breastfeeding

Hey, Momma! Don’t Forget To Care For Yourself!

By on February 16, 2021
Guest Article By Leslie Campos, wellparents.com

If you are a first-time, breastfeeding mom, congratulations! Nursing your baby is an intimate experience that you will never forget. But one thing you may forget is that you have to take care of yourself, too, if you want to be the very best mom and caregiver for your little one. Without further ado, here are some tips on how to do that during the first precious months (or years) of your breastfeeding journey.

Read — a lot.

If your bundle has yet to make their debut, get to work by reading. Your study sessions should include online blogs, like Integrated Mama, as well as books on pregnancy and motherhood. Look for information and helpful tips on things pertinent to your life. This might be bringing a new baby home when you have dogs in the house or caring for a child when you have a disability. There is no such thing as too much knowledge, as long as it comes from a reputable source.

Pack well before your due date. 

There are few things more stressful to a pre-parent than getting close to your due date without a hospital bag packed. Trust that the sooner you are ready to head out the door, the better. You want to make sure you have everything from a delivery gown to your baby’s car seat. For your hospital clothing, make sure you have garments that are cozy, comfortable, and familiar and can be easily used to breastfeed. You’ll also want to pack snacks for you and your partner, lip balm to address dry and cracked lips, and all the paperwork needed by the hospital or birthing center.

Address breastfeeding issues early on.

Once the baby arrives, you should have access to a lactation nurse that can show you the ropes. Do not be afraid to ask for help, and find a lactation consultant to address issues early. Breastfeeding problems can range from low supply to your infant being tongue-tied, so having an expert on call from the beginning will save you from an immeasurable amount of worry and heartache.

Sleep when you can.

Newborn babies sleep a lot — but they wake up a lot, too. If possible, sleep when your baby sleeps, but also ask for help from your partner, close friends, or family so that you get at least a few long stretches of shuteye. Do yourself a favor and learn how to swaddle before you leave the hospital. Swaddling will help suppress the jerking movements from your baby’s startle reflex, which can wake them prematurely from a sound sleep.

Enjoy a warm bath every night. 

A warm bath does wonders for the soul, but the moist heat also increases your milk supply. Further, a 30-minute dip in the tub can soothe tired muscles and, as the Inner Splendor blog explains, even lower your blood pressure. A special note here: If you do have high blood pressure, consult with your child’s pediatrician about whether or not your current medications may pass onto your breast milk.

There are many self-care acts that you can do for yourself when you’re breastfeeding. Obviously, you need to eat well and exercise, but being your best is more than that. These are just a few tips that can help you be good to yourself and your baby. This is an exciting time and one that you will never forget, so treat yourself well and enjoy every moment.

Integrated Mama is a treasure trove of inspiration and wellness tips for first-time and experienced moms alike. Like the Facebook page to stay abreast of information on pregnancy, nursing, and motherhood. 

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parenting

3 Tips for Surviving the Sleep Deprivation of Parenthood

By on December 10, 2019

I’m going to admit something. Before having my third child, I never truly understood what it meant to be exhausted. Of course, I’ve been tired. I’ve had sleepless nights, but nothing that couldn’t be restored with a couple of good nights rest.

I am blessed with 2 boys that are amazing sleepers. Mira, on the other hand is not going to follow the pattern of her brothers. We’ve had Ezra on a 7pm-7am schedule with a 2-3 hour nap for ages. Mira is 6 1/2 months old now and still waking 2-4 times per night, and her naps are essentially catnaps. We’ve moved her out of our room, she’s in her own crib. We’ve coslept, we’ve let her fuss it out. The fact is, she isn’t biologically wired to sleep all night.

That being said, Ezra now wakes at 5:15 am like a wonderful little alarm clock. No matter what his bedtime, no matter what our bedtime, he bounds out of bed ready to go. We are coming to the point of acceptance that we are in our season of sleep deprivation.

Some days, I don’t realize how tired I am until the kids are in bed and Gus and I take time to connect and watch something on our Britbox subscription. Sometimes it takes us 3 days to finish one episode because one of us is nodding off. Oh, the saga of parenthood.

I have had to find some solutions and relief (because a nap doesn’t happen) to get me through the day so I can still function without binging on coffee. I do enjoy a morning cup of coffee, but I like to leave it as a morning ritual, not a vice for mental clarity.

Lifting the Fog

  1. Vitamin D3– this is a powerhouse hormone in our body. There are many studies showing how a large portion of the population are vitamin d deficient. This is one of the first things I take in the morning along with my probiotic and multivitamin. I need to take it anyway since I’m breastfeeding. What it does physiologically is help the mitochondria which are “the power houses” of our cells to work efficiently.
  2. Hydration– something as simple as water is an amazing tool. Dehydration slows us down, causes us to feel stronger brain fog, and actually causes us to retain fluids. I try to consume 3-4 quarts per day, and it truly does help reduce fatigue.
  3. Opt outside– There’s an old Scandinavian saying “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing”– so by implementing this phrase, getting outdoors every day can be a priority. Luckily, we live in Florida where there truly is rarely bad weather so opting outdoors is always possible. Fresh air and sunshine do wonders for the mood (and vitamin D levels). I pack up the kids in their stroller and walk around the neighborhood– it’s a quick 15 min walk but typically causes them to chill out or fall asleep and energizes me. A win-win.

These are my simplest tricks. The first tools in my toolbox that I gravitate toward when I’m feeling rundown. I have many other tools for boosting energy and clearing the brain-fog that often hits my husband and I these days. What do you do to get through the sleep deprived days?

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emotional wellness

Simple Emotional Wellness Tips

By on October 9, 2019

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Have you ever wanted to just run away?

This is my M.O. when I’m feeling stressed or down. I have an escapist fantasy. I imagine running away from my husband and kids and lounging in Bali in a beachside treetop hut.

My reality is that I am having one of those weeks… ugh, and it is just Wednesday. We had an amazing weekend and then it seems all of my stresses piled up in my body and mind and now I’ve created an internal disaster zone. Plus, I’m not getting any sleep (friggin 4 month sleep regression).

I am not writing this blog for recognition or sympathy. I am writing this down because I’m sure many people who open this post have these thoughts and feelings too. It is a tough place to be and for me, the cycle of negative thinking can spiral much quicker than it should.

Call it hormones, call it sleep-deprivation, call it emotional imbalance. Whatever it is, it sucks and I know I want to make bad choices when feeling this way. I often run to comfort eating, Target or Amazon retail therapy, an extra coffee– just something to pacify the mood. All of that can be well and good, but right now none of those choices line up with my current goals.

These days will come over and over again, however, I am learning to lessen the impact and the length of time I’m “out of commission” with stress and overwhelm.

I’m writing to share the tools I use to reduce the impact of negative days and recharge when the kids are extra draining. You know, since it isn’t possible to retreat to Bali, or even stay in bed for a day.

  • Always remember my goals— I keep a vision board around to remind me of my goals. I make a new one every few months to stay fresh and to recognize my progress. I will spend a few moments looking at the vision board and remind myself where I am going so that I continue to make wise, not rash decisions (eat a whole pan of brownies for dinner, lol)– so guess what? My vision board currently showcases a lot of green and fresh veggies, exercise, and positive affirmations.
  • Meditate/Pray— I will take 5-10 minutes during the day (usually during the kids’ nap) and sit down. It is always surprising to me how this action will recharge my batteries or fill my cup when I don’t think I have any energy left.
  • Take care of my belly— My goodness this has been the best thing for my nervous system and anxiety. Magnesium supplements, a good probiotic and keeping my ph alkaline really help regulate my moods! I’ve posted a few times what I use to keep my belly healthy.
  • Art– doing something creative is also a great way to replenish when you’re dragging. I am not the most artistic being on the planet, but making a vision board or writing are great outlets (hence the blog post).
  • Rest– a nap or just lying down with your eyes shut for a few minutes can change your outlook as well. As a mom of 3, it is often hard to find a few moments for a nap– but I can utilize Buzz Lightyear or Baby Einstein for a brief 10-minute pause, and not feel guilty for taking a few moments of “me” time in the middle of a highly emotional day. A rejuvenated mama is better than a burnt-out one!

These are my tips for getting through when life and parenthood are taking their toll. I always feel more grounded and generally at ease when I pull a tool (or 3) from my toolbox rather than booking my flight and disappearing from my family.

 

 

 

 

 

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family | yoga

Excuses or Expansion?

By on September 14, 2018

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Wowza! I have not blogged in over a month. Time to bust out of this writer’s block. Time management and balance are two things that I will have to work on forever!  Having a family often interferes with the rigid structure I would like to have planned for myself. My to-do list may have 10 items on it and sometimes accomplishing 3 is a stretch! Things like injuries, ear infections, and teething toddlers dictate how a day will be spent. Yesterday was one of those days. The teething toddler has been up every 2 hours for several days. My normally patient, easy going guy was accident prone, whiney, inconsolable, and exhausting to the parental units. By 6:30pm I was in my own sort of meltdown mode. So much so, that I had to have a cry at the beach.

Tears always make me feel weak. I have never liked to cry or been much of a crier. My husband is a softy who will tear up at the slightest thing, so I have been working to take on some of his softness. Tears are not a weakness, they are a release. Learning to have compassion for myself, loving myself, and nurturing myself are things that are at the forefront of my inner work. The beach is a good place for me to have these moments.

Moving to Florida and having an ocean at my discretion was something I never quite planned for, however, it was a wonderful change for our family. The ocean represents expansiveness, constant change, ebb and flow. As you can see, there are many metaphors linked to the ocean.  As soon as my feet hit the sand, I can breathe deeply. Occasionally, I will take that deep inhale and realize that my breath has been constricted most of the day. I will look out at the horizon and my eyes will soften to take in the view. Tension also often resides in our eyes. Eyes will bulge forward in their sockets, preventing us from living in a relaxed mental state. For me, the ocean is a quick fix to facilitate a deeper state of relaxation, and often release.

I have learned that crying is not a sign of weakness, and allowing tears to flow is less damaging than bottling up the emotions and creating all sorts of tension patterns in the body that can lead to pain; both physical and emotional. My tears flow less than 5 minutes and can have a lasting healing effect for weeks or even months! A quote I have held close to my heart is  “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Surfing our emotional waves and working to maintain balance is a huge key to life and one that I am reminded of on those days when I make time to visit the ocean.

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