7 Reasons You Should Have Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Life

Plain and simple, I love vinegar. There are literally hundreds of uses for it. From cleaning your floors and counters to drizzling it on your salad, vinegar is natures secret weapon.

Apple cider vinegar in particular has been cited as the cure-all for decades. It has a wind range of benefits and some people have turned to it to help with health concerns including diabetes, high cholesterol and weight issues. Each and every day as part of my morning routine I take one tablespoon of Bragg raw apple cider vinegar. I’m actually pretty fond of the taste but if a shot of straight vinegar makes you as squeamish as a shot of straight vodka then I recommend mixing the vinegar with water. On the other hand, vodka pairs nicely with orange juice – but I digress.

Here are 7  of the many reasons you need raw apple cider vinegar in your life today!

  1. Lowers Blood Sugar
    By far, the most successful use of apple cider vinegar is to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.  Please speak with your doctor before using apple cider vinegar if you’re already on medication to lower your blood sugar.
  2. Help with Tummy Troubles
    Have an upset stomach? Apple cider vinegar can help alleviate some of the symptoms due to it’s acidity. Studies have proven it’s effectiveness for treating heartburn, acid reflux and improve digestion when mixed with water.
  3. It Could Help Lower Cholesterol 
    More research is needed to confirm whether apple cider vinegar is effective in lowering cholesterol – however, a study in Japan found that a half once a day lowered cholesterol in participants.
  4. Clears a Stuffy Nose & Ease a Sore Throat
    Apple cider vinegar contains potassium which helps thin mucus. The acidic properties are also helpful in preventing germ growth. Next time you find yourself fighting a cold, mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with water to clear your sinuses.
  5. Aids in Wight Loss
    Trying to trim your waist? Add apple cider vinegar to your daily ritual!The acetic acid suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention.
  6. Boots Energy 
    Before you reach for the coffee to get you through the afternoon hump, try drinking 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water. Between the potassium, enzymes and amio acids, it’s the perfect recipe for a pick me up!
  7. Banishes Bad Breath
    Gargle it or drink it to kill odor-causing bacteria!

Mindfulness for Happier Minds

You’ve probably heard the term mindfulness being thrown around lately. Although it may seem like the newest fad, it’s actually been something that’s been around for a really long time.

With Millennials being the most-stressed out generation in recent decades, it was only a matter of time before this method of reducing stress came front and center in the media.

Research shows that mindfulness works. It can help you be happier, healthier and reduce stress. But if you’re like me, you probably think the whole idea of mindfulness is down right weird. Or, you may  think it does absolutely nothing.

Let’s start with the science.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a microbiology Ph.D. then teaching at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, was inspired in the late 1970s to apply the basic principles of mindfulness meditation to patients in a medical setting. His studies found that mindfulness was effective in helping alleviate the suffering of chronic and previously debilitating medical conditions such as chronic pain. Further studies have shown that the ways we intentionally shape our internal focus of attention in mindfulness practice induces a state of brain activation during the practice. With repetition, an intentionally created state can become an enduring trait of the individual as reflected in long-term changes in brain function and structure.

Okay, now let me break it down for you: mindfulness is a powerful and effective tool that can rewire your brain. As a result you can:

  • Improve learning, memory and cognitive function
  • Reduce anxiety and depressive episodes
  • Alleviate Stress
  • Reduce distraction

In even simpler terms, you’ll be calm, refreshed and happy.

Sounds convincing but…

You don’t have the time.

You don’t have the energy.

You still think it’s weird.

Let me tell you something…

Not picking up a phone and calling people anymore is weird.

Seeing someone on the street you never met but know their whole life-story based off their Instagram page is weird.

Investing in your health and happiness by doing nothing is totally not weird!

Trust me on this one. Mindfulness and meditation have completely changed my life and my attitude (ask my husband). The easiest way to get started is to have someone talk you through a session. For the days I can’t get out of the house and make it to a physical class, I love the Headspace app. It’s free, it’s wonderful and it works.

Namaste

Chaos and Clarity

There are moments in life when you find yourself at a crossroad facing two decisions. One decision is often safe and familiar while the other takes you through uncharted water offering greater return but also greater risk. Every few years I find myself at this crossroad questioning whether I’m living my most authentic life (often I’m not). For fear failure and judgement, I stick on the safe and familiar road, ignoring my higher self and my truth.

In recent months my identity has been compromised, inspiring deep thought, self exploration and a lot of personal judgement. I’ve been craving fulfillment outside of being a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Even with my greatest accomplishment currently tickling my toes, I’ve felt unaccomplished. At the same time, my return-to-work date is my Apocalypse. My heart and soul are with my family and the thought of missing moments to be present in my home make me anxious and ill.

Through all of these emotions and feelings, I’ve desperately needed an outlet. I’ve created little side projects, some of which you may have seen on Facebook, none of which were satisfying. I’ve researched methods to create my own happy sauce and find inner peace. Through this journey I’ve turned somewhat “granola” and really connected with my inner self and my purpose. I’ve fallen in love with meditation and with clarity. Most importantly, I’ve fallen back in love with writing.

Grown Up Glamour has always had my heart ingrained in its workings. It’s a place I created for other women to feel safe in sharing the tough real stuff we go through on a daily basis and in this new chapter in my life, it will be a community for moms to find support. Grown Up Glamour is my happy sauce and I hope within it you will find yours. Moving forward, you’ll find a granola approach to happiness, wellness and self care. I’m officially returning back to this love of mine and hope you enjoy my authentic approach to sharing as you follow along.

Thank you for your subscriptions, your continued support and for your engagement. Join me on living an authentic life and taking the road less traveled.

Annie

Making the Most of Nap Time

As mom’s we get a few glorious moments a day to do as we please or catch up on what we must. These moments are our children’s nap time or as I like to call it: mom time.

Now that Jack is exiting the world of the fourth trimester, nap time is becoming a luxury. Gone are the days of eat, sleep and poop. The days of Elmo’s Song on repeat, “don’t put that in your mouth” and “ouch, that’s mommy’s hair” are among us. We’re also entering the wonderful world of the four month sleep regression. For the mom’s who have been through it, you know what I mean. For the mom’s not yet there – stock up on the wine.

When I was still adjusting to life as a mom and living on minimal hours of sleep, I’d usually find myself slumped on my couch trying to grasp my new reality. These days, with a little more sleep and a new appreciation of these quiet moments – I go all out.

My favourite nap time mom-moments range from cozying up with a cup of hot tea (key word, hot..unlike that morning’s coffee), sitting in complete silence, or stalking Donald Trump’s Twitter account for his next tirade.

These moments may seem simple to some, but for us mom’s, these moments are our daily dose of extravagance. Below you’ll find other indulgences from well-seasoned mommies. Check it out:

The thing I want to say, I’m not sure it’s appropriate to publish. But who am I kidding, ain’t no body got time for that. 

I sip on a hot tea while watching the Maury Show. 

Take a shower, blow dry my hair, paint my nails. I like to pamper myself! 

Watch those late night shows that are too dirty for little minds while getting into the hidden treats I’m not willing to share. 

I work… and cut up my own apples.  

Then there are the mom’s that aren’t as lucky:

My daughter will only nap in my arms for 30 minutes at a time, so I sit there with her dreaming of sleep. 

Mine don’t sleep! On the rare occasion I’ll nap with them. 

Mine sleeps until I put him down and then BAM! eyes open. 

crfzsya

Whether you’re indulging in those guilty pleasures or simply trying to survive the day – sometimes it’s the simplest of moments that are the most precious.

How do you treat yourself during mom time?

 

Jack’s First Thanksgiving

This is a year of firsts for us. For Jack, everything is a first – which is why I’ve been trying my hardest to make each holiday extra special (even though my son will remember none of it). Earlier this month we dedicated an entire week to celebrating Thanksgiving. Lord help this child when Christmas rolls around. Next to Christmas, Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. Growing up, my parents would load our kick-ass, boxed style mini-van with a turkey, cranberry sauce and our little family to head north for Thanksgiving weekend. There is only one Thanksgiving I recall not being there – a weekend when my Dad threw his back out, and coincidentally, our hamster Molly kicked the bucket (R.I.P).

The first year Dave joined our family for Thanksgiving at the cottage was in 2012. We were just two early-20-something’s in love.

578368_10151123606218370_1092617005_n

First came love, then came marriage, then came our dog Louie, and THEN a baby carriage.

To celebrate Jack’s first Thanksgiving and our first year of marriage, Dave took a week off of work, and I went into overdrive planning excursions.

We packed our small, hatchback Volkswagen with turkey, cranberry sauce and our little family to head north for Thanksgiving weekend. We continued the tradition of spending Thanksgiving at the cottage.

20161009_110637 The cottage is home. It’s a structure that has weaved its way into my heart in way that could never unravel. I hope to weave this piece of my heart into Jack’s.

We spent three peaceful, warm autumn days laying fireside, watching movies, and hiking the wilderness (that’s really not that wild).

20161009_134305From there, Dave and I did the unthinkable.  We abandoned our 9 week old baby to spend a night alone celebrating our first wedding anniversary…in Blue Moutain. Fear not. He was with my totally-obsessed-with-their-first-grandchild parents, and I’d bet he was completely and totally smothered with love and kisses.

We started our night away with a beer tour at the Collingwood Brewery, a small, quite brewery about 20 minutes outside of Blue Mountain. I had the sampler – and after five small tasting flights felt like a 17 year old with their first taste of freedom.

20161011_155324-1

Childless and ready to party, Dave and I checked into the hotel and quickly made our way into The Village for an early dinner. After pounding pasta covered with primavera and washing it down with a cold glass of water, I crawled my way into bed at 9 o’clock (after pumping to keep my supply up, of course  – #momlife).

The next morning we grabbed a coffee and jetted up the mountain for an early morning hike.

20161012_093619-1

About a quarter-way up the mountain we stopped and hugged while we stood in silence. Between the chaos of a newborn and adjusting to life as parents, we remembered how to love but we forgot how to hug. Standing there with the sun beating on my back and my arms around my man was one of the most calming moments I’ve had in these last two and a half months.

After 18 hours of being away from our sweet, baby Jack, we craved him. Ditching our afternoon plans, we ventured home to scoop our kin from his dotting grandparents. “Do you think he missed me?” I asked Dave. “Of course” he replied. “Do you think he loves me?” I asked Dave. “Yes, he loves you” he smiled.

I showed up at my parents with tears flowing from my eyes… and my baby barely blinked.

To wrap up the week we did something I’ve always looked forward to – baby or not – pumpkin picking. Although this year I looked forward to it more than any year before. What two month old isn’t dying to pick a pumpkin? The answer: all two month olds, especially mine:

20161014_122035-1

We got a cute family photo –  though, Jack was less than impressed.

20161014_121008-1

To me, Jack’s first Thanksgiving was everything I could have dreamed of and more. It laid the foundation for tradition, gave this momma some much needed time to relax, and created some beautiful memories – that we will always keep in our heart and Jack can one day admire through photos.

20161013_182211-1

To the Moms Learning to Love Their “Mom-Bod”

There’s a ton of pressure for Moms to “lose the baby weight” as soon as their tiny human’s exit their body. As they stand at the grocery checkout, exhausted, potentially with a baby on their boob, their bombarded with photos of celebs who shed pounds about as quickly as I shed postpartum hair.

I began planning my Kim Kardashian body reveal as soon as I became pregnant. I’d lose all my weight and proudly dance around with a baby on my hip, serving my husband home cooked meals in stilettos.

Hindsight is 20/20.  I often dance my baby to sleep but my feet may never fit in my stilettos again.

Realistically I knew life with a new baby would be hard – but until you’re thrown into the beautifully-wonderful yet especially overwhelming role of mom, you have no idea just how drastically your life and body will change.

Last summer I rocked a Victoria Secret two piece, with flowing blonde hair, and an effortless thigh gap.

20140629_115505

Exactly one year later (lacking the confidence to wear a swimsuit), I rocked an additional 53 pounds, a baby bump and size DD boobs.

20160723_171414

This summer my body gave me the gift of a beautiful baby boy, and with it came stretch marks, sagging skin and a little something I like to call my kangaroo pouch. My body does not resemble the body of Christmas-past. Yet I admit, the body of Christmas-past, one I envy myself for now, is not a body I loved when it was mine, nor a body that was healthy. It was a body I believed was filled with flaws, ones I picked apart and fussed over. Ones I tried to improve on and cover up with make-up and clothing. Ones that were indeed not flaws at all, but all a part of what made my body beautiful. I never felt curvy enough, slim enough, fit enough or pretty enough.

It’s incredible how we allow ourselves to be affected by Body Image. How we can look at ourselves in the mirror and pick a part our flaws rather than celebrate our beauty. It’s amazing how we compare ourselves to others, wishing for their features, while they are wishing for ours.

As a new mom I’ve grown a strong appreciation for what the female body can do. It has inspired me to start the journey towards loving myself, tiger stripes, kangaroo pouch and all. It is why I’m not sharing how much weight I’ve lost since the birth of my son but sharing my plans of being healthy, setting a good example for my child, and loving this new body that is mine.

As women and as mothers, we often compare ourselves to the women and mothers around us. We often find fault within ourselves, we often feel guilt and more often than not, we neglect the temple that gave us our children.

My post-baby body plan isn’t about resembling my pre-baby self, there will be no grand Kim Kardashian weight loss reveal.  It’s about fueling my body with nutrients, walking with my son in the park, finding a routine that makes me healthy and happy. It’s not about the number on the scale but about looking in the mirror and loving the strong, often tired, woman looking back at me.

The internet terms my new body the “mom-bod”, a term I’m not particularly fond of as it categorizes mothers into one body type, yet each of us are so wonderfully different. Today, although still somewhat insecure, I rock the curves, I rock the pouch and I rock the determination to be the healthiest version of myself. Join me, won’t you?

Jack | One Month Old

Dear Jack,

Today you are one month old. Life before you seems like a distant memory. Adjusting to having you in our world rather than in my tummy has been one of the most incredible experiences your Dad and I have had the privilege living. This isn’t to go without saying that having a newborn hasn’t been a lot of work.

Our new life has been complicated, messy and often unpredictable. Your Dad has quickly grown to resemble a member of the Nascar pit-crew. He approaches a diaper change with speed, precision and great care – constantly challenging his time  and improving on his method to avoid and combat disaster. While I on the other hand have quickly grown to resemble my pre-teen self. I enjoy 2 hour windows of sleep, have my very own brand of eau due parfum and wear pajamas as if they’re “what’s hot” this season. There are nights I seem to rock you endlessly, as you press against my chest while I whisper lullabys in your ear. There are days I drink my coffee ice cold because you’ve pooped on me for what will be the first of many times of that day. Then there are days I look at you and cannot believe my body was able to create something so perfect. That your Dad and I were able to create something so perfect.

IMG_20160905_192549

The speed in which time has passed this month has terrified me. I’ve been warned that my life will flash before my eyes as I watch your life grow – and now it’s happening. As I fold your little newborn clothes and pack them into storage, my heart aches and celebrates the next step you’ve taken in your very fresh but very real life.

You have gone from our tiny 7 pound, 10 oz infant to our sturdy ten pound baby.  You have beautiful grey-blue eyes and have started to use them to explore your new world. You are beginning to recognize your Dad and I,  and you capture our hearts with each gassy smile. You love bath time, car rides and being rocked and swayed to rap music. It appears you have your Dad’s taste in music, we’ll work on that.

Jack Josef, you are the apple of so many eyes. You have brought sleepless nights and endless joy to this little kingdom you call home. Each and every day your Dad and I grow and learn more about you, more about being a parent and more about each other. The best part about having you here is the new purpose and thrill we’ve discovered in our lives.

This is only the start my sweet boy – of change, of learning, of the love we expect to grow within our home and family, and you are in the center of it all.

 

 

Mom and Baby’s Favourite Things

Jack’s officially been a part of our family for a little over three weeks now. Being that this is baby #1, there has been a lot of trial and error over the last three weeks to learn which baby items work for us and for Jack. Here’s a quick list of the baby items that we currently can’t live without!

  1. 4mom’s MamaRoo: The MamaRoo is an item that was kindly gifted to us by family at our baby shower. It’s an expensive must-have for baby’s who love to be rocked and swayed. The MamaRoo replicates the natural motion parents use to comfort their baby through five motions and speed options.
    Why Mom loves it:  It’s great for rocking Jack to sleep or keeping him calm while I tidy up the kitchen or sip that cold cup of coffee.
    Why baby loves it:  As the weeks pass, Jack loves to be held and rocked more and more, and when Mama needs a hand-free minute this little contraption does just the trick!
  2. Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends Play Gym: This is a toy that I think will be used for months to come. The gym features 6 activities – from rattles to glowing lights, sounds and melodies. The soft play mat is the perfect place to lay baby down for tummy time. The gym also features a musical star which can be removed and attached to a crib, stroller or car seat.
    Why Mom loves it: Easy to clean, easy to assemble, easy to use. We currently use the mat for brief entertainment and tummy time (Jack’s laying on the mat figuring out how to roll as we speak). As Jack gets older the gym will help develop his motor skills and hopefully continue to keep his attention!
    Why baby loves it: Even though Jack is only three weeks old, the Caterpillar and Friends gym has already grabbed his attention. He swats and kicks his legs – unintentionally hitting rattles and responds to sounds. He also loves the musical star, which calmed him to sleep on a five hour road trip this past weekend.
  3. Earth Momma Angel Baby Nipple ButterThis all natural, organic, plant based nipple butter is heavenly. Breastfeeding and/or pumping can do a number on a Mama’s nipples (cracked, bleeding, dry) and this pricey miracle butter is worth the investment! Due to it’s natural ingredients, there’s no need to rinse it off before a feeding – and, it smells like chocolate, added bonus!
    Why Mom loves it: Before I discovered Earth Momma Angel Baby Nipple Butter I was using coconut butter to sooth my sore nipples. The coconut butter was unable to provide the comfort I needed after my intense pumping sessions (every 2 to 3 hours), I needed something more. Although the nipple butter is on the expensive side, you really only need a small amount and it provides instant relief!
    Why baby loves it:  The taste and texture have no impact on the Jack’s feeding.
  4.  Medela Freestyle Double Electric Pump:  This lightweight, double electric pump has met all my pumping needs. It’s portable and chargeable so you can pump anywhere. It also has a timer and back-light which makes it easy to track your night time pumping sessions.  The two phase expression technology encourages more milk production, which has been an added bonus! Our freezer is currently stocked meaning Mama can have a glass of wine every once and awhile. Lastly, the kit comes with all of the accessories you need: tote bag, bottles, breastshields, tubing, membrane, handsfree accessories kit – and it’s compatible with medela nursing bras.
    Why Mom loves it: A few weeks ago I shared my struggles with breastfeeding. When we first brought Jack home he had trouble latching. Jack became dehydrated, Jaundice and lost weight while I nearly lost my mind. I was lucky enough to have had invested in the medela freestyle pump prior to bringing my baby home, so I was immediately able to pump my breast milk and feed it to my son. As soon as I began pumping and bottle feeding, Jack began gaining weight. We’re able to track his intake which helps ease this Mama’s mind as I’m able to ensure he’s getting enough to eat. I wasn’t attached to the idea of breastfeeding but really wanted to feed my baby breast milk if I could, this was the perfect solution for our situation.
    Why baby loves it:  Food. Baby loves food.
  5. Medela Nipple Shield: The medela nipple shield is a thin, silicone shield that is worn on the nipple while breastfeeding. The nipple shield is used when a Mom and Baby have a difficult time securing a latch.
    Why Mom loves it: I was introduced to the medela nipple shield after two weeks of exclusively pumping.  On our first attempt using the sheild, Jack was able to latch. After a week of using the shield, I have been able to get Jack to latch occasionally without the shield. Getting Jack to latch without the shield is still a work in progress, but the shield has given me the ability to breastfeed my baby.
    Why baby loves it: Food. Baby loves food.
  6. WubbaNubb Giraffe:  A WubbaNubb is a nifty little soother with a plush toy attached to the end. You will never lose a soother again!
    Why Mom loves it: Jack hasn’t grown dependent on a chooch but there are times where we use it so he can sooth himself to sleep. We found Jack was over eating because he loves to suck and introducing a soother has solved that problem.
    Why baby loves it: I literally watched my 3 week old maneuver this chooch into his mouth today. The plush toy makes a great cuddle buddy and also helps baby guide the soother into their mouths.
  7. Baby Jogger – City Mini 4-Wheel Stroller:  It took us FIVE visits to Snuggle Bugz to select our stroller. We wanted something that was lightweight, easy to fold, would fit in my Ford Focus, would fit our car seat adapter (Maxi Cosi – Mico AP), could go “off-roading” and wouldn’t break the bank. Well folks, it exists! I give you the City Mini stroller by Baby Jogger. Although not suitable for off-roading, the stroller is all terrain and meets the needs of our family.
    Why Mom loves it: The one hand fold and lightweight of the stroller gives the ability to quickly and easily take the stroller in and out of my car. The adjustable handle is also a plus when my husband is in the drivers seat. The storage bin at the bottom could be a little bit bigger (it only fits a diaper bag), but there are various compartments on the actual stroller that allow me to store my wallet, keys, cell phone, etc.
    Why baby loves it: The shock absorption makes for an incredibly smooth ride.
  8. Live Clean Calming Bedtime Bubble Bath & Soap + Body Lotion: I cannot say enough good things about this product. The live clean calming bedtime bubble bath & soap + body lotion was another gift we received at our baby shower.  Both the lotion and the bubble bath are infused with natural ingredients known for their calming and relaxation properties. It’s also designed to keep baby’s skin smooth and soft.
    Why Mom loves it: The product is made of 98% plant based material, so I feel comfortable and confident putting it on my baby’s skin. In addition to that, the product smells amazing. After Jack’s bath (which he absolutley loves), I snuggle his little body and smell him for hours, love me those newborn snuggles.
    Why baby loves it: I’m not sure if it’s the calming properties in the bubble bath, but Jack is in LOVE with bath time. On occasion he instantly falls fast asleep as soon as his little bum hits the water. The lotion has also been a savior for soothing his dry skin.
  9. Ingenuity Rock and Dream Sleeper: This soft sleeper is perfect for keeping baby close (if you chose to have your baby out of their crib for the first few months of life). It’s easy to assemble, clean and use. The vibrating motion and rocker are ideal for comforting and calming baby.
    Why Mom loves it: When Jack first came home he slept in a bassinet beside our bed. It wasn’t before long that we found ourselves up all night due to an uncomfortable baby. Jack suffers from some minor reflux in addition to gas after feeding. He would wiggle, squirm and wince when he was placed flat on his back at bedtime. The rock and dream sleeper keeps Jack at an incline which helps manage his reflux. It also cradles him in a way that makes him feel safe and protected, just as he was in my tummy. We love the rock and play because it’s easy to assemble and take a part (requiring no tools). We brought it with us on a recent weekend trip which made for easy sleeping arrangements and a happy baby.
    Why baby loves it: He can (almost) get a good night’s rest now – between feeding every two hours.

Well, there you have it! Our favourite Mama and Baby items during Jack’s first month in our home. I’m sure there’s more but these are the ones we use on a daily basis. Are there any items you would add to the list?

Confessions of an Exclusive Pumper

Our experience in the Labour and Delivery ward of our hospital was outstanding. Our nurses were kind, compassionate and caring. They were my biggest cheerleaders next to Dave and when it was time to say good-bye at the end of their shifts, I felt as though I was saying good-bye to friends. I recovered from birth in the Post-Partum ward, where the nurses were friendly but not nearly as kind, helpful but not nearly as patient.

We were discharged from hospital 24 hours after Jack’s birth. For those 24 hours in hospital the nurses did what they could to help Jack latch. This included forcing his head to my breast repeatedly, even when he showed signs of frustration. When we arrived home, we quickly learned their helpful methods were incorrect and a big no-no to establishing a healthy latch. This resulted in a frustrating start to a breast-to-baby bond with my son.

Jack struggled to latch in hospital and continued to struggle when we arrived home. Our discharge nurse told me Jack “wasn’t going to breastfeed” and sent us home with formula. As a first time mom, I felt completely defeated.

For the next two days Dave, my mum and a hospital lactation consultant attempted to  help Jack latch onto my breast. Just as he did in the hospital, Jack would flip up his bottom lip and suck on his tongue rather than his meal source. The hospital lactation consultant advised us not to intervene with a breast shield, a pump or a bottle. We were encourage to syringe feed our son while practicing “suck training.”

When Jack was three days old we had our first appointment with our family doctor. It was then we would find that our baby’s inability to latch was having larger consequences than we anticipated. We discovered Jack was discharged from hospital on the high end of normal for Jaundice. Sending him home with the inability to latch resulted in breastfeeding Jaundice. Jack was not receiving enough to eat through the syringe method and was nearly readmitted to hospital that day for treatment.

Our family doctor immediately connected us with a private lactation consultant. Within an hour of leaving the doctor’s office Jack was breastfeeding with the aid of a breast shield and topping up with the use of a bottle. Over the next 24 hours he would gain 3 oz. Within two days his Jaundice symptoms began to ease up and within three days he returned his birth weight. We accomplished this by exclusively pumping.

A few people have asked me whether or not I’m breastfeeding my son. We’ve all heard breast is best, after all. The question, which is a sensitive one, especially when a mum’s experience isn’t what she expected, is one I’m addressing today because I believe no mum should be judged for the way she chooses or is obligated to feed her child. Weighing out all of our options (cost, nutrition, benefits to baby and mom) we decided to exclusively pump and feed our son breast milk via a bottle.

The decision to exclusively pump first made me feel defeated. My son and my body weren’t bonding easily like I anticipated and I felt as through I wasn’t providing my son with the best source of nourishment possible. As we’ve transitioned into this new parenting plan, I feel empowered because despite being unable to breastfeed, I’m still able provide my son with breast milk (really, this was my number one priority and goal). Bottle feeding also allows my husband the opportunity to bond with our son and give this Momma an extra hour of shut-eye during some of the late night feeds.

Our decision to exclusively pump is a decision that requires commitment. Although I’ve only been at it for little over a week, here are some highlights from what I’ve learned:

  • To establish a good supply you will want to pump every 2 to 3 hours for 15 to 20 minutes (for the first three months).
  • Your body produces the most amount of milk between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Try to pump between those hours if you can!
  • Stay hydrated! You will require lots and lots of H20 to keep your supply up.
  • Continue to practice skin-to-skin contact. It will help you gain some of those hormonal benefits for yourself and baby without actually breastfeeding. If you feel ambitious, you can also try latching your baby to your breast during this time. Jack and I give it an honest effort a few times a day. When he becomes frustrated, we stop.
  • Invest in a good pump. I love the Madela Freestyle.Madela It is a lightweight, rechargeable double pump.  Some insurance companies will cover the cost of your pump, so be sure to check with them!
  • Massage your tatas while pumping. The last thing you want is to develop a blocked duck. Massaging will help you with your let-down and milk production.
  • Invest in good bottles. Bottle fed babies are more likely to suffer from gas and colic. We are using a slow-flow nipple head provided to us by the hospital on our medela bottles. The slow-flow nipple head controls the flow of milk into the baby and helps establish a good suck. Your baby is more likely to transition onto your breast while using a slow-flow or natural-flow nipple head because it mimics the flow of breastfeeding more accurately.
  • Remember the 6, 6, 6 rule. Your breast milk will last:
    • 6 hours at room temperature
    • 6 days in the fridge
    • 6 months in the freezer

As a new parent, you have many important decisions to make. One is to choose whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby – make the decision that works bets for your family in consultation with a health care professional. Coming to the right decisions can take time and can be frustrating. Whatever decision you make, stand proud by it and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re doing anything less than your best – you’re one strong Momma!

Exclusively pumping is something that will be a big part of my life, so you can expect to hear more about this topic on my blog!

Introducing Jack Josef

Four days ago, on August 6 at 4:59 p.m. my husband Dave and I welcomed our first child and son. We are overjoyed and so very proud to introduce you to Jack Josef:

IMG_20160807_104514

Jack was born at 38 weeks 4 days gestation, and in true Jack fashion – wanted to make his entrance into the world one to remember.

The day before Jack’s birth I was a ticking time bomb. I literally spent the entire day sobbing. My mom called me, I sobbed. Dave called me from work, I sobbed. Jack had dropped into position at 31 weeks and by this point I was having the “I’m done with pregnancy” feeling many Mom’s experience in their third trimester. Although I had been uncomfortable for weeks leading up to Jack’s birth, I had not experienced such a rush of uncontrollable emotions – thankfully Louie was around to lick up all my tears before I drowned in them.

That afternoon Dave decided to lift my spirits by treating me to what would be our last date-night as “just us two”. We polished off too many servings of all-you-can-eat vegetarian sushi  and made our way to Canadian Tire to stock up on some final items before Jack arrived. It appears all the sushi left little room for Jack because as soon as I stepped out of the car I felt a pop in my abdomen. I turned to Dave to tell him something felt wrong (seriously, I thought my bladder exploded) but before I could get the words out – gushes and gushes of water began pouring out of me in the middle of the parking lot. Side note: this dramatic gush only happens in about 10% of pregnancies. Two 15 year old Canadian Tire employees looked at me with fear and horror in their eyes – I began laughing uncontrollably – super clean Dave grabbed whatever towels/blankets he could find in his car and lined his front seat before loading me in. Off to the hospital we went!

This is how we arrived at the hospital – I was pre-contractions – Dave was convinced I was a rockstar – we had no idea what kind of agony I was about to undergo.

20160805_193650

Since I wasn’t contracting, the hospital sent me home and told me to return when my contractions were four minutes apart. Within one hour, my contractions were four minutes apart – and let me tell you – contractions = not fun. I laboured at home for 6 hours before I found myself vomiting on our front lawn from pain. It would be a total of 17 hours of labour and one hour of pushing before we would meet the baby boy who had been living in my belly.

Since the arrival of Jack my heart has exploded with love in more ways than I can imagine. I’ve become even more obsessed with Dave, as I watch him transition into the most incredible father. This man was literally rubbing chapstick on my lips and giving me sips of water between each pushing cycle, he’s changed 99% of our sons diapers, and he’s up with me each and every night to help me feed our especially sleepy baby.

20160808_110425

 

We are so thankful for all of the support extended to us during our pregnancy and now, with the arrival of Jack. We cannot wait to share this new adventure in our lives with you.

20160808_084743