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I loved breastfeeding my son—and that was totally surprising

When my obstetrician asked me my plans around breastfeeding, without hesitation I told her we were going straight to formula. Everything changed once my son was born.

I loved breastfeeding my son—and that was totally surprising

When my obstetrician asked me my plans around breastfeeding, without hesitation I told her we were going straight to formula. And thankfully she didn't judge me or try to push a breastfeeding agenda on me. She smiled, gave me some encouraging words along the lines of "fed is best" and finished her paperwork.

At that time, I felt that I had already been through enough and wasn't going to give any more of my body to this child I hadn't even met yet. I even went so far as refusing to read up on the subject. I just had no interest. It seemed so difficult and at that point I wasn't interested in "difficult."

By the final month of my pregnancy I had changed my tune slightly and did the most basic of due diligence on breastfeeding. I got my pump through insurance, ordered a standard issue Boppy pillow and read some educational materials on the Medela website, which mostly focused on storage guidelines, holding positions and flange sizes. Honestly, I had done more research on different types of formula and bottles.

Everything changed once my son was born. I instantly became a huge advocate for breastfeeding and found myself learning on the fly, researching everything as fast as I could for my son.

My milk took a little longer than expected to come in so I would pump trying to get as much colostrum as possible while my baby was figuring out how to latch and eat. I would find myself beaming with pride over the 2 ml of colostrum I would produce. I would have a lactation consultant in the hospital come at every feeding to ensure we had a proper latch, good positioning and that my son was actually getting milk.

When we finally got home from the hospital I had Amazon boxes waiting on our porch full of breastfeeding supplies—Lansinoh Soothies, Lansinoh Therapearl packs, storage bottles and bags, a different breastfeeding pillow "just in case," hands-free pump bras, Fenugreek supplements, Mother's Milk tea, lactation cookies and more. I was all in.

Little did I know breastfeeding at the hospital with lactation consultants and nurses steps way compared to breastfeeding at home is a much different experience.

On our second week at home we had one particularly difficult night. It was the exhausting 2 am feeding—the one where you immediately start counting down the days until your baby sleeps through it.

My son was wailing, hungry, cold and just confused because everything was so new to him. He also had a mom who had no idea what she was doing. I was trying to get the nipple shield on correctly, but was struggling with the placement. I was exhausted and I just started crying.

I sat there holding my crying son and just cried with him. My husband gently pulled him from my arms and gave him a bottle of milk I had pumped earlier in the day and told me he had things under control and to rest.

It was that night where things really came into perspective for me: my son needed me to be strong. What he really cared about was getting fed. And if we were going to breastfeed, I needed to get it together. I needed to learn more for him. I needed to work together with him, like a true partnership.

I decided to march on and continue breastfeeding. We struggled for the next six weeks. Some days were great and he would latch immediately without a nipple shield. Other days were different and we had to practice patience with each other. My son was putting just as much work into breastfeeding as I was.

Finally, around the 8-week mark—we hit our stride. We could feed without nipple shields entirely, I managed to figure out the positions that worked best for us and he managed to understand there are two sides and to be patient while I switch from one breast to the other. This was the breastfeeding experience I was hoping for. We got there—together.

I would look down at his little face and he would smile at me. I would smell his little head and tell myself, "Soak every second of this in." I felt so proud of the both of us.

At six months postpartum, I started to wean my son. My supply had dropped drastically after I went back to work and he seemed to lose interest in it. It felt like a natural stopping point for us.

I had so many mixed emotions over it. On one hand, I saw freedom in my near future but on the other, I saw my newborn baby drifting away. I didn't want this journey to end but I knew it was right for us.

The last time we nursed we were laying in bed on a Sunday morning overlooking the mountains and it was just the two of us. I took as many mental snapshots as I could and told myself to never forget this moment, this feeling or this experience. I hope 30 years from now I can still picture my little baby latched to me, smiling up at me, playing with my necklace in his hand.

Somehow, I just know I will.

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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