“My cup runneth over!” Or my breasts runneth over and filled my freezer. Something like that. So, I stand holding my 7 month and and stare into my packed freezer of perfectly frozen and “bricked” rows on rows of breast milk, and I count in my head as I place another precisely measured and sealed bag nice and flat to freeze, “everything the freezer light touch is your kingdom little one...” oh wait different kind of story. But, nevertheless there we stood, me feeling proud, her feeling robbed that the noisy machine she made every attempt to unplug stole her milk in the end.
First time around in this EBF rodeo I never made it passed 100 ounces in the fridge at once. 100 though? Good job right? Meh, it’s ok if I’m being honest but babies eat a lot of milk in a day, a lot. My girls in particular never went more than 3 hours without nursing, typical two hours, yes even still at 8 months. So three ounces every two hours for the twelve hours she is awake, 18 oz give or take because when she is taking it from the tapper we don’t really know how much she’s getting exactly. 18oz a day out of 100oz, ain’t gonna last very long. But the intent of the stash was never to deplete it, just to tide her over if I didn’t pump enough for the day during my morning session, or worked late, or a bottle got spilled or went back. But, the best laid plans right? I started rushing home with full breasts begging my husband not to thaw another bag, adding a night pump session that was just drips in hopes of restoring my gold mine, to no avail by the end of the year, I was down to my last bag and ready to take my pump to burning man. I told myself, never again.
New baby new plan. With my second I started pumping earlier and more often and very, very diligently. My body adjusted, my routine were established, my stash grew. Now, I have just over 4 months left and an abundance of breastmilk that risks not being consumed. I reached out to my tribe “how can I help another momma?” They offered up suggestions, and personal testimonials as donors and recipients and my momma heart smiled! I could do this I could bring this joy to another momma!
I sheepishly post my first offer of 100 ounces of the good stuff in a Human Milk 4 Human Babies Page on Facebook. Then I waited, then I panicked “what if no one wants my milk?” “How will I chose who gets my milk?” “Is this even a good offer, is it enough milk?” “Will it really help someone or am I just trying to make myself feel better?” The messages started rolling in and as I chatted with moms I realize I had a criteria that I didn’t know existed. But, oh boy did it exist. Ideal ages, stories, connection, location, just a feeling deep down I needed to feel. What’s the big deal Shauna you want to give it to someone how about the first taker she needs it right? I know right!? I have spent almost 8 months of my life, pumping, measuring, flattening, freezing, labeling, counting, cleaning, time, money, sweat, tears, and LOVE. This is a piece of me literally, I didn’t think I would feel this way I am so not a sap. But, there I was giving mommas the third degree and waiting for the spark like I’m speed dating.
Then there she slide into my DMs. She explained that her 9 month old was eating just more than she produced in a day while she was away. She also explained that she has plenty for a while so don’t feel bad if I don’t choose her, and thanked me for donating. I didn’t cry right then but, I did want to. A few mommas were pushy and some and just weren’t forth coming and I just didn’t feel a connection or relatable to some at all. But THIS momma, shared that with her first she produced enough and was fortunate enough to donate and knows how it feels the first time and that this donation would be enough for her to provide for him until he turned one. My heart swelled and I chose her.
I KNEW that stress of making just not quite enough and watching your stash
slowly deplete just as you think you are about to get ahead. I wanted to take that stress off of her shoulders and help her meet her goal. So I did, she came with her cooler and baby, and I exchanged my full bags of milk for fresh new empty ones from her. I told her baby boy to enjoy the milk and felt the weight lift off of her shoulders, or maybe the old me felt it.
I never really knew anything about donor milk or milk banks or any of it, until now. I honestly don’t know if I would take donor milk if the shoe was on the other foot but maybe, maybe the me who knotted her stomach and counted every last drip as a I pumped sitting on a floor pumping, hunched over my lunch, swiping through pictures and videos of my baby on my phone because that’s supposed to help right. Maybe? But, this time I don’t have to wonder and I am just so filled with joy knowing I could help someone else. ❤️
The other day I realized that I am in the middle of likely the absolute, sweetest summer that I will ever have with my girls. One sweet little nursling who is pretty much always attached to me by a carrier, and an almost three year old who is still more sweet than sour and thinks I am still cool and my jokes are hilarious.
We have been doing so many fun things and more and more of them end meltdown free which is incredible! I thought that I really wanted to have two summer babies, but hindsight is 20/20 on that vision because right about now I would be miserable if I had a very fresh baby and a wild toddler that needs to be out of the house for my sanity and hers. Here we all our now one summer, one winter and a sturdy 7 month old who is more that happy to tag along with me and big sister to whatever big sister wants to do that day. Carrier naps are sent from heaven by the way, as is nursing in the carrier, life is easy breezy.
I have really tried my best to give each girl one on one time. It is really easy to complete the task with the smaller one, I see her all alone in the middle of the night, sometimes several times. But, as for my oldest I have to be intentional, and that's just a momma lesson I had to learn. Even though all of the activities that we do are focused on her interest her sister still NEEDS to be tended too more daily at this point, she still needs me and my husband for everything, try explaining that to a two year old and let me know how it goes.
I find moments with her in playing games that her sister isn't big enough for yet, snuggling when baby naps, ice cream dates (nearly daily) we love to cheers our spoons. I totally blame all of the indulging I did in sweets during my pregnancy with her for her interest in constantly consuming desserts. OOPS! But, I love it at the same time because it is something that we can do together.
I teamed up with Turkey Hill to spread the word about their Good Mooed Sampling Tour. So, if you and your little ones have a sweet tooth like the Hyler girls you can get FREE ice cream! The awesome thing about Turkey Hill and particularly about their new ice cream line is Turkey Hill’s All Natural Ice Cream line-up is made with only the simplest of ingredients, like milk, cream, sugar, and natural flavors. (Turkey Hill’s All Natural Homemade Vanilla contains just FOUR ingredients!). Their All Natural ice cream is a line you can feel good about feeding to your minis!
What started as a modest dairy farm and milk delivery route has grown into one of the nation’s leading producers of ice cream and iced tea. Today, Turkey Hill products are available in 49 states and a dozen countries around the world! From humble beginnings they are touring the country with giant cows and loads of samples! We found their ice cream here is Wisconsin at Pick N' Save and our favorite flavor so far is the Dutch Chocolate, the creamiest chocolate I cream I have ever had, and as you can see my daughter likes to prop it up on the counter drop hints that its "ice cream time." To check if the tour is coming to a city near you just follow this link https://www.turkeyhill.com/events/good-mooed-tour
Wisconsinites, she's coming to Janesville!
Look for the COW to be sure you are in the right place to get your free and delicious ice cream! Come back and let me know if you go! Bonus: they have some sweet savings on their website if you can't make it out to see the cow.
I am sure all of our summers will be special in some way but this one just feel especially yummy, my first one with two girls, barely any rules and hitting all the fun we can find. I hope you get as many sticky kisses and gummy smiles as you can stand, and document them!
Trying to make it look like you are not drowning every second of the day as a mom is totally harder than it looks. It can be compared to trying to pull off a wash and go style, or a natural makeup look, like, way more work than you would ever think goes into making something look natural. A few people have complimented me (like on an especially good day) and my ability to keep two children alive for almost three years for one and a ripe 7 months for the two of them simultaneously so I feel that gives me authority to give advice. Kidding, sort of. Here's my half assed advice on surviving summer with two, maybe a little diddy will be helpful here.
I never pictured that I would even have it together enough to ever leave the house with them both and no we do it multiple times a week in a relatively effective fashion. Bonus: we are typically on time if not early places.
More specifically, high value toys or snacks that can be used to peel your oldest child away from whatever fun activity they would like to keep doing when it is way passed time to leave. Think "rice crispy treat with sprinkles" or "themed fruit snacks." Save the "big guns" for emergencies, offer ICE CREAM. WE ALL DO IT PEOPLE.
Play places with gates that lock, strollers, outdoor play yard, exersaucer, high chair, BABY CARRIER, it is best to have one child contained in a specific area at any given time, especially if both children are mobile! Just spend the money on ALL of the baby gear of all varieties to maintain your sanity (sell it later). I have a carrier and TWO strollers in my car at all times because, life comes at you fast, your containment play can change on route to your destination.
Sunscreen BEFORE you get to the fun place, you don't want to chase a toddler while the swimming pool is dangling like a carrot in front on them! TRUST! Pack all the snacks because toddlers who loved gold fish yesterday wouldn't be caught dead eating them today! Also, keep a well stocked diaper bag, go check out my packing list for our diaper bag, I always restock when we get home so we are good to go whenever at least with the bare minimum of supplies.
Take your time.
I know its normal to feel anxiety when your kid decided to have a blow out of barf on you right when you are ready to walk out the door but that's life honey buns, your friends and destination can and will wait. Take your time, handle everything appropriately and make sure you have everything y0u need before walking out the door, nothing like forgetting your kids water and paying $7 for a bottled one at the zoo. 🙃
Just say no.
Don't take your kids into a situation you are not ready to handle with both. Some things are two extreme for us still, I know they will just end in tears flowing from multiple family members. The best part of saying no is that your kids has literally no clue what they are missing? So, don't beat yourself up, kay?
Choose your tribe.
DO NOT HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO WILL JUDGE YOU! Chose a tribe at your level and stage of motherhood, the ones who will give you the nod a wink, who will say "oh just glad it isn't my kid this time" with just the amount of empathy and sarcasm you need because NEXT time Lord it will be there kid and you will feel their pain! Smile and nod to that momma peeling her kid of the ground or breastfeeding without a cover because her toddler is using it as a cape, I FEEL YOU! I SEE YOU! Life is too short to act like you are out here momming harder or better than someone else. Share your secrets!
Having a second kid is like going from 1 kid to 100 kids. You are so much more tired, so much more anxious, and its so much more amazing. We are all hot messes I'm just here to help you hide it as well I do...some days.
Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.