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How to Survive Cluster Feeding ❤

SJ is over three months now and still breastfeeding like a champ. Most days are pretty easy with our feeding schedule, but it was not always that way. 

We’ve had a few stumbling blocks occur, but by far the most challenging has been cluster feeding. Around three weeks, SJ started eating ALL DAY…I mean all day. One day he literally ate from 12:30-11:30 PM. If I pulled him off my boob, he would scream and scream until I put him back on. That day was a rarity, but most evenings for the first month he would eat pretty much non-stop from 6:00 PM into the night. For all of the reading and research I did to prepare me for an infant, nothing I read came close to preparing me for that phase. So, I did some research very quickly and asked a few people for guidance. 

Here are a few of the best pieces of advice I received to help me through cluster feeding:

1. Drink A TON of water (literally.) It’s hard to remember to do anything for yourself those first few weeks. This is not only for you, but baby as well. The more hydrated you are the better off your milk supply will be. 

2. Have snacks on hand. You will be starving. Make sure to have healthy snacks that will help boost your milk supply. My go-to is Nature Valley Oat Bars (oats can help increase your supply.)

3. Make your significant other do everything else. Laundry needs washed? You need to make dinner? Carpets need vacuumed? Kids need baths? Make them do all of that. It’s hard enough to help keep a little human alive. You don’t need to feel guilty about neglecting household duties too.

4. Baby is doing this for two reasons – they’re growing and they’re helping to boost your milk supply. A lot of women tend to think that they’re not providing enough milk around this time and start giving formula because they think baby is still hungry. If you do this, you could end up actually hurting your supply! 

5. Remember that this is just a phase. The most important thing to remember. I almost gave up, especially on the day where he ate for 11 hours straight. Luckily, I had women to call who would listen to me cry and give me encouragement. My husband was a big cheerleader during this time too. 

You will make it through, mama. I’m giving you a big virtual hug and a giant thumbs up for your selflessness and love ❤

A picture of my guy. His shirt says it all. 

My Birth Story: Being Flexible With A Birth Plan

Our little man is finally here! Dad, his brothers and I are just SO in love with him. I’ve been a little preoccupied the last few weeks, so my blog posts have been lacking. Nevertheless, I have been planning on writing a post about my birth experience and my first hand account of being flexible with a birth plan. 

I was very adamant that I wanted to have a natural vaginal birth with no medications. Some of my reasoning was a medical issue from a few years ago and the rest of it was from the knowledge I gained reading several birthing books.  I found a doctor that supported my decision and prepared myself the best I could. I ate dates, took primrose oil, and even did perineum preparation.  I talked with moms that had natural births. I wrote a birth plan that matched my desired experience and asked my mom to act as my doula for my labor. 

I don’t think that any amount of preparation could have prepared me for the real thing. Which is why it was so important that I remained flexible during my labor.  

My contractions began at midnight on a Wednesday, which meant I ended up getting about 3-4 hours of sleep that night. I went into my doctor on Wednesday around 9:00 AM expecting significant progress considering that my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart at that point.  I was disappointed to find out I was only 2 cm dilated,  which is what I had been for the last week. My doctor sent me home to keep laboring and boy, did I labor. I walked, danced, climbed stairs, and used my exercise ball to keep things moving. 
By the time J got home from work, I thought surely I had made progress. We went back to my doctor before their office closed for the day to find that I was STILL 2 cm dilated. I chose to go home to keep laboring. My mom got to my house later that evening and we started timing my contractions again. They were two minutes apart. I decided to try to get some sleep since I was running on fumes at this point, but quickly realized my contractions got worse when I laid down. 

I woke up J and my mom at 12:30 AM on Thursday morning,  saying I wanted to go to the hospital. Again, I thought I had to have made progress with how close my contractions had become! When they got me settled at the hospital and checked me,  I had not changed at all. I decided to stay and keep laboring there. 

By about 7:00 that morning I had finally made progress to 4 cm! But it still was very slow moving and at this point I had been in very real labor for over 30 hours with very little sleep. Even though I had been adamant I did not want any drugs I knew that my body needed help to keep labor progressing, mostly because I was so tired! I consented to Pitocin and had my water broke by the medical staff. Even at this point I intended to deliver without an epidural. I made it to 6 cm and kept thinking in my head, “I’m so tired and I still have to push in a few more centimeters!” I decided to get an epidural and I am so glad that I did. 

I was finally able to relax for a few hours and push on my strongest contractions instead of continuously, which I’m sure would have totally drained what little energy I had left. I was still able to have sensations and wasn’t left feeling completely numb. And honestly, the main goal is a healthy baby and mama, which was our outcome!
For any expecting moms out there, my best advice is to know what you want your labor and delivery to look like, but know that nature might throw you a curve ball! Good luck! 😍

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