August 17, 2017

A REAL Breastfeeding Story.

In light of World Breastfeeding Week, which was earlier this month, I feel compelled to share our story.

Before having Caden, I mostly heard things like, "she was a natural" or, "he latched right away." So, with having a pretty easy and uneventful pregnancy, labor, and delivery, I thought for sure we would be a "natural" at breastfeeding, right? Wrong.

What so many people fail to tell you, is that breastfeeding does not always come as "naturally" as you may have been lead to believe. It is hard and stressful and emotional for mom AND baby and you may think about quitting every single day.

From day 1 in the hospital, I was already starting to see the dark side. Caden had a hard time latching, he didn't have a lip tie or tongue tie, but he was new at it and I was new at it and we needed lots of practice. What I didn't know then, was that this was going to mean lots of tears for both of us and lots of sleepless nights to come. I'm sure all of those crazy postpartum hormones didn't help either.

I thought I felt pretty knowledgable about latching, I took the hospital's breastfeeding class, but that was only just a small piece of the puzzle. Every time we woke to nurse, I had the nurse there trying to help. We tried every position she could think of and since all modestly had gone out the window long before, nothing was to be left untried.

When we were discharged to go home, I guess I didn't feel too worried, thinking that this was all new for both of us and we would catch on soon.

The first night home actually went okay. I literally set my alarm to wake every couple hours to nurse and although not easy, we made it through and I felt somewhat rested and optimistic by the next morning. Then, the second night home, my milk came in.

I had heard about how this could feel, however, it was just one more thing I was NOT prepared for. As if latching wasn't hard enough, add milk-engorged breasts to the equation. It's not hard to figure out what the outcome of that was - lots of tears for both me and Caden. Thank God our insurance covered a breast pump and I had already been equipped with one long before baby boy arrived. At about 1:00AM, I made my way downstairs and broke that thing out. Through sleepy, bloodshot eyes, I read the instructions and finally found some relief.

By the next morning, I was convinced my boobs were going to stay like that forever (obviously an irrational thought) and called my lactation consultant. I left her a teary voicemail and with a call back a short time later, I was so thankful to hear that she had an opening that day. It was Friday mind you, I don't know what I would have done if I wasn't able to see her before the weekend.

Of course, Caden latched and nursed pretty well in the appointment, but she gave us some comforting words and advice and a silicone nipple shield and sent us on our way. That nipple shield was a God send. We were finally getting somewhere. I didn't want to become too dependent on it though and was determined to make this work for both of us.

Within about a week, we were only using the nipple shield at night since that always seemed to be our toughest time. When we were both tired and frustrated, that little thing got us through. It also helped a bit with the pain because up until then, it felt like razor blades every time C tried to latch. In time, the nipple shield started to add to the problem so I was relieved when we were able to eventually stop using it.

The first two weeks were the absolute hardest. The lactation consultant had told me to give it at least six weeks. When you are four days postpartum, that is the last thing you want to hear and six weeks seemed like an eternity. In some of our lowest moments, I was literally hand-expressing onto a plastic spoon that Shaun held for me so I could feed our baby. 

I can promise you that I thought about giving up breastfeeding every. single. day. over those six weeks. But the nurse was right - around the six week mark, things finally seemed to be getting easier. We still weren't perfect and it still took some effort, but we were getting there. There were some lows, but by now, those feel like a very distant memory.

Looking back, I'm very happy that I decided to stick with it. Even in our toughest moments, I just didn't feel like there was any other option. Today, Caden is nearly ten months and we have made it so far. I don't really know exactly when our breastfeeding journey will end, but until then, I will soak up all the baby snuggles and every moment, bonding with my baby boy.

This post is strictly to tell our story. Breastfeeding may not be for everyone and it literally isn't an option for others. I have no judgement toward anyone who chooses another way; the most important factor is that your baby gets fed whether it be by breast or bottle, you do you. Being a mom is for sure the hardest job I have ever had and I know that I'm not a perfect parent, therefore, I would never want to judge someone else for doing what they need to do to be the best parent they can be. xo

warmest aloha,

August 9, 2017

Summer reading.

Another thing that I've been trying to pick back up on is reading. Having an infant definitely makes it hard to even find enough quiet time to read more than a page or two, but things have been getting easier around here and I finally got through my first book of the summer (summer is practically over, I know.) 

I recently finished The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. It was on my Goodreads list for the longest time and I was excited to get it. I finished it in less than a week, not bad! I also just recently got a library card. I haven't had a public library card since I was in high school - 15+ years! So after doing the the other day, I checked out Glory Over Everything, which is the follow-up to the Kitchen House. I haven't started it, but I have less than 21 days before it needs to be returned. Ha.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll actually do a lot more reading once it starts to get colder, since we won't be spending as much time outside, so I'd like to find some new books to add to my reading list. 

Does anyone have any good suggestions???? I'm open to "summer reading"-type books still. I like fiction and especially American historical fiction and chick lit, of course! Because, let's be honest, who doesn't?

August 8, 2017

Mommin' and bloggin'.

I guess I fall into a whole new category of bloggers now - moms! 

I have a lot of thoughts that I'd like to share, however, I do not claim to know everything nor do I have all the answers. Maybe I'll add that disclaimer to each post. I'd just like to think that if any little tidbit I write can help someone, I'll be happy.

I somehow managed to be TERRIBLE at blogging while we lived in Hawaii, which is so, so sad because I was so fortunate to meet so many amazing people and have such amazing experiences. I've been thinking about picking one day each week to re-cap and put those experiences down on "paper". They so deserve a spotlight and I won't ever turn down an opportunity to talk about our time there.

Just one very small peek at a bittersweet day - this photo was taken on our very last day on Oahu. Caden was 9 weeks old and it was a perfectly beautiful evening on Bellows Beach.

Looking forward to sharing so much more!

warmest aloha,

August 7, 2017

Life lately.

I've been having a strong urge to get back into blogging, such as I always do, but life tends to get in the way.

I have a whole list of topics to write about and daydream about when I'll actually have the time to sit down and type out my thoughts. Hopefully this is a start!

I thought I'd do a little post to update everyone on our life lately. 2017 has been quite a whirlwind to say the least.

After my husband's promotion at the end of last year, he got new orders that would move us away from Hawaii. Sad, I know! So, here we are, in our new Idaho home.

I know it sounds odd for someone who is active duty Navy to get stationed in a landlocked state, everyone always looks at us funny. Long story short, he is currently doing oversight at a huge Department of Energy site here in Idaho.

So far, we like it okay. There is LOTS of new territory here to explore and we have done a little bit so far. I've always wanted to live out west and here we've got our chance so I look forward to taking full advantage of the next few years!

When we left Hawaii in January, Caden was nine weeks old and he just recently turned nine MONTHS old. I can't believe it. Since then, we have been able to go home and visit both of our families in Connecticut and Kentucky. We also took a two-week long vacation to Florida. We got to spend some time with my parents in Port St. Lucie, attended my cousin's wedding in Orlando and got to take C to Disney World, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot. We spent the last part of our vacation in Fort Myers with some of Shaun's family.

We camped, for the first time as a family and with Caden, over Memorial Day weekend near Yellowstone National Park. We rented a camper and went with some friends. We also spent some time exploring the park.

Last month, Shaun's family came out to visit us in Idaho over the Fourth of July. We spent a few nights in a really cool cabin near Yellowstone and spent about a day and half exploring the park with them. So far, we've spent about five full days exploring the park and there is still a lot we haven't seen. It's incredibly big!

I hope that next year we'll be able to do a big national park loop through Arizona and Utah or a Northern California trip; still so many places we're dying to see!

Our little guy keeps us on our toes and I know it's just a matter of time before we'll be chasing him all over the house. He makes our universe so much brighter and he is literally my reason for breathing. No one ever said that being a mom would be easy, but it is more than worth it.

warmest aloha,

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