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6 month Post Partum update

6 months, I can’t believe I gave birth to a beautiful little girl just over 6 months ago.

A lot has changed, here’s a little update. I’ll do a small update on my daughter, and then my post partum update.

Daughter:

She’s about 15lbs now (I’ll know for sure on Tuesday), and is 26in.

She is such a happy, playful little girl. Just this past month, she has decided to start trying to crawl, and now nothing is safe in our home. She’s also pulling herself up on furniture. She LOVES music, and “sings” along. She’s still for the most part a pretty good sleeper, except when she’s teething. She loves to nurse. She just recently started doing this thing where she will look at me, squeal, and lift my shirt, just to nurse for a few minutes.

And last but not least, she is such a Daddy’s girl.

Post partum update:

Well, I’ve pretty much lost all of my pregnancy weight, I have about 5-10lbs to lose, but I’m not super worried about it, because I’m convinced, most of that is in my boobs.

Return of Aunt Flo

My period returned when I was 4 weeks post partum (I stopped bleeding at 5 days post partum), despite the fact that I breastfeed, and it’s been regular ever since. To be completely honest, it is super annoying to be one of those breastfeeding women that still gets a period, and got one so early. And at this point, the pain is not as bad as it was before pregnancy, but it’s getting there.

Where I’m at with breastfeeding:

I am still exclusively breastfeeding. Zoé has tried a few foods, but I’m not rushing the whole food thing, she’ll let us know when she’s ready. She does great with it, she eats every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, for about 10-15 at a time. When I was around 4 or 5 months post partum though, I developed I clogged duct, and it was bad. It went from barely there at all, to my breast being 10x the size of the other in under 24 hours, and it had mastitis. We did catch the mastitis early, so I didn’t have the flu like symptoms, but the breast was feverish, and had red streaks all over it. Let me just tell you, mastitis hurts, and it burns, and it was worse than childbirth. And I’m still battling with it 6 weeks or more later, and this was even after a course of antibiotics. But it’s getting better.

Depression:

I struggled a little bit with post partum depression. It was difficult for me, and it really wasn’t something I was expecting to happen to me. But realities set in, your body is scarred and flabby, learning to be a mother, and I was at war with my own mind, with trying to accept what happened during my labor (even though, I still had an unmedicated labor, I still struggled with the events that took place). This was a dark time for me, and I only let a handful of people in on the fact that I was struggling, those people being my husband, mom, and best friend. This is actually the first time that others will read that I was going through this. But I got help, I talked it through, with those closest to me, and sometimes I cried. Things are much better now, but this doesn’t mean I still don’t have days where I just want to lay in bed and be left alone in the dark.

Over all:

I’m doing okay. I love my daughter, and husband, and my life. Sometimes I think to myself, what if all I ever am is a mom, and you know what, I’m okay with that. I want to be the mom that’s there for her children, and that guides them through every step of their life. Life is great right now, and being this far past giving birth is just so amazing to me.

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I Finally got a Menstrual Cup!!!

How I decided which one to get:

I’ve been getting my period since I was 4 weeks post partum, and trying to remember to change a pad, or things like that, when you are dealing with cramps, fatigue, and a young baby, is just not fun. And let me just tell you, for some women trying to use a tampon after a baby may be out of the question for either a long time, or forever, because things down there, are just never quite the same again. So I decided the menstrual cup was the best route for me.

I did lots of research, and I do mean lots. I watched a ton of YouTube videos, read even more reviews, and finally took a test on putacupinit.com to help determine which cup was best for me.

Out of the choices it gave me, I went with the Lena Sensitive menstrual cup, in size large. My reason for picking this cup was because:

A) Every review I read said it was great for beginners, and easy to insert.

B) I picked the large because I have had a baby, and since having her, I have a pretty heavy flow. (Large qualifies for women that have even had a C-section, not just vaginal births)

C) No risk of TSS

D) (Last point) I have been told by many people that menstrual cups in general lighten your flow, and help your period cramps.

I know what you’re thinking… How could a menstrual cup help lighten your period and help cramps? Well, disposable pads and tampons, have a ton of chemicals in them. Which in turn make you bleed more, and you then go out and buy more of that product. The chemicals can also have adverse effects on our uterus and ovaries, making things a little more painful. So if you ditch these products, and go for reusable things, such as a menstrual cup, your flow should become lighter and your cramps should become more manageable. And as a slight side note, but still kinda on the same topic, tampons cause micro abrasions when you pull them out, which opens you up to getting infections.

It arrived:

What all came in the box:

Of course the actual cup, and a little baggie to store it in, which is really cute. It also came with a little thank you card on the inside, which I thought was a nice touch, and some instructions (which I failed to get a picture of).

The box itself:

I think the box is beautifully made, and I love that it’s made out of recycled materials.

First I want to talk about the cup before I actually used it. Not gonna lie, my initial thought to it when I saw it was, “How am I not going to feel that inside me?”. But then I started messing with it and practicing some of the folds, so I knew what to do when I tried to put it in the first time, and I wasn’t nearly as scared of it. It’s actually really soft (keep in mind I don’t have a firm cup to compare to), and easy to do the folds with it.

And I was really impressed with the stem, be it was flat, instead of rounded, so I figured that would make it easier to grab (which it definitely was). And I also like the amount of grips on the whole cup.

Day 1 of period:

I always dread my period, because I literally have such bad pain, like it’s worse than labor. Most of the time I just want to take pain meds and crawl into bed for the entire week. But this time I was excited, I was ready to use my new menstrual cup (that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still in pain, because I still had significant cramps).

My period started around 4 in the afternoon. So I got my cup out of the baggie it came with, read the instructions (even though I had read them a million times before that), started to try to insert it. Now for me, I tried a few different ways to insert this thing, but the best way for me was doing the punch down fold, while squatting very low, and then standing up and using my middle finger and my kegel muscles, to get it the rest of the way up. The biggest struggle I had with it was just finding a position that worked for me, my cervix is VERY high, and the opening to my vagina is very tight, but otherwise I didn’t have an issue. I ran my finger around the cup, to make sure it was open, and it definitely was.

Taking it out:

This honestly scared me more than putting it in, simply because I knew how far up I had pushed it, and it just didn’t seem like I would be able to get it out easily. BOY, was I wrong. I just found the stem, gave it a little tug, until I could feel the base of the cup, grabbed the base and out it came. And it definitely was doing it’s job, I honestly have no clue how I got it to do it like that the very first time, but I had no spotting outside the cup, and the pad I was wearing just in case was clean. I was honestly shocked. But the first day is now my lightest day, so the next few days were going to really test this cup out.

Day 2 of period:

The morning of day 2 started out very crampy, like I used to have pre-pregnancy, so nothing super unusual. So I got in the shower to help with my cramps, took out my cup, which did very well, and no leaking again, cleaned out, and reinserted it.

On this day I was rather active as I had some errands to run, so I was on my feet a while. And the only issue I had was at one point, it started to slide down, where I could feel the stem, but all I had to do was push it back up.

Later that night when I took it out, I had used it to it’s potential, it was nearly full. But it had done it’s job. At this point though, I decided to give my vagina a little break, and just wear a pad, I wish I hadn’t done that though, because my bleeding picked up significantly during the night, which has been happening during the night.

Day 3 of period:

By this point my period had picked up to the heaviest it was going to be. And my cramps had finally calmed down some. And this day was pretty anticlimactic, I really just stayed home and slept on the couch.

The cup did really well, and again I didn’t have any issues with leaking, and I was finally getting the hang of things. I can go about 10-11 hours before having to take it out.

Final thought:

First, the rest of my period was pretty uneventful, and I was at home most of the time. But it did last for a few more days.

This cup has changed my life forever! I love this thing. The only thing I will say, is I think I will get a second one, only because on day two of my period, my cervix dropped really low (which has never happened, and it went high again the next day), that way I don’t have to cut the stem off of this one.

But it was remarkably easy to use, I never had a problem with leaking, or getting it in.

The only thing that shocked me was how easily I could go to the bathroom with it in.

So would I recommend this cup to my friends? Of course, I’m telling everyone about it.

And they have amazing customer service. I had to email them not long after I got the cup, and they responded so fast. To me that shows that they actually care about those that buy from them.

Updated on February 1st, 2017

I’ve now had my second period with this cup. All I can say, is I’m extremely happy with it. Some days I even forget that I’m on my period. And I have been suggesting this cup to everyone.

Link to buy the Sensitive Lena here

Link to buy the regular Lena here

Go here to get %15 off your order

Breastfeeding tips part 2

Here it is, part two. I’m not going to have much of an introduction here, but if you would like a part 3, please leave a comment letting me know what you would like to see me include.

Reality of breast feeding

So, what is the reality of breastfeeding? The reality is, it’s hard at first, you’re going to want to quit, switch to formula, cry, scream as loud as you can, and any other emotion that you can think of. I remember when my daughter was a couple days old, sitting in my house crying because it was so hard. I wanted to quit. The pain was terrible, and I dreaded when she would want to eat. But I’m glad I had my mom, because she talked some sense into me. She told me I just needed to get past the hump and I was almost there, and then it would be so easy. And you know what? She was right. I kept going, and got past the hump, with several more tears shed, yes, but I got past it, and now, 4 months later, I love to breastfeed my daughter. I love the bonding time we have, and how excited she gets to see me, because she knows she’s about to nurse. The look in her eyes when she’s nursing, and you can tell how happy she is to be close to Mommy, when she stops midway through a feeding, and my milk shoots to the other side of the room, and she thinks it’s funny. So yes, breastfeeding is hard, but it’s oh, so very worth it.

Cluster feeding

Cluster feeding is something that I feel like needs to be talked about more during pregnancy, to prepare you for the fact that your baby is going to have days where she just wants to eat all day. When I was pregnant, my midwife always talked about feeding every 2 hours when they are a newborn until they got back up to their birth weight, or until all their meconium had passed (My daughter never dropped her birth weight, and she passed her meconium before she was born). But what they don’t tell you, is more than likely that baby is going to want to eat far more than every 2 hours. In my case, it was about every 30 minutes for 45 minutes, until she was several weeks old. But cluster feeding is such a good thing in the early weeks, because it helps establish your milk supply. So just relax and let your baby do its thing, and watch some Netflix. And your baby will cluster feed from time to time when they go through a growth spurt.

Breastfeeding station

Now this is something that I am still learning, but definitely having a place or two set up where you will breastfeed, with a few essentials will greatly help. I have two spots, one is my bed at night and the other is this big, comfy chair in my living room. In both spots I make sure that I have, my phone, a water bottle or two, a few snacks, a blanket, burp cloth, and a nursing pillow. You will need these things, so you will be comfortable, hydrated, fed, keep your baby clean, and if your baby falls asleep, you can put them in the nursing pillow temporarily.

Breastfeeding essentials

I have a couple, but the most important this list might shock you… It’s, are you ready for this? It’s…. Your boobs. Okay, seriously, here’s the rest of the list.

Nursing bra, or nursing tank top, to make feedings easier. Some kind of nipple cream in those early days to help with pain. Nursing Pillow, water, lots of water, reusable breast pads. And in some cases a nipple shield. Nipple shields should only be used though if you absolutely have to have one, like of you have inverted nipples. But if you have to use one you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it, I had to, and my experience breastfeeding has still been great.

Again if would like a part 3, please let me know, and say what you would like me to include.

Breastfeeding Tips part 1

We can all admit, breastfeeding is much harder than we thought it was gonna be. Even if you knew it was going to be a full time job, you just didn’t expect it to be so tiring, like literally… Nearly every time I breastfeed, I nearly fall asleep. Keep in mind, I’m only 3 months postpartum, so obviously I don’t know everything there is to know about breastfeeding. I’m also going to break this up into parts, this will be part one, and each part will have several tips, I hope you enjoy.

Don’t give up:

This probably one of the best tips I can give you. It is going to be hard, very hard, at times.

My daughter had problems latching when she was about 2 weeks old, and it was the hardest thing for me. She latched so well in the hospital, I didn’t have a problem at all, got home with her, and she continued to do well, and then things got difficult. She literally just stopped latching, she would scream and scream, because she couldn’t latch. I was at a point where I just wanted to give up, I was done trying. I would be crying at night and during the day, because I just couldn’t get my baby to eat. But the thing that helped me the most to get her to latch is my next tip…

Nipple shield:

The nipple shield was a lifesaver for me. Once I bought it, and immediately tried it, my daughter latched, and has not had an issue since. We are still using it, and although it is really irritating to have you use it every time she eats, I’m just glad I can still breastfeed my baby. I bought the Medela brand, and it works well. My suggestion though is if one brand doesn’t work, try another, and if it hurts, try a different size.

Coconut oil:

Regardless of what you might get told breastfeeding is going to hurt a little or a lot. I was told if it hurt, it was because I was doing it wrong (I had a really stupid lactation consultant). The reality is, it is more than likely going to hurt, and one main reason for that is your nipples have never been through that before, so they have to get used to someone sucking on them all day. The best thing I found to help with dry, cracking, bleeding nipples, was coconut oil. No, not any of those creams marketed for nipples, but coconut oil. I would just apply the coconut oil to my nipples every time my daughter would finish eating, and it healed everything amazingly. Another reason for pain might be a bad latch, which I will get into in my next blog post.

Going topless:

Another good thing for your nipples is going topless. This actually has a lot of advantages, but I do feel like it helped my nipples feel better. Literally go topless, let them babies air out, and this will also make it easier for breastfeeding, since you are trying to get used to things.

Building Supply:

This is very important, you have to build supply. The thing that’s most important during this time is skin to skin contact. Get your baby on your breast as much as possible, this will help establish supply. And don’t freak out if you seem like you’re not producing enough, I know that’s probably easier said than done. Especially if you going to start pumping, remember your baby is getting more milk from you than a pump will, because it’s the saliva that helps build supply and make the milk(BTW, I’m not saying that pumping is bad, I know it’s a necessary thing for a lot of women). On the subject of pumping, try to wait a little while before starting to do so, at least a few weeks, this can actually do some bad to your supply. But if you’re still having issues building supply here are some things below that I have used to help, and it really does work.

Milk Rich from Wish Garden:

This stuff works wonders, within minutes of taking it, I would feel a let down. I had to start taking it, because I started my period, and my supply dropped, but it really helped.

Link: https://www.wishgardenherbs.com/herbal-remedies/Milk-Rich-With-Goats-Rue-557

Also buy from Amazon, at this referral link: https://www.amazon.com/WishGarden-Herbs-Supplement-Increased-Production/dp/B006H9RM7W/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1507490595&sr=8-5&keywords=milk+rich&linkCode=sl1&tag=natfrurai6kid-20&linkId=a9a2ff406413d504b6a25432829b8c5c

Drink lots of water. Your breast milk is made up of a lot of water, so it only makes sense, to drink a lot of water. This is the number one thing I was told that would help my supply, so I only feel that it’s right to pass the information on. I can’t say enough how much this helped.

What to look forward to in part 2 :

Reality of breast feeding

Cluster feeding

Breastfeeding station

Breastfeeding essentials

And don’t worry, if I didn’t get to something in this post, or the next, I will probably have a part 3, so just let me know what you would like me to add.

Postpartum essentials

Those first 4-8 weeks postpartum are definitely a roller coaster. Here are a few essentials to make that time easier.

Maxi Pads:

I wasn’t too picky about brand, but the thing that was really helpful, was overnight pads with wings. That first day or two ( at least for me), you will need overnight pads. And another little tip. If you deliver your baby in a hospital, ask for more pads, underwear, and witch hazel pads, before you leave. This way you don’t have to buy any witch hazel pads, and when you go to the bathroom, and there’s a mess, you can just throw away the mesh underwear. Trust me, you are not going to want to deal with the cleanup of that.

Peri bottle/ hair dryer:

Now it’s very important that you don’t wipe down there after giving birth, especially if you tore, like I did. So usually you are sent home with a peri bottle. Wow… Best thing that was ever invented. It’s basically just a squeeze bottle, that you fill with water to make sure everything gets clean after going to the bathroom. Sometimes I still use mine, simply because it makes me feel cleaner. And the next best thing after that, a hair dryer. Obviously things need to be kept dry down there, so after using the Peri bottle, you need a way to get dry. I was told by many people just to use a wash cloth to dab dry. But then a friend of mine told me about using a hair dryer. Just place it 8-12 inches from you, and dry. It feels so good, and really helps some of the itching I was having.

Baking soda bath:

Now in the hospital they are going to tell you to not take a bath, because of infection risk, and blah blah blah… But here’s my reasoning on why it’s better to do it. They give you a Sitz bath to take home with you, to use once a day for 20-30 minutes. So you are literally sitting on the toilet, with your butt and everything in a bucket of water, everyday for at least 20 minutes… I don’t know about you, but that does not sound very relaxing, and an actual bath is the same thing. One of the nurses in the hospital I delivered at kept getting mad at me for not doing it while I was there, even though I was hooked up to IV’s almost the entire time. So they made me bring it home, where I then proceeded to stick it in my daughter’s closest, that’s where it’s been for the last 11 weeks. So, instead I’ve been taking baths since 3 days pp. Baking soda is very healing, and helps with a whole number of things. And actually, most midwives will tell you to go home and take a bath.

Comfortable clothes:

Whatever is the most comfortable for you to wear. For me it was loose skirts, and granny panties. But yoga pants, and PJs are good options too.

Food and water:

This is especially helpful if you are breastfeeding, but regardless new mother’s need to keep up their strength. When I go to breastfeed my daughter, I always make sure I have water close to me, and I have my husband bring me food when I need it. This is especially important because newborns cluster feed very often, so there will be days where you get nothing accomplished, except for feeding your baby. So having food and water next to you is essential.

Sleep:

This is probably the most important one when you have a new baby. I know you will probably want to get things done when the baby is asleep, but my advice, DON’T. Sleep when your baby sleeps, and if you can’t sleep at least lay down and rest. This will go a long way to you healing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please let me know what else you would like me to write about.

First Month Being a New Mom

Challenges:
Let me start off by saying that even with these challenges that I’m about to discuss, I wouldn’t change any of it. My daughter is one of the best things in my life, and she is so precious to me.
I talked about this briefly in my labor and delivery story, but both Zoé and I wound up on antibiotics after she was born due to my testing positive for Group B strep, and my spiking a fever after she was born. Now this in itself was a challenge for me. I had to watch my helpless newborn have IV’s in her little hand for the first 2 days of her life. But that wasn’t the only challenge that was faced from the antibiotics. After we got home it became clear that we were both having reactions to the medication. Both of us would get hives, and anytime my breast milk touched my skin for the first 2 weeks, it would burn and I would again get hives. This has slowly gotten better. And there were a few other issues from the antibiotics that I won’t get into, but they could’ve caused some problems.
Latching has also been an issue. When we were still in the hospital she was latching, and doing really well with it, but she was having a few issues. When we went to her first appointment with her pediatrician, at 6 days old, we found out Zoé has a lip tie. It’s a minor one, but still a lip tie nonetheless. We were told that if it caused issues, it would be speech related, and that it didn’t need to be clipped. Well, a few days went by and I started to notice that Zoé just wasn’t latching, like she was in pain, and she wouldn’t sleep at night (which she had been doing, and still does). So I decided to check her tie, it was inflamed. So I figured that was the issue. I talked to this great woman I know, and she pointed me in the direction of a nipple shield. Basically it’s exactly like it sounds, it’s a shield that goes over the nipple. It has been a life saver. I went out and bought one, came home, put it on, and decided to try to feed Zoé. She latched right on the first time without an issue, she was happy. And she again started sleeping through the night. My plan at this point is to find someone that will clip the lip tie, so that my baby doesn’t have to struggle. But for now I’m so thankful that I found out about the shield and that she can eat without a problem.
Successes:
My sleeps through the night. I’m not sure how I got a baby that does that. I mean, we have had a few 4am nights, that she just wouldn’t settle down. But for the most part she’s in bed by 11pm(she eats right before this), and she’ll sleep until 4 or 5am to eat, and then she’ll sleep until 7 or 8am, before officially waking up. Even if this doesn’t continue (which I’m praying it does), her sleeping so well, has really helped me with healing after having her, because I actually feel rested.
I can now do domestic things with one hand. Of course that has been made easier by using a ring wrap. But goodness, as a mom, you really learn how to do things one handed, and in my case it seems like I have to do things one handed with my non-dominant hand.
What I love most about being a mom:
I love when I wake up in the morning and my little baby is right there smiling back at me, and making the sweetest little noises. I love watching her get so excited when she hears or sees her Daddy. I also love watching her explore the world around her, and wondering to myself what could possibly be so interesting. I also love when she’s nursing, and she looks up at me with her big blue eyes and smiles do big that she practically unlatches herself.
I’ll never forget the first time she realized that Mommy was one of her comfort zones. She was being held by some family, and she started to get upset, because she was being passed too much. She was crying so hard, so I took her. Once she realized it was me, she grabbed hold of my shirt really tight, looked at me, calmed down, and went to sleep. It nearly made me cry. It was the first time that she didn’t need me just for food, but for something more. She just wanted her Mommy.
Being a new mom is definitely challenging, but I love it. I love getting to watch this little human that I grew inside of me for 9 months, grow everyday. There are some days that I still can’t believe I’m a mom to a precious little girl, that I actually have a daughter. I love you, my little Zoébeañ.

What’s in my birth center bag?

I will have a few different things in my bag, that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily need to go to the hospital, but since I’m giving birth in a free standing birth center, this is what was recommended to bring, along with a few things that I thought would be good to bring. Things to keep in mind, I may seem like I haven’t brought enough of something, but I’ll only be in the birth center for 6-8 hours after our daughter is born.

Babies and Daddy’s bag:

Since they both have less stuff than I’ll have, I’m putting their stuff in the same bag.

For baby:

3 preemie newborn onesies

2 regular newborn onesies

1 0-3 month onesie(not pictured)

A newborn dress, for her to come home in.

One pair of socks

4 hats, in varying sizes

8 newborn diapers

5-6 size 1 diapers

Baby wipes

2 blankets (not pictured)

Nursing pillow (not pictured)

Daddy’s stuff:

Swim trunks

A change of clothes

Socks

PJ’s

Snacks

Phone and charger

Mommy’s bag:

For laboring:
2 sports bras

A robe

Socks

Essential oils and a diffuser

Toiletries:

Maxi pads

Breast pads

Toothbrush/toothpaste

Hairbrush

Shampoo/ conditioner

Hair ties

Chapstick

Granny panties(not pictured)

Coming home:

Maxi skirt (I’ve been told wearing a skirt is more comfortable)

Sports bra

T-shirt

Flip flops(not pictured)

Other:

Phone and charger

Snacks(not pictured)

For snacks, I plan to buy some that are high in protein, and some that are a little more bland in taste.