Tips for Nursing Mamas

Breastfeeding is probably the most talked about thing you will do as a mom! So many opinions, how to’s, questions, unsolicited advice and products! It’s all very overwhelming especially when you just gave birth and are trying to breastfeed for the first time or even the second or third. Let’s be honest, being a mom is hard work, emotionally, mentally and physically. Even if it looks like you are just sitting there nursing, the amount of energy and calories it takes for your body to give your baby food is a lot, not to mention all the other things it takes to have a newborn. So shout out to all my super mama warriors, you are all doing amazing!

Those first few weeks of transition for you and baby are usually a blur once you have gotten through them but while you are in it, they are some of the most difficult and longest weeks of your life. Mainly for lack of sleep but for a lot of moms it’s having difficulty breastfeeding. I’m here to tell you IT’S OK! YOU ARE DOING GREAT! DON’T STRESS! Whether you stick with breastfeeding or decide to give formula, you and baby will be just fine!

Here are some tips that I found worked for me while trying to get through breastfeeding with both of my daughters. Hopefully some or all can help you. So let’s get into it.

DON’T STRESS:

I know it’s easier said than done but trust me don’t stress. Not only is stress in general not good for you it will actually make breastfeeding much harder and you will likely produce less milk. You feel it, baby feels it and that is not how you get milk flowing or milk production up. A way to take your mind off of questioning if you are doing it right or if you are producing enough is to distract yourself. I would look at pictures or videos of my baby or watch cute or funny videos or movies. Make sure no matter what, you aren’t setting any unrealistic expectations for your body. And please do not compare yourself to any other mama, everyone is different.

DRINK TONS OF WATER:

Drink so much water that you when you think you had enough for the day drink some more LOL, but seriously I mean the amount of water you consume is directly related to amount of milk you will be producing so it is super important. I have a 40 oz hydroflask that I refill 3 to 4 times a day…that is a lot of damn water. I run (literally) to the restroom so many times a day but my milk production is up and my skin is so hydrated so there is an upside for sure.

EAT NUTRIENT RICH FOODS:

Because what you are eating directly translates to the food your baby is getting try to stay away from unhealthy foods, and things with little to no nutrition. Please eat to your hearts content otherwise. If you feel hungry even after you just ate and if you are hydrated, definitely listen to your body and get those calories in that your body needs. You are fueling yourself and a growing baby. 

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS:

This is a hard one for me, even as I write this I only half believe this. I am working on it though. On the one hand I feel so empowered by what my body has done, created life, birthed a baby and sustaining that baby all with just my body, I mean c’mon mamas that is effin AMAZING! On the other hand I still do feel the pressure to “bounce back” and look a certain way. Especially when I hear so many moms talk about how they lost the weight so fast because they breastfed and all the weight just melted off. Well that definitely did not happen with my first and it ain’t happening this time even though I am exclusively breastfeeding (insert eye roll here). My body simply does not work like that. This is considering that I am eating fairly healthy and super plain because my daughter has such a sensitive stomach. I had to eliminate so many foods from my diet, such as eggs, all dairy, pork (gosh I miss bacon) and corn. Basically all my favorite foods with I thought would for sure help with weight loss but nope that did not do the trick. I just need to tell myself that this weight loss journey will be slow and I need to be less concerned with that and know that I will get back to my pre baby weight. I am just going to have to work hard, be kind to myself and be patient with my body. 

EAT FOODS THAT HELP WITH MILK PRODUCTION:

There are a lot of foods that you can eat that can stimulate milk production. There are teas like Mother’s milk tea, lactation cookies and recipes (my fave is this one here), lactation decaf coffee which I just discovered and I am obsessed with. There are also a list of foods that you can eat to help too, like oatmeal, fenugreek, brewers yeast, garlic, dark leafy greens, etc. I found that eating these foods daily really helped my milk production. 

PUMP:

This one is hard for me because I hate pumping but it really works to help build up a supply. With my first I would pump two to three times a day after feedings. This time around I have noticed that my milk supply is better and I only pump once to twice a day. What I found that works the best is the Haaka. Let me tell you how amazing this little manual breast pump is. It has been the reason why I have not needed to pump as much. I know it doesn’t work for everyone but it has been a such a great addition to my collection of tools that I use for making more milk. I usually put it on the opposite side when Aliciana is nursing and I will have it there for about 15 to 20 minutes and I collect anywhere from 3-4 ounces in one sitting. I have two just in case I fill one up. Highly recommend this product. One other tip about pumping is to use pictures or videos of your babes while you pump if  you are not near them, to one, put you at ease and remind yourself why you are doing this and two, in hopes of triggering the same reaction from your body that you would get if your little was right in front of you. 

DON’T LET BABY SNACK FEED:

This was a huge struggle for me with my first baby. I would literally nurse what felt like 24/7 and I still wasn’t feeling like she was full and I was definitely not producing enough milk. Let me tell you it is such an awful and defeating feeling not being able to sustain your baby. There were many times I almost gave up. Thankfully my husband was very encouraging and never let me quit. What I know now that I did not know then was that not emptying the breast completely, could be why milk supply is suffering. Now I ensure that Aliciana empties each side completely even if that means I have to wake her up if she falls asleep. This way she is satiated and more content and therefore less fussy. It has worked out much better this time around. All of this takes practice and is very exhausting so hang in there mamas you are not alone. 


Mindful Skin Routine


I have been wanting to make this blog post for a while but with an ever changing skin routine it was hard to do. After many failed products and trial and error I can finally say that I have a routine that I love and totally works for my skin. I will say that completely changing your food is difficult but completely changing your beauty products that you once loved is an entirely different animal.

I don’t think I ever realized how many chemicals were inside of the conventional products you find at your regular drugstore, beauty salon or even Target. I was blown away! Luckily because so many consumers have become privy to the standards for all things beauty or lack there of we have many more “natural” options.

The products I am currently using have been a part of my routine for about 6 months so I can confidently say they really do work. I feel like these products have proven themselves more so because they were used during pregnancy and post baby and with all the changes your skin goes though its very nice knowing I can count on all of these products through thick and thin.

One thing I want to mention before I get into all the products is that although switching to natural chemical free products has been a huge help in maintaining healthy skin, the game changer was… wait for it… DIET! It still baffles me that western medicine does not associate diet with disease or even something as simple as skin but trust me it makes a HUGE difference. What you put in your mouth directly effects your skin and the way it looks. This will be different for everyone but for me it was keeping myself hydrated (consistently), and the big one, avoiding dairy at all costs. I will save the details for another post and get right into my fave products.

Deodorant is that one product that has taken me the longest to find in terms of natural products. When I say I have tried all natural deodorants, I mean I have tried everything under the sun. Unfortunately a lot of them worked but they contained baking soda which lead to my skin burning off after about 2 to 3 weeks of use. So after I realized that I was too sensitive to use anything with baking soda, I was now on the hunt again. Eliminating baking soda from my search made that list of natural aluminum free deodorant a lot smaller. When I cam across Kopari I was leery because I had wasted so much money already. Initially this deodorant was a godsend, so soft, easy to put on and it smelled like a vacation but like I said I still wasn’t sold. After about 3 weeks I realized I was in the clear and let me tell you I was so happy and relieved. This is now a staple item in my list of beauty products.

So Coola is an awesome product in that it acts as both a makeup setting spray and sunscreen, all in a spray. Honestly too good to be true, right?!? Well 70% of the ingredients are organic so its definitely just an all around great product. I use this product daily and it works so well. Still have yet to find something that is comparable.

Out of all the products on my list I have used Biossance squalane and peptide eye gel one the longest. I absolutely love this serum. It has worked wonders for my dark circles and puffiness, especially since I have not slept in the last 2.5 months LOL. This has been my rescue serum. I use this religiously day and night. What makes this better is the fact that it is non toxic, paraben free, fragrance free, phthalate free and mineral oil free. Honestly cannot say enough good things about this little gem.

Clearly I love Biossance, they have such amazing products and this squalane and probiotic gel moisturizer is one of my faves. I have combination oily skin but when I was pregnant I had really dry skin and this gel moisturizer worked great during both phases my skin was in. I use this at night only and after washing my face. Even though it is a gel it goes on like any other face cream I’ve used. You can literally feel it hydrating as soon as you put it on.

I really like the Tatcha products but this Tatcha water cream is the one that has remained on my list of faves for a while now. I use this as my day cream before I put any primer or makeup on. It is smooth, hydrating and has definitely helped with evening out my skin tone. Plus I do have to say I am a sucker for packaging and their packaging is sooo pretty…definitely an added bonus.

Witch hazel has been used for centuries for its skin soothing properties. It is also known to be a great antioxidant and astringent to assist in healing, helping with acne, getting rid of unwanted bacteria to name a few. This super versatile product will be on my list of faves forever because of all the amazing benefits it has. You can find it at most drug stores and also here.

If you are anything like me chapstick is one of the most important items in your makeup bag. Whether or not I wear makeup I will without a doubt wear chapstick. I have one in my car, vanity, night stand and makeup bag. Hurraw makes the best chapstick and is by far the most hydrating for the most amount of time and I feel like that is hard to come by. The ingredients are vegan, organic and made in the US. I love the tint that it has especially on the days when I am wearing little to no makeup, it just adds a touch of color and tastes so good.

This last product I currently am not using but I did use it throughout all of my pregnancy and it worked so well I felt like I needed to mention it in my faves list. I used disappearing act religiously as many times a day that I could remember but for sure at night before I went to bed. A truly all natural product that you could use without any worry about toxic ingredients. Smells like a spa and works so well. I have no stretch marks at all and I have this amazing cream to thank. I met the owner of good common sense and she is so lovely. The company is locally based and a brand that I can put my trust in. All my mommas to be please do yourself a favor and get this now.

Top 10 recommendations to help get through pregnancy

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As mentioned in my previous blog post, I said I would talk about my pregnancy in detail as well as share all the things I did and took to help me have the best possible pregnancy. I do want to say that all women are different and these suggestions may not work for everyone but they definitely helped me. Now before I get into this, I do also want to add that even though I had a great pregnancy there were still days that I felt gross, heavy and exhausted BUT I would say about 95% of the time I was preggers I thoroughly enjoyed it. That isn’t too bad, right?!?

One of the first things they say you encounter when you find out your preggers is the dreaded morning sickness. Now for a lot of women the morning part is a joke because that s%#! is all day. I fortunately enough did not experience much morning sickness. It only happened for maybe about a week and it was only in the morning and mainly because I wasn’t eating breakfast. Which brings me to my first recommendation…

1. Eat a hardy healthy breakfast

I learned quickly that breakfast was my best friend throughout all my pregnancy but it really made a difference during the first trimester. I realized that If I didn’t eat right away I would feel even worse. I’ve never been a huge breakfast person (unless it was breakfast for dinner 😉) so it was very odd to think that I had to wake up and eat a big meal. Typically, when I wasn’t preggers, I wouldn’t eat until lunch and only have a banana and tea (or something light) in the morning. Let me just say that all changed with pregnancy. Eggs became mandatory for breakfast every morning. I (meaning my amazing hubby lol) would make a breakfast scramble with spinach and chicken apple sausage, breakfast burritos, or just plain scrambled eggs with fruit and toast. He definitely tried to make it as interesting as possible. One thing to note, your pregnant and your baby eats what you eat, I would recommend good quality eggs. My preference is pasture raised organic local eggs. You can totally see the difference in the shell an especially the yolk. Whatever you choose to eat maker sure it is nutrient rich, free of GMOs, preservatives and make sure it is satiating .

2. Raspberry leaf tea

One thing that I read about a lot when I first got pregnant was this push to drink lots of raspberry leaf tea. I don’t have anything to compare this to as this was my first pregnancy but I feel it definitely helped. Since most of pregnancy my husband would make me breakfast, he was very diligent in ensuring that my “uterus tea” (as he loved to call it lol) was consumed daily. Had it not been for him I don’t think I would have been consistent. Towards the end I was so over it. I would let it get cold than chug it really fast haha. It didn’t taste bad but I was just tired of drinking it. All in all I would definitely do this one again. I have heard too many amazing things about this tea from other mamas who have had multiple children not to make this part of my pregnancy strategy in the future.

3. Prenatal Vitamins and probiotics

So one of the first things you hear from your doctor or midwife when you get pregnant is to begin  taking prenatal vitamins. This is sometimes even recommended if you are trying to get pregnant.  We weren’t necessarily trying but we were not trying either so I began taking mine right when I found out (which BTW was super early…like 4 weeks). I remember going to Whole Foods to get them, I was so excited LOL.

I read up on the best vitamins to take and of course there is a lot of information out there and it can be confusing but I finally made my decision to go with the best choice for me. The one I went with is called MyKind Organics Prenatal Multi, by the brand Garden of life There are a few reasons why I went  with this brand.

  • It is made entirely out of organic fruits and veggies
  • It is Vegan
  • Contains folate as opposed to folic acid (folic acid is the synthetic version of folate)
  • No fillers

I can write a whole post just about vitamins for someone who is preggers but I will spare you. Bottom line is that these are great and I highly recommend them.

I also took an additional vitamin D and probiotic (both from Garden of Life), and green papaya. The extra vitamin D was mainly because when you are preggers your immune system is suppressed. The probiotic is also for good gut health, which basically is your immune system. I did not start taking the green papaya until about week 28 which was when I was starting to get bigger and feeling less room in my stomach. I would eat something small and feel full super quick. That whole eating for two did not work for me as I was running out of room. I would also notice that I would get stomach aches after my meals. The papaya helped a lot with this uncomfortable feeling.

4. Magnesium Calm

As you know magnesium is super important for pregnant women. It works simultaneously with calcium to help relax and contract muscles. Research shows that having enough magnesium during pregnancy can minimize the chances of the uterus contracting prematurely. Magnesium is also important for building babies teeth and bones. You can find Natural Vitality at Whole Foods, Sprouts or on Amazon.

5. Exercise 

I have to attribute my very easy and smooth pregnancy mostly to exercise. I did prenatal yoga two to three times a week. In conjunction I also did personal training two to three times a week. My last four weeks were hard because I couldn’t even tie my shoes, my amazing hubby had the wonderful job of putting my socks and shoes on LOL. So the last four weeks I only did prenatal yoga. Don’t get me wrong there were days prior to the last four weeks that I missed because I was tired or just didn’t feel well but for the most part I was active everyday. Even if you can walk for 20 minutes a day, that would make pregnancy and labor that much easier.

6. Chiropractor and Massages

My chiropractor was a life saver during my pregnancy and I highly recommend going to one if you are preggers. Even if you aren’t I recommend going to one. The health benefits are endless and you feel so good after. During pregnancy your body is changing in ways that are hard to imagine and with all those changes comes discomfort and in a lot of cases pain. You want to be playing with a full deck of cards especially during pregnancy and seeing a chiro can help with that. Although I did not personally experience pain I did however experience a lot of discomfort my last 4 weeks. Going to the chiro helped me feel aligned and my muscles not as tight. I also noticed that I stood up taller and my lower back was not tight.

The other thing that was amazing and I kinda throw in the same category as a chiropractor is a prenatal massage. I did not get them as much as I should have but when I did, it was AMAZE! Make sure you do your research because the first place I went to was horrible and didn’t really give me a massage, it was more like a soft rub down LOL. Bottom line is, GET A MASSAGE as often as possible.

7. Sleep at least 8 hours a night

Ok before all the moms who have children start feel their blood boil as they read this, this one is more for the first time moms as I know how laughable it is for a mom with a toddler who is pregnant to get that much sleep. With that being said if you are first time mom, milk it honey! Rest, put your feet up, nap as many times a day as you feel like, watch that Netflix series you have been wanting to catch up on. Do all the things that your little heart desires because this will be the first and last time you are able to enjoy your pregnancy like this. That is if you are planning on having more kids. It will never just be you and your husband/partner alone like this. Alright alright I’m going off topic here, the point is, please get as much rest as possible and avoid stressing yourself out. If you can’t do it for you, do it for the little babes. Your baby needs you to sleep an adequate amount of time to grow and have healthy brain development so it is very important.

8. Take a Baby Moon 

So I know that it is not possible for everyone to go on some big trip across the world but set some time aside for you and your significant other to decompress and have quality time. Whether it is a tropical retreat, a spa day, or a staycation, plan something. That quality time makes a world of difference and will give you some time to reflect on what matters and also enjoy your partner. My husband and I had booked a trip to Spain for my BFFs wedding well before I was pregnant so we had no choice but to go (poor us, I know haha). It worked out perfectly because I was in my second trimester and I felt great and full of energy. I do have to say that the only time I swelled was when we spent 10 hours in a plane but I took the magnesium calm (which I spoke about in the fourth recommendation) and it helped immensely. We spent 4 days in New York and the next two weeks in Granada, Mallorca, Barcelona and Morocco. It was lovely and one of the best trips we have taken. That is saying a lot because of course there was no alcohol involved. In all seriousness, we had an amazing time and it brought us so much closer together.

9. Take a newborn/birthing/CPR class

I am not sure about all of you but I am a planner and when I don’t plan especially for a huge life changing events, I get major anxiety. Now I know being a mom is supposed to be instinctual and come so naturally but for some that is not the case. I feel like for me it has come naturally for the most part but regardless of what people say I still think it is good to get some knowledge on at least what to expect especially if you have never been around babies. There is no such thing as too much information, so please inform yourself. My hubby and I took birthing classes, a newborn class and an infant CPR class. The birthing classes and the newborn class we took were taught by our midwife but if you aren’t doing a home birth the hospital should offer similar classes too. We felt like we knew a lot of the information but there were some things we had never heard of. Most importantly we learned what to expect, which eased a lot of my fears and anxieties. I do want to say that nothing prepared us for exactly what was to come. Having to take care of a little precious life versus learning about it in a class is night and day BUT when there are moments of stress we always try to use what we learned in our class to help our little princess.

10. Take unsolicited advise with a grain of salt

This one is super important for your sanity and to prevent from getting frustrated or annoyed with the lovely people around you.  I cannot tell you the amount of unsolicited advise I got the second I announced I was preggers. Sure some of it was useful information I never heard of before but most of it was advice from moms who thought the way they did it was the right way. Now I’m sure it was the right way for their family but it is insane to think that everything that worked for one baby is going to work for another. Everyone is different and has different preferences so as a first time mom it is mostly about trial and error. The way I got through the intense amount of unsolicited advise was to set my expectations properly. I knew it was gonna come and I knew that the word vomit from many moms and others as well was not going to stop. So, I would laugh it off or politely nod my head and smile. At the end of the day I knew they all meant well so I just thought of it in a positive way. It is easy for you to lose your patience when your hormones are all out of whack so just know that all the moms around you just want to help. I do want to add that some of the old wives tales and old school remedies were down right hilarious and flat out entertaining. Laughing was a much better way to cope with all of it.

Pregnancy is going to be different for each individual and there are going to be things that help you get through it that aren’t going to work for others. My unsolicited advice is, trust your instinct because only you know what is right for you!

Until next time my fellow hippies 😉