Our Moment

We lay side by side,
each of us offering warmth and comfort to the other.
You settle in and close your eyes,
escaping this big world and all that is still so new to you.
For just a few minutes,
only you and I exist.

You eat.

You glance up to make sure I’m still there,
of course I am, silly!
Your small hands wander,
looking for something to hold onto.
All they find is me,
and they are satisfied.
I caress you,
my love for you is immeasurable.
Your tiny feet gently kick under the covers,
rustling against my leg, then off again.
You repeat this over and over as you eat,
it is a habit you’ve developed.

It makes me smile.

In this moment,
only you and I exist.
I realize that one day you will be bigger than me,
so I close my eyes, exhale and soak this in.
You will always be my baby boy.

I love you.

Breastfeeding Management: It’s so much more than just the latch

April M.:

Very interesting, new moms trying to breast feed need all the support they can get. As a new mom who went through the struggle of initiating breastfeeding herself, I can relate!

A huge part of success is allowing yourself first to fail – and then finding ways to work with your partner, your baby and your lifestyle to achieve breastfeeding success. Moms are already exhausted and under a lot of pressure, which only makes it harder.

Originally posted on Breastfeeding Medicine:

Breastfeeding initiation and the period of the first month after birth for the mother and infant can often be complicated by medical and psychosocial challenges which may be difficult for lactation specialists alone to address. In a published article in March 2014 in the Journal of Human Lactation, we describe an integrated mental health approach which we have coined the ‘Trifecta†Approach’ as a model of breastfeeding management. († We borrow the term Trifecta which is a betting term for predicting 1st , 2nd and 3rd places in a horse race. It is also synonymous with the likes of winning an Oscar award for a movie). Our breastfeeding consultation clinic developed a multidisciplinary team comprised of : 1) a pediatrician specializing in breastfeeding medicine (myself), 2) a lactation consultant (nurse with IBCLC), and 3) a clinical psychologist specializing in infant mental health and child development.

The Trifecta

The Trifecta Conceptual Model

The lactation…

View original 706 more words

Great Expectations

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned as a new mom, it’s this: lower your expectations.

It sounds horrible, yes. But it is a lesson worth listening to.

I often step back and analyze my day to day. Do I feel fulfilled? Do I feel happy? Do I feel overwhelmed? Do I feel unproductive?

I gladly answer yes to the first two questions. I also answer yes to the second two. And then I ask, how can I not feel so overwhelmed and unproductive? I realize that nothing in my life is going to change drastically anytime soon (ie: work, home, baby, hobbies), so I need to figure out how the heck to balance these elements of my life and still feel like I’m putting enough into (and getting enough back from!) each of them.

The greatest obstacle to me feeling as though my day was productive is the standard for accomplishment I hold myself to. I’m a go-getter by nature, a “nip it in the bud” kind of gal. I don’t make to-do lists, because nothing stays on my lists long enough to need a list. Get me? I get stuff done. Quickly. Correctly. Completely. And well.

All of that changed when little Oliver entered my life. The biggest wake-up call? Not even being able to cook myself breakfast, lunch or dinner when Kevin was still at work. I struggled to get an egg onto a frying pan. I needed to call my insurance company to sort out my maternity leave coverage. I almost forgot to do it. Grocery shopping? I ordered Peapod from Stop & Shop for the first time in my life (never thought I’d get groceries delivered!). My point is that I could barely function with a newborn in the house. My whole world was flipped upside down, turned inside out and thrown in my face.

How was I ever going to get anything done anymore? The thought of having any kind of hobby anymore quickly faded away…

But then Ollie got older, and cried less, and learned how to play with toys. He still demands my attention most of the day, and I gladly give it to him. Often, though, I find myself sitting at my laptop tapping or browsing away, with this little meatball on my lap, and he’s just staring at the computer, like “mom? what are you doing?” and he’ll arch his back, and look away and try to grab for the nearest object, which, if I’m lucky, is not a cup of tea or bowl of food. And then I feel guilty – for trying to multi-task with my little man on my lap. I should be giving him my attention – not my list of tasks that I need to complete. And I’ll snap the lap top shut, and carry my little guy into the living room and play with him, and talk to him, and bounce him on my knee and sing to him. And any sort of list of things to do quickly becomes a distant memory.

But those to-do’s don’t just go away…they need to be done by someone, eventually. Cooking. Dishes. Laundry. Sweeping. Vaccuuming. Balancing the checkbook. Paying the bills. Sending emails for work.

That list of chores right there? I used to get those all done, in a matter of hours, in a single day. And still have time to go outside, garden, go for a run, go out for dinner and some drinks possibly. These days? I’m lucky if I can cross one or two of those off my list in the same day and not feel like I neglected my child terribly.

That is how having a kid changes your life. You expect it all along, you know that things are going to be different. But you can’t put a finger on exactly how, or to what extent, until you’re living it.

The dream, that is. Because contrary to popular belief, having kids is not a living nightmare. You’re not even sleeping as a parent, so how could having kids possibly be a nightmare?! (Click here for fun sound effect.)

No joke, I just got interrupted – as I was writing this rather short blog entry – by my crying baby, whom I needed to go upstairs and lay with to console back to sleep…case in point.

Now, back to the entry.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll just say that my point here is that I need to lower my expectations for what I am going to get done each day – whether it be cooking a fancy dinner, paying all the bills and balancing my finances, writing a blog post…you get the idea.

When I put pressure on myself to accomplish all these things and more, while I am also caring for my baby, I end up feeling like I spread myself far too thin. I don’t feel good about any of it – because I am not giving anything my full attention. The tasks at hand feel half-attempted, because I am bouncing back and forth between the task and my baby who need my attention. I may get the chore done, but I don’t necessarily feel good about it, and it doesn’t ever feel like I fully did it (if that makes any sense), or did a good job at it. And of course, I feel like I am not giving my baby my full attention – as I am attempting to “get things done” while at the same time entertaining and caring for him. In this scenario, I get (most) everything done, but I just don’t feel great about it.

In an effort to    s  l  o  w     d  o  w  n    and make sure that I enjoy this (relatively) brief time where my baby is actually a baby, I’ve approached my days with renewed aloofness. I’ve granted myself permission to get nothing done. I tell myself, “If I end the day, and the only thing I’ve done is take care of Ollie, that is okay.” Enough with the bucket lists of chores, the pressure to get everything done and then some. I triage my tasks. Things with a deadline must be done by the deadline (of course). Things that can wait, well, they can wait. I just don’t need to get it all done at once anymore.

It took awhile (six months?) for this to become clear to me. That my new number one priority is Oliver (and my sanity), and not keeping my to-do list from building up.

I felt a immense sense of freedom when I accepted that I needed to give myself a break. And ironically, now that I am probably getting less done each day, I actually feel like there’s less to be done each day. What’s likely happening here, is that I am just now filtering out those non-urgent or unnecessary tasks from my conscious stream of thoughts, lightening my mental load. It feels great! I wonder if this is what normal people (as I consider myself a chronic achiever) feel like most of the time…?

Happy I got this blog post in, as it’s been on my mind for a few days now…I think articulating this somehow validates it for me.

Oliver is soundly sleeping (for now) and I’m not too far behind!

Status Update

I’ve alluded before to being “too connected” and lately, I’ve been feeling like I need to revisit this topic.

My husband spent the last four or five days glued to his Samsung Galaxy playing the extremely addictive game, 2048.

I admit, I too have fallen victim to it’s simple concept and quick, mindless play. But every time I looked at him, all I saw were his fingers sliding across the screen and the glow of pastel colored game tiles illuminating his face. It was like he didn’t exist. Quite an unsettling feeling comes over you when your partner is in the room, but you feel like you haven’t looked them in the eye or spoken the entire morning!

Aside from chastising him and telling him his son is going to grow up to think his father is the back of a smartphone – “…Daddy….?!” (because you know I did) I paused to reflect on how much time I spend cast in the glow of my own phone or computer – and what causes me to linger there.

Luckily, most of my reasons for staring at a screen are actually constructive in life (work email, balancing finances, online learning) but I can’t claim total innocence, either.

What distracts me on the internet? Facebook, mostly.

Which prompted me to make

My Rules for Facebook.

Trust me, I do not claim to be the perfect Facebook user. In fact, over the course of the past ten years, I’ve probably been guilty of breaking all of my self-proclaimed rules – multiple times. I’m devising these rules now to set some boundaries for myself, as I find the un-endingness of Facebook to be slightly disturbing. Often as I’m scrolling through the news feed, I ask myself why I’m even looking at it. What does it do for me? How is it constructive? Why do I care? DO I even care? And why do I share whatever it is that I share? I try my best to keep my posts fresh, witty or educational, but I often feel guilty of self-promotion – which at its core is mostly what Facebook is. And I don’t like that feeling.

I recently watched this short video which sheds some light (very creatively I might add) on what Facebook is doing to our brains. I couldn’t agree with it more. It’s scary. So without further adieu, my rules.

1. Limit the number of log ins each day.

The average user logs into Facebook a whopping 14 times a day. Considering we are only typically awake for, say, about 14 hours each day, my math comes out to logging on once an hour. That’s appalling! There is no reason for most people to log onto Facebook that often, and certainly not for me.

2. Do not use Facebook to play games.

Games waste time. Facebook wastes time. Can one not see why this is a terrible combination? And do not invite other people to play games through Facebook either. It’s annoying.

3. Do not use Facebook to sign up for or sign into other media platforms.

Unless we expect Facebook to be around as long as the internet is around – which I quite honestly hope it isn’t – it’s probably a good idea to just let Facebook be Facebook and let everything else be everything else. You’re going to get stuck without an account log in for a plethora of websites if Facebook is ever shut down. How annoying would that be?! Sure they’ll find a way to fix it, but seriously, who wants to deal with that? Also, I don’t want Facebook to have access to those sites or platforms, or vice versa.

4. If you don’t have anything nice to share, don’t share anything at all.

How easily the Golden Rule is applied! Facebook is not, and should not be, a soap box for one to stand upon and from which to air out their dirty laundry. I really don’t need to see your cryptic messages about how relationship xyz is over, nor do I care to read about how horrible your life is. If it’s that bad, you should probably spend more time investing in real friends and relationships, and less time posting about your bad ones on Facebook.

5. Don’t share memes or someecards or “Top Thirty” lists or any other obnoxious forms of social media fodder.

While it is tempting to let everyone know just how bad your Friday at work has been by sharing a 5-second video clip of someone repeatedly banging their head on a desk or a cartoon of an office worker tossing a pile of papers into the air with a witty caption, we just really don’t need anymore of these clogging up Facebook. Things like this are probably better meant for email (email? What’s that?), where you can share with only the most appropriate audience and not every single friend you have on the world wide internet. Does your Great Aunt Mildred even know what you do for a living? So then she probably doesn’t need a cartoon about how much it sucks popping up on her newsfeed every other day.

6. Don’t check in to everything you do.

Unless you want 600 people to know exactly where you are and be able to track you down in real time. Then sure, go for it. Also, because I really don’t need to know that you spent your Sunday getting a latte at Starbucks, doing your laundry at the Coin-Op and getting your hair colored. If you really want to check in, use something like Foursquare or Yelp, that was meant for checking in and reviewing businesses. Your Facebook friends’ news feeds will appreciate it.

7. Do not provide a visual play-by-plays of what you are doing (ie: post a new picture with captions every 5 minutes).

This work is better left to an actual photo album, which, if you can manage to restrain yourself and actually be present in whatever it is you are doing in real life, can be easily assembled in just a few minutes after said activity is complete. I love seeing your vacation pictures, trust me, but I don’t want to scroll ten pages through my news feed to get away from them.

8. Turn off all alerts – to email, phone, computer, etc.

Facebook is distracting and time-consuming enough as it is. No need to have your electronic(s) vibrate and ding at your every. single. time. that Facebook has a new story to share…you’re already going to check it fourteen times in a day anyways, right? Do you really need it telling you in between those log ins that there are more (meaningless) things to read?

So what do I think Facebook is good for?

1. Keeping in touch.

Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with those who are not close enough to you (either by distance or association) for you to see or speak with in person or on a regular basis. Friends in foreign countries, pals from high school or college, past coworkers. You can see what they’ve been up to and say hi, without the long distance charges, or sending photos via snail mail, or old fashioned gossip, etc.

2. Sharing big news.

Moving? Engaged? Pregnant? Facebook is great for sharing news like this with everybody you know at once. Now, there are still certain friends and family members who should hear about things like this in person well before it’s “Facebook Official” – but otherwise, what a fantastic tool to get that news out fast!

3. Networking.

Because we are going to follow the rules above and keep our Facebook account pretty minimalist, it should be a great way to network and keep yourself in touch with certain groups or certain people. I love the ability for a business or organization to create a page and for users to be able to “Follow” that page and to receive news, information, offers, etc. in real time from that entity. And it’s as equally beneficial for said group to have such an easy way to reach a large target audience with so-to-speak “forced” promotions that show right up on the news feed (versus the old fashion method of getting a consumer or member to visit your actual webpage). It’s called a social network for a reason.

4. Photo Sharing.

Now some may argue and say there are better designed or more appropriate sites or social media platforms through which to share photos (and I would agree) but the majority of people are doing this through Facebook. Not everyone has a Flickr or Instagram account, and so when you post to Facebook, you know “everyone” is going to be able to see your pictures without having to print out, text, email, or otherwise share the photo(s) multiple times to reach multiple parties.

5. Charity/Fundraising/Good Causes

I’ve read many a story of great things happening because a story was shared on Facebook, and I’ve seen firsthand how easy it can be to fundraise when you utilize Facebook to reach an audience. They get a gold star for this; and it’s not because Facebook was necessarily designed to be used this way, but because it so easily and perfectly is.

And that, my friends, is the long and short of it. I’ve made it about 36 hours and logged onto Facebook only once. Once! And it was my birthday yesterday – so my phone was constantly alerting me that yet another person had written “Happy Birthday” on my wall. It actually took self control to not slide over my notification bar every time another alert appeared. Instead, I just pushed the lock button on the top of my phone and carried on my day. Funnier still, is that I felt proud to be able to ignore Facebook. As if something was demanding my attention, and I just told it “No.” I felt more like a real person, more like myself, rather than a copied and pasted, edited, online version of me.

It felt good.

Zoe Faye Day– A Poem For Her Parents, And a Plea To My Readers

April M.:

Touching…and important.

Originally posted on momaste :

Zoe on the wind,

tickles your chin, and whispers across the water,

making cat paws on the golden surface

as she goes.

She carries butterflies and robins by day,

moths and owls by night.

She rustles through the fine fur of smallest mice,

sends pollen of spring trees bursting,

waves the bright waft of hyacinth like a flag,

a smell of Easter.

. . .

No longer grappling,

she goes,

wild and free all around you.

The universe sighs and settles.

. . .

Grains of her being graced your body

since before even your birth, this baby,

burning bright as the fever of sunrise.

You were not given an easy gift,

to launch this lofty life.

Grief in proportion to love is an unfair equation at best,

the burden with which you were blessed.

. . .

In the grace of a tulip, she is present.

In the thunder of…

View original 392 more words

What’s New

Often, I find it difficult to sit down and enjoy writing a post.

I’m trying to write at least once a month here (once I realized once a week was not going happen). Between work and baby and all of the other responsibilities that are life, a blog kind of takes the back seat.

Anyways, the past few weeks have gone by relatively uneventfully. Work. Chores. Taxes. A short run here and there. Not much else.

I planned a couple of weeks of vacation that will happen in May, August and October. I won’t be traveling anywhere, but instead taking a “staycation”. I’m looking forward to just enjoying time off at home, relaxing and maybe putting a brick patio in our backyard at some point during one of these breaks. Kevin will be off with me in August and October.

I’m eager to be outdoors more; between having a baby in October and surviving this brutal winter, I feel like I’ve been cooped up inside the good for eons. I can’t wait to Spring!!!

I’m looking into purchasing a running stroller, just have to budget for it.

Ollie will start solids this week (can’t wait!!!) and he is just getting bigger by the day (literally).

My best friend turns 30 in a week, and we will be celebrating with a trip to NYC and a weekend full of good food and fun there (sans baby). I can’t wait!

I’m just kind of letting things roll right now, enjoying motherhood and life and all that is good!

Will be back soon…hopefully in less than a month!

Lace Up!

So, I’ve been back to work for almost three months – wow! How quickly has that time passed?

I’m finally feeling like my life has settled down a little bit; admittedly, at times in the beginning when I was home on maternity leave, it felt like it never would! I wondered how I would ever function at work with such an irregular, constantly interrupted sleep cycle. Answer: your body gets used to it. I wondered how I would ever have enough energy to go on a run again. Answer: your body gets used to it! It’s true – somehow, you continue to function as a new mom. Life does go on, no matter what people tell you or try and convince you of otherwise.

In line with carrying on with life with an infant, I am getting really excited about being able to start taking Ollie on runs with me! The recommended age is six months, and we’ve just hit the five month mark this week – so running with him is right around the corner. I’ve gradually been getting myself out the door these days, about once a week, to get back on my feet and try and create a routine. I’ve been bringing Mugsy (my forever running partner) along with me for now. I don’t yet have a jogging stroller (will need to budget for one of those!) and I’m not quite sure how I’ll like running with a stroller – it will be a new dynamic, for sure.

As the snow and ice finally melts away and the last of it is dripping down to the squishy ground from cold, exposed tree branches, hope is in the air for a new season of running! Being pregnant last year, I ended up taking almost the entire year off. Not just because I was pregnant – I had also ‘run myself into the ground’ (no pun intended) the year before (2012) and decided I would take a little respite from more serious running. I did participate in the Boston Red Sox Foundation Run to Home Base 9k last Summer; I believe I was about 4 months pregnant at the time. That was it, though. And shortly after, I ceased running altogether (at that point, it did become uncomfortable having a belly bounce up and down!) and gardening, walking and light hiking were my sources of exercise.

Well, I’m back in sneakers this year, and more excited than ever! I have signed up for two races already – first, just a simple and local 5k in Boston in May (Chestnut Hill Reservoir 5k) and then a half marathon in Falmouth at the end of the Summer (Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon). I am sooo ready to get back on my feet.

For the time being, I am swearing off full marathons, and am going to take the time to really enjoy shorter distance running. I’ve done the BAA Half Marathon twice in the past (2009 and 2010) and I’ve completed three marathons as well (MCM in 2009, Chicago in 2010 and Portland, OR in 2012). I describe it like this: my first marathon was a personal feat – proving to yourself that ‘I can do it‘. My second marathon was an attempt to get even better, but ironically, I ended up timing far worse due to near-race-ending temperatures. The third marathon, was kind of an, ‘eh, why not‘ race which I didn’t really take seriously or care much about, and ironically this time I ended up placing my personal best for a full! But after that race, I decided I was going to hang up my 26.2 shoes for a while, and not run anything longer than a half. I want to focus on getting faster, and running more regularly. Some day I will run a full marathon again, but just not now.

I’m looking into a couple other races and thinking about running one race a month, my only challenge being the coordination with my erratic pharmacist schedule which automatically crosses out two weekends each month from my list of available dates. I’ve got the BAA 10k on my radar for June, which will give me a race in May, June and September. I’m trying to find a couple good ones for July and August (something near the beach, anyone?). October and beyond shouldn’t be a problem; October is prime time for races and there’s a turkey trot almost every day in November, and then Christmas runs in December. I figure getting a run on my calendar every month of the year will keep me on feet and serve as a motivator on those days that I’d otherwise put it off!

I’ll be sure to update when I choose a stroller, and of course, when I take that first run with baby Oliver!

Until next time…