Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cheers to the "Girls"....BREAST is BEST

Before Reagan was born I made the conscience decision to breast feed.  Honestly, I didn’t know “Jake” about breast feeding.  So when I was pregnant, Reagan’s dad and I attended a breast feeding class sponsored by a local hospital.  It was free, and took about two hours of our time.  Here we are, sitting in a class with a fake baby (dark brown of course…how sweet) and I’m holding this flimsy baby up against by fully clothed and covered breast.  We practiced different positions, in which the only one that interest her dad was the “football hold”.  All in all, I left that class still not knowing “Jake”! But I was determined! Then after having complications with Reagan’s birth, infection, her being sick, me being sick and recovering from a cesarean, I again struggled to continue breastfeeding.  What motivated me?  I’m not really sure.  I think it was a mix of finishing something I started, pride, saving money, encouragement from my physicians saying how breastfeeding was the best thing you could do for your child.  But I will say, once I started, got comfortable with it, I would HIGHLY recommend breast feeding.   Now, I don’t know all the statistics, but here is what I personally found true in my experience.

1)      It saved TONS of money! One of the lactation coaches called it “Liquid Gold” and she was not lying! I saved tons of money breastfeeding.  Think of all the money you can spend on formula.  I priced some one day and they range up to $30 a canister! I cannot imagine how fast that could add up!
2)      Reagan has rarely been sick.  I can literally count on one hand how many times Reagan has been sick (knock on wood).  I have read several articles that encourage breastfeeding because it strengthens the immune system (especially the first secretion known as colostrum). 
3)      We bonded! I’m not sure how I can explain this, but something about breastfeeding made me feel extremely close to Reagan.  It was our bonding time.  Our perfect little peace.
4)      Convenience!!!! So imagine its 3 am in the morning, not the 3 am that you are leaving the club after having a good night out, but the 3 am that feels like you just went to sleep and have been up taking care of a new baby all day. Then imagine having to get up, fix a bottle of formula, warm it up, do that little trick where you test it on your arm, all while holding a crying baby.  Now, imagine the same scenario, but instead you just gently place baby on your breast in that perfect “football hold” as you rock baby to sleep.  The milk is already warm, no testing it on your arm, and no marching all the way to the kitchen!!! PERFECT!!!!
5)       Weight loss! Yes ladies! If I could just breastfeed for the rest of my life to lose weight I would! I lost my baby weight very quick breast feeding! Now I won’t go into the entire medical “how and why” (maybe I can get one of my physician friends to blog about that) but I will raise my hand proudly and say breast feeding does make you lose weight! Now, with that being said, I must also say that you can’t do it by breast feeding alone; you have to work out as well.  I remember when Reagan started slowing down breast feeding; I slowly saw my weight increasing again!

However, breastfeeding is not easy! It takes a lot out of mommy and definitely took a lot out of me.  Below are a few disadvantages and challenges I faced while breastfeeding.
1)      Sometimes I felt completely drained! In the beginning when I breastfed, I would just as quickly fall asleep with Reagan.  I’m sure that coupled with taking care of a new baby and not getting adequate amount of sleep had a lot to do with it.
2)      It hurt!!!! In the beginning it’s a pain that you cannot describe and you experience your breast doing some crazy things! But remember, it’s worth it, and once you get through that, it will be a breeze!
3)      Pumping! Once I returned to work, I had to figure out how to pump milk and save it, freeze it or whatever I had to do.  That’s where a good pump comes in handy along with a very cooperative work environment.  Which I had both.  But it was still very hard to carry around pump equipment, keep the milk cold, get it home to baby, freeze it, etc.  I remember when I started a new job; I had to go away for training for a week! Here I was in Charlotte, NC at a hotel without a fridge or freezer.  So I did what any mother who didn’t want her milk to dry up or waste milk do…I walked it down stairs and asked the hotel clerk if they could freeze it for me…and they did.  When I checked out I had several frozen baggies of “liquid gold” and faced another dilemma.  How the heck was I going to get THIS on a plane? Those bags were WAY over 3oz! So I find myself at security trying to discreetly tell the flint face airport security I had breast milk.  He then takes it, gives it to at least two other people, until the last person does a test on it, to determine that it wasn’t some foreign explosive disguised in breast milk baggies. How embarrassing!
4)      Public feeding.  Now I’m not sure how others feel about feeding in public, but I just never felt comfortable enough to do it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know some moms who would do it with no problem, but that just wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing.  I did try it however, and found it awkward trying to keep a blanket over your child to cover your breast and keep that blanket so it doesn’t fall off and expose your “milk machines”.  So, I would usually carry a pre pumped bottle with me. But I often times found myself in the handicap stall of restrooms breastfeeding my little Reagan. 
5)      No drinking.  Not that I’m a lush or anything, but not being able to have a cocktail when you want was pretty hard.  You have to think of your breast milk and you definitely don’t want baby to get any! But there are definitely ways to get around that.  I usually pumped before hand and the milk I produced after a drink, I would dump, hence the common phrase “pump and dump”.
All in all, I would definitely agree with physicians, researchers, and the “know alls” of what’s best for baby and whole heartedly agree that BREAST IS BEST!

-Cris J

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Inspration

Being a mother is tough work.  Sometimes I stretch myself extremely thin as I try and provide a life and lifestyle that is nurturing, loving, stable, and dependable.  It’s a stressful life to live.  However, each day I look at my daughter and realize it is well worth it.  I think back to when I found out I was pregnant with her.  Here I was a well educated woman, unmarried, and pregnant.  Although I was in a relationship at the time, I had no clue exactly where my journey in parenting would end up.  I could have taken the easy way out.  I could have took alternative routes and got an abortion.  But something inside of me said, regardless of whether her father and I are together, whether we get married, or whether we have to raise the child as co-parents, THIS child was mine. She grew inside of me and so did her love.  Now, I look at her in amazement.  God gave me the privilege, the honor, to take care of one of his handpicked angels.  HE entrusted in me the ability to use his principles and discipline to provide for this little person.  I think of that each time I get stressed, each time I wonder what her life will become.  I work hard, I take no moment for granted, and I seek each and every day to provide the best possible life, the best possible situation, and the greatest amount of love I can possibly give her.  I give God the glory....Amen.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Its Friday, the end of another long tiresome week, and all you want to do is RELAX.  Yeah, right….Fridays rarely means that your work is done.  As a single parent, this means that it’s time to catch up on laundry, house work, run your kid or kids to birthday parties, festivals, etc.  It can be hard, and often times you want to scream “ME TIME PLEASE”.  Below are a few things I do to relax after a long week. Some are pretty simple and some are just a tad bit on the “cooky” side…but all in all, they help me!

1)      WINE WINE WINE! Nothing like curling on the couch with a good Lifetime movie with a glass of wine.  And to be honest, I don’t have to have some 20 year old vintage wine from the hills of “whoopty-do”.  I can drink my wine from a bottle or a box.  Moscato is my preference.  A nice sweet wine, which most wine connoisseurs label as a “dessert wine”.  If not moscato, I prefer white zinfandel.  Be sure to pour it in a nice wine glass! Everything taste better out a wine glass!
2)      BURY MY FEET IN SAND.  I know you are thinking…wth?  But have you tried it?  If you have a toddler size kid, take them to a park that has a sandbox.  Then, take your shoes off and bury your feet.  RELIEF! Something about putting my feet in the sand just releases all this stress and anxiety! It brings me to a happy place, and that happy place is buried deep down in that sandbox.  No wonder kids are so happy there!
3)      Bubble Bath. This one you may have to do when the kids are asleep.  Run you some nice warm water.  Put those bubbles in there.  I don’t do anything fancy like going to buy some expensive $20 bottle of bubbles, that’s so unnecessary.  Just use one of your body washes under the cabinet or steal your kids Mr. Bubbles.  If all else fails pour a little dish detergent in there….who really cares what you use, unless you have sensitive skin.  After you get your bath together, set the mood by turning the lights out and burning a candle.   Play a little music and don’t forget that glass of wine! If it’s been “that” kind of week, upgrade to a little cocktail. I won’t judge….
4)      Call a friend. Now this one can be tricky.  The key is to call a friend who ALWAYS has words of encouragement.  Someone who you can spend hours on the phone laughing and joking with.  Please do not call that friend that always has some drama going on.  You know the one, everything in their life just sucks! Don’t call them; you have no time for that.  Call that friend, who seems to carry sunshine sundaes in her pocket, and sees the light at the end of the tunnel even if all the electricity has been cut off! You know what I mean.
5)      Exercise.  Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…who wants to run after such a tiring week?  But I promise you, it will make you feel great.  It gives you all these endorphins and gives you this high that even cheap wine can’t give you.  If you aren’t a runner and the thought of running sends you into a bout of depression then skip this one and go straight to the bubble bath with wine…again it’s about YOU and what relaxes YOU!

Put those single parent, let me conquer the world and make it home to cook dinner thoughts away and find you some “ME TIME” and RELAX!