Party of 4

Hi friends! Hope your day is going well. Thank you so much to all of you who have checked in with us, sent heartfelt wishes, and congratulations over the past couple of weeks. I’m so thankful to you all, and thank you for hanging in there as we got settled back from the hospital and the blog decided to crash multiple times. 😉 Things should be back in the swing of things now, as we switched to a brand spanking new host and server. Some kinks are being worked out now, but I’m glad the blog will no longer need life support. 😉

4 of us

We’re finally getting settled and into a bit of a groove over here. Quite a few of you have kindly asked how we’re doing and how the transition has been, so here’s a bit of an update:

On having a newborn again….

I feel like the sleep deprivation isn’t *quite* as bad this time around for a few reasons: we knew what to expect (and that it’s temporary in the grand scheme of things), we were kind of already used to being woken up a few times each night (Liv coming into bed, and yours truly waking up to go to the restroom multiple times), and since Tom isn’t currently flying (he’s an instructor out here), I don’t have to worry about waking him up in the situation that he has to fly the next day. Crew rest is critical for safety, and each time Liv would cry, I was worried that she’d wake him up, so I’d grab her at the tiniest sound… and probably was waking HER up. This time around, Tom and I have been helping each other during the night, and it’s been amazing.

Newborn snuggles and soft baby snores really are the best things ever. I take every chance I can get for P to sleep on my chest. She is such a sweet baby, and we’re all absolutely in love with her.

Everyone said that it’s easier the second time around, and having an idea of what to expect has been a game changer. With the first baby, you can read your face off, but you don’t know what to expect until you’re IN it. It’s nice going into the situation with an idea of how things go down. It takes some work to take care of a preschooler + a newborn, but you realize how quickly this stage really passes and it’s easier to enjoy it. 

On how everyone is adjusting…

The first couple of weeks were challenging, especially for myself and Liv. Since I was in the hospital longer than anticipated, we had to rely on friends and our babysitter to help out with her so Tom could stay overnight in the hospital. I missed Liv so much and wanted our family to be together, which was hard for me, and the instability was tough for her, even though she was a trooper with everything going on. Liv is very spirited, so having my mom here has been a huge blessing. She has been Liv’s *person* during the countless feeding and pumping hours, and has helped us so much over the past week.

As far as baby blues and postpartum stuff goes, I feel remarkably different this time, so far. While I was in the hospital, I started to feel a bit of a sad cloud since Tom was gone most of the day and Liv wasn’t there. P and I spent a lot of time snuggling together, which was wonderful, but I longed for some conversation and interaction with others. I was stuck in bed for hours, the hospital felt dark and lonely, and the nurses had to wake up P and myself multiple times a night for testing, so I think I got the least amount of sleep while we were there. Now that we’re back home, I feel so much better. Having mom here is a huge part of that -it’s easy to feel guilty that you can’t give both kids equal attention in the early days- and Tom’s help with the family and house-related stuff. I don’t feel as stressed and anxious as I did last time, and I’ve been easier on myself as far as resting and down time goes. If P is sleeping and my mom is playing with Liv, I’ve gone into our room to crash for an hour. This is something I never would have done last time; I’d be too busy writing, cleaning, or finding chores to do. There are a few things that really help me each day: getting out of the house (even if it’s just a walk around the block, or quick stop into Target to grab more diapers), taking a shower, and making sure to hydrate and fuel myself with healthy food, even though I’ve felt like a sugar monster. I’ve also been taking the placenta pills that my acupuncturist made, and haven’t experienced the crazy night sweats and mood swings I experienced last time. I’m not sure if the pills have positively impacted my mood/wellbeing, but even if it’s a placebo affect, I’ll take it.

On breastfeeding, round 2…

Breastfeeding has been just as challenging the second time around.  It was a struggle for me to make enough milk for Liv, an average-sized baby, and since P weighs more, she obviously needs a higher caloric intake. I’ve been trying to play catch-up since she was born, and my milk conveniently took 4 days to come in. I’ve met with a few lactation consultants, who have all been wonderful (I highly, highly recommend Robin at San Diego Breastfeeding Center), and for now, am feeding P from the left side and topping her off with formula. (My right side is compromised from a surgery I had to remove a benign tumor. It was hardly producing anything, so the lactation consultant told me to just focus on my left side.) On day 2 in the hospital, the lactation consultant brought in formula to supplement since P was losing weight and had jaundice, and I cried as I gave her the first tube. (I used SNS tubes attached to my breasts for the first week and a half, which is a pretty brilliant way to supplement while still encouraging supply.) I promised myself that I wouldn’t give myself a hard time about needing to supplement this time if it came to that, so even though I mourned the end of exclusively breastfeeding, I’m doing exactly what our baby needs: providing her with nutrition to grow and thrive.


(the pills I’m currently taking for supply, including placenta pills, Golacta, and Fenugreek, in addition to prenatal vitamins and DHA)

Using the tubes worked well for the first week and a half, and then she stopped taking them (the pumped milk or formula would dribble out of her mouth), so we switched to bottles for the top-off. For now, she happily goes from breastfeeding to bottle like a boss, and while it might not always be that way, for now, I’m grateful to be able to give her breastmilk in addition to the formula. I’ve rented a hospital-grade pump (the Medela Symphony is bomb), and am pumping a few times each day after feeding her to boost the supply on my left. Once we got rid of the tubes, I found myself enjoying breastfeeding after such a rough start. I’m no longer worried about her getting enough milk and not trying to get her to latch onto the right side, when it was hardly making anything. So, I’m taking it day by day, which is really all I can do anyway. 

On being a family of 4…

Tom told me while I was pregnant that he was really excited to have “the crew” in the backseat as we drive around. It’s pretty exciting that this moment is finally here. We’re in the trenches right now -ok, until they’re both teenagers haha- but I can’t wait Liv and P’s relationship grow, and learn more about them as time goes on. I feel very lucky to be their mama. <3


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  1. I’m happy to hear you guys are settling in and becoming accustomed to the life of a family of 4! Also glad the blog is back up – that must have been super frustrating for you to deal with.

  2. Hey I’m glad to read your update. Have been following it all closely since I’m due in 3 weeks! Just wondering what kind of wrap you are using with P in the above photo? I’m not sure what kind to get… congratulations on your new addition! 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      i’m using the baby k’tan. it is AWESOME for the newborn days because it doesn’t involve a ton of extra fabric. it’s really easy to use

  3. Hi Gina, thanks for being so honest with your breastfeeding struggles. I had my first baby 7 weeks ago and can relate so much to your feelings with supplementation, etc. I cried too when I had to give my daughter formula the first time. But as my sister reminded me feeding your baby is just one way you are taking care of her. There are so many other things you are doing to give her love and be a good mommy to her. Breastfeeding is HARD work and it seems like almost every new mom I know struggles with it in some capacity. You are doing a great job and P is going to thrive no matter what way you feed her 🙂

  4. Before I became a mom I didn’t understand women who got upset about using formula. Then when I had my daughter and couldn’t produce enough milk for her and had to try to pump more and ultimately switched to only formula at 6 weeks I was devastated. It’s crazy how emotional it is. A few weeks out, I now feel more sane snd I’m just happy she’s well fed, no matter how. You’re doing a great job, no matter how you feed P. Congrats to you and your family, the girls are lucky to have you as their momma

  5. I feel like I’m getting my mom lessons early! It will probably be some time before we get pregnant… but I’ve really been enjoying following your family’s story.

  6. I’m a first time Mom and am having to supplement, it’s heartbreaking! But, you’re right- you have to do what’s best for the health of your baby.

  7. My son was born 3 weeks early in October and I’ve also had to supplement with formula due to low supply. Currently, he gets about half and half breastmilk/formula. I’m also using the symphony and punping like crazy, but thankfully TRICARE will cover the symphony rental now if it’s a supply issue/requested from an authorized person. I totally cried over the formula thing for over a week pretty much every time I gave it to him (and also did SNS, etc) but I’ve accepted it now that he needs it to grow because I can’t make enough. Breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing is the best advice anyone has given me 🙂

  8. What a wonderful post! I am glad you all are adjusting so well to life as a family of 4 🙂

  9. Sounds like you guys are doing great! I’m so happy for you! Don’t feel bad about not being able to exclusively breastfeed. I had a problem where I just didn’t create enough milk and my son dropped to under the 5th percentile, which was so hard for me. I still get the “breast is best” attitude from people but I try to ignore it because at the end of the day, being fed is way more important than the source of the food. And from what I can tell, the little guy is doing fine! I’m sure P will grow up healthy, happy and strong.

  10. I’m glad everything is going well! Your family is beautiful! I ordered a K’Tan wrap and it feels really tight… I’m not sure if it’s too small. I used their sizing calculator and it told me to get an X small. I feel like I will squish the baby but maybe that’s how it’s supposed to feel?

  11. Love this post! I have a one month old and we have had the exact same breastfeeding challenges. I am also using an SNS and trying to pump. It’s hard work and I know how time consuming it is. You are doing a wonderful job giving your sweet baby everything she needs! Good job, Mama!

  12. What a beautiful family! We actually had our babies around the same time, so I’ve been checking your page to see how things are going. I had to exclusively pump for my first child for 12 weeks, then after a bout of mastitis and some depression from not being able to bf naturally, I switched to formula. I felt so relieved because I forgave myself. There’s so much pressure to bf, and this time around, when it’s time for me to stop, I know I’ll be OK with it. You are doing everything for little P, and it will all work out. Congratulations on your little bundle!

    • Fitnessista says:

      i feel the same way. last time, i think it made my anxiety/depression so much worse. this time, i’m doing what i can, and when we reach the end, i know i gave it my best.

  13. Don’t you worry one bit about using some formula. You just do what you need to do. When you let that stress go you can enjoy your baby more!

    • Fitnessista says:

      so so true. i’m actually enjoying breastfeeding now since i don’t have to worry about giving her enough. the formula top-off is awesome

  14. Thanks so much for posting on breastfeeding. I am in the midst of breastfeeding guilt. I had to start supplementing with formula at 5 weeks. He is 3.5 months and thriving, but I still get guilty standing at my desk with a pump on my breast. I think in the end, it all works out and I have been able to run/workout a little bit with some freedom, but still hard to take that you can’t produce, so thank you.

    • Fitnessista says:

      ahhh i feel you. that’s how i felt last time, and we had to supplement much earlier. hang in there and try to be kind to yourself. you’re doing an amazing job.

  15. More info on the placenta pills thing, please? 🙂

  16. can you talk more about the plancenta pills? I’m very interested

  17. curious to know what type of formula you use? congrats and thx 🙂

  18. Awww loved reading the updates of your adorable family of 4!

  19. You are so lucky!! And don’t worry about teens! Mine are so much fun. Just love them and be a good role models and they’ll be great kids!

  20. Hi Gina! First time commenter. I’ve been reading for about 2.5 years. I want say say belated Congratulations on P! I said many prayers for you and her. I became a mom in March and have turned to your blog often for advice/encouragement with your Livi posts. I’m looking forward to reading about P! I too am breastfeeding and completely understand the struggle. Hang in there girl. Be kind to yourself this time around. You know what you’re doing 🙂 <3

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much for reading and for saying hi, micki 🙂 here’s a virtual hug and fist bump to you. thank you!!

  21. Looking and sounding great!

  22. Congrats on your newest addition!!! I read part 1 of your birth story the day before I went into labor…all I could think In my head as my midwife tried to break my “bag of steel” water was f-ing dates!!! My acupuncturist recommended them to me toward the end of my pregnancy. Sounds like you’re adjusting well as a family of 4, having moms there to help out always helps!

  23. With the few blogs that I follow, I think I love reading posts such as this one the most. I truly appreciate how open & honest you are about your experience(s). My son is 9…and luckily for me, nearly everything was relatively easy-breezy (pregnancy, L&D, newborn phase, breastfeeding). But, now…9 years later, the thought of getting pregnant again almost kind of petrifies me. My son’s dad & I divorced when he was 1. I have a new (& amazing) man in our lives now and I would LOVE to “give” him a baby (and he would like to have a child of his own, too). My brain tends to get caught up in all of the “what if’s” instead of just letting life happen. My point being…your openness and sharing your story shows me that, yes there might be a couple of speed bumps along the way, but give that baby some love and all will be good.

    Enough of my rambling. 🙂 Congrats on your latest addition. You have a beautiful family!

  24. Congratulations on P’s healthy arrival! The Medela Symphony is truly the Cadillac of breast pumps. My daughter was in the NICU for six weeks and had a cleft palate, so she couldn’t eat anything orally – they gave her a g-tube at about 3 weeks. THis meant that the Medela and I spent A LOT of time together, as we put my pumped milk into her g-tube. When we left the hospital the nurses strongly recommended that I rent the Symphony at home since I would solely be pumpig. Best. Decision. Ever. I lugged that damn thing around in its suitcase when I went back to work 🙂

  25. Gina!
    Congrats so much on your precious baby girl! I just had a little boy 2 months ago! If you don’t mind me asking, I just have a quick question…what brand of prenatal and DHA are you taking?


  26. I had such a time with breastfeeding with my first! It took FOUR weeks for my milk to come in fully (my lactation consultant convinced me to give it a strong 6 week try before giving up). I used the SNS during that entire time. I was so close to giving up when everything finally started working out for us. I’m currently 7 months pregnant with our second and am nervous about going through that part again. I’ll definitely do it, but man was it frustrating! My babies will be 19 months apart…and I’m nervous about that too, but so excited about how, hopefully, their closeness in age will lend itself to developing a close bond.

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