Sunday, June 28, 2015

Look On The Bright Side

     As a teen I suffered with depression and bipolar among other things. It was hard for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel, much less to see the light seeping through a crack along the way. I've learned that you have got to look for that light or you will live a very depressed life and always always wonder, "Why does it always have to be me?" It's quite relieving to see that light now.
     Just yesterday my car broke down. It was a test. I HAD to look for the light. There were so many lights!

     I had dropped off Trace, my four year old, at my "Nanny's" house to play for the day and Colsen, my four month old, was having fun with the babysitter. I had made a huge donation to a local thrift store and I was on my way to my physical therapy. I'd made it 20 minutes up the road and onto the interstate, but soon after getting onto the interstate, there is a nice hill. The van couldn't make it. I was pushing the peddle, but it kept slowing down. I reached for my phone to call my husband who has some knowledge on vehicles and I tried to explain to him what was going on so that I didn't mess up. Should I pull over? Should I try to keep going? Well, the car chose for me. It went slower and slower until we were going 0 mph. I managed to get about 25% off the road.

     Thankfully, there were three lanes at this location. Also, I didn't have the kids. I've always wanted to pull over on the side of the interstate to explore and take pictures. It wasn't blistering hot. There was a gentle breeze. It was a nice day. It was not raining. I had my phone with me. It wasn't dead. I had signal. I didn't get hurt. I was already in the right lane.

     There were so many things to be thankful for. Once I got out of the car and had called for help, I started exploring. I took some pictures. Discovered some shells. I wonder what in the world these shells were doing there. It doesn't look like a location that would gather moisture.
     Picked some flowers...
     I was enjoying myself so much that a truck driver honked at me as if I'd chosen to just pull over and enjoy myself. I'd found a nice little spot in the dirt to sit down. I was pretty scared I was going to get a sunburn, so I covered myself the best I could with my top shirt. I probably looked pretty funny to all the people driving by.
     I really was enjoying myself. I probably would've never stopped by the interstate, ever, for anything other than an emergency even though it was something that kind of made its way onto my bucket list. I did it! I can cross something off my bucket list! ...Thanks to this adventure!
     My husband, +Justin, came to get me. 
     He tried to figure out what was wrong with the car. He was afraid the motor had locked up. There was no oil in it. We'd hoped that just adding some oil into it would fix our problem, but it didn't, so then we tried to jump the battery, but that didn't work either.
     The motor WAS locked up. We had to call someone to come and get our car.
     Overall, the experience was an exciting one. I missed my physical therapy appointment and we no longer have a working van, but I can't say that this adventure wasn't fun.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Getting Baby To Sleep At Night

    With my first born child, I thought a nightly routine was a joke. I thought there was no way you could put a newborn on a schedule. With my second child, I learned that this was, in fact, a myth.

     1. Day Light and Dark Night

     As soon as my second child was born, I made sure that day was light and night was dark. Keep the windows open and lights on during the day. Let the baby soak up that vitamin D, especially if your baby is jaundiced - yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes caused by having too much bilirubin in the blood. A daytime nap should still be in the daylight. And when it's night (I consider this to start around 7-8pm), turn the lights down or off. This will allow the body to release melatonin - a hormone that regulates sleep and awake cycles. The same goes for naptime. Example: Have you ever noticed that you can stay up all night looking at the computer, but as soon as you look away, you're ready to crash? This is because the light from the screen messes with your melatonin levels.
     2. Stimulation
     Do not stimulate your baby at night. This is the hardest part, but do not make eye-contact or talk to the baby at night. By doing either of these, you are stimulating your baby. A gentle lullaby and cuddling will do. Try to stimulate - play with, talk to, sing, cuddle, make eye-contact, with the baby during the day to keep baby's interested so that they are less likely to sleep during the day. Do not force the baby to stay awake.
     3. Feedings
     It is important to remember that a newborn's stomach is still very very small and because of this, the baby will need to be fed often. The goal is not to get the baby to sleep all the way through the night without ever waking. The goal is to get the baby to wake only for feedings and to go back to sleep once fed and burped.

Photo by Felishia Kerstetter
     Has this advice helped you? What has worked for you that I haven't mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nursing Badges

     One day as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I saw, in one of my groups, where someone had shared Medela's album of nursing badges and asked which badge matched for our particular situation.

     Just a little props for Medela since I am sharing there badges... I never would've gotten to where I am today without Medela. I bought a double electric breast pump before we even started trying for our baby because I wanted to make sure if nursing didn't work out that I could at least pump and provide that liquid gold. During the first 24 hours after giving birth, my son had completely torn up my nipples. I cried when he cried because I didn't want to feed him and it got to the point where I just dreaded picking him up. Fortunately, I had this pump. I started pumping and giving him (Medela Calma) bottles. The nipples on these bottles made my son actually suck for the milk in a unique way compared to any other nipples I've seen. My nipples took forever to heal and he still had a horrible latch. I pumped, drank water, drank gatorade, ate oatmeal, took fenugreek, garlic, calcium, magnesium, brewer's yeast, and blessed thistle, but still, I did not provide enough by pumping to give him nothing but breastmilk. I had to supplement. It killed me. I just knew the whole time I was pregnant that I was NOT going to have another formula baby (and the guilt I had felt with my first) again. We used a whole can of Gerber formula. My son was 5 weeks old and we were running out of formula. I was determined that we would not buy a second can. I was determined. I put him to the breast all but twice a day that week. It was ROUGH. And when he got bottles, he got pumped breastmilk. By 6.5 weeks we were exclusively breastfeeding.
      There is something so different and beautiful about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, but honestly, I wish I'd never ever felt guilty about bottle feeding and giving my first born "poison" to eat as I'd been told by some ugly people. Both are beautiful. Both are nourishing. Breast isn't always best. I really appreciate this article written by Nikke Whitman expressing that "Bottle Feeding is Beautiful (too!)"

     So tell me, which badge have you earned? Have you earned a formula badge? Formula feeding is hard work. We need badges for formula mommies too, don't you think?