Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Musical Lovin'

Kari Jobe

That is all you need to know.
She isn’t all that new but, new to me.
She has got this beautiful voice and lyrics you can relate to.
Yes, she is a Christian artist but this is GOOD Christian music. (which is hard to find these days… that isn’t worship)
So, take a little listen… If you like her as much as me, you wont be able to shut her off.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aveda Graduate!

Who's a licensed hairstylist??

This girl!!

I have FINAlly finished school; got through 1550 hours at school, a written test and boards!! I started at a salon that I feel will be a good fit for me and am already learning a TON! I'm lucky enough to be getting trained by one of the best and surrounded by some very uplifting women!

AAAAAhhhhh!! I can't believe I'm done with school. Life is still a little bit crazy but I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm very excited with what this next year holds!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Lactation Diaries

**This post was not meant to help treat or cure any conditions, only to present options of help. Please contact a lactation consultant.

Stubborn. Very stubborn. Sometimes a bad stubborn, but this is a good stubborn. I was too stubborn to not give up.

My son learned how to nurse when he was 6 1/2 weeks old. I had a heck of a time getting to that point- and it didn't stop there.

After my son was born, they had me pumping after every feeding attempt in the NICU. I had a wonderful milk supply. When I went home, I continued pumping and attempting to shield breastfeed my son. I suffered through blocked ducts, two rounds of mastitis, being cracked, bleeding and chapped, lack of sleep, and that was all before 6 1/2 weeks. I thought I was crazy to keep going. I was in tears over the fact that all I wanted to do was nurse my child and it wasn't working out- the thing that was supposed to be "natural" was far from it.

I would only once-in-a-while try to nurse him without the help of a shield. It was a terribly frustrating experience for both he and I. The Saturday before he nursed, I was in tears finding peace in giving up- but I was too stubborn to quit. For some reason, I kept pumping. Then at 6 1/2 weeks, I was visiting my mom in Rochester (this was the following Thursday). It was bed time, and I was nursing with the shield. My mom urged me to try it without. I groaned. I really didn't want to. Lo and behold, my son latched on with ease. It was beautiful. No pain, just tears of joy. All my hard work paid off. But it wasn't over.

We worked with it the next day. Pain like I have never felt. I gave birth naturally and never cried. I cried a lot learning to nurse. Apparently, I am really sensitive.

I also had a lot of problems with milk supply later on. In the beginning I bragged, then after one round of mastitis, it was shot. I used some moringa to bring it up (I'll talk about that later) and it worked like a charm. The second round of mastitis destroyed it. I worked at building it back up for 7 weeks. I had a really hard time supplementing formula. I didn't understand again why this "natural" thing was going to terribly wrong. I finally had what I always wanted, but not enough of it. It's very disheartening to not be able to provide sustenance for your child when that's all you have wanted from the beginning.

With all that said, there was light at the end of the tunnel. For over a week now, I have had no pain and really don't need to supplement. Prayers answered and a dream come true. Please read my tips and advice.

My purpose of this is to encourage and educate from my experience. Please don't give up breastfeeding if you're having problems. Learn from my mistakes. A little is better than none. As a parent, you are willing to sacrifice yourself for your kids, and it can start here. **Sometimes situations are really difficult and for whatever reason, you may not be able to end up breastfeeding or it is just too wearing on you. I understand this, but its worth a shot to try a few things.

If you haven't had any problems breastfeeding- I hate you, keep your story to yourself. Just kidding :) I am happy for you and hope my second time around goes like that.

I believe in being an open book. If you have a question in public or private, please ask away. No question is outrageous, too much information, or silly. 

Here is what I have learned from breastfeeding. Again, please learn from my mistakes if you are just beginning, or use my tips to help you along. There is always a starting point, whether it be day one, or 5 months. Mine just happened to be 6 1/2 weeks.

Stay Calm
Calm mom, calmer baby. Don't stress. It's frustrating and difficult, but it will benefit you both to stay calm. This is by far the most important. Take a deep breathe. Don't be mad at the baby, it's not the baby's fault. You can get through this together!

Pumping is very important in the beginning- both quantity and timing.
In the hospital they had me beginning pumping after each attempted feeding. It helps kick off your milk, and helps to start up a supply you can freeze and use for later. When I got home, I was upset about not being able to nurse. Pumping was a pain. I would pump every feeding, but sometimes go 4-5 hours in-between sessions. I figured it's fine as long as he had some for the next feeding. This was a terrible idea. You need to pump every time your baby eats!! You are setting yourself up for supply problems. You are basically telling your body to make less milk. My body had a terrible time adjusting to the more frequent feedings when he actually started nursing. You also need to pump for at least 15-20 minutes. You can let down even at the end of a session. A trick to help up supply is to pump again between regular times.

A good pump is worth it's weight in gold
I was given a nice pump to borrow in the beginning, which was a total blessing. Problem was, it was 10+ years old. After a while, I was in a lot of pain every time I pumped. A lactation consultant that really helped me hooked it up to a machine that checked its "sucking power". It had to be set on the highest settings to even be effective. There was no way I could handle that, too painful. I had to find a newer version. If you don't want to drop $300+ on a good pump, rent one. Hospital grade pumps are amazing and affordable when rented monthly. Another option is to check with your insurance provider and their coverage. Some insurances will help cover the cost of a pump, or to rent one monthly.

Latch is important
Latch is everything with nursing. It can cause pain if done incorrectly or even lower your supply due to improper stimulation. This is one of the only areas I didn't have trouble with, except I guess that he wouldn't do it at all in the beginning. A lactation consultant can help guide in this.

It's okay to see multiple Lactation Consultants
They are like doctors, they all have different opinions and views. One might have a better fit for you. Consulting multiple will also give you more options for solutions or style. The more you know the better. I had help from about 4 different ones.

Nursing hurts... at first
No one told me this, and if they did, I didn't listen. It may be different for some, but it's pretty terrible! The first few times in the hospital, you will have the pain of your uterus shrinking, and your nipples. It's just dandy. Be sure to take the pain meds they offer for the cramping, it will help with the nipple pain as well. When I was at home, I would take tylenol or ibuprofen an hour before feeding. It made a world of a difference. For some the pain lasts a week, or two weeks. Mine lasted a month. Just remember to bite your lip, it's only temporary and gets better and better.

Nipple cream is a must. 
Lanolin is made from sheep's wool. They say it's safe, but who wants a product like that in their mouth, no less in your newborn's mouth. I was recommended Mother's Love Nipple Cream. Everything in it is organic and it contains calendula flower which they give burn victims- it quickens tissue healing time, which is perfect for nursing when you don't have much of a break to heal. I had a painful crack that wouldn't heal and this did the trick. It does take some time though. It is also a wonderful solution to the dry, chapped feeling. It can be purchased through amazon or whole foods. The little container lasts a long time. I highly, highly recommend this.

Shields aren't the end of the world
I read somewhere that wearing a shield didn't properly stimulate the breast, and therefore the milk supply suffered. I was so devastated that I had to use one. I finally asked a different lactation consultant about it and she said that they are fine. They recreated them so that they are thin enough to stimulate. I hated that they were also so much work. If your child isn't ready to nurse, or just can't make it work, there is no shame in using these. Buy a few of them and keep them in cases in different areas, like your diaper bag or by your rocking chair. I also always carried a travel size of natural dish soap to wash it. They also stick better if they are wet.

A low milk supply can be boosted
Where do I begin.  If you miss a feeding or two, or suffer from Mastitis/blocked ducts, or for whatever reason, you may have a dip in supply. I tried a lot and spent a lot of money on things. The cheapest route is probably fenugreek. These boosts are great, but they are only a part of the puzzle. Diet, liquid intake, and proper emptying are all incredibly important. Here is the top on my list:

1. Zyja Moringa Smartmix - a vitamin supplement that you dissolve in water. The first time I used it, it made a huge difference in 3 days. The second time, I hardly noticed a difference, but I was missing pieces to the puzzle. I ordered a 10 day supply through my lactation consultant and it runs about $30. Well worth it, it is so good for you. It is meant as a daily vitamin supplement for anyone. Not quite sure why it helps milk supply.

2. Milkin Cookies - Tasty deliciousness. This one was my favorite to eat. They are tasty and good for you! I read a lot of great testimonies on this and it is worth a shot. You can order these cookies at www.milkincookies.com

3. Fenugreek - This seemed to work the best for me when I didn't have all of the pieces of the puzzle. I took 3-6 pills a day with food. (Can lower your blood sugar) I believe you can get it just about anywhere. You can get pills or it mixed in a tea.

These were my tries, there are more out there, you will just need to find what works for you.

Dieting really isn't an option
I was really excited about losing my baby weight- and then some. I was eating well and very little. I FINALLY two weeks ago realized this was the piece I was missing to my supply problem. You need to eat a lot of calories to nurse! I have noticed that I am gaining weight back, which is a bummer, but worth it. This was the final piece to my puzzle. After I changed this, I had enough to feed my son. I can't complain about being forced to eat, since food is a favorite of mine. If you really want to lose weight, exercise. If only I had the motivation and the time.

Drink Liquid
The more the merrier. I saw somewhere that 100oz is a good number to aim for in a day. This is a piece to the supply puzzle.

Formula doesn't make you a bad mom
I had some amazing friends encourage me all along the way. When I threatened to quit a couple times, I heard a lot of "It doesn't make you a bad mom" It sure doesn't. Formula is a blessing when you can't make the other work. No matter what, your child is still getting nourishment. I had a hard time letting this go. I really didn't want to use formula.

Working through all of this was the hardest thing I have done. It was also worth it. If you are able, stick with it. You will be thankful you did. Everyone is different too, keep trying everything. I hope you found some encouragement and some ideas from this. I wish I had com across a complication of information like this when I was struggling. If you have any questions, please ask. I left out some of the gory details and would be happy to share in private. Remember, every situation is different, but in my opinion, where there is a will there is a way.

If you have any info, or helpful tips to add, please comment!


Friday, July 20, 2012


I have a lot going on in life right now. So many changes, and the ones that are coming are good. Really good. It's hard to not always look at the big picture, or to always worry, even though everything is falling perfectly into place.

Right now, I am homeless. My son has lived in a different city every month of his life. It's a crazy season. Don't worry, it was planned.

Hudson is only 3 months old, yet he teaches me so much. In this big worrisome world, he helps me stop. I find myself relearning the simplicity and joy of everyday life. I love watching him explore new things every day.

The bright colored flowers. He talks to them and stares at them for long periods of time.

The sunlight dancing on the wall as it shines through slots on the blinds.

The leaves blowing in the wind. He is discovering the vastness of this awesome creation for the first time.

 I savor our moments together. How my heart couldn't possibly swell anymore when I hug him in my arms.

How I pretend to be irritated when he grips my hair.

Today, Hudson liked my shirt. It was a flower pattern. He loves patterns. He would stare at it and pucker his lips while making cooing sounds.

When I am feeding him, and he looks into my eyes with such expression and talks to me; he grabs my flower patterned shirt because he likes the texture in-between his little fingers and fist.

 He teaches me about these precious moments, to grasp on to them - because they will be gone in a blink. He makes me feel at peace. He makes me feel capable of being a good mom. That I can trust we will be covered in the future. That it's okay we don't have a home right now. To put the big picture on hold. For the first time in my life, I want the clock to stop. I am happy and content in this moment.

No worries, just trust.

That there is always beauty in the details.

 Thank you Hudson for making mommy a better person.