If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the nearly five years I’ve been a mother, it’s this: Fellow mothers are the best source of no-BS, tell-it-to-you-straight mom wisdom you’ll ever hope to encounter. The trouble is we don’t always ask the right questions (or even know what they are), and you probably don’t have other sources telling you the straight-up truth about TMIs like post-birth constipation and just how world-rocking having a baby is. Nearly everyone has at least one “what I wish I had known” detail—so I’m sharing those tidbits of been there, done that know-how from a whole tribe of mom bloggers.
Below, you’ll read about everything: the good (the overwhelming love of your bubs!), the bad (mastitis—need I say more?) and the ugly (postpartum depression and anxiety are real—and all too common). So before you have a “what I wish I had known” about motherhood moment, read on. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll learn something from this mom wisdom—I know I did!
Just a few weeks ago, I weaned Kiwi. Although I had a goal to wean her by her second birthday, I thought it’d never happen: She asked for milk all day, every day. Yet bit by bit, we decreased the amount she breastfed. Finally, there came a day when she didn’t nurse at all. And then there was another no-milk day. And just like that, weaning was complete.
Pretty much. (More on that below!)
It’s no secret around here that I’ve both struggled with breastfeeding and loved it. I nursed Peeper until she was 15 months old, and Kiwi until she was almost 2. But even though we’d semi-accidentally become an extended breastfeeding family, I was ready to wean.
Yes, I was ready to wean, but I wish someone had clued me in to some details about weaning I’d never heard—or read—about.
A dear friend of mine (whom I’ll not name so I don’t embarrass her) recently texted me. She was at work on a short break and was pumping milk for her baby at home. Not only that—she was catching up on emails, sending me pics of her munchkin and blow drying her hair (which she’d left in a wet bun until now). I couldn’t believe all her multitasking while pumping at work. Wow, she is a supermom! I thought.
As her need to do so much during such a short time shows, pumping at work is not easy. Plus, many moms feel a lot of pressure to make enough milk for their babies while they are at work. So it’s no surprise that nearly every pumping mom I know has, at some point, wanted to pump more milk.
When Peeper was born, I visited lactation specialists several times a week to try to get breastfeeding to work for us. She was my first baby, so I didn’t really know what breastfeeding should feel like—but I was pretty sure it shouldn’t feel stabby/excrutiating/make-me-cry painful.
When I asked one of the lactation nurses what breastfeeding should feel like, she gently pulled on my thumb. “Like that,” she said. I was bewildered; when Peeper latched, breastfeeding was definitely not that gentle.
Fast forward past many lactation appointments, a belated tongue tie correction, the use of a nipple shield and a lot of persistence, and breastfeeding finally did feel good—I finally got to the point where breastfeeding didn’t hurt.
But that’s not the only part of how breastfeeding actually feels. In short, it can hit a whole bunch of emotions, too. So if you’re wondering what you’re in for when you breastfeed your baby, read on.
So your baby doesn’t sleep, which means you don’t sleep. Mama, I sohave been there. If that’s the case, you may be ready to try sleep training—extinction, Ferber, cry it out, or whatever name you’re using. And if that’s true, you need to prepare for sleep training.
And I’m not talking about prepping your tiny Sleepless in Seattle. I’m talking about preparing you for sleep training.
Because while sleep training is hard on the baby, it’s equally (if not more) difficult for Mom.
I’ve sleep trained both Peeper and Kiwi—and am SO FREAKING GLAD I did. But it’s still hard to worry about your baby and know you could end her tears by sticking a boob in her mouth or bouncing her for 2 hours on a giant yoga ball.
Despite that anxiety many of us moms feel, studies repeatedly show that sleep training is not harmful in the long run. A recent study out of Australia showed that the babies in a Ferber-like sleep training (where they’re allowed to cry for gradually longer periods until they fall asleep on their own) had just as strong bonds with parents and fell asleep on their own faster than their peers in a control group who did not do sleep training. What’s more, they actually had lower evidence of stress in the afternoon than babies who weren’t sleep trained.
Plenty of parents still debate sleep training, and that’s fine. But for someone reading this—likely a parent who is ready to give it a try—having someone try to convince you that sleep training is unsafe is just not helpful.
That’s why I offer these tips to prepare for sleep training. They’ll help you stay strong, get through the few tough days and make it to the other end. When you and Baby are sleeping better, I’ll take a bet that you’ll be glad you tried sleep training, too.
If I had a dollar for every time I googled “how to fix a clogged duct,” I’d be able to afford that 2017 Disney World trip Eric apparently promised Peeper last month. (I was all, “You said what?” So now we’re going to Disney.)
You see, I get clogged ducts on the regular. I’ll notice the signs of a clogged duct: a painful spot on one breast, a lump, a red spot, swelling, and oh did I mention the pain? By this point—going on 18 months breastfeeding Kiwi and almost as long with Peeper—I know how to fix a clogged duct. Breastfeeding mom friends of mine sometimes text me and ask for tips to get rid of ’em, so now I’m sharing these 10 techniques with you all.
I’d hope, of course, you don’t actually need these tips to fix a clogged duct. But if you do get one, you’ll want to try whatever works until it’s gone. After all, clogged ducts can turn into mastitis, a really nasty breast infection accompanied by fever, chills and super painful swelling.
So try these 10 tips and with a little luck, your boobs will be back to normal ASAP!
I’m considering starting a baby consulting business. Consultations will go like this.
My baby is cranky. She’s probably teething.
My baby doesn’t sleep. He’s probably teething.
My baby wants to eat all the time/won’t eat anything. She’s probably teething.
My baby bites me/other kids/the dog/wood chips at the playground. He’s definitely teething.
But after having two kids who have grown lots and lots of teeth, I have tried just about every product and technique to relieve teething pain. Here, then, are my recommendations for the best teething products.