Category Archives: Feeding

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Pregnant (Part 1)

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  1. Labor and delivery is the easy part. Before and during my pregnancy, this was the thing I feared most.  And hey, if you’ve never had a human being come barreling out of your lady parts before, it’s perfectly natural to be horrified at the thought. I must have read three books on the subject, on top of the email newsletters I subscribed to and the classes we took. I’m glad I educated myself, but ultimately, I was induced and ended up having very little control over anything. And you know what? It was fine. Don’t get me wrong; it was no picnic. Contractions hurt. Pushing is exhausting. Your significant other will see your body do things they can’t unsee. But in comparison to the weeks that follow (see #2), my 10-hour labor and delivery experience was relatively easy.

  2. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally. And if we’re being totally honest, it kind of sucks. Yeah, I said it. For starters, it hurts like hell in the beginning, and some babies (I’m lookin’ at you, C.J.) have a difficult time latching at first. Oh, but what about the bonding? You ask. Isn’t it amazing?  Pshhh. Bonding? What part of it was supposed to be bonding, exactly? The crying, the bleeding or the cursing? From the sound of his shrieking, you would think I was trying to torture him, not feed him. For the first eight weeks (a.k.a The Longest Two Months of My Life) the only things I felt toward nursing were extreme stress and anxiety. I actually used to Google, “I hate breastfeeding” and, “My baby hates breastfeeding” just to see if I was the only one. Guess what? I wasn’t. I’m not exaggerating when I say that to begin with, I dreaded every feeding—which by the way, was every two hours. Which leads me to my next point.

  3. Babies eat every two hours. OK, fine. Technically, I knew this to be true. But the reality of this seemingly simple, harmless fact doesn’t really hit you until you’re doing it. Every two hours. Around the clock. Day and night. Your whole life lived in two- to three-hour increments between breastfeeding. One session ends and before you know it, another begins. This ball-and-chain phase doesn’t last forever, but when you’re in it, you wonder if it will ever end. No one told me how hard it was going to be. No one told me that as long you breastfeed your life will revolve around it.

Note: I don’t think everyone has the same challenges C.J. and I had when it comes to
nursing, and I’m happy to report that we eventually found our way (sort of) with nursing.
I could write a book about breastfeeding, which ultimately ended up being one of the
hardest, most soul-sucking, yet rewarding nine months of my life.

  1. After you deliver, you still can’t (really) drink. That glass of wine you’ve been waiting nine months for? Yeah, about that. If you’re nursing, you won’t be able to really enjoy a full glass of wine for weeks.

  2. You will be a ticking, tear-filled time bomb. I don’t cry. Correction: I never used to cry. Before I gave birth, I could count on one hand the number of times Jonathan had seen me cry (excluding TVs and movies).  Now, there’s no telling what might set me off. One day, while getting ready for a work party, Jonathan asked me if I was going to straighten my hair. If it were physically possible for daggers to shoot from my eyes, I swear they would have. “You hate my hair curly!” I exclaimed dramatically, my eyes filling with tears. I sometimes want to shake myself when these episodes take over and tell myself to “get a freaking grip.” But then I think about what I and my various body parts have been through (please refer back to items 1, 2 and 3) and I feel pretty entitled to a good cry.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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Must-Have Baby Gear for the First 6 Months

My pregnant friends always ask me what I couldn’t live without. Now that the first six months are under our belt (wahoo!), I thought it would be a good time to stop and reflect on what items really made our lives easier. Every mom will have her own answers. But other than the obvious necessities (i.e., diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, a car seat, stroller and clothes), here’s a list of things I found invaluable during the first six months of motherhood.

1.       Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

Taking a little snooze in the Rock 'n Play, swaddled in his sleepsack, paci never too far away.

While pregnant, I constantly wondered: Where will we put the baby when we’re not holding him? I know it sounds silly, but it was a real concern of mine. For us, the answer was the Rock ‘n Play. C.J. practically lived in this cozy little hammock-type contraption for the first four months of his life. To this day, it’s where he takes his best and longest naps, so when I really, realllly need him to sleep for more than one hour, that’s where I plop him.

2.       Gerber Prefold Birdseye Cloth Diapers

We use these as burp clothes (I’m far too lazy to use them for their intended purpose). I can’t stress it enough: You just can’t have too many of these. We have them strategically placed throughout the house, from the nursery and living room, to our nightstand and the back porch.

3.       Nursing Pillow

These just made feedings more comfortable for me and C.J. I’m still extremely reliant on it. We also use it to prop him up in sitting position.

4.       Swaddle Sleep Sacks

As soon as C.J. was big enough that these didn’t completely envelope him, we started using them at night for peace of mind (versus a blanket, which could potentially come loose). Once he went all ninja and started breaking out and threatening to roll over while swaddled, we began employing the infamous Double Swaddle Method. That’s right. Double Swaddle. He slept like this until very recently (10-12 hours a night, might I add).

5.       Activity Mat

Must Have Baby Items

Perhaps no other item brings me fonder maternity leave memories than our activity mat. We would spend hours on this every day, working on tummy time, reading books, swatting at the dangling animals (Larry the Lion, Elliot the Elephant, Marvin the Monkey, Zoey the Zebra and Wally the Whale) or just lying there staring at each other. I could never bring myself to throw this away.

 6.       Pacifier

I was one of those clueless, self-righteous souls who swore my kid would never use a pacifier. By week three, I was begging C.J. to take one. They’re a lifesaver on long car rides and out in public, when you don’t want to be the Mom with the Screaming Child. When he’s tired, cranky and fighting sleep, all I have to do is rock him a little and stick a paci in his mouth, and his eyes immediately start to flutter closed.

Note: He was picky with his pacifiers, so be sure to test out a few brands. When you find one he likes, buy 10 of them.

7.       Bouncy Chair

Admittedly, it took me a while to warm to this particular item. I mean, how much baby gear can one family have scattered around the living room? I started using it at around two months, and to this day, it’s my babysitter when I’m getting ready for work in the mornings. It keeps him entertained for up to an hour, and it’s lightweight enough that I can park it just outside the bathroom and keep an eye on him while I shower, do my hair, makeup and get dressed.

8.       Changing Pad Liners

Yes, in addition to changing pad covers. It must be a boy thing, but it seemed like for the first three to four months, every time we changed his diaper, he’d pee the second it came off. We perfected a series of Matrix-style pee-dodging moves that kept us mostly dry, however it seemed like we were stripping and washing our covers after every other diaper change. These just made life a little easier.