Comparison Is The Main Ingredient to Your Unhappiness

When I was younger, someone very important to me said something I don’t think I will ever forget. They said to me; “The man who always looks to his neighbours plate, will always be hungry.” Honestly, no truer words have been spoken and I think it’s so important for all of us to keep these words at the forefront of your mind. 

Those words, as wise as they are, weren’t words I really paid much attention to until the other day. 

As a new mom, I am looking to a lot of parenting forums, apps, and articles for information. My life is changing, I am a mother suddenly responsible of keeping this adorable little girl alive, and although 11 weeks have past and I am getting the hang of things, I still don’t know what is best for my daughter and how to get her on the right track developmentally. So for a lot of the answers I need, I look to others for guidance. 

This is really a double edged sword. Someone will tell you that at 2 months, your baby should be loving tummy time. They should be reaching for things and copying little noises you make. That will make you as a new parent sit back and think, Is my baby doing all that? If the answer is no, it is going to make you wonder about your child’s development. Are you not doing enough? Should you have done more earlier? Why is that baby already supporting itself on it’s front arms at 3 months? Will my daughter be doing that in just 2 more weeks?

As I sat there on the floor beside the mat my daughter was lying on and watched her angrily yelp and squeal (she absolutely hates tummy time), I wondered why she seemed to hate it when all the other parents told me that every baby loves tummy time. What’s going on with my Sunshine that she acts as though its some kind of torture?

I found myself comparing my situation, my parenting, and my daughter to other parents and babies. Let me tell you, this is a slippery slope. 

What started off as a routine exercise for my daughter that usually ended up in her giving me the stink face for several minutes afterwards, turned into me wondering whether or not she was where she was supposed to be. 

If I was baking a cake of unhappiness, I had already put in the most important ingredient: comparison. 

Any time in your life when you compare yourself to anyone else, you are asking for trouble. Yet, it something so many of us struggle with. I am a confident person in certain ways. I won’t change who I am as a person for anyone, I don’t care about people’s opinions about me, and I will always stand beside someone who I care about. That being said, I am not always the most confident when it comes to my looks and I feel like those waves of low self-esteem seem to hit me when I compare myself to someone else. 

Today, it’s impossible not to. Everywhere you turn there are images of beautiful, fit women who everyone tells you are perfection. It’s hard not to look at them and ask yourself what is different about you, what elements of yourself are keeping you from being seen like people see them? 

As a new parent, you are so vulnerable. Being a new parent, in my opinion, is isolating and in a way lonely. Even when you have an amazing support team, it’s hard not to be lonely. Sometimes it feel like you are losing the person you were and you experience that loss all on your own, no one else can share in that with you. As strong as you are for your new baby, you are vulnerable to the world and I feel like this is when you will most compare yourself with other people. 

You compare your delivery, you compare your bodies with other women who have just become mommies. You compare you weight loss, your stretch marks, your sleep, your feeding routines. It’s like there are just columns and columns of other women and every day you see if you can add a check next to something they too are doing. It’s tiring, it’s difficult, and at the end of the day, it’s just throwing more and more ingredients into that cake of your unhappiness. 

So, what can we do?

It’s not easy to just undo years of subconsciously comparing ourselves and our accomplishments to the people around us. It’s like our lives are a competition or a game, and everyone is working to get the high score. We can’t just turn it off, can we?

No. We are creatures of habit and once those habits have etched themselves into our character, they are hard as hell to get rid of. Trust me, I’ve tried. 

I do think that being aware of it is so important though. These past few days I have been aware of it more than ever. That first night I compared my daughter to other children her age, I was miserable. I reduced my daughter to this nameless faceless thing that was nothing more than her age and accomplishments. I have to admit I went to bed feeling extremely shitty. 

My daughter is the greatest gift I have ever received in my whole life. She is wonderful, silly, stinky at times, and I wouldn’t change her for anything or anyone else. So why the hell does it matter to me what other babies her age are doing?

You know what? It doesn’t! It honestly and truly doesn’t now that I realize that I was comparing her to other babies, I could care less if she is copying noises I make, or whether or not she loves the dreaded tummy time all other mothers swear their babies loved. 

We do not have cookie-cutter babies. They are not all the same. Some are late-bloomers. Some are creative things that want to imagine what they are doing instead of practicing to do it. Others are athletic, others are terrors, others are calm and content. There are no two babies that are exactly alike. Every baby is different, so why even bother comparing them?

My life right now is complex. I am happy as a new mother, but that doesn’t mean I am not struggling. Most days the only people I physically talk to are my 11 week old daughter, my 8 year old dog, and my husband for about 2 or 3 hours before bed. This often leaves me feeling like I am on this new Mommy Island that not a lot of people can get to, and that I can’t leave. 

It’s lonely and time does this weird thing of passing both slowly and all too quickly. I never get to really sleep, and most days I am just a cow for my daughter to constantly feed off of. 

Mentally, every day is a rollercoaster ride that I can’t get off of and I have a feeling I won’t get the chance to get off any time soon. 

But, we all have to celebrate small victories. 

I have stopped comparing my daughter to other babies and that has eliminate a lot of the stress and worry that had weaved itself into my every day life. She will love things and hate things at her own pace. She is her own little person that is growing and learning every single day, and I am so excited to see what and who she will grow into. 

The oven is off, the mixing bowl is in the sink, and I have thrown the main ingredient to my unhappiness in the trash. No more comparisons for me. 

I can breathe a little better knowing that… 

Everyone else out there that has been subconsciously baking a cake of their unhappiness that they will undoubtedly end up eating through thick tears while they struggle to breathe through heavy sobs in the dark, I hope you’ll join me in throwing it all away. We are all struggling through different things, there is no point in comparing lives, bodies, or anything else. 

Just live your best life, the best you can. 

Happiness will come. 

New Baby and Your Fur Baby

I am, and have always been an animal lover. Before I was a mother, before I was a wife, before I was a live-in girlfriend, I had a dog who was dependant on me and my very best friend. Last September, while a friend of mine was dog-sitting for my husband and I, someone stole my very best friend Thunder. 

He was a gift I received on my birthday when I was 11 years old. 

Thunder Paws

I offered a $2000 reward for him, put up posters, handed out flyers, but after six months of searching, I had to give up because quite honestly, my heart couldn’t take it anymore. He was my old man, he had been there for me through so many milestones in my life, he had travelled with me, comforted me, and suddenly, just like that he was gone. 

For anyone who has ever had a pet, you know how they burrow deep down beneath your skin right into your heart. You love them like a member of your family, and when they are gone, you feel that loss as though it were a sibling or a friend. 

When Thunder was stolen, our other dog Toby was going through some major health problems, which was why Thunder was with a friend. Toby had come back from a kennel we will never use again with swelling in his brain. He was lethargic, he wouldn’t eat or sleep, he couldn’t even stand long enough to move himself from one place to another. With all of this going on, once we started him on a round of steroids to hopefully bring the swelling down, he got really aggressive towards Thunder. He was irritable, and a bit mean and Thunder was a lot smaller than he was. We had hoped to get him better and then bring Thunder back home. 

Toblerone “Toby” Tinkledink

With Thunder gone, and Toby back to his old self, I was suddenly pregnant. 

There were a lot of fears that came with suddenly being pregnant and planning for our future and one of those fears was how Toby was going to react to having a new baby in the house. 

We have always had our behavioural issues with Toby. He is mistrusting of men, doesn’t get along with any other dogs (besides Thunder) and we knew having someone else in his space was going to be a touchy subject. 

I got a lot of questions about Toby when I was pregnant. One of the most asked was “What are you going to do with him when the baby comes?” This was a question that always stole all the words I had from my mind. I just couldn’t comprehend it. It was as though people believed that now that I had a baby on the way, I would be shipping Toby away to a shelter or somewhere… trying to re-home him. 

Toby is a lot of work. He is full of energy, he loves to cuddle, is always in your space, acts out when he feels neglected, and that is before we even get to all of his social behaviour issues. That being said, when we adopted Toby, we made a commitment to him and that was until the end… not until something else came along. 

I can only imagine how some parents must feel with a baby on the way. It is overwhelming. There is so much planning and so many factors you have to take into consideration before bringing a baby into your home. It can all be made more stressful when you have a pet. I completely understand that. 

However, I also believe that if you have patience, and are willing to put in the work, you can make any situation work for your family. 

Toby was attached to me through my pregnancy, and I was glad for it because I was insanely emotional and often I would get sad at the thought that my oldest friend, Thunder, wouldn’t be here to meet my new bundle of joy. Often, Toby would lie on my belly as it grew and grew and grew. He would feel the little kicks and movements and he would react to them. 

I think this is key with any pet when you are pregnant. They can tell something is changing and they can sense that you have a baby on board. Cuddling with a pet while you are pregnant allows them to bond with your baby before they are even here. 

In the beginning when we brought our daughter home, we were overly cautious. We introduced them slowly, giving Toby a sock she had worn all day to smell and see how he would react. He reacted to her cries and coos. We noticed that when she cried he would rush towards us, wanting to see what was wrong. 

It wasn’t long before he was attempting to kiss her whenever he could. If her hand was within reach, or her foot, he would sneak as close as he could to her and get in as many kisses as he could before we noticed (or he thought we noticed). 

My husband was a lot more cautious than I was and would often over-react when Toby got too close. But I was with him all day throughout the end of my pregnancy, and I was with the both of them all day afterwards and I could sense that he wasn’t showing any signs of aggression towards her. He was curious, and he knew in some way that she was the newest member of the family. 

Some sibling bonding

That being said, no matter how much I trust Toby, I wouldn’t leave them unsupervised together? Why? Because babies are just as unpredictable as dogs can be. I wouldn’t want her reaching out and grabbing onto him in a way he is unready for and would react to before he realized. 

As parents of children, and fur babies, it is our job to teach our children what is acceptable when it comes to animals. And it is also our job to train our pets to react to things accordingly. 

You have to think about the life your pets have had so far. In a house with adults, they don’t have anyone pulling at their ears or tails, they don’t have anyone poking at their noses or their eyes, or falling on them. When you introduce a baby into their lives, you have to realize that everything will be entirely new and it may shock your pet to realize that your baby isn’t as gentle as you are. 

At this age, our daughter doesn’t do much so Toby seeks her out. Although, I know there will be a time when she will be the one looking for him, and he may not want her to find him. When she gets big enough to start grabbing for him, I am going to be sure to explain to her that she needs to be gentle. 

Just like I will teach Toby that he always needs to be gentle. 

Repetition, repetition, repetition. 

Cuddling Before Bed
Toby Making Sure She Is Clean After A Bath

There is no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too when it comes to pets and babies. They can co-exist, so long as you take the time to teach them how. You have to remember that nothing new is easy, not even for us. You can’t expect your dog to know what to do without any help or guidance from you, the same goes for your growing baby. 

Toby Keeping A Close Eye on her Sophie

Thus far, I haven’t had an issue with the relationship between Toby and our daughter. I know that very soon I will have to readdress everything with him when she starts moving around. I am sure those movements will confuse him, and he may not like it when she is so mobile. 

I will just remind myself that I was his parent first, and my job is not done. Every day will be a new test to my parenting skills. 

Remember that is exactly what you are: a parent. You may not know exactly what to do when it comes to the co-existence of your new baby and your fur baby, but just remember there are a lot of resources out there to help you along your way!

Living In Chaos: Is It Possible To Have A Routine With A Newborn?

I have been a mother for two months now, and a lot of the blogs and forums I had read to prepare me for being a mother (yes, I read some books too) told me that it would be so difficult in the beginning and that the best way to get through it, was to give up on the thought or idea that you can keep a routine this early in your baby’s life. Is this true? If you had asked me that the first week I had brought my baby home, I would have told you it definitely was. A routine was something single people and people with older children could possibly keep if they planned and had a strong desire, but for a new mom, it was completely out of the question. 

Now, I realize how wrong that was. 

Babies are unpredictable in a way, but if you pay attention to all the little things, you will realize that your baby does have a routine… it just may not be the one you want them to keep. 

My daughter wakes up between 10:00am and noon. She is NOT a morning way in any way shape or form. You may think I am just making that up, but if you spent a morning with me at my house and watched how utterly miserable she was for no other reason than because it was before noon, you would whole-heartedly agree with me. 

My daughter + mornings = one unreasonably cranky baby.

When she gets up I change her out of her sleeping clothes, wipe her down (we usually give her a full bath in the evenings) and then I take her to the rocking chair (glider) or the couch depending on how we feel for a feeding. She eats until she falls back asleep which is anywhere from 30 minutes to and hour. I use the time she is asleep to pump out the remaining breastmilk and do a few things for myself (wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes, read through some news highlights, have my cup of decaf coffee). 

She will usually sleep for two-three more hours and be up by 3:00pm. By that time, I layer up, get her layered up and she and I take our fur baby out for a walk. We are usually out for between fifteen-twenty minutes depending on the weather. I really wish it was summer or even fall weather because then I would go out and walk for around an hour, and hour and a half and just spend a lot more time outdoors and less in my apartment. 

When I take her in, I usually check and see if she needs a change because outside I can’t necessarily hear her volcano eruption of poop. Even my daughter’s diaper change has a routine. I lay her down and weather she is wearing socks or a onesie, I make sure her feet are bare when she is getting changed because she loves when I kiss her feet and kissing her feet or nom-noming them is sometimes the only thing I can do to calm her down is she is fussy while she is on the table. 

We play with her feet before and after her change, I usually give her a few cherry kisses on her tummy as well before I get her dressed again. Now, the dressing her after her change is always a bit of an adventure because my daughter hates wearing clothes. If she is being overly fussy, I will just shrug the whole idea of clothes off and let her be free in her diaper and some socks. If my apartment is too cold, I will put her in a cover-all onesie. Her happiness does depend on how much clothes she is wearing so typically if she gets off that table in a onesie we have to do a couple laps in the apartment before we get on the glider and she feeds again. 

Typically after this feeding she will stay awake. We will move to the floor for her tummy time which she also hates. Usually she does about five minutes of that before she is grunting in frustration, bright red, and ready to stop talking to me for the rest of the day. Toby of course accompanies us for tummy time and tries to soothe her with his toys or kisses if she gets too fussy. 

After tummy time, I put her in her swing with the music playing and she will enjoy that until she dozes off (the life of a two month old). She usually dozes for an hour to two hours. At this point… mama takes a nap/break. 

When she wakes up, she eats again. Usually when she is done eating I will realize I haven’t eaten since her first nap and I try to get something in me and I will do my 7 minute exercises (I usually choose three different ones and do that for about 20 minutes). By this time it is between 6:00-6:30.

This means we bundle up again and take Toby out. If we popped out for only a short fifteen minutes earlier, I will typically stay out longer. If we were out longer in the morning, I will typically do the same amount of time or less depending on the weather. 

We come in, same changing routine, she eats some more. Then I usually sit with her and chat with her for a bit. Exercising her legs, playing with her arms, rubbing her tummy if she has excess gas. She will doze off, eat, get changed. Before I know it, it’s 9:00pm and I try and set her back in her swing so I can get dinner started. (I know, my husband works weird hours and usually doesn’t get home from work until around 10:30pm)

My daughter will be wide awake from 9:00pm until around midnight. There is no way around this. She will be cooing, and squawking, and kicking and punching and just keeping herself up and entertained. 

We go into the room and I chat with her some more, telling her stories, singing, and usually after another long feed, she will clock out at 1:21am every morning like it’s shift work. 

In the beginning I thought it was madness and there was no routine to it. I only started to realize there was a routine when I went out for the day with my sister and she was fussy in the morning. I told my sister it was because she usually napped between 1:00-3:00pm and then I wondered to myself if that was true or something I just thought she did. Sure enough, the whole routine started to play out in my mind and I realize there was a routine.

For all those new moms who were hoping to have a baby that goes to bed by 7 or 8 and you could get them up early, feed them and have your breakfast, have your lunch at noon, dinner at 6 and that they would fall into the schedule you had before you had a baby, then you may be feeling like it is chaos, because it isn’t normal. But you aren’t that person anymore, and you have to be open to changing your schedule to suit a new baby, even if that schedule doesn’t work for you. Their routine will change as they grow, and sooner or later it will click into place with what you had planned. 

“What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” This is important to remember. We were spiders before and now we are feeling a little more like flies, because a lot of our planning isn’t up to us anymore. 

And there is nothing wrong with that. 

So you can definitely have a routine, I just can’t promise it will be the one you want. Here in Canada, not living in that work life routine for months on end is fine because of our Maternity leave we have the time to adjust and months to figure it out before we go back to work. For those living in other countries without maternity leave, I definitely understand how frustrating it can be to have a newborn that doesn’t make your transition from pregnancy, to new mom, to working new mom easy as you ride the wave of their schedule. 

I would strongly suggest keeping a journal of their naps, feedings, and diaper changes so it is easier for you to notice these patterns and plan your life around them. When you feel like you are falling into the groove of things, even though you may not be getting much sleep or living the hours you want to live, you will start to feel less anxious, less tired and enjoy being a new mommy. 

Everything in life take times to adjust to. Give yourself that time and try not to rush a change that may end up making life more difficult for you. It’s better to have a baby on a night-owl routine than to have a miserable baby who cries all the time because you are trying to change it. Then no one is getting any sleep. 

Until next time, hang in and keep pretending you know what you’re doing. 

2 Month Check Up

Two months have flown by, which means it was another day of dragging my tired butt out of bed at the crack of dawn (which is a near impossible task when you have been living your life with no schedule, and your city is dark and dreary in it’s pre-winter stage), get my Sunshine out of bed and make our way to the doctor’s. 

Now, I think it’s important to note that my daughter is NOT a morning person. She is a night owl, typically impossible to get down to sleep until around midnight, last night of course she stayed kicking until 1:21am when she finally drifted off to sleep. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, as I myself am a bit of a night owl and her late bedtime would mean she would sleep in until around noon, which is great for mama. This morning however, I had to get her up at 8:00am, which meant her fussiness was at an all time high. 

I got her dressed, and bundled because the winter air is sharp, and set her in her car seat. 

I will skip over the immense headache of having only two elevators in our sixteen floor building which means morning is high traffic time and I had to carry my Bugaboo stroller down four flights of stairs to the garage with Sunshine in tow. Which caused my coffee to spill all inside my diaper bag as it rattled about. 

Le sigh. 

Any way. On to the appointment. My daughter has been overall healthy. She had a little bit of a cold or something about a week ago, but aside from that and a few issues with her skin (rashes, dry skin patches, little cherry marks) she has been as clean as a whistle. They weighed, measured her height and her head circumference, and then it was time for her vaccines. 

Now, I am not going to join the whole vaccine debate. I truly believe that it is up to every individual parent to research the pros and cons of vaccinations, and make an educated decision. You should try and get as much information as you possibly can yourself. Don’t depend on other people to give you the information you need because everyone is biased by their own opinion. 

Whether you are for them or against them honestly doesn’t matter to me. You could write me a ten page essay on why you are against them and it wouldn’t sway me one bit. I did my own research, applied what I had learned to our lives and made me decision based on that. My daughter got her vaccinations today. 

I actually am not writing this post to debate whether you should or shouldn’t get them. That decision is completely up to the parents. I am writing this post to talk about my reaction to my daughter getting her vaccinations. 

I knew she was going to cry. I went in fully prepared for her to cry at the pricks of the needles, however I wasn’t prepared for the type of cry. Honestly, it was a cry I hadn’t heard before and it completely broke my heart. Here I was, a new mom holding my two month old daughter, getting all teary eyed as she wailed.

Your bond with your baby is so strong and so special. Seeing them in any kind of discomfort or pain really pulls at your heart strings in a way that you can’t even imagine. 

With the other children in my life, when they cry or whine, I could categorize it as whether or not it was for pain or attention and react accordingly. As much as I loved those children, it never really dug into my heart. I was concerned, apathetic, but never affected by their crying as I am with my daughter. 

I went into this appointment thinking that I could react the same way I always had. I would purse my lips, let out a little ‘aw’ and carry on. Boy, was I wrong. I would have taken those shots for her myself if I could. 

Anyway, she is sporting two adorable bandages on her thighs, and sleeping comfortably in her swing now. I feel like I need a nap from the emotional rollercoaster getting her shots seems to have put me through. 

At the end of the day, her health and her happiness is all that matters to me! 

On a side note, I brought the wrong brand of diapers with me to the doctors and a blowout of course occurred. Hopefully her poop doesn’t stain because that will be the first and the last time she gets to wear that outfit. 

2 Months Old

My Sunshine is two months old and I already feel like she is growing way too fast. The dress she is wearing in the picture is a size 0-3 months and the button at the back around her tummy would not do up! 

Anywho, just wanted to share my beautiful girl on her 2 month milestone! She took a break from being cranky so that I could snap a few pictures. It took some begging, but she loves me enough to give it a try. She was miserable immediately after photos were taken! 

Breast Pump Review: Medela vs. Evenflo

This afternoon I am running on empty since getting very little sleep last night. My daughter has caught a virus, doctor tells me nothing more serious than a cold. She has been extremely fussy the past few days, very clingy and giving me very little time to myself. I have been doing everything with her attached to my chest. Have you ever tried wiping yourself with a baby attached to your chest? It’s no easy task.

Exhaustion is setting in but I don’t want to fall back into the bad habit of going days, even weeks without a post. So here goes it, please try not to judge my poor grammar usage. I’m a new mom on the grind.

Here we go…

Since I was pregnant I knew without a doubt in my mind that I wanted to breastfeed. I wanted to do it to bond with my baby, and for all the benefits they say goes hand-in-hand with breastfeeding but if I am being completely honest, the main reason I wanted to breastfeed was to save money. 

As soon as my breastmilk came in, I realized my daughter wouldn’t feed enough to completely relieve the pressure and fullness of my breasts. I was leaking through those breast-pads insanely quickly, I was waking up with the bed soaked underneath me. It didn’t take me too long to realize that pumping was going to be a must. 

Off to Babies R Us we went to choose one out. 

I chose my breast pump based on two things. Number one thing was price. I wasn’t sure if pumping was going to be for me. I had read that a lot of women tried breastfeeding and pumping and it didn’t work for them so I didn’t want to purchase an expensive pump and end up abandoning breastfeeding altogether. 

The second thing I had in mind when purchasing was ease of use. 

I knew there were going to be nights when I got almost no sleep, was groggy and would have engorged breasts and all I would be looking for was quick relief. I didn’t want to have to assemble all these pieces, I didn’t want to fuss with it. I just wanted it to be simple and electric. 

Manual pumps just seemed like added torture, so I nixed the idea of those right away (even though the prices seemed enticing). 

Evenflo Advanced Single Electric Pump

I bought this pump at Babies R Us for $69.99 CAD. 

I had been reading about mommies who had been pumping for hours and only ended up fora few ounces of precious breast milk. I was nervous about my breast milk supply and whether or not I would have enough breast milk to succeed at my goal of breastfeeding throughout the first year of my daughter’s life. 

The pump is extremely easy to put together, and take apart to clean. I love that everything is in a single piece which makes it so easy to walk around with and shift positions without worrying about where the pieces are. 

There is a silicone rubber cover that goes over the nipple cover thingy (I know, super technical terms being used today) which I think is what makes it stand apart from the Medela Swing Single Breast Pump. It just gives the pump more suction. 

Sitting for about half an hour on each breast fills the little bottle the pump comes with every morning. It had me wondering whether or not there was a problem with women’s milk production or just the pump they were using. 

The pump only requires AA batteries or can be plugged in. I use the batteries so I can move around freely, and my couch is annoyingly not by an outlet. To clean it you simply pull the frosted plastic pieces away from the large white and teal piece and everything can be rinsed/cleaned in the sink (aside from the large piece with the battery pack attached. 

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. 

Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump

The Medela Swing Breast Pump can be purchased at a number of locations here in Canada, but it is available at Babies R Us for $199.99 CAD.

So you are probably wondering, ‘Well, if you liked the Evenflo pump so much, why did you even try the Medela?’ Excellent question. Long story short, I have constant baby brain and would forget my first name if you asked it to me and forgot to pack my breast pump when I went to visit my in-laws for two weeks. 

One of my husband’s cousins lent me her pump while I was there so I could get some kind of relief and because I had hoped to go out one or two nights while there with my husband and leaving my daughter without food, even for a few hours, is a recipe for disaster. 

I was thrilled with how easy it was to find someone to lend me a pump. As soon as I got it, I sterilized all the pieces I would be using and once everything was dry, I put all the pieces together and gave it a go. 

First things first, I didn’t see the point in that long tube. After using the Evenflo pump, that piece seemed kind of pointless. Also, I found that after sterilization it was pretty much impossible to get all the condensation out of that tube. I don’t know if that makes any difference in terms of how well the pump works since I was just borrowing the pump I didn’t have all the manuals and information.

I also didn’t like that it felt like a lot of separate pieces. You have the cone that you cover your breast with that connects to the bottle. The top of that cone piece connects to the tube which then connects to the circular control piece. 

Typically my pumping routine at home is first thing in the morning when my breasts are the most engorged. I will feed my daughter who usually drifts back off to sleep, then I will pump the remainder of my breastmilk out. As I mentioned earlier this is typically between 4-6 oz. I then pour the breastmilk from my pumping bottle into my Tommee Tippee Pump and Go Pouches

I LOVE these bags. The tops on them make them perfect to pour into the bottle of your choice without spilling, and they also make it extremely easy to pour breastmilk into without losing a single, precious drop. 

This has been my routine since I bought my Evenflo pump and I have gotten used to it. So you can imagine my surprise when I was using the Medela Swing pump, 45 minutes on one breast and I had barely gotten an ounce out of it. My breast was still engorged slightly and I could see the milk spraying out into the pump, so where in the world was all my darn milk going?

I am sure there will be women out there who say they love the Medela breast pumps and they worked perfectly for them. To those women, I say power to you, and keep at it. I think it is important for each and every woman to do what feels right and is best for them. I am merely hoping that for women starting out with breastfeeding that are unsure, the do opt to try the cheaper Evenflo pump to see how it works before breaking the bank on a Medela. If they don’t like it, it’s only $70 gone as opposed to $200. When you are a parent, every penny should count. 

Anyway, off to pumping. 

Milestones

It is crazy for me to even think about, but tomorrow my baby girl will be a month old! I’ve been a mother for a month!

With such a big milestone coming up, it’s got me thinking about what people consider the milestones for babies, and how so many parents question what is normal.

Every new parent wonders if their baby is developing on time, if they are falling behind, and hope they are ahead of the curve. An important thing to keep in mind when you have your new bundle of joy, is to just be happy and enjoy your time together. Who cares how soon your best friend’s daughter started rolling over, or when your brother’s son started cooing and making eye contact. We are all on our own journeys at our own pace, and that goes for our new babies as well.

I find I am constantly pulling out my resources and looking up when certain developmental things are normal, but it’s mostly with things I am not sure if newborns should be doing so I know whether or not it is something to bring up with her doctor.

Some of my questions were; “Is it normal for my newborn to snore?

There are a few reasons why a newborn may make noises similar to snoring. One is because there can be a flap in their vocal chords that is loose and their breathing when they are sleeping rattles this flap. It isn’t something to worry about as this usually corrects itself as baby grows. Another reason could be because they are congested.

I try to clean out my daughter’s nose whenever I give her a bath. The warm water seems to loosen mucus and build up in her nose which makes it easier for me to clean it out with that little suction thingy that was included in her bath kit. Normally I can look up her little nostrils and see if there is some build up in there, which will affect the way her breathing sounds.

My daughter does make noises while she sleeps. It sounds more like whining and growling than actual snoring and I find it is completely dependant on her position. When she is propped up, which is a position she likes to be in during the day as she likes to feel like she is sitting up, and falls asleep she sounds as though she is snoring. If I lay her down, her breathing evens out and she gets a little more quiet. However, not completely quiet. She is a really noisy sleeper!

Is it normal for my daughter to look so red and strained?

This is not a constant thing of course, but whenever she gets fussy she gets bright red. The same goes for if she is lying on one side of her face for too long, or if she is pressed against my breast during breastfeeding. Her skin gets as red as it possibly can.

My doctor says this is normal for babies at such a young age with light pigmentation. Their skin is thinner so it’s normal to see their veins and for them to go quite red for the first few months. I blame my pale, ginger husband for this.

What is my newborn’s poop supposed to look like?

My daughter’s poop is always this yellowish/brown and is practically water. It’s so runny that there have been more than a few times when I am covered in poop if her diaper is on the wrong way.

It’s normal for your baby’s poop to be orange/yellowish/brown and pretty watery for the first few months. Their intestines are not fully developed yet so they don’t break down food the same way toddlers and adult bodies do.

For those of you pregnant with a baby girl or ones that have a newborn baby girl, there is going to be a thick white mucus in their vagina. This too is completely normal and because of hormones that will prevent infections from their overly runny, gag-worthy poops.

Babies are supposed to get a certain amount of tummy time a day to strengthen the muscles in their neck, also to give the back of their heads a break. Babies spend a lot of time on their back, especially because doctors recommend you lay your baby on their back while sleeping at night. All that time on their back, can flatten the back of babies head.

Not to worry, because of the smaller, second soft spot at the back of their head, even if baby’s head does flatten it will go back. The bad news is that your baby may need to wear a helmet to help their head reshape if it flattens to a certain point. So remember to give your baby lots of tummy and side time during the day.

I usually lay my daughter on her side after she feeds because she tends to spit up and this way she doesn’t choke on it, she also loves being on her side and it gets a lot of her gas out.

At one month, my daughter already uses her arms and legs to flip herself onto her belly which has made nighttime a lot less restful for me. Why? Well because she moves herself onto her sides and tummy while she sleeps and although she can hold her head up and move her head from side to side, sometimes she lies with her face pressed flat against the bed which worries me because it doesn’t give her a clear passage to breathe.

She also gets quite a bit of gas because she likes to play when latching sometimes. She rubs her face back and forth over my nipple. At first I thought it was a latching problem, but she will break the latch to do it… not sure why. Because of this, she sometimes gets a lot of air in her tummy while she eats.

The build up of gas makes her all red and makes her moan and groan angrily. Moving her little legs in a bicycle motion helps, so does lying her on her tummy or her side.

Back to milestones, I have an app on my phone that asks me if she has gone through certain milestones based on her age. The Ovia Parenting app has milestones categorized first based on age. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, and 12-18 months. Then it’s broken down again into motor skills, thinking and learning, social, communication, body inside and out, and bathing and dressing. It is set up like a checklist so you can check off your babies accomplishments and milestones. I like it because it lets me know what other children are doing in that timeframe and eases my mind to some of the worries I may have. “Should my kid be doing this?” checks the list… oh… yup. Here it is!

It’s weird because the first month flies right on by. I can’t believe my daughter is a month old! I can’t believe I have been a mom for a month!

New parents, savour every moment because you don’t really realize how quickly time flies. It feels like I just took her home from the hospital yesterday!

I would say I’ve been pretending not to notice, but I honestly haven’t noticed the time passing.

One month!

3 Weeks Old

IMG_1549

It’s been 3 crazy weeks since I became a mom to my beautiful daughter! Time has flown by, and I still can’t wrap my head around it all.

As much as I would love to write a long post about all the ups and downs of being a new mom, I am going off of a very limited amount of sleep, my breasts are throbbing because I haven’t pumped yet today, and my mind is complete mush.

And it’s all worth it for this little girl!

I will check in later!

 

Changing

Life is all about changes. We are constantly transforming, growing with every choice we make and every milestone we pass.

At 27 years old, I have been through quite a bit of changes myself. This morning as I lay in bed wide awake, having been woken up for the fifth or sixth time by my beautiful little monster, I thought about how different I was from the little girl I once was. That got me thinking about how different I was from the woman I was a mere ten months ago, before I got pregnant.

Before I got pregnant, I may not have slept through the whole night, but that was because my mind was so busy I couldn’t quiet it enough to get through the night. Now, my mind is completely exhausted, it gets to a point in my day where I can barely remember things about myself. I am up for constant feedings, not because my creativity is running wild and I need to get up and jot something down.

Before I got pregnant all my clothes fit. I could complete thoughts, my body was my own, and I showered every day.

Now, I am sticky, there is dried breast milk under boobs I never had before, I think I may have showered a few days ago but I couldn’t tell you the exact day, I am back to wearing pads which I haven’t worn since high school and still hate, I hot flash every twenty minutes and I am wondering if I am ever going to be the person I was before all this.

Pregnancy was rough. It wore me out mentally. What got me through the last, and hardest month of my pregnancy was the thought that I would have my body back once the baby arrived. I was even naive enough to think I would get my mind back when she arrived as well.

19 days into being a mom and my mind is still complete mush. I haven’t written anything since I got pregnant and even trying to brainstorm out any ideas results in my sitting there staring at the ceiling trying to remember what I am even doing. It’s like my creativity pool has completely dried out and I am going through a drought, which means there is no chance of it refilling any time soon.

My body may look a little bit like my pre-pregnancy body, I will admit that I am happy with the weight I have managed to put on and breastfeeding has taken my belly down substantially. I still have a bit of a tummy and these boobs are always in the way and leaking like faucets. But my body is not mine.

It’s hers.

I am her mode of transportation, her pillow, her milk on demand, her cuddle companion, really anything she needs, that’s what I am for her.

My life is changing.

Here is something you may need to sit down for, new mommies. Change isn’t bad, it’s just different.

When I was pregnant, I was worried about myself mentally, especially once my daughter arrived. Now, as I look at all the things that are changing in my life even through these exhausted eyes, I am a little bit relieved.

I needed to change. We all do, and it’s not up to us when it happens. It’s up to life to change us, and boy, my life has really changed me this past year.

Okay, so my body isn’t mine right now. But I have this beautiful baby girl who relies on me for everything and gives me this new sense of purpose. Every day, even days I don’t get out of my PJs, shower, or comb my hair, I am doing something wonderful. I am being a mom to this little baby.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everything in my life seems to be changing, and when I look at my daughter, I know that all that change is worth it.

Any new moms who are going through a rough time because of all these changes, just know that change is good, even if it takes you a little bit of time to realize it!

Hang in there mamas, we’re all in this together.

Taking Baby Home

In the hospital, our daughter was quiet. She whined a little bit and cried when we would lie her down to change her, but other than that she mostly liked to be cuddled up to my husband and I, skin to skin, catching some major Zs.

Once we got her home, we noticed a change in her personality.

She was fussy. She didn’t like the bassinet we had in the room, because, as we would discover later, she didn’t like lying flat on her back. She didn’t like a lot of the little gadgets and gear we had gotten in hopes of her getting a good night’s sleep (and a nice sleep for my husband and I as well.)

Instead of the typical bassinet that she would grow out of in just a few months, we went with a playpen with the bassinet and change table attachment on top. Not only did she not like the bassinet, but she also didn’t like the changing table. We ended up having to bring her into the nursery to use the larger changing table.

Of the things she did like, she liked this Fisher Price rocking chair thingy. I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is called because my brother handed it down to us. It has a base that is supposed to move the seat back and forth, but when we got it, the base didn’t work. However, the legs on the seat itself when you take it off the base are like little rocking chair legs, and she liked the way her body sunk into the seat and how her own movements could make the seat move.

Our thought for bedtime was to remove the bassinet and changing table attachments from the playpen and just sit that little chair in there. That way she was up where I could see her from the bed (and my dog wouldn’t fuss with her being on the floor), and she was secure in the frame of the playpen.

Genius! Or at least I thought.

Nope. As it so happens, the chair was all fine and good during the day, but absolutely unacceptable for bedtime.

She would lie in there for a few minutes before she would wake up and cry. Okay…

Now, all the articles and doctors will tell you that co-sleeping with your baby is dangerous. It increases the risk of SIDS and really should just be avoided all around. Trust me, I have read all the articles, I understand the risk and trauma of rolling over onto your new baby or having your baby tangled up in the sheets. When I was pregnant, I read through those articles and thought to myself ‘What in the world are these people thinking? Just have your baby in a bassinet beside your bed.’

When you actually become a parent, you realize just how ridiculous it is to think things are that simple.

When you are running on empty, and all you want is a mere thirty minutes of uninterrupted sleep, you will put your baby on your chest the way you know they like and doze off completely, forgetting all about those articles.

I am an extremely light sleeper, always have been. I used to wake up when my dog would wake up and move around the room before I was pregnant. Every little coo or deep breath my daughter takes I am aware of, even if I am sleeping. I am also the kind of person who has always slept on my back and doesn’t toss and turn. So the idea of letting her sleep on my chest for an hour while I caught a little bit of shut eye was not even something I thought of as dangerous.

It just made sense.

Over the past eleven days of having my daughter at home, I have noticed things that make her sleep routine easier.

My daughter does not like to wear anything but a diaper when she sleeps. It’s important to test the waters with a new baby, especially when it comes to their sleeping attire. So long as you keep your room a comfortable temperature for baby, there is no reason why they have to wear clothes to bed. If my daughter has so much as socks on her feet when she goes to bed, she will fuss until she gets them off.

My daughter can’t sleep in silence. I think we forget just how noisy it is for babies inside the womb. We assume they will want quiet when they sleep, but in our tummies they hear the constant beating of our hearts, every breath we take, not to mention some of the noises from out in the world are amplified for them in there. They have spent nine months with this constant soundtrack of sound, if you strip away all the noise for them on that first night home, it will be hard for them to settle.

My daughter can’t sleep in complete darkness. I am the kind of person that liked the room pitch black, black out blinds and silence (unless I was listening to my rainstorm sleep sounds). The first night we brought our daughter home, I crawled into bed in the dark and revelled in the silence after spending the past few days in the hospital with no sleep. My daughter however, was not as comfortable as me. She was up constantly, whining and searching for us. The womb is not completely dark either, so most babies do like a small amount of light while they sleep. We decided to go for some dim string lights behind the frame of our bed so it wasn’t so bright for mom and dad but was enough to make our daughter feel comfortable.

My daughter craves skin to skin. Skin to skin is so important to build a bond between you and baby in the first few months they are here. My daughter would curl into my husband and I at the hospital like a cat in the sun and go right to sleep. When she is being overly fussy at night, I take my shirt off and lay her on my chest and she is asleep in mere moments. I noticed she couldn’t initially fall asleep at bedtime without some cuddling. For now, this is okay, but it is something I am going to have to ween her off of as she gets older.

There is no spot in our whole house my daughter loves more than our bed. It has been 11 days since we took her home from the hospital and we have had just as many nights to try and find what works best for her and for us. At the end of the day, there is no spot that puts her to sleep more soundly, than a spot on our bed.

Look, I am not a doctor. I am not telling any new moms out there to co-sleep with their babies. I know the risks, trust me, I do! I am merely being honest with you guys and telling you what works for us.

IMG_1472

Regardless of what you decide is best for you, it is going to take some trial and error. If you do decide to co-sleep, make sure to give you baby enough space away from you to be sure you don’t accidentally roll onto your bundle of joy. Also, remove all the blankets from around baby (this above photo was taken before I did all of that). If you have the space on your bed, co-sleeping could work. If you are still too nervous, than maybe you will be successful where I wasn’t.

Good luck either way!

Feel free to get in touch with me and let me know how you are doing with your new baby!