Newborn 101

Our guest, Christina shares her bump to birth experience

On this episode of our baby & pregnancy podcast, Sarah and Christina Navale—mother of three energetic boys, Gabriel, eight, Theo, six, and the newest addition, 4-month-old baby Lucas—talk about their deliveries, feedings, everything you need to get ready for baby’s arrival, how to prepare for motherhood, and learning to roll with the surprises parenthood throws your way.

Episode Transcript

Sarah Remmer: Starting a family is an exciting time filled with unknowns, dreams, and hopes for the future. And no matter what your family looks like, one thing is certain, becoming a parent can be both exciting and overwhelming. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Welcome to From Bump to Baby, an original podcast brought to you by Enfamil A+, your trusted source for baby nutrition, dedicated to building a supportive community for your adventures in parenting. Welcome. I’m your host, Sarah Remmer. As a registered pediatric dietician and mom of three, I can honestly say that I understand the challenges of new parenthood. We all want to raise healthy, intuitive children who thrive, but starting a family is an adventure full of twists, turns, and an ever-evolving need to just roll with it. In this episode of From Bump to Baby, we’ll talk about everything you’ll need to prepare for baby’s arrival. The goal? Prepare as much as possible, but know that you won’t have control over everything. My first guest is no stranger to the wild ride that is parenthood. She is the mother of three energetic boys, Gabriel, eight, Theo, six, and the newest edition, baby Lucas, who’s just four months old. It’s my pleasure to welcome Christina Navale. Hi, Christina. ...

Christina Navale: Hey, Sarah.

Sarah Remmer: It’s so nice to be able to talk to you, and congrats to making it to the studio on time and out the door. Oh my goodness. That’s a feat in its own.

Christina Navale: Totally. It was a whirlwind of a morning, but we made it out of the house to come here and talk to you.

Sarah Remmer: Well, good for you. Thank you so much for being here, and congratulations on your newest edition, baby Lucas.

Christina Navale: He’s such a happy, good baby. We’re just in love with him.

Sarah Remmer: Oh, that’s amazing. And how was your pregnancy with baby Lucas?

Christina Navale: I was turning 40, and around 39 I was like, « Listen, if we’re going to do this, we need to get going on this. » And I found out that I was pregnant with Lucas, and everybody told me, « You’re older this time around. It’s going to be a little different. Your body is not going to react the same way. » The first time I went to my first OB appointment with Lucas, I saw on my file that it said geriatric pregnancy.

Sarah Remmer: Oh my gosh. No. You know what? I think that with my third, I was also referred to as a geriatric.

Christina Navale: I did not know that was even a term, and I was just shocked by it. But contrary to what everybody said, I actually felt probably the best out of all three.

Sarah Remmer: Oh my goodness. And thank goodness, because you had two little ones running around too.

Christina Navale: Yeah, totally. So even though I felt the best, I was ironically diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Sarah Remmer: I guess a reminder for all pregnant women to make sure that you go get screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks, because you just never know. And even when you’ve had healthy pregnancies without gestational diabetes in the past, does not mean that you’re clear for future pregnancies. As a registered dietician, I’ve seen many women with gestational diabetes, and the really positive thing is that you can control and manage gestational diabetes quite easily, most of the time anyways, through diet and lifestyle. And were you testing your blood sugar throughout the day?

Christina Navale: Yes. They actually ended up being a really positive thing, because I ended up having to test my blood sugar after every meal, and was also keeping a food diary, a food journal, and I would know which foods spiked my sugar and things like that. But it really just made me focus and zone in onto what I was eating. I was really eating those nutrient dense foods, and I felt great.

Sarah Remmer: Oh, that’s so great. A blessing in disguise.

Christina Navale: For sure. Yeah.

Sarah Remmer: So as we know, as moms, the nesting part of pregnancy is really important. How would you say the nesting period with baby Lucas was different from your first two babies?

Christina Navale: So funny you should ask, because when Lucas came, there was no nesting. I'm a teacher and his due date was in August, so I had planned to do all the nesting after school had gotten out in June, and then I was going to nest July and August. But he decided to come five weeks early, so he came right at the beginning of July. So I really didn't have time to do any of the preparation at all. With my first, with Gabriel, so that would've been nine years now, it was a totally different story. We were newly married, we had just bought a little condo, we are ready to move in and start our little family of three. And then our condo got delayed, which is common in Toronto, and we had nowhere to go. My uncle and my aunt graciously offered their guest room to us in North York. And so we had to pack up everything. And then we were there for pretty much the duration of my pregnancy in a mountain of things. We all the things for the baby, we had probably two or three baby showers between work and family. Got-

Sarah Remmer: All the things.

Christina Navale: ... every do-hickey and device that there was. I had the change table, the crib, clothes for every season, all in this little guest room. The Diaper Genie. I think we had a travel stroller and a stroller. And looking back, it was just such a pure time, because we just didn't know. We were so naive, I guess. And then now with our third, I told my friends and family, "No shower. Don't get me anything. Less is more."

Sarah Remmer: Yeah. You think, "Okay, we need this and this and this, and what if we need this? And this person had this," and you feel like you need absolutely everything just in case. And so I think moral of the story is, you probably don't need as much as you think you need in that first experience, and if you need it, you can always go out and buy it. It's not like you're confined to your house.

Christina Navale: It's funny. Yeah, we didn't even have diapers when Lucas came.

Sarah Remmer: Right?

Christina Navale: And we made it.

Sarah Remmer: I know with my third, I was kind of like, "Oh, I got this in the bag. I've done it twice. I don't really have to have a birth plan. I'm just going to go with it." Did you have a birth plan?

Christina Navale: With my first, with Gabriel, I had a birth plan. We were going to try and go as natural as possible, but I was open to an epidural if it had to come to that. Only, despite being induced three days earlier, he ended up being born on New Year's Eve. There was nobody at the hospital. They were so short staffed. I ended up having an emergency C-section, an epidural that went wrong. It was kind of a mess. And so that plan-

Sarah Remmer: Went out the window.

Christina Navale: Yeah. And it was probably the one time in my life I felt most out of control, maybe, helpless. Everything turned out fine. It was just such a scary moment. So for my second and my third, what I ended up doing was opting for a C-section for both, because although the recovery was tough with all three, I felt like that was something I could kind of control. I knew who was going to deliver, I knew when it was going to be, and that kind of gave me some kind of peace.

Sarah Remmer: It's actually a little bit freaky talking to you, because I have very similar story with my first. Very much went in with a birth plan, and it just completely went out the window. And this is just a reminder to all moms that it's okay to go in with a plan, but it's so important to be gentle with yourself and your expectations of yourself, because it doesn't always go the way we want it to go.

Christina Navale: That was my first kind of big, huge lesson in parenthood was, you got to roll with it and it'll be okay. Trust yourself. It's not going to look like the movies.

Sarah Remmer: No. I hope you're enjoying From Bump to Baby, an original podcast brought to you by Enfamil A+. We all know that bringing up baby can be expensive, so if you're interested in savings, partner discounts and more, check out my Family Beginnings by Enfamil A+ at enfamil.ca/join. So Christina, given that baby Lucas was five weeks early, What Was it like bringing him home from the hospital with your other two boys, with your family? What was that like?

Christina Navale: It was actually the cutest thing ever. The boys obviously didn't know what was going on, because my water had broke that morning, 3:00 AM that morning. And we got to the hospital, and the doctors were saying, "Okay, looks like you're going to have a baby by 7:00 AM," which was a shock to me and to my husband and all of us. And then because I had a C-section, we had to stay two days at the hospital. When we called them to finally let them know that we were coming, they got dressed I could cry thinking about it.

Sarah Remmer: Oh, that's so sweet.

Christina Navale: They put on dress shirts and it was summertime, so shorts and dress shirts. They did their hair, and they were waiting at the front door for us to pull up. My eldest, I think, cried seeing his little brother for the first time.

Sarah Remmer: That is precious.

Christina Navale: Yeah, it was so sweet.

Sarah Remmer: Oh my gosh. I love that they dressed up for their baby brother.

Christina Navale: They dressed up.

Sarah Remmer: Tell me about the support that you had, and how that helped you get through your third baby.

Christina Navale: My husband is awesome. He is a super hand-on dad.

Sarah Remmer: A rock star.

Christina Navale: A rock star. Yeah. He's just been awesome with the kids.

Sarah Remmer: That's amazing.

Christina Navale: But also, we live in a generational home, so my parents are in the basement and then we're upstairs with the grandkids, and they're always willing to help.

Sarah Remmer: Amazing. Oh, that's so great.

Christina Navale: I probably could not have healed or had such a positive experience in my third being 40 years old, recovering from a C-section without their help.

Sarah Remmer: Well, and you deserve it too. We all, as moms, I feel like we're rock stars going through what we do and what our body has to go through and all the recovery. And then again, the challenges that we face after having our baby, like to nurse or to bottle-feed, or whether we can nurse.

Christina Navale: Yes.

Sarah Remmer: Tell me a little bit about your feeding journey with Lucas. How did that go?

Christina Navale: So it's funny because I just finished saying I had all these people around me. I feel like breastfeeding is the one thing you feel super alone in. Nobody quite understands the challenges of breastfeeding until you've been through it.

Sarah Remmer: Isn't that the truth?

Christina Navale: Yeah. So with my first, I was very much naive. I thought breastfeeding was going to be this natural thing that happened quickly, and you'd have all the milk, and it would just come, and it would be this beautiful experience. And also, as I mentioned, I had that nightmare of a delivery of my first born. And my milk did not come for a good three weeks.

Sarah Remmer: Oh, same.

Christina Navale: Yeah.

Sarah Remmer: The exact same thing happened with me. Well, it's also so new to you. You have no idea what to expect.

Christina Navale: Totally.

Sarah Remmer: Not to scare anybody, but it's good to go in with realistic expectations that it's not necessarily going to be this blissful rainbows and butterflies experience.

Christina Navale: Right. The difference could have been just me knowing how to latch properly, or what foods to eat to increase breast milk, or knowing that I need to sleep. I didn't know that it was affecting the breastfeeding experience. But the third time around, definitely I was more prepared. I knew what to expect. And the milk took maybe two weeks to come. So I was supplementing with formula. We are exclusively breastfeeding now, but for the first, I'd say two months, because Lucas was born at 35 weeks, so he was preterm, he was so small that he couldn't latch. And so he would nurse, and I would nurse for hours on end, nighttime feedings, but he just wasn't getting enough. So usually we would do a nighttime bottle feed with formula.

Sarah Remmer: I can certainly relate to you. With all three of my babies, I had to supplement for one reason or another. All of us moms have so much pressure on ourselves to feed a certain way, and parent a certain way. But for me as a registered dietician, I felt so much pressure to exclusively breastfeed. And when that didn't happen for me, I felt a sense of failure. I think the way that I got through that sense of failure was watching my baby thrive, and knowing that they're well taken care of. They're healthy, regardless of whether I was exclusively breastfeeding or not.

Christina Navale: Yeah, totally. I had such a hard time letting go. And when I finally did, it was a win for all of us.

Sarah Remmer: What did you learn, and what did you change throughout your pregnancies when it came to milk production?

Christina Navale: I remember just not eating enough. You're super hungry because your body is producing all this milk, burning all these calories. You're not sleeping and not eating enough. You don't have time really to cook yourself a good meal. But when I finally did get proper food into my body, like soups, veggies, I do a green smoothie every morning, oatmeal, even just simple things like having ice water beside your bed while you're nursing.

Sarah Remmer: You're so busy, especially when you have other kids at home, and you're caring for so many people as well as your newborn baby, and trying to take care of yourself, it's really hard to remember, you need to be listening to your body, and tuning into your body, and being intuitive with your eating, because it's not going to look like it usually does. And making sure that you are properly hydrated, because breast milk is mostly water, so you need to be hydrating. I always had a water bottle by my side at all times. And like you said, the smoothies are key, because they're not only nourishing, but also hydrating. Was there anything else, your go-tos, breastfeeding, snacks and meals that you loved?

Christina Navale: Yeah, a lot of peanut butter, actually. And I was recently speaking to the pediatrician, who says that it's such a key thing to do now if you're breastfeeding to eat all the nuts and the nut milks and things like that. So baby gets a little bit of it, especially if there's an allergy in the family. But it's also just really good for you.

Sarah Remmer: Absolutely. Yeah. So nuts and seeds are so nourishing. They're full of protein and fiber and vitamins and minerals and healthy fats, which are really important for recovery and for healing, and just for general health. But also, yes, as you had mentioned, you need that exposure. You need to continue eating those things, because as we know now, we don't want to delay exposure to peanuts or anything like that. When we start solids, we recommend introducing peanuts and all of those high allergenic foods right away, and continuing to introduce them to decrease the risk of food allergies.

Christina Navale: It's funny, with Gabriel, we would test peanut butter on his skin first, and we would hang out outside the emergency room. We would park right outside the hospital just in case. But luckily the first two were fine with all those high allergen foods.

Sarah Remmer: That's good. Isn't it funny how careful we are with our first, and how cautious and by the book? Yeah, almost too much. And then with our third, it's like, "Ah, he'll be fine. We've been through this before." Three boys. Oh my gosh.

Christina Navale: I know.

Sarah Remmer: Busy, busy household.

Christina Navale: Yes it is.

Sarah Remmer: Yes. And so how are they taking to their new little brother?

Christina Navale: They are the best. It's funny because people would say to me like, "Wow, you guys are going to have another? You were done. You were done with the strollers, you were done with the car seats and all that, and you're going to do it all over again?" But it's almost better this time around, because now I have them to help, and they're old enough to realize how precious this time is with the baby. Lucas is just a lucky little boy. Just so super loved.

Sarah Remmer: He's just loved. There's love all around. Christina, thank you so much for joining me today. It was such a pleasure talking to you and hearing your story, and being able to give out some advice to expectant moms and new moms in a realistic way. So I really appreciate your time.

Christina Navale: Thank you so much for having me. It was really nice connecting with you also. It's the first time we met and yet we had so much in common. There's this sisterhood in motherhood that is kind of unspoken, but it's so strong, and so many people can relate to what we're saying. So I hope what we said today was helpful.

Sarah Remmer: I totally agree with you and wish you all of the best in your motherhood journey. I'm Sarah Remmer, registered pediatric dietician and mom of three. Thanks so much for listening. If you haven't already done so, be sure to subscribe to From Bump to Baby wherever you get your podcasts. This is an original podcast brought to you by Enfamil A+, your trusted source for baby nutrition, dedicated to building a supportive community for your adventures in parenting. For more expert advice and helpful insights, go to enfamil.ca.


Bringing Home Baby

Take the journey of motherhood with our guest, Sarah

Tune in to this episode to hear Sarah and new Mom to almost-one-year-old, Noah, Sarah Thompson chat about their journey of motherhood, their pregnancy experiences and the ever-evolving adventure of life with a newborn, from those first feeds to the non-existent sleep schedule. Plus hear what they have to say about being flexible with birth plans, feeding plans and plans in general. You’ll also learn what our guest means by “leaning into it.”

Episode Transcript
Sarah Remmer: Starting a family is an exciting time filled with unknowns, dreams, and hopes for the future. And no matter what your family looks like, one thing is certain: Becoming a parent can be both exciting, and overwhelming. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Welcome to From Bump to Baby, an original podcast brought to you by Enfamil A+, your trusted source for baby nutrition, dedicated to building a supportive community for your adventures and parenting. Welcome. I’m your host, registered pediatric dietician and mom of three, Sarah Remmer. Whether you’re a first time mom or a veteran parent, having a newborn is hard work. From the challenges of those first feeds to the non-existent sleep schedule, it’s an every evolving adventure. In this episode of From Bump to Baby, we’re tackling that and so much more in newborn 101. Helping me do that is a first time mom who has shown great resilience in a particularly challenging introduction to parenthood. Mother to baby Noah, my guest, Sarah Thompson. Hi Sarah. ...

Sarah Thompson: Hi, how are you?

Sarah Remmer: I’m great. Thank you so much for being here, and congratulations on Baby Noah, who is now how old?

Sarah Thompson: So he turns one year old on Friday.

Sarah Remmer: Oh, happy birthday to baby Noah.

Sarah Thompson: I know.

Sarah Remmer: Oh my gosh. Wow. So let’s start at the beginning. I want to hear all about your birth story.

Sarah Thompson: I guess I was one of the lucky ones. My pregnancy was relatively uneventful. And when I went for my 38 week appointment, my OB surprised me with the news that she felt he was a little bit big, and maybe that we would induce a little bit early. I had this great plan that I was going to work right up until my due date. So I actually had my work holiday party scheduled for December 3rd, and I was like, « That’s perfect. I’ll work till that day. He’s not due until the sixth or seventh, so I’ll have the weekend off, and then he can come anytime that next week. It’ll be great. » So that plan shifted really quickly. My OB wanted to schedule me in to be induced on November 30th, but I had a work commitment that day. So I talked to her and said, « That day isn’t great. Is there any way that I could push it one more day? » And I think she thought I was absolutely crazy, but she agreed.

Sarah Remmer: Hold on, hold on. What do you do for a living? Because this sounds intense, that you just shift the date of your induction.

Sarah Thompson: So I’m a lawyer, and I was scheduled in court just on an important matter. So I hope the audience doesn’t judge me too much. It’s not that I wasn’t anxious to meet my baby. I was very anxious to meet my baby. I just had commitments on that particular day, and they had already pushed up my due date about a week and a half. So in my mind I was like, can we push it back one day? Luckily they didn’t have any room to start the inducement process on that date. So it actually was December 1st that I was scheduled to go in to be induced. I think I worked right up until about 10 o’clock on November 30th, and closed my computer and said to my baby, « Okay, we’re good now. I’ve finished my work. You can come anytime. » And I was scheduled to be induced around 12, but my water actually broke at two or three in the morning. We went to the hospital. I had just minor contractions but nothing significant. And so they sent me home, and just said to come back when the contractions were closer together. So I labored all that day. My OB had called and said, « Okay, come back in and we’re going to see if we can speed up the process. » So I was admitted into the birthing suite, and they started me on the Pitocin drip to see if it could speed up the process, which was when things spiraled. Baby crashed, and then I crashed. The nurses were in and out. They had me laying in certain positions to see if that would assist. They weren’t sure if there was something with the cord positioning, what it was that was happening. So we had to stop the Pitocin just because of my negative reaction to it and his negative reaction. And I’d been in labor at that point for about 34, 35 hours.

Sarah Remmer: Oh my gosh.

Sarah Thompson: And it was only four centimeters dilated, and his heart rate just kept getting lower and lower. It was a stressful afternoon, because they had me sitting in such positions that I couldn’t actually see the heart rate monitor, so I couldn’t see the hides and lows, but I could hear it, and then I could hear the alarms. My OB came in. She started looking through his results and looking at the heart rate read, and just said, « This isn’t good. He’s in distress, and we need to get him out. » It was 10 minutes and I was prepped for surgery. It was honestly surreal. And then the very immediate decision to shift to have an emergency C-section was an experience as well. And everything just shift right away. I was emotional because I was exhausted, and just the concern for him was stressful. And then Noah was born at about 10 to five on December 2nd. I’ll never forget the relief of when I first heard him cry. Wow.

Sarah Remmer: As you're telling your story, it makes me emotional, because it brings me back to my first baby and the experience that I went through when I was delivering... Ben is his name. And although we didn't in the end need to go to the C-section, we were almost there. Right there. He ended up having to be vacuumed out, and worst tearing ever. I tore ligaments in my pelvis. Didn't know it at the time. Thought I broke my tailbone. There was 11 different people in the room, residents and student doctors, and it was so contrary to the way that I thought it would be, because I too had a very healthy pregnancy, and I just thought like, yep, I have my plan. I know how I want it to go. And then when things don't go the way that you think they're going to go. You're exhausted, you're stressed. And obviously don't want to scare anybody going into delivering a baby or a first time mom, because it can also go very smoothly. There's so many different ways it can go, but I think the moral of the story is that when you go in with too rigid of a plan or a vision of how it's going to go, it can be disappointing, because it doesn't always go as planned.

Sarah Thompson: Oh, for sure. Yeah. You have to be fluid. I remember someone said, "Don't think of it as a plan. Think of it as best case scenario." I'm very A-type personality. Had everything scheduled down to the minute, and it spiraled very quickly. Things are very much out of your control, so you just have to lean into it, and just take it as it comes. That's all you can do.

Sarah Remmer: I love that. Lean into it. I feel like as parents, we have to just often lean into it, whether it's starting solids, or picky eating, or whatever challenge we're going through. Delivering a baby. Sometimes you just do have to go with the flow. Hey, it's Sarah. For more helpful insights and support for your adventures in parenting, be sure to check out enfamil.ca. Now back to From Bump to Baby, presented by Enfamil A+, your trusted source for baby nutrition. Tell me a little bit about the support that you had postpartum from your partner and healthcare practitioners, and how that helped to shape your experience.

Sarah Thompson: I was really lucky when it came to the support systems that I had in place. I have family that lives really close, which was very helpful. My partner was great. I felt really lucky to have him there, because my recovery was a bit different and more complicated than I expected it would be. In terms of the other supports, when I was in the hospital, I had my OB, who was obviously my primary care physician in the hospital, and she was fantastic. We honestly received such good care from start to finish throughout my pregnancy, and then postpartum with Noah when we were addressing some of the weight issues that we had with him. So I was really lucky.

Sarah Remmer: Yeah. Sure line of support, and people surrounding you to help. You had mentioned that there were some struggles with Noah and his weight. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Sarah Thompson: Sure. We go from having a baby who they were telling me was trending bigger the entire time, to a baby that just wouldn't gain weight. So when he was born, he was seven pounds and he was healthy. He had dropped weight, which was typical, but he had gone down to, I think, six pounds five ounces, and when they weighed him again, he had lost another ounce or two, so they were monitoring it. I had good supports in the hospital, just with the beginning stages of breastfeeding, because Noah's my first child. I had no idea what to expect when it came to breastfeeding, and in total honesty didn't really give it a lot of thought. I think I was so focused on the pregnancy initially, and then on the labor and delivery, that all of a sudden all of that is done, and you're like, oh, okay, so now I have to learn how to feed this child that I have created. The nurses were great support in helping. They seemed to think that he was latching, and it felt like he was latching, and my milk seemed to come in a somewhat timely manner. There didn't appear to be any initial issues. We had an appointment with my family doctor on the Monday just to do the initial weigh in, an initial check with him, and Noah dropped quite a substantial amount of weight. We went back later that week. He seemed okay, again, seemed to be latching, didn't appear to be any obvious issues, but he was just so tiny, and he just didn't seem to be gaining any weight. I was concerned, because I didn't really see any changes in him. So it was at that point that my doctor had some concerns with respect to his weight gain, so suggested that because he needs the calories, given how little he was, that we needed to start supplementing with formula. It was just a difficult process, because with the feeding, once we started supplementing with formula, his weight did go up, which was good, but he was struggling then to breastfeed. So I was trying to just start with breastfeeding, and then just finish with formula supplemented in a bottle. But the more he got the bottle, the less he wanted to breastfeed.

Sarah Remmer: Yes. Oh my gosh, I can relate to this.

Sarah Thompson: Yeah.

Sarah Remmer: Well, and you feel almost like, what is wrong with me? Is there something wrong with me? Am I doing something wrong? Is there something wrong with my body? Why isn't this just working?

Sarah Thompson: I know. I contacted a lactation consultant, and then I started researching what supplements or what foods I could eat that may assist with milk supply, and was drinking all the teas, and eating all the cookies, and whatever I could that they say might assist with it, but it just didn't. It didn't really seem to be working. And then I started pumping just to try and keep my supply up, or to generate more supply, and I really wanted to try and still do the breastfeeding. He was only a month and a half at this point, not even two months, but he's rejecting this breastfeeding, and he needs the calories. So there were some long nights where he was crying, and I was crying, my poor partner was like, "I don't know what to do."

Sarah Remmer: Yes, it's really hard. You had mentioned the whole concept of leaning in, and I would say, in my experience anyways, with breastfeeding, especially with your first baby, very, very hard to just lean in and trust the process. Just to give you a little piece of mind, I had a very similar experience to you where my milk wasn't filling my baby up the way it should. He didn't grow enough. He lost a lot of weight. I think honestly, the stress that I was under with my first baby really actually impacted my milk supply, and then I went on to have two other babies and had oversupply of breast milk.

Sarah Thompson: Yeah. I do take comfort in that, but when you're in it, you're immersed in it... I just think back to those 3ams where I'm just crying because I'm just pathetically trying to be like, "Why won't you just take my breast and breastfeed?"

Sarah Remmer: Oh, I know. What I say as a dietician, when I have a client who's struggling with nursing... We talk a lot about the stress piece, but we also talk a lot about just making sure that mom is eating enough, and listening to her body, and tuning in and being intuitive with her eating.

Sarah Thompson: Yes. I found once I had Noah, your focus isn't on you as much as it is on the baby, and you forget that connection where you need to be nourishing yourself, because it's your body that's providing sustenance for the baby.

Sarah Remmer: It seems odd to be making yourself eggs and toast at 3 a.m., but when you're nursing, you're expending a lot of extra calories. Protein is really, really important. I think that a lot of moms neglect that protein piece. So important for healing and making sure that blood sugar levels are stable, energy levels are stable, they're full for a certain period of time. And fiber, too, is a really satiating nutrient. Really, it's just pull nutrient dense foods that you should be eating, and a nice balance in those meals. It's so important to have that support available, through partners, through family, through friends, to help keep you nourished. Right? Bring you meals. I always said my favorite gift... Don't bring me stuff. I just want food, like meals, snacks, muffins, energy balls. Please bring that, because that's really what you need.

Sarah Thompson: Yes.

Sarah Remmer: Let's switch gears a little bit. You had talked about your lack of sleep. How did you get back on track with your sleeping?

Sarah Thompson: Gosh, motherhood is such a ride. Everything is such a blur at the beginning, and everyone jokes and says, "Get ready to be sleep deprived," but it is something that I was painfully unprepared for, especially in the first couple of weeks. And I'm someone that can survive on somewhat little sleep. But once you have a child and you're up at all hours, and time loses all meaning... People will say to you, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." And I saw this funny video where it was like, "Yeah, sleep when the baby sleeps. And then do dishes when the baby does dishes, and do laundry when the baby does laundry, and..." I was like, I-

Sarah Remmer: It's as easy as that.

Sarah Thompson: Yeah. I was like, I respect this because it's so true. Because when the baby does go down, whether it's a few minutes or if you're getting longer stretches, you have this laundry list of things that you want to get done. But it is important to prioritize just, even if you can't sleep, just some downtime just to give your body some rest, because I'm not going to lie and say that it's pretty. It's not pretty, and the sleep deprivation is something that's real, but-

Sarah Remmer: It's real.

Sarah Thompson: You emerge on the other side through the fog.

Sarah Remmer: I know. And just also throw out that laundry list of things that you think you need to accomplish. Like laundry, like dishes. But whatever it is, delegate to the people around you that can help with those kinds of things. And I love that you said you do emerge, you do come out of the fog. Sometimes it's hard to believe that you will when you're deep in that.

Sarah Thompson: When you're in it's not as funny, but it's all part of the wild journey.

Sarah Remmer: Speaking of a wild ride, I want to dive in to the introduction of the solid foods. How did it go?

Sarah Thompson: Hopefully this helps other moms, if you're struggling. So I went from having a baby that wouldn't gain weight, that just wouldn't take breast milk, that it was so problematic, to a baby that... He loves to eat. So he loves food, which is amazing. On my doctor's recommendation, we started him on solids fairly early, so I think he was on solids like four and a half, five months. We sort of did an introduction to it, and we just started with your rice cereal, just to see how it went, how he enjoyed it.

Sarah Remmer: Was he showing signs of being ready to start solids? Was he reaching out for food? Was he interested in what you guys were eating?

Sarah Thompson: He was, and then we progressed from there, and honestly it went smoothly. Finally, something went smoothly.

Sarah Remmer: Good.

Sarah Thompson: I went back and forth, because there's lots of ways in which you can start feeding a baby, and some people exclusively want to do baby-led weaning, and other people want to spoonfeed. Of course, I was like, "I don't know. Let's just see what works." Again, I was like, okay, if I've learned anything, it's just that you can't have a strict plan, because it may not go.

Sarah Remmer: Exactly.

Sarah Thompson: Near the beginning, I would set some in front of him just in a bowl or a plate, just to see if he had interest in eating it himself. He had absolutely zero interest in that, so he definitely preferred to be fed the purees and everything at the beginning. And then the more that he got familiar with some of the solid foods, we tried again with of the baby-led weaning, and then he just took to it. And then we'd start with of bigger pieces of things for him to try and gnaw on or eat away at, and he loved it. So then he went from being exclusively spoonfed baby to... He didn't want us to feed him. He would eat it if we were putting a spoon close to his mouth, but he was like, no, I've got this.

Sarah Remmer: The taste of autonomy, right? Feeding himself. Self-feeding.

Sarah Thompson: Yes. That was a good thing for us, that he was able to just pick up and go,

Sarah Remmer: What a relief, especially after all of the challenges that you had with nursing. Just to give some context for those who are listening who don't know what baby-led weaning is, baby-led weaning is a strategy in which you introduce solid foods, where you give baby soft, safe finger foods right from the get go. So right from six months of age, they are self feeding. Of course there's choking hazards, and a few different foods you don't want to introduce right at six months, but as long as it's soft, and it's large enough that they can pick up the food with their palm... It's called the palmar grasp, because babies don't have their pincer grasp yet, which is just using their fingers. So it has to be large enough that they can actually bring it to their mouth, but then soft enough that they can maneuver it in their mouth. The main thing is that you just want to let baby lead, and make sure that you're watching their cues, and just to make the whole experience positive. But it sounds like you did a fantastic job.

Sarah Thompson: It's been a constant readjustment plot twist, in the sense of, we started here. We're going to go here. He is a very easy going baby, in the sense that he would eat pretty much everything that we put in front of him, but certainly more now. He certainly favors some foods over other foods, and he's not as inclined to eat, for instance, at this particular moment, broccoli is not his favorite food to consume. It's adjusting, and finding foods that are nutritious for him that he is willing to eat, and not just, given his age, just throw on the floor and things like that.

Sarah Remmer: When you started talking about, "Right now the struggle is broccoli and throwing things on the floor." I think we could have a whole other podcast episode on picky eating, because you're nearing that typical picky eating phase, which starts around, I would say, 14 months and onwards, but can start a little bit earlier. So maybe for another time.

Sarah Thompson: Yeah, absolutely.

Sarah Remmer: That was so wonderful, Sarah. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing your story. I know that it's going to help so many new moms going through this for the first time, and moral the story is, you're not alone. We're all going through these ups and downs, rollercoaster of events that happens in that first year of baby's life.

Sarah Thompson: That's absolutely true, and you'll get through it. You're going to be great.

Sarah Remmer: Exactly.

Sarah Thompson: Thank you very much for having me.

Sarah Remmer: I'm Sarah Remmer, registered pediatric dietician, and mom of three. Thanks so much for listening. If you haven't already done so, be sure to subscribe to From Bump to Baby wherever you get your podcasts. This is an original podcast brought to you by Enfamil A+, your trusted source for baby nutrition, dedicated to building a supportive community for your adventures in parenting. For more expert advice and helpful insights, go to enfamil.ca.

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