Friday, January 27, 2012

{Breastfeeding Interview}: Boho Mama Blog

It's always refreshing to find and connect with other hip nursing moms. It makes me oh-so happy to think that we all share a special little bond with one another. This being said, I am on a mission to find and bring to you, other fabulous, breastfeedin' and bloggin'-mamas.

     Please give a warm welcome to Megan from the blog Boho Mama. She is one of those superwomen who successfully breastfeeds twins. Anyone who breastfeeds multiples is a superhero in my eyes :) Read more from Megan... 
*****

     Hi, I'm Megan from Boho Mama. I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband and our six month old twin daughters Ruthie and Afton, born last July. In the Fall of 2010, we gave up our lease, sold our stuff and took a 9 week trip to Europe. Our biggest souvenir? Shortly after we returned, we found out that I was having not one, but two babies! My life has slowed down a lot - I'm now a stay-at-home mama - but I'm learning that with babes, there is hardly a dull moment.
 
What were the top 2 reasons you decided to breastfeed?
     My mom nursed all three of her babies, so for me it felt natural and normal. When I was pregnant, I was really nervous but excited about attempting to exclusively breastfeed the twins, so I read voraciously and talked to everyone I could. When the girls were born at just shy of 35 weeks, they were in the NICU for 16 days. I felt helpless, but the one thing that I could do was to start pumping around the clock. Fortunately, the NICU had brand new Medela Symphony pumps for the moms to use and the nursing staff was very encouraging. They came home on breastmilk and, despite many obstacles, we've never looked back. Plus, one milky-sweet smile looking up at you is precious, but two? Heartbreakingly sweet!
What's your breastfeeding "must-have" item?
     I have a few items. In the beginning, Green Sprouts organic cotton nursing pads. Those were invaluable for the first few months when I was leaking everywhere. I also relied solely on nipple shields for about four months. One day, the girls decided they didn't need them anymore and just quit cold turkey. Oh, and books, especially Mothering Multiples by Karen Gromada, Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck, and Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson.
Have you found yourself sacrificing style in order to be able to dress "milk-friendly"?   
       Unfortunately, yes, but it's getting better! For me, 2011 was the year of gauchos and a comfy Old Navy maternity sweatshirt. At first, I was really uncomfortable with the new size of my chest and I hated how all my pre-pregnancy shirts looked. I'm getting more comfortable with it and feeling less self-conscious, and am optimistic for 2012!
Have you had any wardrobe malfunctions? If so, I'm sure there's a story, do tell!
      My only real wardrobe malfunctions were due to leakage...so much leakage. I ended up with an oversupply problem and I was really full for most of the first four months. Any wrong movement or pressure, or a too-hot shower, would start the flow. Nipple shields are also incredibly messy. I was completely covered in milk until just recently.
 
What's the best advice you can give new breast feeding moms?
      My advice is to set your breastfeeding goal and use positive language when you talk about it, whether it's to yourself or to others. Instead of saying, "I'd like to try and breastfeed, but we'll see" say "I am going to breastfeed." Then, when challenges come (because they will come), you are more emotionally and psychologically prepared to do battle. My other piece of advice is to get support from the very beginning. Talk to breastfeeding friends. Visit online forums, read books, find a local support group. See a lactation consultant if you are able. There are a lot of reasons for low supply and there are things you can do to help. Although breastfeeding is completely natural, it is not easy, especially at first. It's like a dance - toes get stepped on while you're learning, but it's a beautiful thing when it finally comes together.


Thank you Megan!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

{Fortuna Family Update}: December and January

Aloha!
     I am back to throw a large load of iPhone photos at you and give an update on what's happening around Fortunaland. We were incredibly lucky to have some special visitors over the winter holiday. My sister Amy and my best friend and Persian Version Roya came for a visit. And on top of that, my other sister May was here too, her in-laws' family and dear friends live in Honolulu. Everyone drove out a few times to warm our home and help make some delicious meals like homemade pizza with bread machine made dough! I feel very fortunate to have such an incredible extended family just about an hour away. 
    Since their visit, things slowed down a bit around here. We announced our pregnancy which feels amazing and I am finally starting to get passed the nausea and feel a million times better. I am starting to have the energy to venture out with the boys more. 
    On a Saturday morning, I tried out the story time at the library in Waialua which is two towns away. Even though it was for an older crowd, the boys enjoyed it and they took full advantage of the craft activity after the stories. I have to say that we really miss these types of activities and interactions with other children. Our days in San Diego were filled with park time, story time, art class, open gym and playdates. Sadly, as far as I can gather off the internet, these types of activities don't really exist out here on the North Shore. If you happen to know anyone, or anything, please share! We are getting a little desperate! Brian has been taking the boys in the afternoon down to the elementary school and trying to catch some after school kids to play with. The kids are definitely older, but our outgoing Coral doesn't seem to mind because he truly loves all social interaction. 
     Sky turns 2 this Friday-- CRAZY. We just found out there's a train ride over at the Dole Plantation that we are going to surprise him with (he's a train enthusiast.) And then thanks to the Kama'aina (local) discount, we are going to stay one night at the Disney resort here on Oahu. That place is crazy expensive but since we don't have family and friends to throw a party for, I still wanted to have something special for our Sky boy. They have a character breakfast that we will go to and I hope it will be as exciting as it sounds.
     My Dad gets here on Monday, which will be amazing, he will be here for a week. Him and Brian can go surf and re-live his days when he used to be a hippie surfer guy (well, he still is). He literally lived across the street back in the 70's and would surf the exact break right out in front of our house. Pretty neat, huh?
    Anyways, that's my little update for now. More to come soon.

Photo BOMB. 
From top left to right and down left to right
My sister Amy, Roya, Me, May's SIL & "Auntie"Amelia, my sister May. Our friends Kamran & Mitch, Amy & Amelia. The boys chillin on Uncle Jordan's shoulders. Spaghetti night with all our peeps.
Auntie Amelia & Coral. Heading down for a surf with Daddy. A moment for Mama on the beach. Coral showing his "shaka" when he brought back a bag of Malasadas.
Walk down to Sunset Beach & got some treats from the soft serve food truck. Coral & Sky fetching sticks. Best buddies. Playtime with Daddy.

Lili'koi, aka Passion Fruit. Playing in some fluff. I spy some nakey jungle explorers. Coral loves himself some starfruit.
The time I dressed up to go out to eat. Cheese ball Coral. Post-story time smoothie. Yes, we are in the middle of weaning with this cranky boy. 

Brian and his boys <3. "Look Ma, no hands." One in the Wee rider, one in the Ergo. Sky passed out on the bike after a morning at the beach.

From our family to yours
ALOHA

With love,
Maryam



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sponsor Milk-friendly this February!


   Excited to say that now is a marvelous time to be a sponsor over here on Milk-friendly. We moved to Hawaii, we are living our little dream and now we are expecting baby #3 mid July! 
HOLY MOLY.

I should also add that my sponsor prices are super affordable and are for a 2 month period.
SUPER EASY.

Click on over HERE to find out more on stats and pricing :) :) :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Perfect Sweaters to Breastfeed In

Hello my Milk-friendlies!

     Glad to say that I am finally back to do some fashion posts! The tiredness of pregnancy on top of two vivacious boys leaves me with zero energy for anything extra. But now that I am heading into the 2nd trimester, the nausea is starting to wear off and I am getting back to my normal self. Man, I've missed it.
     And even though it's a good 75-80 degrees here in Hawaii, I still find myself drooling over lovely sweaters, wraps and cardigans that would be oh-so breastfeeding friendly. I love leaning on a warm, versatile and cute sweater that I can toss on with a nursing tank and some skinny jeans as I run out the door. So quick so easy, and the sweaters I have carefully chosen from my fav online shops, can all double as a nursing cover. WIN WIN!
 
Modcloth $69.99
Nasty Gal $48
Free People $89.95
Free People $78
Anthropologie $78
Anthroplogie $68
Francesca's $38
Francesca's $38

    So do you have a favorite sweater or cardigan that you wear over and over again?

XOXO,
Maryam

P.S. Have you read about the 25% or 50% discount for my company Green Your Air?


Friday, January 13, 2012

{Breast feeding Blog Interview}: Lovely to See You


It's always refreshing to find and connect with other hip nursing moms. It makes me oh-so happy to think that we all share a special little bond with one another. This being said, I am on a mission to find and bring to you, other fabulous, breastfeedin' and bloggin'-mamas.
*****
 
     Really excited to be back in with our breast feeding blog interviews. The next blogger is a new mama, Katlin from Nashville Tennessee. On her blog Lovely to See You , she shares her current fashion and art inspirations and some bits and pieces of her and family. 

 
    Katlin also owns and bakes for her popular pie company KT and Ro's in Nashville Tennessee. Right now they are on a little hiatus while they take time to soak up their new baby girl Iris. But if you live in Nashville or know someone who does, who have to let them know about Katlin's sweet pie company. You can also join their Facebook fan page to get updates.


From Katlin...
     Thank you so much for having me on Milk Friendly! I am a stay at home mommy to our sweet baby girl Iris. We reside in Music City, U.S.A. :)



What were the top 2 reasons you decided to breastfeed?
     I decided to breastfeed because for me, it seemed to be the most natural thing to do...and I love the fact that what I'm doing is what's making her grow! I also feel that breastfeeding is such a special way to bond with your baby...there really is nothing like seeing a sweet little smile appear on her face while she's nursing. It's so amazing to be able to give them comfort! Not to mention, it's free and extremely convenient! 

What's your breastfeeding "must-have" item?
     I am obsessed with my Bravado nursing bra, it's so easy to manage and super comfy! I also don't leave the house without my big blue and white striped scarf that I use as a nursing cover. 

Have you found yourself sacrificing style in order to be able to dress "milk-friendly"?
     I don't think so! Luckily, I am in love with button down shirts and flowy tops. I have a denim button down from J.Crew that I wear ALL the time. And living in Nashville, the weather makes for some fun layering (flannels, skinny jeans and boots...yeehaw!). However, I do miss being able to wear a few of my little black dresses. But lets be honest, when do I ACTUALLY go somewhere to need to wear them. :)

Have you had any wardrobe malfunctions? If so, I'm sure there's a story, do tell!
     Not yet! But I did have an older gentleman at Panera the other day point at me and yell "Hey! That lady over there is breastfeeding a baby!" Haha, how nice of him to notice! 

What's the best advice you can give new breast feeding moms?
     I know everyone says this...but keep at it! Sometimes the road is bumpy in the beginning, but once you get past it it's smooth sailing for the most part. And the reward is so incredible! It's great to have a support system. Whether it's your partner, a family member, or other nursing mamas...it's nice to have someone there for you when you need some encouragement. I was blessed to have some wonderful nursing friends that were there for me through the entire process. Always there to answer a "silly" question, or just to inspire! :)

Thank you Katlin!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Biz GREEN YOUR AIR and a Special Discount Code

     So here I am doing a little self-promotion. I am not sure if all my Milk-friendly readers know, but just around a year ago, I launched my own business. My friend Jennifer and I created the company Green Your Air. It's an eco-friendly plant company, that hopes to help new moms create clean spaces for their homes with our air filtering plants.

     Each of our plants have been proven by NASA scientists to filter at least one chemical from the indoor air. Little do people know that the indoor air can be as much as 10 times more polluted than the outdoors. Gross, right? And this is an even bigger problem during the colder seasons because of tightly sealed homes and the constant use of heaters. This is what we want to change ladies and gents.

     I read about the concept of using natural plants to filter the indoor air when I read the book Raising Baby Green. Author Dr. Greene highlighted a few of the NASA researched chemical fighting plants, but I had the hardest time finding an easy way to order them online. I thought this is something that every mom should have, a plant that natural filters common chemicals from baby's air, but unfortunately, it seemed so inaccessible.

     A few years later, Jennifer and I became close friends. She was just laid off from her job, had her first baby and we would talk about trying to find a way for her to be able to stay home with her little bundle. That's when I brought up my plant concept. She loved the idea and with pure excitement, we decided to just go for it.

     Less than a year later, we were launching our line of chemical filtering plants. We were so proud! I had my two boys under 2, she had her little one, and we were able to start our own business from scratch! We had set out to create stylish indoor plants, we got custom-made non-toxic pots and we were ready to bring life and health to everyone's home, nursery or office space.
Some of our new CHEVRON pots.

   We have had a humbling amount of interest in our concept and an equally wonderful response from our customers. This year we've been featured on sites like A List Mom, Baby Center and Nickelodeon's Parent's Connect -- so exciting! We would love to keep moving forward, but at this point, we are at a bit of a crossroads. We get so much interest in our products, but few people taking the time to get on the computer and buy a plant. Jennifer joyously welcomed her second beautiful baby girl and it is getting to the point where we really need to kick this business into the next gear... or sadly, we will have to say goodbye to our little dream of creating healthy spaces for families everywhere.

*****
      So I guess this is where YOU play in. If you want to help us keep this ball a-movin', we really need to just sell some plants, plain and simple. If you've ever thought you'd like your very own Green Your Air plant, or would like to send one (or a few) as a gift, we have a limited time discount for my readers here on Milk-friendly!! 

 You can use the code MILKFRIENDLY at checkout to get yourself 25% off 
*ends January 22nd & we can only ship to mainland USA. 

    Now if you are a blogger, we have an idea for you. We dabbled in sending plants on off for free for reviews and giveaways. We sincerely wished we could do this because we love bloggers, but truthfully, we were losing money. We are such a tiny business that we really can't afford it at this point. So our new thought is if you, a blogger, big or small would like to share our story and concept on your blog, we can send you a plant for 50% off!!  This is for a very limited two week time period (ends on January 22nd). 

  • All you have to do is blog about us.
  • Email me the link to your post to (Maryam[@]greenyourair[dot]com) 
  • And then I'll send you your unique coupon code for 50% off! 
  • We would love to offer your readers the 25% off for the same time period as well.

     We truly appreciate any and all support to keep this little green dream alive. We are so incredibly grateful for the community we have and we look forward to helping everyone green their air :)


With love and Gratitude,
Maryam

Friday, January 6, 2012

{Morning Sickness}: My Personal Woes and the Remedies I've Learned Along the Way

    
    I know it's been, well, a week since I last updated. My sincere apologies to all of my sweet readers. I am still working on the energy level thing and I've opted to nap with Sky rather than be on the computer to blog. If you missed last week's announcement, you can read that here. Also, even though I haven't been able to respond, I loved reading every single one of your comments last week (and always) and look forward to getting back to you.
*****

     Right now I need to do a little venting, so here it goes...
    Let's talk morning sickness. I think any mom who experiences it would agree that it's a total misnomer. For me, it's an all day sickness that peeks just before dinner time and leaves me feeling depressed and helpless. This is completely out of my normal character, so I thought I'd share my story and see if my experiences are unique to just me.

     Now let's rewind a bit. With my first pregnancy, I found out I was expecting after thinking I had the flu that never ended. Brian and I were on the second leg of our honeymoon and we hadn't planned on having babies until after our first year together as a married couple. This new surprise coupled with all-day vomiting and a new environment, I was a complete emotional mess. I could not get my brain around any of it and every moment was a struggle.

     We canceled the rest of our trip, went back to my parent's house and I laid in my bed or on the "sick couch" from morning until night. I would spend the first 3 months doing nothing but vomit multiple times a day, resist Brian, my mom and my dad's effort to force feed me, sob and ask the world why I had to feel this way. I hated that Brian had to see me this way as his new bride, I hated that I couldn't communicate with family and friends like a normal human being and I hated the thought that this sickness could affect my growing baby. I could only stomach things that were white (white rice with butter, a tortilla with melted butter, mild mac and cheese) and I had lost a good amount of weight. I was scared, felt completely alone, wondered when this sickness would ever end and had a deep sense of impending doom.

HOW CRAZY IS ALL THIS???

     Brian did a google search for homeopathic remedies for morning sickness and honed into SEPIA because of the emotional symptoms. I'd have to say that the minute he gave me some, a little song started playing in my head, but it didn't last very long. He worked more on getting the right potency and when he did, it helped get me out of that depressing state. As I was nearing the beginning of my second trimester, the sickness started going away completely and I had a very enjoyable rest of my pregnancy. PRAISE GOD!

    Then with my second pregnancy it was a bit of a happier story. This time we completely planned for baby number two, we were settled in our place in San Diego and I was prepared to never have an empty stomach. Smells still bothered me and a felt blah most of the time but I never threw up and I had a positive attitude.

     Come third pregnancy I figured it would be the same as the second, right? Well, not really. I found out I had a positive pregnancy test the day before we jumped on a plane and moved our whole life to Hawaii. I felt good until three days in. Let me tell you that those first three days were incredible though. I truly soaked in our new place in all of it's glory with a huge smile on my face. I was pregnant, I felt good and we were in paradise.

     Then three days later, after a crazy day of no breakfast and a trip to Honolulu to pick up our cars from the shipping yard, the sickness creeped his ugly head in once again. In misery, I called my mom and sobbed to her like a little girl. I kept asking her and myself WHY DO PREGNANT MOMS HAVE TO FEEL THIS WAY?? IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. BUT WHY??? WHY???

     So here I was once again,  in a whole new environment, in a remote beach town with little access to groceries and food, in an empty house awaiting all our stuff to ship over in the POD and now having to look after two children and feed my working husband meals. This is when things got worse. I couldn't eat, I would be shivering, hovering over the toilet and the only relief I would get would be when I nursed Sky laying down as I got my dose of oxytocin. I called my close friend who I knew was a few weeks ahead of me and was suffering from the sickness as well.

Here are the things she reminded me to do:
  • Eat something every single hour.
  • Avoid sugar
  • Get out and get some exercise 
  • Take your prenatal vitamin right before you go to bed. 
I also put in a call to the midwife we planned on seeing and they reminded me of few other morning sickness reliefs:
  • Drink straight up lemonade- helps with your stomach acids. (Now I am totally addicted and only drink half lemonade half water.) 
  • Drink ginger tea, or even better, make or get a ginger tonic with the real stuff. (I boiled grated ginger, honey and lemon.)
  • Eat something with protein before you get out of bed. (This didn't really help me because normally, I felt ok in the morning. Even if, kind of at a loss of what I'd actually be able to eat with protein at that time.) 
  • Wear those pressure point Psi Bands made for sea sickness.( I had a pair I bought for my second pregnancy and wore them when they arrived on the POD.)
  • REST.
     I then made an appointment with the acupuncturist that works with the midwives. And truly this was the only method that took away my symptoms. Yes it only took them away for five days, but STILL! I went back again and the second time did not work as well as the first. Being a little pricey, I forged on without it after that. BUT I would highly recommend this method because it can work differently and/or better on others and I think the prices are more reasonable on the mainland. Many insurance companies even cover acupuncture too!

A few other things that help me get through the day:
  • Chewing gum. It takes away that constant icky taste in my mouth and I think the saliva helps soothe my tummy. (Which natural chewing gum do you prefer?)
  • Peppermint tea.
  • My dear friend, Annie from The Friendly Fox also got me into essential oils. Peppermint, lavender and Roman chamomile help and she also let me know that you can put a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a bowl of steaming water and inhale the steam. 
And then there's always the chip clip & paper towel to plug the nose. My go-to method for opening the fridge or doing the dishes.

     I am so thankful for all of the support and it feels a whole lot better to share what I'm going through instead of hiding behind waiting to announce until reaching my second trimester. If there are any mamas or soon-to-be ones out there suffering with morning sickness, please please PLEASE reach out to me and I can listen and support you. This is what it's all about. Moms supporting moms. ALSO please share any morning sickness remedies that worked for you or your favorite high protein snacks.


With all my love,
Maryam


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