Sleep and weird juju past life shit

After coming clean about just how not-picture-perfect our sleep is, I found myself buttressed on all sides by solidarity from my community. It feels good. Almost even better than the first cup of coffee in the morning: just knowing I’m not alone, this is normal, that Mac will find her way to longer periods of sleep in her own precious time.

I then ran across this article, which only solidified that feeling of being at peace with this current reality:

Ignore the chorus telling you you’re doing it all wrong and you need to wean or leave them to cry or sleep train or give them solids or get a sleep consultant or perform some weird juju past life shit on them because if you don’t you’re not “respecting their need to sleep”.

(Yes, I’ve been told that too – and it’s bullshit).

Ignore it. You’re doing great. This will pass I promise. It’s long and hard and awful (so, so awful) but you’re not alone.

You’re not a martyr – that favourite word to attack sleep deprived mothers with – you’re just trying your best.

I see you trying.

You’ll sleep soon.

So will they.

via The Spinoff

I highly recommend the whole thing. It literally brought me to tears, and I don’t think I can entirely blame the sleep deprivation or my (still elevated?) hormones for the weepiness. Sometimes it just feels so good to be seen and validated.

Speaking of which, here’s another post about baby sleep that might make you feel better if you’re in the thick of it right now. I read this one originally before I became a parent and before I had any awareness of high-stakes arena of the Sleep Training Games, and this paragraph stuck with me:

The thing is: babies aren’t convenient. They don’t fit our adult schedules. They shit and throw food all over. They need a great deal of time and attention and sacrifice and love. But they’re not supposed to be convenient. They’re babies. They’re growing like crazy and their bellies are tiny and they may need to eat more often than every 12 hours. They need to be cuddled and touched and loved. They need to be responded to, cared for, met with tenderness. And I feel certain that one day we will look back at “sleep training” (even that phrase makes me crazy, like you’re training a cat to pee in a litter box or something) as a terrible, psychologically-damaging socio-cultural error.

via Rachel Meyer Yoga

No matter where you or your little ones fall on the sleep question, here’s to finding our way through the long dark nights and the too-bright days.

 

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Pump’n’Go: your guide to mobile milk-making

Whenever people (ahem, men) express anxiety about pooping in public or in a new place, I have to admit my sympathy is pretty limited.

Pooping anxiety ain’t got nothing on pumping anxiety.

First of all, everyone accepts that people need a place to go to the bathroom. Dedicated places to pump, on the other hand, are few and far between. With pooping, there’s no lugging equipment around. When you find a spot, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be private; the chance (at least in the developed world) that you’ll have to pull out your goods and sit there basically naked for 20 minutes or more is pretty much nonexistent. The only thing you have to wash afterward is your hands. You don’t have to find a way to store your output and keep it on ice.

As a breastfeeding mama who travels quite a bit, and is a travel nomad — meaning I usually am not visiting an office where I can leave my stuff or hide out in a private room with my pump, I’ve had to get creative about where to take care of business.

My lessons learned are definitely not a complete guide to this inevitably stressful situation, but I hope they’ll help if you’re traveling without your baby and need to pump on the go.

What to bring

  • Your pump. (DUH, I know). But double check that all the pieces are there; I had a pumping emergency when I arrived at our retreat and realized the tubing was missing from my pump. Luckily a fellow mama there let me use hers, and I was able to avoid a true boob emergency.
  • Pump wipes. You won’t always have access to a place to wash your accessories, so I carry these wipes for on-the-go cleaning. I’m pretty sure they’re just repackaged baby wipes, so you could also just snag some from your LO’s diaper bag rather than buying yet another niche product.
  • Milk bags. I love these bags for pumping on the go because they take up so much less space in your bag and then cooler. The Medela ones come with little adapters for your pump so you can pump directly into the bags.
  • Ziplocs: the milk bags are notoriously leak-prone. I seal them inside ziploc bags for safer, drier travel.
  • Lunchbox or other small cooler. True story: my husband used my pumping needs as an excuse to buy a Yeti, but holy hell that thing is a bear to drag around. I carry a lightweight lunch box cooler with me, and try to transfer to the fridge, freezer, or Yeti as soon as possible. I’m constantly asking for ice from Starbucks or other casual food joints. Most of them will just fill up your cooler if you ask, and not charge you the 10 cents or whatever, especially if the barista is a woman.
  • Blanket scarf: something to hide the ladies under. Plus it’s lightweight so easy to pack or wear. God knows you’re already lugging around enough stuff.

What NOT to wear:

  • Dresses that don’t allow you access to the goods without taking them off. See: my first mother’s day experience. Oh wait, I haven’t told anyone about that except my husband. Maybe I’ll share this mother’s day…
  • Tops that will show wetness, or that can be stained by breast milk. Sayonara, silk.
  • Pants that are not forgiving when you sit down. Your midsection is likely to be exposed for at least part of your pumping adventure … so I like to choose pants that, even if they aren’t super flattering on my exposed core, at least don’t exacerbate my mom-pooch and muffin top.  (High-rise FTW).

Where to do the deed

Luckily, pumping rooms are becoming more and more frequent, but that doesn’t mean they’re a dime a dozen yet.

  • Nordstrom: their women’s lounges often have Mothers’ Rooms, with everything you need to pump or breastfeed: outlets, comfy chairs, a sink with soap and paper towels, and some semblance of privacy.

This is one of many reasons I will always be a loyal Nordstrom customer. Also, their shoe section.

  • Mamava: these handy little pumping pods are popping up at airports everywhere. I first discovered them in Austin, then also found pods in Oakland, CA, and San Francisco. These no-frills, lockable pods provide seating, outlets, and a mirror to help make sure you’ve rearranged yourself without any wardrobe malfunctions. Their app helps you find not only pods but other, user-submitted pumping-friendly locations.
  • Baby stores: this is a long shot, but if you’re traveling in the burbs, you may have a baby or maternity store nearby, and they often will provide a place for you, suggest other local options, or, at the very least, empathize with your plight. Friendly understanding won’t keep your pressurized boobs from exploding, but it does help lessen your mounting anxiety about said pressure.
  • When in doubt, just ask… I’ve ended up in random places for meetings, like hospitals, big office buildings, and cafes. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help. Some of them will get really uncomfortable, but I think that just encourages them to come up with a solution faster so they can stop talking about YOUR BREASTS. Ha. Some of the random places I’ve pumped are: in the lunchroom in a big office building, a doctor’s office after hours, the manager’s office in a restaurant, and in empty conference rooms.

    Don’t mind me, I’m just awkwardly pumping in this empty lunch room. Also take note of the blanket scarf. My only barrier between my boobs and hordes of hungry office workers.

None of those locations are fun, but they’re doable, and way less gross than a bathroom.

Now, if I could just crack the code of how to travel with a pump and ONLY a carry-on, I would be set. Any tips?

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This is not a problem

This week, I posted on Facebook about a miracle: Mac slept for 2.5 hours after going to bed, with nary a squawk or a scream.

I hesitated before hitting publish on that post, because I anticipated that the collective internet would rise up with well-intentioned advice about how to get my 15 month old to sleep through the night. Or, you know, longer than the hour that is her usual cycle.

I’ve asked for sleep advice on Facebook before, and the internet was generous with its response. Mac was 8 months at that point—nearly half a lifetime ago!—and I felt that I had reached the end of my zombie rope. Little did I know I had at least another half lifetime in me of boobin’ all night.

In the last 7 months, we’ve tried all the things.* Our sleep book collection puts the Library of Congress to shame. We’ve cued and we’ve charted and we’ve shuffled. We’ve A/B tested lighting and sound and pajamas and beds and bed company and the number of books we read and the content of meals and the timing of baths.  We’ve done craniosacral therapy and we’ve night weaned and we’ve made her do hill sprints before bed.

And the results of all that study and research?

On an average night, my toddler wakes up 4-5 times before I go to bed.

Sweaty sleep hair is the cutest.

And I mean really wakes up. I’m not talking about little baby noises or the rolling over or the resettling. This count doesn’t include the times she self-settles. This is the number of times she sits and screams and needs some kind of parental intervention before midnight. After midnight, believe it or not, it gets better, or I’m just so zombie-like that I think it’s better. But it’s at least 3-4 more wake ups, usually to nurse, but sometimes just for a snuggle, before she gets up for the day.

Anyway, the point of all this is this: I spent months scouring the internet for proof that what we were experiencing was normal.

What I found were 10 week olds who slept from 8pm-6am. I found parents lamenting that their 3 month old still got up at 3am to feed, sometimes, but that they were solving that problem ASAP. Parents scolded each other for any night nursing, because babies don’t need that after [insert age of choice here].

I’m done wanting to throat punch those people, and more importantly, I’m done feeling inadequate.

I’m done thinking that her sleep is a problem to be fixed. She wakes up a lot and I’m tired a lot and she’s a happy kid and I drink a lot of coffee and this is where we are. If frequent night wakings are our great challenge then I count myself lucky.

My local coffee shop is also reaping the benefits, since I’m singlehandedly keeping them in business.

And the real reason I’m sharing this is because of that Facebook post I mentioned at the beginning. I did not get the advice I was expecting. Instead, I got solidarity, from fellow parents who are also not living up to the insane internet standards of baby sleep. So I’m coming out of the closet as a person who stays up all night with their toddler.

If you’re reading this, and you’re in the same boat, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

* The one thing we haven’t tried is any version of Cry it Out. Friends assure it me works; their lovely children assure me kids come through the other end happy and healthy. It just doesn’t feel like the right course for us. 

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Let’s get outta town

I just got back from our first-ever yoga retreat in Sonoma, CA, and you guys, it was everything.

I’m still riding a high from a whole weekend spent with my people in the beautiful sunny wine country—and yes, from my first weekend away from Mac.

I got to spend so much quality time with people I love, from our team:

To college friends:

And sweat pink sisters!

I did a bunch of yoga, hiking, and HIIT Yoga.

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten this sweaty and this sore, and it felt oh-so-good to really dig in for an active weekend.

How cute is my Momentum Jewelry wrap?

I wore my Momentum Jewelry wrap all weekend like a watch. Every time I’d glance down at my wrist, it was the perfect reminder of what time it was: time to EMPOWER and INSPIRE.

I grew a ton in my practice: I hit peacock (yay!). For the first time EVER I managed to jump back into chaturanga from crow pose. That felt like a major breakthrough moment – and all it took was just hearing it described a different way. I felt like I’d unlocked a new skill that had been lying in wait for me.

I have yet another pair of pants I’m obsessed with (thanks prAna!).

These are the most comfy. Seriously. It feels like you’re wearing nothing, and they’re so pretty. Our whole team, without coordinating it, ended up picking the same pair.

We range from 5’1″ to 6′ … and size 0 to… ??? and these pants fit us all beautifully!

Except Liz, who got to be a stand out from the crowd in a different pair. 😉

Save 25% off prAna using the code POWERPRANA at checkout (valid until 4.15.17).

I’m obsessed with my Handful bra. It’s the softest, silkiest, most flattering sports bra ever… and look, they seriously look good on everyone!

And the FOOD. Oh, the food. We were treated to 3 full, healthy, fresh meals a day at the ranch, and of course, we brought along extra snacks to share with everyone because, um, we were working out a bajillion times every day. We made three flavors of protein balls AND protein muffins with Designer Protein and Amazing Grass (recipes on the Flex & Flow blog!):

How cute is our fabulous chef??

Chocolate peanut butter protein perfection.

Save 40% on Amazing Grass with the code SWEATPINK2017 at checkout.

We also had lots of yummy flavors of Boulder Organic soups to snack on and enjoy.

Soup turned out to be just the thing because I came down with some weird stomach bug while we were there – the chicken quinoa kale soup literally saved my life the first night at the retreat.

I also came home with a whole new arsenal of favorite, natural skin care products.

I gave myself a little spa experience with the frank body scrub – it’s made from coffee, ’nuff said.

Sunscreen is so, so necessary for me. I’m grateful for chemical-free options like Goddess Garden!

Use code SWEATPINK for 20% off Goddess Garden (valid through 3.20.17).

I ended up layering sunscreen: I’d slather on Goddess Garden, then top it off with Sweat Cosmetics, a mineral powder with SPF 40.

You can’t be too protected… and the Sweat Cosmetics helped keep my skin tone evened out and less shiny during all our sweaty activities. I’m not really a person who wears makeup while working out… but when you’re taking this many pictures, it becomes necessary to at least give yourself a little pre-filtering help. Plus, it’s such an easy, lightweight, non-greasy way to add some SPF to your day. I’ve been using it every morning before going outside just as extra protection.

Use SWEATPINK for 10% off Sweat Cosmetics! 

Stomach bug and all, I came home feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, more ME than I’ve felt in a long, long time. I was so happy to see my family after a few days away … not least because I’d had a little breast pump snafu and needed my baby like WOAH …

If you’re on the fence about a retreat / fitcation away, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a vacation you don’t need a vacation from when you come home; you come home feeling stronger, more rested, more relaxed, and happier.

Upcoming events…

 

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The swiss army knife of dresses

You know what’s really hard? Getting dressed in the morning. First world problems, I know.

But for reals. If I could save myself half of the time I spend staring at my closet loathing everything in it and whining about why I can’t wear that shirt or this pair of pants, I would have enough time to feed the hungry. Or, at the very least, unpack my suitcase.

What is happening here? WHY?

I’ve also spent an inordinate amount of time plotting a uniform strategy like this one, without actually executing.

What I have done is pay attention to the things I reach for all the time, to try to focus future shopping efforts in more productive directions. I have curated a collection of notes for myself like “stop buying spaghetti straps!” and “find more t-shirts that drape like my striped one.”

You know, super useful suggestions when you’re faced with a mall—or worse, an internet—full of options.

Sometimes the universe steps in to help a sister out, though, and that’s just what happened with this dress. This dress is my everything. If I had to pare down my closet to one item, it would be this dress.

I wore it to the children’s museum in Palm Springs, and, since these photos were taken, everywhere else.

Let me share some of the many benefits of the dress:

  • It’s a basic that you can dress up or down. Add jewelry and heels, and go out to dinner. Add flips flops and sunscreen and go to the beach. Boots and a jean jacket for about town. Etc, etc.
  • It’s super soft and comfy.
  • It packs well – I crammed it unceremoniously into the suitcase pictured above and was able to pull it out and wear it with no muss and no fuss. Oh, and no wrinkles, either.

  • The skirt is cut generously enough that you can squat, bend, twist, and run, without flashing your companions. See?

  • The neckline is slightly more conservative than I usually wear, BUT, it enables the bending / squatting / twisting features.

  • Speaking of necklines, it’s surprisingly breastfeeding friendly. It doesn’t look like it—but I tried in a pinch, and succeeded.
  • No fussy care directions. Wash cold, line dry, which is what I do for all my clothes anyway. Easy peasy.
Driver’s ed starts so young these days. Weep.

Get the dress here. I’m wearing size M in black, and it fits true to size. Also, save 15% off everything at prAna, including this dress, and these perfect lounge pants, with the code: S4P17AMB

This post is sponsored by prAna, but they more than earned this rave review. Opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support the sweat pink community! 

 

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