Thank you soooo much to my incredible friend for sharing her thoughts this morning! I would love to hear your "WHY" in the comments below!
The house is quiet and dark. The sun hasn’t even thought about getting up yet. I trip on a small plastic wagon as I follow the cries to my son’s room. He is teething. Again. I pick him up and sleepily cradle him to me. I am tired. I close my eyes and sit down. My head starts to fall. I nod myself awake.
As I try to feed my son back to sleep I look down at his tiny body and watch as it’s overcome by sleep. His little hand falls limp and his eyes are heavy. He curls into me.
When asked why I’m vegan this is what I think about. I know that I won’t always be able to protect and soothe him like this. I can’t keep him from the pain of his first broken heart, or from the disappointment of not making the team. I can’t keep the kid at school from being mean and I can’t erase the trauma of a broken bone.
But I can feed him a diet that supports a healthy heart, and staves off depression, anxiety and moodiness. I can make sure he eats to grow strong bones and I can give him the knowledge of food so that he feels confident and supported in his choices.
Just a couple of years ago my husband and I were living in our 1984 Westfalia traveling the country to climb. If I had been asked this question then, my answer would have been much different. Staying on the road full time with no income requires a certain kind of finesse and eating vegan, simply put, is cheaper than eating a meat and dairy based diet.
Cancer prevention, diabetes reversal, heart and cardiovascular health, skin quality, mood, it’s all negatively impacted by a Standard American Diet and if I wanted to keep climbing (and I did!) I wanted to be in the best health possible. I was pushing my physical limits daily and without the diet to support it that just wouldn’t have been possible. Vegans also recover faster, require less rest between climbing days and tend to be lighter, making it easier to pull their body weight through difficult climbs. I’ll admit, at first it seems difficult to be strong AND vegan, but it can be done! I found these sites to be of great help. The No Meat Athlete, The Sculpted Vegan and Oh She Glows and if you’re really serious and want to track both food and activity My Fitness Pal is the best free tool out there.
Being a climber takes very little. But of the few things climbers really need, rocks to climb on, are the number one priority. Keeping our parks and crags open and protected is a huge issue for us. By default, most climbers tend to be environmentalists. We pick up trash, volunteer, contribute to local access groups and fight for clean water and air, not only for us but for all of the animals sharing their homes with us so we can climb.
The thing is when I get asked this question now my brain seizes up. It’s paralyzed and I become completely inarticulate. All I can think about is my son. The way those curious eyes look to me for answers and reassurance. How he reaches out his tiny sweaty hand to me to pull me to his next adventure. And this is what I think about every time I go to the store, every bite I take and every choice I make. Because what goes into my body ultimately goes into his. I am building a little person who will someday inherit this world and true to mother advice the world over, I’d like to leave it better than I found it.
Brenna is a stay-at-home mom raising a tiny vegan in the Midwest. She has been vegan for 5 years, worked as a Health Coach for 2 years, and a Vegan Chef for 1 year while living in Okinawa, Japan. She loves to get outside, snorts when she laughs and probably drinks way too much coffee.
Baby Everett is 4 days old! We're still in sleep deprivation mode and one day soon I'll get his birth story posted on here. But for now, I had to share my newest POSTPARTUM best friend :) After a 1st-degree tear with my first and a second-degree tear with my 2nd I was really hoping by the 3rd baby I wouldn't tear. My recovery's for the first were super painful. I remember just walking around the first couple of weeks were terrible!! even with tucks pads, witch hazel, ice, padsicles, Arnica, herbs, ibuprofen etc.
Unfortunately, I ended up with another 2nd-degree tear with number 3.
I few friends of mine suggested picking up some Claraderm Spray to use on those tender areas and I ordered a bottle a few weeks before the baby was born! OMgoodness even just after 24 hours I was up and walking and in nowhere near the pain, my midwife even commented that I didn't have any swelling :) Happy Momma!
Last night I even ran to the grocery store for some "self-care" time lol and felt great!
Not gonna lie, life with a newborn isn't all full of unicorns and rainbows, we're still exhausted, nursing what feels like constantly and trying to balance life as a family of 5. BUT if you can make part of the equation a little better than you do :)
Anywho! Just wanted to share with you all!
If your on Facebook join the oily conversation HERE
We are down to the last two(ish) weeks before Baby's arrival and figured it was about time to pack the infamous hospital/birth bag!
Third and last baby unless God has other plans and after a LONG 44 hour labor with my first and a FAST and furious 3 hour with my second I'm hoping for a calmer experience this time around. You know maybe a nice 6 hour labor? Arrive to the hospital 6-7 cm dilated, fill up the birthing tub, hang our white Christmas lights for a nice soft glow, give my birth photographer plenty of time to arrive, maybe nibble on a few snacks, drink some Ningxia Red and bone broth, diffuse some Citrus Fresh and then just breath the baby out into the warm water, snuggle, lots of bonding, nurse, enjoy a delicious warm meal delivered from a local restaurant and then both of us drift into a peaceful sleep. Third times the charm right???
In the meantime, I like to pack two bags: one for my labor and one for the postpartum stay. I know it's ONE more bag to bring in but it seems to work easier in the moment for my birth team to find what I might need in that moment.
Comfy inexpensive shorts. I don't love hospital gowns and found some cute jersey shorts for $4 at Walmart, perfect for labor, easy to move it and if they are ruined I'm not concerned.
Swimsuit top- Cute, comfortable and perfect for a waterbirth. I suggest finding a top you can untie easily for easy skin-to-skin access after baby is born.
Coconut Water- Coconut water is hydrating, a great source of minerals and beneficial after prolonged exercise (hello birth).
Healthy Snacks- Bone broth for an easy to digest nutrition packed drink, organic granola bars, dried fruit, yogurt, organic greens juice, crackers, really anything easy to eat and digest are my friend during labor!
Ceramic Mug- I'm not a fan of microwaving in the hospital provided styrofoam cups .
Pillow from home- There is something comforting about your own home smell and the feel of your favorite pillow.
Chapstick- The cinnamon one from Young Living is my current favorite.
Labor relaxation tools- Back rollers, head massager, rebozo fabric
Citrus Fresh essential oil- This one is a favorite I use with my doula clients, it's really grounding, relaxing and helps with nausea.
Peppermint essential oil- Really good energizer, clarity, focus and helps with feelings of nausea.
Panaway essential oil- I'll be using this to help soothe sore muscles in the event of back labor. The wintergreen scent is also really energizing.
Comfy and cute easy to nurse in clothes- Let's be real, I'm exhausted after giving birth but there is something about a new top and and a sweet pair of yoga pants that can make a girl feel a little more human lol!
Tolettires- I know the hospital will provide shampoo and soap but I'll be bringing some of my favorite lavender-mint shampoo and Thieves toothpaste to make the hospital feel a little more like home.
Nursing Pillow- The Boppy is simple and makes a huge difference for me with latching those first few weeks.
Infant gowns- Comfy for baby and they make diaper changes just a little bit easier on Mom and Dad.
What are your favorite hospital MUST HAVES? Anything I missed?
Have you ever walked down the "cleaning" aisle in the grocery store and wondered why within a few minutes your head began to hurt, your eyes watered and perhaps or you felt a tickle in your throat?
If so, you are not alone! It turns that that many of the active ingredients in those cleaners cause respiratory issues, lead to increased risks of cancer, infertility, harm our environment and in 2000 accounted for 206,636 reports to the U.S centers for Poison Control! Sadly more than half of these reports involved children under the age of six years-old!
As you take a look at your own cleaning products one big thing you can look out for is FRAGRANCES!
~Fragrances... Oh!!! but they make our laundry smell like a "mountain breeze" and our lotions and shampoos like "minty clean" and give our newborn babies that iconic "fresh baby smell". The concern with fragrances is that they have been linked to cancer, reproductive concerns, developmental toxicity, sensitizations and allergies. Manufacturers are also not required to list the individual ingredients in their "fragrance blend" which often ends up being the perfect loophole for a toxic blend of chemical soup.
When you think of fragrances your first thought may be perfume. Growing up, one of my friend's Mom's said she would get migraines from smelling perfume. As I teen I thought this was kinda crazy, like really, a migraine??? However, the more I researched fragrances the more this made so much sense! Fragrances aren't just a simple scent or one of those "scratch and sniff" markers from grade school. Fragrances have the ability to cross the blood brain barrier meaning they interact with receptors in the central nervous system. Physically, this can look effect changes in blood pressure, heart rate, pupil dilation, skin temperature and brain activity! Uhh Yikes!
---Look for fragrance in your Shampoo, Cosmetics, Essential oils, Candles, Air fresheners, Wax plugins, Baby care items, Deodorant and Sunscreen, just to name a few--
Alternatives to Fragrance. So I get it, we still want that clean laundry small, or that "summer breeze candle" A really great alternative to fragrance is, yep you guessed it, essential oils. Unlike fragrances, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils do not contain synthetic endocrine disrupting chemicals and actually work to benefit us emotionally and physically. A win-win in my book! Smell good and benefit me and my family??? Sorry "lemon" scented commercial laundry detergent but I can't say the same for you.
Stinky Bathroom- Ditch the Glade and fill a spray bottle with vodka or distilled water and add a few drops of Purification, Thieves or a blend of Bergamot & Lemon.
Wax Warmers and Scented Plug-ins- Diffuse essential oils, there are sooo many different combos but a great place to start is with this set!
Cleaning Cupboard- Pick up a couple of good quality microfiber cloths and a bottle of pure plant based Thieves Cleaner. No joke, my cleaning cupboard (think 409, Windex, Tile cleaner, Toilet bowl cleaner, Surface Spray, the whole nine yards) have all been replaced with a bottle of Thieves Cleaner and a couple of cleaning cloths. No more worrying that my kids are going to get into the chemicals and accidently harm themselves and no more having to spend $$$ on 10 different cleaning products! Frugal Momma win!
Dryer Sheets-Wool dryer balls help keep fabrics soft and reduce our dying times! Another win-win for my wallet and the environment. Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball before drying, if desired.
Are You Up for a Challenge?
Pick one room in your house this WEEK that your going to to ditch and switch out the fragrance laden chemicals with healthy alternatives. Feeling overwhelmed or need ideas? Join the conversation on Facebook at Daybreak Oils.
Mya is a sweet friend of mine and I love how she takes what could have been a fearful, scary situation and is able to give birth without fear!
My first birth was in the hospital and was considered low risk and thankfully there were no complications. Since the first went well, when we got pregnant for the second time and it was also low risk, we planned for a birth center delivery then decided shortly after that to have a home birth. We were so excited and prepared as best we could be. We bought all the supplies we needed, showed baby animals being born to our preschooler to help her understand birth a little more and felt good about it all.
Soon you’ll learn that being prepared is a false sense of security. One can never be completely and fully prepared because life is unpredictable, especially in regards to birth. Now hold on! Don’t let that scare you or put more fear into you! Let it be empowering. First, let go of any anxiety now. Let go of your worries, your ‘what if’s’, let go of your preconceived expectation of others. This will make more room for YOU in your own mind, body and spirit to focus on YOU and your sweet little one. I encourage you to learn more about the amazing power of your body and that you CAN do it no matter what happens at the time of birth! Fear is simply a perception we create from experiences that either we have personally had or that others have had and we indirectly place our perception on it. Fear is completely self-made. It doesn’t actually exist.
This was a HUGE first step for me to learn in order to truly empower myself. By educating myself on natural ways to give birth, how the body works and then incorporating my birth goals and talking to my husband and daughter about it helped give me a peace of mind and pushed out a lot of “fears”.
So let’s fast forward to my due date. Nothin! Yup. The day came and went and I was bummed. My oldest came on her due date, so I was convinced both of my kids would come on their due dates, which I realize is extremely rare, but I can wish can’t I?!? Have I mentioned that things never truly go as expected, so I had to let that go! Okay. So I woke up the next day, the day after my due date and felt fine. I had to take my oldest to preschool and did some work from home. I ate lunch around 2:15pm and noticed that while eating my stomach started hurting. Didn’t connect the dots because it simply felt like cramps you get when you eat something that doesn’t settle well and you need to go to the bathroom afterwards (Sorry, TMI? Oh, just wait!) and I was eating a jalapeno topped pizza, so I excused it to that. I went to the bathroom (ended in bm’s), went and picked up my daughter, still cramping, went to Wal*Mart, still cramping, another bathroom trip, and then finally went home, still cramping. I warmed up a corn bag to lay across my lower pelvic area (under my belly) to relieve some of the discomfort and after an hour decided to text my husband. I told him I was cramping and imagined it would continue progressing into contractions at some point, so to finish up what he needed because I didn’t think he would be going to work the next day. You guys! I was still only cramping, but it was now accompanied by pressure in my lower back. I had been sitting on the couch this whole time while my preschooler was asking me to play with her. She was entertaining herself for the most part, but still asked me to play. I explained to her how I was feeling, why I couldn’t get up and play at the time.
Within an hour or so of calling my husband walked and thank goodness! In my mind, I was glad he didn’t stay very long at work. I asked him to rub my lower back while I got on all fours. Only after a few minutes I realized I needed to get up to go to the bathroom to release my bowels. AGAIN! Remember, the TMI thing? Sorry. I’m an open book. I wasn’t feeling anxious or worried, but knew this was going to help relieve some discomfort. I truly went with my body the best I could. I was in the moment, breathing through the cramps, relaxing my muscles with each breath I took. I walked to the bathroom, sat on the toilet and went for the third time that afternoon. Still breathing with my hands on my knees as I sat, I felt a gush come out into the toilet. Not sure what it was at first (I had not experienced my water breaking with my oldest because the hospital broke it-which was completely unnecessary, but that’s another story), so I didn’t realize what was happening. Still hands on knees, feeling like this is hurting more now, but still not worried or anxious. Simply trying my best to relax with each breath during the discomfort from cramping. Until. Until! Not thirty seconds after that gush came a big, very tight contraction. That’s when it got real! I tensed up so much because it caught me completely off guard. I was almost forced to hunch over while sitting on the toilet because it came so fast and was so intense. I knew at that moment that it was a contraction and IT was happening. I called for my husband who was in the kitchen and I could barely catch my breath as the contractions were coming closer and closer together. I still attempted to breath through these intense contractions by relaxing my shoulder and neck muscles as best I could while breathing as natural as I could.
My husband ran upstairs to grab a few of our home-birth supplies. One thing I will tell you is that I didn’t want to tear. I did with my first and that was THE one thing I wanted to avoid. I knew it was possible and that may have caused some very small amount of worry. So I turned that small worry into focus. It kept me focused on breathing and relaxing. My husband had come back downstairs and began to massage me down there as we had previously discussed and he mentioned I needed to get off the toilet because he was massaging her head (we were having another girl). I knew and he knew I wanted to give birth in a squat if possible, so it truly worked out perfectly. Mind you, this was a mere 10 minutes after I had my first contraction. I stood up and stepped out to the right of the toilet, so I could lean on the lid with my left arm and went down straight into a squat. I went down and her head immediately popped out! My preschooler said, “There’s Makayla”! I am literally in birthing mode and talking to my preschooler about birth and how she’s (the baby) coming while I lean against the toilet. No other thoughts running through my head, except we’re having a baby. My husband moves the cord (he still can’t tell me why he did, he doesn’t know) and my body contracted one last time that made her literally slide out and into my arms. There she was. Just like that. My thoughts were on me and baby. Not if I tore or how bummed I was that I couldn’t use the birthing tub. None of that bothered me. Are you kidding me? We just had a baby together as a family. She came so fast that there was literally no time to be worried, scared or anxious! It was WONDERFUL!!!
So many times we let the anticipation get into our heads and work us up, but if we stay in the moment and focus on our muscles and breathing then the timeline doesn’t matter anymore. Yes, my birth was fast, but I believe that even in the stages before contracting, I could have started worrying and playing scenarios in my head of ‘what if’s’, but I didn’t. I went with it and did what I had been practicing during my pregnancy, so that when the time came, I didn’t feel lost. My mindset was right and my body was already being prepared in a variety of ways prior to this day. Stretches, healthy foods, water, supplements, and personal birth education, everything together helped me feel empowered and ABLE! You’ve probably realized by now that we had our baby in the bathroom with no professional there with us. Well. You’re right. It was just us. And it was AMAZING!!!
After the baby came, my husband went to get his phone and called the midwife. I was sitting on the floor with the baby and asked my husband to take some pictures, after thought ya know, so it could be somewhat documented, haha. And there we sat waiting for our midwife. I had the baby on my stomach doing skin to skin with shirt pulled up because I was clothed still (minus my shorts) and we bonded. Although this birth was nothing that I expected or anticipated, I would do it all over again. It was beautiful to have a child at home with my family. Just us. We didn’t plan to have an unassisted home birth, but now I wonder why people don’t do it! It was an experience that’s often too hard to truly explain. Taking care of my mind, my body and being open to what life throws at me, I believe is what made this such a wonderful experience. So I encourage you. Focus on YOU, because darling, you are more capable than you even know!
Hi there! I hope you enjoyed my story! It’s always so much fun to tell. I wanted to mention a little more about who I am. I currently live and have lived in Utah since 2012 with my husband and two girls, but grew up in Southern California. By trade, I am a special education teacher, but have been home ever since having our youngest, our home baby. Now my passion is for my current job working from home. I share health, hope and happiness with a company called Plexus. It has been a blessing to have these products during my pregnancy and afterwards. It made a world of difference in many ways. I also enjoy learning, teaching, Disneyland, snow on Christmas day, and meeting new people. If you’re curious about the products that made my second pregnancy and recovery so much better or maybe you have questions about something else in my story then please reach out. I’d love to help and share whatever I can.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As I look back on both my pregnancies, I see so many differences. With my first, I craved carbs, religiously ate at least one bagel with cream cheese daily, worked at a desk all day and subsequently gained a good 60 pounds. For those who know me, I’m a fairly petite person so gaining half my body weight in 9 months probably wasn’t the best idea. My joints felt heavy and stiff; labor was also long and arduous clocking in at 40 something hours.
In contrast with my second, this time around I was chasing a rambunctious toddler, still craved carbs but chose whole grains, ate more veggies and fruits and made an effort to exercise and gained an appropriate 35 pounds. My labor was also much shorter with only 3 hours of active labor until I was holding my baby in my arms.
We may not be able to change genetics but there are things we can do before, during and after pregnancy to help facilitate an easier and more positive birth experience.
Now is the time to look at your lifestyle and nutrition goals! Maybe it’s losing weight or building muscle tone to help your body be in its optimal health before carrying a growing baby for 9 months. Women with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 have the best success at fertility with an underweight or overweight woman more likely to have conception difficulties. If the thought of this is overwhelming, you are most definitely not alone. Chatting with a health coach or nutritionist is a great place to start. Find friends who will hold you accountable as you reach your goals. Salt Lake City Midwife Adrienne Brown, CPM, LDEM and founder of Wasatch Midwifery & Wellness offers a preconception visit to establish a baseline health assessment, discuss family medical history, fertility resources and share ways to prevent miscarriage. As a Doula, I love cheering and supporting my clients in their health journeys.
During the first trimester the life-giving placenta forms. This incredible organ provides all of the necessary nutrients and oxygen for the growing baby as well as a way to dispose of waste. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps prevent placental insufficiency and the complications it can cause to Mom or baby. Most providers agree Moms should increase their calories by 300-500 per day. As delicious as a pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream may sound, choose to nourish your baby and body with wholesome nutrient dense calories. Your baby and body will thank you :)
Eating well can be easier said than done, especially during the first trimester.
One of my finest moments during my first pregnancy was secretly fishing out empty yogurt containers left in the trash by my coworkers because I couldn’t stand the smell and tossed them in the garbage faaaar away from me in an effort to prevent throwing up at my desk. Good memories right???
A recent study published by NCBI in 2014 found that the inhalation of lemon essential oil significantly reduced nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Another suggestion to combat nausea is to eat small protein-rich snacks throughout the day as a way to help balance blood sugars and reduce nausea.
Use this time during pregnancy to focus on nutrient dense foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains, bone broth, protein and good fats (avocado is one of my favorites).
What About Exercise?
I know you're tired and the last thing you’re thinking is, “I should go really go workout today.” or “Does it really make a difference?” During my first pregnancy, I had this almost this fear of exercise, or I would go to bed with grand plans of doing zoomba, prenatal yoga or taking a long walk only to wake up, go to work and sit all day only. When I came home, I’d make a half-hearted effort only to spend the majority of the evening lounging on the couch. And I felt it, I was out of breath, tired and lacked stamina. According to research exercise during pregnancy helps increase energy, prevent gestational diabetes, reduce back pain and can even help moms have a shorter labor!
Ask the Expert
Nutritionist Lauren Rodas, MS and founder of YIN Wellness in Sandy, Utah writes,
Research has shown that the lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition choices made by women during their pregnancy have a direct, and often long-lasting, impact on the health of both mother and baby. Additionally, babies whose mothers take good care of themselves while pregnant are more likely to have a positive pregnancy experience, an easier delivery faster recovery and better overall health.
Poor eating habits by moms during pregnancy have been shown to slow the growth of the fetus as well as contribute to the development of long-term and often irreversible health issues for the child including obesity raised levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. A recent study by the Harvard Institute of Public Health found that 95 percent of women who consumed a nutritious diet had healthy babies. In contrast, 65 percent women who ate mainly junk food had premature, malnourished, functionally immature, or stillborn babies. Research also supports that what women eat while they are pregnant helps shape their babies taste buds to crave those specific foods throughout life.
Forget the pressure to “jump” right back into life after having a baby. You don’t need to be superwoman, and it’s okay to ask for help. Take these moments to simply breathe and enjoy bonding with your baby. For breastfeeding moms continue eating an additional 500 wholesome calories each day and talk to your provider on when resuming exercise is okay. Postpartum “exercise” might look at simple as soaking in some vitamin D on your porch or taking a short walk around your block.
I would love to hear your thoughts on nutrition and lifestyle during pregnancy! What things helped you? For Mom’s expecting their second, third or fourth child, what changes did you make between pregnancies?
Alyssa Moulton is a Certified Hypno-doula who loves supporting her clients from pregnancy through the postpartum time. If you were to describe her in three words she would say calm, empowering and authentic. She is passionate about helping each client feel empowered and supported in their birthing decisions. When not serving as a Doula, Alyssa loves teaching youth and adult cooking classes from Healthy eating and meal planning to homemade pastries and baking themed birthday parties and loves seeing her student's learn new skills and feel empowered in the kitchen! She also hosts a bi-monthly Mom's Circle in Herriman as a way for Mom's to connect, grow and live in community with each other. Interested in learning more? Contact Alyssa for a free consultation. ~
I recently had an opportunity to hear from a lovely group of women on breastfeeding. They shared their struggles, myths they had been taught and told positive, beautiful stories of love and life. Every journey looks different, some of us breastfeed, pump exclusively, use formula, receive donor milk or use a mix of formula and breast-milk and that’s okay! But rather than split hairs, now, is the time to come and support and empower each other as we find common ground as parents in this journey of love.
This blog post is just a small taste of the many myth and facts surrounding breastfeeding and I would be honored to hear YOUR thoughts in the comments below!
“Honestly the most frustrating misconception to me was, "he'll eat if he's hungry". Our loved one did not eat actually because he had a tongue tie which made it really hard for him to get enough so he wouldn't wake to eat and wasn't gaining weight for weeks so I woke him every 3 hours to eat. People said that to me over and over, so I felt crazy thinking he wasn't getting enough and for being so regimented, and hurt because that statement just isn't supportive at all.” W.E
“That it's easy. That the baby just knows how to latch, that you will automatically have enough milk always, that it won't ever hurt” MA
“The weight will just melt off . . . Not true for everyone!” J.L
“I'm nursing twins and there still isn't anything melting off!” B.B
“My weight melted off from postpartum thyroiditis and then as soon as it was diagnosed and corrected, weight came right back: despite very successful breastfeeding and a great supply!” K.Y
“I thought that the first two months was going to be the way it was forever. If I deviated from my routine of feeding from both breasts, the last one, first etc, it was going to be horrible. Now, I honestly just do a quick feel and feed from the fullest side, keeping in mind to make sure I'm feeding from both sides throughout the day, but not always so regimented.”
Painful Nursing & Pumping
“That it would be very painful. It wasn't for me!!” L.B
“I think I'm one of the lucky ones, baby boy and I figured out how to latch within a few days, and once my nipples healed from the initial cracking we've not had any pain.” J.C
“That everyone gets cracked and bleeding nipples and that it hurts and that is normal. Also that I would feel a certain feeling when my milk came in (I didn't feel anything besides them getting huge and was told my milk wasn't in until the Dr. said it definitely was)” H.U
“It's natural, and it won't hurt if you're doing it right. False. It will likely, at some point, be mildly excruciating, because your nipples have never had this much undivided attention (most likely, ahem). This, to me, is the absolute worst one because it leaves so many of us expecting virtually NO pain (or at worst, mild discomfort) and results in feelings of failure before we've hardly begun!” C.T
“While I'm not breastfeeding yet, just pumping for my little NICU preemie, my nipples have *definitely* had some "wait, what the heck are you doing to us" moments.” R.W
Myth “One that really scared me was that it could increase your risks of getting breast cancer. So happy I did research when I had children so I could breastfeed!” H.I
Fact “[Breastfeeding reduces risk of cancer] It's like hearing exercise will make you fat. Ha.” L.Z
Myth“That breastfeeding will interfere with the father's ability to bond with the baby” L.A
“If you try X it will make your milk production go up. Nope, you can do ALL THE THINGS and still not make enough.” S.B
“Ugh. So many. Here are my top 3:
Never wake a sleeping baby, he'll eat when he's hungry.
Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world - this one is very false and makes you feel like a true failure (especially with those postpartum hormones).
You don't have to/shouldn't pump in the beginning, just nurse, nurse, nurse and your supply will regulate appropriately- not for me and now I'm dealing with low supply issues.” C.D
“I started pumping on day 3 with a hospital grade pump. Still never made enough. Don't beat yourself up. It can make you crazy. My baby thrived once we started supplementing properly.” S.B
“That you are in control. After hitting our one year goal I realized it wasn't going to be up to me when we stopped!” N.P
“To chafe my nipples at the end of pregnancy to get them "toughened up" for nursing.” B.B
“That i wouldn't be able to nurse with my inverted nipples.” B.B
“That you don't have to burp baby when breastfeeding” D.A
For those looking for peer or professional breastfeeding, pumping or supplementing support visit come of our great local resources!
La Leche League of Salt Lake County
La Leche League of Utah County
La Leche League of Weber/Davis County
Motherfed: International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) located in Salt Lake City
Birth Journey Midwifery: Certified Midwife and IBCLC throughout the Salt Lake areas
Meghan’s Lactation Consulting: IBCLC serving the Salt Lake and Park City areas
~Alyssa Moulton is a Certified Hypno-doula who loves supporting her clients from pregnancy through the postpartum time. If you were to describe her in three words she would say calm, empowering and authentic. She is passionate about helping each client feel empowered and supported in their birthing decisions. When not serving as a Doula, Alyssa loves teaching youth and adult cooking classes from Healthy eating and meal planning to homemade pastries and baking themed birthday parties and loves seeing her student's learn new skills and feel empowered in the kitchen! She also hosts a bi-monthly Mom's Circle in Herriman as a way for Mom's to connect, grow and live in community with each other. Interested in learning more? Contact Alyssa for a free consultation. ~
So much thanks to my friend Emily Smith for sharing her thoughts on Motherhood and life with a newborn.
I am at my best as a mom when I am free to be me. "
Do you know someone who seems to be "super-mom"? That person who leaves you in awe of their boundless energy and creativity? Or the instagram-mom whose life (and kids) looks perfect in each photo? Or ever wonder how the mom with nine kids still seems perfectly sane and even happy? Do you, like me, struggle with wondering if you should be doing more or doing differently to be a better mom?
Today I am going to share the secret I am learning about being the best mom for Henry, my five month old son.
Transitioning to motherhood has been unexpectedly challenging. I've wanted to be a mom since I learned what babies were as a little girl, and I love this new role as much as I thought I would. But it is also hard. In addition to the physical exhaustion and trauma my body went through during birth, there are the mental and emotional aspects to recovery as well, which often take far longer than the body to recover. Much has been said elsewhere about "mom guilt"; our tendency to compare ourselves relentlessly and judge others based on our own beliefs or experiences.
Have you experienced this in your mothering journey yet? I often see someone and immediately think "I wish I was more like her", or "wow, she seems to have it all together", or "her life looks so pretty and perfect in her photos", or "I would be a better mom if only..." and on and on it goes. It gets exhausting if we listen to that train of thought long enough, leaving us feeling inadequate and weary.
Do you want to know the secret I'm learning?
I am at my best as a mom when I am free to be me.
When I was younger, people told me all the time how much I was like my mom. It was a compliment then, and it still is today. She is amazing - an extrovert with energy for days, is a wonderful mom and grandma, loves to be around people (and the more the merrier), throws the best parties, is creative and artistic, has the capacity to thrive with a full time job and something going on every night of the week, is generous with her time, constantly has people over, and loves to give gifts.
All of that is wonderful, but little of that describes who I am. Thus, as I grew up, I started to think there was something wrong with me. I love people, but as an introvert need alone time to recharge. I much prefer small groups to big crowds. I am terrible at gift giving (Amazon gift cards for the win!). I burn out quickly if I don't have a couple nights at home each week with nothing on the schedule. My creativity skills are slim. Our alikeness comes in that we share a passion for hosting people in our homes, a love of laughter, cooking and baking, and we happen to look and talk alike.
I know another mom who is a super-mom. She had four boys in under six years (the youngest two are twins), and is like a machine. Motherhood seems effortless for her. Super creative birthday parties, stylish clothes for the boys and herself, beautiful hair and makeup, gorgeous home, model-worthy photos, always out doing things with the kids, seemingly endless energy and life. She is amazing, really and truly!
But here is the truth: trying to be like my mom or like my super-mom friend will not make me a better mom for Henry. It will only wear me out and leave me empty because that is not who I am or how I am wired. What he needs is for me to be exactly who I am. The one who sings oldies and dances with him around the kitchen. The one who prioritizes a shower almost every day, because it helps me feel more human. The one who loves to be outside in the sunshine, but also thinks the library makes the best outing. The one who loves babywearing and breastfeeding and going to a midwife. The one who is terrible at gift giving, but great at quality time. The one who looks forward to nap time so I can recharge for a few minutes.
Does that mean we should never strive to improve? No, not at all. There is a major difference between striving to be a better you, and striving to be a different person all-together. As we continue to grow as mamas, let's remember that our kids will have the best moms when we embrace who we are rather than trying to be who we are not.
About Emily Smith
Hello, my name is Emily! I am married to Christian, new mom to our five month old son Henry and blogger over at amosaiclife.wordpress.com. Alyssa invited me to write a guest post after my recent blog on how having a newborn is like going to Panera. You can read that post here. It is all about the transition to life with an infant, learning to go slow and accept your limits in the healing process.
Before Alyssa and I had any kids of our own, I was skeptical of anything medical outside of a physician's advice and avoided blood and body fluid, even in conversation. Yet, when my wife was going to give birth with our first child, I wanted to be somewhat involved--but I did not know how.
I was one of those guys who really looked forward to having kids. Kids are fun, unique, and together with you and your spouse can form a loving and warm family. Sounds great, right? But at the time I didn't think about the journey my future wife would embark on in order to get the little one out of the womb and onto dry land.
With our first child, Wesley, we took a birthing class, practiced breathing, and even used visualizations to walk though possible childbirth scenarios. I'll be honest, it was REALLY boring, like using every excuse possible to get out of coming to the classes with her--until I realized how helpful it was for me to understand all about what Alyssa and our growing baby were going through, medically and emotionally. It helped create a connection between Alyssa and I that was not there before. I learned a ton through the class and became much more capable at supporting Alyssa, but we both wanted a doula for the birth.
When my wife first approached me about hiring a doula it honestly felt like an unnecessary expense and something I could take care of myself. When the intensity of labor began all of the things we learned in birth class kind of fell by the wayside. Our doula stepped in and gently reminded me of all the ways I could support my wife through labor. Because of our doula I had confidence in my ability to serve my wife effectively during the birth experience. If we have another, it's pretty obvious that a doula is a must. " Rivera
Husband + Doula?
I'm a hardworking and determined person, but when I thought about the fast approaching moment in which my wife was soon to give birth, I was SO relieved to know we had a doula that we BOTH trusted very much! Having a doula at our son's birth allowed me to focus on Alyssa's needs every moment. The doula acted as a massage guru, advocate of my wife, and overall catalyst to ensure that Alyssa's (and mine) wishes were met. Best of all the doula was able to help us stay calm whenever we'd get worried or anxious. I felt like I could be as directly or indirectly involved as I wanted, and that our doula would help us regardless.
In our case, I wanted to be involved more hands-on and our doula focused on answering questions, relaying options, suggesting labor positions, and communicating knowledgeably with medical staff together with us. In the distractions of the moments surrounding the birth, I felt like I forgot about 60% of everything I had learned about childbirth from our class. Yet, with the help of our doula I was empowered to be even more helpful to Alyssa in an environment of decisions, contractions, waiting, and uncertainty. Doulas help women have their very best birth possible while not getting in the way, and as a husband, I want nothing less for my own wife.
I originally thought that having a doula would mean that I was second-place and the doula was the real supporter of my wife. Exactly the opposite was true. Doulas believe (as does my wife, Alyssa) that first-string support is the partner's role. And even in cases where the husband or partner is a bit weary of getting hands-on with the birthing process, doula's are there to empower husbands to do their very best in supporting their wife in ways they already feel equipped to do so.
And by the way, Dads or Dads-to-be, there is nothing like seeing your own child be born!
"We've had a doula at all 3 of our births, and I would never consider not having a doula there. Having a doula makes me to look like Superdad to my wife, and lets me focus on what really matters...HER. " Lawrence Hauptly, D.C.
So much thanks to Lindsey Rrivera at Born Photography for sharing these stunning images of Guy's supporting their partners!
~Colin Moulton is Dad of two adventure loving kids and husband to the love of life, Alyssa. By day he is a software and program manager junkie and when not working you'll find him blending up a mean smoothie in the kitchen, biking with his family and dreaming up new business ideas. ~
I absolutely love watching a guy whisper sweet affirmations to his partner, sensing the strong bond of their relationship drawing them together and the positive grounding he continually provides . If this describes the relationship with your spouse or partner you might be thinking I really don't need a doula on my birth team...RIGHT???
The truth is...
A doula is never there to take the place of your husband or partner, but rather to enhance and compliment the birth experience. Some have described their husband as their left hand and their doula as their right, working together to support you. Doulas can suggest and provide comfort measures to help relieve tension and labor discomfort, are trained in light touch massage and acupressure points and have the experience of supporting many birthing Mother's. Having a doula on your birth team allows your partner to participate emotionally without having to remember everything from your childbirth preparation class.
During prenatal appointments with my couples we spend time discussing expectations for the spouses involvement during the birth and ways they can be involved if desired. I've spoken with guys who insist they really don't want an active role in their partner's labor but when the time comes they are right there, helping me with counter pressure and empowering their partner through every contraction or birthing surge. Other times, I've talked with guys who want the option to take a more hands-on role but when the moment comes their spouse needs them in a more emotional and less hands- on physical support role than what they first anticipated.
My desire is to support and equip partner's in however they feel most comfortable, sensing the needs of both Mom and Dad and meeting their goals and desires in a gentle and empowering manner.
~Alyssa Moulton is a Certified Hypnodoula who loves supporting her clients from pregnancy through the postpartum time. Her goal is to help each client feel empowered and supported in their birthing decisions. When not serving as a Doula, Alyssa loves teaching youth and adult cooking classes! From Healthy eating and meal planning to homemade pastries and baking themed birthday parties, she loves seeing her student's learn new skills and feel empowered in the kitchen! Interested in learning more? Contact Alyssa for a free consultation. ~
Autumn Alyssa, CHD is a Birth and Postpartum Doula serving women and families from Bountiful to Provo in Davis, Salt Lake & Utah Counties