Giving Birth without an Epidural

Giving Birth without an Epidural

If you’re thinking about giving birth without an epidural, then you’re in the right place. Some people might try to talk you out of planning for a natural childbirth, but with the proper mindset and plan, it is totally doable for most moms! (I gave birth without an epidural to my twins!) In this article we’ll talk about five steps to setting yourself up for the best chance for giving birth without an epidural.

1. Mindset and Owning Your Choices

From the moment you tell other people you’re pregnant you’ll be getting lots of opinions… but…

Let’s get something clear right off the bat. YOU are in charge of your birth. Not your doctor. Not your midwife. Not your partner. Not your doula. Not your mother. Not your in-laws. YOU.

This is YOUR body mama. YOU get to choose what happens. If you ever feel pressured into making any decisions then take a minute to refocus and remember. YOU are in charge. NO ONE else.

Yes your partner’s wishes might want to be taken into consideration TO A POINT. But ultimately if their feelings conflict with your own, remember YOU are the one either pushing this baby out of your vagina, or if the situation warrants it, having a major surgery to birth that baby.

Doctors, midwives, doulas, partners, friends, family… these people are all hopefully trusted allies to us in this process. The choices that need to be made, will be made by you and no one else.

So let’s own this power.

Remove this from your language, “the doctor is making me…” “my doctor said I have to…”

You don’t HAVE to do a damn thing. You might CHOOSE something based on your doctors or midwife’s recommendation, but these are your choices to make. You can say no and ask for alternatives.

2. Define your goals and visualize your dream birth

Why are planning on giving birth without an epidural? What does natural childbirth look like to you? Does that mean no medication? Epidural free? No interventions? Are you looking to have a home birth or be in a hospital? Have you considered a birth center?

The very first thing to do before anything else is to define your birth goals and visualize what your ideal birth would look like. Your ideal childbirth is probably different than it is for others moms.

When we talk about not having an epidural, most people think of that as natural childbirth, but for some a natural birth simply means a vaginal birth. For others it could be a totally unmedicated birth. For others it isn’t just an unmedicated birth but also in a serene setting outside of a hospital.

In general, a natural childbirth means that you didn’t have any interventions or medications, though it is how the mother defines this idea that matters more than any other person’s definition, in my opinion.

For example, I had an epidural-free birth with my twins, though it was in a hospital and I induced with pitocin. So it may not be a 100% totally natural childbirth, but in my book, I popped two babies out, giving birth without an epidural, so I’m gonna go ahead and count it.

I knew from the beginning that although I would have loved to have a home water birth, a hospital setting would probably be safer considering twins do create a somewhat higher risk and make the birth slightly more complicated. I was however very committed to having as natural of a birth as possible for the situation.

So my goals were to avoid as many extra interventions and medications as I could while keeping many elements of a natural birth that were important to me, like skin-to-skin and establishing breastfeeding immediately. I created a list of my must-haves for my births, and I also had a list of things I would like but were like a second tier of priorities.

Before you meet with any medical professionals and choose your birth team, think about what kind of birth you desire and then write that down.

You aren’t necessarily creating a whole birth plan at this point. You’re just getting clear on your top goals and also what you absolutely want to avoid if possible.

People say that things change in birth and you can never be certain what will happen. This is true, and I believe in preparing yourself for potential changes in plans.

However if you don’t also plan for the birth you want, then the odds of it happening are slim to none.

Having a natural childbirth is normal and natural, but unfortunately many medical professionals and hospitals are not very supportive of it. Many doctors have never even witnessed a natural childbirth, and don’t know how to actually support a mother who chooses to birth naturally.

This is why the next step is super important.

3. Choose your birth team and/or prep them on your desires

Your birth team is probably the most important aspect of planning for a natural birth without an epidural, or really any birth outcome you desire.

Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

When it comes to your birth, I believe this to be 100% accurate. You need a team that is on board with your goals and will support you in those goals.

Not all healthcare providers are going to be supportive or helpful in your goal of a natural childbirth. So if a natural birth is what you’re going for, then you will want to research and interview doctors and/or midwives who have a history of successful natural births.

In general, midwives are more familiar with and more support of natural childbirth. Doctors are trained to deal with emergencies, to perform surgery, and always be ready for worst case scenarios. Midwives usually will be more likely to be acquainted with the natural flow of birth, and will engage in fewer interventions.

This is not a hard and fast rule though. Some doctors are very supportive of natural birth, while some midwives might try to push interventions quickly.

How do you know if a doctor or midwife has a history of successful natural births? The first thing I do is ask other moms. Get into your local mom groups on Facebook and ask around. See who has had a birth similar to what you want and see who they recommend.

Then use the go-to tool of all moms. Google.

Most doctors or midwives will have reviews you can find somewhere on the internet. Some even have Yelp reviews!

But pay close attention to what women are saying. If you want a natural birth, it isn’t sufficient for women to have had a good experience with a certain professional. You are looking for women who have had successful natural births who also loved their doctor or midwife. There could be a million women who loved having a certain doctor on their birth team, but they also had inductions and epidurals for all of their births. (Which more power to her if that’s her desire for her birth, but if it is not yours, then you need to consider if that doctor is a good fit for you.)

You can also ask for the stats of that doctor, midwife, or practice. My midwifery provided me with statistics on how many of their patients had natural births vs. interventions vs. c-sections.

4. Write your birth plan

Yes, birth is unpredictable. Does that mean you shouldn’t make a plan? Hell no! You NEED a plan if you want a specific outcome.

A football team doesn’t go to the Super Bowl without knowing the plays they want to run. The plays they choose to use and when they will use them will of course change based on their opponent, but they have a lot of tools in their arsenal to win the game and make adjustments on the fly.

This is kind of how a birth plan operates. It not only outlines your ideal expectations for birth, but also how you want to handle the unexpected. (Plus one aspect I have started including in my birth plans is how I’d like my babies to be cared for, and a friendly note to my nurses.)

But beyond how a birth plan can help your birth go a bit more smoothly, and it more likely you can have a natural birth without an epidural, it also is like a research project that allows you to enter this huge task super knowledgable. 

Lisa Chen penned an article about here at Mom Uprising about how she was able to have a safe natural birth without an epidural even though her birth didn’t go as planned. She said, “My dream of having a vaginal birth seemed to be slipping away. But all of my research while preparing for birth came rushing back to me.”

All the research she did ahead of time helped her feel confident in the choices she was making, and also be able to have conversations with medical staff where she stood firm on her birth goals while also being reasonable and well informed. You wishes should be honored no matter what, but if you can come from a place of power (i.e. knowledge) you can better achieve that goal. 

5. Know what to ask

One other thing Lisa mentioned in her article, that I also have utilized in birth is to have a set of questions to ask your care providers in case they are suggesting a change of plans. Those questions are:

  • Is mom okay?
  • Is baby okay?
  • Can it wait?

Answering these questions right away will give you a clearer picture of where you are at in the birth. When you are planning for giving birth without an epidural it can sometimes be a long process. Many moms are given pitocin or prematurely c-sections when really they just need to wait it out a little bit. 

When your care provider is suggesting an intervetion or procedure during your birth, assessing whether it is an emergency, if there is danger, and if you can wait is essential.

If you learn that there is no immediate danger, then you can take a deep breath and decide what your next move is. Perhaps you decide that an intervention is needed and you want to change the plans a bit, or maybe you just want to wait and see.

Using these questions can give you that opportunity.

 

Birth is transformative. It’s probably the most intense experience most women will every go through, but you were made for this. You can be successful at giving birth without an epidural. It just takes some planning, mama.

(PS – bonus points if you also plan for postpartum period, and get yourself a postpartum doula!)

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Making choices in childbirth can be a nerve-wracking experience for many first-time moms, but that’s the beauty of having a birth plan (especially when you end up with an unplanned natural breech birth).

 

Lisa Chin learned first hand the benefits of having a birth plan when her birth DIDN’T go quite as planned (as many births don’t).

 

She shares with us how doing her research and writing a birth plan helped her be able to roll with the punches when her dream birth didn’t go down like it was written on paper.

(Spoiler alert: she was able to totally rock a natural breech birth!)

I cannot say I’m a perfectionist but I had enough Type A in me to want to try to achieve as close to perfection in preparing for my first birth. This included detoxing for a year before trying to conceive, reading as many pregnancy books as I could process, and meticulously  tracking my fertility with the methods shared in Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

After a perfectly timed and planned conception, the next goal was to have a non-medicated vaginal birth. To prepare, my husband and I took a 12 week Bradley Method course with a local instructor. I elected to birth with midwives at the local hospital instead of an OB-GYN. And I ate tons of protein, drank raspberry leaf tea and practiced lots of squats.

In preparation for my daughters birth, I mistook birth as the finish line. I thought birth was a milestone to be met, checked off and something completely separate to who I would be as a mother.

I was wholly unprepared for how my daughter’s birth (a natural breech birth) would shift me entirely and provide the foundation pillars of how I would approach mothering.

It’s not so much a plan but more of a strategy.

Boy, did her birth show me that a birth plan is a complete misnomer. There is no true plan in birthing and the same goes for parenting. All I can do is prepare and strategize and make the best of whatever situation comes my way.

My birth plan fell apart when I found meconium in my underpants. After notifying the midwives at the hospital, I was told to go in immediately. I was instantly admitted into Labor & Delivery. This was a surprise as I didn’t have regular contractions and thought I would only be getting checked. Then I was immediately put on constant fetal monitoring due to the meconium. Constant fetal monitoring was not part of my birth plan.

Things really fell off track when an ultrasound confirmed the midwives’ suspicion that the baby was frank breech (butt down). The options I was offered were to either go for a C-section or to wait to see if the baby turned and then try for a vaginal birth.

Be informed but also trust my instincts.

My dream of having a vaginal birth seemed to be slipping away.

But all of my research while preparing for birth came rushing back to me. I knew there was one other option – some doctors perform breech vaginal births and there was one at this hospital! I had heard about her during one of my prenatal visits as well as in my Bradley class.

I asked the nurses if that doctor was around and if I could speak to her. Serendipitously, she was on the floor for a couple of other births and came not too long after.

After a brief but authentic conversation, Dr. H agreed to let me try to continue to labor and hopefully, birth vaginally. This was not something she normally agreed with first time mothers but I think my confidence and preparation showed in the conversation. She saw that while I deeply wanted a vaginal birth, I was not enamored to the point that I was willing to compromise my baby or my safety to meet my goal.

I could breathe a little easier. My instinct to find another option paid off.

After laboring overnight, my trust and instincts were tested again.

Dr. H came into the room to inform me that progress had been slow. Because it had been so long, she wanted to suggest the option of a C-section as I was not laboring at a predictable pace.

My goal for a vaginal delivery felt truly in jeopardy, and I wasn’t sure if we could accomplish a natural breech birth.

My husband and I took a moment to assess the situation with a level head. One of the things we learned in our Bradley class was a set of three questions to help evaluate the need for an intervention:

  1. Is mom okay?
  2. Is baby okay?
  3. Can it wait?

The answer was “yes” to all of these. These yes’es were further supported with my gut feeling that we were still on a good path.

With that, we asked to wait.

Accept help and support.

A few hours later, at noon, Dr. H told me that I was just about 10 cm dilated and I could start pushing.

Since being admitted to the hospital, I had two people in the room with my husband and me at almost all times – a L&D nurse and a midwife. Dr. H would come and check in between her other patients.

We were in L&D long enough that the shift changed twice. I felt fully supported the entire time I was in the room with each set of nurse and midwife.

Not too many moms have the opportunity to attempt a breech vaginal birth and so not too many practitioners get to witness one. Word got around the L&D floor that I was attempting one. The midwife mentioned that the nurses on the floor were rooting for me. While I had no idea who they were, it lit me up. I needed all the support I could get, even if it was in the forms of positive thoughts.

Then the midwife asked me if another midwife could join us in the room to observe. I said, “Sure why not?” It was another set of hands to help and support.

When I started pushing, I had 2 midwives, 1 L&D nurse, Dr. H, and my husband (and a partridge in a pear tree) in the room. I never felt overwhelmed with the offers to help me from one position to another or receiving suggestions of new techniques to try.

Laboring was not easy as my contractions never got to a predictable pace but after about 4 hours of pushing, I was finally making progress. I got onto the bed so Dr. H would have better access. I pushed for half an hour more and successfully birthed my daughter butt first! I remember looking up after I gave birth to probably an additional half dozen practitioners in the room.

In the final hours of laboring, I received more requests for others to join and welcomed them all in. I never felt a sense of intrusion or disruption as I was so focused on what was happening to me, but I did feel everyone’s support. It was like having a whole cheering squad. As an introvert, this would normally have terrified me, but this experience showed how valuable it is to accept help and support when it is offered. I believe it was the palpable energy in the room that helped push me through the last hour of labor.

These three lessons have profoundly shaped my motherhood experience.

It’s not so much a plan but more of a strategy. I am never under the illusion that any part of parenting is predictable or controllable. This was especially helpful in not losing my sanity over my daughter’s sleep because she did not follow the “normal” schedule for sleeping. She was a very wakeful sleeper for the first 3 years but I learned to adapt and roll with the challenge.

Be informed but also trust my instincts. I research and evaluated all aspects of parenting and motherhood from every angle. I love that there are those who have done all of the legwork to share their research and experiences and I use that information to come to my own conclusion after using my instincts. The combination of research and my instincts has not lead me astray thus far. One instance is following my gut in how I “discipline” my daughter.

Accept help and support. I always tried to be self-sufficient as the solitary wolf in my own wolf pack. But motherhood has completely changed that. Looking around the room after my daughter’s birth, I realized the importance of the village. I created an online community to support me and other moms. This community truly showed me how powerful even a virtual village can be. For my “real life” support, I asked my mom to move in with our family. It has been hands-down the best parenting decision. We are not weak for accepting help and support. We will become weak in thinking we can do it all alone. My natural breech birth was accomplished with a team.

I cannot believe I ever believed birth occurred in a vacuum. That experience inevitably feeds into the next step of our journeys just like every other part of life. I know I will continue to learn lessons from my daughter’s birth for years to come.

Achieving your birth goals is still possible when things don’t go quite as planned, even a natural breech birth!

Lisa is a multi-passionate mother fervently following her inspirations and curiosities. While jumping from one project to another appears random, she has learned that she can’t ignore what her soul is called to create. Motherhood has been the secret sauce that unites her creative work giving her greater purpose as a woman, coach and citizen of this world.

When she is not wrangling spreadsheets or her kids, she can be found writing for her blog, Lisa for Real, where she explores and shares her thoughts on motherhood, fulfilling our purpose and lessons in self-awareness. She is also the founder and host of the Fourth Trimester Summit featuring over 40 sessions for new mamas on how to heal the body and mind, nurture our babies and build our village in the first three months after birth. Join her newsletter to learn what else she is brewing up next.

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If there is one thing that changes after having a baby… it’s your breasts.

Chances are you don’t quite recognize them anymore. Breastfeeding initially means your breasts are a lot bigger than they used to be and probably leaking milk on a regular basis.

Once your babies grow a little, the engorgement might end, but that just means they turn into a couple of slightly deflated balloons. One thing that is a MUST is a good quality nursing bra, and we’ve scoured the internet for the best ones according to real breastfeeding moms

These nursings bras have actually been recommended by breastfeeding moms. We will break down the pro’s and con’s of each.

(Just an FYI. This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase something from a link we provide, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you! If you plan to purchase an item from this list, using our link is a way to show us you enjoy what we are doing, and it costs you $0. 😍)

 

Medela Maternity and Nursing Comfort Bra

Let’s start with the standard. When it comes to anything breastfeeding, Medela is the brand that comes to mind for most. 

This bra is basic, but comfy. 

You can grab them on Amazon for a little over $30, or grab one on your next Target run.

The Medela nursing tanks are pretty bomb too!

Ready for a little step up from the Medela? Try the Bravado.

This design is very similar, it gets great reviews on Amazon, AND it comes in a variety of colors. (Pretty cute ones too!)

Thousands of moms are currently counting this one as their fav, and comes in sizes XS-XXL.

The pretty colors come with a slightly higher price tag though, $49 on Amazon. 

Calling all well endowed and plus sized mamas! This one is for you.

This one isn’t just cute and a bit sexy, it’s also available in large and unusual sizes!

Grab it on Amazon for around $69 in sizes:

32GG-46DD

 

Great for support! This one was so good, one mama bought multiples! 

It’s simple, but supportive (and actually not unattractive). 

The perfect bra for super active moms who still need access for those nursing sessions. 

And… it’s not too pricey, selling for just $19.99 on Amazon.

Only drawback is it is a bit thick for some moms, but for those who don’t want to be able to cut glass with those breastfeeding nips, this might do the trick.

We can personally attest to the comfort of this bra! 

When it comes to looks, it does tend to go towards the granny side of sexy, but I didn’t care. 

We wore this nearly every day for at least two years before it wore out, making the $60ish price tag on Amazon totally worth it!

AND this particular bra comes in many sizes from 32B to 42H!

(I also just love Hot Milk bras in general, and will share more below)

Wacoal Women’s Nursing Bra

These babies are super cute, and dare we say even a little sexy??? 😍

A bit pricier than others. This option runs for about $65 on Amazon.

BUT – it does go up to some larger sizes, including 38G.

A lot of the reviews say this is the ONLY wired bra a lot of moms have been able to wear comfortably and they totally swear by it. 

These definitely seem like they are worth the investment!

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I Love My Boring MomLife

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Why You Need a Postpartum Doula

Why You Need a Postpartum Doula

by guest blogger: Felicia Trumbauer

Postpartum can be a wonderful blissful time of settling into your new family, or it can be a whirlwind of stress. With all the expenses associated with a new baby, sometimes it’s easy to ignore why you need a postpartum doula.

However, one of the best ways you can get support and ease during this transition is by hiring a postpartum doula. (After hiring our own, we swear by them!)

Felicia Trumbauer is a doula-in-training and mother of two.

She shares her top five reasons why you need a postpartum doula.

 

1. She’ll listen.

A woman embarking on motherhood may want to talk to someone about multiple parts of this life changing time but sometimes she doesn’t have the type of listener she needs.

Many women have people in their lives that give well meaning, and not so well meaning, advice when the mother is really looking for someone to just hear her. Some people can be judgmental and make the new mom feel as though she isn’t good enough.

A postpartum doula will never do that. She will give the new mother space to speak her thoughts into existence and work through her feelings, allowing the new mother to come to her own conclusions. If mom needs to cry she’ll have a tissue, if mom needs to retell her birth experience for the tenth time she’ll listen fully.

There are many physical parts of postpartum that a doula can help with but having someone that will listen too is one of the biggest emotional advantages that comes with hiring a postpartum doula.

2. She’ll help manage the little things.

Who is going to walk the dog? Who is going to take the older sibling to school? Who is going to water the garden? When a woman is about to have a baby she tries her best to plan for every scenario but there’s always something that gets forgotten.

A postpartum doula will sit down and help the mother and non-birthing partner plan for all the smaller day to day tasks that may be missed. She can help create a schedule, remind certain people of their obligations, and help the new mother feel more at ease because there will be less to worry about.

3. She’ll make sure mom takes a shower.

I don’t know about you but when I had my daughter, showering became a luxury. Personal hygiene should never be something that goes on the back burner. Unfortunately when there’s a new baby in the mix and life keeps moving as if nothing major has happened, some new moms are lucky to shower every day.

A postpartum doula will be there to watch over the baby so mom is able to shower, eat, or sleep if she needs to. These daily tasks help the mother feel more like a normal human being again which helps her relax and focus on what really needs attention.

 

4. She’ll have resources for any service the family might need.

A postpartum doula is a generalist and is not a medical provider. She has knowledge about a lot of subjects but isn’t quite an expert in every one. If the new mother is experiencing pain during breastfeeding the postpartum doula will give referrals to trusted lactation consultants in the area. She knows when and where the Mom’s Club meets and where the closest car seat technician is.

If there is grief or trauma surrounding the transition into parenthood the postpartum doula has referrals to support groups and therapists to help get through a trying time.

 

5. She’ll make sure everyone can focus on bonding with the baby.

There are many people that come to visit when there’s a freshly born human around. Most of them say they’ll help around the house or bring a meal, but more often than not these people come to hold the baby while the mother is left cleaning or feeling like she needs to entertain guests.

A postpartum doula will actually do the things that Aunt Mary said she’d do. The postpartum doula will load the dish washer, make sure the diaper changing area is stocked, and fold the laundry. She is there to make sure each member of the family is able to get to know the baby and take in the few short weeks of the newborn period. If the non birthing partner is worried about bonding the postpartum doula will have ideas that will be special to this person and the baby.

If there’s an older sibling the postpartum doula will make sure the child doesn’t feel ignored and will help that child create a bond with the baby. The postpartum doula helps facilitate a loving environment with as little stress as possible.

Once you’re a mom, your number one priority is bonding and spending time with that little squish. But you really need to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. A postpartum doula will make sure that your wellbeing doesn’t fall through the cracks as you make this transition.

Felicia is a mother to one fierce little toddler. After having her daughter she realized how little American culture cares about the new mother. Felicia is currently working towards postpartum doula certification through CAPPA. With a background rooted in activism and social work she’s looking forward to continue helping vulnerable populations become empowered. You can find out more about her on her photography page at www.littlewarriorphotography.com.

The Best Tips to Succeed at Breastfeeding from Real Moms

The Best Tips to Succeed at Breastfeeding from Real Moms

Breastfeeding is hard. Yes it’s natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally to many of us. Bad latch, low supply, going back to work, pressure to supplement from doctors… the list of possible issues that can arise is long and can be complicated. A few breastfeeding tips from the pros should help.

 

You’re an awesome mama, and you just want what is best for your baby. But the idea of breastfeeding can be pretty daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of breastfeeding tips from both experts and real nursing mamas!

 

Here are what some other moms and experts say are their top breastfeeding tips:

 

“One of the biggest myths about breastfeeding is that it comes naturally to everyone. Breastfeeding is a skill that mom and baby have to learn together. It takes time to master and often requires help from a friend, family member, or professional lactation consultant. Ask for the support you need early on and you can have the breastfeeding relationship you are hoping for!” -Miri Levi, a mom of two with one on the way, a Certified Nurse Midwife, Family and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. You can find out more about her at www.justlivinghealthcare.com

 

the ultimate breastfeeding class

“Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, literally. But I feel such a proud and fierce love knowing that I pushed through the difficult beginning. I know now that my sacrifice will benefit my kids for the rest of their lives, in ways that science is still discovering. Suddenly it doesn’t seem as big of a sacrifice anymore. Isn’t that beautiful?” -Sarah Marquez, mom and blogger from realsimplemama.com

“Just because breastfeeding is the most natural thing to do, doesn’t make it the easiest. It took me a few months before I felt like breastfeeding was easy for us.” -Meghan Winters, Breastfeeding advocate and counsellor in-training.

“Attending La Leche League meetings while pregnant is a great way for expectant moms to prepare for breastfeeding. You’ll learn how to deal with possible difficulties, as well as build a support system of experienced moms who you can call any time for help.” -Amber Herb, mom and La Leche League Leader. Find out more about LLL at www.llli.org.

“Surround yourself with support! It is so important to have a great support group you trust where you can ask questions, vent, and brag about all your accomplishments and goals! The beginning can be hard and at times you may question giving up. It DOES get easier. Trust your body, it was designed to make milk. There are so many products to help with pain, my favorite is Amorini silver disks. They helped heal me when I needed relief from pain. Even the LC and doctors complimented how well my nipples looked with a newborn! Stay motivated and don’t be scared to ask questions, we all need help at one point in time.” -Crystyn Leigh Haun, Mom of two, breastfeeding advocate, baby wearing educator and photographer. You can check out her work at www.facebook.com/photographybycrystyn

 

Back to work pumping class for breastfeeding moms

It may be the most challenging part of being a new mom, but in the long run breastfeeding actually simplifies your life because you don’t have to deal with bottles and mixing formula. Your baby is less likely to get sick, which means fewer trips to the doctor, and you have two built in comfort objects to help a fussy baby relax. Like Sarah Marquez said in her guest post, it will be tough at first but if you want to take the lazy way, breastfeeding is a great choice. Just be sure to read as much as you can so you’re educated and if you don’t know any other breastfeeding moms, create your own network of support online! That will give you hundreds of breastfeeding tips to choose from!

 

How to Put Yourself First When You’re a Mom

How to Put Yourself First When You’re a Mom

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Should Moms Stop Complaining About SAHM Life?

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Postpartum Emotions: All the Feelings After Birth

Postpartum Emotions: All the Feelings After Birth

Postpartum. That vulnerable time after you have a baby is intense. The postpartum emotions are some of the most poignant you’ll feel in your entire life. 

One night while I was up late with my twins right after their birth, I furiously typed out these words in an attempt to capture the emotions after birth

Shortly the birth of my twins, I felt such an outpouring of emotions after birth, and so I grabbed my iPhone and poured them out at 3am while in the thick of it.

If you’re a mom already, you can probably remember some of these feelings exactly. If you’re a soon-to-be mom, strap in for the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. What’s postpartum really like? Keep reading.

Postpartum is lots of contrast. Beautiful and ugly. Smiles and stretch marks. Intense emotions. Joy and fear.

Tons of happiness. But sometimes happiness shows up as uncontrollable tears running down your cheeks.

Sometimes happiness can’t be felt without also feeling pain. Just like you can’t experience the love of seeing your baby for the first time without the intensity of childbirth.

Sublime and terrible. Humanity at it’s finest. It’s the essence of being a human woman. Heartbreaking and mending your heart simultaneously. Transforming into something grander, bigger, more marvelous.

Landslides of hormones that make you study all the emotions life has to offer, study the meaning of life and your little place in it. 

I’m so happy to have my babies earthside where I can touch them and hold them. Teach them. Show them the world.

But every minute outside of my womb is another minute they get further and further away from me. Each day they are less and less mine and more and more their own.

Tears tears tears and more tears. The sweetest saddest tears. The kind that make you feel like you lost your first love but also like you won the biggest prize in life.

How do you reconcile these feelings or talk about them in a way that’s doesn’t minimize this monumental time for a Mom? It’s like trying to talk about the true meaning of God or the Universe.

 It’s above my pay grade to understand. But what I do know is this time is full of change. Change that reveals the new you. Because with each child a new you is born too.

I used to think women who said they loved their stretch marks were crazy or lying. How could you love those ugly marks all over your body? But now I know.

This is not the same body. I’m not the same person. I’m not the same woman. I’m not the same Mom I was before these children were born.

It would feel wrong to not have some small token of what I’ve been through as a reminder of the painful and beautiful work my body and I have done together.

It’s a small physical manifestation of my most important role in this life.

My most cherished role as mother.

The postpartum emotions, in that sacred time are a roller coaster. But they are also a kind of portal into what is possible. Into the depths of what we are capable of as mothers and just how deep our love runs for our children. This short period of time the postpartum emotions are so palpable, but if we can learn to ride those waves of emotion, it can be beautiful.

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Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

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How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids

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What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

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What Having a Boy Taught Me About Self-Love

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The Fear of Loss in Motherhood

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Best Diaper Bag for Twins from Real Twin Parents

Best Diaper Bag for Twins from Real Twin Parents

We were on the hunt for the best diaper bag for twins. Our trusty old diaper bag has finally called it quits after five years of service, and it's now time to shop for a new one for the twins (plus an almost 5-year-old). My husband and I have scoured the webs for the...

Self-Care Ideas for Moms (From a Dad and Teacher)

Self-Care Ideas for Moms (From a Dad and Teacher)

These self-care ideas for moms are must-know if you are one of those people who craves alone time and doesn't know what to do with it when you get it! Ironically, it's a dad who is going to share some of these essential self-care strategies with us today. Taking care...

Why Breastfeeding is Important Beyond Health

Why Breastfeeding is Important Beyond Health

We could talk about the health benefits for mom and baby which most people point to, but there are other reasons to consider why breastfeeding is important. Breastfeeding is a complicated topic in mom culture today. While we are in a sort of renaissance when it comes...

Teaching Kids to Cook, Getting Started

Teaching Kids to Cook, Getting Started

Teaching kids to cook has a ton of benefits for parents and kids. While it may seem daunting to let your little ones take on the responsibility of helping prepare meals, it is totally doable. Most parents make sure that the entire kitchen is baby-proofed and safe for...

Mom Hack: Knowing Baby Developmental Leaps

Mom Hack: Knowing Baby Developmental Leaps

Dealing with cranky kids is rough, but if you want to take those extra fussy baby days in stride then knowing baby developmental leaps is essential! We've all been there. Our sweet little squish is the most calm and cool kid ever... until they're not. You wake up one...

5 Tips for How to Give Birth Naturally Without Pain

5 Tips for How to Give Birth Naturally Without Pain

Want to know how to give birth naturally without pain? Awesome! It IS possible to greatly reduce discomfort during birth. These are the five best ways. Before we dive into specific natural childbirth techniques for relaxation and feeling more comfortable in birth,...

What are the Baby Blues After Birth?

What are the Baby Blues After Birth?

One thing they never tell you about is the baby blues after birth. Sure, you’ve heard of postpartum depression, but the baby blues? It’s almost a little secret of postpartum that stays hidden... until you’re going through it. (Quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I'm...

Sleep Training Without Cry It Out Method

Sleep Training Without Cry It Out Method

Is sleep training without cry it out method even possible? It sounds like sleep training without cry it out method is a dream, but it can work! If you’ve been looking for an extremely gentle way to encourage sleep in your baby without the tears, this one’s for you....

How to Prepare for Twins, 5 Tips from a TwinMom

How to Prepare for Twins, 5 Tips from a TwinMom

Once you get past the shock of having twins, you can start to go a little bonkers with figuring out how to prepare for twins. To be honest, you will never be completely ready for becoming a twinmom, but these are the five best tips for how to prepare for twins.  ...

Clearing Clutter Where to Start

Clearing Clutter Where to Start

It's so easy to get buried in stuff when you're a parent. Kids have so many things! Combine that with yours and a partner's? The clutter can easily get out of control. That's why today we are going to talk about clearing clutter, where to start. Mia Danielle joins me...

Two Shirt Method: How to Discreetly Breastfeed in Public

Two Shirt Method: How to Discreetly Breastfeed in Public

Learning to breastfeed as a new mom can be challenging, and when it comes to breastfeeding in public, things can get awkward pretty quickly when you aren’t very experienced at it. But there is a super simple trick to low-key nursing in public, it’s called the two shirt method.

Having a Motherhood Identity Crisis?

Having a Motherhood Identity Crisis?

Becoming a mother for the first (or second, third, fourth, five...) time is life-changing and beautiful, but it can also lead to a motherhood identity crisis. People say your life is over when you have children. I tried to deny it. I tried to fight it. I tried to...

Nourishing Your Body (Simple Self-Care Part 3)

Nourishing Your Body (Simple Self-Care Part 3)

How often do we think about our body as either a baby-making factory or something that needs to snap back into pre-baby shape? We are either feeding our bodies to feed our growing babies, or trying to morph it into something it resembled before a human incubated...

Learning to Love Your Body as a Mom

Learning to Love Your Body as a Mom

Who else struggles with learning to love your body? I know I’m not the only one, right? As we try to change the way we view moms and postpartum bodies, so many times we are still just learning to love our bodies ourselves.

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids with One Simple Tip

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids with One Simple Tip

We've all been there, right? There are few people who can push our buttons like those little cherubs known as... our kids. But we also know that keeping our cool is key to being the parent we want to be. Try this one simple tip on how to stop yelling at your kids....

Being a Mother is the Best Feeling. What Could Compare?

Being a Mother is the Best Feeling. What Could Compare?

It's easy to get caught up in the chaos of motherhood, but being a mother is the best feeling. This whirlwind of diapers, sticky hands, bath times, bedtimes, routines, schedules that are thrown out the window, baby pools, and more is exquisite even if it's so hard. I...

Skin Care Products for Breastfeeding Moms

Skin Care Products for Breastfeeding Moms

Which skin care products for breastfeeding moms are best? Which ingredients should you avoid, and what is considered safe? This will get you started in your research into which skin care products to use while breastfeeding.

How to Be a Better Parent with Personal Development

How to Be a Better Parent with Personal Development

How many time have you agonized over losing it and yelling at your kids, or felt guilty over all the screen time they are getting lately? It's normal if you tend to wonder how you can be a better parent. This is a tough job. Karen Hewitt shares in this episode of...

Forgiving Yourself for Parenting Mistakes

Forgiving Yourself for Parenting Mistakes

We’ve all thought it at least one, right? The question: “Am I screwing up my kids?” The truth is… yes. To some extent. We all are. Because we can’t do this job perfectly and it’s time we learn that forgiving yourself for parenting mistakes is not just ok, but essential.

Weight Loss for Busy Moms: How to Start Your Healthy Journey

Weight Loss for Busy Moms: How to Start Your Healthy Journey

Moms are under so much pressure to not just be the best mother possible, but to look like society's idea of perfection while doing it. It can be really hard to both love ourselves exactly as we are while also wanting to be healthy and happy. Jai Murphy, certified...

How to Enjoy Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

How to Enjoy Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

For a lot of moms (and dads), being able to stay at home with the kids and ditch the 9-5 sounds like a fantasy. But once you’re actually at home with those kids 24/7, it can get a little monotonous (and chaotic) to say the least. It can be hard to actually enjoy it. So here are our 10 best tips on how to enjoy being a stay-at-home mom.

25 Inspirational Mom Quotes

25 Inspirational Mom Quotes

25 of the best inspirational mom quotes for motivation, inspiration and commiseration. Enjoy these inspiration quotes mamas.1.The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. -Honore de Balzac 2. One of the greatest titles...

What Do Moms Want for Mother’s Day? (This Mom Shares the Truth)

What Do Moms Want for Mother’s Day? (This Mom Shares the Truth)

Been wondering... what do moms wants for Mother's Day? Some people are just sooo hard to buy for, and while this is just my personal opinion, I'm about to let you off the hook and clue you in on what moms want for Mother's Day.This might be shocking to some, so...

Are Royal Births Different Than Ours?

Are Royal Births Different Than Ours?

Have you seen this meme? It's a glowing Meghan Markle with Prince Harry and the newest royal baby, Archie on one side. On the other side, is a typical family at the hospital after a birth, with mom rockin' some of our fav mesh panties.   There is no doubt that...

Giving Birth without an Epidural

Giving Birth without an Epidural

If you're thinking about giving birth without an epidural, then you're in the right place. Some people might try to talk you out of planning for a natural childbirth, but with the proper mindset and plan, it is totally doable for most moms! (I gave birth without an...

Why Do We Celebrate Mother’s Day? Is It Time We Stopped?

Why Do We Celebrate Mother’s Day? Is It Time We Stopped?

Today, Mother's Day is a day of brunching, flowers, cards, and if we are lucky, a alone time. Or perhaps the saintly among us just get to hang out and relax with our children because we prefer that to gifts and parties. But do we ever stop and wonder, why do we...

Single Mommin’ It and Providing for Your Family

Single Mommin’ It and Providing for Your Family

The hilarious and super smart Liz Meli-Wischman (now Marciniak) joins the MomUp Show this week to share how she has reached one of the highest levels of Younique through integrity, authenticity, and humor.  Mamas in MLM's or direct sales, listen up for this one! Liz...

Life Was Boring Before Kids

Life Was Boring Before Kids

You ever finally get that precious alone time away from your kids and wonder... what the hell do I do now? As much as we need alone time for self-care, date night, or just to poop, so many times when we finally get it, we don't know what to do with it. And one thing...

Moms Who Drink: Is Drinking Out of Control for Moms?

Moms Who Drink: Is Drinking Out of Control for Moms?

There are viral posts both joking about how mommy needs alcohol to survive motherhood with these little dictators ruling our lives... Then there are posts all about how we shouldn't need alcohol to be a mom, and that the jokes about drinking and motherhood have...

The Truth About How Hard it is to Be a Mom

The Truth About How Hard it is to Be a Mom

You can't prepare for it, and you can't understand it until you are living it. But it is so hard to be a mom. Momlife is no joke. Physically, emotionally, spiritually it changes and challenges you. Let's talk about the truth about how hard it is to be a mom, and maybe...

Re-building the Village: Creating Community for Moms

Re-building the Village: Creating Community for Moms

there might be a ton of reasons we sometimes feel divided as moms, but the truth is that any division that happens within the mom community are truly due to our lack of connection. While we may be a group that shares many things in common, we don't always feel like a...

They Grow Up So Fast: Learning to Go With the Flow in Motherhood

They Grow Up So Fast: Learning to Go With the Flow in Motherhood

"They grow up so fast." You hear it over and over again from experienced moms, maybe your own mom, aunt, grandmother... and inevitably when you talk to a brand new mom, you say the same thing to her. The time goes so fast, they grow up so fast. You wish there was...

Rainbow Toys for Toddlers

Rainbow Toys for Toddlers

Looking for rainbow toys for toddlers, or even older kids, that will add some color to their space? These toys are cool enough that you won't need to hide them away in bins, and they don't blare kiddie tunes that get stuck in your head allllll day. These 10 rainbow...

Natural Breech Birth: Making Confident Choices in Childbirth

Natural Breech Birth: Making Confident Choices in Childbirth

Making choices in childbirth can be a nerve-wracking experience for many first-time moms, but that's the beauty of having a birth plan (especially when you end up with an unplanned natural breech birth).   Lisa Chin learned first hand the benefits of having a...

Dealing With a Picky Eater: Does Your Child Refuse to Eat Anything?

Dealing With a Picky Eater: Does Your Child Refuse to Eat Anything?

guest post by Melody Manwell. It's not just you mama. I know it feels like maybe you're failing when your kid eats about 3 items, none are healthy, and dealing with a picky eater is so hard! That's why Melody Manwell is here to shed some light on why your kid might be...