Why I exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months

I get this question all the time!! People ask me when I am going to stop breastfeeding, they comment about how breastfeeding must be “annoying” compared to formula feeding. The number one reason I decided to exclusively breastfeed till Aria was 6 month old was because I had more than enough breast milk! This blog is not indented to shame any parent that chooses to formula feed. I would like the same respect back when I say this is just what is best for me and my child.

Most people do not realize all of the benefits of breastfeeding for not only baby but mother too. Breast milk contains the perfect mix of fat, protein and carbohydrate for the babies developing physiology.  It contains protective substances that give baby immunity to diseases and contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Research has shown that breastfed babies even have a better antibody response to vaccines than babies that are formula-fed; babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and have 8.6 times lower risk of diarrheal illness.  Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies and help to protect children against a variety of acute and chronic disorders. Plus, They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor!! Ladies, can you believe that we can make something so powerful ?!

Breastfeeding also confers intermediate- and long-term benefits on both the child and the mother: For the mother — Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster. Not everyone finds that it helps but the possiblity is also a nice hope! It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may lower your risk of osteoporosis.

Breastfeeding was and is very important to me. It has to be the choice of the mother and baby if they want to breastfeed. Please don’t think that breastfeeding came easy to us even through my supply was substantial. Breastfeeding is personal, and it can be very default. I believe that no one should be forced to breastfeed if its not right for them and no one should be forced to give up on breastfeeding if they feel they should continue.

I am still currently breastfeeding at almost 8 months but we have also introduced foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, eggs, non-dairy milks/yogurts and cheeses. I plan to breastfeed until Aria is 1 year old, as long as that still works for us.

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I use the evenflo milk storage bags. They have both oz and mL on every bag plus they include an encouraging message!!

Don’t say the “S” word

Many people shudder at the thought of having to implement sleep training. Why?
Does the thought of their baby crying make them feel like bad parents?
Do they feel like they have failed as parents because their baby isn’t sleeping?
Would their family/friends criticize them if they knew they were considering sleep training?
Do they feel their baby wont trust them if they don’t comfort the baby right away?

Every time I bring up sleep training many people either think that I am trying to make my baby sleep through the night or nap on my time and not theirs. This isn’t true at all!! For me I think of sleep training as giving my baby the tools to fall asleep independency. This gives my baby the ability to fall asleep when she is tried without the use of “props” (I define props as things like nursing, swinging, rocking, stroller and car seat.)

There are various sleep-training methods available to parents, but what you need to know is that they all involve some degree of crying. Why? Because your baby will object to the new routine you are implementing and the only way they’ll be able to communicate his objection is through crying.

The Sleep schedule that worked for me and my baby was:

Baby goes back down for a nap after being up for 1.5 hrs. Ideal nap times where 9am, 12pm and 3pm. Before each nape had a schedule of things we did like diaper change, sleep sac, story and song.

We made a bedtime routine to signal to baby that we were getting ready for the long sleep. Our schedule was: Bath, Massage, Feed, Sleep Sac, Book, Song and Bed. Our bedtime routine is about 45-50mins. After a couple days of following our bed time schedule, I noticed that Aria ate more right before as if she realized that this was her long sleep time.

Bedtime routines don’t have to be as long as ours. Professionals do suggest that you have a “fun” element like a story after feeds so that when you take out the feeds when they are older they don’t notice the elimination as much. If you child likes bath time it is also suggested that you include a bath into the nighttime routine to help then realize that this is the long sleep.

We started sleep training Aria at 3 months old and within 10 days we didn’t have an fussing and she can fall asleep almost anywhere on her own.

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Baby Product Review

My favourite and not so favourite products

Swaddle Up by Love to Dream – Stage 1 (0-4 Months)
Product is said to replicate your baby’s behavior in the womb, allowing the natural arms up position and movement of their hands to the mouth to truly self-soothe.

Hope of Hype? …. Neither
I had so much hope for this product before I tried it. It didn’t work as well as it clamed, at least not for my baby. I think that it is worth a try for anyone that has problems with regular swaddles. I should suggest starting with it as soon as baby is born for best results. Retails at $36 and even if it didn’t work better for us, I do think its worth a try for the price.

Live Clean Baby Products

Product is said to be eco-friendly and delivers exceptional results using plant and natural based ingredients, efficacious and a pleasure to use.

Hope or Hype? I give this product HOPE!
I have used Live clean on my baby since the beginning and I really don’t like using anything else. It works as well as any other product but it is gentler on her baby skin. The scents are amazing and I can feel good about picking a product that is better for the environment. Best yet, it isn’t an expensive product and it is easy to find at most major retailers e.g. Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Safeway and London Drugs.


Swaddler by Miracle Blanket

Product claims to help baby sleep better than you ever imagined and makes it easy to get the perfect swaddle every time, even in the dark!

Hope of Hype? I give this product HYPE
While this product did achieve some of what is claims (Prevents Facial Scratches and makes baby feel warm and secure) it left me wanting more. Even in a tight swaddle my baby was able to escape and wasn’t user friendly for everyone (my husband). At $30+gst I suggest skipping this product.

 

City Select – Baby Jogger Stroller

Product claims it could be the only stroller you’ll ever need. The most versatile stroller on the market today, the City Select was designed to keep your family rolling as it grows from one child to two… or even three.

Hope or Hype? I give this product HOPE
I love my City Select stroller. It folds simply and compactly; it really is as easy as it sounds. The stroller is lightweight so it is easy to lift into the back of the car. The wheels are smooth and swivel with ease. This company makes stroller attachments for most popular cars seat brands, which makes for convent use of your stroller and infant car seat together. Only downside is the price at $750+gst plus $50+gst for the car seat adaptor.

 

Laundry Detergent and Oxy Boost – Honest Company
Product is said to have only naturally-derived ingredients as well as be hypoallergenic, effective in all temperatures, color-safe and septic safe.

Hope or Hype? I give this product HOPE
I really like the honest company brand laundry products. I have found the products to be effective on breaking down organic stains while still being gentle on the clothing. These products are mild and we have had no reactions on my baby’s skin.

 

 

How can I love my postpartum body?

If you’re one of the lucky ones who bounced back from delivery in a few weeks, hats off to you. But if you’re like most new mamas out there, pregnancy is sure to leave behind a few lingering battle scars. For some ladies your battle scars can include flabby skin, stretch marks, extra weight, c-section scars, breastfeeding boobs and/or a completely new body shape.

Yep, this new and uncharted post baby bod territory can be a strange and sometimes scary place. Especially when the months start to tick by and not everything seems to return to normal. So how exactly can you come to terms with the new you?

Give yourself a break – Just be patient, everything takes time. It took 40 weeks for your body to get to this new normal so it’s going to take sometime to try and change it back.

Focus on your child– Be impressed with yourself! You created a human and brought it into the world. You are already super mom.

Think positive thoughts– As hard as it is, be your own cheerleader! Many people are in abusive relationships with their bodies, even without having a baby. You are not alone but you need to have a positive mindset so surround yourself with other positive people.

Take some “me” time– Even though caring for your baby is super important its just as important that you take care of yourself. Leave your baby with your partner, parents or a trustworthy friend and take some time to do something for you. It can be as simple as getting your favourite coffee or even a workout class if you feel like you need to work towards you’re different post partum bod.

“Workout” a little each day – I have made sure to do an abdominal exercise, work out video or even a long walk with baby when its nice outside.

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My favourite post pregnancy workout DVD by Moms into Fitness

 

 

Things I did before baby came that were ACTUALLY HELPFUL

At about 30 weeks I made a list of everything I wanted to get done before baby came. I wanted to prepare, as I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to do most of the things I normally get done in a day. Here are some of the items I did before hand that was actually helpful.

Freezer meals – the hype is true. It was so much easier not to worry about what to make every night. Start small and do a couple meals a day for a week or two and you will feel better. I don’t love some of the pinterest blogs that have 50 meals in a day, that’s too much. I also made different healthy muffin recipes and froze them for snacks to have out for whenever  I felt hungry.

Cleaning crew– it was a good idea to have a cleaning company come in a couple weeks before baby. It wasn’t like I didn’t have to clean at all after baby but it did help with only having to do very little in the first few weeks.

Haircut and color – I might not get my hair cut as often as others so going this chore before the baby came was a good way to keep it off my to do list in the few months after baby was born.

Addresses for birth announcement – I got together all the addresses of the family and friends I wanted to send baby announcements to in the few weeks before baby came. I printed them out on labels so all I had to do is stick them on the envelopes. Perfect time saver.

Stock up on house hold items – I took a day a couple weeks before baby’s due date to stock up on items around the house like COFFEE, laundry detergent, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, pads, diapers, wipes, shampoo and conditioner. If you don’t have time to do this, usually it’s easy enough to find friends or family to do a shop for you in the first couple weeks after birth.

Look into/ Contacted Newborn Photographers – Most newborn photographers like having your session 7-14 days after your baby is born. I didn’t really know how a lot of people felt up to taking photos such a short time after birth yet alone doing all the research just days after birth. Once we decided on a photographer I contracted her to let her know of the date and find out what to do next. I specifically wanted my photos out of the house so I mentioned my preferences at this time as well.