One Year Ago – January 28, 2013

Something really special happened a year ago.  On January 28, 2013 was the day that my life changed forever.  We found out I was pregnant.  What a special day!!  Now, a year later, I have a beautiful 3.5 month old daughter who is such a JOY in our lives!  Motherhood is incredible.  Eric and I are so BLESSED.

Here is our little beauty, Winter Elizabeth:

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Here we are a year ago today when I was 4 weeks pregnant:

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Breastfeeding – THEN and NOW

Breastfeeding has been a journey for us.  It started out very complicated.  There were so many unexpected twists and turns.  I wrote a post a while back explaining some of our early struggles (https://babylute2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/breastfeeding-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/feeding).  For a while I was almost exclusively pumping.  Even when I was nursing, I always had to use a nipple shield.  My best hope for where we’d end up was some sort of a pumping/breastfeeding combo.  I doubted I’d ever get to a position where I would be able to only breastfeed and not have to use bottles.

Never did I expect to get to where we are today: 100% breastfeeding AND nipple shield-free!  It feels SO AMAZING.

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Ever since the early part of December, I have been 100% breastfeeding.  Pumping all day long is a thing of the past.  It feels great to finally be there for the past month and a half.  The last piece of the puzzle was this: having to still rely on using a nipple shield to get Winter to latch.  I have been wanting to ditch the shield for a while.  It’s an inconvenience to have to rely on a prop to feed.  I have to make sure I always have one on hand, washed and ready to go.  When I nurse in public, it’s just one extra thing that makes feeding more complicated in addition to using a nursing cover.  For weeks I’ve been trying to wean Winter from the shield, doing things like removing the shield halfway through nursing.  It never worked.  She would just get frustrated and scream until I put it back on.  Then BAM–on Saturday I tried nursing without the shield and she latched perfectly!!  I was so thrilled.  She literally stopped using the shield cold turkey!  We have been successfully nipple shield-free for 6 days now!  I am SO PROUD of her!  It is such a joy to be able to breastfeed my daughter and not have to worry about using a nipple shield.  We are finally 100% natural now.

One of my friends, Bree (http://littlemissprepared.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/breastfeeding/) did a post recently about how much she loves breastfeeding.  I could TOTALLY relate to her in this post.  In the beginning, I dreaded nursing sessions.  I was tired, my nipples were infected, when I was able to nurse, I had to use a nipple shield, and I had to rely on pumping almost exclusively for a long period of time.  For a glimpse  of time, the only thing that kept me from throwing in the towel was my stubborn nature not to GIVE UP!  I knew that breastmilk was best for Winter, so I was bound and determined to keep going in hopes that “it gets better as time goes on,” as I was promised by other nursing moms.

Well, guess what?  It DID GET BETTER!  In fact, I have done a total 180 from where things were.  Instead of dreading feeding my baby, I now look forward to it!  I absolutely LOVE breastfeeding Winter.  It’s such a special time.

Let’s take a look back at where we’ve come from.  Here is a comparison of the early weeks compared to now:

THEN: Breastfeeding took 40+ minutes every 2 hours in the beginning.

NOW: Nursing sessions are every 3 hours and she is finished eating in 15-20 minutes.  She is much quicker and more efficient at the breast.

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THEN: My nipples were infected, cracked, bleeding and caused excruciating pain.

NOW: I’m fully healed and experience no pain.  Hallelujah!

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THEN: For a period of time, I was having to pump almost exclusively and feed her bottles.  I had dim hopes that I’d ever be able to fully nurse her naturally.  My goal was to move to a 50/50 breastfeeding/pumping combo.

NOW: I am 100% breastfeeding!  The only time I pump is in the mornings after her first feed to pump and store extra milk.

THEN: I had to use a nipple shield to get her to latch on.  She got confused and angry when I tried to take it away.

NOW: We have been nipple shield-free for an entire week!  It’s amazing to not need a prop.  This was the last piece of the puzzle that I wanted to resolve…and here we are today, shield not required!  It’s an amazing feeling.

THEN: I hated breastfeeding in public or around other people.  I felt self-conscious and awkward, even with a nursing cover.  Because of this, I would always pump ahead of time and give her a bottle to avoid nursing in front of others.

NOW: I fully embrace when it’s time for her to eat and I’m not a home.  I use my nursing cover and will feed her without worrying about what other people think.  Breastfeeding is completely normal, natural, and it’s perfect FINE to do in public.

THEN: I dreaded breastfeeding in the very beginning because I was so tired, in pain and didn’t like it.

NOW: I look FORWARD to when she is ready to eat.  I love the bonding experience of nursing her.

It is truly a miracle that we are in such a good position today.  I never understood moms to said they “just loveddd breastfeeding.”  I thought they were wackos!  Honestly!  But as time has gone on, problems have resolved, I now understand.  I have actually become one of those moms who “just lovesss breastfeeding!”  Who knew?!  I am so blessed and grateful that things turned around for us.  I know that I’m not the only one who has had a rough road and had to stick it out.  If you are still in a rough patch, I encourage you — DON’T GIVE UP!  It will get easier and it will get better.  It’s so worth it.

Winter’s 3 Month Update

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BABY WINTER’S MONTHLY UPDATE: 3 months old

Baby’s Age: 3 months old

Height: 23 inches

Weight: 12 pounds 7 ounces

Head: 41 cm

Here is a look back at the past few months:

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Here is Winter in her Bumbo:

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It’s amazing to see how much she changes in these month by month photos!

Milestones: Winter is such an incredible baby.  She has very great head control.  She loves looking around from side to side, taking her surroundings in.  Many people have commented how strong her head is.  She also laughed for the first time a couple of days after Christmas.  That was so much fun and so special!  She has laughed a few times since then, but we are always trying to do things to get her to laugh again. 🙂  She is really improving in neck strength from tummy time – she gets her head a little higher each week.

Sleep: Since she turned 9 weeks old, Winter has been sleeping through the night like a champ!  The only hiccup we have had was when she got her first cold this past week, she struggled to sleep well at night because of congestion, poor baby.  Now that she is better, she is back to sleeping normally.  Winter typically falls asleep about 10:00 or 10:30 pm after her last evening feeding and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 am ready to eat.  She also takes naps throughout the day.  She takes at least 2 long naps (approx. 2 hours), and many 1-1.5 hour naps throughout the daytime.

Best Moment: Hearing Winter laugh!  It was amazing, and we are always being silly to get her to laugh again 🙂

Worst Moment: Experiencing her first cold.  Though it was pretty minor — just congestion and a little cough — it was still tough to watch my baby feel sick.

Health:  Winter is growing and doing great!  I mentioned she caught her first bug, but even throughout her week of a cold, she was still very happy and pleasant.

Eating:  At this point, Winter is 100% breastfeeding.  YAY!!!!  She is doing fantastic!  She eats every 3 hours, between six and seven times per day.  I am ecstatic that our breastfeeding relationship has turned a total 180 from a couple of months ago.  It is truly amazing to be able to nurse my baby and not have to worry about pumping all of the time.

Likes: Winter loves to interact with people.  She is such a smiley girl, and she is impossible not to smile at.  She likes when you sing songs to her, read books, rock in the rocking chair.  She lovessssss to nurse!  She prefers nursing so much more than a bottle!  Winter loves her pacifier.  She loves to be either standing or sitting, never lying down.  She likes bathtime!

Dislikes: She still doesn’t like tummy time very much.  We work with her every day, but she gets fed up pretty quickly.  Hopefully she will like it eventually.  She also doesn’t like to lie down unless she is tired.  She always wants to be standing or sitting to see the world around her!  She really hates getting lotion on.  She doesn’t like using the suction bulb to remove mucous from her nose (while she had a cold).

Memories from the Past Month:

–We travelled back home for Christmas via roadtrip.  We drove 18 hours each way to Indiana.  That was a memory!  Winter did great, she slept a lot.

–Because we were home for Christmas, Winter got to spend time with her family: grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.  It was so fun to see her interact with our families.

–Our family went to an indoor water park and Winter got to go swimming for the first time!

–My brother Paul spent some time in Colorado visiting with us.  Winter really liked Uncle Paul.

How Mommy is recovering: Recovery is definitely a word I wouldn’t use anymore.  Recovery is long overwith…..  Now I am still just learning to how be a mom and adjust to my new life.  I feel like being a mom is going great.  I am feeling like I have things under control.

As far as post baby body goes, I have been (for the most part) been meeting my goals to exercise and stay within my calories.  Over the week of Christmas, exercise and calories/healthy eating were totally thrown out the window.  I’ve been back on track since, working out 5-6 days per week and eating a healthy diet.  To date, I have lost 28 pounds.  I’m still not feeling like I am in the shape I want to be in, but I know that I’m a work in progress.  I officially begin my half marathon training this week!

Photos of Winter and Our Family:

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Post Baby Body – 3 Month Update

Today marks 13 weeks since I gave birth to my daughter.  So it’s time for another post-baby body update!  It’s so hard to believe that tomorrow she turns 3 months old.  Seriously, where has the time gone???  With the Christmas and New Years holidays, it feels that this past month has flown by.  I feel that I have continued to make progress with my body since last month, despite letting loose for the week of Christmas.  To date, I have lost a total of 27 pounds (4 lbs lost since a month ago).

Here is how I’m looking now:

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Here is a comparison of this month versus last month:

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I’m seeing and feeling changes!!  I love it!  My waist is still not as small as pre-pregnancy, but I am definitely seeing it get smaller since last month.  I’m doing a lot of ab work, and they are feeling tighter and stronger.  My legs are also feeling smaller.  I guess it would be helpful if I got my tape measure out, so I could look at some real numbers.  Haha!  Maybe I’ll do that, but realistically I probably won’t.  I don’t need to be obsessing over all of those numbers.  My boobs are going down.  Though I’m breastfeeding, my boobs have definitely reduced in size, which I can admit I’m happy about…I’ve never been a fan of big boobs!  Overall, I feel tighter and my stamina and endurance are increasing.  I’m happy with my progress this month, and hope to see more next month!

EATING

My eating has been pretty healthy.  That is, if you exclude the entire week of Christmas where I stuffed my face with loads of Christmas treats and goodies.  😦  We travelled 18 hours on the road (each way) to Indiana, and from the moment we left until the moment we returned, my eating was far from nutritious.  I believe that set me back a little bit, but as soon as I got home, I got right back to working out and eating healthy.  I use MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track my daily calories.  In early December, I cut back from 2100 calories per day to 1950.  As of this week, I cut back to 1900 per day.  As long as I don’t dip below 1800 per day, it shouldn’t affect my milk supply.  I try to eat a lot of healthy foods, avoiding sweets and overly processed junk.

WORKING OUT

Over the week of Christmas, I only got one day of exercise in: running in the freezing cold on snow-covered back country roads.  Besides that week, my workouts have been very consistent!  I workout on Sunday through Fridays, averaging 6 workouts per week.  I hit the gym in the evenings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and run on my treadmill at home on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  I have focused mainly on doing lots of cardio and abdominal exercises.  I am desperate to get my small waist and strong abs back!  Unfortunately I have not done tons of weight training yet, but I am limited by how much time I have at the gym since I’m on a schedule for feeding my baby.  I need to figure out how to get more weights in my workouts!

GOALS

I have successfully lost my pregnancy pounds (plus some), but I’d still like to continue to tighten up and lose more weight.  I am starting my 1/2 marathon training next week, and I have a goal to complete that race in April with a semi-decent time (maybe even a PR!).  I have a goal to complete my training program and not slack off.  I also have a goal to feel confident in a swimsuit this summer.  A short term goal is to lose another 5 pounds by 4 months postpartum.

REALITY CHECK

It’s emotionally tough for me to look at some of the negative changes in my body, the main one being a bigger waist than I used to have.  I know with hard work, I can get my abs back, but in the meantime it’s a struggle for me.  Most of my jeans and pants are fitting me, but they still feel somewhat snug in the waistbands, making me feel self-conscious.  I finally broke down and bought a pair of nice jeans in a bigger size.  I will wear these and rejoice as they start to get looser and looser, but for now, it makes me feel better.

Here is a comparison of the day after birth versus 3 months postpartum:

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I LOVE MY SIBLINGS!

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I am one of 8 kids.  Unheard of, I know!  These days, it’s rare to find families with more than 2 or 3 kids, let alone 8!  We were able to ALL be together this Christmas for the first time in a few years.  Though it’s hard to be far away from my family, we keep in touch.  We can call, text, Skype, use social media, etc.  It was really fun to all be together for a week to celebrate Christmas together.

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All 8 of us in age order! Front to back: (Christine, Mark, Paul, Melody, me, Maggie, Luke and Jill)

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All 8 of us together.

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Doing “The Sound of Music” where they do the “coo-coo” song.  We are goofy.  Love every single one!

HERE ARE MY SIBLINGS….

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Jill is the oldest.  She is married with 4 sons and a little daughter on the way!

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Luke is 2nd born.  He is married with a son and a daughter.

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Maggie is 3rd.  She is married with 3 sons.  I’m 4th.

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Melody is 5th.  She and her husband have a little doggy.

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Paul is number 6.  He is living and working in Los Angeles.

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Mark is 7th.  He is a college student.

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Christine is number 8.  She is a college student and the “baby” of the family.

Not everyone gets to be a part of such an incredible family like mine.  I am so blessed.  To end, here is the family portrait we took with Dad, Mom, kids, spouses and children:

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