Saturday, September 28, 2013

Feta-Crusted Salmon {recipe}

Feta-Crusted Salmon Recipe
  • What You Will Need
  • 1 (2 pound) salmon fillet, bones removed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon light cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, ground
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a glass baking dish with aluminum foil. Spray bottom with cooking spray and place the salmon onto foil.  
2. In a bowl, mix together feta cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder in a bowl until smooth. 

3. Evenly spread mixture over salmon, then sprinkle bread crumbs over top, making sure to cover the salmon entirely.
*Only use a thin layer of the feta mixture; if not, it tends to overpower the salmon completely.*

4. Bake in preheated oven until easily flaked with a fork, about 35 to 45 minutes.

I served this with sauteed asparagus and mushrooms.

What recipes are you loving lately?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mom It Forward: Raising a Child on a Budget

I would love for you all to check out my article on Mom It Forward today! I have really enjoyed working with them; definitely worth looking into! 
Mom It Forward: #gno Panelist

The article is on saving money with a new baby;
Raising a Child on a Budget

What are some of your budgeting tips?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Baked Salmon {recipe}

Baked Salmon Recipe

What You Will Need
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 pound of salmon fillets
  • Garlic salt to taste
  •  Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of dill
  • 1 lemon, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking dish with enough extra aluminum foil to be able to fold over ingredients.
  2. Stir together the tomato, mushrooms, onion, and scallions in a bowl; spread mixture into the bottom of the prepared dish. 
  3. Lay the salmon fillets over the mixture. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and dill. Arrange the lemon slices atop each salmon fillet. 
  4. Fold the foil over the salmon, and press edges together to seal. Bake in the preheated oven until the fish flakes easily, about 30 minutes. 

What are some of your favorite dishes lately?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Myles Monthly: 1

As you may know, I didn't decide to start my blog until my son Myles was about 8 months old. And well... now he is 13 months old! So I am focusing on getting caught up with monthly updates and monthly favorites, so I can get, and hopefully stay, up to date with current times. 

August 14th-September 14th, 2012

Born: 7 lbs 6 oz and 19.5 inches
2 weeks: 8 lbs 3 oz and 20.5 inches
One Month: 10 lbs 3 oz and 21.5 inches
Chunky Monkey!
  Eating: I planned on exclusively breastfeeding Myles for as long as it was possible. When we left the hospital, he had a great latch and was eating quite well. The first night home was crazy for me. I really didn't know what I was doing and I couldn't get Myles to stop crying. I could only assume that he was hungry and wasn't getting enough milk from me. So around 11pm, I frantically threw a bottle of formula together to feed him. :( It wasn't the end of the world, but it definitely wasn't a part of my plan... but that's motherhood for ya. The same exact thing happened the second night. Eventually, I learned that this was his fussy time; from around 10pm-1am. When my milk came in the next day, I didn't give him the bottle and just let him nurse as much as he wanted during that time. It still continued to be a fussy time for him, but I realized giving him the bottle didn't make it any better. 
Myles was quite the fussy man and I really couldn't tell that anything was wrong with him, so I just assumed that pretty much anytime he fussed, he was hungry. After a clean diaper and burping, I figured the only other thing it could be was hunger, so I feed him.... a lot... I was told to feed on demand and he was very demanding :) Well after a couple times of what seemed like over-feeding (puking after eating), I decided to introduce the pacifier. This helped a ton. With the pacifier, he was comforted with the sucking motion, but wasn't getting overfed. It also gave my nipples a break.. Win-Win!
I decided to start pumping at week 2. My initial intention with pumping was to build up a stash for when I returned to work. I usually pumped 2-3 times a day getting around 2 oz from each breast each session. So yeah... freezer stash wasn't living up to my expectations. Also I was using some milk for when we were out and about or if Myles was watched (very rarely). I wasn't able to pump a lot of milk out, but I kept at it. (Breastfeeding essentials)
*More to come in a separate post*

Health: When Myles left the hospital everything was great with him except his bilirubin was high. It wasn't high enough for them to keep him, but our doctor wanted us to come back in the morning to have it tested. (Elevated bilirubin is what causes jaundice. Normally bilirubin is excreted through urine and bile, but if too much is built up before it is passed through the body, jaundice occurs.) At the time, I really didn't think he was that yellow, but looking back on pictures, it was pretty bad. We had to go back 4 days in a row to get him tested. Thankfully it never got up to an 18 (admittance level); it reached as high as 16.5 on the 4th day and finally went back down on the 5th day to a 15.5. Once the number went down, the doctor said it would continue to decrease and so we could stop going. I left the room most of the time when he was pricked because I can't handle watching him be hurt. That's part of the dad's job :) 

Just like when he was in my tummy, he got the hiccups what felt like all the time. It was at least a couple times a day and they would last between 30-45 minutes. I tried everything to get them to go away, but nothing ever worked. I always felt so bad because I know I hate having the hiccups, even if only for a couple minutes. I can't imagine them going on for almost an hour!

Crying: During the first month, he pretty much hated when he wasn't held. So most of his crying came when he was laid down. I had to hold him for most of his naps. Only on the rare occasion was I able to Houdini him into his bassinet without waking him up. Most of the time as soon as you laid him down, he woke up crying.
 He also did not enjoy bath time for the first month. It seemed to get a little better each week, but he just did not like being naked and not held. He really was not fond of getting his diaper/clothes changed either. I'm guessing because he wasn't being held :)
Like I said earlier, I did end up giving him a pacifier around 2 weeks and it helped with his crying during car rides or when he just wanted to comfort suck.

Visitors: The first month brought a lot of friends and family by to check out Myles for the first time. Of course Grandma and Grandpa Krueger and Uncle Chris came over many times a week to snuggle him and give me a break. Also Grandpa Jerry came with Abbey dog. Aunt Jamie came and he got to meet his cousins Ayson and Ryann. He also got to meet his Grandma Darlene for the first time and his Aunt Lauren. Great Aunt Mary and Uncle Scott came by to finally meet Myles. Cousin Megan, who lives in Iowa got to meet him for the first time. And we cannot forget our wonderful Aunt Melissa who always brought us yummy dinner!

Uncle Chris holding Myles for the first time
Happy baby with Grandma

Myles with his Grandpappy


Nicknames: Pretty much anything that we could put the word butter in: Butterball, Buttercup, Butterhoof (a combination of mine and Mark's nicknames for each other)... Also Baby Ham was still sticking around...Aunt Melissa knows him only by this name :) 

 Outings: We took Myles to his first restaurant at one week old: Chili's. We also went to lunch with Mark's sister Sandy and her girlfriend Megan for them to meet Myles for the first time. He went to the doctor at 3 days and then 2 weeks old. We also had our first family lunch at the park after his 3 day old appointment. (The sun helps jaundice, so we tried to get him out in the sun as much as possible.)

  Myles went to his first birthday party as well. It was for cousin Charlie 3rd birthday. Myles also went to the very last On The Waterfront (a music festival in my hometown that is no longer being put on after 30 years.) He was definitely a music man right from the beginning. 

Sleep: During the first month, he slept way better during the day. Of course that's when we would have all our visitors, so I was never really able to get rest then, but so it goes. Like I mentioned earlier, every night he was extremely fussy and would fight sleep from about 10pm-1am. He typically would sleep in about 2-3 hour chunks. Only one time he slept for more than 4 hours at a time. At night, he was a VERY restless sleeper. He was always moving and making this weird grunting sound. If I held him he would sleep way better. I would try to lay him down, but he would start grunting until it turned into crying and then I would have to pick him up and nurse him again. This was only the beginning of our sleep hell though. Most nights I never even actually fell asleep. It eventually wore me quite thin, but more on that to come.... For now let's just say Myles was not a good sleeper.
But oh so cute when he did sleep!
First family outing: lunch at the park at 3 days old
First bath: I was pretty scared to give him his first bath. I didn't want to do anything wrong and of course he cried the whole time. 
First stroller walk: Grandma Krueger took him down to the river in the backyard
  Starting doing tummy time laying on mommy and daddy:
First thumb sucking:
First smile (not intentional): During sleep, but oh so precious!
First time away from me: Grandpa Krueger watched him while Mark and I got lunch and messages. There were plenty of tears shed and let's just say they weren't from Myles.
First time being fed a bottle by daddy: at three weeks

First babysit away from home: at 3 weeks Grandpa and Grandpa Krueger watched Myles at their house while I got some rest. 
First Holiday: Labor Day
First Packer game

Likes: Eating momma's milk (more like LOVES), when daddy holds him, and listening to music (our favorite station is Rockabye Baby!)
 One Month old family dinner date
Dislikes: The time 10pm to 1am (witching hour I guess), not being held when sleeping (or anytime really), and coming out of sleep (just like his dad, he hated waking up; it would take around 5-10 minutes of fussing and squirming around until he would finally be fully awake).
Too true!

Family Circle

Come back to check out my favorites from months one & two!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Homemade Steak n Shake Chili Mac {recipe}

Homemade Steak n Shake Chili Mac

What You Will Need

  • Chili
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans chili beans, drained
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • salt to taste
 Chili Mac Sauce
I cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 box of spaghetti noodles
Parmesan cheese to top 


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place turkey in the skillet, and cook until brown; drain.
  2. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray, and mix in turkey, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, chili beans and onion. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, allspice and salt.
  3. Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High.
Chili Mac sauce
  1. Next make the chili mac sauce. 
  2. In a bowl, mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Place in refrigerator until chili is ready. 

Chili Mac
  1. When the chili has about 20 minutes left, cook the spaghetti noodles. Cook according to package.
  2. Drain noodles. 
  3. Assemble the Chili Mac; place one scoop of noodles onto your plate/bowl, next add 1-2 tablespoons of sauce (depending on taste preference), then place chili on top, and lastly top with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Uh Oh... Now What?" Postpartum Beginnings

When I graduated high school my mom thought it would be appropriate to put this on my cake: "Uh Oh.. Now What?"

Funny, right?!?

It didn't really pertain to me at the time though, I had a plan... Of course that plan changed (like all my "plans"), but in that moment; that moment I had the "what next" figured out.

Fast forward 9 years to August 14th, 2012 at 2:14pm and that cake would have been the perfect postpartum gift.

The thing about your life experiences up until the birth of your first child...
THEY IN NO WAY PREPARE YOU FOR MOTHERHOOD. I don't think anything can prepare you for how much your life changes in a split second. It doesn't matter how many classes you take, how many books you read, how many siblings you helped raise; all of that goes out the window (as well as your brain, sleep, sanity, free-time, etc.) when your first born comes into this world. 

The first couple of weeks we survived on instinct, other moms' advise, and what little I had somehow managed to remember from the stacks of books, endless web pages, and mommy blogs I read while pregnant. Even now, looking back, I don't know how I did it; how I knew what to do (or tried my best at knowing what to do). 

Our story last ended with Myles entering the world on August 14th, 2012 at 2:14pm.

As soon as Myles broke out of his captivity, the nurses took him, cleaned him up, weighed him, clamped his cord, etc. When he was finished they gave him to Mark to bring to me. So Mark got to see him first and touch him first. But after that, it was all about the momma!
I'm not going to lie, holding him for the first time was scary. I don't think I have ever held that new of a newborn and I was nervous. He was finally here and healthy... I did not want anything to happen to him!!

Me holding Myles for the first time!

After he was passed around to family that was there, we had our first try at breastfeeding.  He wasn't really having it, but he was only like an hour old so I wasn't worried. They took him away for his bath, tests, and such while I got transferred to a recovery room. 

This was when postpartum reality set in. Now mind you, I had been off work since the beginning of June for summer break (perk of being a teacher!) A lot of this time off was spent reading and researching the new job position I was about to accept. I read so much, I was surprised my head didn't explode (I mean seriously that's how much I read)... The point... I read NOTHING about postpartum recovery. Why does nobody talk about this!?!?! I guess it's common sense; I don't know why I didn't think I might be in pain for a while after essentially pushing a bowling ball out of my nether region. I just never thought about it, never crossed my mind, never read about it. 

I had a minor tear needing a couple stitches, but everything else about my labor was completely normal. I guess I was expecting to be ballroom dancing down the halls by the morning... HA! Boy was I in for a rude awakening. What a mess I was. I felt like I had absolutely no control over anything my body was doing. Swollen, bleeding, and pounding in my area, then hot flashes, nausea, and excruciating back pain. As soon as I was moved to the postpartum room, I started to have this really horrible back pain; it felt like all my nerves were being pinched throughout my whole back. At this point, so much had just happened to my body over the last 24 hours that I really did not want to take any more medicine. So of course the logical thing to do was.. go into the bathroom and cry and cry and cry! This pain was worse than anything I had experienced during labor and was unrelenting. My doctor came back to see how I was and he insisted that I take some pain meds. He reassured me that I would be okay. Thankfully I did as told ;) and the meds worked wonders on my back.  I'm sure most of what I dealt with was totally normal, but I was not in the least bit prepared for it, so it was harsh.  

Honestly the next 24 hours was quite a blur for me. I was on about 30 hours of no sleep and the pain in my birthing hole was excruciating. After he was cleaned and tested, little man came back and spent the rest of the day and night with us. I remember a couple diaper changes made by Mark, a couple breastfeeding sessions, and a whole lot of anxious energy from me. I once again did not sleep one single minute that night, so by morning I was on 48 hours of no sleep. I wasn't surprised though, I have never been able to sleep in an unfamiliar place. At this point, all I wanted to do was go home. I knew I would never get any sleep in the hospital and Myles was doing great. And so began Mission: Get Us Out of The Hospital. It started with a desperate pleading to my doctor; which turned out to be the easy part. In the morning, he gave the okay for me to go as soon as we hit the 24 mark, which would be around 2pm. After I was cleared, the real work began :) Getting Myles ready to leave was a little more complicated. 
First picture with his eyes open... heart melting..

1. Circumcision: I know this is a pretty controversial topic (one that I do not want to get into), so I will be keeping it short and simple. We decided fairly early on to get this done. Mark was very adamant and honestly I didn't have strong feelings either way. I see positives for both sides, so I just let Mark take the reigns with this one. 

So in the early afternoon, Dr. Cunningham took Myles to trim up his winky. Since everyone was gone then, it seemed as though I would actually get some rest...  Oh wait.. we are speaking about my life, so of course that WOULDN'T happen. Apparently, the hospital thought it was the perfect time to remodel the room next to mine; you know the one that I share a wall with... Literally the whole time Myles was gone my room was shaking from drill and hammer usage. Honestly, I should have complained. But instead I just laid there with not even enough strength to care.   

2. Hearing test: easy enough, passed with flying colors!

3.  Breastfeeding: I really had not a clue when it came to breastfeeding Myles. I just figured it would come naturally as soon as he was born. We tried latching him on within 10 minutes of him coming out, but he didn't seem to want to try just yet. I figured it was normal; nobody else seemed too concerned, so I just waited to try again when he was cleaned up, tested, and brought back to me. Throughout the first 24 hours, I practiced breastfeeding several times. Whenever he cried, I changed him and then would try to feed him. We tried different positions on both sides to find the best way to get him to latch. I am very grateful for the nurses and lactation consultant at the hospital. Without them I don't know if I would have been able to figure it out. They showed me exactly what to do and made me feel very comfortable. I wasn't sure we were doing it right, but I figured the more we practiced the better we would get. I didn't know if he was actually getting anything out of my breasts, but I was pretty sure we was latching correctly. I could definitely tell he was on the nipple and sucking, so I felt like maybe it was working. The lactation consultant came by in the afternoon on Wednesday to see how we were doing. Of course, Myles wasn't interested in eating at the time, so she told me to have her paged when I was going to try again. The next time Myles ate, she came by to check us out. She seemed very surprised at Myles' ability to latch and eat. She said she didn't want me to leave based on previous 'exams', but that this time she could tell that he was eating and was now very confident in his breastfeeding.
(Check out my Breastfeeding posts to learn more about our breastfeeding journey.)

4. Birth Certificate: The last thing needed to be done was finalizing the birth certificate. Everything else was done around 5:00pm on Wednesday (so about 27 hours after the birth). The woman who wrote out the birth certificates had to come back three times before we were ready to finish it. The problem: our baby had no NAME! We still hadn't made a final decision in regards to his name. Picking a name for my child is a huge responsibility; and one that I did not take lightly. It was a long and arduous process, but completely worth all the fuss, as I am so happy with our name choice. *Read the detailed version here: What's Your Name? 

5. Check Out: Everything was taken care of and we finally left around 7:00pm Wednesday, August 15th (29 hours after birth). Besides the remodeling fiasco, I had a very pleasant experience at the hospital and am very happy with my choice of doctor/hospital. I would 100% recommend them.
Cousin Lexi holding Myles for the first time

At the hospital, Myles met wonderful family and friends for the first time:

His grandma Trina and grandpa Dave, his grandpa Jerry, his uncle Chris and aunt Jamie, his great aunts Patty and Sue, his aunt Melissa, his aunt Katie and cousin Lexi, his great Uncles Dan and Doug, and cousin Rudy.

Myles all packed up and ready to go!
Myles' first car ride!

On the way home, we stopped to get some food. When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by grandma and grandpa Krueger with their awesome homemade signs :)
They offered to watch Myles so that I could take a nap since I was now on 59 hours of no sleep. Unfortunately, after only about a half an hour, Myles decided he was hungry. So the no sleep saga raged on... I once again stayed up all night with Myles, struggling to figure out what he needed and why he was crying. (More on that in an upcoming Breastfeeding Journey post). The next day our parents came over to help out and watch Myles and I finally got a couple hours of sleep after being up for 72 hours straight! Of course I woke up in a huge puddle of hormone sweat and nervous panic... Which I would soon find out would be my life for the next several months...

Bringing home your first baby is such a bizarre feeling; the last time I was home, I was my regular Julia-self, and in the matter of hours, I was home as a completely different person: Mom Julia. As I type this a year later, I don't know how I made it this far. Nothing in the world can prepare you for becoming a mother. Within one second of having your child, your life changes forever. Looking back I am amazed at what I did in the past year; all that I have accomplished as a mother so far. I am proud of the relationship I have with my son and how I have evolved from Julia to Mom, but the road to get here was a really rough one for me. I want to be completely honest and open about my postpartum journey, so be prepared for some heavy stuff coming your way in the near future

How was immediate postpartum for you? what was it like bringing baby home for the first time?
Check back soon for my upcoming posts on my postpartum journey, Myles updates, and our breastfeeding story!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mini Turkey Meatloaves {recipe}

Mini Turkey Meatloaves Recipe

What You Will Need
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 ounces ground turkey breast 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • large egg
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat muffin pan with cooking spray. 
  2. 2. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt, oregano, pepper, and egg.
  3. 3. Stir in 2 tablespoons ketchup. 
  4. 4. Spoon in about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into each muffin cup. Squirt about a teaspoon of ketchup onto each loaf. 
  5. 5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°.

These are the perfect size for a toddler and super healthy too! I paired the mini turkey meatloaves with a baked potato and sauteed zucchini and mushrooms. Enjoy!

What recipes are you loving lately? I always need new ideas!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Breastfeeding Awareness: #4 My Top Ten Breastfeeding Do's and Don'ts Part I

Thanks for come back to my series for Breastfeeding Awareness Month. If you have missed any other posts check them out here, here, and here! Or click on the button below (click anywhere outside of the Pinterest circle.) 

Today's post is some what of a continuation from my tips, tricks, and tools post, except I am doing it in the form of a Do's and Don'ts list. This is Part I: Do's. So without further ado:


1. DO research. The internet is a great place to start. It contains an infinite amount of breastfeeding information. As always with the internet though, make sure what you read is creditable. You don't have to go crazy and spend all your days learning about breastfeeding (although I'm sure there is enough information out there to do so), just learn enough to feel comfortable in the overall process. The possibility of some sort of issue is pretty much guaranteed, so having that background knowledge will help you have an idea about any problems that arise. Besides books and the internet, I believe the greatest source of knowledge comes from fellow breastfeeders. Nobody knows more about breastfeeding than the women who do it everyday. Speak with moms that already breastfeed; ask them about their experiences, if they have any advise or tips, and look to them for encouragement. Ask, ask, ask away: get as much information out of them as possible. Most breastfeeders want everyone to breastfeed :) so they are more than willing to help in any way possible.   

2. DO go and check out KellyMom! It is an amazing resource for everything breastfeeding related. You can find information about breastmilk handling and storage, pumping, weaning, breastfeeding into toddler-hood, and they even have a support group page on Facebook. It is my go to website when I want to find out about a breastfeeding topic. When it comes to breastfeeding resources, Kelly has got it going on!

3. DO create a breastfeeding network. This should include fellow breastfeeders, support groups, community resources (lactation consultants at WIC or neighborhood hospital), online research, independent groups such as Le Leche League, and family. See "Build a Support Network" in this post for more information. Support groups are really helpful for any problem, big or small. Many offer weigh-ins so that you can see how much your baby is eating during a nursing session by weighing them before and after. It's a great way to know if they are getting enough milk, if you don't ever bottle feed. Also, most likely a lactation consultant will be there to answer any questions and help with latching, positions, etc. And of course, it is always encouraging to see other moms breastfeed. A lot of times I have felt alone in certain struggles I have encountered during breastfeeding, so being in a room full of moms that are experiencing the same things as me makes me feel a sense of relief and optimism.  

4. DO ask for help. I will tell you this from learning the hard way, you need to let people help you. Breastfeeding can be very overwhelming, especially in the first few weeks and even months. It is a lot of work and you might feel like you're doing all the work... and well really you are. As far as feeding goes, it's all on you. If you decide to give your baby bottles, then eventually someone else can feed them, but even then it is recommended to wait about a month to introduce a bottle. If you're like me, you stop giving your baby a bottle for a couple of weeks because pumping is too much work, to only be taught a real lesson in "hard work" when your child decides he will never take a bottle again. Being the sole provider of nourishment to my child is equally the best and hardest role I have as a mother. In the newborn stage, feedings happen every two or so hours (sometimes less) and can last up to an hour+ each session. So clearly you don't get much time away from the baby. Of course, this is the all part of why breastfeeding is so good for mommy and baby; lots of bonding time. The problem is, especially for a FTM, this can be very overwhelming. Your life completely changes in a matter of seconds as your baby is born and for me (and I think most others), it was a huge adjustment. Add to that sleep deprivation and crazy hormones and you got a recipe for complete and total breakdowns. Although all of this is probably unavoidable, there are things that can help ease that transition and keep the breakdowns to slightly below straight-jacket status. Now of course the super control freak that I am, I didn't allow for help so I am speaking out of my lesson learned. Anything that someone else can do, LET THEM DO IT! You just performed that greatest feat in the whole world and you're doing so much by just feeding your baby! If someone offers to change diapers, hold the baby, clean your house, make you dinner, pick up groceries, run your errands, bathe the baby, bring him to you to get, etc., say YES. I promise it is not worth being too proud or too much of a control freak to refuse help. If you try to do everything yourself, you are only stressing yourself out and in turn ruining the special newborn bonding time with your baby.

5. DO give it time. Don't quit early on because it seems too difficult or too overwhelming. The first few weeks are the hardest for sure, so just keep with it and it will get better. If you really want to breastfeed, it can be done! Staying positive goes a long way when breastfeeding, so believe in yourself and know that you are doing something so incredibly great for you and your child. I have had my fair share of ups and downs over the past year of breastfeeding, but I never gave up (although I didn't really have the option since Myles wouldn't take a bottle lol). Even each day has its ups and down, but overall it has been an extremely rewarding experience so far. There were many times I wanted to quit, especially around months 4-6, but I stuck it out and now I couldn't imagine not being able to breastfeed my little guy everyday. Point being, before you throw in the towel, really REALLY make sure you're making the right decision. If the issues are isolated, find a solution and give it time. Don't make a rash decision based on emotions or temporary situations.

6. Because the first few weeks can be extremely tough, if you really want to stick with breastfeeding, DO make sure you are 100% mentally and psychologically committed. In the hormonal postpartum state, things can feel way worse than they really are. It is easy to get overwhelmed and want to give up, especially if something seems wrong with the baby, e.g. not gaining weight, colicky, not enough wet/dirty diapers, extensive crying, not sleeping, etc. There are easy solutions to most problems (see #7 for example), so it's not the end of the world if things are shaky at first or even months into breastfeeding (I didn't have any issues until Myles was 3 months old). The thing is our culture makes formula feeding out to be so much easier, so if you're having a hard time breastfeeding, just switch to formula and everything will be better...right?... Not so much... Formula feeding isn't necessary the cure for troubled breastfeeding, but you have to know this going in; know that it might be tough and a huge adjustment; know there may be issues that arise; but know that all of these things can be worked through and if you stay committed it is totally worth it. 
7. DO pay close attention to their poop. Baby poop is a huge indicator of their nutritional intake. The hospital nurses and your pediatrician will probably tell you to track the number of poopy diapers they have a day. Of course that it important, but equally important is to pay close attention to the texture and color of the poop. Breastfeed babies should have poop that is the yellow, seedy, and runny; a good comparison is mustard. In breastfed babies always be on the look out for green poop. This is a huge indication of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. This can happen if the baby is getting more foremilk (the thinner, less fatty milk) than hindmilk (the richer, fattier milk). Because foremilk is released first, this imbalance can happen if you don't let the baby eat long enough on one side or if you have a strong letdown and they get full before they get any hindmilk. This happened with Myles once and so I started block feeding him. This is when you feed from one breast several times before you switch the next. I would usually do 12 hours on one side, then 12 hours on the other. I don't know how common this is, but it is something to be aware of.

8. Only DO what you are comfortable doing. I know that I stress having a good support network and getting advise from fellow breastfeeders, LCs, etc., but when it comes down to it, it is your body, your decision. Don't let culture, "societal norms," family, doctors, or anything else pressure you into doing something you don't want to do. There are so many "rules" to parenting it's ridiculous and it feels like we are all made to feel bad if we don't follow what most people are comfortable with. I say too bad! Listen to people's advise and opinion, but take it as a grain of salt. At the end of the day you are the parent and (for most women) you know what's best for your family. Whether you want to stop before a year, wean at 3 years, NIP, not use a cover, nurse to sleep, give a bottle, not put them on an eating schedule; those things are all your decisions and you need to be comfortable above all else. Your child feeds off of your feelings and emotions and if you're stressed or uncomfortable, they will be too. And from personal experience, that situation is no fun.

9. DO take breastfeeding one day at a time. Just as with parenting in general, we all have those days... You know the ones where you want to find the nearest cave, crawl in, and stay for about a week. When these days happen, there is nothing wrong with needing a break. If it's possible take a time out before you make any rash decisions. I know I've had many a days that found me crying out that I wanted to quit. But I always knew that it was just my frustration talking; I didn't want to be done breastfeeding forever, just at that moment I needed a time out. When you have one of those days, give yourself a chance to renew; do whatever helps you refresh (whether a goodnight's rest, a relaxing spa day, an exhilarating workout, quiet reading time, etc.) and start over again the next day. Don't get caught up in worrying about the future; only make the decisions you need to make at that moment and take it one day at a time.

10. DO embrace breastfeeding; embrace the bonding, embrace the quality time, embrace the power your body has to sustain your baby, embrace all that breastfeeding has to offer. In those frustrating moments, those tough days, those rough patches, remember that your breastfeeding relationship will only last for so long. I know that in the future I will miss that special closeness we share during breastfeeding. I know one day he will no longer want to breastfeed, one day he will be a big kid, a teenager, an adult, and I will look back and wonder how it went by so fast. There will come a day when Myles is done (and I will be very sad); there will come a time when he will no longer need me in that way. That special bond won't last forever, so embrace while you still can :)

What are some of your breastfeeding Do's?

Come back to check out Part II: the Don'ts