The Solid Food Journey: Make Your Own Baby Food (and other thoughts…)

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Feeding Maggie the first six months of her life was easy. Not easy as in “Breastfeeding is the easiest thing in the world! No problems at all!” I mean I-am-lazy-and-my-boobs-are-attached-to-my-body easy. When Maggie was hungry, all I had to do was pop my breast out of my bra or tank top, and there ya have it. I didn’t have to prepare anything, because — lucky for you Maggie! — my boobs are attached to my body for your convenience.

Then, things changed. I had to start thinking about solid foods. I’m telling you — once you think you’re in a good groove, literally the second you let your brain think “This sh*t is easy! I’m the best parent ever!”, something else comes into play and takes it all away. Solid food, teeth, sleep regression, separation anxiety, rolling over, crawling, walking, etc. etc. etc. YOU’RE NEVER IN THE CLEAR.

When to start solid foods? We decided to wait until six months. There are a lot of theories and philosophies around this, and my best recommendation for you would be to do your research and ask for opinions from people you trust. I read a bunch of things, and asked my parent friends. Then ultimately, we did what we felt best for Maggie. That’s basically been my approach to most of this “parenting stuff”.

In my research, I found that the World Health Organization recommends waiting until baby is six months before solids [read more from their website here]. Dr. Sears recommends to take things slow, and to also wait until six months [read more from this website here]. I wasn’t personally in a rush to get Maggie on solids. I was nervous to be honest. I was able to see the excitement of tasting new flavors and textures, but I also saw allergies and choking. So thankfully around six months not only did Maggie seem ready to go, but Colin and I were also ready.

From Dr. Sears website:

Gone are the days when pressured mothers stuffed globs of cereal into the tight mouths of reluctant six-week-olds. Nowadays parents feed their baby on the timetable that is developmentally and nutritionally correct — as determined by their baby. Don’t be in a rush when introducing solid foods.

Here are some reasons you might wait to offer baby solids [from Dr. Sears]:

1. Baby’s intestines need to mature

2. Young babies have a tongue-thrust reflex

3. Baby’s swallowing mechanism is immature

4. Baby needs to be able to sit up

5. Young infants are not equipped to chew [Maggie only just got her first two teeth at eight months]

6. Older babies like to imitate caregivers [around six months babies like to imitate; if they see you chewing/using a spoon/etc. they may want to try too].

A lot of doctors and people in general recommend starting baby with rice cereal. After a bit of reading and asking around, we decided to skip this with Maggie. Instead, Maggie’s first food was avocado. She liked that at first, didn’t for a while, now she’s back to liking it. Wacky!

A note on cereal from The Food Renegade:

What’s wrong with infant cereal? Babies can’t digest it. In order to digest grains, your body needs to make use of an enzyme called amylase. Amylase is the enzyme responsible for splitting starches. And, guess what? Babies don’t make amylase in large enough quantities to digest grains until after they are a year old at the earliest. Sometimes it can take up to two years. You see, newborns don’t produce amylase at all. Salivary amylase makes a small appearance at about 6 months old, but pancreatic amylase (what you need to actually digest grains) is not produced until molar teeth are fully developed! First molars usually don’t show up until 13-19 months old, on average. Undigested grains wreak havoc on your baby’s intestinal lining. It can throw off the balance of bacteria in their gut and lead to lots of complications as they age including: food allergies, behavioral problems, mood issues, and more.

Make Your Own Baby Food

Another thing I wanted to do to prepare for our solid food journey was to take the Make Your Own Baby Food class offered at Acelleron Maternal Health and Wellness in North Andover. The class is taught by Maria Nardella who was awesome — she is a personal chef, a health coach, and a mother. I wanted to take this class, because solid food intimidated me. It was overwhelming [as is each new step in the parenting journey I'm finding]. What should I feed Maggie? How do I properly and safely prepare it? How much should I feed her? When do I move on to new foods? What if she doesn’t like using a spoon? What if she doesn’t like the foods I’m giving her? etc. etc. etc.

MYOBF class from Acelleron Maternal Health and Wellness’ website:

Are you excited about making delicious and nutrition foods for your new baby?  Or does the prospect scare you but you really want to learn?  No matter how you answer the question, if you would like to learn how to make wholesome and nutritious baby food for your bundle of joy, without having to buy an expensive machine, come to the workshop! We will explore how and when to introduce solid foods, what foods to introduce first and when to add grains and proteins, how to prepare/store/serve the foods you make, fun ways to have your baby explore all these wonderful foods, demonstration on making your baby’s food using the equipment you have at home, and explore products that make creating and storing your foods easy.

Steps to preparing food for baby [for example, cauliflower]:

1.Wash cauliflower

2. Steam cauliflower for five to ten minutes [can test with a fork to see if it's still not soft enough]

3. Add the steamed cauliflower into your blender, Vitamix, etc. as well as some of the steaming water you just used. That water has nutrients in it from the process of steaming and helps make the cauliflower the proper consistency for baby.

4. Blend that together, and let cool down a bit before serving to baby.

5. You can also add a bit of breast milk to the prepared food in order to thin it out more if needed.

6. Storing excess food — fill up an ice-cube tray with the rest of the food you made, put a piece of parchment paper on top and throw it in the freezer. That helps prepare you for a while! Just be sure to use the food up in time — this food should last up to three months.

*A note about storing foods — Be sure to label frozen foods with what it is, and the date. And don’t add breast milk into the food before freezing! Wait until you thaw it, and then add it in. Microwaving frozen food is not recommended. Instead, fill a bowl with hot water and add a smaller bowl [or my favorite — a Wean Green container — which they sell at Maternal Health and Wellness!] and let it defrost that way.

Some other takeaways from the class were:

  • Cauliflower is a great staple — it’s high in vitamin C and folic acid, it can also easily be mixed into other foods.
  • A child may need to be exposed to a food up to fifteen times before they like it [adults too!]
  • Be gentle and slow when introducing foods to baby — start with one food per week, or at least 4-5 days [so as to not overwhelm them, but also to watch out for allergies].
  • Sometimes it takes a while for an allergic reaction to show up. Don’t stress yourself out about this, but just be aware — diarrhea, constipation, mucus in poop, a rash — all can be signs of allergic reaction.
  • Steam the food you are giving to baby and save the steaming water to add into the blender with the steamed food for extra nutrients.
  • Can also add chicken stock for additional nutrients.
  • Can add organic coconut oil, butter, sea salt, etc. to foods in order to add a little extra flavor for baby.
  • You want baby’s first foods to be super smooth, no chunks. The reason for this is you want their food to already be broken down for them since this is a whole new ballgame.
  • Avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes = all great first foods.
  • Keep track of how much baby is eating; for example if you put two tablespoons of food in each ice-cube slot, you know how much you’re giving your baby for those first few weeks or months.
  • Remember, at this point your baby probably hasn’t had a spoon in his or her mouth regularly. Serving baby his or her food off of a spoon may create anxiety for either baby or mom and dad at first. Keep in mind that it is fine to start with your finger to get baby comfortable with this new process.
  • Egg yolk is the safe part of an egg to give baby — the egg white is the allergenic, not the yolk — so the yolk mixed with some butter and sea salt is a great first food for baby. Plus, we tried it in class — it is delicious prepared this way!
  • Don’t stop breastfeeding or formula feeding just because baby is now getting solids. Continue breastfeeding as long as mom and baby want.
  • The dirty dozen — what to buy organicThe Dirty Dozen

Maggie is just about nine months old and our solid food journey has been a lot of fun! Maggie LOVES sweet potatoes, butternut squash, blueberries, apples/applesauce, egg yolk. She is usually pretty open-minded about trying new things, especially things like her cousin Brian’s doughnut [oops!]. She doesn’t really like green beans or peas, although I do keep trying them out on her. Maybe one day…

I try to make food for her for dinner every night [as best I can -- usually the vegetable Colin and I are also having for dinner], but we definitely have been using Happy Family food pouches quite a bit too, and they are great. Maggie also loves their puffs and yogurt bites which are actually quite delicious, and they are a perfect way for her to practice her motor skills.

Something that really stuck with me from the Make Your Own Baby Food workshop is a phrase Maria used, “food for fun, until age one”. Remember, this is a fun and exploratory phase for both baby and parents. Enjoy it, and don’t put too much pressure on yourselves!

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The Make Your Own Baby Food workshop is $40 per family.

The next available openings are Monday, November 17th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. or Saturday, January 10th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Click here to sign up!

About these ads

Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bag

Something I was really obsessed with when I was pregnant was finding the perfect diaper bag. Not too “diaper-baggy”, stylish, but not crazy expensive, and probably last on my list — practical. I bought myself a beautiful black bag, and was so excited to get it and use it. And then when I started to use it, it bugged the crap out of me.

Why?

  1. It was beyond large. It was humongous. You don’t need that much stuff for baby on a daily basis.
  2. It had way too many pockets and contraptions; I could never find anything when I actually needed it. And when you need something, I have found that you usually need it quickly…so digging around for things doesn’t really work out well.
  3. The straps were too short to fit over my shoulder.
  4. It was hard to stuff the bag on the bottom of my stroller because it was so large and in charge.
  5. It honestly looked ridiculous; no matter whether it was packed to the brim or not, it looked like it was. So I looked like a wacko with basically a carry on piece of luggage as my diaper bag every day. Yea, who cares what people think? But it annoyed me personally, so I decided to give up on it.

And then lo and behold, I won a Sarah Wells ‘Maddy’ Breast Pump Bag on Facebook right around the time I decided to give up on my old bag. The universe can work in your favor sometimes!

Here is my bag on the Cross Sound Ferry on a trip to Long Island

Here is my bag on the Cross Sound Ferry on a trip to Long Island

Now clearly, this bag is designed to be a breast pump bag. But, since I don’t commute and work in an office, I don’t really need it for that. So, I decided to make this bag my new diaper bag. It is truly the perfect size for the things I need on an every day basis.

That being said, if you do need the Maddy bag because you are a working/pumping mom, this is the bag to have. Forget about that sad [sorry, but it's true] bag that comes with your pump. You are an awesome mama, and deserve a stylin’ bag to stash your pump in. And one where you don’t even have to take the pump out because there are magical pockets?! Yes, yes, yes. The pockets allow you to operate your pump equipment from inside of the — super efficient, and discreet too.

The bag measures 13″ long, 8″ wide, and 11″ tall. The handles rise 11.5″ from the top of the bag. The main part of the bag is where I stash diapers, wipes, Nuroo scarf, changing pad, extra pacifiers, a rattle, socks, bows, sunscreen, and other random things for Mags. It’s also where I put my wallet, sunglasses, chapstick, etc. There is a pocket inside where I store my Kindle, and a zipper pocket where I put loose items [i.e. chapstick]. Then there are two side pockets; one I store extra clothes for Maggie, and the other I store a few more toys/things to chew on [for Maggie, not me.]

Sometimes my bag looks like this [with random stuff bustin' out]

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And, on good days, it’s more like this:

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[Shoutout to another Sara, my friend who makes amazing baby items — burp cloths, blankets, crib sheets, bibs, etc. at Chunky Love Boutique. That cute elephant burp cloth is one of her designs!]

More from Sarah Wells:

“Specialized side compartments on BOTH sides of the bag to discreetly carry your breast pump (fits most brands and styles of pumps), and also bottles, breast shields, tubing, power cords, battery pack, wipes, you name it – all while carrying your day-to-day items in the main compartment. Plus, the inside lining is easy-to-clean and the outside is water-resistant.”

In revamping my blog, and rejigging things to make it a better fit for my lifestyle these days, I wanted to pick and choose what products I write about. I will be writing about products I love and truly believe in. Sarah Wells is a wonderful person, a real pumping mother, and her bag design is fabulous! I got to meet Sarah at MommyCon Boston and it was a real pleasure. She is a genuine, really nice, super smart businesswoman. I am happy to recommend this bag to everyone and anyone!

As a little side note for things to come from Sarah Wells — I have been following what’s going on at the ABC Kids Expo in Vegas, and Sarah has been posting photos of her new designs coming soon. You HAVE to check them out. They are gorgeous, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one!

See more photos from the expo, and follow all things Sarah Wells on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@sarahwellsbags).

The Sarah Wells ‘Maddy’ bag is $145, and you can purchase it on Amazon.com.

Mommy & Me Yoga

I can’t believe the summer is [basically] over! We got to do a lot of fun and interesting things, and I must say — our first summer with Maggie was a success. From hanging out at the beach on Plum Island, to vacationing with family in Myrtle Beach and on the Cape, to play group meetings and trips to Long Island and Vermont — we tried to give Maggie a taste of fun summer “musts”, and we fit in as much as possible. So that’s why we’ve been kind of MIA lately. Too much summer fun to be had. ;)

I hope you all also had a fabulous, safe summer!

Now as fall is knocking on our door, I’m finding myself slip slowly back into a more scheduled daily routine — and I must say, I don’t hate it. Yes I will soon miss the warm weather and my flip flops, but even without going back to school myself (or having a child go back to school) there is just something about September that makes you want to go on a shopping spree at Staples, and be productive (or just write a bunch of things on post-its). So here’s hoping September allows me to write more on here while balancing the other pieces of my life puzzle.

One fall activity I hope to keep on our schedule is Mommy and Me Yoga at Maternal Health and Wellness in North Andover.

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We went on Monday for the first time and loved it! We ended up seeing two of my friends from our play group and their babies, and then there was one other mama and her baby in the class. It was a small, intimate group which was great — the instructor (who was friendly, easy to listen to/take direction from, and knew her stuff) was able to keep an eye on our little ones as we got into our poses or at times when we had our eyes shut.

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Maggie seemed to really enjoy it! She was chatting and growling (her new favorite thing) the whole time.  Mags isn’t crawling yet, but she definitely doesn’t want to sit still, so she wasn’t necessarily doing all the yoga moves — and neither were all of the other babies — which is totally acceptable in this class. I’d sit Maggie down and give her a toy to play with, or face her towards the mirror so she can admire herself (another one of her favorite things to do — “you’re so vain…you probably think this post is about you…”), or she would just be looking from one person to the next watching our movements. It was a forty-five minute class and I felt it was the perfect amount of time for both babies and mamas.

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Here is a bit more from Maternal Health and Wellness’ website:

“This class is designed for moms with babies 6 weeks through 9 months.  Inspired by yoga flow, this class incorporates movement and breath designed to increase flexibility, regain strength and encourage overall physical and mental balance during the postnatal period. Postures target both mom and baby, individually and together.  We provide a flexible class structure for the feeding and comfort of both you and your baby.”

This class is every Monday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at 16 High Street, Suite 201 North Andover. Hope to see you soon!

*FIRST CLASS IS FREE*

Reconnecting with yourself after baby

this is the part whereWhen you’re pregnant, you know things are going to be different after your little one arrives. This is a weird feeling. You vaguely understand the concept, but will never completely grasp it until you are in the thick of things. The realization of it comes in different stages; I was first in the bubble of the hospital with my midwife, nurses, husband, and Maggie 24/7. Next, we moved to the bubble of our home [where we mostly stayed for a month or so because it was February and really cold]. Colin and I stayed with Maggie in our home bubble together for one week before he had to go back to work, and then my mother came for a week or two [I forget...it is lost in the fog of newborn life] to be with Maggie and I when Colin was working.

People came by, visited on the weekends, brought us food, cooked us dinners, did laundry, doted on me, told me to “sit with the baby” — life was great! I truly felt celebrated as a new mother, and Maggie was not short on attention or affection. I have been lucky enough to stay home with Maggie for these six months; both something I personally wanted and actually made most sense for us [when you compare what I was making to the cost of childcare]. I thank Colin for giving me this opportunity; it’s not always easy financially, but we are making it work for now.

When all the doting and celebrating stopped, I slowly felt things change a bit. The world, and life in general was on pause for a few months…now the world is spinning again. Yes people definitely do still check in, come visit here and there, and gush over Maggie — but life has gone on for everyone. Maggie was born, there was a celebration period, and now it’s back to business.

We’re six months out, and I am here thinking…who am I? What do I want to do professionally? Do I want more? Crave more? Is that okay?

It’s a tough subject to think about when you are pregnant — or was for me — but you will need to rediscover, re-prioritize, and reconnect with yourself after baby. Not to mention, finding your new groove as a couple after baby is also work that will need to be done. Things change, priorities change, plans change. You thought “sure, it’d be easy to go to the wedding — we will put Maggie down, and then dance the night away!” until the phase of your baby not wanting to go to sleep kicks in. Or, “yes we can meet you at 12, that’s fine!” but your baby needs to eat, then falls asleep and you don’t want to wake her up by putting her in her car seat so you let her sleep which means you are late. “I’d love to go to yoga and grab a drink after!” – you made it through yoga, but need to run home after because your little one is hysterical and needs her mama. You make to-do lists miles long, and some days don’t even get one thing crossed off.

You will understand how much you can love someone. Again, this is something you know before the baby comes, but you don’t fully get until he or she is here in your arms — a real little person. This love is powerful; it feels like your heart is weighed down because there is so much love in there — that your heart could burst. Sometimes this love makes you feel like the happiest person in the world, and sometimes it feels like the world is on your shoulders. It’s confusing, terrifying, and awesome in every sense of the word.

Your mind will come around and will be able to process and think about things other than dirty diapers, bath time, and swaddling. Until it does, it is worth it to say — don’t feel guilty about the bubble you create when you have a newborn. I personally think it is necessary for mom and dad to bond with baby this way; and for me, [and I think I can speak for my husband Colin on this] it was blissful. Sure I felt some pressure to attempt to keep the house clean or get some laundry done, [although like I said I did have help from Colin, my mother, and others -- it takes a village, don't be afraid to use it] but I prioritized the importance of getting to know my baby and slowing things down.

I think Colin and I found a pretty good balance of time for ourselves with Maggie, and time with others to introduce them to Maggie. It was important for both, as we were thrilled for our loved ones to meet her! Most importantly, you have to do what is right and works best for your family no matter what. You will know what that is when baby arrives. Trust yourself and don’t feel guilty [easier said that done]. It should be a law not to make new parents feel guilty in any way, shape, or form.

When your mind does come around, be prepared for a lot of confusion. Maybe you have been here before. This is where I find myself these days. I’ve had a lot of labels in life; “Michelle and Kevin’s daughter”, “A Mescall”, “Meg’s/Big Pat’s little sister”, “Kelly/Molly’s older sister”, “Colin’s girlfriend/wife”, “Student”, “Teacher”, and most recently “Maggie’s Mom”, “New Mom”. What about “Colleen Temple, twenty-eight year old woman”? Who the heck am I these days aside from a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend? What do I enjoy doing when I am alone? If I had a few hours by myself, what would I want to do?

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit recently.

I love being a stay at home mother.

But, I also love writing and dedicating time to writing.

Guilt.

I love spending so much time with Maggie.

But, I also love time to myself.

Guilt.

When Maggie goes to sleep, I love getting one-on-one time with Colin.

But, I also love putting time into my passions and hobbies.

Guilt.

Why all the guilt? Well I think in our society sometimes it seems like you have to choose — are you going to be a dedicated stay at home mother, or are you going to work? For me it has taken me time to decide, and I am still deciding. What’s nice about today’s day and age is that there are lots of part-time work options, and work from home options. I am currently taking advantage of both as of late, and I think this is where my path will continue. Working from home, and/or part-time work options seem to speak to me most.

I am currently not ready to find someone I don’t know to hire and pay to watch Maggie. I’m not sure when I will be ready for that, or when Colin will be ready but we aren’t pressuring ourselves. Unfortunately, neither of our parents live nearby [mine are in New York, and Colin's are in Vermont], but fortunately I have two sisters locally and Colin has one sister locally. We have taken advantage of these lovely ladies here and there to go out to dinner, to go see a movie, or just to run an errand. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. For me, I usually feel guilty leaving Maggie, but then am okay once I get to my destination.

This is all part of the process. It’s another phase I am in as a mother, which is currently the biggest part of my identity. I don’t know a lot of things, but what I do know is I love Maggie, I love spending time with her, I love writing, I want to write, I need to work out for my health, I need time to myself, and I need time with my husband. I want Maggie to grow up with an understanding that dedicating time to strengthen your marriage is necessary and important, that family time is crucial, that challenging yourself — your mind, body, and spirit — will make you a stronger, happier person.

Recent steps I have taken in rediscovering and reconnecting with myself:

  • Revamping my blog, and writing more [I am currently at a coffee shop writing this post while Maggie is at my sister Megan's hanging with her and the boys. Thanks, Meg!] thank you meg
  • Dabbling in a bit of freelance work
  • Reading a book for pleasure
  • I went to a yoga class last night, and it felt great — I want to challenge myself to keep going
  • Spending time thinking about my goals; setting new ones, and tweaking old ones. I have big dreams — small goals and steps are necessary to accomplish the big things.

Having a baby is life changing in the best way, of course. But it can be scary, lonely, and heavy at times. I love being a mother, and I know Colin loves being a father. We are so happy in many different ways. But it is also okay to take off the “mom” or “dad” hat sometimes and enjoy things you want to do as a couple.

Similarly, I’m realizing that it is okay to take off both the “mom” and “wife” hats and just go au naturel as Colleen, as me. Being a wife and mother is and always will be priority number one for me, but I know I need to give myself time to grow as a person in order to be a good wife and mother — a happy wife and mother. When the mama is happy, the family is happy, amiright?

Breastfeeding portraits

First off — Happy World Breastfeeding Week, and National Breastfeeding Month from Maggie and I!

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Maggie is six months old, and I am currently breastfeeding her. She has started on some solids, and I will also continue to breastfeed her.

Over the weekend, Maggie and I went to MommyCon in Boston and attended a VIP session with the fabulous Jessica of The Leaky Boob where she asked us to describe our breastfeeding journey in one word or phrase. My phrase was “a blessing”. I said this because I feel extremely fortunate that Maggie and I have had a very successful breastfeeding journey thus far. She took to breastfeeding easier and more naturally than even I did. It feels natural to me now, but at first it did feel a bit foreign. Surprisingly enough, I never fed anyone milk from my breast before. [Please sense the sarcasm there.] Not to mention, I truly had no idea if I was doing it correctly once I started.

“Is her latch okay?”

“Is she getting any milk?”

“I have no idea if she is swallowing.”

“They said I could hear if she is swallowing. I don’t hear anything. Do I?”

“She will look satisfied when she is done.”

“Trust your instincts.”

These are things a newly breastfeeding mom may think to herself, or hear from others. I think it is safe to assume that no first time mom has ANY IDEA what she is doing when she first breastfeeds her baby (and from what I hear it is different with each child you have, so no mom ever really knows what it is going to be like, does she?). It’s beautiful. It’s complicated. It’s fulfilling. It’s frustrating. It’s love. It’s draining. It’s so worth it.

You’ll wonder if your baby is getting enough milk. You’ll freak if the pediatrician says your baby isn’t gaining enough weight. You’ll be confused if they suggest supplementing. You’ll worry even if you feel like things are going great between you and your baby.

Two extremely important things I have learned on my breastfeeding journey:

1. You have to trust yourself, your body and your baby in that you are making enough milk, and your baby is doing exactly what he or she should be doing. Be sure to take advantage of the IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) or the CLC (Certified Lactation Consultant) in the hospital after you deliver. They can assess your baby’s latch, and answer any and all questions you may have. And even if you don’t have too many questions at first, they should be available to you even when you get home from the hospital to help you out. Look up other IBCLC’s or CLC’s in your area so that you have multiple options. I am so beyond lucky that my sister Megan is a CLC and utilized her a TON. I asked her loads of random questions at all hours of the day and night. Thank you, Megan.  And to be fair, Maggie and I were Megan’s first ‘official’ test subjects after she became certified. So I guess it’s more like you’re welcome, Megan.

2. Create a support system. Find other friends or acquaintances who have breastfed in the past or are currently breastfeeding. Connect with them. Find a local organization that can connect you with a play group; talk to those mothers. We live in the Facebook-Instagram-Twitter world; tap into those resources and find breastfeeding communities online. Seek out family members who have been through it. Ask questions. Educate your partner, your family members, and your friends. Let them know that you could use their support and encouragement; you’d be surprised to see how people can really come through for you in big ways. Breastfeeding can be challenging and confusing; it can make you feel like a failure and like your body is not your own. But believe me when I say that it can be beautiful, empowering, amazing, fulfilling, and worth it. It nourishes both mama and baby.

Sometimes the word for someone’s breastfeeding journey is ‘heartbreaking‘. Some people have real struggles when it comes to feeding their baby, and have to stop. Some women can’t breastfeed as long as they want to and they don’t achieve their goal.

A message for you:

You are not a failure. You are not a bad mother. You are doing your best, and this shit is hard. Motherhood. All of it. So throw that guilt away, because we are mothers, we will have something else to feel bad about in five minutes!

I recently had the opportunity to take breastfeeding portraits for Acelleron Maternal Health and Wellness’ new space. I never really thought about doing this until I was asked to participate. I’m glad I did! Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different, and everyone’s breastfeeding journey is special. I wanted to capture this moment in time to remember how little Maggie is now, how amazing it is to feed her with my body, and how different it will be with each of my children. I have decided to share my photos on here, but many women will not post them on a blog. These types of photos are important to have for whatever reason you want to have them; to share them with the world, to share them with your family, to have them for just yourself, or to save them to show your child one day. Whatever the reason may be, think about documenting this time in your life and your baby’s life so you can remember it always.

I had the pleasure of being photographed by Sarah Jordan Photography for this project. Sarah was so nice, professional, and she got a lot of wonderful photos. She is extremely talented! Thank you Sarah for being a part of our breastfeeding journey. There are a few of Maggie and I breastfeeding, one of my sister Megan breastfeeding her son Brian, and then a few others.

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A question for all women, breastfeeding or not — What does breastfeeding mean to you and how can every one of us play a role in supporting breastfeeding?” — answer in the comments below. :)

Other breastfeeding related items for today:

  • Breastmilk: The Movie came out yesterday. I am really excited to see it! I have admired both Dana Ben-Ari and Ricki Lake since seeing their Business of Being Born documentary (a must-see for pregnant women). They are doing important and inspiring work. Read the directors statement for more information, and stay tuned for a review here after I watch it. breastmilk poster
  • Hats off to Olivia Wilde, her son Otis, and Glamour Magazine for including a photo of Olivia and Otis breastfeeding in Glamour’s September issue. I think the more our society sees breastfeeding, the more normalized it will become which will lead to a world where a mother doesn’t have to worry or think twice about feeding her baby when her baby needs to be fed.

    Copyright Glamour Magazine

    Copyright Glamour Magazine

  • Last, but CERTAINLY not least…a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of our breastfeeding supporters, my sister Molly! We love you and hope you’re having a wonderful day!photo(4)

An ode to twenty minute naps

“She’s sleeping!” I say
Lots to get done today.

I take out my list and run through what to do,
Vacuuming, cleaning, and freelance work too.

The mountain of laundry, the emails and blog,
No wonder I’m in such a fog.

I feel overwhelmed but squash it,
As I make a cup of coffee and drink every last bit.

I rush around like I’m crazy, “what should I do next?”
No time to feel hazy.

I need a clear mind (is there such a thing?),
I sit on the couch, open my laptop, then ding!

Eyes open, you’re up!
I think I need to make another cup.

Twenty minutes, that’s it?
You’re still tired, and I can’t quit.

I try to help you fall back to sleep,
I feed you, I sing, I bounce…I don’t make a peep.

It’s not working, my to do list is lurking.

Still in my pajamas, no shower in sight,
I find my stale breakfast and take one more bite.

You cry, and so do I.

So I make a funny noise and grab one of your toys.

You smile your enchanting smile,
It’s okay, let’s just hang for a while.

Sometimes I think I need to throw out my lists and expectations,
Or maybe I just need another vacation?

Chores are on hold — dishes, organizing, and laundry to fold.

I call my mom to talk, she says, “f*ck it, go for a walk!”

“Oh and God bless!” her signature saying,
I guess instead of complaining I should be praying.

Mama said they’ll be days like this, I think, as I lean in to snuggle and give you a kiss.

This life is a blessing, and so are you
Let’s get some fresh air, cause girl, you’re still crying…

I think you need some too.

 

[Maggie did eventually fall asleep for another nap. Hopefully it's longer than twenty minutes this time!]

photo(4)

Singing in the shower: a story about bathing yourself with a six month old

Maggie is still sleeping. Perfect time to hop in the shower.

Turn shower on, undress, pull curtain, check monitor quick just to be sure those eyes are still closed.

Boom. Eyes open.

Shit.

Okay, still doable. Grab Maggie. Change diaper. Drag walker/bouncer/seat thingy into the bathroom with left arm, hook Maggie into my right arm. Plop Maggie in. Distract her. Jump in shower.

Thirty seconds goes by.

“Wahhhhhh!”

Poke my head out. “Peek-a-boo!” Maggie laughs. Good, good. This is fine.

Back in shower. “Wahhhhh!”

Pop head out. “Peek-a-boo!” Laughs. Cool; I got this.

“Peek-a-boo!”

“Wahhhhhh!”

Cool. On to the next.

“Maggie, look! Press these buttons and they make funny noises!” Awesome, she’ll be into this for a little while.

Two minutes go by. Poke head out SUPER fast to see how things are going.

I screwed up. Our eyes lock.

“Wahhhhhhh!”

Shit. Shit.

“It’s okay Maggie! Mama is almost done,” as I sing “row, row, row your boat gently down the stream…”

“Wahhhhhhh!”

Open the shower curtain halfway.

Maggie sees the goods (my boobs) and wants to be picked up. Can’t pick up. Shower will definitely be over. Must.power.through.

“Maggie! Hi! Here’s Mommy!”

All smiles as I continue to shower with the curtain half open while creating a little pool on the bathroom floor. I shave my legs as I sing “the ants go marching one by one…” and of course, do our choreographed dance as I perform the song.

For now, Maggie is happy and I’m able to shave my legs. Good stuff.

I quickly finish my shower with a superb rendition of ‘Hello Maggie’ (sung to the tune of Babs’ ‘Hello Dolly’), then hop out.

Mags spots the goods again and starts to fuss. The poor thing is hungry and has been patient. I pick her up and feed her as I drip dry, and think this has been a win for today.

 

Maggie’s Birth Video + the winner of two tickets to MommyCon Boston

Mother and Daughter, Self Portrait

Last night I received an amazing surprise…the link to Maggie’s birth video from our amazing and incredibly talented friend Lisa with Next Level Films. Lisa filmed Colin and I prepping for Maggie’s birth a few days before Maggie was born, then came to the hospital to film the big event, and then came to our house to film us with Maggie at home about a month after she was born. After getting so much footage, it was real cool to see how Lisa put it all together and told our story. Lisa truly is a beautiful person inside and out, and I am lucky to count her as a friend. I could never thank her enough for this gift.

In regards to filming Maggie’s birth, I was unsure at first. But after seeing my nephew Brian’s birth video Lisa shot from last July, I was SOLD. Lisa has the ability to capture such raw, real emotion and to have that documented for the rest of our lives is priceless to me. Even thinking about showing this to Maggie when she is older brings me to tears. [To read more about Maggie’s birth, read my birth story blog here].

Watching our video was awesome, and crazy! Yes, I was there experiencing all of this, but watching it as an observer was WILD. I often think back to the day Maggie was born six months ago, and I miss that day. I don’t always miss the contractions or back discomfort (let’s be real here), but I miss that insane rush of of pure joy and exhilaration. I wish I could relive the moment I pulled Maggie onto my chest (which I can now thanks to our video!). Maggie brings us joy every day, and we are thoroughly enjoying life as new parents. She is an amazing little lady, and we are blessed to have her in our lives.

Thank you again Lisa!

Hope you enjoy the show: Maggie’s birth video. :)

Now, onto the contest. By using Random.org I have chosen a winner for the two General Admission tickets to MommyCon Boston this Saturday. The winner is………..

Winner

Congratulations Nicole! Hope to see you there! All I need is your email address and I can get you your tickets. Please email me at dailycraic@gmail.com.

Win two free tickets to MommyCon Boston!

Mommy Con Boston FreeThere are so many reasons why I’m excited for this MommyCon weekend.

1. There will be amazing sponsors there with incredible products I want to know more about and see in person.

2. There will be fabulous bloggers there that I follow and want to meet.

3. I’m going to the comedy show with some of my friends Friday night sans child (no offense, Mags).

4. Maggie will be with me for all other MommyCon related events, and I think she’s going to have some fun.

5. My sister works for Acelleron, the host sponsor, and her + Suzy + their team + the MommyCon team have been working really hard to put this event together. I’m very proud of them.

Lastly, it seems like there is going to be a wonderful community of mothers (and fathers!) together in one hotel learning, discussing, connecting, and supporting each other. We can all use that sort of environment every now and again, can’t we?

If you’re already going, awesome — hope to see you there. :)

If you don’t have tickets, but would like to attend Saturday’s events — enter to win two general admission Saturday tickets here! [total $80 value] All you have to do is like MommyCon on Facebook, Acelleron Maternal Health and Wellness on Facebook, mama’s daily craic on Facebook, and comment here with anything having to do with MommyCon. I will randomly choose a winner tomorrow, Thursday July 31st by 5:00 p.m. EST. [All I will need is your email address in order to get you your tickets].

Thanks, and good luck!

MommyCon Boston!

It’s funny how things change as you get older and welcome new experiences. I’m not sure I ever realized my going-to-a-parenting-convention excitement would be equal to my going-to-a-Beyoncé-concert excitement pre-baby. But alas, here I am, a mama who seriously cannot wait for MommyCon Boston this Friday and Saturday (August 1st and 2nd)!

accelleroneventlisting_boston

“What is MommyCon Boston?”

MommyCon is a boutique style natural parenting convention focused on bringing modern families together to discuss, learn and grow together. A day at MommyCon features over a dozen speakers, workshops, shopping and more!”

There will be a variety of seminars and workshops offered this weekend by amazing speakers (learn more about some of them here). Not to mention there will be $10,000 worth of giveaways and a fabulous gift bag from MommyCon sponsors at the end of the day (some sponsors are ergobaby, Beco, Motherlove, joovy, BOB, Britax, Arm’s Reach Concepts, Happy Family, Nuroo, Babyganics, The Dairy Fairy, the bump, Red Tricycle, Magic Beans, etc. FULL LIST HERE).

The host sponsor of this event is Acelleron Health and Wellness, which provides home medical equipment to families including breast pumps to new and expectant mothers (fill out your request form for a free *next day, shipping included* breast pump here). They are also expanding more of their “wellness” side very soon with childbirth education classes, prenatal and postpartum fitness classes, mommy meet up groups, breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants on hand, make your own baby food classes, etc. They offer a great deal of support for new and expectant mothers and fathers and they are truly an invaluable resource for us north of Boston (a post to come on this very soon). My sister Megan works for Acelleron, so I can tell you that I personally know how excited they are to bring MommyCon to Boston, and how AWESOME it’s going to be!

Some of the seminars and workshops offered at MommyCon are:

  • Babywearing
  • Birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Cloth Diapering
  • Car Seat Safety
  • Natural Health and Medicine
  • Baby Gear
  • Childproofing

MommyCon Boston will take place at the Revere Hotel (near the Theatre District) which looks gorgeous. This two-day event will kick off with a half-day VIP experience on Friday. You can choose from four different VIP sessions: Mighty Afternoon with Plum Organics and The Honest Toddler, New and Expectant Parent VIP with Jamie Grayson, Babywearing with Beco Baby Carrier and Ergobaby VIP, Motherlove VIP with The Leaky Boob’s, Jessica Martin-Weber. I will be attending each session, and can’t wait to share with you all what I learn. Most of these are sold out already, but I believe there is still room in the New and Expectant Parent VIP with Jamie Grayson (who is awesome and I can’t wait to meet!).

Friday night there is a comedy show called “The Pump and Dump: A Parentally Incorrect Comedy Show and Night Out, For Once”. It sounds hilarious; “This mother-created show is designed to let breeders throw a few back, have some laughs, and remind themselves who they once were.”

PumpandDumpGraphicSign me up, baby! Tickets are $20; doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8:00. All events, including this show, take place at the Revere Hotel.

Check out a preview of the show:

Saturday will kick off with a breastfeeding and breast pumping world record to help bring awareness to the benefits of human milk for babies as well as to continue to work towards normalizing breastfeeding. Maggie and I are lovers of breastfeeding, so we are really looking forward to that!

Throughout the day on Saturday many different sessions are offered from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 pm.

Here is the lineup:

PreviewSchedule1Tips and tidbits:

  • This is a very family friendly event! Maggie will be with me. She’s excited too.
  • Food can be brought in, and Happy Family will provide snacks for the little ones.
  • Here is an event planner for the day to help keep you organized.
  • You are able to bring a stroller, but there is limited stroller parking, and of course neither MommyCon nor the Revere Hotel is responsible for your personal items. It is suggested if possible to bring a carrier for your baby.
  • Nursing rooms and changing rooms will be available for you and your baby.
  • There is a parking garage on site and it is $17 a day; tickets will be validated.

Are you going and want to get the inside scoop? Join the MommyCon Boston Facebook group. Also, check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay connected.

Will you be there? Let me know! Hope to see you. :)