Bumpdate #2

I had big intentions of posting bumpdates throughout this pregnancy to track my journey. Then life happened, and I here I am nearing the finish line with my last update given at 15 weeks. Oops!! I decided to focus this update on responding to questions I often get on this pregnancy. I have lots of fun posts written on motherhood, family travel, food, etc. and I’m really hoping to get better at posting and sharing them, along with posts as we navigate life with Baby J 2.0. Happy Reading!

(From left to right: 24 weeks, 30 weeks, 36 weeks)

How far along am I?

36 weeks and 2 days. My water broke at 38 weeks 6 days with Charlie, so I’m so curious to see what will happen this time!

Do we know the gender/name? What’s our guess?

We decided not to find out the gender when we were pregnant with Charlotte, and we are doing the same this time. It’s the ultimate surprise, and one of the very few things in life we can be truly surprised with. We have loved having a little girl, and would be ecstatic with another, but we’d also be thrilled to have a little boy! As we near the end this second time around, with our gender neutral baby clothes washed and folded, I am SO eager to find out!! If I had to guess, I would say boy, just because of the differences in this pregnancy.

As far as names, just like last time, we have a list of 4 or 5 serious contenders on each side and plan to pick one once we meet our little guy or gal!

How am I feeling?

The first trimester was full of nausea, sickness and major food aversions. It was quite different than my experience with Charlie! After the first trimester, I felt WAY better, just still pretty tired. Since then, my only major issue has been my lower back /sciatica pain similar to my first pregnancy but more intense. I’ve focused on chiropractor visits, massage and stretching to keep myself mobile. As we near the finish line, my days are dominated by Braxton Hicks contractions and cramping. I know these are great signs that my body is preparing for the real deal, but boy are they uncomfortable! I’ve been fortunate to otherwise be in good health with no swelling or blood pressure issues up to this point.

What are my cravings? What am I eating? How do we eat healthy as a family?

For the first couple months after finding out, it was extremely challenging to find things that sounded appealing. The only thing that sounded remotely appetizing for breakfast was gluten free bagels and cream cheese. Once I got to the 2nd trimester, I was back to feeling much more adventurous with my appetite. I try to focus on fueling my body with nourishing, healthy food but also don’t deprive myself of treats (gf Mac n cheese, pizza, dessert) because I know balance is key! The key to eating healthy is preparation, preparation, preparation! I seriously cannot stress this enough. Take advantage of weeks to plan, shop, and prep food. It makes pulling together healthy meals even easier than picking up carry out.

Now I’m starting to shift to planning to fuel my body for breastfeeding! I can’t wait to make tons of my lactation energy balls!

What exercises am I doing/do I recommend?

Confession: I have been able to work out wayyyy less than with my first pregnancy. The combination of chasing around a toddler and dealing with my back hasn’t left much time for exercise. However, I did do Good for the Swole’s prenatal workout plan and love how easy those workouts are for a busy mama. They’re also safe for postpartum so I plan to follow her workouts then as well! As always, talk with your doctor before starting any new exercises, but I can’t recommend Becky’s workouts enough. Also, do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram (@goodfortheswole). She’s the cutest and so motivational in many ways.

I will say, even with eating well and staying fairly active, I once again gained more weight than I expected to and more than is technically recommended. I think it just goes to show that your body will expand and gain exactly the right amount to grow your unique baby.

The Countdown is on!

That’s all I have for now. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If there are any topics you’d like to see me post on pregnancy/newborns/motherhood, please let me know!

Have a great weekend!!!

Xoxo,

Mackenzie

A Working Mama’s Guide to Pumping

I am very behind in writing this post because I finished pumping at work last October – shortly after my little lady turned one. I pumped at work for over nine months after my maternity leave, so I know firsthand that pumping at work (and breastfeeding in general) can be super daunting. I wanted to share any advice I could….. better late than never, right?

My Experience

Overall, we had a pretty smooth breastfeeding experience together. There were clogged ducts, supply fluctuation, mastitis, eliminating dairy for eight months and biting (UGH!), but I honestly wouldn’t have traded any of it knowing that we were able to make it to over a year exclusively nursing. Charlotte is in full-time daycare, so for her first year, I had to provide enough milk for her for the 8-9 hours we were apart. This amount varied greatly as she grew and we incorporated solids with baby led weaning. I started super conservatively to make sure I maintained a good supply and had plenty of milk for her. I would pump at home after our morning nursing session as a “bonus pump” and then I would pump as many times as she needed bottles. So in the beginning, I had three sessions a day at work, and gradually moved to two pumps and the last month was down to one pump as we had a freezer stash to use and I wanted to ease into weaning from pumping. Just like everything with motherhood, there are so many ways to go about pumping, but here are my tips for success:

Knowledge is Power

I think part of the scary part about pumping at work is the unknown. Therefore, even when you are still pregnant, take the opportunity to learn about your company’s policies, facilities, etc. Talk to your boss (if you are comfortable doing so), your HR representative, or even other moms who you know are currently pumping or have pumped at your office. Ask their experiences and any company-specific tips they may have. While I was super lucky with a nice dedicated nursing mothers room, I fully realize that not every employer or work situation is as supportive. Therefore, it is important to know your rights as a pumping mama. Look up your state laws and those laws specific to your industry/company size, to empower yourself to get the treatment you deserve. The more research you do ahead of time, the more you can adapt to your situation or even influence change and improvement.

Get a Good Pump

It is SO important to have a good pump to do the job. I was really pleased with my Medela Freestyle because it is battery operated and allowed me tons of flexibility. In the early months, I could pump with it clipped on me as I walked around the house, so I could multitask and get ready and pump. It also allows you to pump in the car without an adapter, which for mamas with a commute, can be a huge timesaver as well! Look into your health insurance and see what options they provide. My insurance covered certain models, and the Freestyle was a slight upcharge, but it has been well worth it. I have been eyeing the new Willow pump for the next baby, but it isn’t covered by insurance and is almost $500 and the bags are $$$ too. I am hoping that by the end of the year it gets covered by insurance. (A girl can dream, right?)

Organize

Pack your bag ahead of time – especially the first few weeks. There are a lot of little parts and items that need to be packed. Add those in along with my other recommendations below, your regular work supplies, and getting your baby ready and packed, all of a sudden it can get overwhelming. I recommend packing yourself up the night before so you ensure that you don’t forget anything!

Look at that Cute Baby!!

I’m not sure of the exact science, but I have always been told that viewing your baby while pumping can help with your letdown and output. It also can just help make mundane pumping a little more pleasant. I always liked to scroll through photos of Charlotte on my phone or watch cute videos to help with my pumping and to just make me smile 🙂 I also tried to have reading material (like this book or this one) to help pass the time.
Pack Snacks & Hydration

If you are already nursing, you know how hungry and thirsty it makes you! It is also SO important to consume plenty of good calories and drink tons of water to help with milk production. I would always pack healthy easy snacks (These delicious lactation energy balls, RX Bars, LaraBars, fresh fruit, almonds) and bring my giant water bottle with me to ensure I was taking care of myself.

Refrigerate Parts

I read this a bunch when I was researching pumping before starting, and it was such a great tip. Instead of having to take time after you pump to wash your parts each session, you can just refrigerate parts in between sessions which keeps them sanitary. Then you can take them home and wash them at night (see my tip on this below!) I got a Tupperware container that fit everything that I just washed each night with my parts. These wet/dry bags would also work great too.

Double Up

Even with refrigerating your parts, when you are going through up to four pumping sessions a day, it is hard to constantly have a clean set. For this reason, I highly recommend getting two sets of parts for your pump. It really frees you up if you run out of time to clean a set one night, or if a part unexpectedly breaks or gets lost.

Enlist your Spouse

Unfortunately, due to the nature of nursing, 99% of the burden gets placed on the mama. Thankfully, there are ways that your spouse can support you. Mostly, I encourage emotional support for all the ups and downs of nursing. But a spouse can also offer tangible support by taking the majority of the cleaning of parts and bottles each night. I was SO appreciative whenever my husband stepped in and did this, and before long, he was cleaning everything more often than not. He was also familiar with the parts and knew to pack everything I needed.

Have Perspective

I am not going to lie: sometimes pumping… in a windowless room… when your day is crazy busy, just plain sucks. Add in all the other struggles of motherhood and nursing and it can be overwhelming. There is no way to sugar coat it. There is nothing glamorous about having your body hooked up to a machine. But that is not really productive thinking. Rather, try to remember the GIFT you are giving your baby by producing milk for him/her. Remember the tons of mamas who would LOVE to be pumping right now, whether they have lost a baby, struggle to have a baby, or are not physically able to nurse or pump. I would always try to reframe my perspective when I would be in a funk.

You’ve got this!

Now that I’m a bit removed from my first pumping journey, it is pretty crazy as I look back on everything I went through. From the scary, unknown in the beginning, to having fully weaned. At times it was painful, stressful and exhausting, but at the same time so very rewarding that with pumping, I was able to exclusively breastfeed my sweet girl for over a year. I am now so hopeful that Baby J #2 and I can have a similar experience!

If you have any questions at all about pumping at work, comment or shoot me a message, I would love to support you!! But at the end of the day, if pumping or nursing isn’t going well for you, that is okay too. Give yourself grace and figure out what works best for your fam.

Prime Day!

First of all, if you don’t have Amazon Prime, what are you waiting for? I honestly don’t know what I did before Prime. It is so nice with our hectic lives to just get things delivered in two days, let alone the subscribe & save discounts on diapers, snacks, etc. We also love Prime Video! Click here for a free Prime trial to enjoy Prime Day and all of our other favorite benefits.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: Amazon totally dropped the ball on having their site working today. So, *if* you are able to get through to Amazon, I wanted to share some of my favorite Prime Day specials.  If you click through on any of my links, I may receive a small commission, so thanks in advance for your support 🙂

Before I launch into today’s deals, I wanted to share about our new bedsheets. I came across these sheets from another Instagrammer and they. are. amazing. The best part is they are only $25!!! They have a zillion great reviews on Amazon, and so far we have loved them!!

Okay, here are some 2018 Prime Day Deals!

For the Home:

Instant Pot:If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet (what are you waiting for!?) you can get the exact Instant Pot I use for under $60. By far the best price I’ve ever seen, even with Black Friday.

Yi Home dome wifi camera: This is the camera we use as a monitor when we travel. It is super easy to set up and use. And crazy affordable too at under $30!!

For the Littles:

Munchkin 360 Cup: We pretty much exclusively use these cup and the Munchkin weighted straw cup

Melissa & Doug toys: So many options of this great brand of wooden toys are 30%+ off. Like this cookie making set Charlie loves is just over $11!

Chicco Key fit 30:This is the infant carseat we used for Charlie and will use for Baby #2. They also have great deals on convertible carsears (Britax Marathon click tight, Chicco Next fit and Maxi Cosi 85)

Carseat Travel Bag:   These are very reasonable so its okay if they get torn up during travel. They are also huge so you can dump in quite a bit (your carseat or stroller and them some diapers, etc.)

For You:

RXbar:  Most flavors are Whole30 / Paleo. They are having 30% Amazon’s already good prices on tons of grocery.  Making the RXBars only $1.25 each!

Larabar:  Most flavors are Whole30/ Paleo. They are having 30% Amazon’s already good prices on tons of grocery.

NutPods: These are a Whole 30 / Paleo creamer option!! I usually drink my coffee black but these were a fun treat when I was doing the January Whole 30. They have some regular flavors and a variety pack on lightening deal!

Garmin Vivoactive HR: I think this is the newer version of my Garmin Vivoactive (I have the 2015 model). I love it for tracking running and other workouts.  It’s only $124.99 for Prime Day! And they have other Garmin’s on sale as well.

I will continue to update this as more deals come up. Happy Shopping!!

 

Bumpdate #1

I’m hoping to post updates every few weeks of how the pregnancy is going. I want to be open and share my experiences, and I also want to use this as a journal to remember the pregnancy. Pregnancy (and even once the baby arrives) literally FLIES by, and without writing things down, everything blends together and it’s impossible to remember how things were at certain points in time. Here is my first update, which encompasses everything about this pregnancy so far!

HOW FAR ALONG: 15 weeks!

HOW WE FOUND OUT: We always knew that (God willing) we wanted multiple kids. So, right around Charlotte’s first birthday, we started more seriously talking about expanding our family. With Charlotte, we were so fortunate to conceive quickly, but I know each pregnancy can be different. So towards the end of last year, we decided we were ready to try for #2! Fast forward to the first week of February, and I woke up early the morning I knew I could first take a pregnancy test (and expect to get a positive result). Tim was sleeping, so I snuck into the bathroom and took the test. The second pink line came back pretty quickly and I was SO excited. It was still so early in the morning though, so I went and laid back in bed and tried not to wake Tim because I had a plan! I could barely stand the excitement and nerves while lying there. The anticipation was killing me!

TELLING TIM: A couple months earlier, when Tim was out of town, I had bought a big sister shirt for Charlotte, just hoping that I would get to use it soon. So that morning, I laid in bed waiting for Charlotte to wake up to put her new shirt on her 🙂 When she woke up, I popped out of bed and got her dressed. We came back in after she was dressed and woke up Tim. He almost instantly realized her shirt was new and read it out loud. I think it took a minute for him to process, but he was pretty darn excited! It’s funny that something we were planning for and wanting so badly, can still come as such a shock! It was still so early, but we were so grateful we had another blessing growing inside me.

TELLING FAMILY: I had originally planned to share our news really early. I feel so strongly that each baby is such a gift, that I didn’t want to wait the normal 12 weeks to share the news. After all, each baby is His and not ours, so we really never know what will happen with our sweet babies – we need to just celebrate every moment of every life!! But, in this case, real life got in the way of sharing our news. We of course wanted to tell our parents first. We live close to my parents and were getting dinner with them that next week for my Mom’s birthday, so we shared the news then. Let’s be honest, they would have known instantly when we went to dinner (post-Whole30) and I wasn’t up for wine with my Dad 🙂 I loved telling my parents to have them for support and prayers in those early weeks. We then worked to plan on telling Tim’s parents. They live in a different state, so we were trying to figure out when we might see them in person next. Time passed, and we kept our little baby a secret until we could figure out when to tell them. In March, it became apparent that we wouldn’t see them until Easter weekend, so we decided to tell them over Skype with Charlie and her special t-shirt. It was fun watching them realize what was happening. Even though we didn’t get to tell them in person, it was still really special and was exciting to share our news.

We then went about telling our siblings, and due to some traveling and schedules, we finally got to tell Tim’s brother Easter weekend. After that, we’ve been free to scream our news from the rooftops. It has been so fun telling everyone we love about our growing family.

GENDER: We decided not to find out the gender when we were pregnant with Charlotte, and we are going to do the same this time. It’s the ultimate surprise, and one of the very few things in life we can be truly surprised with. We cannot wait for October to find out if Charlotte will have a baby brother or sister <3

SICKNESS: The first trimester was full of nausea, sickness and major food aversions. It was quite different than my experience with Charlie’s pregnancy! I was always very tired during that first trimester, but getting physically ill was a new experience for me. I also struggled with a lot of fainting/dizziness, I think because it was so hard to get nourishment in the mornings. I am still working through that, but have tried to get hydration and food asap after waking up! The last couple weeks have been a HUGE improvement, and I can’t wait for that second trimester energy to kick in any day now….(fingers crossed!)

CRAVINGS: For the first couple months after finding out, it was extremely challenging to find things that sounded appealing. After just completing a January Whole30, I had gone 30 days with no baked goods or processed carbs. That was not going to last for the first trimester. The only thing that sounded remotely appetizing for breakfast was gluten free bagels and cream cheese. I went through a lot of them. I also became obsessed with gluten free avocado sushi + tamari (gluten free soy sauce) from a local thai restaurant. I went through a few weeks where I would get it multiple times a week for lunch because it was the only thing that sounded good. Now that I am getting my full appetite back, I am back to a mostly well rounded diet, but I think the avocado sushi is here to stay. We even got this amazing sushi making kit off Amazon and have had great luck already making it home.

AVERSIONS: Chicken, most healthy things. It was just so hard to find things that sounded good when it came to meal time. Tim was a trouper dealing with me changing my mind all the time about what I wanted him to make or pick up. Thankfully, I am back to wanting more of the clean pre-pregnancy food we used to eat regularly.

PHYSICAL CHANGES: I am still in that phase where it just looks like I’ve eaten too much, rather than a cute bump. BUT, it is definitely true what they say about showing earlier with the second baby and I am so excited to grow. Last pregnancy, I was self-conscious about how big my belly got and the amount of weight I gained, even though I was working out and conscious about what I was eating. I just seemed to keep getting HUGE. (And it doesn’t help that so many people want to comment on your body when pregnant….) But then, seeing the amazing miracle of birth and a new baby put everything into perspective. I also got to see the benefits of the efforts I made during pregnancy as most of the weight and belly disappeared right away. Armed with this knowledge, I am trying not to care at all about my size this pregnancy – bring on that belly! I know that I will gain and grow the exact amount my baby needs.

EXERCISE: I had committed to running the Indianapolis Mini (half) Marathon in early May. I had a deferral registration after I hurt my leg last year during training. I made it through the first four weeks of training in January/February before the sickness and fainting of the first trimester got the best of me. I decided to switch to the 5k for that race, a much more attainable distance. Now that I am feeling better, I also purchase Good for the Swole’s prenatal workout plan. I just know how much staying active helped last time with pregnancy, labor/delivery and postpartum recovery, so I am eager to get back on track now.

That’s all I have for now. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Now that I am feeling better, with a little more energy, I will try to post more frequently on the blog – including more frequent pregnancy updates. If there are any topics you’d like to see my post on, please let me know!

Have a great weekend!!!

Xoxo,

Mackenzie