, and pleasing God. 

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” Galatians 1:10 (ESV).

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Wrapping Up Our Nursing Journey: Breastfeeding For a Year

Monday marked the end of our nursing journey. Vann is 2 weeks away from being a year, so I feel like he had a great start full of awesome nutrients in his first year.

Who knew nursing was so beautiful? Honestly, in high school I remember a mom coming into the library and nursing her baby in public. It would really concern me that she was out in the open feeding her baby. WOW. I had a lot of growing up to do. And I really don't blame myself for thinking that way. I didn't know anything about raising a child and the facts about breastmilk.

Now at 29 years old, I am blown away by the process of nursing a baby. A woman's body can create the nutrition necessary to raise a small human. God is so good. It's a modern day miracle.

I think some huge factors went in to help me nurse, get confidence, and continue even when it wasn't easy.

A good knowledge of the facts
I read a couple of books and attended a nursing class before Vann was born.  However, there is NOTHING like life experience which brings me to the next point.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
What to Expect the First Year

A good support system
Lactation consultant, friends, and great blogs! There were times I felt like I was on an island all alone and then I would talk to a friend or read a post and got my second wind. It is hard. It is worth it.
KellyMom has some fabulous information and a good community.

A good pump
The Medela Free Style Pump was a pretty penny compared to the one I could get free with insurance. I am glad that I went ahead and purchased it. The investment also pushed me to use it and the pumping noise literally cheered me along. Think I am crazy?? Turns out other moms heard it too.

A positive environment to pump
My administrators at my school were absolutely amazing about supporting me. I know it's a law and everything that women have a place to pump and are allowed time, but they just really went above and beyond making sure I was good. I was definitely blessed with their concern and support. I lucked up having a location near my desk that I could go pump. The only part where I would run into some funny moments were when students would come into the media center looking for me and someone would tell them I was in the closet. I would hear a knock and start sweating. Another day I had a lizard staring at me from under the cabinets. At first, I thought someone was playing a joke on me, then his tail slithered. My feet went up and I just sat there in a stare off competition. Needless to say, I put all of my supplies away and got the heck out of dodge. I still have no idea where that lizard went.

A realistic, but positive mindset
Is breastfeeding easy? In some aspects yes and in other ways it's a challenge. You may not always be in the easiest setting to nurse, but at least you don't have to stop to find a bottle, fill it with formula, and warm it up before serving. I had to fill myself up with encouragement almost daily to continue giving my son the nutrition only I could provide.

A good collection of nursing supplies
From day 1 this was important, but over time I learned more and more.
1. Nipple Shield - when I think of nursing, I believe this simple invention was the reason I made it to 11 and a half months. When I found the shields it was like heaven parted and God shined a light down! It felt like a miracle. You can read more about it here.
2. Nursing pads - I purchased a box of disposable ones before Vann was born and used them sporadically, but my favorite were the cloth washable ones. They were so much softer and kinder to my skin. My friend Sara gave me a few pairs and I fell in love with them. You can buy them here.
3. Nipple Cream - there are others out there, but my favorite was Motherlove's brand.
4. Boppy or a nursing pillow - this is handy for more than nursing, and is worth the investment.
5. Supportive nursing bra - I never found one I loved and was too cheap to buy the more pricey ones, but next go round I will!

Good Nutrition 
In the later months, my supply started dipping. I checked out a few things like herbal supplements, mother's milk tea, and different things in my diet. HOWEVER, water and eating protein helped me produce milk the most. Eating every 2-3 hours, keeping snacks to grab and quickly eat, and drinking a gallon or more of water would increase my supply within a day or so.

For the last piece of advice, reach out! You are not alone. It's normal to feel like you don't know all of the've never done this before.

What are some other tips or products that helped you nurse your baby?

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

11 Months

I have been absolutely horrible about blogging and there's so much I want to share. Vann is growing like a weed and we are loving it. I loved when he was a baby, but man it's just a whole new world right now. He has his own personality. Seeing him learn each day is incredible.

Right now, Vann is eating lots of food and we are working on weaning. We began with whole milk simply because we'd still be nursing up to a year, so he would be getting good vitamins and nutrition from me and food along with the whole milk. Well, then Vann seemed to not feel well, so I thought it was the milk (we later found out it was a tummy bug...more on that later). We ended up going to Similac Go & Grow. Dang...formula stinks. Like...literally smells. However, I love that it has all of the nutrition jam packed in it. The more and more I read, the more pleased I am with our decision to nurse Vann. I have learned so much about how our bodies work together for this awesome process. I totally can't lie though, I am super happy to start using all of my wonderful AdvoCare products again! V is enjoying all of the yummy snacks. This week we introduced cheese quesadillas. I just sprinkle a bit of cheddar cheese on a whole wheat wrap and melt the cheese. He likes it a lot! The past few days, dancing in the highchair has become a regular occurrence. He takes a bite and does a wiggle dance. Sometimes he even adds in a fist pump.

Vann is a busy boy. He points at EVERYTHING and says "duy or dat" and we tell him exactly what he is pointing at. It's fun until he swings his arm everywhere and points at 50 things at once. Last night when I laid him down in bed, he was still pointing. We are gradually moving out of the "put everything and anything in your mouth" phase. It was to the point he would pick up something (a bug in the yard, leaves, dog food, etc.) and we would say "NO" and into his mouth it'd go! Glad it's not that intense anymore. He is also becoming more stable on his feet. He took steps about two weeks ago and the progress he's made is incredible. He looks at us to see if we are watching and then takes a few steps and smile. Rolling the ball and pushing the walker around are still Vann's favorite pastimes.

Daddy and Vann caught a nasty tummy bug this weekend. Man, I am not sure how I avoided it, but I sure am glad I did. I was able to help take care of them. Where Ryan's was a 24 hour bug, Vann's lasted 4 days. The triage nurse said it's normal for babies to have it a bit longer. We continued nursing and stopped the weaning process for a bit. The BRAT (Bread, Rice Cereal, Applesauce, and Toast) diet came in handy for Vann because he still wanted to eat. He also got Pedialyte on day 3 to replenish any electrolytes he had lost. Thankfully, he felt like his regular self on Sunday and Ryan had kicked it in 24 hours. Stomach bugs are got passed around to 4 more family members. Goodness!

Nightly walks are a highlight of our day. Daddy gets home, we have dinner as a family, and then go on a walk. I don't know if Vann or Lyla is more excited. It's hilarious when he leans back in the wagon and just chills. It makes our heart happy!

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