I have a confession to make. I’m currently being stuffed with more herbs and supplements and natural remedies than is…natural, to be honest. The most surprising part may be that I’m doing it all willingly.
Why, you so innocently ask? Well, because I’m breastfeeding and although it comes so easily for some, it’s a veritable calamity for me. It was a year-long nightmare with my first daughter. I had to pump after each feeding and was on medication the entire time. It was over an hour long process each and every time. Even then, my milk supply was precarious. My friends became used to hearing me whine about how I’d much prefer to go through labour and delivery on a daily basis rather than breastfeed. I wasn’t joking, I was dead serious about it. It was honestly that difficult for me.
This time around, I decided things would be different. I would be proactive and get started on the right foot immediately. As soon as my baby was born, I started to pop supplements like valley of the dolls. A far more innocent and less toxic valley of the dolls. I’ve been drinking nettle leaf tea, fenugreek tea, fennel seed tea, any sort of tea I can get my hands on that may or may not increase my milk supply. I’m consuming every Indian concoction that my mother and aunts can get into me. They swear by them and promise it will all aid in my mission. I’m eating things that I’ve never seen before, let alone know what their names are or what they consist of. Fenugreek curries, blended nuts and herbs, spiced milk, anything and everything. If someone tells me it will work, I’ll try it. One particular herb constricts my throat in the most uncomfortable way but still, I faithfully take it all down every day.
You may wonder why I’m going to such lengths. There’s a simple answer for that. I’m desperate. I won’t try to sugar coat it or try to deny it or try to call it by any other name. I’m just really desperate to breastfeed my daughter. It’s something I strongly believe in and although I supplemented with formula for my oldest, I’m really trying everything in my power not to have to again. And quite truthfully, there’s not much that can compete with a desperate mother on a mission.
And guess what? It’s working! I kid you not. This stuff is really working and it’s just so much easier than before. So far, I’ve been lucky to not have to pump unless I’m feeling uncomfortable. I haven’t had the need to supplement with formula. And the best part is that I haven’t yet had to clean bottle after bottle. I’m getting all the milk I need and my baby is getting fatter everyday.
I may have to spend the next year of my life carrying around a duffel bag of pills and drinking more suspicious smelling teas and eating more odd looking foods than I care to think about but it’s all worth it. I feel like I’m doing something special for my baby that only I can do and that feeling is the best feeling in the world.
I was very recently pregnant and now that I’m not, I have some pearls of wisdom to share. Think of it as a publlic service announcement that you don't want to miss. I’d have shared this sooner—like, say, when I was pregnant—but was reluctant to voice it all for fear of sounding hormonal. You know, being labeled as the easily dismissed and far-too-emotional pregnant lady getting herself riled up again, that sort of thing. Now that I no longer have to worry about that, I’m going to just lay it all out there so here goes. I like to call this the Really Simple But Brilliant Pregnancy Refrain List:
Please refrain from calling any pregnant women hormonal or emotional or the more general, just plain crazy. It probably won’t elicit the response you desire. In fact, it could quite easily result in a serious verbal assault against your person so just don’t do it.
Please refrain from telling a pregnant woman that she is ready to explode. There’s just no need to. She is probably more aware of her uncomfortable and formidable girth than you are and letting her know that you also think she’s absolutely huge will not win you any favours.
Please refrain from telling her about your boozy weekend. She needs that drink much more than you during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Preferably enough to have her pass out and catch some much eluded sleep so telling her about how you devoured one glass of wine after another probably isn’t the wisest move to make.
Please refrain from the imparting your know-it-all knowledge. Yes, she should probably get all the sleep she can before the baby comes. And yes, she may complain about being tired but she won’t know what tired really is until baby comes. But keep it to yourself. Telling her that it’s only going to get worse is not what she wants to hear.
Please refrain from telling her that breastfeeding is the only way to raise a healthy child. Please don’t tell her that reusable diapers are the only way to go. Please don’t tell her that co-sleeping is akin to trying to kill your child. Let her make her own decisions—the ones that work best for her and her baby without your judgment calls. FYI, no one likes a holier-than-thou attitude.
That’s it. It really and truly is that simple so let’s just make it easy for everyone involved. Especially the hormonal and far-too-emotional pregnant lady.
’’A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.’’
- Isadora James
I have an almost three-year-old daughter and just recently gave birth to my second daughter. You can imagine I was more than a bit apprehensive about how the dynamics of this would all play out. I had been forewarned by more experienced parents to expect it to take some time before my toddler warmed up to her new baby sister. I was ready for tears, drama, and the inevitable drawn out battle I’d have to endure. Fortunately though, I’d forgotten something very important about my precious older daughter. Something crucial to this new relationship—she takes after mommy.
All it takes to win her over is something new and sparkly.
Yep, I’m easy like that and so, it seems, is my daughter. A few well thought out gifts from her baby sister and my toddler was sold. She couldn’t get enough of “her baby” and would tell anyone with a willing ear about all the pretty gifts she received from her.
Her baby sister was kind enough to bring her a glittery “big sister” shirt with dazzling pink and purple lettering. How awesome that the baby knew her favourite colours and they hadn’t even met before. I would have to say it was serendipitous, wouldn’t you? And who could forget the talking doll so Seanna would have her own baby to take care of? A genius idea and I commend Aryanna for getting it so damn right, even at her age. The icing on the cake was the pack of chapstick or "lipstick" as my toddler likes to think of it as. Lipstick is somewhat of an obsession right now and the new baby nailed it. Whoever says money (and gifts) can’t buy love has never met an easily pleased toddler before (and before anyone gets upset with me, I’m only kidding…sorta).
Since the first time she met her, my oldest daughter has taken to her new role as a big sister like a true superstar. She helps change diapers, she pats her baby sister’s back after feedings, and she’s the first one to run when Aryanna starts crying. She patiently explains about each character from her favourite cartoon and at the same time, is careful not to let the dog or cat get too close. She secretly steals kisses when she thinks I’m not looking and already has conversations with her that only an older sister could. It melts my heart like nothing ever has before.
Today, I witnessed another special moment. When Aryanna began to cry, my oldest daughter ran to her and told her new sister, “It’s okay, Aryanna. I’m here and I’m holding your hand.” And just like that, she calmed down her new baby sister.
And she brought tears to her mommy’s eyes.