Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m so thankful for the reason I get to celebrate Mother’s Day this year: my son Jonathan. He’s the best.

I’d also like to take the time to advocate for all the breastfeeding moms out there. It takes time, commitment, and tolerance of very sore lady parts. But the payoff and the time spent with one’s child, just the two of you together, is worth it. Great work, ladies!

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Advice from the field: Practical tips for new parents (that no one seems to tell you!)

In the past week, I’ve found out that two girlfriends of mine are expecting. How exciting! I’m glad my baby will have friends his age!

These babes on the way got me thinking though about advice I’d like to offer to the new moms. This advice comes mostly from “first-time parent” mistakes and some tricks I’ve learned in the past 10 1/2 weeks. This by no means makes me a pro at being a parent. It’s just some observations I’d like to impart to others.

1.) Breastfeeding is hard work. No seriously. It doesn’t come naturally. It’s something both mom and baby have to learn. And it takes about eight weeks before things really start to click. In my case, Jonathan was using a nipple shield. Premature babies frequently use them because it makes feeding easier. The nurses in the nursery told me to use the shield until Jonathan reached seven or eight pounds. Jonathan reached that point after a month. Keep in mind that’s a month of believing that the silicone nipple shield is what a nipple tastes and feels like. Weaning him off the shield was difficult (but necessary because shields can decrease milk supply and they are a pain in the butt to carry around with you everywhere and keep clean). I started pulling the shield a few minutes after he started eating and gradually allowed him less and less time with the shield until he’d only have it until the milk let down and then he’d have to hook on to the actual nipple. It took until about seven weeks of age for Jonathan to finally wean off the shield. Continue reading

A thousand words

OK, this post is probably not quite that long. But as the saying goes, that’s what a picture’s worth. Just wanted to let everyone know to check out the Gallery tab (far right, below the banner that reads “The Morning District” on the top of this blog). I’ve finally added some photos (and plan to add more over time). Check them out at your leisure!

In other news, this is my 30th week of pregnancy, and I have another OB appointment later today. Hoping again for a clean bill of health for both baby and me. I have been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for a couple of weeks now, which I do plan to talk to the OB about, but hopefully that just means my uterus is just getting warmed up for the big event and will perform like a champion! I am planning on having a natural child birth (but if I have to have an epidural or an unplanned C-section because Baby C is in distress, well, so be it), so I’m trying to prepare myself. I’ve started doing special stretches a physical therapist at the childbirth class last weekend gave me to get my body open and supple. I’m also trying to find time each day to center myself and practice focusing. I’ve heard from other moms that being able to focus and concentrate through contractions and pushing is super important.

Speaking of the childbirth class Shawn and I took, I have to say that I’m really glad we did. It was six hours both Saturday and Sunday last week, but despite the length, we learned a lot. And I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with labor and delivery and breastfeeding following the class. There were probably eight other couples besides Shawn and me there, most of them due about a month ahead of me, though one lady isn’t due until the middle of February. It was interesting to see the range of bellies present! Mine wasn’t the biggest or the smallest, but right in the middle. Some ladies knew the genders of their babies, while others were waiting for the surprise. No twins in our class.

During the class, we learned about a wide range of topics. We did some physical therapy and were given a number of exercises to do, like I mentioned before. We learned about the different kinds of pain medication (still hoping that won’t apply to me!), about C-sections, about infant care in the first few weeks after birth. We watched a number of videos on the various topics. The dads got to diaper a “baby” (ours was a teddy bear… must’ve gotten mixed up in the nursery 😉 ), and learn to swaddle. We talked about breastfeeding versus formula. I learned all sorts of random little things too; for example, you’re not supposed to clip your baby’s fingernails for at least 10 days after birth because the nail hasn’t separated from the nail bed yet and you will cut their skin! We’ll need to pick up some baby mittens!

The most helpful part of the class for me was the breastfeeding information. I’ve been worrying about having trouble learning to breastfeed, and who knows, I may still struggle, but we went through ways to help the baby learn to nurse and nursing techniques. We even talked about proper breastfeeding posture! If anything, I’m more comfortable with everything now because I know a lot more than I did, even with reading books and chatting with moms. Plus the nurse who taught the class was a riot! She was so funny and made the class go by quickly. A definite talent!

The weekend before that, I got together with the ladies from my crafty club for some applesauce canning! It was a hoot! We canned about 40 pounds of apples, which came to about 40 jars of sauce. We divided the jars between us as well as the remaining apples (local Macintosh).

Here’s Camden showing those apples who’s boss! Camden and Sharie spent a long time chopping apples to toss in the pot to cook.

After the apples cooked down for a while, we transferred them to the chinois (a marvelous tool — pick one up!), where one of us ground them down with a pestle, which separates the skins and errant seeds from the sauce. Katie demonstrates below:

It’s messy but satisfying! To the sauce we added a little sugar (one or two cups, depending on the batch) and a some cinnamon. Then we filled mason jars with the applesauce and processed them in a boiling water bath for 15-20 minutes. We ate homemade pizza for dinner while listening to the pops of sealing jars. A great day spent with friends.

OK, according to my word counter thingie, this post is 797 words. See? Not quite 1,000.