I’ve got a special episode for you guys this week on the Mommy Labor Nurse podcast! I had the chance to sit down with Tiffany, my good friend and a team member here at MLN, in honor of my second baby’s first birthday. We talked all about this past year – the struggles and the wins – and what it’s like to be a mom of 2.
Last year, I told the story of Ryland’s birth here on the podcast and gave a postpartum update around 6 weeks as well. Then, when Ryland was around 8 months old, I opened up about my struggles with postpartum anxiety and the decision to go on medication.
This past year has been a wild ride, but I’ve learned so much about myself, self-care, and how to get the help and support I need to be the best mama possible to my boys. This episode is a lot longer than our typical podcast episodes, but there was just so much I wanted to share with you guys to help you learn!
Inside the episode you’ll hear us talk about postpartum, my breastfeeding journey, birth control., starting solids, sleep training, Ryland’s food allergies, how I got my mental health under control, and SO much more.
Recording this episode was so cathartic for me, and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to share it with you all. Here’s a glimpse into some of the topics we discussed!
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Discussing birth control and IUDs
During the episode, Tiffany asks me questions in an interview style, and we tried to pick up right where we left off at the end of the 6-week postpartum episode. So it only made sense to talk a bit about birth control and family planning.
You’ll hear me share about my decision to use natural family planning and condoms for a while, and then once I was about 9 months postpartum, I decided to get an IUD. Tiffany and I discuss IUDs a little more in-depth because unfortunately there are a LOT of myths and misinformation out there surrounding their use.
Here’s a little bit of what we touch on:
- The majority of women who get an IUD do in fact get a monthly period
- It’s considered within the realm of normal to have an extended period of light bleeding after your IUD is placed
- Remember to take ibuprofen before you have your IUD placed to help with discomfort
- Overall, it’s a good long-term option for so many moms!
Ryland’s food allergies
Next, we get into my feeding journey with Ryland, and I opened up about some of Ryland’s allergies. You’ll hear me talk about my history with food allergies as a child (and now!) and how this was definitely something that was on my radar. When Walter was born, my allergist advised me to have him checked out, and he was negative for food and peanut allergies, but when I took Ryland it was a different story.
He did test positive for a peanut allergy, but I still had a gut feeling that there was more going on. You see, from the time he was born he always had a kind of strange face rash and rashes all over his body in addition to some other respiratory symptoms.
I finally put two and two together after he ate french toast one day that it could be eggs! We did an egg skin test and sure enough, he tested positive. And then finally when I stopped breastfeeding him completely at around 8 months his rashes and breathing issues totally went away. I think that the eggs I was eating – even when they were cooked into things – were totally causing a reaction in my little guy.
He’s also allergic to kiwi and some other seasonal allergies, too. So it’s something I’m going to continue to have on my radar!
The decision to start supplementing and end my breastfeeding journey
Next, we talk in more detail about how my breastfeeding journey went and ultimately how it ended. Breastfeeding Ryland was so different than my first because he was just never a baby that loved the boob or loved to nurse for comfort.
He was “all business” as I like to say, and wanted to eat and be done. Then at around 3 months, he became such a distracted nurser, and breastfeeding sessions became super stressful for me. He ate so much better from a bottle, but the full-time job of pumping was wearing on my mental health in a big way. When I finally introduced formula, it felt like this huge weight was lifted and there wasn’t all of this pressure on me to be his sole source of nourishment.
Once I started supplementing with formula a little bit, it just kind of slowly transitioned over to mostly formula bottles and honestly it helped me feel happier! You’ll hear me talk about how this all tied into my postpartum anxiety struggles as well.
We wrap up this section with a discussion of his transition off of formula to cow’s milk, and honestly, it was so easy! I know some babies have a lot of issues with this, but for Ryland, it really was so darn easy. You’ll also hear us talk about the process of transitioning off of bottles in general too, and our dive into solid foods!
How is Ryland’s sleep?
All right, once we wrapped up the discussion on all things feeding, we got into another hot topic – baby sleep! Ryland is a really great napper, but to this day he still wakes up sometimes in the night especially if he’s going through a big transition or leap.
He is also my little early riser! Ryland will often wake up at 5 or 5:30 am, and it kinda seems like he is just wired this way! So, in short, Ryland isn’t a naturally “awesome sleeper”, and when he was around 6 months old it was much worse and harder on me.
I tried to do some sleep training myself, but it was very hard and stressful for me to do it alone. I never knew if I was approaching it right, and because I was struggling with postpartum anxiety and exhaustion myself, it just added to a perfect storm.
Once I got on medication for my postpartum anxiety, I was able to calm down and feel more in control, and I decided to work with a sleep consultant! She helped me make small changes to his sleep routine and gave me tools for what to do when he wakes up in the middle of the night and it helped SO much.
For me, it was so helpful to have someone to talk through the struggles with and give me feedback on what to do, because sleep training totally by myself was so hard on me. I highly recommend reaching out to a sleep consultant for one on one support if any of this is resonating with you!
Details about my postpartum anxiety
To help explain my challenges with postpartum anxiety this time around, I first talked about my struggles after Walter was born. Anxiety has been a part of my life for a long time, and it was actually really interesting to see it manifest in such different ways.
During Walter’s first year, I struggled with a lot of intrusive thoughts and fears about something happening to him. I also had a lot of anxiety surrounding his needs and being able to figure out why he was crying. But with Ryland, it was just so different. I felt like my brain was wired all the time.
Here is a bit about what I shared,
“There were times with him where I would, I would have trouble sleeping because my brain was so like, wired all of the time. And it’s hard for me to even, like, I’ll start talking about this and remember stuff. But this time period in my life with Ryland was so abnormal and out of whack of like how I normally am, that it’s crazy to me to even think about some of the things that I was doing, or some of the things that I was thinking because it was just so weird for me.
So it got to the point where he was about four or five months old, and I was back at work and I was back doing Mommy Labor Nurse stuff kind of full time. And I remember saying to my therapist, like I’m doing okay, but I’m always on edge. I’m always yelling – anything will set me off, you know, like, just anything and I’m like, I feel like I just can’t control my emotions. They’re kind of all over the place.
I just always felt tense, you know, tense. And I felt like I wasn’t enjoying my time with my children like I could be.”
I talk in-depth about what these feelings were like, and the breaking point where I knew something needed to change. I discuss my decision to start medication – which was something I was resistant to for so long, but it was one of the best decisions I could have made.
We also discussed how hard it is to recognize what’s normal and what’s not when you are the one in it, so I truly hope that this discussion will help other mamas out there recognize if they are struggling.
Wrapping up the episode
At the end of the episode, I really got into how much I truly enjoy having two children. I’ve finally found my village and am at a point where things feel good! I love watching my two children interact, and the way that they just love each other.
I’m at a point now where I can handle their schedules and give them both the time and attention that I want to give to them. Two feels like the perfect level of busy for me, and I can’t wait to watch them grow up together through the years.
There was so much more inside the episode that I couldn’t include here, so definitely give this one a listen and let me know what you thought by leaving a review!
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