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!!

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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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.

mif
My favourite post pregnancy workout DVD by Moms into Fitness

 

 

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).

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