Monday, December 31, 2012

You Breast Listen Up, Its Not Just You!

If you are a guy, this may be the point where you want to stop reading this particular post unless you want to hear about breastfeeding or pumping. Yeah, that's what I thought, lol. So, I have spent practically the last 4 almost 5 years of my life either pregnant or breastfeeding. Aside from actually breastfeeding the 1st month-ish for each lil' lady, my Medela Breast pump & I have definitely grown quite close over the years. I have to say that I prefer it to nursing. With the more lil' kiddos you have running around, pumping was just the best choice for our family.

With my 1st lil' 1, I did all the research on breastfeeding & I thought it was something I was all ready to take on, but then when Aidann arrived at early at 35 weeks all my plans were kind of tossed out the window when she started losing more weight then our pediatrician felt comfortable with & I had to start supplementing & pumping so I could keep better track on how much she was eating. I have to admit, I felt a lil' bit defeated, the way I thought everything was going to be did not end up working out the way I had planned, but a healthy lil' baby is always the best thing. I kept up formula & pumping for a few months, but stopped a lot sooner then I would have imagined at about 4 or 5 months. Between finishing up college, the holidays, & being in our 1st year of marriage we just had to make an executive decision on what was best for all parties involved. Again, I felt guilty, but I think it is just part of the whole "mommy" thing.

With my next baby, I was determined to make it further on just breastmilk. Not only was bm the best nutrition a baby could have, but I also COULD NOT wrap my mind around spending practically $100 a month on formula alone! I don't care if we could "afford it", that is plain robbery lol! So, it took me a few weeks to find a balance between raising my 1 year old, newborn, pumping, another wonderful baby I took on to babysit, & attending Aidann's weekly classes (library time, baby gym, & swim class), but I somehow made it work. It was not an easy road all the time for sure. I experienced 2 somewhat mild cases of mastitis, which was NOT fun. Breastfeeding/pumping is not always the fantasy we think, it is often a physical & mental struggle that only mommies can truly understand. Needless to say, I pushed passed a lot of those hurdles & pump for a few more month until I hit a big "bump" in the road, lol. I was pregnant again :)! Yes, I do know what causes pregnancy, I do not like when people just assume we had an "oops". My husband & I are young & wanted a big family anyway, so the more the merrier. BUT once again, I felt that guilt over no longer being able to supply milk for my lil' Asher.

9 months later, Austin arrives!!! For me, adding a 3 bundle of joy into the mix with pumping was not too bad at all. I had gotten a lil' practice in when Asher was born & so making up a schedule again was not too bad at all. I personally think the jump from 1 to 2 kids was more of an adjustment then adding a 3rd because by then you are already used to juggling a lil' bit. With Austin I had her purely on breast milk. In the 1st few months, I worked up such a huge frozen supply that I wanted to brag about from the roof tops. "Liquid gold" is what many mommies refer to it as. Well, I had a huge supply until 1 day I went to the deep freezer only to discover it had gone out on us & all my long hard work was out the window! I literally stared at it for about 10 minutes & just cried. I had to work extra hard for this lady's milk. For some reason, this time around my "2 breast-friends" were cracking & bleeding like no one's business for the 1st few months. Maybe they were tired of being pregnant & breastfeeding soooo much too, lol. I had fought SO hard not to give up & just put Aussie on formula & now....back to square 1. Somehow, after crying it all out, I mustered up the strength to keep going & managed to pump out (pun intended) another month or 2 until we decided to take on a huge family vacation to California (Universal Studios, the beach, Sea world, etc). I wanted to be able to just have fun with my babies & hubby rather then stressing out about finding an outlet every 3 hrs around the clock, so I stopped pumping. Taking Austin off of the breast milk was the hardest this time around for some reason. I literally cried, again. I blame hormones x's 3, but that "mommy guilt" hit me extra hard for this time. Even though my husband did not put on too much pressure, I think in being a stay at home mom I felt like with bp I was contributing financially to our family somehow and of course giving my baby the best nutrition possible. Who knows.

Here we are, baby #4! I would be lying if I didn't admit to feeling a lil' burnt out this time around. almost 5 years of being pregnant or breastfeeding were definitely catching up to me & coming off an extremely hard pregnancy, I really had to give myself a serious pep talk to get excited about pumping again. Balancing 4 kiddos (3 and below) was a big jump for sure & adding in time for pumping every 3 hours made me feel like I had a 5th child. It was only through His strength, a supportive husband, & my inner mommy power that I somehow found a way to make it all work this time around. I am SO proud to announce that this is the furthest I have made it pumping, 8 months plus! BUT, I seriously think I am done now. Every day I go back & forth trying to decide if this is going to be THE DAY I stop. I have talked with a lot of my mommy friends & have found that this guilty feeling is SO common. Whether you feel guilty because you ended up deciding not to breastfeed, or maybe you couldn't, maybe you had to supplement with formula, or whether you made it all the way to a full year & now that its time to "pull the plug" & you still feel guilty-Its all the same. We want to do everything perfect & be perfect for our kiddos constantly & when we feel like we have fallen short we tend to feel shameful or guilty. I am definitely feeling it right not, but why? On a level, I feel like I have more than earned a break & I feel like it is time to pack up the Medela & focus on spending even more quality time with my ladies & husband. Every 3 hours for 20 minutes at a time does take a good sized chunk out of your day & adds up. There are times I feel like I cannot do even 1 more session or I will simply scream, but then I look at that lil' baby & think that maybe a few more weeks won't hurt.

I still remain "undecided", the verdict is still out, but I just wanted to put up this post to let all the mommies out there know that they are not alone! Your feelings are valid. The fantasy of breastfeeding vs. the reality of it can be huge! Things do not always work out the way we plan & sometimes we have to be willing to readjust our plans & that is okay :) "Super mommy" does not mean perfect mommy, just that you are a mom that cares enough to try her very best each & every day! :) So, stop being so hard on yourself & just let it go. You are doing a great job!

-M&M Momma

"What to Expect" Another helpful link

Christmas day

Getting breakfast

Opening her "sister present"

The ladies gave their papa a dog

Giving girls' their Christmas pup,

Aidy took to the dog
the most,



I think they are
both in love!
Cinnamon & Oatmeal!

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Funday Pictures!

Our new Christmas puppy (Oatmeal)
having a play date with her brother, Cinnamon.
Ours is on the top.



Friday, December 28, 2012

Eventually It WILL Pay...

Just when you think you have found your groove & you are finally getting this so called "parenting" thing down to a science, life throws you a cute lil' curve ball & you realize that you still have a lot to learn. The "cute lil' curve ball" that I am referring to is my Austin! I love that sweet princess with all my heart, she is an absolute ray of sunshine, but along with her happy-go-lucky lil' self also comes a very strong-willed lady that will give you a run for your money if you let her. She has definitely challenged my level of consistency a few times now. I am not comparing my kids, but overcoming some various hurdles has taken a lil' longer with her. On a level I admire her strength, but she also needs to know that mommy will not back down & I WILL win. :)

Just now, I have really been seeing some breakthrough with her in some of the lingering areas that have been more challenging. Its like she finally received a revelation that I am not telling her "No" on things because I am the "bad guy", but that I really have her best interest at heart & she has decided to concede to that.

The reason I choose to share this with all of you is because I know that I am not alone. I know I am not the only who has been tempted to just give in or questioned, "What am I doing wrong!?". If I can even help 1 fellow mommy, I am happy.

Aussie had recently been battling with patience & understanding that she can not always have what she wants when she wants it. Nap time had also recently become more challenging where my once "awesome napper" decided to now try screaming to voice her discontentment about having to go to sleep on command-which is NOT acceptable in our house. She had also tried shrieking a few times to let me know when her sisters were doing something she did not line, which is also something not acceptable in our household!

Each day I had to make a conscious effort to stick by my guns & stay consistent with her no matter what. Some days were definitely tougher than others. Some days I felt a lil' discouraged & wondered if I would ever see any breakthrough. There were days I would have to correct her over & over again for the same exact thing, but for her sake & my own I had to stay strong. You see, if we allow ourselves to concede to the easy way out & just give in, we are not only hurting ourselves, but also our children in the long term. No 1 wants to have a bratty disrespectful kid, but if we let our kids have free reign & be the boss, then that is just what we are going to have! Helping Aussie through this "terrific 2" stage has definitely been a lil' more challenging, but today I can proudly say that the victory has been SO sweet & well worth it! She has finally had an epiphany & we have made breakthrough!!! I love that kid & she brings a whole new flavor to my life that I would never want to live without!

Every child is going to challenge us in different ways, but we can all come out stronger if we do not lose heart!!! Each child also has something special to add to our lives & it is not by accident that they were given to us :)

-M&M Momma

Ribs + Rosie = Pure Joy!!!

Zoo Lights!


Our crew!

Trying to catch the snow


Cotton candy face!

Kettle corn face!