Breastmilk is liquid gold, and I’m Fort Knox

I have a mental hangup about pumping and dumping, or using my expressed milk rather than nursing.

Much of this goes back to the beginning of my breastfeeding adventure. They wanted more weight on Aidan than he was initially gaining. It turned out that I just needed to nurse him more regularly, but I got nervous about producing enough milk then, and even though he’s gained weight on track ever since, I’ve never truly felt confident in my milk supply. I have friends who get way more when they pump than I do, too, so I also judge myself against them. Because it takes a couple pumping sessions to get a full meal out to store, I’m a hoarder when it comes to actually using it.

Sometimes, my hangup starts with pumping in general. I convince myself that I’m taking milk away from the baby, so he won’t find as much there when it comes time to eat. Considering I pump right before he goes down at night, when he has a full belly and won’t eat again for at least 5 hours, this is irrational, but I can’t seem to shake it.

As far as pumping and dumping goes, I have a guilt complex that says I’m choosing booze over my baby if I drink enough that I have to pump and dump instead of nurse him. Many nights, I’ll have a glass of wine after I nurse him for the last time at night because I know it will be out of my system before it comes time to nurse him again, but I never have more than one glass because I don’t want to risk there being any booze left in me when he’s hungry again.

I haven’t had more than one glass of wine at a time since November of 2011. At some point, I should go on a big date night with my husband and get a little happy on wine. Goodness knows if I’d even make it through a second glass at this point, but I’d like to give it a shot because I have a lot of fond memories of enjoying a bottle with my husband.

I don’t know what my issue is, but I’d really like to relax about all of this.

 


We are all potty trained by high school

The blessing and curse of babies is, in the long-term, they will eventually grow up and move out (with some exceptions, of course).

Reading and hearing about milestones in the short-term is daunting. Wondering when your baby will sleep through the night, roll over, talk, walk, potty train, etc. is maddening, and it’s easy to feel behind the curve. But, I can’t recall any of my fellow high school students not being able to use the toilet.

In fact, often times when I’m preparing to make a plan because I think we’re falling behind, it happens organically the next week.

Everything now is short-term. Take breast-feeding; I plan to breast-feed for a full year, but I’ll be introducing other food at six months, and we’re already at the three-month mark, so that’s not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things.

I never thought Aidan would enjoy tummy time enough to progress, but one day he stopped fussing, and now he rolls over.

I thought he was always going to cry for the first 5 to 10 minutes in the stroller, but now it’s an easy soother.

The changes happen so quickly, and typically without my intervention. It’s a good reminder to put down the books and allow nature to do most of the work. Besides, what new mom has time to read a book? Most of my parenting books have so much filler I find myself wishing for cliff’s notes.

My husband’s Aunt Sheri gave me some great advice at my shower. She said you spend the first year trying to get them to walk and talk, and the next 17 trying to get them to sit down and shut up.

One day this little boy who wants his mommy to hold him all the time will be an independent little bugger like his parents, so I better get in my cuddles in while Mommy is still the coolest.


Newborn Baby Must-Haves

Finding out you’re expecting can induce an Exorcist head-spin on its own, but trying to differentiate between what you actually need for the baby and what’s just overkill is anxiety-inducing at it’s finest. Lots of fabulous friends helped steer me toward must-haves, so I thought I’d return the favor by sharing what we could not have lived without over these first couple of months.

I haven’t included linens, clothes or diapers because those are so personal, but you definitely don’t want to forget those…

Feel free to comment with your own must-haves for all to see!

Wubbanub – pacifier with a stuffed animal attached

Play yard with bassinet and changing table – seriously, you can use this instead of a crib

Boppy Newborn Lounger – this is not a nursing pillow. See below for that.

Miracle Blanket – #1 swaddler

Tummy time mat with pillow and mirror  – the pillow makes it more comfortable, and they love mirrors.

My Brestfriend nursing pillow – more stable and supportive than the boppy.

Humpty Who – because we don’t all remember how the nursery rhymes go.

Happiest Baby on the Block – the 5 s’s are amazing for soothing baby. We just read the book, but there is also a website for classes, dvds, etc.

Mesh Baby Bath – baby is secure, in a bit of water, and not slipping on plastic.

Mittens – nail clipping is a bit scary, and these will minimizes scratches… plus they look like little boxing gloves, which is really cute.

Double-electric pump – invest in a mid-range double to be efficient.

Hands-free pumping bra – looks hilarious (I made fun of it at first, but then sent family out to grab one up for me.), but is a must-have.

Car-seat, stroller system

Diaper bag with changing cloth, stroller straps and wet bag


Exercise while pregnant

Pregnant and tired? It’s no wonder. While pregnant, your body is in a constant state of low-level exercise, even while you’re at rest. While this information should be considered when choosing the appropriate fitness demands during gestation, it does not mean that you should cease to exercise and eat whatever you want while you’re pregnant. (Sorry to burst your bubble.)

For a long time, pregnancy women were thought of as weak and fragile state. Anyone who knows what labor is should throw the words “weak” and “fragile” out the window for fear of appearing an idiot and being drop-kicked by the nearest mama-bear. In reality, while everyone else is just sitting there, you’re making another human. Walk your badass self outside and throw a truck or something.

Potential benefits of a moderate-intensity fitness regime while pregnant far outweigh the risks, but there is no one-size-fits-all program since each person is at a different level of fitness prior to becoming pregnant.

There is only one major difference between what I ask of a normal client vs a pregnant client. I ask normal clients to push-through pain and give more than their bodies naturally would. Pushing through goes out the window once a client is training for two. You don’t have to scale back drastically, but you should consider what I said at the start about your body being in a constant state of low-level exercise. Put on the brakes at moderate, rather than advanced intensity.

Another consideration is that of your joints. With high relaxin and progesterone levels coursing through your body, your joints are softer, and at greater risk of injury that you might not be aware of until they harden back up postpartum. There are enough exercise options that do not impact your joints that I recommend swapping out plyometrics and running for safer choices. To be clear, I do not draw a hard-line on this since you aren’t going to “shake the baby loose” or some other silly, mythical danger. The issue is that you are carrying more weight on less stable joints.

Speaking of joint stability, a great way to support your joints is to continue resistance training. In addition to supporting your joints, resistance training will keep your lean muscle mass up and help you manage your weight both antepartum and postpartum, and you’ll also need those muscles so you can carry around your bundle of joy. The only concern here is to avoid straining, which goes back to my main piece of advice about not pushing through.

Finally, whether you plan to exercise or not during your pregnancy, I ask that you remain aware of your posture. Extra weight is pulling your body unnaturally and, combined with softer joints, it can lead to discomfort during and after pregnancy. Take care to keep your shoulders back, hold your head high – not forward, and don’t over-arch your back even as your belly works to pull it forward. You’re growing a person. Walk with pride!

Respect your body, listen to your body, and continue to take care of your body as you normally would, and as you hope your child will when it’s up to him/her. It’s no longer only about shaping you. You’re shaping another person, and that person is counting on you. No pressure.


25 weeks pregnant; kicking from the inside out

Pregnancy involves a lot of adapting, and some hard lessons learned. 

Two weeks ago, I suffered a fainting spell and went to the ER. It sounds more dramatic than it turned out to be. The lesson learned was not to start my day with too many carbs (even the sugars in fruit can contribute) and not enough protein and water. I also learned to stand up more slowly to allow my increased blood volume to properly adjust.

The funniest part of my hospital visit was that “Hawaii 5-o” was filming at the Tripler ER that morning, so we pulled up to several blood-soaked patients, who were actually just actors. Someone on set actually shushed an EMT and I’m pretty sure I saw steam come out my husband’s ears. I may not have been covered in blood, but I was the only true patient.

Another funny tidbit from that morning was how I kept having to repeat that I’d had cookies and fruit for breakfast. Yep, the personal trainer who is all about health and nutrition had given in to sugar cravings only to have to repeat them about five times. My husband was snickering in the corner. I suspect he paid extra people to ask what I had eaten.

While at the hospital, they also monitored AJ (the boy who lives in my belly) to make sure he had everything he needed. He quickly proved he was fine by boxing the monitors they put on my belly. We could actually see them moving with each strike, and my insides were raw by the end of it. My little show-off. I was proud.

Fainting spells aren’t actually dangerous for babies. The whole reason I was depleted was because my body was prioritizing the baby, making sure he got everything he needed first. (Hey, the baby needs blood. Great, lets take it from mom’s brain.)

In other news, our household goods will arrive tomorrow. Although I’m impressed at how well the air mattress we’ve been sleeping on has held out, I’m definitely ready to get back to sleeping on our real bed. I’m equally excited for our couch and TV. Next week, we’ll have cable for the first time in 2 years. My husband will be away when that happens, so I think it’s only fair that I take it in for both of us by parking it in front of the ole picture box for a marathon run of whatever is on.

Fitness, nutrition and preparation at 25 weeks:

I’m 25 weeks today, and I’m still active. I walk 18 miles each week (2.6/day), and I mix up other activities for my upper body. I’ve gone kayaking, enjoy swimming, and am still good about pushups, tricep dips, planks and back exercises.

For someone like me, use to pushing herself, it’s hard to learn to err on the side of caution and slow down. Also, whereas I use to monitor and restrict my diet, now it’s “when in doubt… eat.”

As I type, I’m eating an oatmeal, blueberry and walnut muffin. The 3rd trimester is right around the corner, and that is when it’s most crucial to get a ton of DHA/omega-3 – i.e. brain food for baby (NO PRESSURE!). These muffins cover a lot of nutritional ground with banana, blueberries, oatmeal, almond meal, walnuts, eggs, and coconut spread in place of butter. I would share the recipe, but I didn’t use measurements.

Each day I do a bit of a nutritional checklist to make sure I’ve covered my good fats, greens, grains, vitamins, etc. My prenatal vitamins cover a lot of ground for me, but it’s always best to get what your body needs straight from the source.

To further help prepare us for AJ, we have hired a doula and are all set to take a CPR refresher course.

Learn from my lessons:

Whether you’re pregnant or not, a daily nutritional checklist is a good idea. Your skin (outward appearance) and your brain (inner prowess) will seriously benefit from omega-3, tons of water, and vitamin C. You won’t faint without them, but they’re still important.


Walking for Baby: Training for Labor

I know my site is called, “Running for Pizza,” but, now, a more appropriate title would be “Walking for Baby.”

I am almost 18 weeks pregnant and living in Hawaii as our adventure continues.

Let’s talk pregnancy fitness.

Before taking on a triathlon, marathon, or any other major physical endeavor, you have to train, right? Well, having a baby is one of the most intense physical challenges I can imagine. Thus the name, “labor.” If it was called “blissful baby introduction,” you could prepare by sitting on your rear drinking milkshakes, but that’s simply not the case.

Pregnancy is not a good time to stop all exercise and eat your face off. 

Exercising during pregnancy can lead to shorter, easier labor and faster recovery. Do you really need more reasons?

What I’m not doing:

  • I’m not trying to prove how amazingly fit, strong and perfect I can be while growing a baby. I don’t want to be superwoman, I just want to be healthy and set baby and I up for success now and later.
  • I’m not eating for two. The second person, the one growing inside of me (How cool is that?!) is much smaller than me, so I only actually require about 300 more calories/day + enough to supplement exercise. If I were to eat for two, I would end up looking like two of me after the baby. Nothing tastes good enough to make that worth it.

What I am doing:

I have stopped running and plyometrics simply to remove joint impact. These exercises won’t hurt your baby, but, as your body releases relaxin to help your joints expand to make room for baby, you are at a greater risk of injury that you might not fully comprehend until after baby.

I miss running like I miss wine. It was part of my daily meditation, and walking feels like it takes forever to cover any kind of distance. Having said that, I sure do feel good.

My current, daily routine involves walks of 2. 75 miles, 25 regular pushups, 25 tricep pushups or dips, 50 hip raises, 50 pelvic tilts, 50 straight-leg crunches, 30-second side planks, 1-minute center plank, and either rows, rear flies or shoulder rolls with a blade squeeze for my upper back. Since arriving in Hawaii, I haven’t set for in a gym (that all changes this Friday), so all of these exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home. No excuses.

A few rules of thumb for pregnancy exercises:

  • If you were doing it before you were pregnant, you can do it while you’re pregnant, just listen to your body.
  • Avoid straining, or any activity that leaves you breathless/unable to speak a full sentence clearly.
  • Something is better than nothing.
  • If you feel too exhausted to exercise, take the hint and sit one out, but remember that a little exercise will help your energy stores overall.
  • Eat a snack before you exercise, and increase your calorie intake based on your exercise expenditures.
  • After 20 weeks, stop performing exercises that require you to lay on your back. Reach out to me for modifications.

This is my first shot at being a pregnant person, but I’m grateful for my additional pre- and post-natal studies and certification, and for my pre-existing knowledge on nutrition and exercise. Getting pregnant is as much about your body being in the right condition to create and support a baby as it is about the actual act of making a baby. A healthy baby starts with a healthy mommy. If you don’t want to do it for you, now you’ve got a much bigger reason to take great care of yourself!