The Best Kept Secrets About Having a New Baby

I was reading a post by a mom who gave birth recently to her first baby in a hospital. She talked about the secrets no one tells you and to be honest, it made me really sad.

I wanted to take her post and write a spin-off; something to negate some of the negativity and fear that surrounded her blog and turn it into something useful and positive for all you soon-to-be mamas.

You are going to deliver the placenta after you deliver the baby but it’s like birthing a giant sponge.

Your placenta has to come out. It typically follows shortly after baby. The first time I learned that you had to give birth to something after you gave birth to a baby, I was like, why would the universe do that to you?! Find a provider who will wait for your placenta to detach naturally and not risk hemorrhage by pulling on the cord. One little push, and that sucker will most likely pop out. It’s easy compared to the baby you just birthed. And don’t forget to look into encapsulation!

You will probably swell up anyway, so go ahead and celebrate the birth of your baby with a giant cheeseburger and a milkshake.

Hippie? No. But deserved? HELL YES. Whether you have a natural birth or a medicated one, you will probably swell. An IV will almost certainly cause swelling due to all the extra fluids, but even natural mamas experience swelling too. It’s normal, you don’t look fat (you just had a baby for cryin’ out loud), and it will go away. Promise. Do not say no to pictures because you think you look fat. Seriously.

You may tear, but you get a ton of cool presents to help take care of your hoo-ha.

The bag of goodies I took home from the hospital was like having a mini-Christmas. It was so nice not to have to buy all that stuff (although let’s be honest; I PAID for every single thing I got, lol). However, you can do things to help minimize the chance of tearing. First, find a care provider who does not perform routine episiotomies. It’s an archaic practice and we know now that the body heals better when it tears naturally as opposed to when it’s cut. The fibers of your skin join back together more tightly when they are allowed to separate on their own. You can avoid tearing by practicing perineal massage (for the record, I hated this more than anything and ended up not doing it), and by asking your doctor or midwife to use a warm compress and olive oil. Mothers who deliver without pain medications also tend to tear less, as the pushing process is much gentler and more controlled; giving the skin time to stretch as opposed to just shooting baby out (like I did), while under the effects of an epidural. Do all women tear? No. You could very well deliver tear-free! If you have anything beyond a 1st degree tear, chances are, you may need sutures. But they will dissolve and there are ways to ease the discomfort while you are healing (see the following paragraph)…

Going to the bathroom can be quite the production, but on the plus side, you’ll have time to check Facebook!

Each trip to the bathroom after you have a baby requires TIME. You may be given quite the gift bag upon leaving your birth place (or your midwife may give you one if you birth at home), all in the name of caring for your vagina. I had a huge basket next to the toilet of pads, a peri bottle, and Tucks pads (you might also be given stool softeners). I used that stuff for at least a month. The pads are a must because you’ll probably bleed quite a bit after giving birth. It’s like the longest period ever. The peri bottle came everywhere with me the first month or so. I kept it filled with warm water to douse myself when I had to pee–it helped eliminate any sting I might feel due to my sutures. The Tucks pads are just BOMB. That’s right, I said BOMB. They were so soothing and cool and were a huge help in providing me comfort in that area after delivering Brynn. The postpartum period rocked me because it’s hard. Not many people talk about it. So having those little comfort measures on hand was wonderful.

Do not send your baby to the nursery. Don’t you know baby snuggles are the most magical thing ever?!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories from mothers who think something may have happened against their wishes while their babies were in hospital nurseries. The best way to avoid this? Keep your baby with you. There is absolutely NO reason to send your baby to the nursery. You’ve been sleeping your whole life. You don’t get one more night–you’re a parent to a newborn and they need you now more than ever. I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT LET YOUR BABY OUT OF YOUR SIGHT. Hospital staff mean well, they really do! But they don’t always remember the wishes of each family they are attending. And they’re not always up to date on the best practices (like not giving formula if it isn’t medically required). And the worst stories I’ve heard are about babies being vaccinated and circumcised against parents’ wishes. It’s not common, but it happens. So just sidestep the whole thing by rooming-in with your baby.

You may or may not receive lactation support – Ok, this one is serious.

This is a big one. I’m coming to find more and more how awesome Boise is about this. We have some amazing hospitals and they are working on reforming policies all the time.

Sidenote: In fact, this Saturday, I’m attending a meeting about changing policy for immediate skin to skin after cesarean at one of our local hospitals. Is that not the best thing ever?! I’m so excited to hear more about this, as EVERY mom deserves to hold her baby immediately after birth, regardless of how baby enters the world. 

So you have a baby and you want to breastfeed so you just put the baby to your breast and BAM! Right? No. It’s not always that easy, especially if the birth has been medicated. You and baby will probably be sleepy. Brynn was and we had a hell of a time with latch. Had lactation counselors not been on hand immediately, I honestly don’t know what we would have done. Given up? Maybe. Knowing me, I would have been on the phone to get someone to come help me, but not every new mom is as much of a pain in the ass as I was/am. So have a back-up plan. Do you have someone you can call to come see you immediately if no lactation support is readily available? Find someone and do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not accept formula supplementation as the answer because it’s not. Once you give a newborn formula, you have forever changed the environment of the gut, where the majority of their immune system lies. It’s important and you deserve as much attention as you need in this department. So get a plan in place and fight–for your right–to breeeaaastfeeeed!

(Little Beastie Boys reference for ya.)

You will never get this time back

If I could go back, I’d just chill. I was so concerned about visitors and the house being clean and being a good wife, friend, employee, mom, blah blah blah…I wish I would have just freakin’ chilled out; let the laundry go. Not done all the dishes. Not worried about the bed being made. But I did and I pushed myself and it would be 4:00 in the afternoon by the time I realized, holy shit I haven’t eaten today! So focus on taking care of you. Surround yourself with people (a postpartum doula, perhaps?) who want to help you and not just come over and dote on the baby. Make them a deal; you can come see the baby if you bring me food or fold a load of laundry. You deserve a rest. Your baby needs you. Resist the urge to be that perfectly put-together mom and just relax. Don’t pull a Brittany and wear eyeliner to your lactation consultant appointment. Because she honestly doesn’t care what you look like. All that matters is that you’re rested, nourished, hydrated, and that your needs are met. If your needs involve a hot shower and a blow-dryer, then we probably have more in common than you think.

Any questions?

My feelings on nursing my almost 20-month-old daughter.

At my company Christmas party this year, Brent and I were sitting across the table from a couple that we’ve known for a very long time. In the course of conversation, it casually came up that I’m still nursing. The woman looked at me, eyes wide with disbelief and said, “You’re STILL nursing?!”

On paper, er–BLOG, I handle these situations with ease and eloquence. In real life? Not so much.

I explained to her (as I tripped all over myself) that nursing a one-and-a-half-year-old is very normal and healthy, and that the world-wide average for children to stop nursing is actually 4.2 years old. Although apparently I said, “nation-wide” and Brent corrected me. See? I get nervous when I feel like I have to explain and defend myself to people! And I was extra nervous explaining it to her because she doesn’t have children of her own, so I felt like we lacked that basic common ground.

That moment has replayed in my mind a few times since the party because of the look on my coworker’s face. She absolutely could not believe I was still nursing my daughter! I’d like to say that her face was “surprised” and “impressed”, but in actuality, I think it was more “shocked” and “horrified”. Isn’t that sad? But I know I am not the first person in the world to be judged for nursing their toddler, nor will I be the last.

But lately, my feelings on nursing Brynn have begun to shift.

My nursing goal for Brynn and myself has always been two years. We will be there in just four short months. But nursing a toddler isn’t always easy, and to be honest, it’s not always fun or comfortable either. As I have stated many times before, Brynn loves to nurse. You can tell it makes her so so happy–it’s warm, it’s soft, it’s familiar, it’s sweet, it’s comfortable. Sometimes, when we’re getting ready to nurse, she lets out what can best be described as a maniacal laugh. She just gets so happy! And I love being able to provide her with those wonderful feelings and sensations. It’s also nice to be able to comfort her when she’s scared, sad, hurt, or just tired. So in that regard, it’s pretty easy and convenient.

But there are other times when it’s not easy or convenient. Sometimes we’ll be out at the mall playground and Brynn will be running around with a ton of other kids, playing on the slide, climbing things, and having fun. Suddenly, she’ll run up to me and shout, “Ness! Ness!” I’ll be honest–our culture has instilled a sense of shame and embarrassment in me that I just can’t seem to shake. Despite being a seasoned mother of almost 20 months (haha), despite having all of this breastfeeding experience behind me, and despite even being a certified lactation educator (!), I still get nervous to breastfeed my toddler in public. I’ve never had a bad experience nursing in public, but I do worry others will look at me and think, “What the hell is she doing nursing a toddler?” Because the truth is, most people just don’t get it.

So, I just have to remember to take a deep breath. I have to remember that this is normal. I have to remember that I have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of. I also have to remember that I’m part of the movement that is normalizing public and “extended” breastfeeding. And you know what? It’s never a big deal when I do end up nursing in public and Brynn never nurses for long–just a minute or two and then she’s off again!

Nursing at home, however, is a different story. Brynn and I sometimes butt heads about it. We nurse in the mornings when she wakes up. But 30 minutes later, she’s asking for it again. Sometimes it’s hard to find a balance that makes both mama and baby happy. But I am not happy to nurse Brynn every 30 minutes in the morning. She doesn’t need to nurse that much. So I tell her, “I know you want to nurse right now, but we just did, and we’ll nurse again when you take a nap.” She doesn’t always like the answer, but those are my boundaries at this time. We mostly nurse down for sleep, and occasionally another time or two throughout the day.

But here’s where my confession comes in: I don’t really enjoy nursing Brynn the way I used to. Her latch isn’t always that great (shallow = pain), she moves all over place, and quite frankly, she’s not even getting that much milk which makes me feel like a nursing fraud, haha. I’m still producing milk, but it’s just so minimal that sometimes I wonder, “What’s the point?” But, then Brent and I both got sick (him once, me twice) in the matter of a week and Brynn didn’t have so much as a sniffle, so I know it’s still doing her a world of good, despite my low supply. I do wonder what will happen after Brynn turns two and I feel as though my goal is met. Knowing me, I’ll continue to nurse as she shows an interest, but weaning her completely has also been in the back of my mind. It would be nice to go somewhere for an extended period of time and not have to worry about expressing in the shower or sink or having to take my hand-pump with me. Right now, I guess I’m open to anything, but I can tell I’m getting more and more comfortable with the idea of no longer nursing my daughter. But I don’t want to be in too much of a rush to get there…

How long did you nurse your babies, or how long do you plan to nurse your babies? Did they wean themselves or did you decide to wean them

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I wasn’t going to post about this, but then something kind of interesting happened that made me change my mind.

On Superbowl Sunday, Brynn had a lot of snacks and was playing pretty hard with my friends’ kids. At one point, she had something in her mouth that made her cough, and she ended up barfing all over me. My friend loaned me a shirt to wear home so of course I washed it before I gave it back.

The other day she texted me asking what I use for detergent and softener. I told her I make my own detergent and that we use Snuggle Blue Sparkle softener (I know–so unhippy. It’s the softener our birth center uses and it always brings back so many wonderful memories. I can’t stop using it). I texted her the recipe for the detergent, and she responded with, “Thank you so much! When I wore my shirt after you washed it my skin didn’t feel irritated. I’ve always had allergies to laundry detergent. And that is the first time my skin actually felt good!”

So I figured if my detergent recipe helped her, maybe it could help you too!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A box of Borax
  • A box of Washing Soda
  • 3 bars of Ivory soap
  • A cheese grater
  • A coffee grinder



  1. Grate up all the soap. You’ll get about 2 cups per bar, so 6 cups total.
  2. Put into a container with 6 cups of washing soda.
  3. Blend the mixture in small batches in a coffee grinder (we have one we never use for coffee so I’m not worried about soapy tasting coffee).
  4. Next, combine with 6 cups Borax.
  5. Use approximately 3T for each load. You can adjust as you get a feel for how well it cleans.

Some interesting facts:

  • Washing soda is what really gets things clean 
  • Borax works best in hot water (hence using washing soda AND Borax for the few hot loads you probably do)
  • Salt is a great softener, but washing soda is better
  • Hydrogen Peroxide is a great stain remover (especially on blood–do not ask how I know this. I might have to kill you)
  • A 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse can help dissolve detergent build-up

I don’t think I’m going to buy commercial detergent ever again. Making my own is not only easy, but it’s incredibly cheap. I got 18 cups of detergent for about $10. And I know exactly what’s in it. Before this, the detergent we were using was giving Brynn a rash. Yuck!

Nineteen months and Nana’s visit!

Brynn turned 19 months old on January 24th! I’m a little behind getting a photo up. We’ve been really busy with Brent’s new school schedule, my job at the station, and life. I have a lot of good things happening this year; a couple of trips, my postpartum doula training, upgrading my camera (finally–I think), joining a gym, and working on a new project that I’m excited to dish more about later. All in all, things are going great in our world! Oh, I even photographed a BIRTH! Can’t wait to get some of those photos up.


Brent’s mom came to visit for the first time since Brynn’s first birthday! We had an action packed week–lunches, playdates, dinners, meeting up with friends and family, shopping, and just having fun. It was great to spend some time with her and she was absolutely smitten with Brynn. Who wouldn’t be?



Summer on my mind…

It’s been snowing like crazy here! Our yard has been pure white for at least a week. So naturally, I can’t stop thinking about warm weather. And you know what I want to do?


You know, glamorous camping.

It. looks. awesome. Completely impractical, totally hilarious, and absolutely something my friends and I would do.



And if we don’t “glamp”, we can do it up Airstream-style…




Unfortunately, we’re about five months away from doing anything like this. But a girl can dream…

Our Tribe

I’ve talked about my Facebook Hippie Moms group before and how much I love them. Any time; morning, noon, or night, they are there to support, advise, or just oooh and ahhh over the latest baby picture. They’re awesome and the only thing I wish was different is that at least one of them lived here in Idaho. But the majority of them are in California. I’m actually hoping to make a trip to San Diego in March for one of their Blessingways (read: hippie baby shower), but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still a lone reed here in the land of potatoes.

About two months ago, I was invited to join a local group on Facebook for women who breastfeed. We call ourselves a “tribe”. The group has about 75 members and I’ve been really surprised at how positive, supportive, and non-judgemental everyone has been. I offered to host a little “meet and greet” over the holidays and was seriously floored at how cool everyone was! About a dozen moms came, most with a baby in tow, and we ended up talking pretty late into the evening about our birth stories, breastfeeding experiences, opinions about circumcising, and even our religious backgrounds. Seriously! We just dove right into the big topics on the first meeting and everyone was totally awesome. The one thing that surprised me was how many atheists were in the group. Yay!

After the meet and greet, we decided to try to get together regularly. It’s been so fun meeting LOCAL hippie moms, their kids, and just making new friends. This week alone, this is what we’ve done:

Playdate at the mall playground:

photoThen we went to a kid’s gym:

photo-2And today we went to storytime at the library!


I brought my Moby wrap today to help a new mom learn how to use it since her baby sounds an awful lot like Brynn was in the first few months of life; FUSSY. She took it home to try it out for a week or so. It was fun to be able to temporarily pass it on to someone who needs it!

And on Monday, Brynn and I start Baby Beat classes! It’s all about making music and dancing, and apparently there’s a lot of African drums. Haha! Brynn is going to love it! That’s where most of the fun lies–seeing her reactions to all the new places, kids, and experiences she’s having. And I have to admit, it feels so good to get out of the house to meet up with friends and play with our babies together.

Are you in a mom’s group or a play group? What kinds of things do you guys do?