October 10, 2018

..The Best Lactation Cookie Recipe & My Top 6 Supply Tips for Pumping

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Okay so I know this post isn't for everyone but in case you are also a new mama who is breastfeeding or exclusively pumping (like I am)  I want to share this recipe (it's not mine) because I feel like it works really well and they actually taste pretty good. I have been eating a couple a day since my milk came in and feel like they do make a difference. I also wanted to share some other tips I have gleaned so far from my pumping experience. I know the internet is flooded with tips and tricks but these are what truly helped me. I won't suggest an optimal schedule because that really varies from woman to woman (I pump every 4-5 hours during the day but I know a lot of ladies swear by every 3 hours). I produce between 30-33oz each day. The baby eats 24-30 and I freeze anything extra that day. Sometimes I can freeze 6oz sometimes I don't have enough to freeze anything but I always at least make plenty for the baby to eat!

1. If your at home pump doesn't seem to be producing enough milk to keep up with your baby - invest in renting the hospital grade pump. I was having a really hard time getting my milk to fully come in after taking her home from the hospital so we had to supplement with formula for a few days. As soon as I brought home the better pump I immediately saw a difference in volume that very day.

2. Check to make sure the shield size is correct for you (I used this to find out)! I was using the standard size that comes with your pump at first but ended up needing the 27mm size. When I made the switch I immediately saw a second increase in volume that day.

3. Do NOT be afraid to supplement if you need to. Stress is a supply killer and if you are constantly worried about keeping your child fed you will definitely be stressed! We had a pretty scary experience her first couple days home when I wasn't making enough colostrum before my milk came in and she became extremely dehydrated. We didn't know I wasn't making enough since they say all you need are a few drops but thankfully I read this book (can't recommend it enough for new mamas to be) and knew to check the inside of her cheek and lip to see if it was tacky since she was showing all the other normal signs (diapers were still flowing which is normally how you can tell). It was VERY tacky so I made the quick decision to mix up some formula we happened to have in the house that was sent to us as a sample. Her newborn wellness check was the next day and my doctor said we definitely made the right call. She had dropped a little too much weight (all babies lose some at first) and we then needed to give her an ounce of food every hour for 24 hours following the appointment. While we were waiting for my milk to fully come in we mixed 50/50 breastmilk to formula, then as the volume increased 25/75, then 20/80 and so on until I was comfortable giving 100% breastmilk. I noticed that when I wasn't worried about making enough milk for the next feed it flowed MUCH easier.

4. Eat lots of healthy fats! This one is less about supply and more about volume quality. My Dr. let me know that my milk was a bit too lean (kinda like skim milk) unless there is a thick layer of fat on the to when it begins to separate. I incorporated full fat yogurt in the morning and nuts & cheeses for snacks throughout the day. Also put avocado toast on the morning menu when possible (my husband makes a great one with feta).

5. Stay hydrated AF. This one is pretty much a "duh" tip but I wanted to include it because it's so important. I try to drink 8oz of water after every pump session and 8 more in-between. I also load up on coconut water whenever I can to get those natural electrolytes.

6. These lactation cookies! They taste pretty much like oatmeal chocolate chip. I did need to hit whole foods for some of the more obscure ingredients but feel that it was well worth it. I have been able to make like 200 of these guys and still have plenty ingredients to make more. I have a couple for dessert at night and wake up and pump 10-13oz which is a LOT of milk!

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October 8, 2018

..My First Dinner Out With Baby

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The deets: ASOS dress; Sam Edelman heels; Alexander Wang bag (similar, similar under $27); James Michelle necklace.

This is the outfit I wore on my first attempt to meet friends out for dinner with the baby. It's another one of my pregnancy purchases that I saved for after labor. Since it looked basically like a potato sack with a belt I knew it would be perfect to have in my closet for a still changing body. These were taken when Isla was 17 days old. I know it's like October now and it's all about Fall attire and this is a white linen dress so I apologize for being super off season but these days I'm super slow at posting since I have to  really work to find the time.

The friends we were meeting for dinner also have a sweet little one year old that they brought along so there wasn't any pressure to seem like we had it all together  since they already know the deal -which was nice. Also the restaurant they picked was in our building so there was literally a top notch escape plan if needed. It all went pretty well until the end when my husband ended up having to change her diaper on a bathroom floor (us newbies didn't realize not all mens bathrooms have changing tables - we need to start some kind of feminist movement for this #dadsdodiaperstoo) and I didn't bring along enough pumped milk to satiate her in the last fifteen or so minutes so she had a full meltdown in the restaurant but luckily by that point everyone had at least eaten their meals and the check was en route. Over all it was a good learning experience and mama got to have her first postpartum margarita! 

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October 2, 2018

..Isla's "Birth Story"

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I was initially hesitant about doing this post (more on that here) but after doing a quick instagram poll asking if I should write about Isla's birth story, 97% of you (if you follow me on that social media channel) said you would be interested in reading about it so here we go.

My friends and coworkers could tell you that one of my biggest worries about the whole birthing process was the unknown, not the pain. You know this huge life changing event is going to happen  to you within a few weeks but you don't know when or how or where. It could strike you at any time,  which for a person as obsessed with organization as I am (I start to pack for trips months in advance sometimes), is like a form of torture. I feared more than anything else that my water would break in that dramatic movie fashion while on my morning metro commute and being that passenger that is the reason the whole train needs to deboard (if you are a metro rider you know that is like, the WORST). My friends, coworkers, and Dr. assured me that while your water breaking can happen it's almost never like in the movies and only takes place 10% of the time so not to worry. Most women experience contractions first and their water breaks or even has to be broken later on at the hospital, etc. 

My due date was September 4th and it came and went while I felt zero signs of baby. The next day I had my 40 week appointment with my Dr. and she confirmed that I had made no progress since my 39th week appointment and the we should go ahead and plan an induction date. Since they don't do inductions on the weekend it was going to be on September 11th. I wasn't thrilled about the date but was even more bummed that I would have to possibly stay pregnant for six more days. At this point I wasn't able to sleep and was just over it. Each day feels like an eternity after your 40th week. I went home in a funk but made my peace with it. I then got a call a few hours later from my Dr.'s office that they would actually not be able to induce me until the 13th of September. THIRTEENTH?! I had a full-on hormonal, tearful, breakdown. I then consulted all my mom friends and the entire internet about what you do to induce labor and proceeded to do all the things. I bought dates, pineapple, spicy food (ate all of them at once), and got to walking.

Since I literally did all the things I can't say for sure which one did the trick but less than 12 hours later on September 6th at 6:30AM I was awoken from my sleep by a strong baby kick followed by a "pop." I immediately knew that my water was breaking and jumped out of bed to avoid the splash getting on my sheets or rug (priorities). Homegirl busted the the door open. The water came gushing out (sorry if that's TMI but it's the truth, you may want to stop reading here because it get's worse) in dramatic movie style fashion (the way I feared it would). I screamed for my husband to get up and grab a towel, I was shaking and in shock. I then called my Dr. and since the water was slightly dark they had me come in right away. I was so happy I had packed up everything I needed in a suitcase that was ready to roll away and didn't have to think about anything else but getting there. Mike quickly took the dog out, I attempted to rinse off, and we headed out the door. 

The thing about your water breaking dramatically that no one tells you is that it just KEEPS BREAKING. Like, there was a waterfall coming out of me THE WHOLE WAY to the hospital. I left a river of water throughout the lobby and into my hospital room. It was not my fav and definitely not how I imagined the start of having my baby. I was also so worried the whole time I couldn't think about anything else but hearing her heartbeat so when they finally hooked me up to the monitor and I knew she was okay, only then did I register what was actually happening. There was some meconium in the womb which was what made it dark so she was fine but they decided to start me on Petocin to get things moving along instead of waiting for things to happen on their own. My Dr. said she expected the baby to come sometime on the 7th (the next day) so I should settle in and get comfortable.

Somehow it was now 9:30AM even though this all felt like the blink of an eye to me. I began feeling contractions but they were pretty tame. The drugs were doing their job. I for some reason thought you either had to be close to giving birth or in serious pain to get the epidural so I decided to try and wait an hour before asking for it (LOL). I made it to about 10:15AM, I was only 3cm dilated but I was already ready for some relief. I am someone who doesn't like even getting my blood drawn so I didn't love the idea of it and screamed so loudly when they put it in that I probably scared off the other patients but it was worth it because after that I didn't feel much until about 2:30PM. This stretch was pretty pleasant. I watched some TV, unpacked my iHome so I could listen to some playlists I had put together for the occasion, and ate some ice pops. I was able to tell when the contractions were happening but they weren't too painful until the early afternoon. Things got pretty intense after that, FAST.  I asked the nurse to check on things down there and to both our surprise I was 10cm at 3:30PM. Now we just had to wait for the baby to come down. 

Not going to lie the next couple of hours were a little rough, my contractions were strong enough that I was still pretty uncomfortable but by 5PM I was ready to push. Did the first couple of rounds in sets of three but the Dr. realized that my contractions were so long I could actually fit in four pushes so we did that the next couple of times (this was literally the hardest my body had ever done anything in my life) and she was out by 5:43PM. Born into the world to the song "Thinkin Bout You" by Frank Ocean (my playlist was still going). Crazy to think that it was just under twelve hours from my water breaking to me holding her in my arms. It was the wildest experience of my life! The whole time we spent at the hospital are all blurred together for me and feel like a dream I had except I really did get to take home a sweet little angel baby!

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September 27, 2018

..First Date Post Baby

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The deets: J.Crew dress (on super sale!) & earrings; Chanel sunnies (similar under $20); Rag & Bone booties (similar under $80); Kate Spade bag (similar, similar on sale).

My second wedding anniversary was on September 17th of this month. We decided to celebrate a day early on the 16th so that my in-laws could watch the baby on a Sunday while we enjoyed our first post baby date! It was our first time away from her but by day ten we were ready. I know everyone is very different in this department but for us it felt good. We went to sushi for lunch since I missed it so much while I was pregnant followed by a matinee movie. We saw "A Simple Favor" because I love Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick (I dragged Mike to it but he enjoyed it too!). 

This dress was one of the items I had purchased while pregnant and hidden away for myself for after baby. It's nice and loose with a busy pattern to distract from my post baby bod (you still have a weird bump for a while after birth). It's going to be a long way until I feel like I have my old body back but it's really not something I care too much about because it gave me my baby! I will get there slowly. I want to be super open about this part of having a child because the internet can make it seem really unrealistic. I also was still in some pain at this point (a week and a half later) so was very thankful for the reclining chairs in the fancy theater we were at.

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September 25, 2018

..Welcome Baby Isla!

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Baby deets: Nordstrom Baby onesie (exact print sold old, other prints here); Baby Bling bow; blanket was a gift from my Grandma (handmade).

Hello! It's been a while since I've been able to get a blog post up here because I have been trying to give myself ample time to get to know my new little family member (also there may be a few more typos around here because mama is TIRED). Little miss Isla Dylan was born on September 6th, 2018 at 5:45PM, exactly two days past her due date. She was 7.4 lbs and 21 inches long. I still can't believe that I grew her inside of me and now she lives in the world, what a crazy concept to wrap your head around. Even though I just went through it, it still seems pretty unbelievable. She is very sweet so far, eats and sleeps well - and since that is basically all they do at this point I can't complain! We love her so much I can't stop kissing her little chunky cheeks. She looks just like her dad with lighter features -  we aren't sure where they came from since we are both dark. These are some photos I snapped with my phone when she was 5 days old.

I know many bloggers write out a whole "birth story" but I am still on the fence about it - maybe I will do an instagram poll to see if that is something you guys would be interested in. My time is so precious now that I only want to spend the little bit I allocate for the blog on stuff that you want to read about. I LOVE my blog and will continue to do it as usual - I swear back to OOTDs and the like soon but wanted to formally introduce you all to my newest little homie. 

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August 29, 2018

..Stereotypical

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What could be more stereotypical than a 38 week pregnant lady wearing overalls? Well, let me tell you: a 38 week pregnant lady wearing overalls at a restaurant that has a PICKLE BAR. Yes, my sweet, dear husband drove me to an awesome authentic Jewish Deli about 30 mins away that had a homemade pickle bar. Basically, I was living my best life. I even took a couple home with me.

I know it's been pretty quiet around here but it's been hard working full time, prepping for baby, and then trying to also squeeze in time to blog. As I am writing this I am actually in my 39th week and have officially started working from home so at least the stress of riding the metro every day is gone. Just waiting for our mini now!

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August 8, 2018

..Our Tiny Apartment Nursery Reveal

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Okay first off, let me say the word "nursery" is slightly over-stated for the actual situation I have created here but "baby wall/general baby area" didn't have the same ring to it. If you are a city dweller or small apartment lover like me and are trying to figure out how the heck to fit a baby into the picture then this is the post for you. 

We all know how awful moving in a city can be and and my husband and I truly love the space we currently live in. I could seriously go on and on about all the things that make it my favorite place we have ever lived - the short walk to metro, grocery store, pharmacy, and restaurants, quick work commute, tons of natural light, a huge terrace, it really is just a place with a happy vibe. We moved in the weekend after we got engaged and were the first people to live in the unit. We got married and came home here. We found out we were pregnant here. The thought of leaving it and throwing a new huge life change into the mix all in one year just seemed overwhelming and scary so we decided to try to make it work for at least one more year. That way we can tackle this new parent thing now and moving can be something we worry about later.

Seems like a great idea until you realize how HELLA STRONG those nesting emotions are. They came in HOT and all the sudden I needed the baby to have her own space and it had to be stylish and functional and not interrupt the apartment vibe too much. OKAY? Tall order, right? Just for reference, this is what the space was before - your basic office/den. We tried to get the most out of the space by getting rid of the desk (we put this floating corner desk in another part of the apartment), adding fun wall paper (the perfect square was a great candidate for peal and stick), swapped out the rug for something more crawl around friendly, and converted our beloved Kallax Ikea shelves that we have had for approximately 100 years into little closets using perfectly sized inserts and these rods.  It worked out pretty great but we clearly still needed a changing space. The changing area spills into our bedroom - we just put a cart in the corner and added a changing basket to our dresser which is right next to the den/nursery so even though it's not in the den we think it worked out. Everything we purchased is pretty affordable (I don't think anything is over $100!) but we did splurge on the crib since it has wheels and can convert from a small bassinet size to a regular size crib (space comes at a premium in our apartment). It just seemed like the perfect fit for our current situation. For baby's shoe storage I just covered some cardboard boxes in some of the extra wall paper I had lying around. We are overall very happy with how the tiny space came out! We'll see how living in a place with no walls goes - will report back on that possible disaster choice later but for now the nesting monster inside me is satiated.

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