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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 Experience With Placenta Encapsulation

There are many societies and cultures throughout the world that have different methods for consuming a woman’s placenta after she gives birth. To me, it’s a very logical thing to do because it essentially contains nine months worth of nutrients. 

Now, I am not all about eating it raw or cooking it to consume, but when I did my research on placenta encapsulation I was really intrigued at the benefits it boasted. 

I found a woman in my town that had great references to complete the process. Once I had my little guy, she was at the hospital within 30 minutes to pick up the placenta (I informed my nurses that I wanted my placenta saved in a cooler.) And she had it returned to me before I even left the hospital. 

She provided me with 110 capsules with instructions on the bottle for proper consumption as well as a tincture bottle to use after the pills were gone. Everyone’s placenta is a different size, so 110 is not a defining number for how many pills you get. 

I don’t have anything prior to base my experience with placenta encapsulation, but for me there were many positives! 

  1.  Good milk supply – I had no issues with supply and my milk came in the night I was home from the hospital. 
  2. No “baby blues” – I can’t say I was without tears the first month, but that was related to SJ crying for hours with reflux. I feel like I’ve had a lot of friends talk about feeling sad or alone, but I never felt that way thankfully! 😊
  3. Helped with postpartum bleeding – Again, I have no comparison but my symptoms were pretty light those first few weeks.
  4. Boosted energy – I think this is the greatest benefit I experienced! I was tired from middle of the night feedings, but once I took my pills for the day I had the energy to keep up with my two older boys and get things done around my house. I forgot to take them a couple days and could notice a definite difference in my energy level.

If you have ever considered this during your current pregnancy or for your next one, please research it! And as always, I can answer questions relating my experience 😁

I’m a Mean Mom: I Make My Kids Do Chores

I am a mean mom some times. I make my kids do chores with no monetary compensation. 

When my husband and I moved in together, I had been living in my own apartment by myself for about four years. I’m slightly neurotic about cleanliness and all of the sudden, there I was, living with a guy and two children under the age of six. Talk about an adjustment!

At first I ended up cleaning every day. Like, the entire house. Every. Day. But after asking my mom and my grandma how they ever kept their houses clean with so many other humans in it, I came up with a much saner approach. I made my kids do chores. 

I went on Pinterest for some inspiration and made chore charts from baking sheets. I tried (and failed) to make the chore buttons, so I ended up purchasing them from an online Etsy shop. 

My kids are still pretty young, so the “chores” they do each day/week are not difficult. In my personal opinion, they are things that should be done every day regardless of your age. And I’m not going to give them money for making their beds and brushing their teeth. They should just be in a habit of doing those types of things.

But what has helped me tremendously in dealing with my slightly crazy cleaning tendencies is having them help me with the small tasks, like bed making and cleaning up their toys before we leave the house. It also helps foster a sense of responsibility in them which will hopefully carry onto adulthood. 

If you want to know what age appropriate chores are right fot your kids, just Google it, but in the meantime here are the chores completed in our home for an 8 and 6 year old.

  1. Make bed each morning
  2. Brush teeth morning and night 
  3. Pick up bedroom floor (no toys or clothes left)
  4. Put away shoes in cubbies
  5. Pick up play area before leaving the house
  6. Put away clean laundry
  7. Clear table when finished eating
  8. Unload dishwasher (summer chore)
  9. Sweep kitchen floor (summer chore)
  10. Clean windows (summer chore)
  11. Dust bedroom (summer chore)

Tips For A Small Nursery Space

I am officially a nesting freak at 32 weeks. It’s given me all sorts of energy and motivation I did not know could exist simultaneously when you’re dealing with third trimester pains and gains. I’m taking full advantage of this “nesting” stage and getting everything organized for the baby’s nursery.

The biggest struggle I’ve had with the baby’s new space is just that – SPACE! Even though our house has three bedrooms and our boys currently share a bedroom, we have family visit often, so maximizing the space (and number of beds) is needed. I am going to breastfeed, so it makes sense to sleep in the same room with the baby for at least a few months during all those late night feedings. With that being said, I’ve really dug into my creativity to come up with some space saving solutions for the nursery.

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I chose to set up the cradle for a few months before using the crib. It will help the room not feel as cramped for the time being. As you can see, there is a queen size bed in the room. It not only will be great for me to sleep in during the early days of breastfeeding, but any family members visiting will still have space to stay with us.

(I am an incredibly sentimental person and love that almost everything in this room has a story behind it. The cradle was given to my brother as a gift and generously loaned to me. The rocking chair was gifted to me by my grandparents when they learned I was pregnant. It has a lovely story behind how it came to their home over 20 years ago. The pictures on the wall were colored by the boys for the baby.)

I literally do not have enough floor space to have a dresser or changing table in the room, but I did some research and found DIY layout for a wall hanging changing table. J’s grandpa was sweet enough (and talented enough!) to build us this as a gift. I put some small shelves to the side for storage. It is not only an amazing space saver, but it is super cute! If you’re wondering where I put all of the clothes and other baby necessities, they are tucked away in the closet in storage containers that are still easily accessible.

I feel very accomplished with the end product of the nursery because I was forced to think outside the box. Even though it would be great to have more room, I am learning that if you make the best with what you have, the outcome can end up being better than you imagined ♥

Why I’m Not Finding Out Our Baby’s Gender

I’ve always wanted to keep the gender of any future children a surprise. My parents did not find out the sex with any of their four children and since I’m the oldest, I never knew there was any other choice until I was in my teens. I’m lucky that I’m having a baby with someone who thought it was a great idea too! 

My number one reason for this is delayed gratification. How much more exciting can it be to wait for the ultimate surprise for NINE months? There is a lot of instant gratification in the world these days and Lord knows I need more patience. 

Even though we have two boys at home, we have virtually no baby items. I know that if we knew the sex people would buy us a lot of baby clothes. Not that I don’t need clothes, but diapers, a car seat, and crib are much higher on my list of needs. I’m definitely not above buying used clothes, especially when you know they’re going to be spit up on and peed through 😂

It has been really fun reading the Old Wives’ Tales and taking gender quizzes with my friends. I think it’s been fun for our families to guess the gender too. I think I’m also paying very close attention to my body just to see if I can guess the gender. And I love getting to pick a boy and girl name to take with us on the day of delivery. 

There is no disappointment factor involved. I’ve seen friends and acquaintances grimace when they say the gender of their baby, because they were hopeful for something different. I’m speaking in the future when I say that I know I will just be excited that the baby is here and breathing! The gender will not matter in those first moments. 

Speaking of the baby getting here – I know myself well enough to know I will be WAY more motivated during labor if I don’t know the sex. Again, it’s my usual lack of patience, haha! 

I think that finding or not finding out the gender is completely personal preference. I wanted to share my reasons for keeping it a surprise if you might be a little on the fence or you and your partner can’t agree on which way to go. Good luck on your pregnancy journey!

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