Unclog Those Ducts

This is a safe space, right?

Please don’t judge me, but I have to say it! I can’t hold it in anymore! I’m tired of breastfeeding.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve breastfeed both of my children. I understand and recognize the true benefits of breastfeeding, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it! I mean, I feel like it’s all I do outside of family and work. It’s exhausting!

My newborn consumes SO. MUCH. MILK. When he’s not feeding, I’m pumping. My fridge and freezer is stock piled full of milk (not a bad thing). I mean there is enough milk to feed all the newborns in my local community.

With this insane amount of milk production, I am prone to clogged milk ducts.

Have any of my other moms out there experience the true nuisance of a clogged duct? The pinging reminder that something is just not right. As someone who has dealt with clogged ducts, and even mastitis (that’s another story), I have some tips for how to take down those periodically tender ducts.

If you suspect you have a clogged milk duct, the first thing you should do is feed your babe on the inflamed side. The more you feed, the more it helps release the clogged duct. You should try to drain the infected side as much as possible. You can ensure this is done by having the baby latch on appropriately, rotate feeding positions, and pump following your feeding. Additionally, I recommend breast compressions and/or massage while feeding. A gentle, yet firm, massage will help breakup the clogged duct.

Along with those remedies, you may be looking for some immediate relief. I’m always searching for a quick fix, especially since I feed and pump 24/7. Warm compresses applied to the inflamed area not only take away the tender feelings, but they also help breakup the clogged duct(s). I like to apply a wet, warm compress right before feedings or take a nice warm shower (a.k.a. a moment of mama relaxation). I also recommend using cold/hot packs (thank you for the mom for the recommendation). It’s so easy to pop them into the microwave for a quick fix.

Now, if you’re doing all of this, it’s been more than 48 hours, and you still feel like you have a clogged duct, it’s time to call your doctor because you may have mastitis. Let me tell you from experience, you do not want to mess around with mastitis. It’s like living with an amplified clogged milk duct accompanied with flu-like symptoms. Yikes!

Even though I’m exhausted by the idea of breastfeeding, I AM a breastfeeding mama. It’s important I take care of myself, so that I can continue to provide my newborn with the “liquid gold” I know he needs. Let’s be honest, there are no benefits of living life with a clogged duct or mastitis…unless you like to torture yourself.

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The Plate Spinner

Do you know those people in the circus or on variety shows who spin china plates on sticks? As a wife, mother, full-time employee, etc. I feel like the World Plate Spinning Champion. I know I’m not the only one carefully trying to balance plates in hopes of preventing a serious crash on a daily basis.

Listen, I’m only three weeks into this two child parenting gig, and so far I haven’t broken any of my plates, but I’ve come close. I don’t know how parents with more than two children do it. I praise the parents who manage to keep their sanity, the homestead afloat, and have more than two kids. You’re my heroes!

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My oldest (two-years old), is obsessed with his baby brother and wants to do everything he can to help us. Which is great; however, with this said, we’ve hit the “no” phase of toddler life. Every request is accompanied with “NO!” It amazes me that such a small word can cause a world of parenting frustration.

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On top of saying no to anything and everything, he’s slowly transforming into a miniature Godzilla. He walks into his playroom, rips out every drawer and dumps out the contents, flips over all of toy displays, and then walks out of the room proud of his destruction (insert mic drop). When we ask for him to cleanup or help us clean he says, you guessed it, “NO!” My husband and I look at each other and all we can say is “why?” and slowly shake our heads in disbelief.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still my little love bug and the sweetest, but lord have mercy, the toddler years are rough. I did I mention; it’s only just begun?!

The newest member of our family is a mellow baby with a sweet disposition. We’ve finally have his days and nights fixed (thank you Jesus!), but he’s now awake all day long and wants to eat, ALL.THE.TIME. I feel bad for dairy cows everywhere. I’m a walking, talking, milk factory.

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He just farted…

Along with is hearty appetite comes some of the manliest farts I’ve ever heard. This child could put the loudest gas passers to shame. The toots don’t come alone; they are accompanied by the dirtiest of diapers. At least I know he’s healthy, right?!

All the spit up stains, dirty diapers, and gas is worth the love of this baby boy. He fits perfectly into our lives and it feels like he’s been here since the very beginning.

This is not a platform for me to complain and ask for your sympathies, I’m just taking a moment to highlight the messy life I love so much. Life with two kids, boys, under the age of three keeps me on my toes at all times. I’m beyond thankful for my husband as well as my family. It’s true, it does take a village to raise a child!

Circus music softly plays in the background, as I keep my plates balanced and steadily spinning.

The Newborn Night Owl – Part 2 (The Update)

We did it folks! We’ve had a breakthrough! At 17 days old, our newborn has made significant strides in his sleep schedule. We went from waking up every one to two hours to waking up once for a 30-minute feeding!

Let’s all collectively jump up in the air and click our heels together while simultaneously dishing out high fives.

I made it my mission to find a routine that was going to work best for my little man. With my firstborn it was a matter of feeding him right before bed and he would quickly drift off into dreamland. With our newborn, I had to establish a strict routine. This routine can not be changed. It must remain the same.

I have a feeling he’s going to be extremely particular in the future.

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Little man likes to stay up, wide awake, with mom and dad right until we are ready for bed ourselves. We begin our routine by changing his diaper. I’ve been putting him a diaper that’s one size larger for bed, so he has more movement. Once he’s changed, I swaddle him up tightly. I’ve found the most success with the Summer swaddle wrap. It’s a blessing! Finally, I breastfeed him and then top him off with a bottle of breastmilk.

By the end of the routine, he is clean, comforted, and full. When he wakes up for his nightly feeding, we repeat the same steps.

I fully recognize, there may be a change in this routine as he continues to grow and develop, but if this works right now, I’ll take it! Yay for sleep!

10 Things I Never Thought I would Say to My Boys

As the mother of two boys, I’ve said a handful things that I never thought would come out of my mouth. I don’t say these things just once in a blue moon. No! I repeat these phrases on a loop each and every day.

Let’s face it boy moms, our little love bugs are in fact gross, but it’s OK, we love them no matter what. Life with boys is a constant adventure and each day is full of unexpected surprises. Truly unexpected 😮

Here are the top 10 things I never thought I would say to my boys:

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  1. We do not put the potty seat on our face (life of potty training a boy).

 

  1. Buddy you don’t need to worry, it’s still there. Your penis isn’t going anywhere.

 

  1. We don’t drink the bath water off of the bath mat!

 

  1. Yes, you do have to wear pants today.

 

  1. Please don’t lick the wall. It’s not food.

 

  1. Instead of grabbing your crotch and walking around, please let mommy know when you’ve gone to the bathroom.

 

  1. No, we can’t run around the house naked.

 

  1. Can you please get mommy a tissue? We don’t want snot running down your face into your mouth.

 

  1. Can mommy go to the bathroom by herself? I love you, but I need some privacy.

 

  1. Let’s not eat the [insert snack item] from under the couch.

 

What are some of the strange things you’ve said to your kids?

The Newborn Night Owl – Part 1

In college I never went out clubbing or drinking at bars after 10:00 p.m. I was the friend you would call after 11:00 p.m. if you needed a ride home from the local watering hole. Why did I not engage in a typical college social activities? I truly valued, and still value, my sleep! Trust me when I say, we will all have a great day if I get at least 7 hours of sleep. I’m really doing all of us a favor.

When I had my first son, I was fearful I was going to have a baby who suffered from colic and stayed up all night long. My friends who were already parents told me harrowing stories of exhaustion. Instead of hoping for the best, I moved forward with fearing the worst.

I was able to rid myself of fear because we were privileged with a baby who slept through the night by the end of the first week. Mama was rested. Baby was rested. We were all sleeping in pure bliss.

Now, my 2-week old newborn is not what I would exactly call a terrible sleeper. He wakes up once or twice in the middle of the night…typical. However, he recently decided he was going to party hard like my previous college classmates. Similar to the past, I am called nightly at 1:45 a.m. until 4:00 a.m. to pick up and take care of other individuals, i.e. my baby.

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My husband and I are trying all that we can to get our little one on track. I have every light on and every shade up during the day to indicate that it is in fact daytime. I strategically change his diaper in the middle of the night. I swaddle him into comfort. I’ve done it all!

This is a work in progress for sure, and let’s face it, it could be a lot worse. I don’t mind the nightly cuddles, I actually cherish them, but I want to make sure he gets into a scheduled routine. I’ll be documenting this process and notating what works and what doesn’t work.

What have you found that works for you?

Product Review and Mom Approved: SippyNipple

As parents, we’ve all been in a number of sticky situations when it comes to our kids. I’m sure you can recall the moments of panic and stress that go along with frantically searching your diaper bag for the right size diaper, the beloved pacifier, or a bottle/sippy cup to quench their thirst.

I wish, like all of you, that there was an answer to all of our problems when it comes to rummaging through the endless pit of our diaper bags. If only there was a way to find all of the lost items we need to handle outbursts of frustration (not just our own, but those of our kids as well). If only!

There is one solution to tackle the bottle and sippy cup problem – SippyNipple is the leak proof water bottle baby nipple for on the go moments.  Dr. Mike’s (certified pediatrician) design allows parents to attach bottle and sippy cup nipples to various water bottles. Not only are you saving money by not purchasing more bottles and cups, you are also supporting the environment by recycling your plastic water bottles.

My toddler can’t go anywhere without his sippy cup. If we were to ever be without it, prepare yourself for a meltdown. Even though I live about 5 minutes away from my son’s preschool, he enjoys his juice and snack on the ride home. Without these items, those 5 minutes seem like 50 minutes.

Recently, I was frantically racing to pick up my son from school and I forgot THE CUP! Sheer terror set in when I realized I didn’t have a beverage on hand for the ride home, but then I remembered I had my SippyNipple in the front pocket of my diaper bag. I quickly grabbed my toddler nipple and locking ring and assembled it to the water bottle I had in the front seat. Let’s just say, we had a very calm car ride home.

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SippyNipple offers three nipple sizes for the many stages of your child – 3+ months, 6+ months, and Toddler teething aid. Each pack comes with two nipples and two locking rings. The locking rings are color coded (green and purple) for easy day-to-day use. Green rings fit Ozarka, Arrowhead, Nestle Waters, Poland Spring, Nestle Pure Life, and Zephyrhills, while the purple ring fits Dasani, Deja Blue, and Aquafina. You can use SippyNipple whenever, wherever.

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Click HERE and enter for your chance to win a pack of 3+ Month SippyNipple Two-Pack – CLOSED

Go to @MakingMillMama on Instagram and follow the steps for an additional entry

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Moms, dads, and caregivers, it’s time to lighten your diaper bag and the load on your shoulders, by purchasing SippyNipple. This is a must-have item for both my toddler and newborn. When you’re in a pinch, SippyNipple has your back.

Get your hands on SippyNipple TODAY!

The First Meeting – Toddler and Baby

The weeks leading up to my youngest son’s birth, I was filled with panic about how my toddler was going to handle the new little person entering our lives. The pregnancy hormones, which raged throughout my body, kept me weepy until the moment I held Duncan in my arms.

I cried about if I was being unfair to my oldest son, if he would hate us, if he was going to hate his baby brother, and the list went on an on. I couldn’t keep myself together. Every time I looked at him, I started to cry. Not just standard tears, but crocodile tears which gathered in pools around me everywhere I went. I was fearful of how he was going to react, because until April 3rd, it had always been just the three of us.

My parents watched over my son while we were at the hospital with the new baby. I was so eager to see him and give him a little kiss and hug. Unfortunately, children under the age of 12 were not allowed on the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital, due to the increased occurrence of flu within North Carolina. With this said, my mom called us via FaceTime, so we could talk with our baby boy.

His reaction to seeing me hold his little brother over my mother’s iPhone 7 screen, left much to be desired. He ignored us and he had zero interest in looking at his little brother. The moments we had shared over the smartphone, were the moments I feared the most. He hated us, I just knew it!

When we finally made it home and settled back in, I was eager to pick up my oldest from school. I wanted to first, get a hug and kiss from my little nugget and second, I wanted him to meet his baby brother (she said with some hesitation).

The five-minute car ride home consisted of a lot of conversations about baby brother and how he was a big brother, but still our baby boy. There were a lot of “okay” and “baby?” coming from the backset of the car.

When we walked into the house, he ran over to my husband and gave him a big hug, but he soon saw the rocking cradle in the living room. My heart briefly paused as he stopped in his tracks and said “baby?”

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He squealed in delight when he saw his baby brother. At that moment I breathed a sigh of relief. He wanted to take it upon himself to pick up the baby and hold him. He kept repeating “Hi! Baby!” over and over again. When my family came over and visited the following day, he didn’t want anyone to touch the baby and kept saying “Mine baby!” to everyone who approached his baby brother.

For the past week, each morning he runs to see his baby brother and give him a kiss. When he gets in the car on the way home from school, he asks about his brother throwing his hands up saying, “where’s baby?” When it comes to the end of the day, he goes to his brother and says “Night, night baby! Love you!” Y’all, these are the moments that make a mother’s heart full.

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I now feel silly that I was so worried about my boys coming together. I look at the two of them together and envision all of the wonderful times they will have growing up as best friends. I made these two amazing people and I believe they will always have each others backs. I’m a proud boy mom!

The Four Minute Push – A Birth Story

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Every birthing story is different. Each is full of highs and lows, but the end result is well worth each pregnancy ache and pain. On Monday, April 3, 2017 at 8:34 PM at 39 weeks, we welcomed our second son, Duncan Emerson.

My doctors have deemed my cervix as “stubborn,” so I was induced first thing on the morning of April 3rd. I was induced at 39 weeks with my first born as well. All day I was hooked up to my long, lost friend, Pitocin.

Pitocin and I have a love-hate relationship. I love that it gets things started for my cervix, but I hate that it amplified the contractions I had been battling against the four weeks prior. From 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM we moved onward with limited progression.

I told my husband, mom, and sister to head out for dinner around 7 PM, because with my first-born, the moment they went to dinner everything started to takeoff. Call me superstitious. I thought if they left for dinner the same thing would happen this time around. This wasn’t the case.

On the same day as my scheduled induction, our beloved UNC Tar Heels were playing in the NCAA Finals. The game was to start at 9:27 PM and I just knew Duncan was going to make his appearance right at the start of the game or during it (clearly Duncan was a lucky charm for the Tar Heels – #GDTBATH).

While they were at dinner, my doctor checked-in and broke my waters. I closed my eyes and whispered to myself “alright Duncan, you got this kid! Let’s make a move.” As everyone returned from dinner and settled back into the room, expecting the baby to arrive hours later, my nurse came in and rotated me to my side. It was when she rolled me to the left that it all started to happen.

The pressure and the contractions during those moments went from 0 to 60. The nurse checked me out and then looked me in the eyes and said, “it’s time to have a baby.” I was convinced it wasn’t, because it felt so different from my last pregnancy, but sure enough, it was TIME!

My doctor came in, suited up, and stated the standard phrase, “are you ready to push?” Now, it took 15 minutes of pushing to welcome my first born. I had a tendency to gloat about how fast and determined I was to push him out, but I definitely beat my record this time around. It took 4 pushes and 4 minutes, yes 4 minutes, to meet Duncan Emerson. There is nothing like the relief, both physically and emotionally, when you finally have your child.

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Until later, I was not aware that the quick transition caused the umbilical cord to wrap around his tiny little neck. My doctor and nurses worked quickly to manage the situation, and thank goodness they did, because he soon turned a plump pink in color and quickly let out his first cries. When I heard him cry, I started to cry! My baby was here.

When I looked into his face, I saw a glimpse of my oldest son and all of the sweet memories of his birth came back. In just a matter of minutes, my life quickly went from a small family of 3 to a happy family of 4. My love expanded that day. The aches and pains I previously mentioned, all floated away.

Rorie and Duncan

Each nightly feeding, poopy diaper, and spit-up stained shirt puts a smile on my face. They are the signs of a mother. I wear them all with pride. These symbols of mommyhood not only mean I have two little ones to love and who love me back, but that I am responsible for raising awesome human beings. Lookout world! The Earnhardt boys are going to make a true difference in the lives of many.

7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

As I get closer and closer to the day of delivering our second child, I thought I would get a few frustrations off my chest. People can say some of the most ridiculous and offensive things to women during their pregnancy. I’m the type of person who makes a mental note of every time someone says something that really grinds my gears (clearly I don’t hold any grudges).

Over the past 39 weeks, I have made a list of the top 7 thing you should never say to a pregnant woman, unless you are looking to be obliterated by hormone induced rage.

  1. So you’re having twins, right? Are you sure one is not hiding behind the other?

    I’m pretty positive my clinically trained doctor would have informed me if I was having twins as well as the ultrasound technician that I spent 45 minutes of my life with.

    When it comes to the second child it’s all about the muscle memory as my doctor put it. So, yes I know I look bigger than normal, but trust me there is only one baby in this womb.

  1. Oh you’re having another boy?! I’m so sorry…you can always try again for a little girl!

    How do I put this? Just because you would be disappointed by not having the opposite sex the second time around, doesn’t mean I’m upset about having another boy. I’m looking at you Harris Teeter Florist. What is the “nuclear family” anyway these days?

    My oldest son is a true blessing and has made me realize that being a boy mom is just alright with me! I’m probably more equipped to play Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers than I am dressing up in princess clothes and plastic high heels. Don’t get me wrong, if we are to be blessed with a little girl later down the road, I will be thrilled. As cliché as it sounds, I just want happy and healthy babies.

  1. You’re having another one…already?

    Yes, I am having another baby and yes, it was planned. Please don’t make assumptions about my timeline. There is nothing more frustrating than receiving unwanted judgement. I appreciate you keeping your thoughts to yourself (she said in the politest way possible).

  1. Don’t you think this will be hard for your son? Gosh, I couldn’t imagine loving another baby!

    Honestly, of all the things you could say, this is probably the worst. All I do is think about my son and the impact another kid is going to have in his life. I’ve cried more times than I want to, so you bringing this to my attention, does not help the situation or my emotions. Words of encouragement are more than appreciated though!

  1. Can I rub your belly?

    When someone asks me this question or goes straight for the belly rub, I envision myself grabbing their wrist and flipping them over, like in a scene out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This has never happened, because I have more self control than that, but it would feel rather satisfying.

    Please note, that if you are not my husband, two-year-old son, or a close (very close) relative, I would rather you not pet my stomach.

  1. Oh, you’re naming him that?

    No, it was a joke. I’m not naming my son this particular name that my husband and I spoke about in length. That would be ridiculous!

    I promise I would have asked for your input if I needed it. I won’t question your selection in names, if you don’t judge mine.

  1. Are you sure you know what you’ve gotten yourself into?

    What does this even mean? I, in no way, believe this is going to be the most perfect transition, but if the universe wants to make it easy, great! I believe I have the right people involved in my daily life to ensure my family unit moves into a family of four with ease.

    No, I don’t know exactly what I’ve gotten myself into, but you best believe we are going to get through this triumphantly.

So, the next time you want to make a comment to a pregnant woman – pause, think about what you’re going to say, and decide if it’s best for your safety to keep your mouth shut. I promise you, hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman scorned.