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In Motherhood, My Journal on
May 20, 2017

Let’s Talk About My Boobs | My Breastfeeding Journey

pumping at work

That’s an eye catching title! But really, these past few months as a mother have broken down so many privacy barriers. You have no idea! Talking about my boobs is just a non-issue and plenty of people have seen them too, which is a little weird to type out… But you get the point!

Before Jack was born breastfeeding was this big mysterious thing that I didn’t read up on at all. It was like checking a box on a questionnaire without knowing what it truly meant.

Would you like to give your baby a nutritious meal every two hours that will help him grow and give him immunities to all of the illnesses you’ve contracted? Check! Sounds like an awesome plan.

But boy is it harder than it looks.

Jack wasn’t an expert latcher so the first few weeks were exhausting and difficult. There was crying, some bleeding nipples, and a lot of googling. Not to mention the vulnerability of it all. Here there was this beautiful new life that we created, and it needed to suck on my body to stay alive? Isn’t that called vampirism? I wasn’t prepared for the act of breastfeeding as a whole and it was an emotional rollercoaster, even if it was also a positive bonding experience.

After some practice and the use of a nipple guard for a short time, Jack got the picture and we were in business. I wish I had some miracle advice to share on how it all worked out, but eventually, both Jack and myself just learned how to mesh together properly with patience and hand-holding. There were plenty of times when I felt like giving up, but thankfully I had a great support system that encouraged me. I was told to keep trying but not to worry if it didn’t work out because we have bottles ready to go just in case. Eventually, everything did run its course and Jack figured out what to do.

healthy formula feed baby

But then my maternity leave from work was running out and I had to come up with another plan… So I told myself, I’ll just pump! As if it were the easiest thing in the world to feed your baby and then pump afterward. Surprise, I was wrong. After the life is sucked out of you, do you want to do it again with a machine? Nope.

Quickly I came to realize that there was no way for me to stay sane while also breastfeeding and pumping, so I stuck to breastfeeding and didn’t start pumping again until I returned to work.

Then once I started up at my job again, pumping in the workplace made me feel very uncomfortable. There wasn’t an ideal pumping area that was completely private, and the makeshift situation we came up with made me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. Did I mention my dog’s hair broke multiple pumping machines? So I stopped pumping cold turkey and Jack had formula while I was gone and I breastfeed him when I got home and overnight.

But without pumping at work, my supply started to dip and soon I had to give him a bottle after breastfeeding as my body thought it was time to stop producing milk, given it’s lack of use. Are you noticing a pattern here? I think I’ve got it all together and then I realize I don’t at all. I felt the end was near on my breastfeeding journey after only four months and that made me sad, as my goal was always to try for a year.

A few weeks later I took an opportunity at a larger company and I picked up pumping again. My milk supply bounced back just in time (it’s amazing how that supply and demand thing works) and now I’m able to pump comfortably twice a day in a room designated for that use. We even have a schedule! I felt supported to continue my breastfeeding journey.

easy baby milestones images - rebecca kelsey

So now Jack gets all three, he gets one or two bottles a day of my pumped breast milk while I’m away, milk “fresh from the source” after work and on weekends, then is supplemented with formula for all scenarios in between. And you know what? I’m totally cool with that.

Parenting has taught me a lot about flexibility and the beauty of sacrifice. I mean that in a good way, not as dreary as it sounds. I sacrifice my time, energy, and body on the daily for this child so that I can provide financially and physically to him. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s worth my attention. I’m honored to go-with-the-flow and help little Jack, however and whenever I can.

So, here are a few little practical tips:

  1. You need some sort of nipple cream, at least in the beginning. I used Honest’s Healing Balm often and Lanolin when I could afford it.
  2. If you pump, you absolutely need a pumping bra. It’s impossible without one. Here’s the one I use and highly recommend.
  3. Not everyone recommends them, but nipple guards helped me gain confidence without cringing every time the baby approached my nipples.
  4. Drink water constantly. Breastfeeding takes a lot out of you, including your water.

But overall, just be willing to accept your journey. No one can predict how breastfeeding will work for you, so just do what you can with what situation you’ve been given. I’m glad I gave everything a shot and now have a happy and healthy boy. We’ll see what happens from here.

In Motherhood, My Journal on
November 20, 2016

It’s 6 AM on a Sunday and I’m Writing This

Parenting a newborn

The thing I’m coming to learn about parenting is that it does take up all your time, does often require a village, and that it’s totally worth it when your baby smiles for you.

But I’m also trying to accept my shift in identity, and the emotional grief I’ve experienced with that, because it is not something I anticipated. Logically, everyone knows that having a child changes you. You know that your priorities have to shift. What I didn’t comprehend was how deep it went. Until you feel it, I don’t think most people can understand how profoundly your entire being changes. Read more

In Motherhood, Sponsored on
October 19, 2016

My First Month as a Parent

New parent tips for dealing with newborns

I’ve been a parent for 6 weeks now and boy has it been a learning experience. Today I’m going to share with you the products and practices that helped keep me and Chris sane during the month and half so far. This post has been sponsored by UPRIGHT, an innovative product that helps train your posture – which has been so helpful to me when it comes to breastfeeding.

Before I share these new parent tips, have you noticed anything different? Don’t you love the new blog makeover? I’m so happy to finally be in the 21st century now. I’ve loved my blog look over the years, but my site has never been easy to use on mobile so I’m glad to have upgraded.

Now, onto my tips. Don’t forget to comment your thoughts on both this topic and my new site. I’d love to know your opinion.

When you become a parent, suddenly your whole life and all of your time belongs to someone else and that is not an easy transition to make. Chris and I have had some trouble “shifting” our identity, so to speak. No matter how much you love your child, transitioning into a caregiver role changes you and that’s not always easy to cope with.

Here are the three things that have helped with the process.
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In Motherhood, My Journal on
September 7, 2016

Jack Douglas Cortes – 6 lbs, 15 oz – September 2, 2016

It’s official, Chris and I made a baby. With our own hands! …Or bodies. Either way, this is our creation. Probably the best thing we’ll ever do. This little cutie pie is going to take over the world.

It all started the week of August 22, when I caught a pretty nasty cold. If you know anything about me, you know this is a big deal. I don’t get sick. At all. It’s just not a thing my body does. So when I told my doctor I had fever and the shakes for a week, she told me to come in as soon as I could because she wanted to check me out and possibly induce me. I told her I’d give it a little more to get better before coming in. And I did get better! I was really hoping Jack could stay in my womb for a little longer, but that wasn’t part of his plan it seems! So I was feeling pretty good on Wednesday, August 31, when I did come into the office for my checkup.

jack-douglas-cortes-is-born

So I was feeling pretty good on Wednesday, August 31, when I did come into the office for my checkup.

But then during my pelvic exam, my OBGYN says “Are you sure your not feeling contractions already?” Cue the panic. “No. Why?”

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In Motherhood, My Journal on
July 12, 2016

Third Trimester Update – 7 Month Pregnancy Symptoms (31 Weeks)

I am seven months pregnant, holy crap!

Hey there, Kind Friends. Today I’m going into some details about my seventh month of pregnancy. It’s insane to me that I have less than two months to go until Chris and I get to meet the little alien/monkey in my stomach (also known as Jack).

As of the time I’m writing this, I’m 31 weeks pregnant, so one week shy of eight months. Insert my freaking out face here, because I just did that math now and I had no idea I was already almost done with my seventh month! To say I feel underprepared is an understatement, especially since Chris and I are just starting to set up the house now and don’t even have a crib or car seat yet. Yeah, it’s #CrunchTime.

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