The Virus

Robb just got back this past Sunday from being out of town for two weeks. That meant two weeks where I was 100% responsible for Caleb. Why I do care for him the majority of the time, I rely on Robb a lot to get other stuff done around the house and for late night diaper changes.

I started not feeling well before he left though and that feeling only intensified. By the time week two rolled around, I was feeling a bit miserable. My muscles ached so bad that I could barely pick Caleb up, my nose was stuffy, my throat was killing me and surprise – all of that led to my body being susceptible to viral pinkeye! Good times! I don’t remember my body ever struggling like that. In fact, when I told Robb that I felt worse now than when I had my c-section, that prompted him to call asking if I needed to go to the hospital.

But I kept going. I applaud all of those single moms who just keep going because they have no other choice, because they can’t stop. I took three days off of work to rest some and theorized being able to straighten up the house, but since it hurt to just switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and I would feel faint after minutes of pulling weeds in the garden, I didn’t get much done.

I maintained Caleb’s routine. Yeah, he might have missed a few baths but I still kept him fed and changed and we managed to have play time. We didn’t have a lot of snuggles though out of worry that I would pass something on to him. The thing about Caleb though is that he really is an easy baby and we have been so blessed by him. During this time when I felt so poorly, I was especially thankful for that.

Then Saturday came. I went over to Mom’s for a yard sale and she saw first-hand how poorly I felt. That evening, my temperature crept up to around 102. I had been texting my mom all evening with updates on my temperature and she kept asking if I wanted her to come over to watch Caleb. But I kept saying “No, no. We’ll be fine.” I knew that my mom was tired and that she needed her rest as well. Finally, there was a knock at my door and when I opened it, my mom was standing there, night bag in hand.

My mom knows just by looking at me if I’m running a fever. She always has and we never owned a thermometer growing up. Another thing about my mom is that she knows when I probably do need her, even if I don’t say anything. She got to work helping me clean the house for when Robb got home and sacrificed her own sleep that night so I could rest.

I started feeling better on Sunday. Even though I’m still not completely well, I’m getting there. I think that having her help went a long way in my recovery.

We all need help sometimes but why does it seem so hard to ask for it? I’m not one to really ever ask for help. I like to think that I always have it under control and my mom raised me to be fiercely independent. But when it all boils down to it, there is nothing wrong with having someone to step in, is it?

5 Essentials for the Breastfeeding Mom

Breastfeeding can be hard for so many women, myself included. I still have days where it hurts or I just feel drained, literally. Typically those days come after a long night and in my hurry to get Caleb back to sleep, I don’t take the time to make sure that he is properly latched. On those days, I find myself switching out one of Caleb’s normal feedings with a bottle of formula just to give myself a break.

Those days are thankfully fewer and fewer now that I realize how to correct that issue. Overall, I believe that breast is best but when it comes down to it, I’d rather make sure that Caleb isn’t going hungry.

My biggest piece of advice to you as a breastfeeding mom (or mom-to-be) is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. If you find yourself having a difficult time breastfeeding and are in pain constantly when you nurse, don’t be afraid to speak with a lactation consultant in your area.

These are some of the products that have saved my sanity when it comes to breastfeeding.

Kindle E-Reader with Built-in Light – When you’re breastfeeding, there really isn’t much else you can do at that moment (unless you have a sling or a carrier and then it’s game on). My Kindle has been a lifesaver, especially at night when Caleb needs to be fed and I don’t want to cut any lights on. It’s easy to control a Kindle with one hand and it allows my brain to relax/focus on something else for a bit. I’m currently working my way through Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family which was recommended to me by Robb’s cousin.

Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner – The Boppy pillow was one of the first items that I added to my baby registry. I didn’t use it as much as I thought that I would the first week or so but I’ve been using it more and more lately. It helps me put Caleb in the perfect position to feed. It also gives my arms a break from holding him and Caleb likes to rest in his Boppy pillow.

Milk Drunk – Chocolate Protein Powder for Breastfeeding – This is a delicious protein powder for smoothies filled with lactation-boosting ingredients such as fenugreek, flaxseed, brewer’s yeast, and oat flour. Bonus – it’s vegan! I also recommend Mother’s Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals as well for lactation support. I’ve used both to help boost my milk supply. I still haven’t managed to have enough extra milk to start storing some for when I go back to work but that’ll be my goal for February.

Nursing Bra – I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see the need for a nursing bra until I actually purchased one for myself. When I’m at home, I don’t bother with a bra unless I feel that I am needing the compression support. But I’ve found that with a nursing bra, I can wear it out in public for just in case or wear it around the house and it leaves me feeling a little less exposed to the elements. With the temperature in the house around 65°, that’s a pretty nice feeling to have.

Medela Tender Care Lanolin Tube – There are dozens of nipple creams out there for your tender bits and I recommend that you have something to keep your nipples from being chapped. I’ve been using Medela’s because I have received so many samples of it (nearly time I went to the doctor, I received more samples). Medela lanolin (lanolin is wool wax) is a thick, almost salve-like consistency that provides  soothing relief. I’ve also developed my own nipple butter that I will transition to once I’m all out of Medela lanolin (coming soon to my Etsy shop).

Did you have any issues breastfeeding?

5 Pregnancy Nighttime Essentials

Sleep.

It’s amazing how valuable sleep becomes when you are pregnant. It never seems like you are able to get enough of it, at least for me. Over the course of my pregnancy, I’ve discovered a few items that have helped sleep come a little bit easier. Hopefully some of these items will help you as well.

 

• Belly Butter – I apply a moisturizing belly butter to my skin every evening after my shower. This not only helps to reduce stretch marks but is a very relaxing ritual that helps to relax my body for bed. I have a recipe coming soon for my belly butter, but in the meantime, you can purchase it at my Etsy shop! I typically like to use an unscented belly butter but you can add a calming essential oil, such as lavender, to help relieve stress and reduce anxious feelings [check out my Lavender Linen Spray DIY as well].

 

PinkBlush Maternity Pants – I LOVE these pants. The fabric feels so soft against my skin and they are cozy enough for both the warm nights of summer all the way through a crisp winter evening. Though they have plenty of room for my expanding belly, they don’t look like maternity pajama pants so I also am planning to wear them post-pregnancy. PinkBlush Maternity is a dangerous website for me to visit as I love pretty much everything that they have to offer. A lot of the clothes, even if they say “Maternity” are styled in a way that you can wear them even after you give birth.

 

Tums – Before I became pregnant, I would get bad heartburn on occasion. Since becoming pregnant, I have experienced horrible heartburn during my second and third trimesters as I was trying to get to sleep. Some nights it would get to the point where I have to stuff so many pillows behind my head that I was basically sitting upright – and that is no way to catch some zzzz’s. After suffering through it for way too long, I finally broke down and picked some Tums up. It’s amazing the difference those chalky little tablets made.

 

Belle – Don’t laugh. A lot of pregnant women tend to use a body pillow of some sort to help support their hips, back, and stomach (like this one) when they are trying to get to sleep. I just use my dog. She is the perfect size and has this amazing ability to know exactly how I need her to lay. As the weather starts to cool off, she generates enough heat to keep me comfortable and provides the right amount of support for my body. Plus, I think it helps her to be so close to Lil Bean and feel him move around.

 

Hot Tea – Even before I found myself pregnant, I enjoyed a nice cup of hot herbal tea before bed. Now that I am pregnant, I have to be careful about what sort of herbs I’m ingesting as not all are pregnancy-friendly. I like to create my own blends but in a pinch, I enjoy the Peaceful Mama Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics. It contains lemon balm, calcium rich oat straw, calming Chamomile, red raspberry leaf and orange peel herbs traditionally used to help calm and relax during pregnancy.

What are/were some of your pregnancy nighttime essentials?



Yes to Tomatoes 2-Step Nose Kit: Buh-Bye Blackheads [Review]

I’ve been pretty fortunate throughout the years that I’ve never really had issues with my skin. Even now, being pregnant, I’ve been able to use the same cleanser that I’ve used for the past year or so. Every now and then (especially during the winter), my skin will start to look dry and thirsty so I’ll perk it up with a sugar scrub and a moisturizer, but that’s rarely.

One thing that I love to do for my skin on a regular basis (meaning every 4 months or so) are those nose strips that are supposed to help remove black heads. I love those things and it is so freaky to see what sort of gunk the strips pull out. I think of it as a mini “spa day” for myself.

While at Target the other day, I came across the Yes to Tomatoes 2-Step Nose Kit: Buh-Bye Blackheads and decided to give it a whirl. I don’t use the Yes to products normally but I do love how the company is against animal testing and is a member of the Leaping Bunny Program.

The two-step kit comes with a detoxifying charcoal cleanser that is applied with a large Q-tip and a charcoal nose strip. One thing that I noticed right away was how much excess packaging there was and even now, I wonder how necessary the Q-tip is.

When using any sort of pore strip or skin mask, I’ll always wait until after my shower to use it so that the warm water will open my pores. I started with the charcoal cleanser and found that there was enough cleanser in the package to probably last me all week. It felt like a waste of product so I did try to place it somewhere where the cleanser wouldn’t dry out.

It felt a bit clunky to apply it with the Q-tip so after a few moments, I ended up using my fingers. The strip itself was easy to apply but didn’t seem to really fit on my face well enough. Strips from other companies sometimes have tears in them to help the strip adjust to your face better and I couldn’t find any on this strip.

After letting it sit for 10 minutes, I can attest that the strip definitely worked and I could see the difference on my nose. I’ll spare you the gruesome up-close shots of my pore strip and instead just leave you with this fresh out of the shower picture of me. All in all, this was a neat product to try but I would probably stick to my usual line of pore strips for now.