Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Our breastfeeding journey started when I was pregnant with Zander. I was able to breastfeed my first for 18 months, but it was not an easy journey and I had hoped to have things go a little smoother the second time. I had a c section with Kinley and knew as soon as she was born that I wanted things to go different if we ever had more children. Breastfeeding is hard and not as natural as everyone says, it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. I wanted to educate myself. And let me also say some people just can't breastfeed and that is ok. My choice was to breastfeed my children.

I spent endless hours researching VBACs and how to have a successful VBAC. I knew I did not want another c section and would do every thing possible to make that happen. I wanted to know that if I was not successful I did everything I could to set myself up for success.

I knew I was going to breastfeed Zander but I was unsure how things would go the second time around. I was hoping that if I had a VBAC it would make our breastfeeding journey a little easier than the first time. Having a c section the first time made things a little more challenging looking back.

I am proud to say I had a successful unmedicated VBAC on April 6, 2016. It was the most amazing experience ever. Zander was placed on my chest immediately following his birth and he stayed there for almost an hour. He made his way up to the breast and latched on his own. It was amazing to be so coherent and share the first latch experience with him. I did not have any pain medications so I was fully present and able to soak up every second of our first latch.

I had some pain initially, which is normal, but was so nervous about it being detrimental to our journey; I had excruciating pain with Kinley for about 6 months. I had done a lot of research on tongue ties and lip ties, because looking back that was the reason for all the agonizing pain with my daughter. I was adamant in having the doctors and nurses check for tongue and lip ties. Thankfully my husband is and was an amazing support to me through all of this. It is so important to advocate for what you want and what you think is best for your baby, I truly believe in mother's intuition. Before we left the hospital one of the nurses informed me he did have a little bit of a lip tie but if the pain subsided after a few weeks and he was gaining weight it shouldn't need to be fixed.

I tried to believe in myself and know things would work out. Stressing makes breastfeeding harder so I tried to remain calm and lean on my husband for support. Having a toddler running around also made things a lot more challenging for me. Zander and I could not lay in bed all day while he nursed, my toddler needed attention as well. I was determined to be successful with breastfeeding. That is what I wanted for myself and my baby. I have no judgement for people that want to give formula but I knew that was not for us and breastfeeding my baby was going to be the best for our family.

About 6 weeks in things started to get easier. The engorgement was gone and the majority of the nipple pain was gone. I used a LOT of lanolin in between feedings. I also did not pump at all, which I think really helped.

We have had a few hiccups in the road but nothing major and nothing we haven't been able to work through. I am proud to say we are almost 8 months in and we both couldn't be happier. I pump while I work so he gets breast milk while I am gone and he nurses when I am with him.

One thing that really helped me is to not have high expectations and to go with the flow. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and knew I would do everything I could to succeed, but if it didn't work out that was ok; at least that is what I told myself. Thankfully for us it has worked out. I think it is so important to have a support system and be able to lean on other moms for questions when it comes to feeding your baby. Everyone has a different story and there is so much to learn from everyone. Do what is best for you and your baby and do not get caught up in what other's think. The best supports will support whatever decision you make. We choose to breastfeed.

I wouldn't trade looking into those big blue eyes while we share one of the best experiences ever. I am so thankful to have been able to breastfeed both my babies.

The Honest Company Feeding page is a great resource and supports all ways to feed your child if you need additional information.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday Kinley

Has it really been 3 years!!! People tell you to not blink that time will go so fast and I never understood until you were born. I should've known from the begining what we were getting into with you. 16 hours of intense labor, 5 hours of pushing and an hour of surgery. You were a stubborn one, still are, and you were not coming until I couldn't do anymore after 5 hours of pushing. It was all worth it and I would do it all over again for you. I never knew I could love someone so much instantly. 8 pounds 1 ounce of the most precious face ever.

That date is wrong and it drives me crazy!

You came into this world knowing what you wanted and how things were going to go. Looking back you dictated while in the womb too. I guess that is how things go. You want what you want when you want it and there is no changing that. As challenging as your personality is at times it is one of my favorite traits about you.

These past 3 years have been some of the best, most challenging and rewarding years yet. You have added so much joy and inspiration to mine and your daddy's life and we are so thankful you call us mommy and daddy.

So much has happened this past year and you have taken it all in and soaked up every moment. Shortly before you turned 2 we moved and you had an even more difficult time sleeping after the move. We thought getting you a toddler bed might help but in the end it didn't help at all. You nap in your bed and do fine with it. At night it is a different story and you are sleeping with us. I really do love all of your snuggles but sometimes wish you would sleep in your own bed.

You had your first sleep in a hotel and things went pretty well. We took you up to Great Wolf Lodge for one last family getaway before your brother arrived. We had a blast but it was a little overwhelming to you with so much to do.

You were the sweetest thing while I was pregnant and I was so excited for you to meet him. You were and have been amazing from day one. It is like that connection has been there forever between you two and it melts my heart. I love watching your relationship grow.

You mastered potty training.

I took you to see your first movie in the theater, Finding Dory. It went better than expected and you made it through about half of it.

You had your first trip to Florida and we all had a blast. You were in fish in Aunt Judy's pool and got to hold an alligator with Daddy. You thought it was pretty awesome to feed them hot dogs.

You started pre preschool. You were so excited to start but the first few weeks were really hard. Now it is all you talk about and can't wait for your school days. You have made many friends and have learned so much in such a short amount of time. It amazes me.

Halloween was so much fun this year and you were the cutest Tinkerbell ever.

I can not believe how much you have grown in a year. Your language has exploded and your understanding and articulation amazes me daily. You are the sweetest girl and have the biggest heart. You are some what bossy but usually use your manners so it is cute when you tell someone to do something, for now 😉.

You are very independent and do well playing on your own. You love mommy and daddy to sit and color with you but most times you are happy to do it on your own, or with your brother. Arts and crafts are by far your favorite thing to do, reading books coming in second. You learned how to ride your tricycle and love riding up and down the street. You love helping daddy do things but most of the time it is all about mommy. That is a change this year and I think your brother has a lot to do with that now. If mommy is there daddy can't help you with much. You like to do things on your own and help out with everything. You are the best big sister ever and adore your brother. The joy you guys bring each other makes my heart explode. Watching your two is all I ever wanted.

You are sensitive. You do not like when people are upset and you frequently ask me, "Mom are you happy?" Or if I am upset about something, "Mom why are you sad?" You don't like when your brother cries and you are by his side trying to soothe him instantly. You love your animals just as much. You are definitely a lover in all ways, but boy those tantrums are no joke at times. You tell me you are sad or you are tired, or my favorite, "I had a busy day mom."

Don't stop being you baby girl. Keep reaching for those stars and dream big, there is no stopping your determination and perseverance. I am so lucky you choose me to be your mommy. You have started telling me you love me at random times and it melts my heart. You are the best and I wouldn't changes things for the world. I think your daddy and brother would agree 100%! You are the best thing in the world Kinley Reese and I can't wait to see what the future holds.