The Mama who could have bounced…. but didn’t 

Motherhood almost instantly readjusts your priorities, at least it did for me. From the second Monkey was born Michael and I were making critical life or death decisions and focused solely on what was best for Monkey. This was a huge mind shift for me that affected my life in ways I didn’t expect. 

Growing up I was that girls that danced 4 hours a day 7 days a week and never felt thin or fit enough, I was but I always strived for more. Thankfully I found myself in a therapists office before I could do too much damage but I was always the type to push my body to its limits at least for period of time. 

Solveg – Academy of Classical Ballet 2000

When my dance life ended and I went off to University I took up running and the gym. This was a slow burn relationship with lots of ups and downs that I still struggle with but in the end I still managed to keep my weigh and dress size within MY acceptable range. It would be nothing for me to decided to chase the bikini body mid summer and decided that two classes a day was completely doable along with a “I only eat food that looks like it did coming out of the ground” diet… because if I am anything I am dedicated and goal driven. And I would achieve that goal… every… single… time….sometimes with a little time to spare.

So with all this type A personality engrained in my DNA and 14 years of ballet school discipline woven into my lifestyle “bouncing back” after pregnancy should have been a piece of cake right? And really it probably would have been if I had tried, but this post is not about how you can get your pre-pregnancy body back quickly if you just try hard enough. It’s about how that doesn’t actually matter.

When Monkey first came home I went to the gym a lot… to shower. Michael was workings away a lot, we were room sharing  and the sound of the shower would wake Monkey up. So I was there about 3 times a week to put Monkey in the day care, so I could take a quick walk on the treadmill to justify showering in the locker room. I am pretty sure I was in the shower longer than on any of the machines. I assumed that this would eventually become my routine and I would be there daily and rockin’ my ore wedding jeans before Christmas. That was not the case.

Once Monkey started to sleep in his own bedroom and showering at the gym was no longer required; that drive into town became less frequent, because I wanted to spend time with my son. Newborns are up basically 4 hours a day and I didn’t want to spend a significant portion of that time away from him while he was in the gym day care. It was so much more important that I spent my time at mommy and me and  practicing tummy time than pushing the calorie count on the step mill. 

At that moment my priorities had shifted from about how I look in that dress to how I looked in his eyes. I want to be the mom who will share some ice cream with her son and not worry about the consequences. I don’t want sit on the side of the pool because I am worried about the tummy rolls and cellulite that lets be serious no one sees but you. I want to have a relationship with myself that promotes memories with my son not one that makes him call the day care workers Mama. 

This however does not mean that thinking about my health is out the window, but that the focus has shifted. I will continue to love working out, but when it comes between the bench press and the park bench, you will find me at the park every time. I want to do what I can to make sure that I am around the share those memories for a long time to come and able to make more as we all grow older, but it won’t be at the expense of this precious and all too fleeting time.

How did your perspective change when you became Mama (or Dada)? Let me know in the comments below!


The 3 things I knew before I became Mama

Before becoming a Mama I knew a few rules my littles would definitely live by, like no screens before 2, no sweets until preschool, and no cosleeping. Lol I love how I thought this would a realistic, it shows how young and naive I really was about this whole parenting gig.

The first rule, no screens stems from the barrage of Facebook parenting experts posting articles stating the screens are the root of all evil. That if your child even glances at a screen before the age of 2 you will be battling the screen issue for all eternity. These articles were not all anecdotal some of these sources were pretty credible like the American Association of Paediatricians, so with experts like that making the recommendations they must be followed right? Righ?!?

I have to say that this was a rule we were really good at for about 10 months, but for this Mama who was fortunate enough to have a full year of maternity, but lives 20 minutes out of town and doesn’t function well when the isolation starts to make her feel like a recluse, she needed a little more than the sounds of talk radio during breakfast. So the breaking of this rule was completely selfish, I needed Monkey to give me just 10 more minutes to think straight in the morning, and get just a little more tea in me before facing the day. This is when Studio K, and more specifically Scout came into our lives.

Scout is a purely Canadian show that will make any banjo loving, biodynamic eating, Hunter wearing millennial’s heart swell. The program is about 7 minutes in length and focus on the subject of mindful living and critical thinking through solving a daily mystery with 3 clues. The first time I watch it I cried and wanted Monkey to be a Gumboot Kids too. This was then end of no screens for Monkey. 

Now his screen time is still extremely limited, but he can have a little screen time to catch up with Scout in the mornings with a sprinkling of Paw Patrol and Beat Bugs from time to time when Mama needs a little more time. 

My second thought on parenting was no sweets before preschool, because in all reality no one needs chocolate, or ice cream or cake or cookies right? They are just refined sugar and have no health benefit whatsoever so why would I feed that to my little…. Ummm because if you only did things in life that had a physical, intellectual, financial benefits we would never have fun, or learn from our mistakes. 

For close to a year Monkey thought plain full fat Greek yogurt was ice cream. He ate is every day for dessert. Then one day, about a week before is first birthday when he was eating his dinner and I was eating a Blizzard I had picked up on our way home from a play date. Because vanilla ice cream looks like plain Greek yogurt he wanted some. This was the end of rule number 2. And how could you deny a little something that is this cute

And lastly the rule that we broke the fastest. Absolutely no cosleeping. We were not even really open to room sharing before Monkey was born. We wanted him to go from hospital to nursery. We thought why have more transitions than necessary, plus wouldn’t everyone sleep better if they were in their own spaces? 

Although I believe this is very true and if we are blessed with another monkey we will most likely not cosleep, there are so many benefits to doing so as well which is how we fell down the rabbit hole. When Monkey was discharged from hospital part of his discharge plan was that he room share. So we went out, bought a pack n play for him to sleep in. 

In the beginning we kept Monkey awake and when he woke up both Michael and I were both awake leaving no one rested for the day time. But eventually we all got used to one another and everyone was sleeping better. Then when Michael left to work out of town the cosleeping began, because it was just me and Monkey, all day for weeks at a time; and it was so much easier to just cosleep. 

And even though I believe there are wonderful things that can come from cosleeping, this is not for us. It caused far too many bumps in the sleep training road, but I am glad I tried it. 

After just over a year of Mommying I have come the conclusion that I was definitely a much better parent before Monkey came along! There are so many ins and outs and ups and downs that arise once your little comes you can’t even imagine how your points of view change. So for all you Mama’s to be out there, write your rules in pencil so you can adjust accordingly. And for all those Mamas out there adjusting their plan every day you are not alone… we are all making this up as we go along.

What was your biggest parenting misconception pre baby? Let me know in the comments below!

Baby Basics: Night Nursing, There’s An App For That

While at a Tupperware party a few weeks ago, yes Tupperware parties still exist, I over heard a new again mama talking about how she was working her way through Greys Anatomy for the 3rd or 4th time right now on Netflix. When I heard her say that I immediately thought “You must be still night nursing”.

When Monkey was first in the hospital and jaundice I wasn’t able to hold him so this made it really difficult to pump enough milk to sustain him. While venting my frustrations to his nurse one day she gave me a formula that I continue to use to this day that helps everything go so much smoother. She told me to lay a warm blanket over myself, have lots of water near by and watch or read something that will take your mind off of what you are doing. And low and behold I pumped this much 

Instead of less than the less than a ml I was getting before. 

So much about breastfeeding is in your head that just thinking about something negative can really affect your supply, and when you are in the NICU a lot of your thoughts are negative whether you want them to be or not. If you can get out of that head space and zone out it makes a world of difference.

I had been given the same advice from my friend Isabelle before Monkey was born. She told me to make sure I had a few shows with a lot of seasons ready to go on Netflix because that would get me through the night feeding. 

Because Monkey was in the NICU and most of my pumping was done in hospital  watching Netflix wasn’t an option for me, but scrolling through my Facebook feed was. I spent a lot of time reading all the click baite I scrolled upon. When we finally were all home, I was already in the habit of needing quiet while I nursed, so with a better internet connection at home than at the hospital I was able to branch out to Candy Crush, mostly because it can be played with one hand and you can only play a few rounds before you have to wait for a refill of lives making it a pretty good timer for when Monkey should have been about finished. After getting bored with Candy Crush I moved onto my current rotation reading mommy and lifestyle blogs and playing Two Dots. 

At this point Monkey is a pro at breastfeeding, even after a week off when I was sick he picked it back up like nobody’s business. But that doesn’t mean that I want to sit in the dark for a half hour before every nap, bedtime and 4am feeding with nothing to do so I continue the tradition. 

What I want to know is what is your night nursing guilty pleasure? Let me know in the comments below!

Baby Basics is a once a week post focused on all things baby! We will cover things as light as the toys we are really loving at the moment and outfits that melt your hear to as serious as some medical professionals I found helpful working with. Come back weekly and see what we are up to!

Mommy Moment: Meet Your New Best Friend

As I mentioned in a previous post, and everyone who has attempted it will tell you “breastfeeding is the most unnatural natural thing you will ever do” and I can only say from my perspective that nothing rings more true about the premature baby experience than this. 

The day after Monkey was born Michael and I headed out to Babies R Us and picked out the highest rated, most compact, most expensive breast pump we could buy. Breastfeeding was by far the most important thing for us to achieve and we were going to do it no matter the sacrifice. Now as a side note and a piece of advice I will give about this is get the insurance they offer that allows you to easily return it if there are issues. When we got back to the Ronald MacDonald House to sterilize and set up the pump we opened the box to find several parts broken. I have never returned a pair of jeans as easily as they exchanged the pump for us… but that could have been the tears and hysteria on my face that read “Don’t mess with this mama”.

Once we got everything sorted and had a pump that actually worked it was time to start “building up my supply” and because pumps are not babies and I hadn’t  been able to hold Monkey I had a long road ahead of me. This meant every 2 hours in the day time and every 3 at night I was to pump for 20-30 minutes or until 5 minutes after I stopped leaking, which ever came first. Which in theory sounds like a lot of work but in truth is was expanentially more work than what appeared at first glance. Each pumping session began either 2 or 3 hours from the beginning of the previous one, so if you began pumping at 12noon when you finished at 12:30 you had 90 minutes to lable the milk, store the milk, wash and sterilize your pump parts and with whatever time was left eat, sleep, or do whatever else you need to to get by and then prepare to start again. The day time pumps were not so bad, they helped make the time sitting on the unit fly by which is a blessing when you are there for weeks on end, and really what else did I have to do while watching my Monkey in an isolette all day. Where the real struggle was and where you learn to make good friends with your breastpump is those middle of the night sessions where you move slower so even though you have that extra hour it probably isn’t used for sleep but for remembering what day it is so you are labelling the milk properly, or crying because the hormones and exhaustion have taken over and you “just can’t” watch another cat video, or see another favourite get kicked off Big Brother or the Island or whatever mindless television you are watching to make the time go by and take your mind off of what is happening. 

From what I could tell for a lot of moms on the unit this went on for a few days, maybe a week, and then their littles started demand feeding and you were only building supply in the fridge on the unit for when you weren’t there for a meal and at night. This was NOT the case for Monkey and I. This schedule not only lasted the entire time Monkey was on the unit, but continued after his discharge for about 2 weeks. This was because even though Monkey had mastered breathing to his full lung capacity, breathing while in deep sleep, and waking to demand food on a semi regular basis, he refused to feed orally. I give him credit though, how many of us juice or drink smoothies because they are so convenient you can even work out and lunch at the same time. Well he brought it to a new level with his NG feeds where he could sleep and eat at the same time. And it wasn’t that he was unable to bottle feed, it was that he just didn’t want to. It was moments like this where Michael and I realized how much of our personalities were genetic.

Thankfully at this point the breastpump and I had a solid relationship and we had the pumping sessions down to a science. I could pump enough mls for a day in one session so from time to time I could skip a session at night to sleep. My freezer was overflowing with extra to keep up with the demands of a baby gaining several ounces a day. And with the help of my husband and reaching out to a lactation consultant Monkey finally made life a little easier for me and began nursing on his own. Now I have to give props to all the formula feeding and exclusively pumping moms out there because those extra steps are a lot of work, because I am reminded again of all the work it takes. You see between Christmas and New Year I became too sick to nurse Monkey and had to revert to an albeit much less taxing pumping schedule to maintain my supply and was reminded of those long days and nights from 9 months ago. So keep on moving forward with your feeding goals Mamas no matter what you choose, you are doing what is best for your babies and families and no one can make that decision for you.

Mommy Moment is a weekly post that covers my thoughts, feelings and experiences as a mom. Come by every Monday to read about what it’s like to be a once career focused mom of a premature baby, who sometimes solo parents, loves cloth diapering and often bites of more than she can chew.