Momversation Monday: Pumping, etc.

So far, the transition to motherhood has been fairly easy. I sort of knew what to expect (being really close to my sister and brother as well as my five nieces) and I was the most fearful about sleep deprivation but so far, Zoe is a pretty good sleeper. I realize this can change whenever and when she starts teething (which I think is coming soon) we might go through another rough patch.

If you aren’t interested in knowing about my milk supply or pumping situation, please stop back later this week and I’ll have a tasty recipe for you.

Something I wasn’t at all prepared for was the dip in my milk supply when Zoe started sleeping longer stretches and again when I returned to work. Everyone is different, so if new moms are reading please realize you may never experience any of these issues. I’m actually proud of myself for being as on top of the situation as I was and continue to be, because it isn’t really my style. While I’m impatient, I’m also lazy when it comes to doctor/health stuff and usually let my body figure things out. I noticed (more intuition than anything) I was pumping less and less at my regular evening pump session that I was using to build a freezer supply when I returned to work. I had read that a lot of times it can take a few weeks for your body to get used to the transition from nursing exclusively to pumping and nursing, so I wanted to be prepared and less stressed.

I called the lactation consultants and went through what was going on and my concerns and they recommended that I start drinking mother’s milk tea and taking the herbal supplement Fenugreek. (Side note: A side effect from the herb is smelling like syrup…not kidding) I had read about the supplement already but waited until I had spoken with my local lactation consultant before taking the supplements. Most women noticed a dramatic increase in their milk supply within 48 hours, I noticed a slight increase but nothing to write home about.

Once I returned to work and we were still tracking home much she ate versus how much I pumped, my intuitions were confirmed (and fears made reality) I wasn’t producing with the pump what I needed in order to sustain her. It is an awful, helpless feeling not being able to produce enough to feed your beautiful baby but I tried to stay relaxed about the situation and hope that things would figure themselves out with a little bit of time.

At this time, the lactation consultant also recommended I try an additional herbal supplement called Mother’s milk. This is a blend, that I found at Whole foods (or can be found on iHerb as well). I also emailed a fellow blogger who also struggled with her supply levels and blogged about it. I can’t thank Heather enough for her helpful emails which walked me through everything she tried. Without her, I would never have known that there were prescriptions available to try that have helped some women increase their supply.

The first month back to work, I drank tea religiously and took my supplements daily. I did my very best to pump at the same times every day (2-3 during the day, once at night) and my supply was still decreasing. I remember coming home one evening after forgetting my pump parts (I should have been dying) to my starving daughter and I wasn’t able to let down and hadn’t produced enough to feed her. I cried and then feed her a bottle for the first time. The freezer stock was gone, so we started supplementing with formula. I wasn’t at all against using formula but I did want to continue nursing for as long as possible, I wanted to see what other options the lactation consultant would recommend.

After one full month of trying everything the lactation consultant had recommended, I called back to see what other options I had. I also mentioned that I had heard prescriptions might be an options and that I wanted more information. Can I just say, I haven’t met a lactation consultant that I didn’t want to hug? They are so warm, understanding, encouraging, helpful and knowledgeable. Love them. Right away, they discussed the prescription as a viable option given my health history and I started almost immediately.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been taking the medication for just shy of a month and it has made all the difference. I don’t like being on the drug….or its side effects (so drowsy and weird dreams and gas) but it has double my milk supply easily, so I’ll take it. We still have to supplement a meal here and there with formula but it is much less than a month ago. I’m hoping I won’t be the small percentage that will need to continue taking the prescription once I’ve gone through this course of “treatment” but we will see.

If you have additional questions please feel free to email me at leanneehughes at gmail dot com.

I know this post isn’t typical but Heather’s post and support (and the lactation consultants) helped me through this rough patch and if this post can provide knowledge or support to another person, then I would consider it a success.

New mom (who plan to return to work) recommendations
– Start pumping early (I started week 3)
– Build up a freezer supply early on, so you have stock and peace of mind.
– Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…it matters.
– Utilize a lactation consultant if you have ANY questions. (big or small, that’s what they are there for)
– Pump at the same times each day when you’ve returned
– Relax, don’t stress if you noticed a dip in your supply when you return. This is common and typically balances out once your body adjusts to the new norm.
– Try and pump every 3 hours during your work day. (I can never do this due to meetings but I try)
– Once your baby is sleeping longer stretches, pump in the evening before bed.

Zoe’s Birth Story – Part 1

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while and I realize it is coming nearly 5 months late however, I would like to have a recount of my thoughts and feelings to share with Zoe someday.

We spent our last Saturday as a couple sans baby celebrating the union of one of my college roommates. Congrats Megs and Brent!! We boogied on the dance floor, made silly faces in the photo booth and I ate both kinds of the cupcakes. But we didn’t stop there, after the wedding fun start to wind down, we head to a with my college roommate Ashley and husband. It was the perfect last night as a couple.

With all of my college roommates in town for the weekend, I wanted to spend as much time with all of them as possible and made plans to meet Heather and her fiance Tom at the Union for an ice cream/coffee date on Sunday (June 4th) afternoon.

June 4th happened to be a rather warm and I was feeling brave, so I set out to the pool to visit EJ and take a dip to cool off. I remember mentioning to EJ that I was feeling a little different but that it was probably just my body naturally getting ready.

I’ll back up for a second to let you know that my official due date was June 7th, however I wanted to hold the baby in until atleast June 9th and then I wanted it out. That was EJ’s last year of the school year and logistically it would have made our life alot easier if the baby was born after June 9th. Not to mention that one of my client’s campaigns was launching on June 6th and I wanted desperately to be able to launch all of my tactics myself.

Okay back to June 5th. After the pool, I showered and got on my way to meet Heather. As I parking the car (getting out of the car) I felt fluid, but I honestly thought that I might have peed my pants. Don’t judge until you’ve been 10 months pregnant, anything is possible at that point in pregnancy. It was one of those moments in life when you have a fairly in-depth conversation with yourself. I’m was telling myself that it couldn’t be my water breaking bc only 30% of women’s water actually break to start labor. It couldn’t be my water breaking bc I had work tomorrow……bc it would feel more like a gush of water (sorry dudes)…..lots of talking myself out of what I sort of already knew at this point.

A quick trip to the bathroom confirmed what I had been hoping was just nothing…..not nothing. This was it…..labor was imminent, however EJ was in the middle of a soccer field without his cell phone.

Fall Happenings

EJ and I have a yearly Fall tradition. Each Fall we make the drive to Ski-Hi Fruit Farm and pick up some of their delicious apples, pie and cider. This year it was extra special because Z got to join our family tradition and I knew that I would be making her baby food with some of the loot.

When we got back I got straight to work on something special for the adults and for Z. I saw a friend post a recipe on FB for a crockpot applesauce and I made a few adjustments. I’m not sure where it came from…so I can’t given the source credit.

Easy Peasy Crockpot Applesauce

6-8 apples (diced with skin on)
1.5 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar

4 ingredients? Yes, please. Evenly coat the apples with the cinnamon, lemon juice and sugar then turn the crockpot on high for the first two hours, then on low for the next 30-60 minutes. After the first two hours I used a potato masher to mash the mixture into sauce.

You need to make this, it is delicious and the perfect Fall dessert especially with a little vanilla ice cream.

Next on my weekend to-do list? I’ll give you a hint.

Yes, that is a zucchini the size of my daughter that I found hiding in my garden. I hope Z like zucchini puree, because there is ALOT. Next on my baby food list is butternut squash.

I love this time of year!

Seriously….so pretty!

Momversation Monday – Homemade Baby Food

Hello All!

As I mentioned in my “coming back” post, I’m going to try to incorporate posts about my new role as a mom so I thought a mom-themed post on Mondays would be a great balance. I love alliteration.

After my first week back to work, I was thrilled to spend the weekend with Z and EJ. I soaked up every minute of my time with the Z-monster and I was thrilled to be here for her first giggle-fest. It was music to my ears. I swear EJ and I were beaming for hours after the fact and those 5 minutes made my day.

This weekend I was also able to carve out some time to do something that I’ve been looking forward to since we found out that we were expecting, make baby food. I don’t know why but I’ve always been excited (hello dorky lady) to make my own baby food. And I’m here to tell you that it is not only extremely easy, it can also be ridiculously cheap if you grow your own produce or buy it locally while in season.

This was actually my second batch of zucchini and summer squash puree. Our zucchini plant has been working overtime in our garden AND my sister was kind enough to gift us her garden leftovers as well.

I followed the Cooking for Baby cookbook recipe to make both batches and I can’t stress how easy it was.

You will need:
– One big pot
– Veggie Steamer
– Food Processor/Blender
–  2-3 large Zucchini/Summer Squash
– Water
– Ice Cube Trays or Baby food freezer trays (I use Fresh Baby trays but regular old trays will work perfectly)

Step One: Fill your pot with about one inch of water and boil. (I place my veggie steamer into the pot while bring the water to a boil) This took about 3-3 1/2 cups of water.

Step Two: Chop your Zucchini into 1 inch thick rounds

Step Three: Place chopped zucchini into the pot and cover. Let sit for 9-11 minutes. *One of my zucchini’s was mammoth so it took me about 14 minutes. Make sure the squash is soft before transferring it.
*Edited to add: keep the heat on while steaming the veggies. 🙂

Step Four: Transfer steamed squash into food processor and puree/pulse until it reaches a smooth consistency (i.e. no chunks)

Step Five (last one): Transfer puree into ice-cube trays and place in the freezer until frozen (duh!). This takes about 8 hours for me, but I need them pretty firm so I can transfer them into a ziploc bag.

Done.

Truth be told I have zero clue how much this actually yields because Z isn’t eating solids (are we really calling the picture above a solid?) yet. I’ll have to do a follow-up post once she starts actually eating the homemade baby food. Next, on my list will be butternut squash and apples. I’m not sure if we will be able to feed her homemade food exclusively while she is transitioning from puree to actual solids, but I would like to give it my best attempt especially since I enjoy making it.

Now, if anyone has any ideas for what this girl can do with all this basil send them my way. (Not pesto! I’ve used 10 cups of basil already and have enough pesto to last through the rest of the year)

Let me know if you have any ideas for my new posting series, I’m thinking my title might be a tad dork, perhaps we’ll shorten to Mom Monday. Happy Monday ladies and gents!

Don’t Call It A Comeback

or that is exactly what you should call it. I know….I know. It’s been awhile and that is putting it nicely. While I’ve missed my little blog and creative outlet, a few things have changed since my last post.

I went from growing a baby…..

To meeting my amazing, breathtaking, heart stopping daughter and becoming a mother.

Zoe Elizabeth Johnson

Zoe Elizabeth

It is hard to put into words how amazing motherhood feels. I love waking up every morning to my wonderful husband and smiling daughter. (Feel free to gag) The past 12 weeks (only one week of maternity leave left 😦 ) have been some of the best days of my life and I’ll cherish them. I never really believed that motherhood would come so naturally, but it has and I have the world’s best support system when I do have questions.

And guys, I’m in love with this little girl. < —- Just in case anyone was still wondering. 🙂

I know there are many bloggers out there that want to keep their blogs the same after various life changes, but I’m not one of them. I want to expand my blog musings and share more “mommy” related posts as well as what it will be like to attempt a work/life (oh yea and school) balance starting next week.

I’ve also been kicking around new blog ideas….which would change GG completely. One of those ideas would be to create a shared blog with my sister. We would share our unique perspectives on healthy living. We live very different lives, yet we remain very close and one thing we bond over is healthy cooking, exercise and (now) motherhood. Would people be interested in that? Is anyone even out there? Bueller?

Regardless, I’ve missed writing tremendously and I can’t wait to share my randomness thoughts again.

My next big goal is get back into shape and get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m taking things slow though and trying to keep in mind that it took 9 months to put the weight on. (I’m also debating adding a section to the blog, showing my progress towards that goal. Any interest? Be honest, it won’t hurt my feelings.) Also, I don’t want to do anything drastic that could affect my milk supply. Basically, it is all about balance and I’m trying to navigate my new normal. I hope you stick around .

I’ll leave you with another pic of my Z-monster.

z

She is super proud of herself. 🙂

L

Cha-Cha-Changes

I don’t really have an excuse for the lack of blogging the past 8 months. There were a lot of things going on these past 8 months with school and work (I switched jobs), etc that needed my focus. I missed blogging and they are many recipes that need to be shared and stories to be told.

I enjoyed having a creative outlet and I miss it but I’m not sure Glorious Greens will be the same. I only blogged for about 5 months before my long break so I’m not sure yet what it will be.

One of the many reasons that I think, rather that I know this little blog of mine will start to change is that in a matter of weeks (5 wks until the official due date) I’ll be starting a new chapter, life as a mom.

7 months pregnant

I apologize for the awful quality but it is the most recent photo that I have with me, when the urge to blog struck.  I’m so excited (and terrified) to begin this new journey with EJ and I can’t wait to meet Baby J. I can’t find the right words to describe how I feel when I stand in the middle of our nursery and think of what lies ahead, there just aren’t words.

The blog will most definitely include posts about stepping into this new role, motherhood, babies,  etc.  I would like to start including homemade baby food recipes once Baby J is ready for solids. I will continue to post recipes and stories, but perhaps I’ll be more selective and forget about the posts just to post.

Stay tuned.

Leanne