Breastfeeding, Burp Cloths, and Boppies

The million dollar question… “So, how’s mom life? Is she sleeping through the night yet?”

Every day and night is SO different.  The first two weeks with baby at home I had so much anxiety I could hardly eat. The questions ran through my head, “Why is she crying? Is she hungry? She just ATE! Does she have gas? What do I do? Am I doing this right? How do you swaddle?” and the list goes on. I have baby books stacked next to the table where I feed Eliana. Every time she’s eating, I’m reading. I read about the “baby blues” and how your hormones are all over the place. I don’t think you really understand, until it’s you, crying for the fourth night in a row about how you just remembered you can no longer go to the pool the next day to tan, because, well, you had a baby and life is forever different. It is crazy that in twenty-four hours, your life is completely turned upside down.

The first night home was SO hard. She cried the WHOLE night. Bill and I didn’t sleep. She had to be on one of our chests to sleep. The minute we put her down, the horrible sounding wails started. And by horrible I mean, it made me feel so bad for her and want to calm her down immediately somehow. When I started feeding her, she started to cough. I completely panicked and thought she was choking. (I’m CPR certified, and I KNEW she wasn’t really choking if she was crying, but blame it on the hormones.) I ran into the bathroom where Bill was showering and was balling, “She’s not breathing!!!!” Bill quickly looked out, calm and collected, since she was crying at the time and said softly, “Is she breathing now?” (He probably thought I was losing my mind.) He proceeded to hold me and the baby, both of us balling until I calmed down enough to finish feeding her. On a Friday night, I was thinking about our plans for the next day…Bill and I would go to the pool, drink a margarita, tan, and hang out. Que screeching tires…REALITY CHECK. I started balling. My life as I knew it was over. I know this sounds harsh and dramatic, but really, it is a big pill to swallow. Suddenly, your life is not about YOU anymore. I have this precious, delicate infant that solely depends on ME, and ONLY ME. That is a HUGE responsibility and totally overwhelming.

But, motherhood has been absolutely amazing. If she sleeps longer than three hours, I actually start to kind of miss her. I know. Crazy right?

What I have found is that for me, getting OUT of the house and having adult interaction has been so important for my sanity and for me emotionally. Even just a quick walk to get the mail, or driving to the store to get a pack of gum with the baby has been helpful. I actually thought I would want to put my coaching business to the side for a while so I could get adjusted with the baby. But, the opposite was true. The second day home with her, I was checking in with my challengers and messaging people. It made me feel human, and like I had a purpose other than feeding the baby. Which, can seem like the ONLY thing you do. I’m also finally getting comfortable breastfeeding in public. No. I don’t care what OTHER people think, I just want to feel comfortable myself. The first couple weeks, both the baby and I were learning, so it is hard to be trying to stick your boob in the baby’s mouth with a cover over your head. But, I’m ALL FOR mamas breastfeeding in public without covers. I’M just a little prude. It’s like that Luvs diaper commercial with the comparison of a mom with her first kid, versus her second. It’s a great commercial, and I’m sure so many moms can connect. (https://youtu.be/B0oddLTdtD0 )

Speaking of breastfeeding…it is definitely hard. The first two weeks are the hardest. My nipples hurt, my back hurt from being hunched over, and it can be frustrating. I started going to these awesome breastfeeding classes at the hospital I delivered at. You weigh your baby before the class, feed your baby, then they weigh them after to see how much they “transferred” or ate. It has been super encouraging being around other moms, listening to other people’s same struggles and getting great advice from the lactation consultants. So far, Elie has gained great weight each week and is getting plenty to eat each time she eats. For me, that means I’m doing my job. Whew! Moms out there who are going to breastfeed, my advice is to NOT give up. It WILL be hard at first, but it truly does get easier. Oh and…you will need LOTS of burp clothes and laundry detergent. A Boppy is nice to rest your arms. Unless you want to get super awesome muscular arms like I’m trying to, and you choose to forgo the Boppy for an arm workout. Can’t help myself.

I can’t believe she is over five weeks old. The time really does fly. I can’t wait until she starts smiling and all that fun stuff. It is definitely fun to be a mommy. But, there have been days where I am SO tired and have anxiety. When she cries, I can’t help but melt and fluster around to do whatever I can to make her happy and stop crying. There have been days where she has cried ALL day. And it is the days where Bill and I have a million errands to run. Of course. Those days are isolating. The most frustrating day was being at a friend’s BBQ trying to enjoy company when Elie was really fussy and just wanting to be on me all day. I sat upstairs and tried to feed her and calm her down for over two hours. I finally texted Bill, defeated and said, just take me home. I felt so isolated and miserable not being able to hang out with everyone because the baby was fussy. Then, two superstar moms came upstairs and held her and rocked her while I could go eat some dinner and hang out. I forgot. They’ve BEEN where I have been. It’s OKAY to have a crying baby. And, as Bill always reminds me, “Babies cry babe.”

Bill on the other hand is absolutely adorable with Elie. Whenever we go for a walk around the neighborhood or I bring him to one of his softball games, he is always showing her off. “Hey dude, look, I have a baby!” Or, “Hey, did you know we have a baby? You can see her if you want!” It’s so cute. Seeing my husband become a father has been an amazing experience. I have a deeper love and connection with him now. But, let’s get real. Here’s some advice…don’t argue or have any intense discussions while the baby is screaming in the car in the background…your anxiety and temper will thank you. And, let your hubby change the diaper however he wants. As long as it gets done and poop isn’t spewing out everywhere, it’s fine.

Eliana gets her big girl shots next week before my mom and I head to Michigan to visit family! Pretty nervous about those. Poor thing. Good thing she won’t remember them. I’ve been doing lots of research on flying with infants too. Like using baby wraps, checking strollers, and lots of other fun stuff. Any advice is appreciated!

Finally, after my own 6 week check-up I’ll be blogging about my fitness journey and body after baby! I’m super excited to be able to start working out again, swim in a pool, have…oh you know, and lots of other things!

Once again, thanks so much for following me on this amazing journey. More blogs to come soon!

Ciara's 5 After Birth Life Savers!

  1. Essential Oils: Lavender and Orange

I literally have been huffing lavender oil, putting it in my diffuser, and using fractioned coconut oil to slather it all over my body. Why?  Because of its many amazing qualities:

-eases anxiety (ummm HELLO!)

-eases tension in the head and neck (getting used to breastfeeding positions!)

-helps ease you into sleep (but doesn’t everyone fall asleep like a rock when they’re up every hour to feed a baby?)

-soothes skin irritations and itching

-helps with breast tenderness and muscle aches (hence why I slather it all over my body)

-allergy relief

The orange is heavenly to smell in a diffuser or on the insides of your wrists…(BIG INHALE!) Orange is also amazing because it:

-eases anxiety, anger and nausea

-helps with sleeplessness and fatigue

-eases heartburn

-helps with constipation (trust me, this is a good thing!)

  1. Placenta Encapsulation

Yes. It sounds really weird. And no, you don’t actually cook up and eat your placenta as many people thing. Ew. Placental encapsulation is where you ingest the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. These are just some of the benefits it can help with:

-increases milk supply

-balances hormones (thank goodness right?)

-increases postnatal iron levels

-lessens postnatal bleeding

-prevents baby blues

-increases energy

-combats fatigue (Do you know what else combats fatigue? Sleep. But, that is in short supply these days.)

After delivery, I made sure to have the nurses save my placenta. They place it in the refrigerator to keep it umm…fresh? Then, the midwife I had contacted a few weeks before in Colorado Springs came to pick it up at my house. In just two days, she delivered it back to me in cute little capsules. I have only taken them for a few days, but they seem to be helping…I seem to be not as hormonal and crying at every little thing.

  1. Shakeology

My secret weapon. Shakeology was approved by my OB and I drank it throughout my entire pregnancy and continue now! It has your daily dose of dense nutrition and is not loaded with crap. It has 70 non-processed CLEAN vital nutrients your body needs to operate at peak performance. Even if you eat super healthy, you’re still probably not getting everything you should be. Shakeology can help with that! It also helps with constipation because of the digestive enzymes…we all know that happens during and after pregnancy! To learn more about Shakeology- click here: www.shakeology.com/ciaraespencer

  1. GETTING OUT

Getting OUTSIDE literally and getting out of the daily grind of sleep, eat, poop on repeat does wonders for your sanity. Even just a quick five minute walk to clear your head or a quick phone call to a friend or loved one to vent has REALLY helped me stay sane. Join some mommy and me classes, hook up with other moms in your neighborhood, join some Facebook groups, etc. I am going to a breastfeeding support group every Tuesday at the hospital I delivered at. It has been super helpful, and a great way to meet other moms in my area!

  1. Postpartum Girdle

This has been AH-mazing! So, when you leave the hospital, you still look 5-6 months pregnant. NEWSFLASH! SO, when I came home, I squeezed into my BelleFit Maternity Girdle (it was really tight!) But, after a few days, it fit perfectly. It feels so good to have your back and belly supported. It also helps things go back in the right places. It binds and “splints” your belly to help your uterus shrink back down as well. Here is the website where I got mine: www.bellefit.com

***Have a good sense of humor***

From the moment you go into the hospital, to the moment you get home with new baby, your emotions are whacked. LAUGH at yourself. Laugh at your significant other and baby. I laugh everytime Eliana farts or poops. It is so cute and just adorable, and funny! With your fist baby, remember, you’ve NEVER done this before. You’re not going to be an expert. You’re going to make mistakes. That’s okay, live and learn. First time packing the diaper bag? I didn’t bring extra onesies, and baby girl peed and spit up alllllllll over herself. DOH! This is one of those moments you just LAUGH and learn. Finally, have some positive affirmations on hand and ready for those tough times. The 2a.m. screaming AGAIN after only being asleep for MAYBE 45 minutes…calls for some of these affirmations. While I’m rocking the baby back to sleep or feeding her, feeling anxious and frazzled, I repeat to myself out loud “I am calm, relaxed and happy,” and “Every day, in every way it getting better and better.” Just saying those affirmations helps your brain get in a more positive place. Try it out! Let me know how it goes.

As always, these are just my personal experiences, and I LOVE sharing with you and hearing feedback. Cheers to the next two weeks! ;)