After nine months of your body undergoing the most rapid and significant changes of your life, and then after intense physical exertion to bring your baby into the world in the most dramatic of ways, you should be able to sit back and relax, right? Well, maybe – that is, if your baby was born accompanied by a 24-hour nanny.
I found it exceedingly difficult to recover from birth and to bond with my first two babies. Struggling with a lack of sleep that led to hallucinations in the wee hours of the night, I quickly found myself in the midst of the baby blues both times.
The phrase “third time’s a charm” exists for a reason. By my third baby, I knew what was coming, and I created a plan that I hoped would either chase those ugly baby blues away, or at least minimize them. Happily, my plan worked, and I didn’t find myself crying in the shower or screaming at my confused husband just minutes after telling him how wonderful he is. These are the four things I recommend:
1. TALK – and talk and talk Analyze yourself like crazy.
Months before delivery, I started talking to my husband about how the baby blues felt after my other deliveries. Together, we analyzed my triggers: lack of sleep, not being validated, too much pressure to get back to routine. We talked about the warning signs that indicate I’m about to spiral: crying a lot, getting angry, not feeling like I’m bonding with the baby. Talk to your partner. Figure out what you need when you’re not feeling like yourself, and then make a plan to do what you need if and when you start to feel unhappy. For me, I need alone time, so I came up with ideas to get me out of the house by myself – and then I used those ideas once the baby was born. And keep talking after the baby is born. It’s ok to remind your husband every other day, “I really need you to ask me how I feel.” My husband actually put a reminder in his phone, which sounds ridiculous, but you know what? It worked. We talked. I didn’t spiral.
2. ACCEPT HELP
Say yes to help! I accepted any help that was offered. My friend just texted to invite my kids over? Yes! The church offered to bring in meals? Yes! My sister wants to babysit and hold the baby while my husband and I get a bite to eat? Yes! I didn’t accept any help after my first baby, and I can tell you there was a huge difference this time when I did accept help. And don’t worry – once you feel back to normal, you can pay forward all the help that was given to you. And if you did step 1, then part of all that talking will help you understand ahead of time what kind of help you’re going to need. I realized I get overwhelmed when my house is cluttered, so I asked my husband to de-clutter every night. I realized I feel frustrated with my children quickly when my life is stressful, so I asked friends and family to be prepared to babysit. I realized I need lots of sleep, so when my husband was home, I let him take all the kids out of the house so I could take a nap.
3. HIRE HELP
I’m as cheap as they come, but I set aside money to hire a babysitter for the week after my husband went back to work. I knew that taking care of two kids was going to make it difficult to get to know my new baby. The babysitter’s mom dropped her off at lunch time, and I took her home once my husband came home from work. BEST DECISION EVER. I spent the mornings with my older kids, and then shut myself in my room with the baby in one hand and snacks in the other once the babysitter arrived. Since the older kids were taken care of, and I didn’t feel guilty because I was PAYING someone to take care of them, I felt completely free to stare at my baby and nap. It was wonderful. I paid the babysitter an extra dollar an hour to vacuum, sweep, do the dishes, and help the older kids clean their room. I literally had to do nothing that week except for cuddle and feed a newborn – and it was glorious.
4. GET RID OF GUILT
This is probably the most important thing! Remember: You just sacrificed your body for nine months, then pushed a baby out of said sacrificed body. If you’re nursing, you’re still sacrificing your body. Whether or not you’re nursing, you’re sacrificing sleep, time, and emotions for that little baby. It is perfectly fine for your husband to get up when the baby cries. So he has to work tomorrow? You just pushed a baby from your body! A girl’s gotta heal. It’s perfectly fine for you to take a nap, to accept a dinner from a friend, to let someone clean up, or hire house cleaners.
There is no rule book that says we have to do it all, and in fact, life is a lot better when we don’t.
Ahh morning sickness, or for some that deep and abiding stomach flu that lasts for three to four months straight. In my case, all-day sickness. Nothing I tried was a magical solution. I mostly just had to suffer through it. Check with your doctor before taking any medication to be sure it is safe.
To all of my pregnant sisters out there who are lying in bed near a bowl or toilet, here are some tips and tricks that I've discovered over the years that may give you 5 minutes of relief until the next bout hits.
1. DOCTOR PERSCRIBED MEDS: Some women swear by these, but I didn't find anything to be a "cure." Zofran maybe made me throw up less, but I still felt like I was about to puke my guts out 24/7, which was sometimes worse. Phenergan made me so deliriously sleepy that I couldn't function, and Reglen gave me crazy side effects. At 10 weeks I started having contractions and intestinal cramping because my body completely rejected it.
2. VITAMIN B6 and ½ UNISOM TABLET. Again, this combo didn't prove to do much for me, but I know it works miracles for others. For many it just takes the edge off. But beware, it might make you sleepy.
3. LEMON DROPS: For about four weeks straight, I popped lemon drops almost constantly to help with the nausea. And then of course I got incredibly sick of that taste being in my mouth. I don't know if I'll ever be able to suck on a lemon drop again, but I swear it helped.
4. FOUNTAIN SODA/LIMEADE: I'm not a natural soda drinker. But a fizzy fountain Sprite always helped a little.
5. STRING CHEESE: In those moments where I had to grab to eat something immediately, I usually went for string cheese. I could only live on pretzels and crackers for so long. I still grab string cheese in the evenings when the nausea hits and at this point it's usually (not always) enough to tide me over till bedtime.
6. AVOID THINGS THAT WON'T FEEL GOOD COMING BACK UP. I get into a different eating mentality when I'm pregnant. With everything I consume, I consider how bad the repercussions will be when the contents come back up. Salad and spicy food are the worst in my opinion. Just sayin' - think before you eat.
7. Avoid talking to anyone who was nauseous for one day and/or threw up once or twice during their pregnancies, and thinks they "know what you're going through." It just makes you want to punch them in the face.
8. AIRPLANE BARF BAGS: I've tried out a variety of barf receptacles, and airplane bags are the best. They fold up enough to put several in your purse, they are thick and hole-free, and they usually have a sealing flap to keep the contents contained until you can find a trash can.
9. FIND DISTRACTIONS: Even though I wanted to curl up and not leave the house, doing nothing for three months straight would have made me go crazy. I never felt up to it, but I still went to book club and playgroups and church and other outings. The time passed so slowly that any distraction I could find to fill the time was worth the effort. As long as I had my airplane barf bags close at hand.
10- PERSPECTIVE: Without warning, pregnancy took over my life. And it should (well, if you're lucky, not the sickness part) for anyone who is growing a human being. Even though it seems like it will never end, I have two growing children that prove that it does indeed end. As hard as it is to endure, do the best you can to remember that it won't last forever. You'll have your body back again. You'll reestablish your normal routines and hobbies. You'll set new goals when you feel better. For now, give yourself a break and do what you need to do to survive, one day at a time. This too shall pass. I promise.
-Lindsay is a a kindergarten teacher turned yoga instructor turned web designer and mother to 3 boys with another on the way. You can read more from her here and find some of her amazing blog designs here.
We think a good nights sleep needs a good mattress. The COCO MAT is a perfect choice for babies and children offering gentle support and impressive ventilation and insulation-Now with quilted cover and free mattress protector included! Coco Mat is the most breathable of all Naturalmat mattresses which makes it ideal for newborns and small babies.
• Organic lambswool and Organic coir
• Organic cotton cover Breathable & Organic
• Does not absorb heat or moisture
• Naturally breathable and self ventilating materials
• Helps babies regulate their temperature and sleep through the night
• Organic lambswool is an excellent insulator, keeping children warm in cold conditions and cool in warm conditions
Anti-Allergy & Anti-Bed Bug
• A treatment of lemon, eucalyptus and lavender makes Naturalmat lambswool anti-dust mite, anti-moth and anti-mosquito
• These properties will help to reduce the risk of asthma and other allergic reactions
• Outer cover is finished with a natural compound derived from geraniol which renders them anti bed-bug
• Outer cover has zip so that it can be removed and washed at 140°F. Dust mites are killed at 135°
Sometimes us moms need a little help boosting our supply. Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the leaves, stems, seeds, bark, roots, and flowers of plants and have a wide range of physical and emotional uses including supporting a breastfeeding mother. DōTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils work great! Our friend Melissa is a dōTERRA consultant and has shared some of these incredible tips with us about Oils That Assist Lactation:
-Fennel and Clary Sage help promote initial milk production
-Basil and Geranium promote milk production
-Peppermint promotes a possible decrease in milk production
These CPTG oils can be used topically or taken internally.
TOPICALLY: place 2 TBSP of a carrier oil, like dōTERRA's Fractionated Coconut Oil, in a glass bowl or container and add 10 - 15 drops of your chosen oil(s). Apply a small amount of the mixture on your breasts, avoiding the nipples.
INTERNALLY: place 1 - 2 drops in a capsule, in a small amount of water or under your tongue. Start off using them once a day and increase or decrease as needed.
Note: If you become pregnant, or have any concerns about using essential oils while breastfeeding, please consult your physician.
Melissa is a stay at home mom of two amazing little boys - a 17 month old nursling and a 3 year old toddler. dōTERRA essential oils have been a blessing for her and her family, and she truly enjoys sharing what she has learned with others, so that they too can experience the amazing benefits of these essential oils. More information can be found by visiting her website or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.
When I'm out and about and I walk by a mom breastfeeding her baby, I'm overwhelmed with emotions. I'm a little envious while at the same time glad that part of my life is behind me. I feel an instant connection to her. "I'VE BEEN THERE!" I want to shout. (creepy) I want to go up to her and give her a big hug(awkward). So I usually just walk by and give her a smile and maybe a thumbs up on brave days.
That was before. Now, I casually take a little card out of my purse. I walk over and with as little interruption as possible hand her the card. It felt strange at first, but now that I've seen the smiles and laughs these cards have generated, I get excited to give them out.
To celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we are giving away our NIP cards for free, while supplies last. So when you see a mom breastfeeding, give her a smile and hand her a card. I bet it will make her day!
Get your free pack of cards.
We are continuallyinspired by the women around us. The strength, the determination, and the incredible love these mothers have for their children is amazing. Recently we were able to meet one such mother, Michele Reyes.
The mother of 6 beautiful kids with the youngest just a month old and the oldest 9.
" I've enjoyed motherhood this last nine years with one arm. When I was 17 years old I lost my arm in a car accident. It's definitely been a challenge through motherhood but it hasn't made motherhood impossible by any means."
"My kids do great I almost felt like they came wired ready for me. They hold on to me and help me. I have enjoyed motherhood. It hasn't not had trials or difficulties just like any other mom, but I absolutely love being a mom."
Is there a mama that inspires you?
1- OATS: a perfect whole grain, high-fiber, all-natural food. A bowl of oatmeal will keep you full for a long time after breakfast (which is important for mamas who are always on the move) -- and may help increase your milk supply. Oats are also high in iron. Low iron can cause issues with your milk supply so keep up your iron intake!
2- SPINACH: chock-full of vitamins and minerals including: calcium, vitamin C, iron and heart-healthy antioxidants. It is also loaded with vitamin A, which your baby gets from your breast milk to ensure healthy development.
3- BERRIES: Berries are loaded with vitamin C, folate, and fiber. They are some of the most powerful disease-fighting foods available because of their high levels of antioxidants.
4-AVOCADOS: An abundant source of folic acid and vitamins E & C, it is rumored to increase lactation, as well!
5- CARROTS: enriched with carbohydrates and potassium, carrots help boost energy in breastfeeding mamas. They are rich in antioxidants an a vital source of beta-Carotene which is required by you during lactation period.
While we know it isn't best to drink your calories, we know that many of us mamas don't always have time to make nutrition pack meals. So here are a few Smoothie Recipes that use these SUPER FOODS to help:
Finding the perfect bottle can be a difficult task and with all the research on the dangers of plastic bottles, the challenge is even greater. 5 Phases Revolutionary Hybrid GLASS Baby Bottle® provides the healthful benefits of GLASS + the protection of BPA free plastic®. The 5 Phases bottle features:
Removable GLASS INSERT
Translucent PLASTIC SLEEVE
VENTED silicone NIPPLE
BPA, PVC and phthalate free
Amazon BabyRegistry is launching a new promotion today for a sweepstakes! When users sign-up and add 10 products to their registry, they can enter to win a $500 Amazon.com gift card! Click here for details.
Creating an Amazon registry has some great perks:
-There is a 10% one time discount on registry items (15% if you are an Amazon Mom member). This means that 30 days before your babies due date Amazon will send you a special link to redeem your additional discount on select items left on your registry.
-It features universal product adding! That means that you can add items to your wish list from ANY OTHER website!
-FREE 90 day returns on baby store purchases
How to Participate in the Amazon Baby Registry Sweepstakes
No purchase necessary, ends 7/25/15. Limit 1 entry per person and email address.
1- Go to the Amazon.com Baby Registry.
2- Create a Baby Registry.
3- Add 10 items or more to your new Registry.
4- Within 7 business days you'll receive an email from Amazon.com notifying you that you've been entered. Please note that if you have opted out of receiving registry related emails, you will not receive this confirmation. You can view and change your email preferences at anytime by logging in to your registry.
5- One winner will be selected each week from July 27, 2014 through July 25, 2015 to win a $500 Amazon.com Gift Card.
6- For additional details, see our frequently asked questions and Official Rules.
Need a little inspiration?
Here are our Top Ten Baby Registry Items to help you get started:
This is a wardrobe staple for every Nursing Mama. Expand your nursing wardrobe with this purchase and make any shirt a nursing shirt!
We love this travel system because it rides smooth, is light, and compresses easily. It makes transporting a baby a little easier, and who doesn't want that?
These super soft pads soothe chaffed nipples, they are ultra-absorbant and stop leaks, and they are washable so you save money! Give them a try, you'll thank us later!
We love this carrier for so many reasons: great ergonomic eesign, fun colors that my husband could live with, and a forward facing feature that my baby loves! When he needs a nap, I still carry him facing me.
A great nursing bra that is also a pumping bra! It is supportive, easy to use, and turns any pump into a hands- free pump.
Every new mama needs an awesome diaper bag and we love Ju-Ju-Be and their newest collection of black and white prints makes you feel less like you are carrying a diaper bag and more like you are carrying a purse.
This doctor developed and doctor recommended nasal aspirator is amazing at keeping babies naturally snot free. Ingeniously simple Swedish design features a tube that is placed against the nostril (not inside). Parents use their own suction to draw mucus out of their child's nose. Sounds a little gross, but it is amazing!
8- Skwish Toy
One of our favorite classic toys, it skwishes and returns to its original shape. Perfect for little hands.
Who doesn't love a good book? This board book is based on the simplicity of objects outlined in black & white that can be easily recognized by babies in their daily surroundings. This is one of those rare books that will interest even a newborn.
One of our favorite blankets ever! The double layer cotton knit makes it super soft and we love the gender neutral designs.