all done

As of four nights ago, Evelyn and I have stopped nursing. It was coming slowly over the last month as I watched my supply tank and her interest fade. I let her do 90% of the leading and followed the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” mantra that many weaning mamas had suggested. I stopped pumping at work when she turned one, which I was so glad to be done doing! Any mama who must pump for any reason knows how hard pumping is!

breastfeeding has been an incredible journey for us and I am so thankful we were able to do it successfully. I can understand why so many women have a hard time getting past the first 3-6 weeks because it is SO exhausting and painful. Maybe not for everyone, but for most. I wanted to share some pieces of wisdom that I learned throughout our 13 month journey.

  • Let baby lead, you follow. Meaning, feed on demand. This can seem tricky, especially as they get older and more assertive. I always let Evie do the leading as to when she wanted and needed to nurse. Just a month ago when she spiked a random fever she nursed all day long! I’m sure it was more for comfort than for anything else, but it’s what she needed and I knew that is what was best.
  • Nursing strikes happen. We only had one true strike when she was around 4 months old and I spent almost two weeks pumping and bottle feeding, only after I’d attempt to get her to latch first without success. Then one day she decided to just come back to nursing.
  • Find a great lactation counselor. We have an awesome program through our hospital and I swear my LC is the Mother Theresa of breastfeeding! I called her often and she was always available to help talk me through any concerns I had. I also went to the weekly check in group where I was able to weigh and feed Evie to see how here weight was doing. We didn’t go every week, but it was nice to be around other moms and get any questions I had answered.
  • Buy good nursing bras and tanks. I lived in these things and found that, at night, a tank was perfect for nursing!
  • You can get through teething without being bit–often! I tell ya, when Evie popped her first tooth at 5 months I thought our nursing days were numbered. I was so worried about her biting me. I’d heard horror stories! She managed to get 8 teeth by the time she was 10 months old and she only bit me a few times, usually due to a bad latch. But we got through it!
  • Surround yourself with support. Make sure your partner is supportive and if he is not, give him a swift kick…no really…he needs to embrace this amazing gift you’re able to give your baby! You’ll also want support from your girlfriends.
  • Nurse in public, cover or no cover, whatever is most comfortable for YOU and your baby. I never had a problem with nursing in public and I used a cover sometimes but Evie hated it. Then, as she got older she became so easily distracted I’d have to go hide somewhere quiet to get her to nurse. Just do what is most comfortable for YOU. 🙂

That’s all for now! I am  sad this is over, but glad to move on from this and to build our relationship in a different way as she grows.


let’s get personal

I will be sharing more personal posts. I had a separate blog, but stopped writing there nearly 6 months ago and I don’t miss that space. I don’t feel like it’s a space I can go back to and I feel very comfortable here, in this space, in this area of passion aimed solely at my goal of becoming a midwife. But midwives have personal lives too. My journey there is not just my own. It belongs to my husband who sees me through the struggles I endure through difficult classes and triumphs with me when I get an A on an exam. It belongs to my children who are the sole reason for my passion in this profession. My son’s pregnancy and birth kick-started this adventure. My daughter gave me hope in my body and strength as I birthed her without an epidural. My family is a huge part of this process because without them, I would not be here today, writing in this space.

Evelyn turned one almost 2 weeks ago and a week prior to her birthday, we had the most beautiful photo shoot., capturing our bond together while breastfeeding. I never made it to 3 months with my son, so meeting the one year mark in our breastfeeding journey was huge. For the last few months she has dropped a few nursing sessions and we were mostly nursing before and after sleeps. My supply decreased as she led it. Working nights has absolutely KILLED my supply. It has no idea what to do with being awake and not nursing, then being home sleeping during the day and still not nursing much. And just like that I can feel that we are coming to the end of our breastfeeding journey very soon. I can feel her growing up right before my eyes as she, rather than gaping her mouth open towards me, she pauses and smiles up at me then turns herself to get off my lap. She has said no ever so sweetly to nursing. And I am sad. I am so so sad that this is ending. I am proud, though, for making it more than 12 months. But sad that I knew this would be coming sometime, just didn’t think it would be this soon.

Ironically, I left my pump at the hospital I float to and have no way of pumping for comfort. I will offer when we get home and see what miss E says. I’m hoping she will help her mama out, but she may not that is okay.

What are your tips/advice for weaning?

a month

The last month or more has just been insane! I finished my customer service in heath care class–I admit I didn’t do as well as I should have because the class was cake, I just didn’t plan for it well. It was at the end of the semester for only a few weeks and I let a few things slip. Oh wells. On November 26th I took my state test in which I passed both the written and skills exam and OFFICIALLY became a CNA in the state of Colorado! Pretty awesome! I was worried about the skills, then when I arrived and took the written exam I was more worried about that! No one taught us about foot drop! (what is that?!) Anyway, it worked out great. The following day we headed on vacation for Thanksgiving and since then until last night, our month was go-go-go! Holidays, work, family events, Christmas shopping…you name it, we did it! I also ended up with a horrible head/neck issue that is FINALLY coming under control thanks to a great chiropractor.

This has been a great year and I’m hoping that it ends even better! I have an interview in less than 2 hours for a clinical CNA position in the hospital I am already employed with working nights in the NICU, post-partum and peds units! I am SO SO hoping for this job! Three 12 hours shifts a week (or so), leaving plenty of time for school and family time. This would surely make my year! If you’re the praying type…please shoot some up my way if you don’t mind and if not, send good thoughts! This is the ONLY way I will get any hands on experience working as a CNA as I will not, without a doubt, work as in long-term health. It’s not for me and if you have ever worked in long-term health, even if for 3 clinical days (like myself), then you know what I mean. Bless those who do it every day. The elderly and dying need people like you! It’s just not me.

As always, here are some great links I came across over the last month. I hope that whatever I share is interesting and fun. I do it for two reasons-to share with you all and to save for myself. I know these are things I will keep coming back to over the years as I am in school and maybe even when I’m catching babies. You never know.

Hope you all had a great Christmas! I WILL share before the New Year if I get this great new position.

Links o’ Love:

Labor Nurse: awesome  letter to all labor nurses (and any nurse, really) for all the amazingly hard work it is to be a nurse.

The Gut, Microbes and Poop: post by Holistic IBCLC about food, digestion and breastfeeding.

Lotus Birth: Article about this type of “cutting of the cord”. You preserve the placenta in a basket of sorts with lots of herbs, to keep the stench at bay, and allow for the cord to fall off the baby on it’s own. In other words, you don’t actually cut the umbilical cord. Once the placenta is delivered, it is kept near mama and baby (as baby is still attached) until the cord dries out. Super interesting!

And what’s a link of posts without some amazing birth photography! Incredible births;  incredible photographer!!

Adelaide Birth Photography in Australia

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

I just wanted to take a moment to honor all of you mamas out there who have experienced any kind of pregnancy or infant loss. I’ve mentioned before that I have not gone through this personally, however I have many friends who have. I have also witnessed the emotions and sadness over a loss in the hospital. It is devastating and I want you all to know that I am thinking of you. I’m sending you lots of love for your strength and courage to push through such a hard time. It really does not matter how far along you were in your pregnancy; a baby is a baby, a loss is a loss. All the same. I am doing my best to learn how to help others cope. I feel so much emotion, no matter if it concerns me or someone else. Knowing what to say seems to be the hardest thing to figure out, yet I feel and I’ve been told that not saying anything at all is sometimes best and, instead, offer hugs, time and prayer.

If you have lost a baby and you want to remember your baby, I would be happy to share your story here. We need to talk about it. It’s not taboo but so many feel that it is.

Happy Labor Day!

Cheers to the weekend!

The last month has been a little crazy! But when is it not?! I started back to work 3 weeks ago and started my CNA certification class two weeks ago. Both are going well so far. Pumping at work is hard and I’m still trying to find my groove with it. Class is a hybrid class so I do a 4 hour lab once a week and the remainder of discussion and lectures are online, which I love! I really enjoy the online learning environment. Lab has been filled with learning different “skills” like proper hand washing, taking BP, respirations, pulse, measuring urine, washing dentures…nothing too exciting! However I am really happy to finally be learning how to take someone’s BP.

I WILL be writing over here more. I promise. I always find great articles and birth photos that I want to share. I share a lot more on the Facebook Page than here so be sure to go and “like” the page if you’re a little birth junkie like myself. I will leave you all with a lovely article I feel is too good just to link. Enjoy and have a safe, fun and happy weekend!


(I wish I’d written this!!)

6 Things Every New Mother Should Know to Survive the First 6 Weeks

by April McCormick

I have no doubt that every mother will agree with me when I say that during pregnancy, the only thing worse than the stretch marks and bad gas are the hours of bad parenting advice you get from every source imaginable. Between the always-ready-to-share, been-there-done-that mothers, strangers in the grocery store checkout line, parenting books and online resources, the information available today for new mothers is overwhelming. What’s more, you never know what to believe, since one book will contradict the next, and what one mother swears by, another mother will insist did not work for her baby. Weeding through all of the advice can be daunting, to say the least.

Looking back, I wish I was given more advice on how to deal with becoming a mother, and less on the three million different ways to rock a baby to sleep. I needed to know about the self-doubt and the failures that came along with motherhood, or that having a baby would take a huge toll on my marriage and personal life if I let it. After talking with numerous other mothers, I realized we all struggled with the same issues — things it seemed no one bothered to warn us about in between lessons on feeding, changing and rocking our newborn to sleep. I’ve put together a list of the top six things we all agree are so important for new mothers to know. Things we wish we didn’t have to learn the hard way.

1. Listen to your instincts, not Dr. Google. With so many online parenting resources and “how-to” books available today, most contradicting the next, don’t get caught up thinking these resources know better than you do.

For example: If you know your baby is hungry, feed him. Who cares if it has only been two hours and the book says wait for three? Screw that! Feed your baby. There is no reason to let your baby get hysterical trying to follow the guidelines.

I cannot stress this enough: Trust what your gut and heart are telling you, because 9.5 times out of 10, they are spot-on right. Every minute you second-guess yourself, you and your baby will suffer. Go with your gut first. Always.

2. Listen to your baby’s cues. While babies can only communicate through body language and crying, within the first week, you will begin to notice behaviors and different tones of crying that are clearly trying to tell you something. For example: Babies will give you cues for hunger WAY before crying, including things like REM, finger sucking and reaching with arms and legs. When you notice any or all of those cues, feed your baby pronto, or the blood-curdling screaming will be next! If your baby is tired, some of his cues might be pulling at his ears, yawning and/or quick, jerky movements.

Pay close attention to those different cues and within a week or so, you will easily be able to decipher what it is your baby is trying to tell you, and most likely before he even starts crying uncontrollably.

3. The decision between nursing or formula feeding should not become bigger than World War III. First of all, Breastfeeding is NOT “Plug and Chug!” Nursing is hard. Extremely hard. There is no plug in and feed feature to it. It takes time, a fair amount of discomfort and practice for both you and your baby to get the hang of it. (I mean weeks, not days.) Ask for help. Find a lactation consultant. Be prepared for a possible battle that will take all of your inner strength to make it through.

Second, BREASTFEEDING MAY NOT BE FOR YOU. THAT IS OK! You, or your baby, may have a medical condition keeping you from being able to nurse. You may hate it. It may just not be right for you. This is VERY common, do not think you are a failure.

Plain and simple: You will either nurse or you will not. Regardless of what you do, your baby will be beautiful and wonderful and smart and articulate. Do what is best for you and your child. Do not let anyone make you feel otherwise. You are NOT a failure. DO NOT LET THIS RUIN YOU.

4. Do not get caught up trying to be the perfect mother. There is no such thing. In order to be the best mother to your baby, all you have to do is try your best. Parenting is filled with both triumphs and failures. Do not be hard on yourself or get discouraged if you fail. Just like with everything else, practice makes perfect. If you fall down, stand up, dust yourself off and try something else.

Above all, do not be afraid to ask for help. If someone wants to bring over dinner, let them. If someone wants to come over while you take a nap and shower, let them. Graciously accept all the help you can get, because chances are, the person offering the help has been in your shoes before and knows a little help goes a long way during those first few months.

5. Don’t forget to take time for your partner. It is so easy to lose sight of your relationship with your partner during those first few weeks and months of parenthood. Between the exhaustion from the sleepless nights, the demanding feeding schedule and your normal household or work activities, it can be hard to find quality time to spend with your partner. However, it is crucial that you MAKE time.

For example: Every single day during those first few weeks, make it a point to be affectionate, say “I love you,” if possible eat a meal together and then during that meal, try talk about anything but your baby.

The key is not to build a new life around your baby, but to blend your baby into your existing life together.

6. Don’t forget to take time for yourself. It is absolutely crucial that you take time for yourself on a daily basis. Every day you need to make it a point to take a shower, put on clean clothes and eat at least two wholesome meals. Then aim to leave the house for no less than 10 minutes, at least every other day. Even a walk around the block does wonders. Just get away from that baby to rejuvenate, or you will crash and burn.

If I have learned anything as a mother, it is that motherhood is a journey filled with ups and downs. Just when I think I have it figured out, the game changes, but even still, those six tips I keep in practice to this day. I listen to my instincts and child’s needs, I take time for my husband and while I admit that it is still hard for me to take time away for myself, I do it because I know how important it is. Above all, rather than trying to be the perfect mother, I try to be the best mother, by giving my best.

A Personal Post on Breastfeeding

Evelyn is 6 weeks old tomorrow and I’m totally not going to acknowledge how quickly time is going, but rather talk about our breastfeeding journey. When I was a brand new mama with Logan, I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to breastfeed and give my baby natures milk for as long as possible. When Logan was 6 weeks old, we had already been dealing with continued use of a nipple shield, thrush and an abscess that had to be drained. (post hereI pushed through those things and stayed determined to keep nursing my new son. Then I lost it. The emotional mess that all those physical issues was causing became too much for me to handle. I was two weeks away from going back to work and I had to decide if it was time to wean or keep going. I wrote this post and my heart broke. It was over. No more nursing. In hindsight, nursing Logan was never easy or very enjoyable to begin with. I just did it because I knew it was best. I had girlfriends who breastfed their babies did their best to encourage me but I could not keep going.

Between the time that I stopped nursing Logan and the time that I became pregnant again, I knew that I was not going to let that experience stop me from breastfeeding my next baby. At my 12 week appointment with my midwife, she asked me about it and I told her I was going to do everything I possibly could to make it work, not just because I knew it was best, like last time, but because it was what I wanted. I wanted the bonding, closeness, and experience that women have been doing for forever. My midwife was almost surprised that the bad experience did not deter me from trying again.
And here we are now, 6 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding and it could not be more incredible or different than last time. The first two nights we were in the hospital I hand expressed colostrum onto my pinky finger. In the middle of day two my milk started to come in. Evie and I practiced nursing but once the milk was in, I was terribly engorged. She could barely latch but I knew that if we used a nipple shield that would be the start of the end (so I thought). By day four I was pumping and bottle feeding Evie because the engorgement was so bad she could not latch. We met with a lactation consultant and she gave us some great tricks, but still suggested I pump even just for a few minutes before nursing. So with all the pumping, bottle-feeding, practicing nursing, cleaning parts, etc I was not sleeping–at all. Day five, on Friday, I caved late that night and begged B to go buy us a nipple shield. I hated pumping and I knew Evie wanted to nurse just as much as I wanted her to.
For the next two weeks I used the shield and most of the time I was able to start off with it and then take it away. There was some minor nipple confusion and two weeks ago she bit me through the shield. I am pretty sure I nearly blacked out the pain was so horrible. And that was it. I took the shield off and made Evie latch without it and we have not needed it since.
The actual pain from latching happened every time we nursed for five solid weeks. My toes curled and I cursed in my head that it was just for a few effing seconds and it would go away. Then last week, as if mother nature was giving me a break, the pain started to subside and breastfeeding really is becoming a very natural, seamless experience. I am so proud of myself and of Evelyn for learning how to get this whole thing figured out. She has a bottle of expressed milk maybe 2-3 times a week and usually only if I have to pump because I continue to have an oversupply. I have over 100 ounces of milk in the freezer for when I go back to work. I still pump almost every morning and sometimes in the evenings to keep building that supply.
And the best part? I have the most supportive family. B loves that I am breastfeeding our little girl. He loves that we have a special bond and that I am giving her tons of nutrients and immunities. I’ve easily nursed in public and around other people without much thought. I’m waiting until Evie is a little bit more focused and older before I attempt to ditch the cover, even though we both hate it.
Here’s to 6 more weeks! I’m setting small goals. I’m supposed to return to work then and I’m praying that my supply stays the same and that increased bottle-feeding doesn’t turn Evie off from nursing. I hate to think about it, but ugh…gotta do what I gotta do!

Baby-led Weaning-Article Critique

I wrote this article last semester for my infant nutrition class. This is great information about baby-led weaning (BLW). The article I critiqued has a link below. Also, please check out the official Baby-led Weaning website.


In recent years, the discussion of baby-led weaning has become a more common practice for parents of infants. Straight from the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) website, it is defined as, “letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” Research supports this method of weaning for infants for many reasons which is discussed in the article, “Baby Knows Best: Baby-led Weaning Promotes Healthy Food Preferences” by Dr. Ellen Townsend and researchers at The University of Nottingham.

The article gives research data which indicates that infants are less likely to become obese in the future and have a general liking towards carbohydrate foods than those infants who are spoon-fed puréed foods. Baby-led weaning may be a key factor in lowering the rate of obesity in children, a rate which is currently rising. The simple choice of allowing the infant to try real foods will benefit both the infant and the parents. Though this is not discussed in the article, parents will be able to prepare meals which their infant can try right along with them without spending more money on prepackaged puréed foods. For those parents whose social economic status (SES) is lower, BLW would be a great option for them to try. In turn, the infant will get the best, most pure nutrition directly from the food they are eating without any added sugars or sodium.

The article does not discuss the most obvious concern of choking. However, researchers have found that infants do not know how to push pieces of food to the back of their throat until they know how to chew, which is another reason for parents to try BLW. Our text does not support this method of weaning. On page 237, Brown writes “care must be taken, however, to provide a soupy texture and to avoid contamination of home-prepared baby food by bacteria on food or from unsanitary storage methods.” The text does not specifically suggest that BLW is not a good method for weaning, however the suggestion that the homemade food must be “soupy” for the infant implies that infants should not try foods which are not puréed.

Feeding infants puréed foods does not teach them how to chew food, nor how to have a taste for other foods. The article states that, “the factors thought to be most influential on early food preferences are sweetness and frequency of exposure,” which has been proven to be wrong of those children who were given more carbohydrates and, as time went on, they had a stronger liking for those types of foods than did the infants who were fed puréed foods, who were more attracted to sweeter foods.

I would certainly share this article with other parents. If there is any way to decrease the incidents of childhood obesity, I don’t see how other parents would not be willing to try baby-led weaning, especially those whose children may be at a higher risk for it later in life. The take-home message I want other parents to see is that BLW is safe and has great results for the future health of the child. I enjoyed the article, especially since I am expecting again and hoping to practice BLW with this child. I was unaware of this concept when my son was an infant, otherwise, I would have certainly tried it. I do consider this a good source of information on BLW, however it is lacking in the information that most parents would be concerned about regarding the risk of choking. It is only in my research in the past that I know that choking is not as big of a risk as it seems, but other parents who are unfamiliar with BLW would have a hard time understanding the safety of this practice without more information.


Townsend, E. Baby Knows Best: Baby-led Weaning Promotes Healthy Food Preferences. Retrieved on September 8, 2012 from: