Real Breastfeeding Tips: A Guide to Simplified Breastfeeding

Real Breastfeeding Tips: A Guide to Simplified Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be very challenging for some mamas. I had a much tougher time nursing my daughters than I did my boys. I’ve been very fortunate that both boys have been booby babies from the beginning!

Here are some easy tips and reminders to help you get a successful breastfeeding routine down, especially if you’re a new mama!

1) Your baby is getting enough.

Most all new mamas worry that their baby isn’t getting enough to eat. It’s hard to know because you can’t see how much they’re drinking like you can with a bottle. However, your baby is more than likely getting enough. Especially if he is falling asleep on the breast! Falling asleep means he’s full and happy. Beau almost always falls asleep when he’s nursing! If your baby (especially newborns) falls asleep immediately when you start nursing, grab a cold wipe and wipe his face. He will get mad and then start nursing!

2) You don’t have to stick to a schedule.

Seriously. I can’t stress this enough. There’s no rule book that says you have to nurse your baby every two hours. I know in the hospital the nurses and lactation consultants and your pediatrician tell you how often your baby SHOULD be eating but that doesn’t always mean that’s how it will go. Listen to your baby. He will definitely let you know when he’s hungry. If he naps for four hours and sleeps right through a feeding, IT’S OKAY. Let that baby sleep! If your newborn sleeps 6 hours through the night, that’s awesome! Let him sleep! Trust me, they’ll wake up and let you know when they’re hungry!

3) Be flexible.

Listen, your baby is going to want to nurse when he’s hungry, but also when he darn well pleases. If he’s upset because he got a boo boo, or if he’s sleepy, or if he hasn’t had much attention from you, he will want to nurse. And that’s TOTALLY fine! Take every advantage of it because before you know it your breastfeeding journey will be over and you’ll be left yearning for those sweet cuddles.

4) Always have a change of clothes for you and for baby.

Breastfeeding babes spit up. A lot. That’s not a bad thing! That usually means baby is overeating and ran out of room for all of that good milk. Sometimes it can be a little scary, especially if it’s a projectile. But most of the time, your baby is completely fine. It’s normal for breastfed babies to spit up quite a bit. Just pack an extra change of clothes and keep that spit rag handy!

5) There’s no magic position.

You can lay with baby, hold baby like a football, use a nursing pillow, or do none of those! Just get comfortable and find what works for you. There’s a ton of nursing positions that you can try but honestly after a couple of weeks, you won’t even remember them because you and baby will have figured out your way!

6) Don’t stress about what you’re eating.

Ok I had to tell myself this every day for a while before I stopped having anxiety about what I was taking in my body. My pediatrician told me not to worry too much about what I’m eating. As long as I’m eating and eating somewhat healthy, baby was going to get all the nourishment he needed. There’s no need to go out and buy all organic foods. Seriously. Just eat your normal fruit and veggies and drink LOTS of water!

Breastfeeding has so many benefits and is rewarding and precious and if I could start this journey all over again I would! Hopefully these tips will help ease some of your breastfeeding worries and guides you with some helpful tips on how to make it easier for you and for baby!

Xoxo,

MK

A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

Everyone has talked and posted about how awful 2020 has been. Most have had the perspective that this year has been so hard with many trials and tribulations, that they just want it to be over. Many have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, had to close their small businesses, and had to make very difficult decisions for themselves or their family. The year has tested us all. So many of us are wishing 2020 a speedy farewell!

But not me. I’m holding on to 2020 in these final hours as much as I can.

For me, 2020 was life changing. We started the year out with the first anniversary of losing a sweet babe, but being very hopeful and anxious with only a few months left until our rainbow baby was due.

March 13, 2020 was a completely normal day. I was teaching and prepping my classroom for my last week of work before the baby was to be born. I had just gotten all of my students on the bus when all of the adults were running and buzzing with the news that the governor was closing schools across the state due to the pandemic. I don’t think the pandemic felt real until that afternoon. I had the mindset that I had one more week at school before maternity leave. One more week with my beloved students and now I had received news that I wouldn’t even get to tell them goodbye. This was it.

In the back of my mind I knew this was also going to be my last day as a teacher in that third grade classroom. Although I hadn’t made an official decision about whether I would return to work after my maternity leave was up, I subconsciously knew this was it.

The whole thing left me very pregnant and very emotional. Pregnancy after loss had enough fears in itself but now on top of worrying about whether I was going to deliver a healthy baby, I also had to worry about Covid-19 and all that brought with it. Changes were being made at the hospital daily. The news was reporting each day about the rise in cases. Having a baby during a pandemic was completely unexpected, nerve racking, terrifying, but also so worth it.

Less than a month later we welcomed our sweet rainbow baby into the world and into a very small bubble. Over the next few months, we decided to homeschool our kids. Our oldest son moved to his moms to attend school there which was another huge transition for us. And I quit my job to be a stay at home mama.

So. Many. Changes.

My feelings this year? Ugh. Emotional roller coaster. Every day it seems there’s something new to worry about. If I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic, I definitely do now! The constant worrying about what decisions to make and how to protect my family. The constant pressure to do things that I wasn’t comfortable doing. Wanting to do what’s best for us and having to deal with the consequences of saying no to people. The stigma in our town that Covid “couldn’t come here” or that “it’s all a bunch of bull.”… When I’m over here praying to God each night that the virus stays away from us. It was a lot.

And on top of my feelings and fears of Covid, there was a lot of disappointment. I was heartbroken that my five year old wouldn’t be able to experience a true year of kindergarten. I was devastated that my kids couldn’t visit us in the hospital when we had baby Beau. I was sad that my daughters had to abruptly leave school and couldn’t see their friends anymore. I was disappointed that our son missed his last year of playing rec league baseball and our daughter missed out on her first year of softball. I was terrified every day, every time we went out, and with every request from a family member to come over that we would contract the virus and get really sick.

However…. above my fears I realized this year has been the biggest blessing.

My kids have been healthier than ever. They have grown closer to each other. I haven’t missed a single snuggle, kiss, laugh, or cry.

In what would normally be a very busy time of running kids back and forth to practices, rushing off to school in the mornings, getting home late, grabbing quick dinners, cramming for tests and exams, arguing over homework…. everything that was completely normal and now is nonexistent is everything I didn’t realize we needed a break from.

It’s funny how life can give us unexpected miracles right when we need them. Things we had begun to take for granted had suddenly become special. And things we were super rigid on as parents seemed like not that big of a deal.

We let the kids stay up late and sleep in. We let them have Snapchat so they could connect with their friends. They ate all the snacks and drank some soda and laughed and played and enjoyed life. Even if it was different and anything but normal.

I have been able to breastfeed Beau with no pumping or having to drop him off at daycare listening to him cry for me when I leave. I’ve rocked him to sleep for every nap time and he has fallen asleep in my arms every night. No snotty noses or coughs from being in a classroom with germs. There’s been less schedules and more lazy afternoons. We spent weekends on our boat going on adventures and fishing, enjoying the great outdoors. We went on vacations anyway even when we were told to stay home. We. Enjoyed. Time. Together.

Our kids are healthy and safe, and while they might be missing their friends or some of the “normalcy” we used to know, they have made the absolute best of it and are still enjoying life. So while most of the country is kissing 2020 goodbye tonight, I’ll be whispering a “thank you” for giving me the one thing I didn’t know I needed more of… time.

Xoxo,

MK

What You Should Know About The Holidays & Missing a Baby

What You Should Know About The Holidays & Missing a Baby

The holidays are supposed to be a time for family gatherings, movies & chill, yummy food, bright lights, giving gifts, and all the good things that bring joy and cheer. For the ones who have lost a baby, it may be harder it appears to be for them to get through these few weeks during the holiday season.

For the many in the undesirable club of grief from losing a baby or a child, they are missing those little feet running down the hallway this Christmas. They are missing their big bright smile when they tear open a gift or put on that “My first Christmas” onesie. They are missing cozy cuddles under blankets by the fireplace. They are missing that little person in their Christmas family photos.

I think most people experiencing grief would agree that the days come and go and we still “do life.” But the holidays brings a sense of sadness with it for those of us experiencing a loss.

For many people the holidays just aren’t as festive. Many couples don’t have a rainbow baby yet to bring them extra joy this season. Many are still waiting. Many are still suffering. Many are still trying to get by.

When we lost our baby in January of 2019, almost two years ago, a good friend encouraged me to do something to remember her by or to honor her life to remind myself that she did matter.

If you are grieving this holiday season, do something to remind yourself that your baby still matters. Allow yourself to be sad. To cry. Hang a stocking. Donate to Toys for Tots in her honor. Or wrap a gift for him. Make a new tradition. Make time for yourself and don’t forget it’s ok to say no to invitations.

If you know someone who is experiencing grief this holiday season, don’t be afraid to talk about it because you’re scared they will be sad. The greatest gift you can give to that person would be reminding them that you remember their baby. Sharing memories is so powerful. Allow them to cry or smile or hug you.

There’s no rule book in grief. We have to endure each day, each gathering, each Christmas song… with new perspective. One who is experiencing grief has an immense, overwhelming hole in their heart that has changed who they are and how they see things, especially this season.

Just know there is heartache you can’t see and there are people around you who are feeling it, some more deeply than others. For those with hurting hearts, you aren’t alone and there’s some comfort in know that it is shared.

For all of those sweet babies in Heaven, you are loved and you are missed.

Xoxo,

MK

Life After Loss: Rainbow Babies Are Real

Life After Loss: Rainbow Babies Are Real

You lose a baby. Then what? Life doesn’t just stop. Your grief doesn’t just go away. Days pass. You somehow keep going. Things get easier. Your grief comes up every day but it doesn’t tear you down the way it used to. You’re stronger. You’re braver. You’ve grown to know your grief. You manage it better than you did at first. But just when you least expect it, every now and then it will still bring you to your knees.

New hope emerges. It seems like it’s been forever. Forever since you felt that feeling. The feeling of hope and excitement and giddiness, and all that comes with the thought of a new baby.

You see those two pink lines again. God is telling you to hang in there. You are scared to death. With each doctor’s appointment there is so much anxiety. So many nerves. But with each month that has passed, you start to believe this could actually happen.

You really don’t truly believe this baby is real until you hear that first cry… or until you feel that first latch. Everything about this is different. You notice every moment. You feel every touch. You take in every smile, every milestone. This baby is real and here and you just can’t get enough. You notice every little crevice and roll in those chunky baby legs. Every diaper change. Every bath. Every time he wakes you up. Every giggle. Every smile. You don’t have any other care in the world when he’s looking at you with those big round eyes.

There is something truly special about a rainbow baby. This baby isn’t a replacement. The memories of before are still there.. but this baby reminds you that there is hope. There is joy again. And it’s that much sweeter.

Xoxo,

MK

Our Pregnancy Journey

Our Pregnancy Journey

I write this as I sit here waiting to go into labor. It could be any minute or it could be days. My impatience and anxiety are growing yet I am trying to treasure every last moment. I have all of the third trimester things right now… my body hurts, I spend most of the time going to the potty, I can hardly breathe anymore, and don’t even think about asking me to bend down! But through all of that I am constantly reminding myself how lucky we are and the road that brought us here.

It was the fall of 2018 when we decided maybe another baby was in the cards for us. We have a big family and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We are literally made up of his, hers, and ours. Gene (my husband) and I each had two children before we got married and in 2015 I gave birth to our son Brady. That pregnancy was a dream. It went by fast and everything about it was easy until my placenta wouldn’t deliver. My ob had to manually remove it but that was the worst thing that happened during our entire pregnancy and delivery so hey, not bad for our first try at babies!

Fast forward to December 2018. I saw those two pink lines on a pregnancy test that told us we were going to be parents again! I called and made the confirmation appointment a few days later, only to be let down later that same day when I started bleeding. They told me it was a chemical pregnancy and if I hadn’t been tracking my periods I wouldn’t have even known the difference. There was no sac. No baby.

I was heartbroken. I had gotten super excited already in just the few days that I thought I was growing a tiny human again. December came and went and with it we lost our beloved pet shih tzu of 8 years as well. December was a whirlwind of emotions and sadness but wouldn’t compare to what was coming.

We got pregnant again on our next cycle. Wow! We started telling ourselves all the things you say when something positive comes after tragedy. This is meant to be! God works in mysterious ways! There’s always light after darkness! We just needed to be patient! All the things.

Later in January, we went for an ultrasound at 9 weeks. There was our little bean on the screen! My palms were sweating. Gene looked like he was going to pass out. Something wasn’t right. No heartbeat. To say we were devastated is an understatement.

I had birthed 3 babies with no complications. How could this be happening now? Was something wrong with me? Were we only meant to have Brady and that was it? Should we just be grateful for the beautiful family we have? So many unanswered questions. So much doubt. So much guilt. So much heartache.

I chose to get the D&C because honestly I just couldn’t bare to go home and sit and wait for my dead baby to literally leave my body.

Just when I thought my body was starting to recover, two weeks later on Valentine’s Day, I was in my classroom having a Valentine’s party for ten bright eyed third graders when blood started gushing down my legs. This is graphic so if you don’t want to know the details, skip over this next paragraph!

I went to the teacher bathroom and was passing softball size blood clots. I managed to waddle outside of the bathroom to the phone to call my mom who also works at school to come to me. We ended up going straight to the Women’s Center where I was admitted to (of all places) the Labor and Delivery floor for the next three days.

I had to walk the halls so the clot would pass while listening to newborn babies cry and watching pregnant mamas prepare to meet their unborn babes. There are no words. It was a huge setback.

The following months we tried to get back to “normal.” Finally summertime came and we enjoyed life again, spending more time in the sunshine and with family. Time was healing us.

July 2019 was a good month. In August, I saw those two pink lines again! Only this time I didn’t get too excited. I didn’t freak out like I wanted to. I didn’t tell the world that we were expecting again.

We went for an ultrasound at 12 weeks. Scariest. Day. Of. Our. Lives. Everything was fine! Baby bean was growing. From then on I never got comfortable but I was hopeful. We found out at 20 weeks that I had a low lying placenta. They assured us it would correct itself and it did. We decided that we weren’t going to find out the gender. This was our surprise rainbow baby.

When you are pregnant after experiencing a miscarriage, anyone who has been through this will tell you that there’s always a trickle of doubt in the back of your mind. Even at 38 weeks pregnant, the moment you notice you aren’t feeling baby move will send you into a frenzy. You will be nervous for every single prenatal appointment. You will continue to think “Is this real?” You will pinch yourself just to make sure.

Time is a funny thing. When I look back on this journey in particular, I think about how I felt then. How I couldn’t see past my grief. I couldn’t believe that I could get past that empty feeling. I didn’t think I would ever feel like myself again. Grief never really goes away but it changes.

I think about the baby we lost every day. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what life would look like today if that baby was here. Was she a girl or a boy… would she have had red hair and big brown eyes? She or he would be 8 months this week.

So we made it this far. We are at the end of this pregnancy. Just when we think, “We did it!,” a national pandemic hits the US. Coronavirus. One baby shower cancelled and a change in birth plans… leaves us with no birth photographer and our other children won’t be able to visit us in the hospital. This has tried to bring us down. The anxiety and fear that has set in surrounding this virus has been overwhelming. We are nervous about being in the hospital where there are known cases. We are worried the baby, or any of our kids, will get it and have to go receive treatment without us by their side. It is terrifying. But we will not let this ruin what we have waited so long for. This happiness. This joy.

We are only days (maybe hours!) from meeting our rainbow baby. We are overcome with excitement and gratefulness. Our entire story has led up to this. And I know this isn’t where our story ends and I am nervous about how our delivery will go! We are praying for a healthy baby.

Maybe it’s a “thirties” thing.. but you begin to see your life as a novel God has written for you. There’s a setting and a plot… even characters. There are chapters. There is heartache and tragedy. Love and happiness. We are starting our next chapter and it just feels right.

Xoxo,

MK