Friday, March 22, 2013

Are You Tired, Mom?

I am writing this post as a sleep deprived mother.

I have a toddler that wants my attention and a newborn that demands my attention. I have a husband who deserves my attention and a home that, um, needs my attention as of late. I have numerous projects and ministry endeavors on the table too.

I'm exhausted.

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In the last five weeks, I have experienced the usual - feedings every two hours (or less!), an endless array of diapers, baby baths, infant spit up, and crying. A lot of crying. Sometimes more like wailing.

Long days and short nights.

Oh, I'm tired....Any of you mothers relate? :)

Every season in life brings its own bundle of lessons. This season I am learning a big one:  Joy

I am tired. Really tired. But I want to display joy. That's not easy when sometimes often I just want to have a big meltdown and run away. When my 23 month old throws a tantrum - again - I don't want to snap and lose my head. When I hear the unmistakable noise of a newborn waking when I'm almost asleep, I do not want to get angry. When my husband comes home after a hard day, I don't want to be impatient or selfish. I want to be joyful; gentle; thankful.

I can't do it alone. That much is for certain. But I CAN do it with the help of Christ

Psalms 28:7 says, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

I have grown to love that verse over the last few weeks.

In the midnight hours where my body is screaming for rest, I can take comfort that the Lord is my resting place. In the moments when all I want is a peaceful, quiet hour, I can be thankful that I have little ones to disrupt the silence. I can rejoice that although life is sometimes crazy and hard, it is a wonderful gift from God.

His Word says I can do all things through His strength. He says that His grace and His strength in made perfect in my weakness. That's a beautiful promise! In feeding, nurturing, training, and loving my kids, His power is mine if I claim it. In loving, serving, and helping my husband, His abilities are mine if I allow Him to work through me. In caring for and managing my home, His joy is offered to me.

That's a good Word, isn't it?

Am I tired? Oh yes. But I cannot find a better reason to be tired, can you?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Increasing Your Milk Supply

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A few days ago I mentioned in a post that I could not nurse my first child like I wanted to. So, this time around I made it a point to do all I could to be able to nurse my baby girl. With my first, I assumed I would be able to nurse easily but I learned quick that it is a learned process. It's not an effortless art to everyone. So this time, I set my mind to it, I prayed, and then I turned to the God-given foods and herbs within arm's reach to help me out.

There are lots of things people say to do. For example:

  • Nurse often. In the first few weeks especially, your baby will need to suck often. As hard as it is on your body (and your sanity!), you need to let them nurse as much as they want. Why? The more your little one nurses, the more milk you will produce. From one who is less than four weeks in, I will tell you that the days are long and the nights are hard. Sometimes you may feel like all you do is feed your baby, but it will pass. ---and I say this to encourage myself too.
  • Eat and eat healthy. Breastfeeding moms need an extra 500 calories on top of the 1800-2000 calories they operate on a day. It's been said that if your body is making milk, it is the equivalent of running a marathon! So...we need sustenance. If you're hungry, EAT. And though you can indulge in a milkshake and Dove chocolate, it's important to eat as healthy as possible. Whatever you eat, baby eats.
  • Pump. Invest in a good pump. Preferably a double electric pump. If you pump after your baby nurses, it will send messages telling your body to produce more. Plus, as you make more milk, you will be able to store it which will allow others to feed your baby and give you a break. Double win. :)
If you're like me when I had my first, those three things may not be enough. So here are a few more ways to boost your milk supply.
  • Mother's Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals is something I purchased right before my baby girl was born. It is a sweet and spicy, slightly bitter-tasting tea that is full of herbs like fennel and coriander.  Personally, I'm not fond of the taste and so I add honey and lemon to it. But it's worth it and it may be tasty to you.
  • As I posted the other day, Lactation cookies are a delicious way to boost your milk supply. Courtesy of Pinterest, and tasty as all get out, these cookies are AH-MAZE-ING.
  • If you read my post on pregnancy supplements, you will remember my singing the praises of Red Raspberry Leaves. Along with providing relief for women who have painful or heavy periods, and strengthening the uterus and prepping the body for childbirth, Red Raspberry Leaves also aid in milk supply.
  • Fenugreek capsules is something I tried after my first was born but I think I was too far gone by that time and I gave up. This time, I began taking Fenugreek immediately after my baby girl was born and slowly increased the dosage. Many women claim to see a significant increase in their milk production in the first 24-72 hours!
There is much more you can look into and try. Oatmeal, Blessed Thistle, Alfalfa, papaya, Flax, water, spinach, carrots, Hummus, apricots - there are lots of foods and herbal supplements available that will help us, lactating mothers, produce more! Happy lactating! :)

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