Link Love: Giving Moms Some Love

I’ve found myself reading more and more about being a mother, how to help baby, and how to stay sane than I ever thought I would! It just comes with the territory of being a new mom, I guess. But I found a couple of articles/blog posts that have hit home that I wanted to share for new (or not-so-new) moms like myself. Enjoy!

LinkLove

New Research Shows Equine-Assisted Intervention Can Have Significant Improvement on Mother-Child Engagement (Equine Chronicle): Growing up in a horse family, I have to say that I completely agree–horses can bring a family together. It was because of horses that we spent weekends together and because of horses there were many late nights at the barn. We didn’t have as much technology back then, but it was simple, and nice. I’m looking forward to sharing horses with Baby A&W and I hope it can bring our little family together just like it did as I was growing up.

Things I Need My Daughter to Know (Scary Mommy): OMG I love the Scary Mommy site! As a new mom, it seems like their posts are always so timely and hit me so hard. This one is something I want to keep in my back pocket for when A grows up. I’m so nervous about raising a daughter in the current state of affairs the world is in, but I know she’s going to be strong and smart because that’s my goal.

Balancing Blogging & A Baby (The Lunchbox Diaries): I’m trying to find that balance of work, blogging, life, and baby…as you can tell from my long breaks between posts. I was happy to take a maternity leave from blogging after A was born, but after five months, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Kind of appropriate timing, don’t you think?

Your turn: What’s been some of your favorite reads lately? 

The Move: Struggle, Tears, and Changes

I had started writing this more than a month ago, and I should have posted it before now, but life has just been way too crazy for me.

Flashback to May…and I, along with the help of some family, packed up our entire home into a Budget Rental truck and we set out for a new beginning. We moved from Lexington back up to Indiana. It was time to be a family.

You see, M had started a new job up in Indiana in mid-January. There was no way I was going to move nine months pregnant, nor with a newborn, and I needed my job for the insurance, so I stayed in Lexington. After Baby A&W was born, M was able to spend two weeks in Lexington with us before he had to return to work. Since I had four weeks of maternity left, and a baby who needed to be fed every two hours (which included 30 minutes nursing on me, plus 30 minutes of me pumping, then 20 minutes of feeding baby the bottle…repeat the process 40 minutes later), I temporarily moved back to Indiana with M and my parents so I had some help. At the end of my maternity leave, I moved baby and the dogs back to Lexington and started to live the life of a pseudo-single mom. When M wasn’t traveling on the weekends for his new job, he’d come down to spend a couple days with us, then he’d return to my parents’ place and I returned to being the lone wolf.

How I coped on my own many evenings freelancing at night with a baby...it's all about multi-tasking.

How I coped on my own many evenings freelancing at night with a baby…it’s all about multi-tasking.

It was like that for 3.5 months. And it was hard. It sucked. It was lonely. I don’t know how single parents do it everyday for 18+ years! I had so many breakdowns, so many rough nights, and all I could do was cry in the phone to my mom or husband as I struggled with just about everything. But, yet, I still worked out every morning, dropped my daughter off at daycare, worked 9 hours, picked her up, then we’d walk the dogs, and I’d feed her and make bottles for the next day, put her to bed, and then maybe I’d eat dinner around 9 or 10. I got it done. I had to. I had no other choice.

Then in May, reality hit us. The cost of rent on our house plus daycare each month was more than what I was making at work. Add to that a (HUGE) mistake by my HR with my FMLA paperwork, which meant I went five weeks without any income coming in at all, and we needed help. The only option we really had was that I moved up to Indiana earlier than planned. I had hope to find a job before the move, so it’d be an easier transition, but things weren’t panning out that way. So we set a date for Memorial Day weekend and I gave my final notice to my boss, which sucked.

Let me tell you, packing and moving with a 3 month old is not fun, nor do I recommend doing it when it’s 80+ degrees out, and you’re dealing with your parents and your in-laws, and are totally emotional because you don’t want to move. It was one of the hardest weekends ever for me. While I was happy to be able to finally have some help with Baby A&W (since we were moving in with my parents to help us get on our feet again), I didn’t want to leave Lexington. Lexington has been my home for eight years, and I built such a life, with friends, work, hangouts, dog training, Man O’War CrossFit, etc.

But, I knew it was for the best. M and I needed to be together again, and he needed to be able to be a father to Baby A&W more than just a couple days every couple of weeks. And I needed help.

While the accommodations are tight (four adults, one baby, three dogs, and four cats under one roof), I know it brings my parents great joy every morning to hear A laugh and screech with joy. M and I are crammed into my childhood bedroom, while A’s crib is in my dad’s office. Most of our belongings are in storage in my brother-in-law’s garage next door, so if I’m needing something (which is most of the time), I walk over there and dig through tons of boxes and hope I can find it (to date I’m still looking for flea/tick meds, bottle brushes, dog brushes, and I think something else). I’m thankful for my family to be such big help.

One perk to living back on the farm: Baby A&W gets to grow up around horses like me! (See how thrilled both she and my old barrel horse is?)

One perk to living back on the farm: Baby A&W gets to grow up around horses like me! (See how thrilled both she and my old barrel horse is?)

I’m going on a second month of still looking for a job, and it’s hard. It’s hard managing being a stay-at-home-working-mom with my freelancing. I feel like my entire life/identity is gone and I’ve lost myself in the move. I can’t do CrossFit everyday like I used to–I miss my boys at MOWCF like crazy–but I do it maybe twice a week with the local police department until I can afford a new membership. I’m trying to get back into running, but it’s hard with a fussy baby (most of my runs are with the stroller because I have to have A with me). And I just miss working…it might sound weird, but I do. But I know I need to cherish this time with A, as she’s changing everyday, and I do. But my sense of worth has drastically declined, though I know that’s stupid for a mother to say.

My writing has totally slacked, especially with this blog, and for that, I apologize. There’s been quite a few things that I’ve thought “I need to blog about this” but then I don’t because my “me-time” is only so fleeting, and I have so much more that has to get done besides blogging (i.e., laundry, caring for the horses, taking care of my parents’ house, interviews, transcribing, writing articles I actually get paid for, etc.). I’m going to try my best to be better..about everything.

For now, this has been Life on Planet Marsz….coming to you from Indiana.

Dear Aubrey – 5 Months

Working on your ring rows, keeping your nickname "Baby CrossFit" legit!

Working on your ring rows, keeping your nickname “Baby CrossFit” legit!

Dear Aubrey,

It’s rather ironic, but your 5-month birthday was also the day that we told your grandparents we were expecting last year! :-)

Once again, we’ve had a lot of firsts this month!

You attended your first agility trial with mom competing at the beginning of the month. Mom brought you along to a trial your Grandpie puts on, so we had to be very busy. You walked the courses with me in your carrier, so I’ve already been teaching you about front and rear crosses and what the different obstacles are called. When momma ran, someone offered to hold you so you could watch me run Dally and LaMesa. You loved it. You only fussed once, and that was when the judge accidentally bunked you on the head. The next day you spent the day with Aunt Erin and Uncle Jerry, and then you got to witness history–American Pharoah, the horse that you watched win the Kentucky Derby, won the Triple Crown–a feat that hadn’t been done in 37 years! Your momma was so excited, because she’d never thought she’d see the day.

Representing "Team Stump Kids" with your Corgi onesie at the agility trial!

Representing “Team Stump Kids” with your Corgi onesie at the agility trial!

When daddy finally came home from a long trip, we went on a road trip to see his friends Matt and Sophia, who were celebrating their wedding. You were such a little trooper! Then we celebrated your daddy’s first Father’s Day. Mommy had you help her make little hand and footprints for daddy and Grandpie, however you were more into grabbing the dough than making a print.

Daddy's Girl

Daddy’s Girl

You started swim lessons, too! We had so much fun in your first lesson–you’re a natural in the water, it’s amazing to your momma! You loved to splash the water and you were already dunking your face in! We would sing songs while momma held you with your belly in the water and floating on your back. You’d reach for toys, and do tummy time on a floating mat. It’s so much fun to see you having fun, and I’m thankful for Stony Creek Swim Center to be offering the Water Babies class for free.

Swim

We’ve been working on trying to get you to nap better this month. We’re still only able to get you sleep for longer periods of time if you’re swaddled, but now we’re starting to put you to bed when you’re still awake so you can start putting yourself to sleep. So far, so good…but you’re still fighting nap time and hate to see your swaddle. You still like to cover your eyes when you’re sleeping, either with a towel or your hands.

We started feeding you solids at 21 weeks. For a few weeks you’ve been watching us eat with great attention, grabbing our plates, and just drooling at the look of food. We started with some homemade oatmeal, but you weren’t a big fan of that. Then I tried giving you chunks of banana, but you’d quickly spit that out. Pureed bananas, on the other hand you’re starting to like. We’re only feeding you solids once a day right now, but it is helping satiate your appetite and you don’t seem as hungry after you’ve had some. You’re still eating 5-6 bottles, with a 6 ounce bottle before bed and 5.5 ounces the rest of the time. You’re a growing girl!!

You can watch the video of your first bites of oatmeal.

Grammie and mommy packed up all your newborn and 0-3 clothes the other day. I kept a couple of the cute onesies that I loved, but it was time to make room for your 6 months clothes! You can still fit in some 3 month clothes, but it’s mostly 6 months, with a few 6-9. Your legs are long, so sleepers have to be long enough for your legs!

The corn is Aubrey-high before the 4th of July!

The corn is Aubrey-high before the 4th of July!

We celebrated your 5-month birthday along with Grammie’s birthday at Joe’s Crab Shack, and with that you got to ride on the slide for the first time. Grandpie is going to re-do the swing set he built for your momma so it’s ready for you when you’re able to swing and slide.

You still love your walks and you love when we go for runs in the stroller.

5Month

This coming month will be fun for us with more swimming and more summer activities.

Love you, baby girl!

Catch up on the previous months:

Month 1
Month 2
Month 3
Month 4

Four Months of Smiles – Dear Aubrey

wpid-img_20150601_155120.jpg

Dear Aubrey,

We’re a third of the way through our first year of life together, can you believe it?? It’s amazing to think it’s already been four months, but then again, it seems like it’s been a long time (I know, I think I say this every post I write, but it’s true!).

When I look through photos of you from birth to now it’s amazing to think about how much you’ve grown and changed. Your first month you spent mostly sleeping, while I barely slept, and we fretted over just trying to get you to gain weight and I was so full of anxiety over how small you were. Now we’re both sleeping pretty well…at night. (During the day, however, is another matter when you’re with momma–you don’t like to nap with me!) And you’ve grown by leaps and bounds! It’s amazing. At your four-month check-up with Dr. Wilson, you had grown almost three inches in two months!

Your stats at 4 Months:

Weight: 11 lbs 9 oz (22nd percentile)
Length: 24″ long (50th percentile)
Head circumference: 39.75 cm ( percentile)

Bath2

You’re still wearing some 3 months clothes, but also 3-6 (tops) and some 6 month bottoms. You’re legs are getting so long, but the waist in some of the longer pants are too big for your thin torso. You’re still just as active as ever. You finally rolled over for the first time today–on your 4-month birthday!! The doctor said not to expect you to roll from back to front because you’re just too interested in everything, why would you want to roll over to look at the ground?? Yep, you definitely already have your own agenda, and we better follow it!

Rolling over for the first time. 6-3-15

Rolling over for the first time. 6-3-15

You’re discovering so much now, it’s so much fun to watch your face light up. You love watching your “puppy sisters” run around, as well as fun things on television (horse and car racing for the most part), and you love to look out the window at the birds or trees. Your eyes get so large and just shine. Oh, yeah, and your eyes are a gorgeous shade of gray right now.

You’re also starting to grab onto your toys…and put them in your mouth. Everything goes into your mouth right now. You started growling the last couple of weeks, and then you’ll “bite” something–whether it’s your burp cloth, your hands, a toy, or our hands/arms. You started that over Memorial weekend, and it cracks us up, but we know when you get teeth it won’t be so funny. ;-) Almost everyday you make a new noise…and I love hearing them.

You still are sensitive to having a gassy stomach. And we still struggle with daytime naps when you’re with mommy–too much stuff going on you don’t want to miss out.

Many firsts: First time feeling sand on your toes, first time watching volleyball & playing with one, first time at a German restaurant/bar when you visited Marikka's.

Many firsts: First time feeling sand on your toes, first time watching volleyball & playing with one, first time at a German restaurant/bar when you visited Marikka’s.

We also made a big life change–over Memorial Day weekend you and mommy moved up to Indiana to be with daddy. But before we moved, I took you on a tour of some of mommy’s favorite places in Lexington so people could see you and me before we left. Your Grandma W came down to help pack up and clean the house, followed by Grammy and Grandpie A and Uncle Jerry. It was a long, hot, rough few days, but we got our house packed up in a large Budget rental truck, and mommy said goodbye to her best friend and the best place she’d lived. It was pretty hard on mommy, but I know it was for the best for our family. For three months it’d been just me and you, baby girl, and there were many hard, lonely times. Moving to Indiana meant moving closer to mommy’s family, and being with daddy. We’re currently living with Grammy and Grandpie A on the farm–it’s a little cramped, but we’re making due. You’re bringing everyone so much happiness during some tough times, it’s worth it.

You love going for walks in your carrier if you are facing out so you can see everything.

You love going for walks in your carrier if you are facing out so you can see everything.

Since moving to the farm, you go down to the barn with mommy almost everyday–I wear you in your carrier and we put the horses out in their pasture and we clean stalls. We’re already talking about getting you a pony soon, and I cannot wait to get you in the saddle already.

Of course moving meant no more daycare at Tot’s Landing, which was hard. I’m sure we’ll find another great daycare facility in Indiana, but the women who cared for you in those short couple of months were so great, it’ll be hard to match them. I hope you love the next place just as much as you did Tot’s Landing.

This month will be full of just as much action and growth, I’m sure. But I’m looking forward to experiencing every minute with you. Watching you experience life for the first time amazes me, and makes me appreciate things I might have taken for granted before, and for that, I’m grateful to you. I love you so very much!

3 Months

2 Months

1 Month

My First Mother’s Day

This weekend I celebrated my first Mother’s Day. Well, technically this was my first Mother’s Day as a “human mom” and not just a “fur-mom”. (My dog friends will understand.) I’ve always celebrated Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) with the fullest intentions of ensuring that my mom knew how loved she was and how thankful I was to have her as my mom, but I never fully understood what she’s gone through as a mother until I became one myself. It’s a lesson I think all children should learn at some point or another (but, no, I’m not saying everyone needs to procreate just to celebrate these two holidays).

11071667_10153235788989602_2774834097366942071_oI saw this on Facebook some time ago and saved it just for Mother’s Day. It makes me tear up as I read it, every single time (man I have gotten emotional since becoming a mom!).

This is so, so true in so many ways, and I’ve only experienced this for a little over three months. Being a mother is more than just being pregnant for nine months.

Things I’ve learned since becoming a mother myself:

  1. Everything can be washed, and if it can’t, it can be replaced.
  2. When you think you’re actually running on time, you’re not…start moving earlier!
  3. The best thing you can do for your child is to take care of yourself. If you’re sick, you can’t be 100 percent with it, so take care of yourself just as much as you take care of your child.
  4. Just like with my dogs, seeing her at the end of the day makes my day. Now that she’s smiling, to see her eyes light up when she sees me fills my heart with so much joy.
  5. If you think you’re too selfish to become a parent, think again. I thought I was, but all of that is thrown out the door when that little one enters your life. You will eat last (even my dogs and horses eat before I do), only get to shower if you can quickly squeeze one in, and their clothing needs come before yours. And, surprisingly, I’m OK with that.Mday2
  6. I now have a different perspective on that family eating out with a crying child, or the mother who looks frazzled while dealing with a child at the grocery. Before you gripe about how they’re child misbehave, or how dare they “ruin” your dinner out, take a moment to wonder if maybe they’re out to eat because they just want to get out of the house, or maybe that mother is a single mom doing it on her own. Have a little more patience and maybe offer to help, or compliment.
  7. Just a simple compliment can go a long way for an exhausted mom. Even if you’re not someone into kids, just asking your friend how they’re doing, or offering to meet for lunch (with or without offspring) means the world to them. A simple text to say hello and to check on them goes a long way, more than you’d ever know.
My mom's first Mother's Day as a grandMOTHER.

My mom’s first Mother’s Day as a grandMOTHER.

I am super proud of my baby girl, and it’s surprising how everyday I fall more and more in love with her.

Thank you, mom, for being the best mom a kid could ever ask for. Thank you for sacrificing your life so I could live mine. Thank you for “sharing” your bites with me, and thank you for putting up with me. And thank you, even moreso now, with the constant questions and complaints and just being an open ear and helping hand to offer any kind of assistance. I know I wouldn’t be who I am without you, or dad, and your strength and support. I just hope I’m half as much a great mom to Aubrey as you have been to me and Erin. I love you.

“A baby fills a place in your heart that you never knew was empty”

Good Reads: Running Mothers, Sharing Praise, Stress Eating

It has been a really long time since I’ve done some link loving, but I thought I’d share a couple of things that really made me stop, read, and contemplate, which is pretty hard for me to do lately.

LinkLove

 

Why She Runs: To Adapt to Mother Hood (Runners’ World): “Running, with its demands that I mentally focus and take care of my body, ultimately made my transition to motherhood easier. And becoming a parent improved my running, requiring that I make it a priority and get the most out of each workout in the limited time I had.” I’m a big supporter of being active to help your mental health. And as a new mother myself, I know that there are days I need to get my frustration out so I can be a better mom to Baby A&W. I cannot wait to get back into running training again!

You are Doing a Really Good Job (I Got a Dumpster Family): It’s sad, but there are times that really, I just want a pat on the back. The past few months have been rough, and sometimes I wonder if anyone even notices, but I continue to come into work, paste a smile on my face and try to clear my mind of the craziness that is my life. I now understand mothers a lot more than before I had my baby, and I believe that, yes, we do need to support each other and say, “You’re doing great.” No matter what it is.

Stop the Cycle of Stress Eating (Evolution by Ariana): Stress eating is one of my biggest vices, and lately I know that’s what has stifled me losing the remaining baby weight. The crazy mornings, boring workdays, and then the harried evenings with the baby mean it’s hard to eat healthy for me some times. And I know a lot of it is lack of willpower, but sometimes you just say “F– it” and shovel those animal crackers in your mouth as you prepare a bottle for your crying baby. It’s important to just take a moment and think for yourself–you want you be healthy not only for yourself, but for your baby.

Your turn: Share your favorite reads from the past couple of weeks!

Dear Aubrey-Happy 3 Months

(Month 1, Month 2) A-3Months Dear Aubrey, Three months have come and gone so quickly, yet it seems like you’ve been in my heart forever. Everyday I grow deeper in love with you, even on those trying days… You and I are starting to figure each other out and get a routine down. On days that mom works, we’re pretty rushed in the mornings, but I always take a few moments to enjoy the morning with you because you are such a delight in the mornings–hopefully you stay that way and don’t become a grouchy bear like you daddy is in the mornings. We’ll play and talk, you’ll smile and kick your feet a million miles a minute. You’re starting to sleep longer stretches at night, which lets mommy sleep a little longer, so we’re both happy.

Morning snuggles are the best

Morning snuggles are the best

You still love daycare, and I love that you love it. Your favorite toy is a piano you can play with your feet, so as a little “3-month-birthday gift” I found one for the house and you’ve been going to town on it ever since (even while mom needed to wash the car and trim the bushes in front of the house over the weekend).

Mommy can multi-task pretty well now.

Mommy can multi-task pretty well now.

Daddy was able to come home a couple times during April. You’ve recently discovered the television and you’re just infatuated with watching things like car racing, and horse racing (as I discovered on Derby Day). Your daddy’s excited that he actually might have someone to watch car racing with him. Whenever the races would go to commercial, you’d voice your disapproval, so we’d find another car race on TV. Daddy-race Your hair is getting longer, so it’s settled down and not as crazy right now. It’s still a lighter brown, so we’re not sure if it’ll stay that color or change. Your eyes are a dark blue/gray and can be so expressive and big! A-RaceCars You must be hitting a growth spurt right now, because you’re demanding more than your usual four ounce bottle when it comes to meals. We’re still doing half breastmilk and half formula, and you’re finally putting on weight–at a doctor’s appointment a few days before your 3-month birthday you weighed 10 pounds 8 ounces! You’re wearing all 0-3 clothes now (and size 1 diapers), and even some of your 0-3 pants are getting short. It’s a little sad to be putting away all your newborn clothes to sell–there was a time that I thought you’d never grow out of them! You’re really starting to get strong, already starting to hold yourself up on your elbows when we do tummy time (though you get tired of it after a while).

Baby Yoga

Baby Yoga

You met your great-grandmother on a trip to see your daddy’s family one day. She said seeing your photos helped keep her spirits up while recovering from a stroke, so you’re already an inspiration to someone (besides your momma, of course)! You’ve watched your first Kentucky Derby, visited friends at your first dog agility trial (but mom didn’t compete), and felt the grass on your feet for the first time. Firsts I’m excited for even more firsts to come this summer, and I look forward to sharing more of my world with you in hopes you’ll be the same horse-dog-workout-run-crazy girl like your momma. HappyMornings

Trading the Gym Bag for a Diaper Bag

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I tried to stay very active in my workouts and running all through my pregnancy. I tried to workout at least five times a week, waking up every morning to hit Man O’War CrossFit before work, and sometimes do some shorter runs after work or on the weekends.

Heck, I even did CrossFit the morning I went into labor! (And was walking the dogs two miles when I went into labor.)

After the birth of Baby A&W, I slowly got back into working out. First it was with short dog walks–starting at 10 minutes, then 15, and then 20. Then I started doing some body weight work while A was sleeping or doing tummy time–planks, push ups, sit ups. I didn’t do any CrossFit during my maternity leave, mostly because I was in Indiana (though I did sneak one workout in when we came back into town for A’s one-month checkup), and got back into it a month ago.

It’s been hard to balance working out and being a mother. With M living/working in Indiana, that leaves me to tend to every one of A’s needs. So if I want to get my sweat on, she’s coming with me.

Never, ever go anywhere with your baby without your gym....err, I mean diaper bag. (Now, if only we can find wrist wraps that fit her!)

Never, ever go anywhere with your baby without your gym….err, I mean diaper bag. (Now, if only we can find wrist wraps that fit her!)

CrossFit
I’ve been doing what I can to make it work when it comes to CrossFit. While MOWCF doesn’t have daycare, it’s still pretty easy to bring your kid along to workout with you. Lil Bit just hitches a ride with mom and hangs out in her car seat to the side while I workout near her where I can hear or see her in case she needs me.

I’m lucky to have such a flexible, easygoing coach in Taylor, and a great group of guys in my morning class. They all were so supportive while I was pregnant, cheering me on, amazed at everything I was still doing even when my belly made it hard to do cleans or snatches. And now they’re still supportive. One of the coaches even took over distracting A when she was being fussy one morning so I could get in the rest of the workout before I had to leave.

Our mornings are crazy, and not for the faint of heart: my alarm goes off at 5 am so I can pump before she (hopefully) wakes up. Then I wake A up, change her diaper and her outfit, feed her, get myself dressed to workout, load her up in the car, and we arrive at MOWCF at 6:15 to workout. I get my workout done, then we load back up in the car and head for home, where I’ll quickly jump in the shower and dress for work, change her again, and load everything up for work/daycare. Sometimes she requests another bottle before we leave for daycare, which puts a kink in things, but I’m lucky to have a flexible boss who’s okay with us arriving late at times.

There are some mornings I don’t make it into the box, and while that used to upset me, I’m starting to be OK with it. Some mornings I just need an extra hour of sleep, or maybe we just need some more snuggle time. But I’m still making it to CrossFit 3-4 days a week, and as a pseudo-single mom of a 2.5 month old, that’s pretty darn good.

Running
I really want to get back into running…like really bad! But I haven’t been able to run, mostly because of not having anyone to watch her (I try to get a short run in if M’s in town and can watch her, but nature hasn’t played nicely with me). I now have a jogging stroller, and did a short 1.5 mile run with her last week, but then I read where I should probably wait until she’s a little older to do more. So I’m conflicted about running, and figure it might be best to err on the side of caution and wait a little longer before taking her on runs with me. She’s almost 3 months old now, so it won’t be long. I can wait.

For now, I’m just doing my best with getting short runs here and there. And then we go for 2 mile walks with the dogs after work/daycare daily (weather permitting), either with me carrying her or in her stroller.

I’m aiming for a fall half marathon, so I need to start getting my mileage back up soon.

Everyone needs their daily workouts, including the dogs!

Everyone needs their daily workouts, including the dogs!

At Home WODs
I have DVDs that I can use for workouts at home–some yoga videos (Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper) and P90x (thanks to a friend for letting me borrow them)–however our BluRay player stopped working and I dislike watching videos on my small MacBook screen. Plus, A still wants my attention, so it’s hard to do things without having her attached to me in some way. I use her tummy time as time for mommy to do some sit-ups and planks, and little things here and there, so we’re “working out together.”

My health and fitness is still a very big priority to me–I want to be a positive role model for my daughter and have her start on the right track from the beginning.

Breastfeeding Isn’t Easy, nor for Everyone

While going through pregnancy, I was asked many times if I planned to breastfeed Baby A&W. It wasn’t even much of a conversation between M and I–it was up to me, and I figured it was the best thing to do. I had read articles saying how it helped keep allergies at bay and boost the immune system of the baby. Plus, let’s face it, I was all about the weight loss benefits.

I knew breastfeeding wasn’t going to be easy, and I’ve many stories from those who tried and couldn’t or tired and succeeded, but I still went into it kind of blind, thinking surely it’d be something that just came to you–like maternal instincts are supposed to do. But then Aubrey came along, and I was rocked into motherhood.

Poor thing had no clue what she was getting into with momma and nursing.

Poor thing had no clue what she was getting into with momma and nursing.

Aubrey was a bit of a “lazy nurser”–meaning she didn’t want to try very hard to nurse on me, and would fall asleep often. She was also a little jaundice and lost about a pound from her birth weight, so I was stressing. The pediatrician prescribed that I feed her every two hours, and to pump after each nursing. I was spending 1.5 hours feeding A every 2, between fighting her to nurse, then pumping, then feeding what I pumped to her to make sure she actually got nutrition. It was wearing me down. I wanted to go straight to bottle feeding and pumping, but our first pediatrician said to not do that for another three weeks.

We went to see a lactation specialist, who had taught our breastfeeding class we took a month before A was born. She was great–she spent 3 hours with us, helping to work on A’s latch, checking to see how many ounces she really was getting from me, and being a big support. Unlike some lactation consultants, she was OK with pumping and she said she expected that I would have to supplement with formula–and that was OK. But because the doctor wanted A strictly on breastmilk, she helped us form a plan (which was the feeding, pumping, bottle plan), gave me her personal cell phone number, and wished us luck.

I was feeling more and more depressed, and stressed, feeling like I was a horrible mother for starving my child. I was also exhausting myself with the hellacious schedule that it required. It was all a nasty cycle that just continued, and I felt like M was getting tired of dealing with my tears of exhaustion and frustration because he knew there wasn’t anything he could do to help, and he hated feeling helpless.

Thankfully, we had to see another pediatrician in the same practice due to scheduling for one of A’s follow-ups. Dr. W was a breath of fresh air. She admitted that breastfeeding was difficult for her with her two boys, and how she felt guilty because, after all, she was a health care professional and she couldn’t breastfeed. But she pumped, and supplemented with formula, and her boys turned out just fine. Her wise words of advice: “All that matters is that you’re feeding and nourishing your baby. How you do that doesn’t matter–whether it’s via breastfeeding, pumping and feeding via bottle, supplementing with formula, or using all formula. It’s all the same. Just get food into her.”

That was a turning point, and, thanks to support from my mom, who saw how beaten down I was (my phrase was “Mom, I feel like I’m a dairy cow, and that’s all I am right now.”), I turned to exclusively pumping and feeding A via a bottle, using Similac Supplemental to boost her ounces. Doing such helped her finally start to gain weight and really start growing.

Now that I’m back to work, things have changed even more so. I’m extremely thankful to have a boss who immediately went to work finding an empty room and making it a “Mothers’ Room” for me and any other mother looking for a place to pump in peace. However, I was also dealing with being somewhat of a “single mom” and had to figure out how to pump when A was still awake (pumping in the middle of the night or before she woke up was easy). Because of that, I had to start dropping pumpings because it just wasn’t feasible.

Feeding your child helps you bond, whether its via the breast or the bottle, and no one should make you feel horrible for choosing either way.

Feeding your child helps you bond, whether its via the breast or the bottle, and no one should make you feel horrible for choosing either way.

Now that she’s past the two month mark, and had her first set of shots, I’m feeling more comfortable with the fact that I’m already starting to dry up. I never was able to produce much in the first place–maybe 3 ounces (from both breasts) at a time–so I knew my time would be limited. However, it does make me sad that soon I won’t be able to provide my own nourishment to her, not to mention the idea of buying formula more often than I am now makes my bank account cry.

I feel selfish saying that I can’t wait until I’m done producing breast milk because then I can easily go workout or go for runs on a tight schedule (right now I have to pump for at least 30 minutes beforehand, which requires planning and balancing). I can also relish in an adult beverage or two, which I haven’t done since I discovered I was pregnant (sure I could “pump and dump,” but I barely make enough milk as it is, I felt like that would be a waste of “liquid gold.”). And I can get back to wearing normal bras and clothes that I don’t have to worry about being able to pull up easily to pump while at work. Even just typing this makes me feel like I’ll be judged.

But, truth is, I’m ready to have my body back to myself. I’ve been able to provide more than some mothers are able to, for some reason or another, so I should be proud of myself for at least being able to stick it out as long as I have. I really did give it a good college try, and I provided her with my nutrients the best I could. I can’t be like my co-worker who has a 15-month-old and still pumps 10 ounces once a day–most women aren’t built like that.

And I’m OK with that.

More reading:
Fit Pregnancy: It’s OK if You Can’t Breastfeed
The Lean Green Bean: Breastfeeding is Hard

Starting to Grow! Dear Aubrey-Two Months

(If you’d like to read my letter to Baby A&W on her 1-month birthday, you can read it here.)

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Dear Aubrey,

Your second month of life has been vastly different from your first. During February, you mostly slept…boy did I think I had it easy from there on out. March was a completely different story as you started discovering the world you were born into, and that you could see so much if you stayed awake.

You finally started gaining weight and gaining ground in growing–your 2-month doctor’s appointment saw you tipping the scales at 8 pounds and 14 ounces, a full two pounds heavier than when you were born (in the 15th percentile). You now measure 21.75 inches long (21st percentile) and your head measures 37 centimeters around (20th percentile). You’re not the biggest girl, but that’s alright. Dr. Wilson (your pediatrician) says you’re going to be long and lean, like your momma. You are constantly moving–the only time I see you still is when you’re sound asleep at bedtime. Because of this, Dr. Wilson says you’re constantly burning calories–truly living up to your “Baby CrossFit” nickname given to you before you were born by mom’s CrossFit coach.

Mid-March we moved back to Lexington–momma went back to work and you started daycare. You’re in the “minnows” classroom at Tot’s Landing and they absolutely love you–they call you “Lil Bit” just like your mom and dad do because you’re the smallest member of the room. You spend your time at daycare either sleeping in the swing, tummy time, or playing with the foot keyboard.

Babys

Baby’s first CrossFit WOD

Our days during the week are crazy: We wake at 5 am for mommy to pump and you to eat your bottle, then around 6 we head to Man O’War CrossFit so mommy can get her workout on (you mostly sleep through the workouts in your carseat). After our workout, we rush home so I can get ready for work, and you demand another bottle before we leave for daycare and work. After work, I come pick you up and we head home to walk the dogs–you love going for pup walks in your carrier, and I hope soon we can get a stroller so we can go for longer walks (and start running together now). Then it’s time to get things ready for the next day (your bottles at daycare, mommy’s lunch at work) and we hope to relax a little for an early bedtime.

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Your daddy’s been traveling a lot for work–he’s still spending the week in Indiana with your grandparents and, if he’s not traveling, he comes down to spend the weekends with us in Lexington. You love falling asleep on your dad’s chest in the recliner.

You’re really developing a personality, learning to make lots of new noises and faces everyday, and trying to take in as much as possible. Your eyes are now gray, and we’re hoping a little green will start to appear. And your hair…ohh baby girl…your hair is cray cray (that’s 2015 slang for Crazy)! It’s long and wild, and that’s made even worse when I blow dry your hair. But, everyone loves it. You’ve got momma’s thick hair and your daddy’s cowlick–so you won’t be able to have bangs or short hair, sorry.

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LaMesa loves her little sister.

 

You’re holding yourself up more and more with each passing day, proving that though you’re tiny, you’re mighty. The dogs love you–everyday we come home from daycare they have to check you out and give you little kisses, just to make sure all is well.

You received your first shots, which was upsetting for you for just a few minutes, but nothing too horrible. You also had your first cold, most likely daycare germs, and shared your germs with mommy–thanks.

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Warmer weather and new adventures await us in the coming months!

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