Browsing Tag

postpartum

Family, Pregnancy

Mind and Body After Baby (the second time around) // 3 Months

August 22, 2017

img_4204

I’m back today to talk about mind and body after baby #2 at the three month mark! Collins is actually closer to four months than three months at this point, but that’s close enough, right? The last post I did about the postpartum recovery period was 3-6 weeks, and a LOT has changed since then.
————————–
Mind Update ::

Let me say first that now, looking back, I can see that I was trying really hard to pull myself together during the first two months after Collins was born. Almost daily I felt as if I was floundering, stumbling, pushing through the haze day-in and day-out. I’m sure that from the outside looking in it seemed as if I had things fairly pulled together, but it was more of a struggle than I anticipated.

I remember going on multiple runs during the first few months after Collins was born, feet hitting the pavement and sun beating down on me, thinking “I’m running to hold on to my sanity and mental health.” And while that may sound dramatic, those first few months I really did feel as if I was walking on eggshells, afraid that I was perilously close to postpartum depression.

During those first two months, I thought about my postpartum experience with Ainsley and remembered feeling nearly the exact same. Emotional, easily stressed, edgy, prone to crying over the smallest things. I think part of that is normal, and some of it was probably a bit more extreme than what others experience. I waffled back and forth, back and forth about weaning and did some ridiculous pumping semi-weaned thing for a couple weeks while I tried to get up the courage to just switch entirely to formula. For some reason I felt weirdly emotional about the idea of weaning. And then I remember that with Ainsley, within a week of weaning, I started to feel like myself again. The clouds and fog lifted and everything about motherhood seemed more manageable. I was able to delight in my daughter more than ever before and wasn’t nearly as edgy.

So, with the encouragement of my amazing husband, I made the full switch to formula. And the same thing happened. I felt like myself again, life became more manageable, and I was able to delight in and enjoy Collins more than before. And while this is certainly NOT meant to be a debate about breast vs. formula, for me it was a wonderful decision and gave me a lot of freedom and mental clarity.
—————————-
Body/Fitness Update ::

As you probably already know if you’ve read my previous posts about my recovery, I’ve been exercising since about 3 weeks postpartum, returning to more vigorous exercise around 5/6 weeks. At this point, I’ve resumed all my regular workouts and activities and have been really surprised and how much my fitness level was able to be maintained while pregnant and how quickly my endurance returned to normal. This has nothing to do with weight, pant size, etc. I’m just talking fitness level and general ability. All that to say, working out during your pregnancy does make a huge difference in your recovery after!

As far as weight goes, I really have no idea how much I weigh right now. We don’t have a scale and I haven’t been to the doctor since my 6-week postpartum check-up, so I’m clueless until the next time I go to the doctor. I’ve been lifting more/heavier weight so I’m feeling like I have more muscle than I did before I got pregnant. I can tell you that while many of my favorite pre-baby clothing items fit again, my high-waisted jeans and a few pairs of shorts definitely do NOT fit right quite yet, so I’m giving myself grace and time to get back to where I want to be in that regard.

I have been running 3 or 4 miles on the weekend and doing workouts on Beachbody on Demand 4 to 5 of the other days of the week. Right now I’m working my way through my second round of the new program Shift Shop, which is a combination of cardio and strength training videos, and it’s been great for keeping me motivated and engaged. Since the weather is really nice here, we’ve also been taking the big double stroller on long walks as a little bit of “bonus exercise.”

Just the other day, I told Joe how STRONG I feel right now in my body. Am I in the best shape I’ve ever been? Not quite! Am I the skinniest? Heck no! But I feel fit, strong and able and that’s the biggest blessing I could ask for as a busy mom of two little girls.

So that’s that! My update on my postpartum experience the second time around at the 3-month mark. I’m hoping to do another update closer to 6 months, then again and 9 months and 1 year!

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding and Supplementing :: The Second Time Around

July 6, 2017

img_3107

A few weeks ago on Instagram I promised that I would write this post. And yet here I am, two weeks later, still kicking the can down the road and avoiding writing about the topic of breastfeeding, bottle feeding, supplementing. Not because I’m afraid to write about the topic, but because it’s a complicated subject – one that I feel different about daily. Chances are, if you’re a mom, you understand what I’m talking about. Because in the long run, it’s something that doesn’t really matter that much, and yet it matters so much when you’re in the thick of the newborn and baby days.

Let’s back up a little bit first. While I was preparing for Collins to arrive I debating not breastfeeding at all. Not a flippant comment here and there, but rather a very real conversation with Joe about not even giving it a shot. Having had a less than ideal breastfeeding (err pumping) journey with Ainsley, I was traumatized by the experience and not at all keen for a repeat. Exclusive pumping is not for the faint of heart!

I was never one of those people who dreamed about breastfeeding my child. And having formula fed Ainsley after four months of pumping, it made me realize that formula was, in fact, quite a wonderful thing. Nutritionally inferior to breastmilk? Yes, there’s no debating that. But a fantastic second option. Yet time and time again with both pregnancies I was met with plenty of unsolicited “Breast is Best” messaging. I still remember getting a call from a survey taker from the Minnesota state government after Ainsley was born and giving them an earful about how I didn’t want to have breastfeeding pushed on me any more than it already had been.

So this time around I promised myself: no guilt, no struggling to breastfeed, no exclusive pumping around the clock to keep up my supply. Joe and I decided that my goal would be two weeks of breastfeeding to give Collins the colostrum and early milk and then if it wasn’t working I would switch over to formula. My two week goal came and went, and I continued to breastfeed. I’m fairly certain that few moms would classify breastfeeding as “easy” but it was workable, a few issues with over-supply aside.

A lot of the stories about breastfeeding and switching over to formula that you find on the internet usually revolve around times when a mom has no other choice – baby isn’t gaining weight, mom doesn’t have enough supply, latching isn’t working, etc. But what about when it is working? With Ainsley, I had very little guilt about not breastfeeding because her lip gap caused major latch issues that I don’t think we could have overcome. It was my out, my valid excuse for switching to bottles. And then eventually, dropping the exclusive pumping routine and switching to formula. But with Collins? What was my reasoning? What would I tell others who asked?

At the end of the day I don’t really have a major reason. But here’s what I do know: Breastfeeding was not, for me, a blissful bonding experience with my baby. Having bottle fed Ainsley for a year, I knew enough to realize that I enjoyed bottle feeding my baby more than I did breastfeeding her. I could kiss her head and look into her eyes without the stress of whether or not she would pull away or unlatch or get upset. I knew enough to know that because I’m a fairly modest person, breastfeeding in public places was giving me serious anxiety and staying home with a toddler or being home for every feeding just wasn’t an option. I knew enough to know that formula, while nutritionally inferior, would give me the ability to be the most present wife and mom I could be.

So where does that leave me right now? I don’t really know. I’m still pumping three times a day right now, producing enough milk to cover about 3/4 of Collins’s feedings for the day, but I contemplate quitting nearly every single day and switching over to formula entirely. Pumping a few times a day seems like such a small price to pay for providing my daughter with the benefits of breastmilk, yet I long to be completely in one camp or another rather than one foot in and one foot out.

For now, I’m in the murky middle. I’m sure that eventually I’ll fall into the exclusively formula fed camp, but for now I’m just taking it day by day. Realizing it’s okay to be conflicted, unsure, neither here nor there.

Madison  

Family, Fashion

Let’s Talk Postpartum Hair

November 16, 2015

Photo on 11-6-15 at 9.50 AMI was prepared for a lot of the typical things about the postpartum stage of life, but I was completely unprepared for postpartum hair. Sure, friends told me you would lose a lot of hair after having a baby, but I guess I didn’t really understand that the hair you lost would eventually grow back in. And the regrowth, you guys? It’s about 100x worse than the hair loss!

After I quit breastfeeding the hair loss began. The thick, amazing pregnancy hair I had enjoyed was suddenly falling out all over the place. This summer I had noticeable balding patches around the crown of my head that were hard to disguise. About two months ago, I really started to notice the re-growth of all that hair I lost. We’re talking thick tufts of hair sticking straight up around my temples and forehead that are impossible to tame and hard to disguise.

It’s embarrassing. It’s unattractive. And it’s a pain in the butt. I thought about cutting bangs to disguise the re-growth and dying my hair another color to make my hair look thicker. In the end, I decided to avoid taking any extreme measures and try my best to just stick it out.

Here are a few of the things I’ve found that help make the re-growth a little less horrible:

1. Change up your part. I’ve always parted my hair on the left, but my re-growth was also the most noticeable there. Instead of cutting bangs, I decided to switch up my part. Now I’m wearing it middle parted or parted on the right side and it’s been so much easier to disguise the re-growth.

2. Tame your fly-aways. I spray a little bit of hairspray on a toothbrush and use the toothbrush to tame the hairs that want to stick straight up. THIS is by far my favorite hairspray.

3. Wash less often. I wash my hair a couple times a week and avoid blow drying as much as possible. I’ve switched to using this shampoo and conditioner and they’ve made my hair feel so soft and smooth, even when it’s not at its best.

4. Deep condition weekly. Once a week I take a bath or a long shower and put in a deep conditioner. Although my hair might not be as wonderful and luscious as it was when I was pregnant, I’ve been trying my best to care for it and keep it looking healthy.

5. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins. Don’t stop taking them after you quit nursing. Your body needs to continue to be replenished long after you have your baby, so keep up with those prenatal vitamins. They will help with hair growth, too!

6. Get bangs, maybe? If you’re someone who normally looks great with bangs, this would be a time to give them a shot! My stylist and I agreed that I do not look great with bangs nor do I have the right hair texture for thick, blunt bangs. But if you happen to be one of the lucky people who look good with fringe, then go for it!

7. Wear hats! I know a number of women who swear by this tip. I haven’t worked up the courage to wear all the cute fall hats that are in style right now, but I have to imagine that they would make it super easy to disguise all the crazy hairs around the crown of your head.

Madison

*Affiliate links used when appropriate. 

Fashion

Help a Momma Out?

August 24, 2015

FullSizeRender

 

I picked up a bunch of cheap little dresses toward the end of the summer to bridge me into fall and have been meaning to put together more of a formal fashion post. Alas, I’ve been spending most of my days working from home and when I’m not working, I’m either tending to a sometimes fussy baby (teething!) or covered in paint as we begin our home renovation project.

Ainsley, on the other hand, thinks she looks mighty fine in her Turbans for Tots head wrap and new outfit from Carter’s. Ha! I love the way she is checking herself out in the mirror.

All that to say, I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a style brick wall. Last fall the only clothing I purchased was maternity, meaning it’s been almost two years since I shopped for regular old cool weather clothing. And now that I’m fitting back into my old clothes, I just feel a little bit frumpy. I think this is probably why new moms frequently change up their hair after having a baby? But since I don’t really want to cut my hair, I need some style help!

Most of my clothes come from Banana Republic, J. Crew, Stitch Fix or some random finds here and there, like TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack. But now that I’m in a small town, I think online shopping is going to have to become a way of life. So tell me, where do you shop? Any favorite new dresses, jeans, tops or shoes you’ve found and loved? Brands that I should check out? I need your help before I go shopping for fall!

xo,
Madison

Fashion, Pregnancy

Does my body need changing? Or does my heart?

August 20, 2015

IMG_1128
Let’s talk about body image. It’s been a topic that I haven’t talked about much post-baby, but that’s not to say that it hasn’t been on my mind plenty over the past 6 months.

Going into pregnancy I was fearful about how my body would adjust and adapt to pregnancy and the postpartum period. I’ve never had a super fast metabolism and have always had to be relatively mindful of what and how much I eat in order to keep my weight in check. But, let’s be honest, I love a little chocolate at the end of a long day or a glass of wine now and again.

Now, 6 months postpartum, I have my good days and days when I’m more critical of my body that I think makes any sense. I don’t really have a lot of extra baby weight to lose, I’m active and at my most recent physical my doctor told me everything indicates that I’m living a very healthy life. But too often I find myself falling into the perfectionist mentality where my body is concerned.

Someone told me once that the problem with “good enough” for a perfectionist is that even when it’s good, it’s never enough. And isn’t that the truth? But when I think about it, I realize that’s not the legacy I want to leave. I want good to be enough and to find satisfaction in imperfection and flaws, even if that means making peace with a little extra softness around my middle or going up a size in my favorite jeans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating against living a healthy lifestyle or in support of unhealthy eating. Living a healthy and active life makes me feel great and is something I’m deeply committed to for so many reasons. But sometimes I catch myself sliding down a dangerous slope, one that says it’s not enough. A little voice in my head advocates against balance and moderation and pushes me toward perfection.

Becoming a mom has changed the way I want to look at my body and relate to those around me. When I point out my bodily flaws, however minor they may be, I think about little miss Ainsley doing the same thing one day. Right now, at 6 months of age, when I sit her down in front of the mirror her face breaks out in the biggest smile. She sees herself and loves what she’s looking at! If only we could all have the same reaction, right?

I want to set an example for her. I want her to be able to look in the mirror when she gets older and beam at the beautiful little girl and young woman God created.

So if you’re struggling with your self-image, maybe take a look at your heart first? I know in my case it’s an important barometer. There are plenty of reasons to pursue health and fitness, and there are also a myriad of instances when good really is enough.

Come on, ladies! I need to hear your personal stories. How have you adapted, accepted and come to peace with your postpartum body? Maybe you’re still working on it? I would love to hear in the comments below!

Madison