Health, Love & Fire: October 2015

Two Weeks

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two weeks from today I will be heading back to work from my maternity leave. The past 12 weeks have seriously flown by, and I can hardly believe Harper will be 11 weeks old tomorrow! I've been a bit in denial that the time would come that I would have to go back, but I'm running out of time to avoid it, and have to get used to the fact that I won't be able to stay at home with her forever. So as the last few days off fly by, I'm trying to soak in every minute of it with her! Here are some photos of things we've been up to lately!

Before getting pregnant, and even up until I held Harper in my arms for the first time, I never thought I would even want to stay home. I figured maybe in the future it would be nice to work part time, but I always thought I would want to work. Staring at her for the first time and getting to hold her in my arms completely changed all that. Now I can barely hold back tears thinking about leaving her or missing out on things while I'm gone 5 days a week. I'm not worried that she won't be alright or that something will go wrong, I'll just miss her. There are many emotions that surprised me since having her, but the feeling of never wanting to leave her definitely surprised me the most! I knew I would love her, but had no idea how much. I knew she'd be amazing, but didn't know I'd want to spend every waking minute with her, even when I'm exhausted. Momlife is a crazy, emotional, and amazing experience and as I sit here and think about leaving her in a couple weeks, I hope one day (hopefully soon) I can put some of the ideas and dreams I have to use and get to spend more time at home with her!

It's my hope that in the future I'll get the opportunity to work just part time, or maybe even work from home permanently, but until then I'll keep dreaming. If you never dream, your dreams can never come true, right? So in the meantime, I've been working on setting up at etsy site and trying to make some of my daydreams come to life. Be on the lookout for a post announcing when my shop is open and what it will entail. I'm excited and happy to be working on something I enjoy so much, and hope it will be successful! Now to figure out a shop name!

Harper - 2 Months

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Can someone please slow down time? I don't know where the last two months have gone and I definitely don't want to think about the fact that I only have three more weeks off with my little one before going back to work. I am absolutely thankful for the time I've had with her and have been struggling with the thought of having to leave her. I swear she changes and grows each and every day! This month she has changed so much! Her personality is really starting to show through, especially in that smile of hers! She is just perfect and I can't wait to watch her grow! 

Nicknames: Harps, Harpy, Turkey, Harley

Height & Weight: 11lbs 8 oz and 22.5 inches long! She's grown so much since her last appointment at 2 weeks old!

Food: She's still exclusively breastfeeding. I do pump and giver her at least a bottle a day though. She eats every 2-4 hours throughout the day and less frequently at night.

Sleep: She had a few nights where she slept 7-8 hours but normally she goes to bed between 10-11 and wakes up between 5-6. Once she's awake in the morning she's up for several hours, but usually takes one 3-4 hour nap in the middle of the day and shorter naps the rest of the day.

Favorites: She loves her room and all the colors and decorations in there. I swear she's the happiest when she's laying on her changing table staring at all her hair bows and pictures on the wall. She's still loving going for walks and car rides, really anytime she's moving. She also loves to eat and definitely enjoys being held.

Milestones: She can hold her head up on her own and loves sitting up and looking around. She started smiling a lot more this month. We also got to enjoy a visit from some out of town family this month.

Looking Forward To: Celebrating all of her first holidays starting with Halloween! I should also put not looking forward to, and that would definitely be going back to work! I definitely don't want to leave her!

Tips That Helped Me Survive The First Weeks of Breastfeeding

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Making it through the first few weeks of breastfeeding for the first time was definitely more difficult than I thought it would be. Your body has just been through the crazy experience of labor and giving birth and you're adjusting to having a newborn to take care of and all while trying to figure out how to breastfeed. I was lucky and had a fairly easy adjustment with Harper who caught on to the whole feeding thing pretty quickly, but even so, there were times it was tough! I spent quite a bit of time before giving birth reading other mom blogs and posts on labor, newborn care and breastfeeding but I was always looking for more suggestions and stories to help me prepare so I decided to share some of the ways I made it through the first two months of breast feeding. 

Before I delivered, I spent time getting everything ready, or as ready as I thought I could be. One area I spent very little time preparing for was breastfeeding. Make sure you have a good feeding pillow. I found at first that a boppy was too big and not form fitting enough so it was hard to keep Harper up close to me to feed at least for the first few weeks. I ended up using a Breast Friend pillow, similar to one I had used at the hospital until Harper got big enough and then I switched over to the hoppy. Having both pillows was probably more than I needed but I found the breast friend pillow the perfect way for us to learn and feed the first few weeks and loved the hoppy from about a month on. 

Now you've delivered a baby, sleep deprived and trying to adjust at home and all you want to do is lay on the couch in sweats and rest. A new mom friend suggested nursing tanks and zip up sweatshirts as the perfect breastfeeding and labor recovery outfits and she couldn't have been more right! I literally lived in those tops for the first few weeks. I was comfortable, and at the same time it was easy to breastfeed. Even on days when I had visitors over or ran errands I still felt put together but comfortable and able to breastfeed easily when I needed to. 

One of the hardest things was the amount of time you spend feeding. At first your little one wants to eat every two hours or more, and just when you've gotten yourself put back together it feels like it's time to feed again. There were several days I found myself overwhelmed and in tears just trying to plan out when I could get in a meal or a shower between feedings. It was absolutely something I was unprepared for. After Harper had gotten the hang of latching and had gained a couple pounds, I started pumping a bottle a few times a week to allow Dan to be able to feed her and give myself at least a one feeding break. Having even just one feeding that I didn't have to do made a huge difference in my mood and my stress!

Another thing I purchased after giving birth was supportive nursing bras. I figured my chest had gotten as big as it was going to get and the nursing bras from Target were sufficient but I found myself quickly needing something different. I ended up making another appointment with a lactation consultant at the hospital I delivered at, who was able to fit me in some amazingly comfortable and really reasonably priced nursing bras. Feeling comfortable and supported all day not only made a huge difference in how I felt and looked but also in my mood! Before getting new nursing bras I was constantly unhappy with how I looked in my t-shirts and just felt unsupported and uncomfortable. I never would have thought to go to the hospital to get a good bra but it literally was a game changer and I highly suggest it! Both bras I purchased were less than $45 and can be converted to normal bras once I'm done nursing, although hopefully my chest won't be as large and I'll need a smaller size by then. 

One of the biggest things I was unprepared for was how uncomfortable nursing was going to be at first. Our first night home with the baby I can remember sitting in her nursery feeding for the third time in five hours being so exhausted and just crying in pain. The pain slowly went away over the first few weeks but I needed something in the interm. By applying lanolin after feeding and using ice or hear packs in between I was able to make nursing more bearable. Each feeding I would keep track of the sides she fed on, the length of time and my pain scale. I noticed that the later in the day it got after feeding more often, the more pain I was in.  I honestly don't think I would have continued to breastfeed as long as I have if I didn't have something to ease the pain. Lanolin was given to me by a new mom at my work baby shower and she suggested I pack it in my hospital bag to begin using right away. I forgot about it at first, but it quickly became my go to after feedings and really helped make me more comfortable! 

Honestly, Breastfeeding is something I never looked forward to or really wanted to do before having Harper, but knowing it was the best thing for her and I made me really want to try my hardest to make it work. There were definitely days where it was a struggle and I wanted to give up, but I found tools and tricks to help make it through it. And even through all the pain and struggles, I'm so glad I stuck it out and created that bond between the two of us.
What did you find helped you through those first few weeks of breastfeeding?

Boppy Pillow
Breast Friend Nursing Pillow
Nursing Bra
Zip Up Hoodie

Fall Family Weekends

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This past weekend we got the opportunity to spend time with some out of town family. Most of my side of the family is spread out through the country so any chance we get to spend together is special. This visit however was even more special because it was the first time my aunts were meeting Harper. I was so excite for both of my mom's sisters to visit and meet our new addition and also for my mom to get some rare sister time in! We spent most of the three days they were here with them soaking in every minute!
They arrived Saturday, so mom and I ventured to the airport to meet them. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing at home just chatting and enjoying each other's company. Sunday we started the day with a walk and a tour of our new home and we got to host everyone for family dinner at our house that evening! Having our home filled with family and laughs is the best thing ever!
Don't all family get togethers include arm wrestling contests?

Monday we took another walk together to start our day (I love living a mile from my parents and to be able to meet up for walks several times a week). We all went out to lunch together and headed to visit the winery dan and I were married at. My one aunt had gotten sick right before our wedding and was unable to make it so it was nice to show her around our venue. We ended their trip with another low key evening at home.
I'm so thankful for family visits like this one and the fun memories we create. The only thing better would be if they lived closer and we could spend time together more often!