Richie was just two months old last Halloween so this year felt more like his first. Since he is older and mobile, we were able go all out with his costume and take him to a kiddie party to celebrate. My husband even took the day so that he could come with us to watch Richie play with his friends, see a show and play in the ball pit. It was so special.
When I was younger, Roald Dahl was my favorite author. I loved all his books; James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Fantastic Fox. But my all time favorite was and is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory so it was only natural, I'd want Richie's first real costume to be a character from the book. I also thought it would be that much more special if I made his costume myself, so I did.
Leading up to Halloween, we found a fox costume in the store. Richie loved it because it's super soft so we bought it. He would randomly bring it in to me from his room so that I could put it on for him. Including some images of that one below as well. It was such a memorable Halloween.
I was lucky enough to nurse my baby just 30 minutes after he was born. I’ll never forget it. They laid Richie on my chest and my husband and I stared at him for a good while then he ran out to get all of our family members in the waiting room. While he was gone, Richie kept moving his way up my chest and to my breast. I looked at the nurse and said, “Oh my God, I think he is trying to nurse.” Then BOOM, all the things I learned in my breastfeeding class popped into my head. I was like, “I got this. I’m going to feed this baby right now.” And I did, just like that. It was a gift for it to happen so natural and easy for me.
My goal was to nurse for an entire year. That didn’t work out. Welcome to #momlife. Things don’t always go as planned. Fine. I did however; nurse Richie exclusively for 9 and a half months then slowly introduced formula before completely stopping at 11 months when I started him with whole milk. I’m so super proud of that but I will likely do a few things differently the next time around. Here’s what I learned that I think will help me to nurse for a year and maybe even beyond with my next baby.
For more on breastfeeding, check out my posts on The Biggest Breastfeeding Myth and My Favorite Breastfeeding Foods.
Handle one day at a time
Something about that 9 month mark made me feel like I just couldn’t take anymore. I needed a break. It was then that I also took my first short trip away from Richie and my husband for my sister’s bachelorette party. While I was gone, my husband had to use my entire stash of frozen breast milk. It was gut wrenching. The thought of having to pump again to build it back up was nauseating. I enjoyed nursing but loathed pumping. Had I just relaxed and took one day at a time, I would have recovered from that feeling but instead, I went out and bought the formula.
Find ways to introduce Dad
I didn’t do this – at all – which is why I was so exhausted and run down and over it. When you nurse, you are solely responsible for feeding your baby. What I should have done was use my stored breast milk and have my husband feed him one bottle a day (probably best to have done at night) so that I would have had a break and got some well deserved rest. It was a total rookie mistake. I wanted to take it all on and the truth is, I loved nursing him and I’m also a control freak but after awhile, I was just worn out. Had I let my husband help earlier, I probably wouldn’t have burned out so quickly.
Wait until 6 months to introduce solids
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, I would suggest waiting until 6 months to introduce solids. I was so excited, because Richie is my first, to introduce him to purees and cereal. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction to different foods, sit him in his new highchair, and prepare food for him. What I didn’t realize was that he would nurse less because of it and in return, my supply would drop. I was able to continue to nurse him but it was harder to get extra milk from pumping. Prior to solids, I was making so much extra.
I also didn’t realize how much more work I was adding to my already busy schedule. If your baby is gaining appropriately and it is safe, my suggestion is to wait so that you can nurse longer.
Different women may have different reactions to dieting and exercising when nursing but for me (and a bunch of other Moms I have spoken to), it completely affected my supply. I was still making milk but not nearly as much as when I ate more calorie packed foods. For example, I was dieting then one night I cheated and had pizza. That night, I woke up completely engorged. Calories helped with my supply. Big time.
Also, as a very personal side note, that was another reason I wanted to be done with it. I was vain and hated the fact that I couldn’t drop the last 10 pounds because of nursing. I regret that now. The weight doesn’t matter. I won’t care about this next time around. You are lucky to be able to go through this phase at all – having a baby and nursing them is a gift. My vanity got in the way.
I enjoyed it very much. I was good at it. I loved the bond we shared but what I didn’t know was how fast it all goes even though everyone was saying it. When you are exhausted and can’t see straight, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is an end and the newborn phase goes FAST (just not while you are in it). For my next, it will easier because I now know that the first year flies by and you inevitably miss those sweet tender (and insanely exhausting) moments when you have breast milk all over you, haven’t showered, and are a walking zombie. Trust me. You will.
This post is sponsored by Cuddl Duds and Kohl’s but my love to #liveinlayers is all my own.
There are so many things to love about fall - the beautiful colors of autumn leaves, the crisp smell of the air and the excitement of putting together new (warmer!) outfits. Our favorite way to curate our autumn wardrobe is L A Y E R I N G.
Layering is about pairing together different types of clothing to create a warm but thrown together look that seems effortless but stylish. I'm pretty sure it all started in the mid-90's when the Olsen twins were throwing on mountains of bohemian fabrics, coats, and long scarves. A decade later and its still on the fashion agenda. Toss in the confusing up and down climates of fall and we're left wondering how anyone expects us to dress for weather that can run from 50 degrees in the morning to 70 by late afternoon.
There is a secret formula that layering involves and we've complied three looks in partnership with Cuddl Duds to help navigate through the transition of seasons as well as some tips for layering this year's most coveted styles. A quick tip: You'll find that Cuddl Duds long cardigan and a black turtleneck are key, long-wearing purchases (both can be found at Kohl's).
A roll neck turtleneck will work under almost anything.
Babies have a ton of mucus. In fact, they sneeze a lot because they are trying to get it all out of their little passageways but it doesn’t always work so you have to help them. This product looks and sounds so crazy but it works like a charm. My suggestion is to combine it with children’s saline solution. It loosens up the mucus first then its super easy to suck the snot out. I know it sounds gross but once you see all the snot that comes out, you’ll get addicted to doing it. You feel so relieved for them. Like, “YES! Now this little guy can breathe better!”
This stuff is fantastic at soothing and relaxing their little tummies. It’s all-natural too so you don’t have to worry about giving your little one something artificial. I was hesitant at first since Richie has only had breast milk. But man, this stuff is amazing. The active ingredients are ginger and fennel. I always drink ginger tea to calm my belly so it only makes sense that this would work on him.
I know some mothers have issues with pacifiers because of nipple confusion or whatever. That never happened with Richie and I think it’s because I got him used to everything right way. My baby latches to my breast, takes my breast milk from a bottle and uses a pacifier. No confusion. Pacifiers help to soothe. They are genius. Use them! The only thing you need to be careful of is using them too much that you ignore hunger signs so just be mindful.
I was using organic diaper rash cream until it didn’t work. I also tried A & D ointment. Also didn’t work. Balmex is seriously the absolute best. Richie has only had one rash and this stuff healed it in just one day. I now put it on every single diaper change to help prevent a rash from ever happening again.
Electric Steam Bottle Sterilizer
My girlfriend (a Mom to twins!) insisted I get one and man, was she right. This thing is amazing. It helps to sterilize bottles, pacifiers, etc. No boiling nipples on the stove. A simple steaming process that gets the job done in just 7 minutes. Lifesaver! I have the Dr. Brown one because those are the only bottles I will use.
All the experts will tell you that by breastfeeding you’ll lose the baby weight quickly. Even all the mothers that had breastfed assured me that the weight would just melt off. One of my best girlfriends described the weight loss so great that she was in her skinny jeans a few weeks later. I even remember looking at a photo of my mother a month after she gave birth to me and she was even skinnier than before she was pregnant. She blamed it on the breastfeeding.
Well, I’m here to call their bluff. It’s been three months since I had Richie and I’m still holding to more weight than I would like to share. And I’m not the only one. I have spoken with other mothers that have said that they did not completely lose the baby weight until they weaned from nursing.
I gained 30 pounds during my pregnancy and at my first doctor’s appointment a few weeks after giving birth I had dropped 15 of it. Awesome! But even with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, not a single pound has been shed since then. Not ONE!
When I stop to think about it, it makes sense. Why wouldn’t my body hold onto to fat – the quickest, most energy efficient source available? Wouldn’t it make sense for our bodies to hold onto it so that we could feed our babies even if we couldn’t get the proper nutrients?
Or maybe it’s the fact that I have zero energy to hit the gym as often as I would like because I’m feeding another human being and I’m up all night doing it. Or maybe it’s the cookies that I sneak at night because I have major cravings from these darn breastfeeding hormones. BUT aren’t those extra 500 calories that the experts assure you will burn while breastfeeding supposed to take care of that?
My point is, not everyone loses the baby weight from breastfeeding. So if you are going into it for that reason only then re-think your decision.
Regardless of the weight loss, breastfeeding has been super rewarding for me. I genuinely love the bond it provides me with Richie. I love that fact that I’m able to feed him such great nutrients. I feel proud when I look at his little rolls and at every doctor’s visit when I learn how big he is getting and how healthy he is. So for now, I will hold onto this breastfeeding weight and with pride. I’m feeding another human being and if my body needs to hold onto this weight so be it.
Once the baby has weaned, I will get back in shape. Right now, it’s just not about me. It’s about providing my baby with what he needs.
natalie ferro aurigema
Sharing all the things that make me happy through this blog.
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