Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Post-Baby Bod

I knew my body was going to look different after the baby. I didn't expect to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans right away and I knew it was going to take time to feel good about my body shape again. So despite being mentally prepared for how my body may look, I wasn't expecting how difficult it would be to dress my lactating, in-between stage body. I'm 6lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight but I'm sure a few of those pounds are in my boobs (and a couple are left over from IVF-related weight gain.) I feel good about how fast the body fat came off, but my hips are a lot wider than before and my core definitely needs to be tightened up. I wear leggings pretty much everyday and I was never much of a leggings girl before. Leggings and a flowy top is pretty much my uniform right now... which actually works pretty well for this Gypsy Mama when I add some funky jewellery.

And then there is the bra issue. Before pregnancy, I would get home from work and throw on some comfy, casual clothes. The first thing I would do when I walked in the door was take off my bra. I hate wearing bras and once the bra came off there was no putting it back on (unless we had visitors that I felt the need to cover up for). Now, I have to wear a bra all day because I need to wear breast pads which means any tops I wear need to cover my bra straps. No halter tops or strapless tops for me... because the only thing less sexy than a visible bra strap (and an ugly, maternity bra strap at that!) is leaking boobs. I don't know what's worse, dripping milk on my husband in bed or going to bed while wearing my ugly maternity bras... Neither one is sexy that's for sure... but I suppose after all he's seen over the past few years of IVF, pregnancy & childbirth, what's a little breastmilk?

When Mom was here, I went to get my hair cut. It was hard to leave the baby, but I knew I would be happy once I got there. (I was. The head massage I received while having my hair washed was reason enough alone!) I don't even want to talk about how long it's been since I had my hair cut at a proper salon. I still do things for myself like paint my nails and put makeup on. Now that I am not working, I don't get up in the mornings and get ready right away, but I still like to do myself up a bit because it makes me feel good about myself, which I think is really important. Paloma gets up around 7:30 everyday and when she goes back down for her nap an hour or so later, that's when I eat breakfast, prepare my tea and do my blogging. It makes me feel like myself to have that hour or so in the morning. Then, when she goes back down for her next nap, I do my workout. I do my house work and errands in the afternoon, and try to start supper before Andino gets home (but I'm not always successful.) I think it's important to take care of myself, not just for my physical state, but also for my mental state. I'm not saying I want to look and feel flawless, but I don't want my husband to come home from work and see me in my pajamas with spit up on my clothes and smelling like sour milk. I know I'm a Mom now, so maybe the expectations are different, but it's important to me that my husband still sees me as beautiful and maybe even more importantly, that I feel beautiful.

I am joining my sister-in-law in the 90 day challenge by Bikini Body Mommy. I am not doing her meal plan, but we eat really healthy anyway. I'm just doing her youtube workouts 6 days a week. Today is day 3 and I'm still feeling really excited about the challenge (and also feeling quite sore!) So who's joining me in this challenge?

Monday, 28 July 2014

2 months

Our girl turned 2 months old yesterday!

  • Going for walks outside
  • The "superman" aka when we hold her like she's flying
  • Her mobile
  • Watching Mommy do her thing in the kitchen while she sits in her chair
  • When Mommy sings her nap-time songs
  • Her tranquil turtle
  • Being held like a baby (cradled)
  • Having her face wiped
  • Spitting up
  • Doing nothing (she gets bored easily)-
First Time:
  • Sleeping through the night! (9:30 - 6:00) (but not every night...)
  • Being babysat
  • Hiking Wascana trails
  • Sleeping in her crib at night
  • Having a family picnic

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The S word

Paloma will be 2 months old in a few days and I received an email from Lucie's List  suggesting it's time to put my girl on a schedule. There us a ton of information out there about which schedule is best for baby and strong opinions on whether or not a schedule is even needed at all. I loved receiving Lucie's List emails during pregnancy and in the first few weeks after Paloma was born. If you are reading this and you are pregnant, I suggest you sign up. Her weekly emails always seemed to cover the topic I had been thinking about that week. But this week? I don't know... I find schedules more stressful than just going with the flow. Paloma has been doing her nights for about a week and a half now, so why mess with a good thing? I admit I toyed with the idea of a schedule for a few hours this morning after receiving the email, because I can see how it would simplify your life in some ways knowing when to expect the baby to be napping, but a schedule just didn't feel right for us. Paloma still eats every 2 hours during the day (more or less) because she goes so long without eating at night. When she yawns, I put her to sleep, when she's hungry I feed her & when she's neither of those things we entertain her. We loosely follow the Eat, Activity, Sleep routine but we're definitely not strict about it. 

Even though we don't have a schedule, we do have routines. I read to her everyday  (but not at the same time.) We go for a walk everyday (unless it's raining) and we have a bed time routine. I feed her at 7:30 & 8:30, then bathe her and feed her again at 9:30 so she's nice and full for the long night ahead. Other than that, we just go with the flow during the day. If I want to get some errands done, I feed her, burp her, hold her for a bit so she doesn't spit up in her car seat and then go. She will usually fall asleep in the car seat & will stay asleep after I put her in the wrap while I do some shopping or whatever. Pretty simple stuff, so to me it seems like a schedule would only complicate things because I'd be watching the clock instead of watching her cues. Maybe when she's a bit older she will make her own day time schedule. As my sister in law told me today, it's better to be feeding her all day than all night! 

Andino and I have kind of started our own parenting routine too. We didn't plan it out or anything, but usually I feed her before he comes home from work so she's ready to go another couple hours without needing me. He will take her and entertain her while I get a few things done around the house. He's also the one who usually bathes her at night. 

And in the middle of all we do for Paloma, we try to include our fur babies as much as possible. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Family Picnic

Obviously when you have a baby, things change. Andino and I had gotten into the (expensive) habit of eating out at restaurants a few times a week during my pregnancy. We both knew that once Paloma arrived we wouldn't be able to, so we enjoyed it while we could. Now, we find different, baby-friendly activities to do on the weekend like going for walks or getting ice cream. This weekend, we had our first ever picnic! I packed our lunch and a blanket and we drove to the park down the street to enjoy the beautiful weather. I had so much fun and I can't wait to do it again!

On the menu was egg salad sandwiches with dill from our garden on 12-grain bread purchased at the Farmer's Market, tuna salad pitas, quinoa black bean salad, crackers, cheese & pepperoni, dried mangoes & cashews, homemade iced tea and yerba mate to wash it all down! Needless to say, I wasn't very hungry for the fish tacos we had for supper last night. Eating together at the supper table has always been a big deal to me (we always did it growing up) but often times, Paloma will be awake and fussy during supper (it's like she knows the second we are ready to sit down to eat and will start to cry!) so one of us eats while the other entertains the baby and then we switch. Or, sometimes Andino will cut up my food for me so I can feed her with one hand holding her and the other feeding myself! Going on this picnic was extra nice because we all got to eat lunch together.

It took us a lot longer to get out the door than I anticipated, partly because I made Andino and Paloma dress up so I could get some nice photos of our first family picnic. Paloma has so many 0-3 dresses that she was given at the baby shower and I never put her in them because I think casual, hippy-style clothes are so cute! I think Andino gets annoyed sometimes by how often I want to take pictures, but he's the one who bought me my camera! Here's a pic of Andino waiting patiently for me to finish preparing the picnic, before Paloma was changed into her fancy dress: 

So that was the highlight of our weekend, I hope you all had great weekends too! 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Breastfeeding vs. Nursing

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. When we were in the adoption process I researched how to nurse an adopted baby through induced lactation and wearing a supplemental nursing system.I wanted to breastfeed because I knew there were many benefits, not just for the baby, but also for the mother and the environment. Before Paloma was born, I had never really thought about the difference between nursing and breastfeeding. Now that I spend what feels like half of my waking hours with a baby attached to my boob, I think about nursing all the time. It is equally as challenging as it is rewarding and I'm surprised by how much I love it.

Breastfeeding is about more than feeding your baby, as I discovered when I went to a local mom and baby group. The way the class works is that all the Moms sit with their babies around the edge of the room on big blue gym mats. Each Mom takes their turn talking about their challenges and successes that week. Paloma was 3 weeks old when we went and we were still really struggling with my oversupply at that time which is what I talked about when it was my turn. The last woman to speak had a baby girl the same age as Paloma but had the opposite challenge than us. She didn't produce enough breastmilk to exclusively breastfeed her baby and had been supplementing with formula since her baby was born. She said she could pump for an hour and only get 15ml. She was choked up when she was telling us how much it bothers her that her body isn't providing enough milk for her baby to thrive and how she always thought she would breastfeed her children and never expected to have this challenge. Then the woman who facilitates the group (the same woman who taught our prenatal classes) said "Just because you can't exclusively breastfeed your baby doesn't mean you can't nurse her." And she went on to talk about how nursing is about so much more than feeding your baby. (Which is why both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics have policy statements on breastfeeding that include assisting or encouraging adoptive mothers to induce lactation for adoptive nursing.)

So much of parenting is about instinct and doing what feels natural to you. Despite the challenges we had with nursing in the beginning, Paloma and I have figured out how to nurse quite well and both of us really enjoy it. My instinct is to offer her the breast whenever she cries which is also what my midwife told me to do. If she doesn't want it she doesn't take it (but she usually wants it!) We use a pacifier when I'm not able to nurse her (usually when she's in the carseat) but I prefer to not substitute the pacifier for comfort nursing. A pacifier is a man-made replica of a nipple after all, so why not give her the real thing? I nurse her if she's fussy because it instantly calms her down - I can see her relax all her muscles and sometimes she even lets out a little sigh of relief. If she's been passed around too much with visitors, she cries to come back to me and feel the comfort of being in her Mom's arms. I love how she stares up at me when she's nursing and most of all I love being able to satisfy her in the most natural way possible.

Andino not only supports me 100% in the way I nurse Paloma, he wants me to. If he's holding her or someone else is holding her and she starts to cry he will bring her to me and say "she wants the boob!" but despite how confident we both feel in our choice to parent her this way, I still feel very insecure when people question how often she nurses. "She can't be hungry yet!" "She's constantly feeding!" etc. Andino and my Mom keep telling me to be confident and not let these little comments bother me, but sometimes I fixate on them. Even though I know what we are doing is completely normal and natural I hate to feel judged by others. It's not like our frequent nursing prevents us from getting out and doing things; we go for walks and visits all the time! Yesterday we visited my office for an hour and a half where I nursed her once for about 10 minutes, then we walked around the Farmers market for an hour or so. We always get out and do things to enjoy the day and the beautiful summer weather. I don't let the fact that I nurse my baby on demand prevent me from being social. If my baby gets hungry when I'm out, I feed her. Mothers nursing their babies in public has been happening forever and it seems like only recently it's become something to talk about. Just look at all these beautiful images:

My boss told me that back home (in Burundi) she nursed her babies anywhere, even in church! I saw mothers nursing their babies all day long when I was in Mozambique. My midwife actually gave me a disapproving look at one of our first visits to her office when my baby was crying and I didn't nurse her. She said "sometimes babies just want to nurse for comfort, it doesn't matter if she's hungry or not." and from that day on, that's what I've done. I know Paloma is going to grow up so fast and in the blink of an eye she won't need me anymore (at least not in the same way she does now). I am going to nurse her for as long as it makes both of us happy. 

I always considered myself a confident person. It's funny how motherhood has brought out my insecure side in a way. There were so many times in my past where I've done things that others disapproved of (for example, introducing Andino to my parents when I already had a ring on my finger, only 2 months after we officially started dating) and I had no problem at all standing up for what I knew was right. But with mothering, as soon as I get even a whiff of disapproval I get defensive. It's something I am working on and I already feel myself getting stronger and more confident. I think it's normal for new Mom's to feel this way and maybe this learning process is all part of becoming a strong, independent woman. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Updates at 7 weeks

We've had our hands full with our little Palomita. This girl is only 7 weeks old and she's full of personality already! My Mom was here visiting & helping out this past week and it was so great having her here. Not only because she cooked and cleaned for us but also to have an extra set of hands. I wouldn't describe Paloma as a fussy baby by any means but I would definitely say she's high maintenance. When she's awake (which is increasingly more often now) she wants constant stimulation. She wants to be bounced around, played with, sung to, read to... anything to engage her. And don't try to put her down before she's ready because she'll let you know! She just loves to be in one of her five baby carriers while I do house work and/or go for walks, so she can see what her Mom is doing.

Don't stop bouncing me Mom!

Meeting Nanny at the airport

The girls
Nanny doing her thing in my kitchen!
Yes. I said five baby carriers. I am so addicted. Andino made me promise to stop buying them. I have two ring slings, two wraps and a mei tai. I use the wraps 90% of the time and I still haven't used a stroller yet. Why would I when baby wearing is not only what I dreamed of doing the 4 years we tried to grow our family, but it's also the most convenient thing ever when you are the Mom of a little piggy like Paloma who nurses all day long? You can see in this picture that she's at boob level because we were out hiking when she got hungry, so I just dropped her down and nursed her while we were walking. 

Getting some fresh air
We had our final appointment with my midwife last week. I was sad because I really like her and I looked forward to seeing her regularly. Plus, she was very helpful and informative during those first few weeks when I was learning how to be a Mom and I wish I could continue to see her so I could ask her questions as Paloma grows up and we encounter new challenges. I am so happy we decided to go with a midwife instead of an OBGYN and if I ever get pregnant again I would definitely go back to her. At our last appointment I gave her a thank you card, flowers and chocolates to show her how much I appreciated her care over the last 6 months or so.

Here we are when Paloma was only 3 days old!
Paloma lost almost all her hair on the top of her head and none on the sides, just like a balding old man! I think it's starting to grow back now, but it's going to be a while until she has a full head of hair. The whole time I was pregnant I was hoping she'd be born with lots of hair but now I like that she's a baldy because she will look like a baby for longer. She's already put on 5 pounds and is growing so fast & I want her to keep her baby-ness for as long as possible. Some of her 0-3 month clothes are already getting tight on my little piggy and there's no way on God's green earth that she will ever wear all the dresses she was given at the baby shower. We got dressed up the day my Mom arrived and took a few pics:

I have a few more topics in mind that I want to write about, but she just woke up so I guess that's it for now! I hope to write again soon :)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Baby Wearing & Cloth Diapering

Despite all the running around we've been doing since our basement flooded, we've still found some time to relax. We've gone on a few walks around the lake which Paloma loves because she loves being outside! If she is fussy, all we have to do is take her outside and 90% of the time she will instantly calm down and look quietly at her surroundings, soaking in the fresh air. I always use my Wrapsody baby wrap on our walks. There are a few different ways to wrap it, but I always use the wrap which allows me to easily nurse her on the go. All I do is loosen the knot, drop her down a bit and start nursing. It takes me a minute to latch her on, then I continue walking. When she's done I just snug her back up and burp her. Being able to nurse her on the go has been very convenient.I feel like it's quite discreet and you'd really have to be looking at us to realize I'm nursing. The only drawbacks to my wrap is that the material is so long that if I am putting her into it when I am outside it drags on the ground while I'm tying it. If the ground is wet and dirty then the material would get dirty too. Also, it's been super hot here lately and it's not very breathable. I thought I'd use my ring sling a lot more, but I hardly ever use it! I don't find it as comfortable because all the weight is on one shoulder. Although it's quick to pop the baby into, I find it very difficult to position her properly so she's always at an uncomfortable angle.  I am planning on buying another baby carrier and I want one that is a basic colour. My wrap is a beautiful colourful design, but I need something more basic that won't clash with my outfits. I am thinking of getting a mei tai... Anyone have any suggestions?

Today we went on a coffee date with one of my girlfriends. Paloma has SO MANY fancy dresses, but I hardly ever use them. I just love putting her in casual, hippy-style outfits like the one she wore today, which was sent to us from my sister in law (and some of the outfits were worn by my two nieces before Paloma!) I'm not even sure her headband matched her outfit today, but she rocked it anyway. 

We've been cloth diapering her since she was 2 weeks old. I didn't do it right off the bat because I didn't like her diapers rubbing against her umbilical cord until it fully healed. Plus, by 2 weeks old she was around 8 pounds which is when I found the diapers really started fitting her. We use fitted diapers at night and applecheeks during the day. We haven't found cloth diapering to be any more of a hassle than disposables at all. Sure, it's an extra load of laundry a day or every second day, but how hard is it to throw a load of diapers in the wash? At first I was drying them in the dryer, but now I'm putting them on the line which gets the stains out completely! I love using my clothes line in the summer, who doesn't love crawling into bed with fresh sheets from the line?

After all the years of waiting and daydreaming, I'm finally a babywearing, cloth diapering Mama! It's still so hard to believe...

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