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Parenthood

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted new content on the blog. Something about having three jobs, a husband and a toddler makes that difficult to do. As I was making pancakes Sunday morning, I decided this would be a good recipe to share with y’all. Please read instructions all the way through before starting.

How To Make Blueberry Banana Nut Pancakes With a Toddler

Set out ingredients: Coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, banana, 2 eggs, vanilla, cashew (or other) milk, spelt (or GF) flour, almond meal, chopped pecans, himalayan pink sea salt (or other sea salt), cinnamon, ground flaxseed, frozen blueberries.

Tend to toddler who is politely demanding a pear. Peel the pear, because otherwise toddler chews and spits out all the skin and you find it all over the house. Ask him to please sit on the rug and eat it.

Take ~ 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil and melt it in a pan. You don’t have time to measure, so just “ballpark” all of your ingredients.

Toddler is requesting the pear be washed because it fell on the ground. Wash toddler’s pear, and ensure him all is right with the world.

Add to melted coconut oil: a bunch of applesauce (~1 cup), 2 eggs, a little vanilla (~1 tsp), and some milk (~½ cup).

Tend to whining toddler because the dog did something toddler did not approve of.

Where were we? Oh, right, we added wet stuff to a big bowl. Go ahead and add the dry stuff to a bowl. Mix it all together. Then add the blueberries, and mix just until combined.

Make sure pan is hot, and dump heaping spoonfuls of batter onto pan.

Realize you forgot to add the banana to the “Blueberry Banana Nut Pancakes.” Add banana to remaining batter, mashing it with a fork.

Keep an eye on the pancakes and your toddler, flipping over when lightly browned. The pancakes, not your toddler. Meanwhile, stop your toddler from dumping a box of plastic straws into the trash. Pull out a tupperware container so that he can practice putting the straws into container. Give him a blanket to sit on because that rug really needs to be washed.

Remove pancakes when done and put on a plate.

Tend to toddler who is banging on the door to the garage crying “daddy daddy daddy daddy daddy!” Take toddler outside to see that Daddy is busy building a nice wooden garden box. Then calm crying toddler because the sound of the screwdriver is terrifying. Explain how the screw goes into the wood to hold it together and then politely ask toddler to come back inside to eat pancakes.

React quickly to catch toddler who has catapulted himself backwards to initiate full-blown tantrum because he wants to do the opposite of what you’re asking. Calmly explain to toddler that he is hungry and that eating breakfast will solve his problem. Carry toddler who is now screaming, crying and kicking you into the house under one arm, keeping your composure.

Explain the ingredients in the pancakes and how healthy and delicious they will be. Give toddler applesauce to dip pancakes in because ain’t nobody got time for a toddler with a headache from the sugar in syrup (yes, even if it’s the good organic, Grade B kind, I ain’t ready for that).

Sit with your toddler while he eats pancakes because he asked you to “sit sit” and it’s absolutely adorable. Hopefully somewhere in the process you’ve put new batter on the stove and are flipping the new pancakes, because you have to remember to eat too.

After toddler is finished eating, clean him up and send him on his merry way. Finish cooking the rest of your batter, while noticing items being thrown downstairs from the top of the stair, over the banister. Ask yourself if he’s really tall enough to be able to do this already? Notice that the items he’s bending and throwing downstairs are the nice family photos you had printed to frame and hang.

Have a couple pancakes, pat yourself on the back, and consider pancake breakfast a success. Now it’s time to get dressed and get ready to leave.

But first, feed toddler, who is now demanding a pear…no, make that an orange… yes, an orange… right. this. second.

 

Peace, love, and sanity with children,

Melissa

 

I’ve had so much to say on this topic for the past year, but as soon as I sit down to write this post, I find myself staring at a blank screen. I’ve experienced such a huge range of emotions throughout this journey, I truly don’t know where to begin.

Before my son was born, I assumed I would breastfeed him for one year. Well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of one year, I thought nothing of it—until he nursed for the very first time, and I immediately wanted to retract my statement. Holy…painful…experience! All I could think of was, “I just gave birth and now I have to endure MORE pain?! This is SO not fair!” After a few days of raw, bleeding nipples and toe-curling pain, I wasn’t sure I would make it another feeding let alone 12 months!

To make matters worse, I was dealing with D-MER, short for Dysmorphic Milk Ejection Reflex. It sounds weird, but what it actually means is that I experienced extreme depression before my milk let down, which then lasted most of the feeding session. As soon as he was finished it would disappear, but it made nursing him very difficult and made pumping almost impossible. I’m extremely thankful that milk supply was never an issue for me, but then of course there are side effects of having plenty of milk. Goodbye morning workouts, or ANY workout for that matter, until baby was fed!

Even with a broken tailbone, I took only 5 weeks off from training, and 6 weeks off from my full time gig at the office. I had this twisted idea in my head that I would have a baby and then go right back to my “normal” life. Unfortunately it took about 8 months, 3 doctors, 1 husband (haha) and an extreme amount of stress before I really understood that I couldn’t continue on the way I was. I would nurse him most of the night (he wasn’t a fan of sleeping through the night at ALL), then teach camp, work my full time job, then train again in the evening. It was easily a 20 hour day, and with an infant and breastfeeding on demand exclusively, it was too much.

Incredibly stressed, suffering both mentally and physically, I needed to reassess my goal. I was at 3 months of breastfeeding, and knew if I had any chance of making it one more day (let alone 12 months), I would have to create a more attainable goal. With the support of my husband and friends and decided I wanted to get to the 6 month mark and then I could quit breastfeeding.

Luckily, reestablishing a smaller goal did the trick! I was able to reach the 6 month mark and after that, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, it was never “easy” by any means. It just got “manageable”. In fact I heard a quote recently that describes breastfeeding quite perfectly,

“Breastfeeding is incredibly difficult, except for when it’s easy.”

Last week officially marked 12 months of breastfeeding and I feel like the most accomplished woman on the planet. I am still working 2 jobs (more than that, actually), and am still breastfeeding without ever having to supplement with formula. I actually worked my tail off to build up a nice supply in the first 4-5 months to ensure my LO would be able to be breastfed as long as possible regardless of how long I made it. With that supply, I was able to help a friend out by donating some breastmilk for her sweet baby. This donation actually helped me in meeting my goal. Knowing that I was blessed with a very generous milk supply and that there are other women who aren’t as fortunate, I felt it was my responsibility to keep going.

This entire journey has been incredibly difficult, yet enjoyable and memorable at the same time. As I look back, I remember crying when nursing, having to do anything to distract myself (lots of squats, usually, because the wave of depression was so intense I did anything to keep my mind off of it), and wanting to quit on a daily basis. I am finally “here” and want to jump up and down and throw my pump off of a tall building, but I can’t. I can’t because I am doing the most beautiful thing for my child. (Also that pump is freakin’ expensive and that would be a totally idiotic move.) I know I have the support of my friends and family if I do decide to stop, and a few doctors have gently suggested I consider it (for my own health reasons), but they are also incredibly supportive of my decision to continue.

I can’t describe the emotions that come over me when I contemplate ending this, and I know that most Mommas understand what I mean by this. I should be ecstatic that I have hit my goal and I should now be able to give myself permission to stop breastfeeding. But I can’t. But I want to. But I don’t want to. I feel selfish. I need to stop. Or do I? I do realize that my full physical and mental wellbeing will not be restored until I stop—but I can’t yet. The mix of emotions and hormones is overwhelming. One second I feel like I could breastfeed forever, and the next I feel like I cannot go on one more day. The amount of hours I have spent sitting still in a chair while my LO eats is insane. Those are hours I will never get back and for a Type A workaholic like myself, that was very difficult for a very long time. However, I thankfully grew to love that time together and as the end draws nearer, I cherish our moments together more and more. Thankfully, Honey Brown Photography was able to capture some of these beautiful moments on film. I will treasure them forever.

For now, I will continue breastfeeding. I no longer have a goal, now the plan is to continue on as long as I feel I can. I think part of my reward for hitting my 12-month goal is to no longer have a goal. There’s something really “freeing” about having hit the mark. I feel like every day I continue on is an extra special bonus for my little angel.

A very special thank you goes out to my husband, friends, doula and family for being so supportive. I’ve called you in tears plenty of times this past year asking for reassurance that if I quit before my goal I was still a good Mother. Thank you for all you have done to help me hit this milestone, I couldn’t have done this without you.

Peace, love, and breastmilk,

Melissa

 

The main reason I started this blog is to help educate people who want to live happier and healthier lives. There is so much information floating around these days, sometimes it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not. I will be the first to admit that I had some unrealistic expectations of myself postpartum. I assumed that being fit and eating healthy, all of my weight would just fall off. Sure the last 10 lbs would probably be “tricky”, but nothing I couldn’t handle and certainly they wouldn’t stay on longer than about 4 months. I am currently 4 months postpartum, and here to tell you the truth about baby weight.

My Midwife put it to me this way, “There are two types of women that breastfeed, those that can’t keep weight on, and those that can’t lose the weight until they’re done breastfeeding. Unfortunately you will probably fall into the latter group.” Awesome. After 42 LONG weeks of watching the numbers on the scale increase, there was nothing more I wanted than my “body back.” I know all the Moms reading this right now are nodding in agreement. Being a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor adds some extra stress as well, since I feel like people have high expectations of me. Maybe they do and maybe they don’t, but I definitely strive to be the best example for them that I can. So now, at 4 months postpartum, I have an extra 14 lbs that just WILL NOT BUDGE and although it’s not what I thought would happen…I’m finally okay with it.

After labor and delivery, you are left with a beautiful child and…a still slightly enormous belly. Except it’s not hard and there’s nothing moving inside of it anymore. It’s just all soft, squishy uterus. Ewww. They say it takes about 6 weeks for your uterus to return to it’s “normal” size. Your organs also have to shift back into place—there’s a lot happening in there. So it’s expected that it takes some time for things to return to normal. I lost more than half of the weight I gained in the first 10 days. I got compliment after compliment and I thought to myself “Oh yeah, this is so easy.” Everything I heard about breastfeeding made me believe that the weight was just going to fall off. And it did…but it was mostly water weight, and it stopped after about three weeks. From 3 weeks postpartum until now, I have lost a whopping 4 lbs. and let me tell you, my diet has been ON POINT. I’ve been exercising and eating right, so what is the dang deal?! It’s frustrating to say the least. I walk around “sucking in” because I feel I can no longer get away with saying I “just” had a baby. I feel like others judge me and honestly, those without kids probably do. I’m sure they assume I’m just not putting in the work to take care of it. And I now realize that that’s just not the way postpartum baby weight works when you’re breastfeeding. At least not for me.

So, you’ve had a baby, you’re breastfeeding and your hormones are still super out of whack—I mean come on, when is my hair going to STOP falling out already? And there’s this other thing—you are the sole food source for a little tiny human being that you just grew inside of you. I’d say that’s kind of a big deal. Truthfully, it is absolutely normal for your body to hang on to an extra 10-20 lbs while breastfeeding. Your body is AMAZING, and it is going to do exactly what it needs to do to ensure that you can produce and supply enough milk to nuture your child. I think that’s pretty freakin’ amazing. It’s just like in pregnancy. I remember agonizing over every pound I gained, wondering if it was true “baby weight” or if it was because all I felt like eating were carbohydrates. Looking back…I shouldn’t have stressed nearly as much as I did. My body was creating life!

I see other women’s posts online about how all of the baby weight just “fell off” and how happy they are, and I find myself wishing that was me. But it’s not me, and there’s a darn good reason that’s not me. My body is doing exactly what it needs to be doing. Having birthed a child (sans epidural, at that), I now have so much more respect for my body. If it wants to hang onto 14 lbs, well so be it! I’m fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed, which I know is more than a lot of women can say. Although there are lots of crappy side effects, I am truly grateful that I am able to provide food for my sweet baby. I know that my body will get rid of the weight when it is time. Right now, I am eating a super clean, healthy diet not because I want the weight to come off, but because that is what my body needs to provide the most nutritious milk for my son. I also know that the healthier I eat—the healthier I feel. The healthier I feel— the more I want to exercise, the better my relationships are and the better wife, mom and friend I am.

Instead of looking at these last 14 lbs. as being “stubborn baby weight” pounds, I look at them as “necessary milk supply” pounds, and that changes everything. Attitude is everything, so make it positive. Act positively, think positively, be positive. You created life, and now your supplying your baby with the nutrients he/she needs to grow and be healthy and happy. STOP thinking about this baby weight RIGHT THIS MINUTE and be PROUD of yourself.

Here’s to all the breastfeeding Mommas out there! You are amazing! Here’s to positive thinking, healthy milk supplies and healthy, happy babies!

Melissa

Being a new mom, I’m terrified of many things, mostly of things I can’t control. That’s why when it comes to things that I CAN control, I’m taking extra care to be sure I give my son the very best. This leads me to a discussion on diaper rash. Prior to our baby’s birth, I researched all I could on remedies to prevent and—if necessary—treat diaper rash.

Here’s what I’ve done so far. Please note that I am by no means an expert—I’ve only been a mom for 4 weeks. But so far, this is working for our baby! UPDATE: Our little one is 11 months now, and this process/products below are still our GOLD standard in diaper rash prevention/treatment!

The Process:

Most importantly, change the diaper regularly. We are currently using Earth’s Best Diapers. (Update 8/2014: We switched to Honest diapers during the day, and cloth overnight). As soon as the diaper is wet, be sure to change it. There’s nothing bacteria like more than a warm, wet environment! Also, use all-natural laundry detergent, natural diapers and natural wipes to avoid allergic reactions. Organic clothing on newborns is also helpful.

  1. Wipe down baby with Earth’s Best Wipes. This removes stool and urine that can contain substances like bacteria, yeast, parasites and other toxins that can cause diaper rash.
  2. Wipe down baby with water using a wet washcloth (we’re currently using GroVia wipes).
  3. Pat dry with a dry washcloth.
  4. From this point, I’ve been alternating treatments. I alternate between just putting him in a diaper, with no special “treatments”, using an Organic Coconut/Arrowroot Powder mix and using an Organic Oil Treatment. The Organic Oil Treatment should only be used every 3 diaper changes (or 2-3x a day), and the Powder Treatment should be used whenever you feel necessary, especially when there is moisture present.

Organic Coconut/Arrowroot Powder

First and foremost, this powder does NOT contain talc, which is a common carcinogen and has been proven dangerous to a child’s lungs. I apply it by shaking a small amount into the diaper, then spreading it across the diaper with clean hands. I apply the powder to the diaper away from my baby’s face so that he does not inhale any of the powder. The ingredients in the powder have anti-microbial properties and help absorb moisture. You can easily make your own powder mix at home, or you can purchase it online. Check Amazon for cheaper prices. If baby experiences a reaction, discontinue use.

Organic Oil Treatment

The oils moisturize baby’s skin as well as protect and disinfect without disrupting the skin’s natural protective properties. I have used this since my son was born for diaper rash prevention AND treatment! Buy online from my Etsy shop! 

Baking Soda Bath

To help neutralize acidity of diarrhea/diaper rash on baby’s skin, pour baking soda in a warm bath and have baby soak in it. Works wonders!

 

Peace, love and healthy baby skin,

Melissa