Monthly Archives: March 2011

Feeling Like a Hoarder (How Baby Stuff Has Taken Over My House)

When I used to watch shows on HGTV where families would get rooms that had been cluttered with kid stuff made over, I would scoff at how ridiculous they were. How could they allow so much junk to accumulate? And how could they just leave it lying around like that?

I’m now eating my words. Annmarie is only (almost!) 2 months old, and I feel like our house has been overrun with baby stuff.

She’s been more awake and alert this last week. During these alert times, I read that I’m supposed to engage her in conversation, play, music, etc. I had to laugh when I took a look at my living room and saw this:

A photo of my living room filled with baby junk

What is NOT pictured is the super deluxe pack-n-play (it has a changing table and bassinet) and the car seat positioned appropriately in front of my wine cabinet.

I still don’t know quite how to “play” with an infant. I usually just chat about random stuff. But I have found that she seems to like jamming to some tunes. I don’t really know any children’s songs so I’ve taken to my iPod. Each day, I’ve noticed that I focus on one artist (whoever’s song happens to be in my head that day). The other day it was Billy Joel. Another day it was The Beatles. Yesterday it was The Carpenters.

a photo of my iPod

I had “Close to You” stuck in my head but noticed that I didn’t actually have The Carpenters’ version of it. But I DID have The Cranberries’ version of it (from the fantastic “If I Were a Carpenter” album).

This is my life now. And while the stuff is driving me kind of crazy – a part of me doesn’t want Annmarie to get any bigger. She’s recently outgrown all of her newborn clothing (my mom reprimanded me yesterday for “squeezing” her into newborn stuff) and I got a little sad about it. I am now THAT mom (actually – I realized that I am like MY mom…).

I’m also finding that I miss being pregnant. How crazy is that? I should just go back and read through all my recaps of the aches and pains. People weren’t kidding when they said you tend to forget the bad stuff that comes with pregnancy and delivery (and aftermath!). I watched a blogger’s video recap on her birth and actually cried. Someone needs to punch me in the face! I don’t want to be emotional, weepy mom. I want to be laid-back, bad-ass, listens to awesome NON-kid music mom.

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I Can’t Stop Apologizing (my friend’s baby shower debacle)

I know I said I’d stop apologizing for stuff – but holy shit, I can’t stop!  I’m apologizing to nobody about everything as though the world is judging me.  I apologize for my workouts, I apologize for making crap desserts, I apologize for a bakery fucking up.  Yarg!

This past weekend was my bestie’s baby shower.  She’s due on my wedding anniversary (April 28) with a baby boy.  It was fun to go through pregnancy mostly together (and to commiserate with someone) but I wished we had more maternity time together.  While I complain about boredom on most days, I realize that I am totally lazy and don’t feel like leaving my house most of the time (this is due to the pain in the ass it is to coordinate nursing, pumping, getting the baby ready and getting the dogs settled). 

I figured I’d be handling most of the shower planning alone because I’m a bit of a control freak and prefer to do everything myself.  But a few weeks into being a mom, I realized that I needed the help.  Thankfully Kristin (the mom-to-be) has some awesome moms (her mom and her MIL) who were more than willing to help.  I leaned on them to provide all of the non-dessert food.  I leaned on Kristin’s SIL to handle the basics like plates, utensils, tableclothes, etc.  I told them all I would handle decorations and desserts.

I told everyone to meet at the location at 11:30am to setup.  Was I on time?  Of course not.  I’m perpetually late for everything these days.  I was 30 minutes late and completely frazzled.  I didn’t even remember how to get to the location and had to call the honoree for directions!

Another big problem of mine?  I have aspirations of being this super crafty baker person and I’m not either of those things.  At my shower, my ACTUAL super crafty and super baker friends Kristin and Theresa hooked me up.  You can reread what they did here.  I thought I’d take a page out of their books and try the same thing but with a different theme.

Instead of “cupcakes” made out of baby socks and baby washcloths, I made little boats (since Kristin’s nursery theme based on this nautical bedding).  However, I didn’t properly calculate the number of tables that would be at the shower.  Only 25 people had responded YES so I estimated that there would only be 3 tables.  So I only made 3 crappy centerpieces:

When I arrived at the location, there were 4 tables setup and I realized that I’m an idiot.  So here is the pitiful 4th centerpiece (because I couldn’t stand the idea of one table being without one):

Then onto the desserts.  I ordered a cake from a bakery that people rave about.  In fact, this particular type of cake was at my office shower and it was amazing.  When I asked my boss for the cake details (because I knew I’d want it at Kristin’s shower), she warned me that it was a pricey cake.  I don’t think I was prepared for the $70 price tag.  But I felt like too much of an idiot to back out after we’d gone through the ordering process.  But the cake IS delicious so I figured it was worth it.  I found out later that the middle layer was still partially frozen at the shower.  I’m still pissed about that.

But because I couldn’t just stop at a cake (I really wished I had) – I decided that I’d tackle the cake pops that Theresa has made on several occasions (and made popular by the famous Bakerella).  I made the cake balls Thursday night and tackled the chocolate coating step Friday night.  Well – I suck at making cute baked goods because only 17 of the 50 balls made it onto a stick (and Jeremy had to do it!).  The others kept sliding off the sticks and falling apart.  I had a near meltdown.  I decided to scrap the pops and just make chocolate coated cake balls but again, I suck.  Here is an example of one of the cake balls.  It looks like someone vomited blue chocolate on it:

It was delicious but didn’t look quite appetizing so there were a ton leftover.

And because that was a disaster, I went ahead and made strawberry cupcakes!  It was a dessert overload.  What killed me was that it seemed that the desserts hardly went touched! 

(Okay – this picture is a bit misleading.  It was taken before all the guests arrived.  People did eat a few of the desserts but not as much as I had hoped.)

Also during setup – I had realized that I had forgotten a ton of things like pens (for the shower games), a knife (for cutting the cake) and god knows what else.  I should also add that at Kristin’s bridal shower a few years ago, I was SO hungover that I actually vomited at the shower location a few times.  Could I suck at putting together any more of her monumental events?  Geez.

While I felt like a big fat crafty baker failure, some of her guests showcased their skills:

But the best part of the entire shower was my mom.  She was doting on Annmarie (as any grandmother would) but did her usual criticisms (where she voices them to Annmarie but is actually talking to me).  And wouldn’t you know that Annie was going through a bit of a growth spurt?  She wanted to eat every 2 hours.  She started crying while Kristin was opening gifts (and I was jotting down who gave what) and my mom was loudly whispering that I needed to go feed Annmarie.  It was hilarious and embarrassing all at the same time.

Basically, Saturday was filled with a ton of “I’m Sorry”s (even though not a single person expected one because they were all awesome… from helping with the shower to picking up my mom from her house to watching Annmarie).

But I really can’t shake the “I’m Sorry” stuff.  UGH!

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Fitness Friday (update on losing the baby bulge)

Today was the first day in a few weeks that I attempted to put on a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans (skinny jeans, in fact).  And I did a little happy jig in my bedroom when they zipped up and I didn’t have an obscene muffin top.  Dare I say that I am back in my pre-pregnancy pants again?  I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my mom uniform leggings (they are so comfortable) – but I like that I now have options.

I’ve managed to squeeze in 3 runs this past week and that will be my goal going forward.  Past running injuries have taught me that I shouldn’t push myself too much too soon.  On Sunday, my first run in 8 weeks, I managed to run one of my old running routes (along the Inner Harbor in Baltimore) for 2.75 (very slow) miles in 30 minutes.  Tuesday, I ran an old hilly running route (around Patterson Park) for 3 (still slow but faster than Sunday) miles in 32:23 minutes. 

Then the weather turned to crap and I was forced indoors on Thursday.  I ran a 5k on a slight incline on a treadmill in 33:10 minutes.  I think I’ll do okay for that 6k in a couple of weeks.  Do I wish I could run a little faster?  Sure – but considering how long its been since I’ve run, I’m pretty happy with my pace.

I forgot how much I love and hate running.  I hate the moments before a run because getting motivated is difficult for me.  I hate the nausea that hits me from being out of the running game.  I hate the twinge of familiar pains that creep up on me sometimes (like my lower back and my knees).

But I love the feeling of covering distances (especially when that distance increases with each run).  I love having that alone time.  I love breathing in the outdoor air and the burn in my legs. 

While I’m sure it may seem kind of selfish that I’m taking this time to workout – I’m not apologizing for it.  I make time for these workouts and that usually means that instead of taking a nap, I’m working out.  Instead of “sleeping in”, I get up extra early.  And I do this without sacrificing any time with Annmarie.  My early morning workouts are usually done while Annmarie is still sleeping.  One of my evening runs was done while Jeremy walked Annie and the dogs around the park (and I met up with them when I was done).  My treadmill run was done while Annie got some quality time with my mom. 

I enjoy working out and I think that working out makes me a better mom to my baby.  It makes me feel grounded and sane.  I can’t wait for the weather to get nicer and for Annmarie to be big enough to sit in the jogging stroller so that I can take her on my runs.

My weight is fluctuating by 1-2 lbs each day but I like to think that the milk my body is producing accounts for like 10 lbs.  That seems reasonable, right?  :-)

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I Think I Might Be Getting Dumber

Someone asked me today if I was feeling the impacts of limited adult interaction… and I think I spewed off a non-stop ramble of everything from Billy Joel songs to trips to Michael’s craft superstore.

Am I feeling the impacts?  Yes and so is Jeremy (and anyone else that I chat with).

I can’t seem to organize any of my thoughts anymore.  I jump rapidly from topic to topic as though the conversation I’m having with someone will be my last (so I try to squeeze everything I can into 10 minutes).

I’m also forgetting things.  The other day I went shopping with a friend and when I went to checkout – I realized I left my wallet in the car!  It was so embarrassing but thankfully my friend spotted me the money.

I’ll forget why I walked into a room or I’ll forget to take something that I need with me when I leave the house.

I forget dates and appointments (thank goodness for Google calendar and notifications).

I’ve also forgotten the words to songs that I used to know.  When I sing to Annmarie – I’ll realize a few sentences into a song that I have no idea what comes next.  I’ve been substituting lyrics about the house, the dogs, food or how I have no idea what I’m talking about into songs. 

And speaking of words – I seem to be forgetting my words as well.  Yesterday I told Jeremy that I planned to run the PARAMETER of the park.  When he questioned me, I responded as though HE was the idiot and said, “I’m running the circumference, geez…” to which he replied, “You mean the PERIMETER of the park?”  Ouch. 

I can no longer carry lengthy conversations with people unless it is about poop, sleep or what’s on TV.  Even worse is the fact that while I’m rotting my brain with excessive television – I’m not watching anything related to current world events.  Who knew we intervened with Libya?  Jeremy told me (and he chatted about it as though I already knew about it).  What?  My “news” now consists of E! News, The View (I can’t believe I’m admitting that), and The Talk (that’s even worse than The View).  I watch some of the Today show in the morning but usually only manage to catch the non-newsy stuff (like Chris Brown being an idiot and the adorable baby who was frightened and then delighted by his mom’s nose blowing).

While I love adult interaction – I’m kind of dreading going back to work.  I’m more than halfway through my maternity leave and can’t imagine going back.  But I’m also afraid what not working (when all of my friends work full-time) will do to my social skills.

So – school me on some current events, people!  What am I missing?

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I’m NOT Sorry (things I’m going to stop apologizing or making excuses for)

Lately I’ve found myself constantly apologizing for things or making excuses for things related to parenthood.  And quite frankly – I’m tired of it.  A lot of it stemmed from my desire to be a laid-back parent.  A non-judgmental parent.  A simple parent.  But I’m not really any of those things outside of parenthood (I swear I’m working on the judgmental stuff though).

In chatting with some new parent friends – I have found that I’m not alone when it comes to apologizing for stuff.  So it ends today.  I am saying farewell to the following things I’ve been apologizing / making excuses for:

Asking Jeremy to do things for me or the baby. 

 In the beginning, I apologized incessantly for asking him to do some parenting duties.  I’m not sure why.  I think I just didn’t want to be one of those moms who immediately hands the baby off to her husband when he returns from work but you know what?  Sometimes I’m tired and sometimes I need a break (Jeremy has told me to stop apologizing).

Cloth diapering. 

We quasi-cloth diaper right now.  Katie was nice enough to give us 2 of her G diapers (and 2 packs of disposable inserts).  We also received 2 other sets of G diapers at one of our baby showers. 

We try to be as green as we can in our lifestyle.  Jeremy will probably tell you that I sometimes get a little crazy about it.  I’m always trying to figure out ways to reuse items (because I hate wasting stuff) or how I’ll hang onto a bottle of something because I know that I can squeeze out every ounce of product left in it.  When I hear / read about how many diapers people go through and how long it takes for them to biodegrade, I can’t help but feel guilty.  Yes, I suffer green guilt.

But people are very touchy about this topic.  I’ve gotten quite a few, “You’re not cloth diapering are you?” or “haha!  Good luck with that.”  So it has made me self-conscious about trying to cloth diaper and we’re not even full on cloth diapering! 

When people notice that Annmarie is wearing a cloth diaper, I have found myself saying, “oh – we’re just trying this out because we received some cloth diapers and disposable inserts for free.  We’re not like crazy cloth diaper people.” 

I’m stopping that right now.  Who cares if I choose to cloth diaper my child.  I’m not telling you what to do so don’t make me feel bad about my decision.  But as for our experience – it was difficult at first but now I’ve gotten into the groove and it isn’t bad at all.  Sure it takes a little more work than regular disposables (and we still use disposables – but we’re using Earth’s Best disposables) but it really isn’t that difficult.  But I say that based on my experience with the disposable (but biodegradable) inserts.  I haven’t braved the full on cloth experience yet.

My diaper bag. 

I have a Coach diaper bag.  I have this one to be exact:

The diaper bag was a gift from my mom’s best friend.  (quick side note – both my mom and her friend know that I don’t wear leather.  When she gave me this gift, she pointed out that it was canvas.  I didn’t have the heart to point out the leather straps.  Sometimes I know that it is better to bite my tongue and be gracious than to dispute a gift with a Korean lady.) 

I feel like a super yuppie carrying a fancy, overpriced diaper bag.  When people compliment it – I constantly say, “oh – it was a gift” as though I should feel bad about it.  I guess I just don’t want to be perceived as a high-maintenance mom but dammit, why am I explaining myself to strangers?  I’m stopping.

Do you find yourself apologizing for things that you really don’t need to be apologizing for?

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I’m on a Road

… to nowhere… eerr… fitness. (now try to get that Talking Heads song out of your head!)

It has been nearly 6 weeks since giving birth and I am all about getting back into shape. It didn’t help that yesterday on an outing with my mom, she pointed out that I still have a slight “belly” and that I really need to exercise. Ouch.

I’m not one to toot my own horn but I think I look pretty damn good for having given birth recently. I gained a total of 23 lbs during my pregnancy and have already dropped 18 of those lbs. 2 weeks after giving birth (when I was brave enough to step on the scale), I had dropped 12 lbs. 6 lbs have come off from breastfeeding alone. Breastfeeding burns a good chunk of calories although my insatiable appetite probably just balances it out.

But – I am a person that likes to be fit. And I’m also too cheap (and too egotistical) to buy a bigger sized pant. Right now this is my mom uniform:

(sorry for the grainy quality – I’m still trying to figure out our new point & shoot camera and the image ended up being too dark so I just increased the brightness through Photoshop).

My mom uniform consists of:

  • leggings (thank god they’re in style! I love elastic waist bands)
  • a nursing tank top (I own 5 of them and they’re all from Target)
  • a long cardigan (most of the ones I have are from Old Navy that I scored on sale recently. So I have 4 of the same cardigan in different colors plus I have some others that I’ve always had on hand)

I’m quite comfortable in my mom uniform and I don’t think I look super schlubby.

I tried on a pair of my jeans 4 weeks ago and they wouldn’t even zip up (cue some slight crying). Then I tried them on again about 2 weeks ago and they zipped up but the muffin top was criminal. I haven’t tried them on since because I don’t think my ego can handle it.

So – I’m on a road to fitness. After giving birth, you are advised not to start working out until 4-6 weeks postpartum. While I did feel pretty good after 2 weeks, I wasn’t really able to go for long walks without feeling some slight pain down south. I also missed out on the opportunity to go for lots of walks due to the crummy chilly weather (I’ve decided I’m going to try to time the next pregnancy, if we want more children, around the warmer seasons).

At the beginning of the month, my husband suggested we give P90x another go. This meant I’d be getting up at 5:15am during the work week so we could work out together. That wasn’t very appealing BUT I thought it would help me get used to getting up super early again for when I have to go back to work.

I’m not following P90x to the letter anymore. In fact, if I don’t work out with the husband, I’m not doing it on my own (so this means I’m not doing the Plyometrics or Yoga). This is mostly because I have to balance my time carefully with a napping baby, eating, showering, cleaning, etc. I’d rather not lose out on one of those things to do cardio.

Luckily, the weather has been getting warmer so I’ve been going on more walks (and this makes the dogs VERY happy as well). Since walking, I’ve dropped an additional 1-2 lbs (it fluctuates based on when I poop… and yes, I just went there).

I signed up for a 6k race in Baltimore (Port to Fort) that takes place on April 10th. I mostly signed up to support my good friend, Eludius. His 3 yr old daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia and the organization behind this race (Believe in Tomorrow) has provided some amazing support to his family. (And if you’re feeling generous, you can donate to our team here).

I am determined to RUN this race. I’ve run this race in the past and really enjoyed it. I’d like to RUN it again (and this is definitely an ego thing). But I haven’t run at all in the last 8 weeks! This weekend will be my first attempt at running and I hope I don’t die. I kept up with running jogging until I was 38 weeks pregnant! Although I was SLOW, I was able to jog for 30-35 minutes. Hopefully this means I haven’ t lost too much fitness.

And did I mention that I’m determined to fit back into my pre-pregnancy pants? So, to keep things totally open and honest on this blog – I will show you my current belly.

I know it isn’t completely flat and I recognize that I have a slight pooch… but let’s consider that I looked like this just 6 weeks ago:

(actually – that was 8 weeks ago. I can’t find a 40 week belly picture right now)

Okay – nevermind, I DID find a 40 week belly picture and this was actually taken on the night I went into labor. It isn’t necessarily a good angle for comparison but you can definitely see that my belly is HUGE. It is still weird to me to think that Annmarie was IN IT.

I think Emily sensed something big was about to happen because she was extra cuddly that night.

So – I think by blogging about this, I might actually commit to this whole fitness get back into my pre-pregnancy pants things.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

So I’m already breaking my “blog only 3 days a week on MWF” but I couldn’t resist posting this picture.

Someone pointed out on Facebook that Annmarie is quite girly… and I realized that this morning when I was trying to find something green for her to wear.  She has mostly pink stuff!  Her Aunt bought her this bib (Annie is 1/4 or less Irish on her dad’s side) and I figured this was probably one of the few times (or only time) she’ll ever wear it.

And don’t you love her G-diaper?  I’ll have to chat about that in another post.  We’re not hardcore cloth diaper people (in fact, we’re using disposable inserts) but I’m trying.

Anywho – we’ll be celebrating the holiday by sitting in our house this evening!  No green beer, green beads, green shenanigans for us today.  I am, however, looking for a simply but good Irish Soda Bread recipe.  Anybody know a good recipe?

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The first month (what I’ve learned)

Okay – I’ve decided that I need to dedicate specific days to blogging or I’ll never blog again. Today I am declaring that I will blog 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This way – I won’t let so much time pass me by (and it also makes topics a little easier).

Even though Annie is over a month old (she’ll be 6 weeks on Saturday! Holy hell – where did the time go?!), I thought I”d take a moment to reflect on the first month of being a new parent.

First – it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. While I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing (seriously – how do you “play” with a newborn?!) – I didn’t kill Annie and I never found myself feeling completely helpless or like a total failure. Annie is the first baby I’ve ever: fed, changed a diaper, held for an extended period of time, swaddled, etc. You get the idea – I wasn’t experienced in the baby department. But now I feel like I’ve gotten into the groove of caring for her.

Other things I’ve learned:

  1. Newborns aren’t totally breakable. People have commented on how Annmarie (I interchange calling her Annmarie and Annie… and I’m sure this will just confuse her for awhile) has really good neck strength for her age. I don’t feel like I always have to support her head (I still do but I don’t flip about it). I’ve also hit her head on a few things. She’s also scratched herself on my necklace and Jeremy even tripped going down the stairs (he missed the last step) while holding her. And she’s still here… alert and happy.
  2. You don’t have to jump everytime the baby cries. Jeremy still kind of jumps up immediately when Annie cries but I’ve learned that sometimes she’s just making sounds… and she does this a lot in her sleep.
  3. It is not impossible to leave the house with a newborn. While I haven’t been able to come up with many activities outside of shopping (and this is quite dangerous for our budget) – I’ve learned that it isn’t impossible to leave the house with a newborn. I still, however, get anxiety about her crying when we’re out. It actually makes me sweat. As one friend told me, “Who cares? Babies cry. People know that.” I need to relax.
  4. You need to be fast with diaper changes. You also need to wait a few minutes before changing a diaper. Just because you hear that loud poop, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have more coming. One a few occasions, she has PROJECTED poop during a diaper change (actually – it was a shart but it still shot out and off the changing table). She also likes to pee when her diaper gets changed. So – you need to have the new diaper ready or you risk getting drenched.
  5. Parents will give you unsolicited advice… ALL THE TIME. If one more person says, “oh she’s hungry” to me anytime she fusses, I will scream. Now – there are some occasions when she actually IS hungry but more often than not, she’s just fussy. My mom is VERY guilty of this and has accused me of starving my baby and being mean.
  6. Your own parents will criticize you by talking to your baby. Is this a universal thing or just a Korean mom thing? My mom LOVES to dish the criticism while talking to the baby. She’ll coo to her, “your mommy is mean” or “your mommy is stingy with her milk” or even “your mommy is freezing you”. (I’ve learned that your own parents will never think you keep your baby warm enough.)
  7. Newborns sleep A LOT. I worried that I was perhaps letting her sleep too much but I went to a sleep training discussion last night and learned that it was perfectly normal… and in fact, she may not be sleeping enough. Whoops.
  8. Just when you think you’ve got a “schedule” – you don’t. Newborns are tricky. Just because you had 2 good nights, it does not mean the third night will go as swimmingly as the others. You just have to go with the flow.
  9. Accept help when it is offered! I’m thankful for the friends that have stopped over to help (and help sometimes is just having them hold Annie while I eat dinner).
  10. Time flies so enjoy it all. I can’t believe we’re almost at 6 weeks. A lot of it is a blur and it is almost scary to think that she’s just getting older and older… and at some point she will be a teenager. Be sure to take lots of pictures (moms – be sure to get lots of pictures with YOU and the baby. I’m failing miserably at this.)

And in case you don’t look at my Flickr pics, I thought I’d share her weekly photos.

Week 1 - February 12, 2011

The tutu was courtesy of my SIL. She has 2 boys so she is loving that she can now buy girly baby clothes. And you can see that Annie HATED the tutu.

Week 2 - February 19, 2011

Week 3 - February 26, 2011

Week 4 - March 5, 2011

Week 5 - March 12 2011

I know it looks like she’s smiling in Week 5 but she’s actually about to cry. But I’m glad we captured the moment before because she looks so happy!

As for that awesome monkey? I made that. There is another mom blogger that takes weekly photos of her son with a sock monkey and I loved the idea of having a constant “prop” so you can really see the growth of the baby. I also think I’ve under-utilized my monkey.

Lastly – Annie had her first official “play date” with some other babies (it has been a baby explosion around here within the last year). At the end of the play date, the moms wanted to take a photo of all the babies together in order of age. I love this photo because you can really see the developmental differences across the age groups. Annie looks like a sad little sack…

Ages from left to right: Annie – 5 weeks, Kolton – 7 1/2 weeks, Harrison – about 6 months, Charlotte – about 8 months

(And seriously – I know I’ve said it before but I promise I won’t turn this into a complete mom/baby blog.)

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My Daughter Dines at (My) Hooters (aka I Feel Like a Cow Being Milked)

Breastfeeding. As a pregnant person or a mom – you’ll know that this is a hot topic issue with many people. I got asked by many people who have no business knowing what I do with my boobs my plans on breastfeeding. My stance the whole time was that if I was able to breastfeed, I would. However, if I had difficulty or an insufficient milk supply – I wouldn’t starve my child… I’d give her formula.

I will say that as a flat-chested gal, I worried that I’d have a lot of difficulty breastfeeding. While I realize (and this was later confirmed by a lactation consultant) that breast size has nothing to do with milk ducts (its all about breast tissue and fat) – I still just didn’t see how my itty bitties would produce anything.

After Annmarie was born, she wasn’t given to me to nurse for quite some time. The majority of women that delivery vaginally usually nurse their babies within the first few hours (or so I’m told). And the nurses generally set that up while you’re still in the delivery room. That did not happen in my case and I think it was because of my crazy distended bladder issue that was pushing my uterus to the side. It was all about emptying my bladder for awhile so I didn’t get a chance to nurse. And then I was moved to post-partum where I suspect the staff assumed I had already nursed.

So – I didn’t actually nurse Annmarie for the first 12 hours. If I went 12 hours without food, the world would know about it. I’d turn into a mega-cranky bitch. Apparently babies can go awhile without food so nobody seemed panicked.

Finally – one of the baby nurses helped me in my first attempt to nurse Annmarie (after some prodding).

I assumed it wouldn’t be THAT difficult. You suck a nipple. How hard is that? Babies have a natural suck reflex so I figured it would be easy peasy.

Holy fuck I was wrong. The nurse had me massage my breast to work out some colostrum (the weird liquid crap that comes out of your breasts for the first few days. I find it to be a cruel that a woman’s milk does not come in for the first few days after birth). I was stoked when I saw some stuff ooze out (yay! my boobs work!) but was not prepared for what happened next. I call Annmarie’s mouth the jaws of life because her initial latch (or the clamp of her gums) was so intense that it felt like someone had snapped a mousetrap on my nipple.

So apparently the suck reflex, while natural, takes some “training”. And oy – the first few sessions were incredibly painful. The nurses worked with me to change positions and help Annmarie with her latch (babies need to open their mouths really wide and take in as much of the nipple as possible) before it started to not make me want to cry. However, that initial latch? Yeah – that would continue to hurt for the next couple of weeks. One of the nurses said that the pain would stop but that I’d just have to brace myself before each nursing session.

The nurses also said that if I could tough it out for 2 weeks, it would get easier. I didn’t believe them because my nipples were SO sore. Anything touching them hurt – even water. I couldn’t imagine how this would get better. But it did. I’m 4 weeks into it and it definitely has gotten easier. But here are some things I wasn’t prepared for…

1. The scabbing. My nipples scabbed over and it was SO gross. But the lactation consultants said it was totally normal. They checked Annmarie’s latch and they said it was good so I had nothing to worry about.

2. The leaking. Holy wet shirts. My boobs leak. I used to think it was just a movie gag but I can attest to some leakage. I have woken up to wet shirts because of leaky breasts.

3. Milk coming in. I really thought that maybe I wasn’t “producing enough milk” because my boobs never felt full in the first few days. I had a few women tell me that was the feeling of when your milk comes in. Around day 3, I awoke to the HARDEST and fullest breasts ever. It looked like I had gotten breast implants. I did a little happy dance over my new breasts (I went up a cup size! wahoo!) but wasn’t prepared for the pain of engorgement. It took a few days for me to finally get my breasts back to feeling normal and squishy (and that required A LOT of nursing sessions… like every 2 hours around the clock and some pumping). But now? If I go too long without nursing, my breasts get hard. It is such a weird feeling. And they look fantastic. I have cleavage without the assistance of a bra.

4. The schedule. One of the reasons it is so difficult for me to go out for long periods of time is because I need to nurse Annmarie every few hours. But between nursing her, pumping after nursing (that’s an entirely different discussion… “building a milk supply”), getting the dogs situated… I only have like 2 hours out of the house before she starts fussing again for food.

5. My appetite. Holy shit – I thought pregnancy made me eat a lot. Pregnancy has NOTHING on the appetite of a nursing mom. I’m hungry ALL THE TIME. And I’m thirsty too. But amazingly – breastfeeding burns a ton of calories so even though I’m eating like shit, the weight is still coming off.

Some things that have saved my life during breastfeeding though (and that I highly recommend to nursing moms or those that will be nursing SOON so stock up now…):

1. Lanolin. I use Lansinoh but one of my co-workers said that she used this cream on her nipples after EVERY nursing session to prevent nipple cracking (yes – your nipples can crack! Did you just shudder?). I use this stuff religiously and haven’t had any issues with dry nipples.

2. Soothies. These are gel pads for your nipples. My SIL recommended these and they made the first 2 weeks bearable for me (and my ridiculously sensitive nipples).

3. Target’s Gilligan & O’Malley’s Nursing Tanks. I bought 5 of these tank tops and they are my uniform at home. They are so convenient for nursing and so comfortable. I highly recommend these.

I’ve invested in a lot of long cardigans since my “uniform” now consists of one of these nursing tanks and leggings. 

So that’s breastfeeding in a nutshell.  Have any questions?  I’m an open book!

(I promise to post about non-baby things at some point.  This is just my life right now!)

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