ALL ABOUT THE BOOBS

Oh breastfeeding… What an amazing experience you were! I remember when Everlee was first born I was SO excited to try and breastfeed. I was so set on it, too. Our first attempt went okay for it being new for both of us. With the help of our wonderful nurse we latched on just right! It only lasted ten or so minutes, but I can remember the whole event.

Now the first day, that was brutal. She was just so tiny! I tried every position in the book but nothing was helping her, or myself. At that time, I wanted to give up. I thought maybe it wasn’t for me, even though I wanted it so bad! After a few days, and being groped by both strangers and family, we started to get the hang of things!

She started feeding like a champ! My nipples on the other hand, were a hot mess. We pushed through every blister or crack I got! Once she started growing and her mouth became larger, breastfeeding was so much easier. Plus, we were actually enjoying it! I mean, I could do chores while breastfeeding. We were professionals at that point.

Fast forward to 2 1/2 months in. Everything was still going so smooth. Nothing could get in our way! Or so I thought. I had been putting off getting a procedure done for a good two years. Once I scheduled said procedure, I had one week to try and pump like a mad woman for while I was under anesthesia. If any exclusively breastfeeding mothers are reading this, you’ll probably understand. I hadn’t pumped since my milk was unregulated and I was producing enough milk for twelve babies. So, when I tried to pump for surgery, I was able to get one bottle.

I was so frustrated but knew there was nothing I could do, because I had to get the surgery. So we turned to formula. Turned out, she was all over that. Everlee, being the little piggy she is, loved how fast she could eat with her bottle. I can’t blame her, I can eat an entire tub of ice cream in once sitting.

I didn’t think that morning would be our last feeding together. I was fully prepared to come home and get back to our regular routine. Unfortunately, things did NOT go that way. She totally rejected the boob after she learned of the glorious bottle. I was so heart broken! Ask Dillon, I cried… More than once. It was something so special that I wasn’t ready to give up, and so suddenly.

After finally coming to terms with our breastfeeding journey coming to a faster end than I intended, I decided to stop trying to pump. I was in so much physical pain after my surgery that it was just easier to give her the formula she loved so much. Plus, she was getting so chunky. Who doesn’t love a chunky baby?

I figured I should put this random disclaimer in here… in no way am I shaming ANYONE who doesn’t breastfeed, or formula itself. I just wanted to share our journey together. Fed is best! Hands down!

I’m so proud of her and myself for pushing through every obstacle we faced. I’m so lucky to have gotten the time we did out of breastfeeding, and even luckier to have a healthy baby girl! I’m so thankful that even after our end with breastfeeding, she switched to formula so easy. She’s seriously awesome.

Breastfeeding is something I will always cherish with all my children, and Everlee has taught me not to take any of that time for granted. Here’s to all the blisters, late night feedings, handicap stall feedings, sprinkler let-downs, lanolin, milk stained shirts, and engorgement. You will be missed… until my next baby, that is!

EMOTIONS, EMOTIONS, EMOTIONS.

April 30th, 2017 started like every other day. It was Sunday, which meant grocery shopping and chores for Dillon and I. After a long day of playing catch up around the house, it was time for some well deserved R&R. I had felt under the weather the past week, so I did what my coworker had advised me. I had all of the classic symptoms. Nausea, heartburn, exhaustion, and for some reason I could NOT stomach pizza.

It was around seven in the evening at this point so I figured, why not? I went and took a pregnancy test. I sat and watched the test, and I kid you not, one minute went by and there was a dark double line. There was no doubt about what it read. I had just celebrated my nineteenth birthday, so of course I was in shock. What would everyone say? What would they think? Would I carry full term?

I had always wanted this, a family of my own. But was I ready to face this beautiful journey ahead of me? Was Dillon? Well, after my thirty second panic attack, I was overjoyed! I quickly ran over to Dillon to share what I had discovered. As I suspected, he had the same overall reaction as I did. But, his end result was also the same as mine, pure excitement. Now my pregnancy was no plan, but it wasn’t an accident either. We were already mentally prepared for if this day would come. Nor did I ever once think Dillon wanted anything different, for those who I’m sure wondered that.

If anyone reading this knows me personally, you know I like my evidence. Since it was late in the evening, and the tests I bought were cheap, I took another. By no surprise, another instant positive. You thought I would stop there, right? Haha, nope. The next day, I took six more, for a total of eight positives! I got my evidence, by the way. From then on, we just played it day-by-day. We went on and told our loved ones, who were all shocked, supportive, and excited. We love you!

By the end of my first trimester, we announced our news on social media’s and told our friends. From that point forward we just did what any other couple would do. We prepared, found out we were having a baby girl, then waited for delivery day. I wouldn’t changed a thing about how we ended up where we are today. Everlee has been the biggest blessing to Dillon, me, and our families.

Being a young mom is so hard but so rewarding. For me, the actual act of “momming” isn’t hard, it’s actually really natural and easy. Yes, I have an easy baby. Will my future children challenge me? I’d put money on that. What’s hard is the looks I get, the stigma behind young parents, and the judgement. Thankfully for my readers, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter! This is a subject I could go on forever with, so I think I’ll stop here and rant in another post!

I will never forget this day, and I’m so thankful for what became of it. My little family means the world to me.

NEWBORN MUST HAVES

Before I became a mother, I was constantly doing my mommy research. I read TONS of blogs and watched videos on YouTube on different opinions of newborn must haves. I made my registry after hours of this. Keep in mind, no list will be the same as the one you find with your newborn. But, it’s good to have somewhere to start. Below I put together a list of things that I found to be total life savers with our little one. Some of these may seem like a no brainer, but they all make life with a newborn much easier!

1. THE DOCKATOT

This thing has been a serious life saver. Our daughter totally refused to be in a bassinet. In order to get more than an hour of sleep at night she had to be in our bed. We weren’t comfortable just letting her cosleep on our mattress with us, so I had my mother-in-law pick up the DockATot at our local retailer (we found ours at Buy Buy Baby). Before I had her, I thought this product was a total waste of money. I figured it was too expensive for some piece of fabric and padding. Boy, I was SO wrong. I would keep one at each grandma’s house if I could! Having her in the DockATot gives us the comfort of having her in our bed and the peace of mind knowing she is at reduced risk for SIDs (if the product is used correctly of course; check out their safety page to learn more).

2. INGENUITY BABY SWING

As young as a week old, our daughter absolutely loved being in her swing. It made it easy for me to be able to clean up or get chores done with her somewhere I could watch her. The Ingenuity InLighten Cradling Swing & Rocker gives you the best bang for your buck. It has the capability to swing in 3 different directions with 6 swing speeds, and the super soft seat can be detached as a vibrating rocker seat. The seat can recline in two positions and the cover is easy to take off to machine wash. If that wasn’t enough, it has the option to play your own music for baby with the built in AUX cord. No baby friendly music on your device? The swing has different sounds and melodies to choose from. I can’t rave about this swing enough. It is all around perfect for us.

3. AN ELECTRIC BREAST PUMP

Like I said, some of these should be a no brainer. If you’re planning to breastfeed, I highly recommend getting an electric pump. Before I actually used a pump, I figured the manual one would be just fine. I was so wrong. I started pumping when my milk supply was too much for my daughter to handle. Using the manual one made my hand ache and took so much longer than an electric one. Fortunately, I was gifted the Lansinoh SignaturePro double electric pump. I will never go back to the manual. It has so many settings to meet your own preferences and is so convenient. The pump can also be converted to a single pump which makes it easy to pump while I breastfeed on the other side. It’s also super easy to clean and take with me on the go, which is a major plus!

4. GRIPE WATER

If your little one is gassy like ours, which is almost a given, go grab some of this miracle juice. There’s TONS of speculation whether or not gas drops or gripe water actually do something. Well lucky for you, I’m here to confirm that they do. Personally, I prefer to give our baby gripe water rather than gas drops like Mylicon. Specifically, the Mommy’s Bliss gripe water is our favorite. It’s all natural and works like a charm. It helps with gas, colic, hiccups -you name it! It contains organic ginger and fennel extracts which are SO great for helping upset tummies! Mommy’s Bliss even claims that their gripe water helps with teething.. But I’d have to let you know about that once we climb that mountain.

5. CAR SEAT COVER

This is a serious must. A car seat cover is exactly what it sounds like. Why do I rave about this? Well, let’s face it.  You have a new baby, or as I like to call them, a germy hand magnet! Your first outing after giving birth usually ends up with you getting stopped by complete strangers. People love babies. With a car seat cover, you can shield the germy world from knowing how cute your baby is. The cover also helps for the winter months as well. Our baby was born in December, so taking her out made me feel like she was going to freeze! I had some peace of mind knowing that there was something keeping the wind and rain out of the car seat. I mean, they’re pretty cute too. There are many sites and companies that offer these amazing inventions. My personal favorite is from a brand called Canopy Couture. This brand has TONS of different styles, patterns, materials and prints to choose from. The Canopy Couture brand is a little more pricey, but worth it because of the quality. The shipping took about 2 weeks and I was more than pleased. If you want one of the many car seat covers/canopies, use my code “COOPERFAM14” at checkout for $50.00 off your order! So really, you only pay for shipping… SO. WORTH. IT.

6. ACTIVITY GYM/PLAY MAT

This is a serious must. Most play mats are 0+ month, so it can be used from birth on. It’s great for the beginning stages because the baby can lay on the mat and study the toys. The play mat is also perfect for tummy time and gives a space that’s always clean and cozy. We use the Infantino Go GaGa Deluxe Twist & Fold Gym for our daughter and love how much it comes with. Another plus with this activity gym is that it easily folds for on the go/storage.

7. SWADDLE BLANKETS

For most people, this is another obvious must. A large majority of babies LOVE to be swaddled. Swaddling gives the baby sense of comfort and snuggle that can help them sleep better. My personal favorites are the Aden And Anais muslin swaddle blankets. These are the holy grail for our family. Our daughter loves to be swaddled but gets sweaty in receiving blankets. Since these blankets are made of breathable muslin material, it reduces the risk of overheating. These blankets are also bigger than the average swaddle blanket, making them multifunctional. I have used mine as nursing covers, stroller cover, burping- you name it! These blankets are a tad more pricey than others, but definitely worth it!

8. SOUND MACHINE

Another helpful item in the past couple months of first-time motherhood has been our noise machine. The sound machine helps calm our baby and helps her fall asleep. Specifically, the SwaddleMe Slumber Buddies Elephant Soother and Sound Machine. This adorable sound machine has a plush elephant companion for her slumber journey. My favorite feature is that one of the noises is running water. There is also a heartbeat and lullabies that equally do the trick. The moment I turn this on, our daughter relaxes. It’s great for on the go, and I’ve had this playing in the car for her so many times. Plus, it’s cute! You can’t go wrong with cute.

Thank you for checking out some of the items that I believe are true life savers for the early stages. I spent a lot of time narrowing down the things I wanted to include in this post. When I asked my fiancé what things he thought were must haves for newborns he gave me two answers: “Number one- the DockATot, for sure the DockATot. Also, a good mom.”

Man, I love that guy.

Positively Purple

Before I got pregnant, my white stretch marks made me the MOST self conscious young woman. I knew they could be worse, but I was so stuck on the images of women around me. I had them on my breasts and thighs and I refused to let them be seen by the world. Loving myself seemed so far away.

During my pregnancy, those friendly stretch marks turned purple and brought new friends to my body. I remember thinking to myself, These are so horrible, I’ll never be able to wear a bikini EVER again. I gained new marks every day it seemed like. I had them in places I didn’t even know about until my giant belly started to shrink. Looking back at it, I wish I had documented the growth of the stretch marks.

After I gave birth, I looked at my new body in awe. I shrunk from being 9 months pregnant to looking 4 months pregnant, and of course some bags under my eyes! Today, I am 2 months postpartum being close to back to myself.. But better. I have these stretch marks to remind me of what my body went through to get the perfect body I hold everyday. I feel the best I’ve ever felt. It’s one of the most amazing things I have experienced.

Today I wear these stripes with pride. They are all special and unique. I am the canvas to a beautiful pregnancy that resulted in the birth of a stunning baby girl. No woman should feel shameful of these beauty marks. Wear your postpartum body with nothing but positivity! Motherhood has made me a warrior. I can do anything I set my mind to. I am beautiful and strong, I am a mother.