Confessions of a New Mom

confessions of a new momFor new moms, especially moms transitioning into being stay-at-home moms, there are huge mental hurdles that have to be conquered when it comes to self-worth. I spent my pregnancy building my blog readership, learning all I could about babies and motherhood, and preparing myself for the transition, both physically and mentally- but what I didn’t anticipate was how drastic the change would be on a spiritual/emotional level Of course, having a newborn is a huge change- but for me at least, the changes in my heart have been substantial. Where I find my worth, how I define myself and my success and my day is all new.

Follow me! I’m sharing my ‘confessions’ from my first month of motherhood today over at Whole Family Strong. Click here to read!

The Ugly Truth About Postpartum Exercise

The Ugly Truth About Postpartum Exercise
Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Before I got pregnant, I was training for a half marathon. Running was never something I particularly enjoyed, but suddenly I found myself looking forward to my morning runs in the crisp air- I was pushing myself, and making myself stronger. In addition to practicing yoga three times a week at a local studio and eating a healthy diet, I was in the best shape of my life.

In what seemed like the first hours after finding out that I was pregnant, I could barely think about my running shoes without throwing up. I was so sick for those first three months that it was difficult for me to leave the house some days. Needless to say, my ideal of staying active and strong during my pregnancy went right out the window.

As my pregnancy progressed, I did become more active- nothing more than long walks, but better than being on the couch. The mild weather of fall had me unexpectedly yearning for a nice run though, but at 30+ weeks pregnant, it definitely wasn’t in the cards- but oh, how I looked forward to the day when I could finally lace up my shoes and run again!

Fast forward to this past week- my sweet daughter is 6 weeks old and I am finally feeling comfortable enough to leave her with her daddy for 45 minutes while I go for a jog. I think I had trouble keeping a smile on my face as I headed out the door! And then….I started jogging.

Nobody warned me what this would be like. So, I’m going to tell you what I wish everyone had told me:

Your body is not the same.

If I could have a nickel for every time I wished that my boobs were bigger growing up, I’d be a rich lady. Well, thanks to breastfeeding, I now have those bigger breasts. Yeah. Not the party I thought it would be. I thought I was going to bruise myself, or leak through my shirt, or any number of hilariously embarrassing things that could’ve resulted. I felt disproportionate- like I was top-heavy or my balance was off. Oye. Maybe boobs won’t be the thing that’s different for you, but something will be- so, keep that in mind.

You aren’t as strong/fast/flexible as you once were.

It took me the same time to jog/walk 2 miles that it used to take me to run 3 on an easy day. You may feel healthy, look good, even be back down to normal weight, but that doesn’t mean you’ve retained athletic prowess you had before. Go lightly and have grace with yourself. You had to work to get there once, and you’ll work to get there again, but that’s the important part- you’ll get there.

You’ll probably pee yourself a little.

Or, maybe, a lot. This was maybe the most unexpected thing for me (all of my college friends are laughing because of my reputation for peeing when I laugh- ok guys, you win). I literally tinkled a little bit with every step of my jog. It sort of felt like my insides were going to fall out. So now that I’ve been the guinea pig for all of us, do yourself a favor and wear a pantiliner. You’re welcome.

It’s all worth it.

Sure, it’s frustrating to have to get back into shape or wear a little extra gear on a run. But, hello! I come home to a beautiful little girl who wants to snuggle into those (bigger) boobs and whose beautiful birth gave me a little temporary incontinence. I’d never trade her for the best body in the world!

As you begin your postpartum recovery, remember what’s important- your family and your health. Have grace with yourself and know that you’re right where you are supposed to be!

What was your postpartum recovery like? Any funny stories to share? What surprised you? Tell me in the comments!

Loving Your Husband With A Newborn At Home

Loving Your Husband With A Newborn At Home
Photo by Jenna Shriver Photography (http://jennashriver.com)

 

Ah, February.  The month of love! Having just given birth to my daughter last month (our first!), it became very apparent to me that one of my biggest priorities is to be intentional with my love for my husband- especially now that there’s another little life in our family!

The Lord called me to be his wife first, and my daughter’s mother second. I want to share with you some easy but meaningful ways to show your husband love everyday, but particularly if you’ve got a newborn in the house.

Follow me over to Day2DayJoys to read the rest of the post! 

The Importance of Newborn Photography

The Importance of Newborn Photography

I’m a frugal person- there is no way around it. When my husband and I got married, we planned our entire wedding in 5 weeks and spent about $1500 on the entire thing. It was perfect- a gorgeous outdoor ceremony, historical reception site, family contributions for almost everything. It was meaningful and special in every way. There’s just one problem- I have no professional photos of anything from that day.

In my frugality, I asked friends and family, many of whom owned nice cameras and had ‘photography experience’, to pitch in and document the day. We made the decision not to hire a professional photographer and instead rely on our well-intentioned guests to provide us with lasting memories of the most special day of our lives. BIG MISTAKE.

While this is truly my only regret from our wedding day, it has shaped my decisions about photography as I go forward- namely, I won’t ever let a significant, once-in-a-lifetime event go by without making sure that it’s documented by a professional. My pregnancy, and the birth of our daughter, were the first instance of this- not only is she our first child, but there is never a guarantee that there will be more children. It’s like a wedding- she is only born once. She’s only a tiny newborn for a few short weeks. It wouldn’t happen again. I couldn’t let the opportunity slip away!

To read more about our photography session, see more of the beautiful photos, and catch my 4 tips to having an enjoyable photography experience, follow me over to the Jenna Shriver Photography blog!

5 Reasons to Eat Seasonally

5 Reasons to Eat With The Seasons

While I have always been a lover of good food, it wasn’t until college that I really became aware of the many issues surrounding the food industry and tried to make positive changes in my own life. One of the first changes I decided to make was really making a conscious effort to eat with the seasons- which, doing my undergrad in South Florida, wasn’t actually all that difficult. It wasn’t until I moved back up north three years ago that I really learned just how important eating with the seasons can be!

The basic premise is this: rather than going to your supermarket and picking up whatever produce you desire on a certain day, you learn what is already growing in your region during that time of year and stick to those items instead- better yet, get them straight from the local farmer! Given that the produce is able to be grown locally, chances are that the food will have travelled less of a distance, be grown to better standards (hopefully organically), and the chances of corruption or unfair business practices are far less than buying out of season produce.

Follow me over to the BULK HERB STORE BLOG to read my top 5 reasons to eat with the seasons!

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

What I Wish I’d Known About Breastfeeding

What I Wish I'd Known About BreastfeedingYes, breastfeeding is hard, and yes, it will hurt at first (sometimes really bad!) but it’s so worth it- and every breastfeeding mother will tell you that. Here’s some things I either didn’t take seriously or didn’t anticipate about breastfeeding:

Your boobs will leak. A lot.

And those reusable pads suck because they stick to your nipple and you have to rip them off, which is actually painful. Either get really nice reusable pads (like these) or get several boxes of disposables and be prepared to take them everywhere. Also, be prepared to do a lot of laundry- shirts, sheets, etc.

All of your fashion choices will now revolve around how easily and discreetly you can whip out a boob.

Lots of button downs and stretchy thing, Oh, and nursing tank tops will be your best friend. I have 2 and I wish I had one in every color.

A pretty nursing cover will make a world of difference.

…especially if you want to go anywhere but also want to stay covered! While I don’t have any problem with uncovered nursing in public, I do cover myself out of respect for my husband and other males. I got myself a fun cover and now I can nurse anywhere- and I do. Wherever I want. This makes life a lot easier, too, especially because Halle is a cluster feeder and comfort suckler- I can nurse at the store, nurse at church, nurse when we have friends over, whatever! If you need a cool cover on the cheap, these are FREE, you just pay shipping:


, use Promotion Code FEEDTHEBABY1 TODAY!

Be prepared with a breast pump and all the necessary accessories.

I figured we wouldn’t use a breast pump until Halle was older and I wanted to go places, so I had it tucked away- but when she had trouble nursing on one side (and still does) the pump came in handy really fast to keep up my milk supply and relieve engorgement on that side! Also, when your supply is high in the beginning, build up that freezer stock! You won’t regret it 🙂

You will be constantly thirsty. And hungry.

I mean, I eat like a horse! I have to make sure my water bottle is near me when I’m nursing because I am instantly thirsty- and it’s not uncommon for me to eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting. I eat all. day. long. That said…

Have your house stocked with healthy food.

Yes, you can basically eat whatever while you breastfeed and still lose weight, but you’re not going to feel as good eating junk, and you really don’t want that getting to your baby, either. Think healthy, nutrient-rich foods- fruits and veggies with hummus, trail mix, popcorn, real food bars (these are my fave), soups, smoothies. Binging on these is much better for you both. NOTE: We had a friend bring us a huge bag of health snacks the day after Halle was born- best. idea. ever. Such a blessing for a new nursing mama!

Co-sleeping will make your night infinitely easier.

I know there are co-sleeping haters out there (and there are good reasons not to co-sleep, too) but my life is really much more enjoyable with baby in bed. Nursing is as easy as pulling out a boob, latching on, and both of us drifting back off to sleep. Halle may still wake up 2-4x a night, but it’s never for long and we sleep the rest of the time!

Sometimes, you don’t have supply issues.

In fact, you might make too much milk. I always hear people talk about trying to up their low supply- and certainly that is much more common- but that might not end up being your issue, so be observant! When my milk first came in, Halle would struggle because so much would come out so fast! I was using all kinds of supplements to up my supply- I had to cool it for a bit and let her get better at nursing. Now, I am slowly starting to up my supply again- but now, she can keep up!

What surprised you about breastfeeding? What was the hardest thing for you to adjust to in the beginning?

8 Items You MUST Get For Your Newborn

8 MUST HAVE ITEMS for your first week with your newborn!

Sure, every baby is different- but these are practical and so useful to us the first week or so that we had Hallelujah home! Hope this is helpful to you, too..

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n’ Play Sleeper, My Little Snugabunny– This newer addition to the newborn accessory lineup came highly recommended to me, and the good words won’t stop with me, either. The Rock and Play Sleeper allows the newborn to feel cocooned, as the did in the womb, but also sleep on an incline. We swaddle her and then put her in- she loves it! She hasn’t slept a decent length of time anywhere else (besides my arms)- it’s like she needs that closeness. Also, it has a vibrate feature that is awesome for helping baby to sleep!

myBaby Soundspa– This genius little machine plays several different white noises, plus lullabies and heartbeat sounds, while also projecting rotating shapes onto the ceiling. We use the projection as a nightlight of sorts, but the white noise is the key- not only does it calm Halle, but it keeps us from hearing (and analyzing) her every breath, so we sleep better, too.

Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets– Again, another item that came highly recommended that I absolutely love. These blankets are adorable, soft, and HUGE- perfect for swaddling, using as a nursing cover, or even a burp cloth.

Oils Diffuser– Also a hero during my labor, we diffuse a sleep/stress away blend called ‘Serenity’ during the night and it keeps us all relaxed. I don’t know that it necessarily makes the baby sleep better, but I know it helps me! We also diffuse an immunity and cleansing blend called OnGuard during the day, particularly when we have guests over.

Glass Water Bottle– I drink water like I can’t get enough these days- nursing makes me so thirsty! It’s important to stay hydrated, even throughout the night- and I’ve never had a harder time keeping my intake up than I do now. I keep my glass water bottle full beside me, and it comes with me wherever I go.

Medela Breast Shells– Breastfeeding is hard. Harder than you think, even if you think it will be hard. These shells go inside your bra and hold the clothing away from your nipples, allowing them to heal when they are likely to be sensitive. They can also help correct nipples that are flatter and harder for the baby to latch onto (I had one of those). These shells literally saved me nursing- they let my sore nipples heal and made them easy for Halle to grasp. Lifesavers- everyone should get these.

Button Down Nightgown– I got 2 (similar to these) at Target while I was pregnant and I absolutely love them. I just unbutton a button or two and whip out my boob, while the rest of me stays nice and warm. Super comfy and easy!

iPad and Hbogo/Netflix- There’s only so much that can be done with a baby on your boob. Hence, I have watched a decent amount of TV since the baby was born last week. We don’t have cable so I rely on apps on the iPad to get me by- HBO for The Newsroom, PBS for Downton Abbey, and Netflix for everything else.