Monday, February 27, 2012

Baby Fortuna Numero 3 Gender Announcement!

    Today was a special day for a number of reasons. It's the 2nd day of our Baha'i celebration called Ayyam-i-Ha. Brian didn't have to work, we found a Wahoo's Fish Tacos in Honolulu about an hour away and we had our ultrasound appointment to find out the gender of the baby. The rest of the day was well needed family time. But that's boring stuff, right? Let's get to the nitty gritty- WHAT'S THE GENDER OF THE BABY?
    Chances are, you've already scrolled down to see the pictures so you already know it's A BOY. And it's laughable because everyone, including Coral and Sky thought it was a girl. I really believed in the psychic abilities that children sometime endow in these circumstances, but now that I think about it, Coral's been saying that there's two babies, a boy and a girl.
     Anyways, since this will be our 3rd homebirth and we see a midwife, not a traditional OBGYN, we went to one of those 3D ultrasound places to have the ultrasound. Brian is a radiologist, so basically, it's his job to read ultrasounds and CTs and XRays and all. And literally the very place and instant that the technician placed the ultrasound probe he saw it, he saw the boy parts and he announced, "It's a boy." HA. Yeah we laughed. But it could have been the umbilical cord, so the technician moved around to get a better view. And undeniably, that sweet little babe was going to carry on the Fortuna name. 
     It's not a secret that I wanted a girl. I've dreamed of having my little ginger girl, wearing matching outfits and braiding her hair. But no matter what, I am sublimely happy because this is a healthy baby boy and he seemed so very sweet and laid back. In pure Hawaiian style, he had his legs crossed, his hands at his face, all kicked back and relaxed and he even gave us a little wave saying "whatup family."And you should know, that compared to my other two ultrasounds with Coral and Sky, those rowdy boys were playing dance dance revolution in there. So seeing this little nugget all chill and relax, really soothed my worry of more manic energy coming my way, well at least for the time being.
     Even though Coral's been calling the baby a girl, as soon as he found out it was a boy, he said, "It will be a boy, just like me and I'l give him my Pow(d)er Rangers!"Also, when I asked him what his name should be, he said Sunny or Sonny... I don't know, the kid can't spell yet.
     Andplusalso, when I got home, I set up the tripod and attempted to take these pics...
Skinny Jeans c/o SOON Maternity

    So that's it folks. The babe is a boy. Now I can delete all the shopping carts I had full of cute girls clothes and focus on just buying super radical cloth diaper covers. Yep, I am cloth diapering this time around and I am sure I will need some guidance with that, so all you CD connoisseurs out there, I'll need you, badly. 

Thank you so much for following along!

With a Warm blue heart, 
Maryam

Thursday, February 23, 2012

{My Breastfeeding Story}: Why It's Not as Easy as They Say it is.


     This is a new little series I am starting all about other Mama's breastfeeding stories. There is something special about hearing someone else's testament of their nursing journey. I have learned first hand that it is not as easy and as natural as one would think. There are so many factors that can go into successful breastfeeding and I think everyone can learn from these mom's trials and tribulations. Reading these stories, you can either appreciate the smooth road you have had, give you faith that with commitment and support, you can push through the tough times, or open your eyes that it can be difficult, but I'll tell you now... that's ok. Good things don't always come easy. 
*****
Today, I am sharing my story...
     I think many people assume that I am some sort of professional breastfeeder and that I have had two smooth and wonderful breastfed babies. This is not true. It has been incredibly challenging on many levels. And this my friends, is the very reason why I wanted to start Milk-friendly in the first place. To hopefully support moms to be more confident in their breastfeeding experience. 
     Although I'm all for breastfeeding, I have learned the hard way that it's not as easy to figure out all on your own. With my first baby, Coral, I went into breastfeeding with the idea that it will be very simple, because it's natural, right? My mom had breastfed 4 children (2 being twins) with great ease. Even at the breastfeeding classes we went to, I sat there like pshht this will be a cinch and I'll breastfeed that baby till their 2 and it will be amazing. My was I wrong.
     The first few weeks seemed fine to me. But looking back, I am pretty sure I didn't let him nurse until he was definitely finished. I naively went by the clock instead of reading the signs that he was finished and didn't burp him enough. He fell asleep at the breast a lot. Probably around 3 weeks, when babies tend to "wake up" he started to be fussy at the breast. He would suck, suck, suck then cry, cry, cry. Over and over again. At this point, he was an all-around inconsolable baby and I really didn't know how to solve the problem. I had Brian's Mom and my Mom for support, but Brian's mom hadn't breastfed for very long and my mom never had any problems breastfeeding the four of her children. 
    At the point of exhaustion, I had no idea what was wrong or what to do. I had a baby who was crying all.of.the.time and would suck and cry every time I tried to nurse. We finally got a pump and when I put that thing to the breast, I got maybe a 1/2 an ounce (which later, I learned is normal as you begin pumping, the baby is much more efficient at getting the milk out than the pump). I put the breastmilk that I had pumped in a bottle and once that impatient and frustrated baby got his milk quickly from a free-flowing bottle, he refused to try and get the milk from the breast on his own. Again, looking back, I am pretty sure I had a slow let down and this made him angry. If I had tried pumping or hand compressing before he was ready to eat, then he might have been happier when the milk was flowing. 
     Without him nursing regularly, I struggled to pump enough milk to feed him. Determined to get him back on the breast, I ended up buying a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) and tried to figure out how to use it on my own- not a pretty sight. The milk I had so diligently pumped ended up on the floor, down the baby's neck, pretty much anywhere besides his mouth. We both were very unhappy campers. (please note: with proper direction from a lactation consultant or lactation nurse, the SNS can be really great. I just had no idea how to properly use it! Also, here's a video)
     I tried Fenugreek to keep my supply going, but honestly, at this point it was already so low, and without regular pumping everyday at the same time, I just could not catch up. We had a few pumping moms that we found through our birth center who graciously donated us some of their spare breastmilk. We were and are so thankful for angels like this! (Please if you happen to have extra milk, reach out and see if there's a mom who'd give anything for your milk.) I remember, we were on one of our trips to Hawaii when Coral was 2 months old, I ran out of donor milk and we had to give him formula. I felt like the biggest failure. How could something you wanted so badly and knew how beneficial it would be for you and baby just wasn't working as nature says it does? But you know what? I had to just let go. I had to accept that I tried my best with what I had. I had to take the burden off my shoulders and just feed my baby and move on. But I also decided that with the next baby, I would seek help before there was a problem or reason to. 

So then there was Sky. 

     We did not want to make the same mistake of not getting the help and support before there was a problem. At about one week old we called our lactation consultant (she was amazing as ever) and I honestly thought everything was ok. I did notice that his feedings were getting longer and longer and he was falling asleep all the time at the breast. Yes, I had some discomfort but I just naturally pushed out a back-labor posterior baby and some breast pain was really no big thang. The lactation consultant watched us breastfeeding and very quickly, she was picking up on all the clues. Feedings getting longer, baby falling asleep every feeding, chin trembling, fussing at the end of feeding as if not full. Her final look in his mouth and under his tongue showed that he had a posterior tongue-tie
      We had a choice: we could get it clipped (a frenotomy), or wait and see if it gets worse (or better). Many tongue ties stretch out over time and babies are able to adjust to it and still nurse fine. But, many other babies do not adjust, baby is not able to adequately move his or her tongue well enough to suck out the amount of milk he or she needs, mom is in a whole lot of nipple pain, milk supply goes down and it ends in having to formula feed. Our lactation consultant was very knowledgable on the subject, she had seen many cases and seen great results with the clipping. She even showed us an anthropologic study that explained that babies have had tongue ties all throughout history. From what I remember, midwives or healers of tribes would commonly grow out their pinky finger nail and sharpen it in the case that baby was born with a tongue tie, they would immediately clip it right after birth. With breastfeeding being the only means of survival, clipping or not clipping the tongue would mean life or death. This was even a common procedure in hospitals post birth, up until the introduction of formula and bottle feeding. Since there was an alternative to breastfeeding, and baby could easily gulp formula out of a bottle, there seemed to be no reason to go ahead with the clipping. It wasn't until recently, when mothers started fazing into more natural birth and breastfeeding, that midwives and lactation consultants started really noticing and bringing up tongue ties again. That's why it now seems to be occurring more, but in reality, it's always been there. (You can read more about tongue ties here.)
     There was an EENT doctor very close to us that our lactation consultant worked with many times before. We decided to go for a consultation, she called, made the appointment and we were there meeting with the doctor that afternoon. He confirmed the posterior tongue tie and he really took his time to see if this is definitely the path we would like to take. He explained the procedure, that the babies are usually more upset about being held down than the actual clipping. He applies topical anesthesia under the tongue and the actual frenotomy takes seconds. It can be likened to an ear piercing, temporary pain, but is fine moments later. There is no need for stitches and babies are immediately given to mother to breastfeed. 
     Brian and I took some time to really think about our decision. We definitely wanted to give the baby the best chance to successfully breastfeed but we were worried about the effect of the procedure on the baby. I had a chance to talk with a patient of my midwife's who had a baby with a posterior tongue tie and went ahead with the procedure. She explained how the procedure was more stressful on her than the baby. Immediately following, the baby had a better latch and she continued breastfeeding comfortably and adequately.
     After a day or so of marinating in the options, we decided to go for it. Our lactation consultant was so kind to be there for the procedure. She had homeopathic remedy tinctures made specifically for frenotomy procedures for both me and baby Sky. My mother-in-law was able to keep Coral busy while I sat in the waiting room as Brian and our lactation consultant were there with Sky. They went in, and I was called to come in after only a few minutes. Sky was crying a little bit, I put him to the breast and he latched on with a latch that was like he had a whole new mouth. His sucks were strong and by the sound of his gulps, I could tell that he was able to pull out a  greater amount of milk than he had before. He was able to nurse strongly for a good ten minutes and he seemed full and satisfied (before the procedure, his nursing times were up to an hour, falling asleep from time to time.)
    We continued taking our homeopathic remedy and his healing went really well. That week we also took him to his chiropractic appointment with a cranio-sacral doctor who specializes in babies. She was wonderful and works hand-in-hand with tongue-tie procedures. Sky graduated from the chiropractor's tongue tie program in about 6 weeks and that little guy has only had breastmilk till this day at over 2 years old. There have been a few bumps along the way, and there are a few things I will change with the next baby, but ultimately, we were very lucky to have the kind of success to make it to 2 years. 
     ******
   I really can't tell you enough, no matter how well you think breastfeeding is going, you can always reach out to someone to make sure it is going as smoothly as you think. You want to be able to catch something before milk supplies go down and it's too hard to turn it around, but that's not to say that you cannot turn it around either. There are many, many women who have kick-started their milk supplies with the help of galactagogues and lactation consultants. The first thing is to actually reach out and ask for help. There are La Leche League groups all over the world and you should utilize online forums to ask questions, look to other nursing moms you may know and most importantly, be confident. Be confident that you can provide what your baby (or babies) needs. It is truly a state of mind and that confidence can take you a long way.
     I am always here to answer any questions or concerns who may have. I may not have the answer, but I will try my hardest to find someone that does. (maryam[at]milkfriendly.com)
    My heart goes out to all the moms who've struggled with breastfeeding and no matter the situations, you should be so very proud of how far you've come. Even if you were only able to breastfeed your baby for one day, because I consider this a success :)

With love,
Maryam

Monday, February 20, 2012

{Breastfeeding in Style}: Easy-Up Spring 2012

     There are a few nursing essentials that I believe every fashionable breastfeeding mom should have. This must-have isn't necessarily only for breastfeeding- A loose, easy and super cute "easy-up" top (or two) should be in your fashion arsenal. "Easy-up"tops can be paired with a nursing tank, bra or your fav. bandeau and truly double as a quick way to discreetly nurse if you don't have a cover on hand.
     All of the easy breastfeeding shirts I've picked out are adorable, affordable and versatile. Wear the top with some skinny jeans for a play-date, some shorts for a day in the sun or layer it on a maxi dress for a family date night. I truly love these tops because you can breathe in them if you know what I mean.   
{Here's some of my finds}
$17.80
$14.80
$38
$15.80
$38
    Here's a style board mock-up of how I wear my "easy-up" tops the most. A comfy nursing tank and some skinny jeans. The skinnies I picked out are actually maternity jeans from ASOS. I bought a pair today and if you're planning to have more babies, I would definitely recommend. Who doesn't want a little give in their waistline anyways?
Breastfeeding in Style: Easy-Up Spring 2012




With loads of Love,
Maryam
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Friday, February 17, 2012

{February Medium Sponsors}: Part One

      I am really excited and honored to have such a wonderful group of women sponsoring the blog this month. Every single one of these women are breastfeeding and au naturel mamas who each have their own sense of style. Take a few minutes to snoop around the blogs of these amazing ladies.
The musical mama who plays and teaches the clarinet. Heather is as sweet as can be and plans to possibly become a doula.

Kami is creative, crafty and a huge supporter of women and all of the proceeds from your ad space is used to buy "Gifts of Hope."

Down to earth, intelligent, creative, talented and very much pregnant mama with baby girl #2. Great tutorials and links for living a greener lifestyle.

Incredibly talented pro photographer who is the mama to the adorable, Maja. You might remember this gorgeous lady in her breastfeeding interview here.
Working and pumping mama to Audrey who I am always jealous of her stunningly effortless hair and cute little outfits. She is also one of the sweetest ladies out there.

Thank you so much for sponsoring mamas! 
If you're also a blogger who'd like to have a feature like this on Milk-friendly... take a peek at my sponsor page. I'd love to have you!

*Love the frames I used? You can snag your own from the talented Jess of IROCKSOWHAT.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{Pregnancy Cravings}: Grilled Caprese Sandwich Recipe Using String Cheese

     In pregnancy, I believe that many woman over use the ole pregnancy craving thing. They use it to over indulge and "eat for two." I understand it because with many things, we emulate what we see in media and TV. Virtually every pregnant woman in a movie or TV show is eating junk like crazy. If you're a first time pregnant mama, I would give a second thought to eating anything and everything that comes your way. Gaining more weight than you need to is that much harder to shake off post pregnancy and this should be the time when you're on your best eating behavior. Try to go with your healthy cravings and enjoy the yummy treats in moderation. Many times I believe you have genuine attraction to certain foods and most of the time, these foods tend to have vitamins and minerals that you actually may need, so follow your intuition too.
    Now don't get me wrong, if you saw my post last week with all the breakfast foods I made, I am in no way a crazy healthy eater. I love ice cream and sweets but I do notice that during this pregnancy, I am shying away from sugar more than I would otherwise, probably because I fear I'll feel worse after. The way I think about it is that for the first 3 months I had crazy nausea, nothing sounded good to me. So when a thought of food sounds delicious and it's generally healthy, I should go for it. Recently its been anything Caprese, you know, mozzarrella, tomatoes and basil. Maybe I need more calcium, vitamin A & B? 
     Anyways, lucky for me, our neighbor across the street brought over a bag of fresh basil and tomatoes from her garden. I didn't have any fresh mozzarella, but the boys' mozzarella string cheese did the trick. 

{Here's what I used}
{"String" the cheese and lay the pieces down side by side.}
{Layer the tomatoes}
{I sprinkled salt and pepper on here}
{Butter the griddle or pan}
{Add the basil}
{Not pictured, but I oiled the inside of the opposite bread slice with olive oil}
{I don't have a panini maker, so I used a cake stand to get a good grill going. You can use anything flat that has some good weight. I added more butter to the griddle, flipped the sandwich and cake standed the other side.}
{And Viola. Pretty Delish.}

    So what kind of cravings do you have during pregnancy? Did anyone notice themselves eating healthier during their second pregnancy? 

With Love,
Maryam

Friday, February 10, 2012

{Breastfeeding Interview}: Naturally Attached 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.
*****
    Today we get to have Brigid, the mama from the blog Naturally Attached. Like Brigid, the hubs and I didn't really see the significance in going "green" and looking at the impact of all our daily choices until I was pregnant for the first time. There's something amazing about those babies that can truly change the whole way you look at the world. 

   Read on for more from Brigid...



     I am so thrilled to be over here at Milk Friendly! I’m Brigid, from Naturally Attached. I'm a breast feeding, baby wearing, bed sharing, organic eating, cloth diapering believer who strives every day to live a greener life for this Earth and my family! Over at Naturally Attached, I blog about slowing down and soaking up the moments with my sweet one year old son (Connor), my hubby (Kyle) and my three doggies (yes, I said three) while also motivating readers to find the sweetness in a more simple, green, “attached” lifestyle.



What were the top 2 reasons you decided to breastfeed?
     For me, there was no decisions to be made.  There were no weighing of my options.  I stick to what’s natural in life and for my baby that was and still is my breast milk! I chose to do whatever I had to do to insure I would never have to supplement with formula which even meant dipping into my sister’s frozen breast milk stash to give Connor when I fell into a SERIOUS supply issue over Christmas one year! And of course, the numerous health and emotional benefits of breast feeding make my non-decision even more appealing!



What’s your breastfeeding “must have” item?
     Connor has had latch issues from the very beginning so a nipple shield is a definite must for me.  I thought we would quickly be able to transition it out but we had no luck with that. He has never nursed without it and for a long time I felt like I wasn’t truly breastfeeding when I was using it.  It felt unnatural. I resented that silly, plastic nipple. But in time, I decided to let go of that emotional battle and embrace it.  It was helping my son receive what he truly needed to thrive and grow so how could I be mad at it?  It is what it is – my essential nursing accessory. Thank goodness for ‘em! My breast pump has also been a huge life saver!



Have you found yourself sacrificing style in order to be able to dress "milk-friendly"?
     I’d like to say no but that would just big one big fat lie. Since having my son I am 100% guilty of wearing my pjs all day long for the comfort and ease especially because Connor used to nurse every 2 hours for quite a while.  I did, however make more of an effort when we went out. Scoop or v-neck, flowy, easy pull down tanks and shirts that had stretch to them with leggings were my go to outfits for sure. Layering up is the way to go too! I’m just getting back in the groove of finding what looks good on my body post baby.  


Have you had any wardrobe malfunctions? If so, I'm sure there's a story, do tell!
     I’m sorry to bum you guys out but, no.  I really haven’t! Only the occasional leaks soaking right through bra and shirt early on! I learned to always have an extra pads and a shirt in my car or bag for that one! 


What's the best advice you can give new breastfeeding moms?
     Breastfeeding can be challenging and time consuming but it is one of the most rewarding accomplishments as Mother.  Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, slow down and find support.  Remind yourself why you are breastfeeding and all the wonderful things your child can gain from it.  It’s a huge decision to stop and you can’t go back if you change your mind.  If you feel even 1% unsure about switching to formula give yourself more time to think about it.  You CAN make it work! Keep that attitude! 


Thank you Brigid!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

{Fortuna Family Happenings}: A Visit from Grandpa

      On Monday, we said goodbye to a very special visitor. For a whole week, we got to have my dad stay with us. If you remember from this post, my dad used to live here on the North Shore (literally across the street from where we are living now) when he was 19 years old. Even though he's been back to the islands dozens of times and even to Oahu, he hasn't been back to the North Shore since his late teens, which is about 40 years ago. 
      It was incredibly fun to watch and hear him recount all the changes and similarities this special little part of the world really has experienced. Every morning, he would wake up early and take walks to places he used to call home. I loved hearing all of his stories, and adored that he was able to add to these memories now with us and his Grandkids here. 
      With him, my dad brought me my new camera (woot!), and he was able to to capture some amazing photos of Brian surfing. Even when I take the boys down to the beach while Brian is surfing, it is rare for me to be able to really watch Brian surf since I am looking after two busy boys. So it was a real treat to be able to see the photos and watch the videos my dad got of him. And now that I have this new camera, and a tripod (!) I am really hoping I can get more photos of Brian myself. (Hard to believe Brian has only been surfing for 4 years now!)
     While Pops was here, one of the biggest swells of the season came through the North Shore. Since the conditions were so perfect, they ran the Volcom Pipe Pro. We all got to go down and watch it and let me tell you, the waves were ginormous. The photos and even the video really cannot show the magnitude and strength of these waves.

The movie my dad put together of the footage he got.


     On the day before my dad was heading back home, we went into our little Haleiwa town to get some breakfast, check out some boards and let the boys have some park time.
{He also got some belly shots that day too}
Dress (Old Chemise from Anthro). Fedora c/o Francesca's. Sandals Oldies from Anthro.
We miss you already Grandpa, and can't wait for you and Grandma to be back in July when the baby comes. Thank you for everything!!

With love, 
Mar 
and Bri, Coral, Sky and little Baby Tuna.


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