Things No One Told Me About Breastfeeding

 

We all know that ‘breast is best’.

And I did it.  For thirteen whole months.

I am an advocate for breastfeeding, if you are able to, but I will be the first to admit that I had selfish motives for doing so.  Before I became a mom, I didn’t think I could handle breastfeeding.  The very idea overwhelmed me, not to mention the thought of another human being attached to my breast was very, very alien.

And then Ava was born, and the nurse barely even gave me an option.  Big on skin-to-skin contact, the hospital only asked me whether I wanted her immediately or if I preferred her to be ‘cleaned up a bit’.  I chose the latter because, ew.

Anyway.  Having gained sixty pounds during my pregnancy, I figured I would at least have the benefit of all that baby weight falling off without any effort on my part(on top of all the baby benefits, but like I said, selfish).

So began my journey through breastfeeding.

But there were things I could never have been prepared for, things the entire world conveniently ‘forgot’ to tell me about.  And so I will prepare you.IMG_3283

  • It hurts.  A LOT.  Those first couple weeks were the closest thing to what I imagined torture was like.  My nipples were like two huge raisins; dried out, bleeding, and sore.  (Perhaps raisin was a poor simile.  I would not eat these raisins.) I applied the coconut oil, I bit my lip through the feedings, and I tried my hardest to  not throw up from the pain and the sessions that seemed to last for hours on end.  I kept thinking, ‘why is this child so effing hungry all the time?’
  • Growth spurts are cause for mass hysteria.  I mean, everyone heard about my dwindling milk supply and what I needed to rectify the situation, and no one was happy until my boobs leaked on their own.  See Boobie Juice Smoothie.
  • Nursing in public is HARD.  I give mad props to the women who fearlessly feed in restaurants, parks, and other public places.  Don’t worry, I was only staring because I was jealous of your supermom abilities.  The anxiety caused my milk to dry up and Ava to have toddler sized tantrums.  Not to mention the sweat factor.  One time I nursed at the zoo(in the shade, away from crowds, and was attacked by the spiders falling out of the trees), and the Swoob made it impossible for me to concentrate, which meant no milk.  And nursing covers?  My child demanded to see the world from her sideways vantage point.  No covers for her, thank you very much.  In a perfect world, air conditioned nursing rooms with unlimited television would be mandatory in every. single. establishment. EVER.
  • People will become know-it-alls.  They will assume they know everything about your boobage and their abilities, and they will freely share their opinions.  And no matter what, you will be wrong.  “You’re only nursing for three months?  I heard at least six months is the best.”  “Oh, you’re going for a whole year?  I heard that nothing past six month means crap.”  “It’s been a year.  Didn’t you say you were quitting at a year?  Shouldn’t your baby starve rather than nurse for more than a year???”
  • If you have to pump at work, people will turn into juvenile asshats.  Meaning, some douchenozzle WILL walk in on you(if you’re unlucky enough to not be locked away with the only key)and act like they have no idea what it means to be a mother who must return to work.  And, if you work in an establishment with certain obnoxious management, your efforts will be mocked.  One manager I work with attempted to force his way into my private space so he could ‘watch’.  Sexual harassment, anyone?
  • Oh, yeah. Pumping BLOWS.  Bring a Kindle or a Nook and prepare to escape to another world because you will be bored out of your mind otherwise.
  • You might spill your hard work on the conference room table post-pump.  And then cry.  Don’t tell anyone who actually uses the conference room, because those juvenile geniuses will probably burn the table and then charge it to your account.
  • If you get your period before you’re done with all the nursing, you will lose your milk.  It is terrifying and upsetting and Boobie Juice Smoothies will not help, because you are not losing it permanently; just during your cycle.  Pump often when your supply comes back so the next month, you don’t purchase a whole new pump thinking something is wrong with the old pump and now you have two perfectly good pumps….like some people I may or may not know.  I mean, if more people had blogged about this, I would have one less major appliance in my tiny apartment.
  • Wear a bra.  ALWAYS wear a bra, for goodness sakes.
  • Make sure you’re eating enough calories!!!  I cannot stress this enough.  If you do NOT eat enough(and of the right foods), you WILL gain weight, and you will most likely lose some supply.  Food is fuel, people, and that does not just apply to exercise.  Eat enough, and eat wisely.  Please.

I’m sure I missed some key details, but seriously?  Enjoy this.  The miracle outweighs the suck.

That bond they talk about is real, and it is fierce.  And all you can do when things get tough is laugh.  You’ll make it through.  And you’ll never regret it.

Five Types of People It’s Legit Okay To Punch In the Throat

Lack of posting sponsored by first week back to work and complete and utter exhaustion. Staying awake past my bedtime is simply ludicrous at this point in my existence.

Going back to work has been tough, but it’s getting a little easier each day. That’s a post for another day.

Today I began to realize that my hatred for the shortage of brain usage in the general population has made a fierce comeback. This is no doubt directly related to the fact that I am back to my unpaid adult babysitting job. I’m pretty sure my three month old makes smarter decisions than the majority of the man-children I work with on a daily basis.

Let’s face the facts: the world is full of people who deserve a swift jab to the throatal region. Being a new mom just seems to emphasize the dumb in others, and I’ve compiled a list of the 6 most throat punch deserving groups of wtf in Momland.

1. The Better Than You Mom. She gets eight uninterrupted hours of sleep a night, shaves her legs on a daily basis, and manages to enjoy a leisurely lunch with a crisp glass of Chardonnay while her wee one coos from a lacy bassinet and never shits up her back. She can’t understand why I didn’t bother to change my pants after my kid barfed on them and perhaps wiped some poo across my thigh. Screw you, better than me mom. You’re doing it wrong.

2. The Oversleeper. This special person comes to work whining about how they ‘really need to stop getting so much sleep’ because it’s making them extra tired. I’ve seen way too much of 3 AM to listen to this drivel without mentally poking her eyes out with my pinky nail.

3. The Advisor. When sentences begin with ‘You should’, you should start running before primal instincts render you negligent of the law. ‘You should put your baby in daycare so her immune system can build itself up’. ‘You should sleep when the baby sleeps’. ‘You shouldn’t let your baby watch TV’. You know what? You should step off, because while my baby is sleeping while parked in front of the boob tube, I’ve been plotting your demise, and it consists of a fiery end and eternity spent with a pitchfork up your ass.

4. The Asshat Who Knows Your Kid Better Than You Do. Maybe this is because moms know their own babies, or maybe it’s because we all try to relate to babies and assume their telltale signs are the same as ours…but I’ll tell you what: I have never, as an adult, shoved my entire fist in my mouth when hungry. And if you see me do this, you’d best move aside and let me pass without incident. Because that shit is serious.

 These people have no problem diagnosing my child’s signals as ‘nothing’. ‘That fist sucking is nothing. She’s just shy’. ‘Yeah, it’s been a while since the last diaper change, but she’s fine. That red face just means she wants me to bounce her harder’. ‘Sleepy? Kids always rub their eyes to bleeding when they need to be stimulated more. She doesn’t need a nap’. I’m not sure a throat punch is good enough here.

5. The Prime Parking Space Hog. This is directly targeted toward every single resident in my apartment building. It’s a small building. We all know each other on some basic level. It’s known by all that my kid has a big mouth and can be heard through the walls. We are the only ones with a small child. 

So when I pull in the lot and discover the one prime parking space(beside a no parking zone)is taken by the lazy ass muscle head on the first floor, I get a little twitchy. It’s the only spot where I don’t have to hold the back passenger door with my knee while I extract the monstrosity of a car seat so as not to dent the neighbor’s precious goods. Not only do I have to heave my ten pound baby and her eight hundred pound car seat, diaper bag, blanket, stuffed animal, my purse, and most likely a half empty Starbucks purchase out of the car and into a space tighter than a Whole Foods aisle, but now I have to shimmy between vehicles and still have the coordination to unlock the front door and stomp up three flights of stairs. Now I’m sweating profusely and leaving baby supply carnage in the stairwell which I’ll have to go back and collect after I take a break at each landing.

All because I didn’t get the good damn parking space.

So the next time you think you know, think again because you probably don’t. Leave the good spaces for people who most likely need it more than you do. Realize who you’re talking to before you say something they’ll want to make you regret. And everyone will have a much nicer day. And all throats will go unharmed.

  

Why I Am Angry

Today is my first day back to work.  It’s the wee hours of the morning, and I’m the only one awake.  Just me and the birds, who are chirping away as if an entire world weren’t crumbling within these very walls.

I don’t have coffee, can’t even bring myself to eat a bowl of cereal.  All I can do is sit here in the dark and watch my baby sleep. I might as well be leaving forever for the heartache I feel, which I know is ridiculous.  But it’s not fair that I have to say goodbye, even for just a workday.  It’s not fair that I should be walking out that door to do something that could never make me feel even a fraction of the happiness I feel when I am home with her.

And as I sit here, I realize…I am angry.

I’m angry because in my 34 years, I haven’t planned for this moment.  Haven’t thought about what I would do once I had a baby, if I might not want to go back to work after a short three months.

Because three months is NOT a long enough time to be with the life I created, to nurture her and get to know each other.

Because when she wakes up, it will not be me smiling at her.

And I will miss our morning conversations.

I am angry because I didn’t work harder to build my life, instead settling on(barely) making a living.

Because I promised her I would be happy, so she would always know that happiness was the most important.  And leaving her makes me the most unhappy I’ve ever been.

I am angry because three months isn’t long enough to build the life I dream of leading.  I will still do it, but it’s going to take so much more.

I am angry because I know what I want in this life, and not being there already makes me feel like a failure.

I am angry because there is no one to blame but myself.

I am angry that there are other mothers like me out there who are dealing with this same heartache.  That horrible feeling of being forced to do something you adamantly do NOT want to do, to provide for this perfect life you are responsible for.

We are taken away too soon, just as the routines begin to settle in, just when you are learning how to function in a mother/child relationship.  But ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’.  That’s what everyone says.  But it’s not fair.

I will go to work today, and I will do what needs to be done.  And I will cry.  Because I shouldn’t have to say goodbye, even just for a little while.

Baby Neck Cheese and Other Gross Things

Babies are adorable.  I really can’t think of anything better than when Ava is staring at me with her giant eyes and breaks into a huge smile and a happy coo.  For those few minutes, I can’t believe I made something so amazing, and that she actually loves me as much as I love her.  For those few minutes, I am at peace.

But for the rest of the day?  There are gross things.  Things that pre-baby me would never even dream of having the stomach to deal with.  Or worse – finding them to be endearing and even funny.

Things like…

  1. Neck cheese.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that foul odor coming from somewhere on your wee one is most likely hidden in the sneaky folds of her neck.  Is it milk?  Is it dust and debris from the environment?  I’m not sure anyone really knows, but it smells real gross and looks gross, too.  But it’s easy to get rid of if you just tilt her head back and wipe it out.  Thank goodness.  There’s a reason it’s the number one ew.
  2. Poo.  I have a special relationship with the waste that leaves my body.  Sometimes it even deserves to be celebrated, especially if it’s been a while, you know?  But I certainly don’t analyze it the way I do my daughter’s.  Each poo for her is an event, and I’m her biggest cheerleader.  It makes her feel good, judging from the expressions on her face.  But seriously, baby poo is super gross.  From the first few made of parking lot tar that simply won’t. come. off.  to the more normal ones that are still a strange sight to behold.  ‘Mustard seed’ they call it.  I’m not sure what formula poo looks like, but breast milk poo comes complete with chunks and it’s own special odor.  And it travels!  Up the back, up the front, across the room if you’re not careful.

    The four stages of poo.
    The four stages of poo.
  3. Lady part poo.  When Ava was first born, it kind of freaked me out to have to clean in her lady bits.  But that poo gets in there and camps out, so clean you must.  This also leads to the baby bottom analyzation.  I find myself checking everything out down there with each diaper change, just in case something extra-terrestrial is going on.
  4. Armpit cheese.  I don’t know about your kid, but mine enjoys keeping her arms clamped down to her sides for most of her awake existence, like she’s about to shoot up a tube Jetson’s style.  This means her armpits don’t get aired out, so they develop a cheese not unlike that of the neck.  During bath time, I have to sing a song about her armpit cheese so that she smiles and relaxes enough for me to clean under her arms.  We have weird songs here.
  5. The boob milk face wipe.  It’s lunchtime, and we are enjoying a nice breastfeeding session, when she all of a sudden breaks latch and wipes her face all over my boob.  Like, her whole face.  Even her eyes get a nice washing.  Now my boob is covered in milk and so is my child’s whole head.  Then she latches right back on like nothing happened, and I have to remember to wash her face when she’s done which, let’s be honest, rarely happens.  What the hell.
  6. The soft spot.  Oh, the scary soft spot.  I find myself scoping out Ava’s head several times a day, terrified that I’m going to dent her.  I analyze skull growth.  I watch for a heartbeat, which I’ve read you can see. Thankfully I cannot.  I stare at that spot while she’s eating, sleeping, playing, bathing…I worry when I wash her hair, when I change her clothes 87 times a day, when I hold her, when someone else holds her…even though I know I’m being ridiculous.  It’s just a gross thing that will eventually close up and not be gross anymore.
  7. Spit-up.  I cannot even find anything endearing about this one.  Spit-up happens and it’s gross, but it doesn’t bother me.  The full on vomit?  That’s horrid.  Sometimes she just barfs everywhere and there is a smell and it’s slimy and now I have to wash her, myself, both of our clothes, and sometimes the furniture around us.  It comes without warning and ruins the entire day.
  8. Boogers.  This, unfortunately, is one of my favorites.  My child enjoys snot sucking time in the morning, and I find pure joy in being able to take something that will make her feel better.  There is no need for a song, just an aspirator and some good old sucking action.  Day: made.  Still gross.
  9. Farts.  What can I say?  Everybody farts.  But babies are oblivious to the nastiness of breaking wind, and they don’t mind the public puffer.  My kid farts louder than most grown men, and we leave a trail of eau de turd everywhere we go.  And yet, I can’t help but crack up each time it happens.  What is that about?

Babies are gross.  There’s no getting around it.  But once the cheese is gone, the poo is wiped, boogers aren’t flapping, and stomachs are restful, I can’t think of anything more perfect in this entire world.

Your New BFF – The Farmer’s Market

First and foremost, apologies for missing Wednesday’s post.  It’s my final week and a half on maternity leave and I’ve been trying to jam in every activity, family and friend visit, and Ava time that I possibly can.

We had our first zoo trip yesterday, and except for a fabulous incident in which I became one of the exhibits while trying to feed my child, it was a successful and fun day.  I even bought Ava her first souvenir, which was way more exciting for me than it was for her, clearly:

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Anyway.  Today we are talking about the dreaded grocery shopping experience.  I say dreaded because it’s so much more difficult to make smart decisions when you’re trying to get back on a healthy track.  I’m always tempted to hit up the cookie aisle or toss a few cans of Spaghetti-o’s in my cart(admit it-they’re amazing).

But I try to follow the clean eating cardinal rule of franchise grocery store shopping:  stick to the outer perimeter of the store.  The center aisles(for the most part)are loaded with sodium, preservatives, extra fat and sugar, and so on and so forth.  If you do venture into those aisles, never forget to check the ingredients!!  And keep an eye on that sodium…even if something is labeled as healthy or low-fat, the sodium is a dead giveaway(hello bloat).

***The outer perimeter does NOT include the bakery and the fried chicken counters!***  Smart ass.

Before I hit up the grocery store, I try to come up with a few basic meals I want to cook that week and write down the ingredients I know I’ll need.  This helps me stay focused because I’m not wandering aimlessly and grabbing things just because they sound yummy.  I’m also a huge believer in the ‘don’t think it, just do it’ method.  This means getting in and getting out with no pausing to imagine how delicious those cupcakes with the triple frosting will taste.  (Poo!  They will taste like poo!)

Now, I know that running into Walmart or Jewel or whichever store is your convenient fave is the easier choice, but my absolute favorite way to shop is by supporting local farmers.  Lots of towns set up a weekend produce market, which is great, but not always easy to take advantage of during the limited times.  So I seek out those that have a storefront, and since they’re becoming more popular, it’s much easier to do!

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My favorite(small)produce market is Peter Rubi in Plainfield, Illinois(my loaded cart, shown above).  If you’re from the area, check them out.  Family owned and the nicest people you’ll ever meet, they have amazing deals and a huge variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, juices, and so much more!  Right next door to them is Tischler’s Market, a butcher who sells a wide variety of fresh meats.  The best part?  There is absolutely no center aisle temptation!

I’ve heard great things about Fresh Thyme Market, which is popping up all over the Midwest.  I haven’t made it there yet, but I plan to do so very soon.  If you’ve been, fill me in on the exciting details!

Let’s list the things you must always keep in mind when filling your refrigerator:

  • Stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store for the freshest and cleanest foods
  • Make a list of the ingredients you need
  • Don’t think about the junk food you’re ‘missing out on’
  • Purchase a variety of fruits and veggies(I like to buy one or two things I’ve never tried to change up my diet)
  • The greener the leaf, the better for you!
  • Always try to support your local farmers; chances are, you’ll get better quality food and save a lot of money

How do you make grocery shopping foolproof?

Things My Father Taught Me

I could have gone in a few different directions with a post for Father’s Day.  There are several men in my life who are amazing fathers and deserve the recognition.  I even had a comical ‘How To’ idea rolling around in my head.

But the truth is, even though he’s no longer with us, MY dad is the one I’m thinking about.

He would never have won a trophy for father of the year.  Our relationship was…’complicated’, for lack of a better word.  When I was a kid, he was my hero, just like most dads are to their children.

And then he wasn’t.

As an adult, I viewed my father as the man who taught me ‘what not to do’ in life.  For a long time, I lived my life with his downhill fall hanging over my head, making decisions based on the things he chose.  I never wanted to be like him, refused to bring the same shame to myself.

Things are changing again.  No, he wasn’t always the best dad, but he did teach me some valuable life lessons.  Now that someone else is trusting me with her future, I can finally appreciate what I once rejected.  And hopefully I can pass his wisdom down to my Ava.

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom. ~Umberto Eco

  • Take some risks.  Go out for the team, watch the scary movies, trick-or-treat in the dark(except no, not that one).  Don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith, and I promise your jelly shoes won’t fall off while you’re on the back of Daddy’s motorcycle(if he had one).
  • Never let your vices control you.  They are vices for good reason…enjoy in moderation(we’ll discuss them first), and always know when to quit.
  • Love yourself.  There will come a day when you will have no one to turn to.  Know what motivates you, what moves you, what makes you a better(and worse)you.  If you love yourself, you will fly.
  • Love others.  And make sure they know just how much.  You can never be certain who is waiting to hear it from you, so be open with your heart.
  • LIVE.  This life is much too short to hide indoors, to turn down opportunities, to suffer with unhappiness.  You are worth more than you will ever know.  You will make a difference in someone else’s world.  Use the good china, climb a mountain, run as fast and as far as you possibly can.  There is no telling when you will make your final choice.  Make it a good one.

To all the dads out there, stumbling through fatherhood, wondering if you’re doing it right: you are.

Even when you’re not.

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Boobie Juice Smoothie

FullSizeRender (3)I mentioned a few days ago that I had a milk supply scare.  Most women would assess the situation and likely realize their milk just needed to catch up with a higher demand. I am not most women, and I immediately concerned myself with mental images of my child shriveling up along with the food meant to keep her alive and growing.  I googled every five seconds, and in case you were unaware, Google is the devil.

But I also remembered some recipes I’d saved for this exact scenario, and so I went onto Pinterest and pulled up one for cookies and one for smoothies.  Now, I know that calling a lactation consultant would be the ‘smart’ thing to do, but since I was turned off by the lactation nurse who did not help me in the hospital, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Because I know everything, of course.

Anyway…the main ingredient for any lactation recipe is brewer’s yeast, which I purchased for $12 at Whole Foods.  But you can also get it on Amazon for cheaper.  I bought this kind and I really like it!

Then I set to work.  I had most of the ingredients at home, which always makes things easier since I’m a grocery shopping spaz.  Seriously, when I have a list, it’s like I completely blank on which aisle holds which items. Inevitably, I’m back and forth across the store, people stare, and I sweat.

Moving on.  I decided on the smoothie since it was faster and easier, and my panic levels weren’t helping.  So I followed the recipe to the T, and sat down to enjoy. (In spite of my severe skepticism of the tastelessly gross ingredients, and BANANAS, which make me gag)

No offense to the creator of the smoothie, but I just could not stomach it.  It had such a bland taste, and since all I could concentrate on was the banana flavor, I decided to start over.

This time, I used some other lactation power foods(spinach, berries, and yogurt)and took out the banana, cocoa powder, almond butter, and sweetener, and tossed in some ice to slush it up.  It was great!

I’m not sure if it was my imagination or if it actually worked, but my supply seemed to multiply almost instantly, and I haven’t had a scare since.

During my research(I research everything, because you never know what you’re going to get), I also learned that brewer’s yeast is good for so much more.  I read that it is full of:

  • chromium(decreases blood sugar levels)
  • protein, selenium(antioxidants)
  • potassium
  • iron
  • zinc
  • magnesium(good for the heart and bones).

In other words, use this all the time!

When all is said and done, my smoothie was about 540 calories.  I used each ingredient at its serving size and loaded all the info into My Fitness Pal.

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My panic levels have gone down and Ava is eating and gaining perfectly fine.  Now if I can just get her to take a bottle…

Do you have any favorite recipes you use for a supply boost?  Feel free to share!

 

Don’t Sweat (the Small Stuff)

‘Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow’ -Swedish Proverb

If you’re pregnant, a first time mom, or breastfeeding, chances are…

YOU’RE SWEATING.

But let’s be frank here:  if the simple act of existing is making you perspire these days, why would you accept the mental swelters on top of it?  Being a mom is hard work.  But it doesn’t have to break you down.  We are all in this together.

For the past two months, I’ve gone through my share of crazed emotions.  Happy one second, crying the next, all while holding a tiny miracle in my arms.  I often wondered how I had gotten here, why I deserved to be a mom, and if I could possibly make it through another day without some kind of disaster ruining my otherwise perfect world.

The small stuff became the big stuff.  Things like making sure my baby was getting enough to eat(even when her diapers and the weight on the scale proved she was), having to go back to a job I don’t enjoy(even though it meant I would be able to better provide for my child), not having time to clean my apartment and make dinner each day(even though my time had been spent nurturing and getting to know my Ava).

But recently, I’ve(kinda)gotten the hang of this mommy thing.  The days aren’t as long anymore.  I’m still afraid, but no longer terrified of my new job title.  Sometimes the blues threaten to take over again, but my weapons are always waiting in the wings.

If you can’t seem to escape the small stuff, give the following a try:

1.  LEAVE YOUR HOUSE.  I cannot stress this enough, and it is why I make it the first priority.  Sometimes just leaving the space in which you are regularly confined can turn your entire mood around.  If the weather permits, go for a walk with the baby.  Even if you only make it around the block, that ten minutes of fresh air and Vitamin D can work wonders for your mind.  Drive to Starbucks and take a few moments to reconnect with the land of the living(and caffeinate, of course!).  Chances are, the hum of chatter will lull your baby to sleep and you can enjoy some Me time.

2.  MAKE A LIST.  Include the things you need to do, as well as some goals you wish to meet(don’t forget to write ‘deodorant’ for your first To Do.  You’re sweating.)  DO NOT push yourself or expect to check everything off that list in one day. Or one week.  Sometimes just writing things down will help clear your head when your thoughts have turned to mush.

3.  DAYDREAM.  I’m the first to admit that when baby sleeps, I work.  But I also take the time to sit back and imagine the future. In my opinion, there is nothing more motivating than picturing everything you’ve ever wanted attained.  Thinking positive will bring positive results.

4.  SLEEP.  Good lord, please sleep.  It is one of your strongest weapons against those mind games.  If you’re up with baby several times at night, make sleeping when she naps a priority.  Everything else can wait.  No one is going to die if you don’t scrub your gross toilet.

5.  TALK TO A FRIEND.  Never forget, you are not alone.  Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, send a text, or type a novel of an email.  People care about you.  There is always someone to talk to.  And accept the help they offer…they won’t offer if they don’t mean it.

6.  CALL YOUR MOM.  She’s been there before, and let’s just be honest here…she’s Mom.  And moms know how to make everything better.

And when Baby Daddy comes home, or you finally accept that help from someone who loves you, take a soothing bubble bath, have a glass of wine, and eat a gigantic bowl of ice cream.  You deserve it, dammit.

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Strawberry Spinach Salad FTW!

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A long time ago, and far far away, I considered myself a clean eating ‘Nazi’. Spending my weekends in pursuit of the freshest fruits and vegetables from local produce markets made me somewhat a self-proclaimed expert in healthy eating. I enjoyed taking care of my body and reaping the benefits of my hard work.

Then the pregnancy began…and so did four months of being unable to keep anything down besides grease on top of grease.  We all know that once you fall off the wagon, it’s extremely difficult to hop back on.  As much as I longed for my former self to make an appearance, I simply didn’t have the motivation.  Besides – pregnancy is pretty much the only time in my life I could justify having two(four)pieces of cake on my birthday.  Ten months later, I have an extra forty pounds to lose to get back to my old weight.

Easy, right?  Oh, but breastfeeding takes the weight right off!!  Except no.  Your body stores all that extra fat to help produce your milk until you finally stop.  Which also means…I need to take in a lot more calories than I was used to before pregnancy.  Hell, even during pregnancy!  Because breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, I need to make them up.

Now, I know it’s not easy to eat well balanced meals when your infant demands your constant attention and you’re exhausted to the core, but there are some simple healthy meals you can create to keep you, and your milk supply, going strong.

I try to base my meals around the foods that help build my milk, especially after a small scare in low production.

I found a simple list on the blog Undercover Mama. It’s easy to incorporate certain foods, and thankfully I enjoy eating them all!

Yesterday, I made a delicious Strawberry Spinach salad(two helpful ingredients!).

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I just took a few handfuls of organic baby spinach and added some strawberries, walnut pieces, feta cheese, and poppy seed dressing for a light and healthy lunch.  Tip: a fast and easy way to slice those strawberries for when you’re crunched for time is with a strawberry slicer(clever, I know).  Just pop your berry into the slot and close.  Perfectly sliced pieces in a second.  Anything to make meal prep easier when baby is yelling!

For an after lunch snack, hummus and pita chips are healthy and satisfying.

I keep track of my calories and activity on My Fitness Pal, which makes it easy to obtain my goals.  For just over 600 calories, you can have a deliciously filling lunch and snack, and help boost your milk supply!

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I’m excited to try new and yummy dishes, and I can’t wait to share them with you!  Enjoy!