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.

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

Delicious Lactation Cookies that WORK

Aria and I have been exclusively breastfeeding for almost 4 months! As a treat to both of us I wanted to make a lactation cookie that taste great and worked like a charm. This was a prefect way to boost my supple for my stock pile or when Aria felt extra peckish

Yield: makes about 20 to 22 cookies, depending on your scoop
Total time: 45 mintues

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar ( or white sugar)
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk (or 3 egg whites)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chucks (I used 80% cocoa and milk chocolate)

    I also added unsweetened flaked coconut and chopped almonds about 1/2 cup of each.

Directions:

Preheat the oven the 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed. Stir in the chocolate chucks ( coconut and almonds if adding)  with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch rounds (I use an ice cream scoop so they are fairly uniform in size) and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.

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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.

 

How I accomplished my all-natural (drug free) labour/ delivery

  1. Drinking a sip of water after ever contraction. Sometimes I would throw it up but it was good to try to get hydration. A hydrated cervix is a happy cervix
  2. “low-sugar” Electro light drinks like coconut water and Ener-C
  3. Urinating every 30 mins or more often in early labour when I left I needed to.
  4. “Mood” Lighting – Keeping the lights dim. Closing me eyes during every contraction and really focusing on controlled breathing.
  5. Essential Oils – Diffusing essential oils to help with relaxation and stress
  6.  My Birth Partner – Having my husband there to support me through contractions and be on the same page as to what I wanted to accomplish. Words of encouragement are a huge motivation.
  7. Moving into Different Positions- squatting, child pose over birthing ball, laying on my side, leaning against my birth partner, lunging up the stairs and leaning against the shower wall
  8. Bath/ shower – The hot shower on my back helped during contractions for my back labour. The bath was good to get into different positions that were hard out of the water due to pain or the heaviness of my pregnant body.
  9.  Inspirational music. I played Christian music during my whole labour. Some songs that always help me through rough situations are below.
  • Oceans – Hallsong

Sprit lead me where my trust is without boarders let me walk upon the waters whenever you would call me. My faith will be made stronger in the presences of my savior

  • He Said- Group 1 Crew

He said I wont give more, more then you can take and I might let you bend but I wont let you break. I wont ever let you go., don’t you forget what he said.

  • Holy Spirit – Francesca Battistelli

Holy Spirit you are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Let us become more aware of your presences.

Aria’s Birth Story – Part 1

At 7 weeks pregnant, I was given a due date of February 8, 2017, which never changed through the pregnancy.

At 37 weeks pregnant, you are concerned full term and can start preparing your body to give birth. Most doctors and midwives suggest drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose oil (orally or vaginally), having sex and taking a pill called EZ birth.

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm I went to my midwife appointment, I was 38 weeks plus 6 days. I asked my midwife, Chelsea, to do a membrane sweep but when she check my cervix it was high and still closed so she couldn’t do anything. The only thing that showed any sign of labour happening in the next couple weeks was that baby’s head was engaged.  The midwives expected that could be late by a week since that is very common. I could feel a lot of pelvic pressure so I knew that baby’s head was getting deep in my pelvic so I thought that it was going to be an uncomfortable couple of weeks.

 After my appointment, my husband and I decided to go to Chinook Mall for a walk since the weather had become colder the last couple days and I didn’t want to risk falling on the ice. We stopped at Starbucks and chatted about what I might need to get before the baby comes and what I thought I could just get later in the week.

After a regular evening of dinner, some Tv watching and getting kicked in the ribs over and over, I had a conversation with my bump. I said “ I know I wanted a February baby, well tomorrow is February so you can come out now”. Later that night while lying in bed I had a weird feeling. I felt I needed to go to the washroom but didn’t think I need to pee. The feeling didn’t go away so at 12am on February 1, 2017 I went to the washroom and my water broke as I sat on the toilet. I called to my sleeping husband “ Daniel, my water just broke and my mucus plug is coming out” and with the best response ever he replied “Ha that’s funny”. After taking 5 minutes to have an “oh shit this is happening” moment, I put on a pad to catch the never ending drips of liquid and when back to sleep while I was contraction free.

At 1 am on February 1, 2017, I had my first contraction. It was mild and just felt like a side or stomach cramp. It lasted longer then I thought it would (about 50 seconds) but then it was gone. I figured it would be awhile till my contractions were regular so off to sleep I went again. At 1:40am I had a second contraction that was noticeablely stronger and was just as long as the first, there was no sleeping for me after that. Contractions came regularly and strong enough that I couldn’t stay laying down. By 3am I couldn’t let me husband sleep anymore. I needed him up with me to time contractions or help me breathe. I knew it could be a long road to baby so I wanted to try and eat to keep my energy up, Sadly with every new contraction I would throw up the bites of muffin and water I had consumed moments just before.

At 6:45am on February 1, 2017, I had contractions coming every 4 minutes and they were lasting at least a minute. I was unable to talk or move while having the contractions so I really had to stop and focus while I had each one. I had reached the 411 rule (contractions every 4 mins, lasting at least 1 minute and its been happening for an hour) and it was finally time to call the midwives. At 8 am one of my midwives, Jen, arrived at the house to do my assessment and see if it was time to move to my birth place or if we should labour at home long. All the midwives that had heard I was in labour (Jen, Chelsea and Susan) where a little skeptical on my progression due to the fact that I was just in clinic less then 24 hours earlier with no cervical opening at all. When I was accessed it showed that I was 4 cm dilated and my cervix had completely thinned. It was time to move to our birthplace (The Arbour Birth Centre).

birth-centre
This was my birth room at the Arbour Birth Centre in Calgary.