S1E4 Keri’s Story | New Little Life Breastfeeding Podcast

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Show Notes

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Keri: an RN, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and IBCLC. She is a mom to four young kids, including a set of twins! We will be discussing all of her breastfeeding journeys, but especially focusing on the unique experience of twins. Also covered is a bit about postpartum mental health and when to seek help, difficulty bonding with baby, and how to let go of mom guilt and accepting when you need to make adjustments to your original plan. 

I would love for you to check out a couple of resources that Keri mentions in this interview! Here’s are some links:

Helpful Links: 

Keri’s Twin Mom Recommendations

Links from Allison


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Episode Transcript

Allison (00:07):

Hey everyone! It’s Allison here with New Little Life. I’m an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Counselor (IBCLC) and nurse, a doula, and a mom of three little boys. Here on the New Little Life podcast, we will talk with real moms about their breastfeeding experience: the good parts and the bad and share real and practical advice about breastfeeding. Connect with and learn from other moms and professionals to help you meet your breastfeeding goals. Hello, hello, and welcome back to the New Little Life podcast. Today’s interview is with Keri. Keri is a mom of four little ones, including a set of twins. And if that wasn’t enough being a twin mom, she is also an RN, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and an IBCLC. She has become a close friend very quickly as you’ll hear us talk about a little bit in this interview. And I was so happy to interview someone who was so willing to talk about the real and raw and hard parts about being a mom and for her, especially being a twin mom.

Allison (01:16):

Now, it doesn’t really matter if you’re expecting one baby, twins, triplets, if you’re a first time mom, or you already have a lot of kids at home, the things we talk about in this interview today are things that every mom needs to hear. So today talking with her, it was a real treat for me. And I know that you won’t be disappointed either. Really quick, before we jump into the interview, there are several helpful links for you down in the show notes, including some twin mom suggestions from Keri. We actually forgot to talk about some of the twin products that are helpful because the conversation just got so good. So those are down there, along with a link for my online breastfeeding course, and a link to Patreon so you can support this podcast and hear more. So let’s jump right in here’s Keri. All right. I’m so excited to dive into this today. I’ve got my good friend Keri here with me. Actually, we haven’t known each other that long, but everything about the military yes. That you just like meet someone you’re like, okay. We’re best friends now.

Keri (02:13):

Yes I feel the same way.

Keri (02:16):

Right? Oh, alright. I’m so excited to talk to you today. Can you start and tell us just a little bit about yourself, your family your background, stuff like that. That’d be great.

Keri (02:25):

Of course. So like you, I’m living in Belgium with my family and four small children. I have a six year old, a four year old, and twin 18 month olds. And my background, I am a NICU nurse, lactation consultant, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Allison (02:45):

Wow. That’s impressive.

Keri (02:48):

Most importantly, I’m a mom. And I’m really excited to talk about our story.

Allison (02:54):

Yeah, that’s great. All right. So I would love to know today. I think we’re going to talk a lot about twin mom life and breastfeeding and stuff, but can you start and give us a little idea of how your first one went breastfeeding? The second one? Were you already an IBCLC?

Keri (03:13):

No.

Allison (03:13):

Before you had your first one? Okay. So did you do anything to prepare? Like why did you decide to breastfeed? Let’s start with your first.

Keri (03:19):

Okay. So to be honest with you, I don’t think it was even a decision to breastfeed. I felt like just compelled to do it. It was something that I wanted to do and didn’t realize how hard it would be. I counseled moms, but you know, not professionally, but from working in the NICU, just did my best to support them and thought, “Oh, this doesn’t seem so hard.” And then comes Emmy six years ago. And it was so challenging. And the reason I became a lactation consultant– we had problems with our latch. We had a tongue tie, it felt like everything that could go wrong, went wrong. And then Julian came along, had a tongue tie, but I felt more prepared. And I think just by the nature of having your second child, you feel, you know, more prepared, or maybe your expectations just change. And then the twins come and then that the twins are a whole ‘nother ball game. So I’m so happy to share our experience because again, by this point, you know, having the twins I’d have, you know, I’ve been a lactation consultant for five years. I feel like I have a really good handle on breastfeeding and it’s still hard. It’s still hard. So it, you know, it makes me a better nurse, a lactation consultant, mom, peer, to be able to tell moms that even with oodles of experience, I still struggled.

Allison (04:47):

Yeah. Oh, so I didn’t realize that your older two, both had tongue ties. Did you end up getting those revised?

Keri (04:54):

So with my first, I did not. And then, you know, often they’ll say “Well, the only implications of tongue tie are difficult breastfeeding.” Well the only implication, it’s a huge implication! Right? And so, but we had struggles with feeding. We had struggled like solid food. We had struggles with speech therapy. She was in speech therapy for two years. And then, so my second came along and I said, well, that will be the first thing I assess for is the tongue tie. So we had the tongue tie revised within the first month of life after birth. And then same with the twins. They were both, they were both revised, um soon after birth.

Allison (05:36):

Oh, they both had tongue ties as well?

Keri (05:37):

Yeah. So I, yeah. So I’m like this confirms, we know that this is a genetic thing.

Allison (05:44):

Right? Four. Wow. Yeah. Okay. So can you tell me, I don’t even know where to start with twins. It’s one of those things, like, I don’t even know what I don’t know. So you found out you’re having twins, and you’ve got to feed these babies?

Keri (05:57):

Right? Well, let’s back up and talk about the the big reveal. So I was having a young baby, I was working postpartum. I was working postpartum as a lactation consultant in the hospital. So all my friends are labor and delivery nurses, and they’re all telling me, “Keri, you are having twins” at like 13 weeks. You look, your belly is just… I’m like guys, “Easy does it! Like it’s my third baby, come on. I’m going to show, cut me some slack, but right?” So, so I had two ultrasounds, one baby. So the 20 week ultrasound surprise, you’re having twins. No kidding.

Allison (06:34):

Seriously?

Keri (06:37):

Yes. Yes. Seriously. So it was it was a bit of a shock. Nick and I, my husband and I had to readjust everything, including buying a minivan, which I should send you the video for that. It’s quite funny.

Allison (06:51):

Buying the minivan video, buying the minivan?

Keri (06:53):

Yeah. It was, I, you know, I handled it well. I found out we were having the twins. It was just shock. And then it was, “Wow, this is such an honor. This is so cool.” Nick thought differently. He was really overwhelmed.

Allison (07:08):

Sure. Well, the logistics of that. Just kind of, yeah.

Keri (07:12):

Yeah. Especially, you know, how are we going to pay for it? And so then the, the van I was doing fine. And then at 33 weeks, we got our van and it hit me when I looked in that backseat. And I’m like, “This is my life. I’ll be driving around these four kids, picking them up, dropping them off, doing this by myself. How am I going to do it?” And it was like tears, just tears. But, anyways, yeah, talking about twins. So at that appointment as a lactation consultant, that was one of my first thoughts was “How am I going to, can I breastfeed twins? Can I do it?” Because the truth be told, in my five years as a lactation consultant prior, I hadn’t counseled a lot of twin mommies. I really hadn’t. You know, in the hospital, my breadth of knowledge for twins was: have one baby latch first and get their latch good. And then teach the other one independently so that you’re able to focus on one before you try to tandem feed them.

Allison (08:12):

That makes sense?

Keri (08:13):

So once I had them, we had an awesome vaginal delivery and they came out, skin to skin, and they both breastfed right away. Tandem.

Allison (08:25):

At the same time? Wow.

Keri (08:27):

It was wonderful. And I’m thinking, Oh, this is, this is, of course now all my experience now is going to just, you know, I got this, and we got sent home from the hospital. We didn’t have a NICU stay. There was no glycemia or sugar issues. No, bilirubin issues. So we made it out of the hospital and life with twins is a whole ‘nother beast. It was figuring out how to sleep, if Nick and I were going to take shifts because they have different schedules. They’re siblings, you know? They’re not the same baby. So they would wake at different times. And we know just having singletons, how little sleep you get. So you can only imagine when one wakes up right after the other falls asleep. So it was a bit of an adjustment for sure in the early days. And then our real struggle came: our daughter Indie, she had something called torticollis and basically her neck was scrunched up and it was from malpositioning in utero, just a bad, a bad position. She got the shoddy end of the deal being in utero. She was kind of pushed up.

Allison (09:40):

Not a lot of room when there’s two in there.

Keri (09:42):

In the ribs and, you know, she just wasn’t comfortable. So she came out with an uncomfortable neck. So it made breastfeeding a real challenge. She dropped a lot of weight. So we had to, I thought we had to introduce some some milk, some pumped milk. And then once she had developed a bottle preference, it was really hard getting her back to the breast. So what made the most sense for our family was to breastfeed Miles. He was a strong nurser, my son, and I pumped for one year with Indie.

Allison (10:15):

Wow. While you’re still breastfeeding?

Keri (10:19):

Yeah. So what that looked like was I would breastfeed Miles on one side and I would simultaneously pump for Indie on the other side. I used a Haakaa in the early days and that worked really well. This is once my milk was pretty well established at like two or three weeks. I could collect three or four ounces from that silicone Haakaa.

Allison (10:42):

Sure.

Keri (10:43):

And it was, it was really a game changer. And I thought, well, I can continue to do this. And then it stopped working as well. And that’s when I had to start pumping with my Spectra and actually tried every single pump because it was a lot of effort and I wanted to get the most bang for my buck. So I tried hospital grade pumps and ultimately decided that the Spectra was the best pump for me. So you know, after the Haakaa stopped working, I would feed Miles on one side and I would pump on the other. And then right after feeding Miles, I would, or my husband would feed Indie. So that was the situation for a year. And for the first seven months I was pumping through the night as well, which was a huge commitment. And looking back, I don’t know how I did it.

Allison (11:34):

You just do, when you’re in the moment you just do it, you know, and it’s just, Oh. So then the other feeding, would you switch sides? Would you put Miles on the other side and then pump the other one?

Keri (11:46):

Exactly, exactly. And then, you know, and then just like all things, I would get lazy or call it creative. I would, you know, I’d feed Miles from one side and then I’d wait a half hour and pump from both breasts, you know? So I wasn’t, I wasn’t attached to the pump while Miles was feeding. I could just get a good, like if I was putting Miles to bed and I didn’t want to bring my pump upstairs. Just to let you know, I had three pumps going: I had a pump upstairs. I had a pump downstairs. I had a pump at work. So it was a lot. And again, looking back I had a few lactation consultant friends that were worried about my mental health, because I think– and this isn’t clinically as a lactation consultant, but just as a mom, we are so hyper-focused on feeding our babies the way we want to feed them. And so in my mind, I thought, “Well, I’m giving Miles, you know, I’m feeding him from my breast. I’m giving him my breast milk. There’s no way that I can just give formula to Indie. I have to pump for her. She, if she can’t be close to me, feeding, I have to give her my milk.” And it there were several times where I said, I just can’t do this. I’ve got two other big kids to take care of. So I had a lot of lactation consultants and just friends check in and say, “Are you okay? Is this worth it to you?” and you know, looking back, I really appreciate them checking in because sometimes we get lost in our, I hate to say madness because it’s beautiful. We are nurturing and loving our children, but it’s sort of mad, isn’t it? Like we, we have these babies and it’s we’re so hyper-focused that we can’t get out of the zone. We just are like, This is how I’m going to do it. No matter what. And sometimes it’s not always the healthiest choice. So I think my takeaway for having twins is balance your life as best you can, whether it’s your first babies or your last two babies. Definitely the last two, definitely.

Allison (13:48):

Right?

Keri (13:49):

But it is to just try to find a balance that works for you. Can you breastfeed twins? Absolutely. Exclusively? Absolutely. I also found that there wasn’t a ton of information on breastfeeding twins. So Allison, maybe something for you to explore down the road with all your experience.

Allison (14:09):

Maybe I’ll become an expert in twins and yeah. So, Oh my gosh. There’s just so much, I’m trying to imagine this schedule of keeping up. Did you ever end up with extra milk like that you could freeze or were you just like your daughter’s getting the fresh milk and then the next feed you’re doing it again?

Keri (14:30):

So in the, in the early days when I say early days, I mean the first couple of months I was able to bank because she was still feeding from the breast for the first two months. Like she would feed and then I would compliment her with two ounces of pumped milk. So we did get to experience breastfeeding. We were always worried about her weight. We were always worried about her latch and her neck. And so again, that was our decision to just exclusively– well, she made the decision ultimately when she just developed that bottle preference. So in the early days, yes, I did have extra because I would feed both of them. And then a half hour after I would pump both breasts. And you know, it maybe maybe three or four extra frozen bag, but it was never like I had an abundant supply. So it did feel like I was pumping for the next feed or that feed. Like I was, I was maybe one ahead of myself. So again, super stressful when you don’t have a bottle ready for a crying baby.

Allison (15:36):

Yeah. And she wouldn’t take the breast at all? After that first two months or something?

Keri (15:42):

Yeah. I would say after that first month and a half, two months tops, she would get on the breast with a very weak latch and and then cry. So we tried everything to get her back to the breast. We tried syringe feeding, we tried the SNS. We tried a honeymoon where my husband was kind enough to watch all the other kids. And I just basically stayed in bed with Indie, laid skin to skin with her. And again, as a lactation consultant, I remember being really inspired by a consultant in Virginia who is really just a guru, she’s wonderful. And she told me, she’s like, “We’re going to get, we’re going to get Indie back to the breast. But not at the expense of your mind, you know? So let me try these things. And if it doesn’t work, I think your plan is just fine.” And so we tried all these things and it, it didn’t, it didn’t seem to go as planned. So we pivoted and went down a different route. But I can say, yeah, the very early days too using that Haakaa that was really helpful. And the Spectra pump, we absolutely loved.

Allison (17:01):

I love Spectra too. One of my favorites. Yeah.

Keri (17:04):

Yeah. I mean, I did the hospital grade. Medela what is the hospital grade? Medela Symphony?

Keri (17:12):

You like the Spectra better than that one?

Keri (17:14):

Yes. Yes. And out of all the places I’ve worked, that was the pump that most of our NICU moms responded best to, but, you know, again, the takeaway is this. And I rented all sorts of pumps I’ve never heard of. And I’ll talk to you offline about them, wondering if you’ve ever heard of some of these and and came back to the Spectra being my favorite. But again, just kind of affirms that your body responds to different pumps. Everybody’s different. And that’s true for all things parenting, right? Like what works for you is not going to work for your best friend or your neighbor. So a lot of it is just following your intuition and just doing the best you can.

Allison (18:00):

That’s motherhood in a nutshell, right there just– for one, pivoting when stuff’s not working. I love that. So this is kind of an intimate question, but do you feel like your attachment to these babies is a little bit different, because one was at the breast and one was not?

Keri (18:21):

Yes. That’s such a good question. I’m so happy you asked it because I think I think that’s a question people would probably shy away from, and I think it’s so important to talk about. Yes, yes. Our relationship was different and I had to do things to enhance the attachment between Indie and I. It felt very tasky with Indie. I had to do this pumping and I had to bottle feed her, and I had to track her weight, that the bonding was second to all of that. I hate to admit that, but that’s what it felt like. And with Miles, it was that blissful oxytocin release every time he fed. And, you know, I would look into his eyes and it was, it was the breastfeeding experience you, everyone always imagined. So with Indie I was very aware that we were not connected like Miles and I were. And I would say things to my husband– and again, hard to admit– but I’d say things to my husband like, “She just doesn’t love me. She’s she’s not attached to me.”

Allison (19:33):

Seems like a natural feeling. I mean, yeah.

Keri (19:36):

Yeah. So we did a lot of baby wearing. We did baby wearing skin to skin in a wrap and it was super helpful. I wouldn’t say it was something like that changed overnight. Our relationship still to this day at 18 months is developing. And it has definitely been more of a challenge to bond with her. And so I think real talk is important and knowing that you are no less of a mom, whether it’s twins or triplets or singleton, the bonding, doesn’t always come the moment they’re born. And just recognizing that and then doing things to enhance– like I said, baby wearing, I think was probably the best tip I got from one of my lactation friends. Doing a lot of skin to skin and just knowing that it’s normal and knowing that over time, your bond will be strengthened.

Allison (20:35):

Yeah. That’s one of the most common responses when I ask moms, what was the best part of breastfeeding is that bond and that time you get with your baby. And I think that the difference might have been extra poignant for you, because you have two babies that you’re looking at side-by-side, you know. Singleton moms, if you’re pumping and feeding your baby, you might not notice as much that the bond is different, but where you’re having two, and you’re having to compare your kids, you know, they’re in the same stage, I could see where that would be extra aware for you to be of this difference in a relationship. And I know you love all of your kids. And so it’s hard for moms to talk about some of these icky things like it might seem like you don’t love them as much, but every mom knows that you do. But I appreciate you opening up a little bit about that because it’s a thing other moms experience too, I think.

Keri (21:31):

Yeah. I appreciate you asking the question. Yeah. And again, you know, at 18 months we’re still working on our relationship and bonding. This is also important to know that with twins, my husband stepped up so much. I feel like with the singletons, I was sort of territorial. I was breastfeeding them. I was diapering them and I was kind of doing the whole fourth trimester by myself. I was doing it all willingly. I wanted to do it all. And with the twins qfrom the day they were born, when we changed diapers, he changed Indie. When Indie had to feed, and he was available, he would feed Indie. When we slept and woke up, he would feed Indie. So of course the bond is going to be different. I couldn’t imagine doing this without a supportive person by my side.

Allison (22:29):

On that same note. Do you mind talking a little bit about what your nighttime routine looks like? I’m sure it takes two people to manage two babies at night. Yes. And stuff is just harder when the sun is down. I know with one it’s that way. So what did your night look like?

Keri (22:48):

Yeah. So remember we have the two older kids too. So I think the hardest thing about having twins is feeling so divided and not able to give the attention that we think they need to them. And so at night it was the same. We have our daughter and our son: our six and our four year old sharing a room. And you know how it goes as parents, someone always ends up either in your room, in your bed, asking for water. So we initially my husband and the twins, and I tried to sleep in one room and we quickly realized that they are very different babies. And personally, we just made a choice that we wanted them to be different babies. We didn’t want them on the same schedule. I know a lot of twin moms out of sanity, will kind of train their babies to be on the same schedule. And I think that that’s really an individual choice. So it worked for us to let them feed on demand when they wanted so once Indie was exclusively bottle fed again around that two month mark, I would sleep next to Miles in my room and my husband would sleep– This sounds so weird saying it out loud, again, real talk.

Allison (24:13):

This is real life. Yeah.

Keri (24:15):

And then Nick, my husband, would sleep with Indie in her room or in the nursery. And every three hours he would come and collect my milk off my nightstand and he would feed her the bottle. So that was the early, early days. I would say for the first, you know, 10 months or so. And then we were getting ready to move here to Belgium and we tried to put them in the same room. I said, “Okay, enough’s enough. Let’s get back into bed together. Let’s cuddle up.”

Keri (24:46):

Sure.

Keri (24:47):

And it didn’t work. We tried for a while. It really didn’t work. They were up all night. We were up all night. So again, to my point before: doing what works, and it’s not going to be your version that you had in your head, because I had this vision that they would be sleeping in the same crib and they’d be on–

Allison (25:08):

The cute photos and they’re holding hands. Yeah. I like twins, yeah.

Keri (25:12):

And then that I’d get them on a schedule and that was not something I had planned on. I have two other children, I need to get them on a schedule. This wasn’t anything clinical that I said, “Well, the evidence shows that we should get them– You know, we should, we should let them be individuals. No, this was me saying, this makes the most sense to us. Like, why am I going to try to feed Indie when she’s not hungry? It’s just a disaster.” So it was really hard for the first seven months. And I know that that’s a long time, but something happened at seven months where I accepted everything. I accepted the fact that we weren’t bonded as well. I accepted the fact that I was pumping my breast milk and wasn’t feeding at the breast. I accepted that life was hard. I don’t know if it got easier or if just my frame of mind shifted in a way where it just felt doable. Because before that, every moment always felt like “I’m okay right now. But if one thing goes wrong, if I have one child who wakes up puking in the middle of the night, I’m going to fold.” But you get through it, we all know if you’ve had a baby before. It really doesn’t matter if it’s twins or a singleton. It’s just hard and some days are better than others. And you get through it. And now at 18 months, I can honestly say in some ways it’s easier than having a singleton. Miles is still breastfeeding. Indie is eaten all sorts of stuff, ribs and chicken. And she loves her food and she loves drinking from her big girl cup now. And it’s just amazing to share this story and I appreciate being able to share this story. Cause it’s been awhile since I talked about those early days.

Allison (27:06):

Yeah. And those are the, those are the parts, like you said, early days, seven months, really for you until things kind of got into a groove. And I think having realistic expectations for other moms is a great thing. It’s okay if you feel like this. Other moms feel like this too, you’re not alone. Another intimate question for you, but did you ever struggle with postpartum depression with any of your kiddos? Or do you feel like you had a harder time balancing your emotions with twins versus with singles? I know it was kids number three and four, which also plays a part. I’m feeling that right now with the amount of kids in the home. But do you feel like it was any harder mentally to kind of do that?

Keri (27:51):

Yeah. Thanks again for asking that. Yes. I did and I do. I do struggle with postpartum anxiety which comes across as anger. So I get really angry, really easily or more easily. And, you know, sought help early on because I did recognize that this was more than just adjusting to life with twins– that it was something inside of me that I couldn’t shake. You know, I was out of control emotionally and and sought help. And thankfully I do feel like myself again. And as far as depression, I felt like my mood in the early days was low, but it was really that postpartum anxiety, where my mind was constantly running and I was thinking 25 steps ahead all the time, which is exhausting. And I know all moms worry, but it wasn’t just your average worry, like is my baby getting enough, am I doing a good job? It was worrying about things that were completely out of my control. Constantly where it was affecting my sleep. It was affecting my relationship with my husband. I didn’t want to do the things that I used to want to do. So I guess that’s a bit of depression as well, all in the same vein: postpartum depression, anxiety, and even obsessive compulsive disorder. That’s really common postpartum and something that I think it’s really important to kind of read up on before you’re in it. So if you’re pregnant, even if it’s your second, third, fourth child, understanding the signs and symptoms before you’re in it and being better aware when you start to feel out of control emotionally so important.

Allison (29:42):

Yeah, I love that. The postpartum mood disorders kind of do present differently for everybody. You were really vulnerable there just telling us about that. So I’ll tell you for me, it does present more as a depression. But I’m kind of an introvert in general, so that going further inward and just sadness and I can totally relate. You said something like that, you just didn’t feel like yourself. Like it was more than your normal core feelings. It was deeper, heavier. And that’s a classic, I think feeling for me as well, that this is a postpartum hormonal issue and I need help. So I need to talk to someone or medication or something to get me out of this postpartum little rut that I’m in. And if it’s heavier and more than my normal. I loved how you kind of described that as well and in a different way.

Keri (30:42):

Yeah. And, and yeah. Thanks for sharing. I think again, it’s just so important that with your friends with your lactation consultants, it’s real, it’s raw. It’s, it’s not fun to talk about. I wish I didn’t have to go through that. I wish my husband and my children didn’t have to see me angry because it does present so different. And I think, the takeaway there is just, if you’re at night looking at yourself or looking at your day and the things that you’ve said and did, and you’re like, that’s not me. Why do I feel like this? It’s probably that shift in your hormones and it’s time to talk to someone.

Allison (31:26):

Yeah. I always wait too long too. And then I kicked myself. It’s usually a good friend. I actually went into Keri the other day and was like, “I don’t have anyone to talk to, but tell me if these sound like normal feelings or if these are feelings I need help with.” And, but that’s my third baby mom talking. I did not get help that would have made my life easier with the other two as quickly as I should have. And moms are like super strong and they’re like, “I can do this. I don’t need help. I can get through this.” And I believe that you can, but you could make your life so much easier just by talking to someone if you need to, or getting a little bit of help. To kick to the other side, you don’t have to endure the hard stuff just to say you did it.

Keri (32:10):

Right. There’s no badge for surviving this and making it through because yeah, of course you will. Of course, you know, your hormones will regulate and shift. But at what price? Your relationship with your husband, having your children see you like that, which creates toxic stress. We all yell at our children. We all have moments where we’re not the best versions ourselves. So I’m not talking about that. But when day in and day out, you’re not yourself. You’re not the mommy that they knew two, three, four months ago. That’s scary for little ones, you know? It’s scary to see your mom out of control and to snap and to just shut her door and not want to see your artwork. When it gets to that point you’re not a hero for just handling it on your own. You’re helping your family by getting help. And someone had mentioned that to me: you’re the hero if you help yourself. Either through medication or mindfulness practice or whatever you decide, but being active in your quest to getting yourself back and not shying away from it or pushing it down. And you’re right, Alison, you will come out of it, but at what price?

Allison (33:35):

Yeah, I love what you just said. Thank you so much. As we kind of wrap up, I’d like to know what the hardest part of breastfeeding was for you, either with your singletons or your twins. And then I would also like to know the best part. So one of your favorite things about breastfeeding, or maybe an experience you had, anything like that, but is there any part that you want to tell them I’m like, this was the hardest for me?

Keri (34:00):

Yeah. I think certainly having the twins, breastfeeding them was the most challenging and the guilt that went with not feeling like I was able to breastfeed or have the experience that I should have had, or wanted to have with Indie. And those seven months of that feeling was probably the hardest part. And not seeking help soon enough with my postpartum mood disorder. And again, trudging through that alone. And then again, miraculously at seven months when I decided to get help. I it just made all the difference in the world. Certainly the tongue ties with my singletons was was stressful, but you know, I think it’s just it’s the mom guilt. It’s the hardest part for me. Because my expectations weren’t met in the way that I thought they should be. And then the best thing about breastfeeding honestly, it’s the bonding. I love breastfeeding at night when it’s just the two of us. I have that alone time in the quiet and I can just look at him and kiss his little furry head and smell him. And so that’s by far, my favorite part is the nighttime feedings. As strange as it sounds, because I am up all night.

Allison (35:36):

Yeah it does. Nighttime feedings is your favorite part?

Keri (35:40):

But it is. I think maybe because my day it’s like a circus it’s so loud, and I can just appreciate that this is fleeting and that this won’t be forever. And that right now he’s so little. Sometimes I think the perspective of it all is knowing that this phase will end. I mean, we’ve all read those really sad Facebook things where it’s like, “Someday, they won’t be asking to hold your hand or pick you up when you walk upstairs.” And you’re just like, ha tears. Right? But it’s true. I think sometimes when you feel like you’re in Groundhog Day, which is all of us parents, especially if you have a lot of kids where you’re just like taskmaster that when you slow down and you start to think, “Wow, this is going to be over soon”, enjoy it.

Allison (36:27):

I love that. And I think that’s perfect too. I, my next question was going to be like, do you have any advice for new moms? But there you go, gosh, I feel like you just nailed that one. You’re right. The Groundhog Day effect is so real. It’s been the easiest to enjoy the moment now with my third, which is likely our last as well, because I think it’s the last. And it’s like, “Oh, I don’t get to do this part again where you start grabbing stuff and eating it, or right. We’re working on sitting up. Where before I’m like, Kay, like come on, sit up, hit these milestones.” Like, but now it’s a little like, Oh, and I wish I would have been a little bit more mindful with my first. Well, you just do what you do, but at the time, don’t you? No more mom guilt.

Keri (37:10):

Yeah. No more mom, guilt ladies, no more mom guilt. And I think telling each other that you’re doing a good job, checking in and asking if they’re okay, don’t shy away from it. Cause I was so put together. Well, I wasn’t, I was a hot mess under all of it, but I’m like “If I put earrings on and lip gloss and I do school drop off and I’ve got the babies in a carrier, I can fool everyone.” I mean, of course this was subconscious. I wasn’t thinking like I have to do this for other people, but maybe in my own psyche, I’m like, I need to get presentable. Because postpartum depression, you think they’re in their sweat pants. They look like a hot mess. Their hair is in a messy bun. Not always. So check in with your mommies, even if you think they’re doing okay. Even if they’re an experienced lactation consultant, we all need TLC. We all need to support one another.

Allison (38:05):

That’s great. You’ve been great. Can I just tell you? I so appreciate you checking in on me too. Cause we’re professionals, we’ve done this. We should know, but mom life is not the same.

Keri (38:20):

No, it’s different. And it’s hard and it’s different. And you can imagine with all of your knowledge and all of your experience, being a doula, and being around women that are pregnant and having babies, you think in your head, “I’ve got this, I can handle this.” And, and then the reality is that nothing prepares you. Nothing, all the experience, all the education: nothing prepares you. You have no idea what life will look like. And it is a beautiful life. It really is, as busy and messy as it is. Check in on one another and thank you so much for having me. And you have been such a gift to me as well, and supporting me on my future endeavors as well. So I really appreciate all your love.

Allison (39:07):

Oh, thank you so much. I love military friends, especially because you just click quickly because you have to, and some deep relationships can be built very quickly. And I think that’s you and me.

Keri (39:19):

Alison and I were talking months before I moved here. And so when she invited us over for a barbecue, it truly-right-felt like we’d known, like went to college together?

Allison (39:30):

A hundred percent. Yep. But really, it was the first time we’d ever met, but we were already like, “Oh, how’s your kids by name? You know, how are you feeling? Like last time we chatted virtually, like you were like, are you…” But I’m like, this is actually the first time we’ve ever met face to face. Military. So fun.

Keri (39:45):

Yeah. Yeah, it is. Yeah.

Allison (39:49):

Keri, thank you so much. You’re busy and you have a lot of going on and I so appreciate you taking the time to share today. You said some wonderful things. And I think you’re really going to help a lot of other moms that are listening. I hope they have the feeling of “Me too, or I feel better, you know, having this conversation.” So thank you so much for taking the time to do this with us today.

Keri (40:15):

Oh, thank you for having me. And I think this forum, this way to present other people’s stories is so important and thank you for what you’re doing.

Allison (40:24):

Oh, I appreciate that. You can find a bunch of links from today that we talked about, places to find me, places to find Keri down in the show notes, and you can see everything that New Little Life is doing over on my website, which is newlittlelife.com. So thanks again, Keri. And we’ll see you guys next time.

Keri (40:42):

Bye everybody.

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