Powered by breastmilk

Powered by breastmilk breastfeedingKiwi is powered by breastmilk.

She rolls, she giggles, she kicks, she chews on anything she can get her gummy mouth on.

She has dimpled cheeks and rolls on her thighs.

She watches her sister play, stares out the car window on drives, listens to books and turns toward any sound to figure out precisely what made that noise.

Up until last week, when Kiwi tried her first food, all that growth, activity, curiosity and learning was 100% fueled by breastmilk—magical, powerful, nourishing breastmilk. Read more

Build your ideal nursing station

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When you have a newborn, approximately 90% of your time is spent breastfeeding. (I’m sure there’s a study somewhere that verifies this. Hold on while I find it…) It’s no wonder you need your nursing station to be on point just to feel remotely comfortable.

In the first few weeks when Kiwi was perennially attached to my boob, I was lucky enough to have lots of family around. “Can you bring me my water?” I’d ask the second she latched because of course I never remembered to bring my trusty water jug with me.

Water isn’t the only thing you’ll want on hand while nursing your newborn. After all, you’ll want to be fed, hydrated and comfy during those many, many hours you spend nourishing that tiny baby.

Here, then, is what you’ll need to set up the perfect nursing station.

If you're breastfeeding your newborn, you'll want to set up the perfect nursing station to keep you comfortable during all those hours of feeding your baby. Here's what you'll need. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Portland newborn photos by Capturing Grace Photography

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A poem for my water bottle

When Peeper was born, the folks at the hospital gave me a giant double insulated water jug. I reveled in its 28 ounce capacity and brought it everywhere. I drank water like it was my job because, for a breastfeeding mama, it was my job!

Then one bad no good horrible day, I left the jug on top of the car and drove away. The jug was smashed. My heart was smashed. I missed that hunk of plastic for months.

I told this story to the nurses at the hospital where I delivered Kiwi. Not only did they gift me a new one, they gave me two.

Maybe they were angling to get Kiwi named after them.

Well played, nurses.

Anyway, the other night I was trying to keep myself awake and amused as Kiwi nursed, so I composed a little ditty in honor of my favorite drinking receptacle. (What, isn’t that what everyone does?) I give you:

My Giant Water Jug

You’re my beautiful big water jug
Night and day you allow me to chug a lug
I fill you with ice
Splash in water so nice
And continue to breastfeed my little bug

Now I’ll just wait for the poetry contracts to roll in.

Nap time travel

Newborn kangaroo care
At a week old, Peeper spent much of her day snuggled against my chest.

Every mother has a magic patch of skin. It’s easy to find: It’s the skin below your clavicle—your décolletage—which is, not coincidentally, right above your heart.

It’s magic because it has the ability to transport a mother back in time.

The other day, I went in to Peeper’s bedroom when I heard her wake up from a nap. She was crying, so I gathered her in my arms, sat back in the glider and started singing. She nestled into me, and her face snuggled right against the skin left bare by my v-neck shirt.

With the instant ease of a key turning in an oiled lock, my heart opened.

The best feelings of motherhood—awe, gratitude, love that practically blinds you as it shines out from every pore—washed over me. I inhaled Peeper’s scent, a mix of shampoo and toddler sweat with just a hint of peanut butter. And I was suddenly the brand-new mother of a newborn. Read more

5 tips to make bomb twice-baked sweet potatoes

Tips for Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with EggsTwice-baked potatoes were one of my favorite dinners when I was growing up. I’d wait impatiently for them to bake and snag a top—a little piece of potato skin with melted cheese—as soon as they were out of the oven, inevitably burning my mouth. But it was so worth it!

When figuring out what meal to bring another new mama friend (something was in the water about 9 months ago—I have so many friends who just had babies!), I thought back to how comforting twice-baked potatoes were and decided to make a batch—but with sweet potatoes. I love their flavor and all the extra vitamins and antioxidants that accompany their orange flesh.

Because I’m so bad at feeding myself, I made extras for my family, of course.

I love twice-baked sweet potatoes because you can throw in whatever you have on hand. I added onion, broccoli, peppers, tofu and cheese—not a bad combo, if you ask me. I considered whipping up a recipe to post here but the beauty of twice-baked sweet potatoes is that you don’t need a recipe. Just bake the potatoes, scoop and mash the insides, saute a combo of veggies-meat-whatever you need to use in the fridge, and bake ’em all again until heated through—usually around 20 minutes.

To accompany the sweet potatoes, I chopped up veggies for a salad (remember, brand-new parents of a newborn have no time to slice cucumbers!) and made these no-bake peanut butter oat bites. After all, old fashioned oats are one of the top foods recommended to help increase and support your milk supply. I added some coconut flakes and used agave instead of honey (we were out and there’s no way I’m paying out the nose for grocery store honey when I can wait to get it at the farmer’s market!), and they turned out delicious. We now have a bag of ’em in the freezer because I had to make enough for myself, too, didn’t I?

If you’re making a meal for new parents (and seriously, just do it!), check out my last post about what to do—and not do—to make eating a little easier for those sleep-deprived, love-drunk mamas and papas.

Without further ado, then, here are my top 5 tips for making out of this world twice-baked sweet potatoes. Read more

A motherhood mulligan

Eric and I have been disc golfing together since we met. When we first started dating, we’d drive to Dexter State Park and play a round, flirting between throws.

Now that we’ve been married for six years and have a toddler, disc golfing looks a little different: I skip most holes because I’m too busy chasing Peeper and preventing her from eating rocks, sticks and hunks of dirt. But one thing hasn’t changed—I still call “mulligan” when I hit a tree with my drive. I don’t keep score anyway, so what’s the harm in a little do-over?Ten Thousand Hour Mama - Champoeg Disc Golf

Ten Thousand Hour Mama - Champoeg disc golfI was recently interviewed by friend and former colleague Lee Walker Helland about motherhood mulligans—the things we wish we could have done differently. Her story, First-Year Do-Overs, just ran in American Baby. (Take a peek to read my interview and hear what other moms would have changed about getting out of the house, accepting help and sleep training.)

I talked, of course, about breastfeeding. If you want to catch up on our BFing journey, you can read about it here, here and here, or just read a good summary here. Thankfully, our story has a good ending: Peeper is still breastfeeding, and I’m so grateful to have been able to nurse her this long on my terms.

Is there anything you would have done differently in parenthood?

Nurse-in shows support for breastfeeding mamas

Over the weekend a group of moms held a “nurse-in” at a restaurant outside Portland. An employee there had recently asked a nursing mom to cover up, despite it being completely within her rights (not to mention the baby’s) to breastfeed basically anywhere in public.

In response, dozens of moms showed up to, you know, provide their children vital sustenance (gasp).

I love how these mothers, many of whom didn’t even know the original woman who was asked to put her boob away, used the frustrating moment as a way to raise awareness and rally support. It is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, after all!

I was in Eugene over the weekend, but I did end up breastfeeding at a different restaurant—not as part of the protest but because Peeper was hungry.

I don’t use a cover-up (or, as one company that thought it was a good marketing strategy to compare lactating women with cows calls them, Udder Covers). Even if I wanted to, Peeper would never stand it. And really, breastfeeding shows a lot less boob than, say, wearing a bikini. Read more