Sunday, June 30, 2013

Newborn weight loss (you don't need formula)

There's some technical stuff going on in the middle of this article, but mostly it's written so moms to be can easily read and understand it.  I think it's incredibly important for moms to educate themselves before baby is born, especially when it comes to understanding your newborns health and wellness. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lactation Bread

An alternative to the Lactation Muffins.  This recipe makes 1 large loaf, 2 medium loaves, or 4-6 mini loaves (depending on pans)

2 Tbsp flaxmeal
4 Tbsp water
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup old fashion rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp brewers yeast (sifted)
1 tsp ground fenugreek (optional as this has a very strong potent flavor)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (NOT margarine) room temp
3 Lg eggs
1 cup white sugar
2 or 3 mashed, very ripe, bananas
2 Tbsp vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease your loaf pans with bakers release.

Mix together flaxmeal and water in a small bowl or cup and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients

Using electric mixer, combine the eggs, butter, sugar, banana and milk. 
Add the vanilla and flaxmeal mixture and mix on medium for about one minute

With a spoon or spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.

Pour into the greased pans and bake 50-60 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

Soothing a colicky baby

The most stressful and unnerving part of a baby's fourth trimester (remember the Happiest Baby on the Block?) is colic.

I'm not going to sugar coat it for you.  The first 6-12 weeks off your newborn baby's life are TOUGH!  It's stressful, tiring, frustrating and overwhelming.  You're sore from your birthing experience, your boobs hurt, they leak all the time and your hormones are wracked.  You barely sleep, you never shower and you live in nursing tanks and yoga pants.  On top of all this, you are supposed to take care of this itty bitty little human that the hospital, for some reason, let you bring home! 

So ... back to colic.  What exactly is colic?  People use that term very casually, but it actually has a medical definition.  A baby with colic is defined (according to WebMD) "A healthy, well-fed infant who cries for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, for more than three weeks."  Oh, doesn't that just sound peachy? 

Unfortunately, colic is not a well-understood condition. Here's what is known: 

Colic usually starts at about 2 weeks of age in a full-term infant (or later in a premature infant).

Colic almost always goes away by 3 or 4 months of age.

There is no difference in the prevalence of colic for boys and girls, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, and whether the baby is first born or not.

Scientific studies have shown that children who had colic are no different in terms of personality, mental health, intelligence, etc., than children who never had colic.

Now, whether or not your baby is medically defined as having colic, having a screaming, crying newborn is just no fun.  There are a variety of tactics you can use to try to soothe your baby.  These are what worked for me, I can only hope it works for you too

>> first, go through your list of baby needs.  Is he hungry? Did he burp? Is he wet? Is he hot or cold?

>> give him a couple of Gas Drops.  this will help to break down trapped gas that he is unable to burp up by himself. 

>> next, try to make him burp (again) Colic is typically associated with bowel or intestinal discomfort.  Even if he burped after he ate, try again.  Lay him on his tummy.  The pressure against his stomach well help relieve gas pains.  You can also roll up a small burp rag and place that under his tummy for additional pressure.  Sometimes, laying on his tummy is enough to calm him down. 

>> now that he's burped (or not) give him some Gripe Water.  This is a homeopathic liquid that helps to relieve hiccups and ease digestive discomfort.  It is simply ginger and fennel extracts.

>> strip him down butt naked.  Check all of his fingers, toes and penis for a hair tourniquet.  Give him a quick wash cloth bath, focusing on all his joints, rolls and wrinkles.  Make sure there is no dirt or debris that may be scratching him.

>> DO NOT USE LOTION.  If he has any kind of skin irritation going on, lotion may aggravate him even more.  Grease that baby, from the neck down, with unscented petroleum jelly.  This will soothe his skin (maybe he's just itchy!) and give him that nice, slimy, amniotic feeling that he was so used to.

>> now give him a clean diaper (again) and be sure to use diaper rash cream, just in case.   Put him in some clean, soft jammies or a sleep sack.  Nothing with a waist band, no socks, nothing that may be tight or restricting on his skin or body.

>> White noise.  The womb was an incredibly loud place to live.  Now that he's here, everything seems very quiet to him.  T man's favorite white noise was "Baby Got Colic" available for purchase from any mp3 store.

>> try to feed him again.  By this point it's probably been a while.  He's now clean, slimy and gas free, so it's the perfect time to try and nurse him to sleep.

>> won't eat?  Hold him in the "colic curl" position.  This will apply pressure to his intestines while he's safe and warm in your arms.  This was the only position you could carry T man in for several weeks.  Any other position and he just screamed!  Stand, sway, bounce, walk, rock, do anything that may calm him down.  Once he calms, don't stop!  I've watched entire movies while standing in my living room marching in place like an 80's aerobic instructor.

As scary as all that may sound, it goes by so quickly that you'll find yourself wishing you could do it all again.  Right now! =)  But seriously, no matter how exhausting this time feels, you'll be amazed at how fast those first 3 months just disappear.  Stay calm, breathe deeply and remember.  This will pass!  This is NOT forever.  I promise. =)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Babywearing (I love it!)

I love babywearing!  Mothers all around the globe have been wearing their children since... well, forever!  It's only just recently (last century or so) that our ideas about child rearing has become, sadly, "detatched".  I honestly don't know how or why anyone wouldn't babywear.  Wearing your baby allows you to be productive without having to choose between "being with your little one" and "getting stuff done" =)

Anyone with kids understands exactly what I mean.  Sometimes, you can sit baby down with a pile of toys and he's fine.  You go about the house, doing laundry, empty the dishwasher, etc. But other days?  Oh dear, if you step even an inch too far away from baby, he'll unleash his mightiest, most gut wrenching cry to put you back in your proper place (right by his side) Whether he's teething, going through a Wonder Weeks Leap or just having a bad day, babywearing can save everyone's sanity.

The key to successful BWing is finding the right kind of carrier for both your body, you're baby, and your budget.  There are a few different categories that most carriers fit into.  Then it's just a matter of picking quality, availability and price.

>> Soft structured carriers are my favorite.  These are carriers that have shoulder straps and buckles and allow you to carry baby like a backpack.  Most carriers are multi position, so you can carry baby on front (facing in towards your chest) carry on your hip, or carry on your back.  The most important thing to look for in this type of carrier is a hip belt.  These designs distribute weight evenly across your torso to reduce aches, pains and fatigue.  My favorites are ErgoBaby and Beco, and for a wallet friendly option, check out the Evenflo "natural carrier"

>> my other carrier of choice is the Mei Tai carrier. This is a soft tie on carrier.  These can be homemade very easily if you have basic sewing experience or can be purchased from a variety of online and in store distributors.  The nice thing about these is that they pack up small for travel, they are typically very decorative and are generally a lot cheaper than the name brand structured carriers.  The down side of Mei Tai carriers (IMO) is the way you have to put them on.  First you tie the belts around your waist, then place baby against your chest, throw the long belts over your shoulders, reach behind, cross the belts, bring belts around front, cross again and take behind your back again to tie off. All this while still holding the baby with one hand.  With practice, it's gets pretty fast and easy, but you can see that this is not going to be your "running to the store real quick" BWing carrier.  I only use my Mei Tai at home, but I definitely love it.

>> some other BWing options (but I don't have personal experience with these) are:

~ ring slings.  I've wanted to try one of these for a while now, I just haven't yet
~ wraps. Available "stretchy" (the Moby is the most popular) or woven.  These can also be made at home easily and economically.  Wraps are basically just a very long piece of fabric that is wrapped around your body and tied off.  you then fit your baby into one of the folds.  The woven versions have a heavier weight rating, so they are going to last you longer
~ slings. Not to be confused with the above mentioned RING sling, these carriers are a fixed size of fabric, usually worn like a sash across the body.  I tried one of these and neither of us liked it.  T man cried every time I put him in it and the weight of him pulled on my neck so badly I had a headache within minutes.
~ hard structure carriers.  These are (I think) strictly forward facing.  They are also referred to as crotch danglers.  These carriers get a lot of bad press with the crunchier moms due to the carriers lack of baby support.  This type of carrier has baby's legs hanging straight down with all of his body weight resting on a thin seating area right below his crotch (hence the nickname)  There are other arguments with this carrier, such as "baby can't protect himself from outside stimulants/environment" (chest to chest, baby can hide his face on your chest) "you can't BF" (obviously) "it strains his neck" (baby can't rest forward on you when his neck gets tired)  I agree with all these points and simply said, I don't like these.  I think my baby's health and body wellness is more important than his desire to see where we're going.

No matter what type of carrier you choose to use, make sure you carry your baby safely. 
Always follow the carrier instructions, and make sure you can easily "kiss the baby".  This is your guideline for how low is to low when BWing.  Baby needs to be up high enough on your torso that you can kiss his head.

I hope you enjoy BWing as much as I do =)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Birth Plan

I think it is incredibly important for every woman to create a personal "birth plan" before going into labor.  This will give you an opportunity to think through the issues that you feel are most important to you personally before you become ... compromised =)  Once you're in full on active labor, trying to take the time to rationally think out every situation is near impossible.  You need to have some sort of idea what you want &/or need your birthing experience to be like, so that if a problem occurs, you will be prepared to answer any medical questions that might be asked of you.

Keeping that in mind, remember that child birth is NOT an organized event.  That baby will do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, with absolutely no regard for your carefully typed out birth plan.  Be prepared to just go with the flow, and follow your doctors advice.  Your birth plan is more of a guideline, giving you a foundation to base your medical decisions from.

Below is a copy of my personal "Birthing Preferences" (note how I avoided using the word "plan")

(mom to be name here)
Labor & Delivery Preferences
EDD 10/19/2012
Husband: (fathers name here)
Practitioner: (your OB doc name here)
Pediatrician: (your baby's doc name here)
We ask that the practitioner discuss with us any procedures or medications prior to administration and that we be allowed the chance to question such procedures before giving informed consent.
  • I have tested POSITIVE for Group B Strep
  • I have been monitored for Antithromben iii Antigen (blood clotting) throughout this pregnancy.  I took low dose aspirin daily until 37 weeks 10/3/12

Father has 100% decision rights if mother is unable to be consulted

  • Only the father in the delivery room.  I wish for no visitors while on the 7th floor, unless I specifically request otherwise.  Visitors can join us on the 8th floor after mom & baby are settled into recovery room.
  • I would like to make myself comfortable any way I need to.  Music, distractions, moving, showering, walking, etc.
  • I would like to wear my bra & tank top as long as I can, until no longer medically possible
  • No mirrors, camera or videos (gross!)

  • I DO want an epidural but not until active labor (5cm)
  • Prior to the epidural, I wish to manage the pain with medications and breathing/massage
  • Offer me drugs and let me decide on a pain by pain basis

  • I hope to have a vaginal delivery.  If a C-section becomes necessary I want the father to remain with me at all times
  • No students or residents please.  I do not want to be used for training purposes
  • Only medical persons "down south".  Mother & father do not wish to participate with the actual birthing
  • Episiotomy: at practitioners discretion, but only if completely necessary please

  • Father wants to cut the cord after the cord stops pulsating
  • NO Circumcision!
  • Skin to skin ASAP, but not all gooey please.  I wish to breastfeed immediately after delivery if baby can
  • I hope to breastfeed exclusively.  Please do not offer him any artificial nipples or formula
  • I would like the help of a Lactation Consultant please.

  • Father wants to accompany baby at all times.  Bathing, newborn procedures, exams, etc.
  • We do not have to participate in bathing but wish to be present (visually)
  • We would like the baby to room in 24 hours with limited nursery time.
  • If my baby is not well, mother &/or father wish to accompany baby to the NICU or other facility.  We want to hold baby as often as possible.
  • I will breastfeed or express breast milk for my baby while he is unwell

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So, you think you love the way babies smell??

You've heard it, heck, you've probably said it yourself.

"I LOVE the way babies smell!"  Awe! :-)

No you don't.  Sorry, but you don't! You love the way baby products smell.  Cause ya know what?  Babies ,the unscented version, smell like milk breath and wet diapers.  That's the honest truth coming from a mom who uses everything unscented.  My baby does not, in any way, "smell like a baby".  Nope.  He smells like ... well, an actual baby. 

I use unscented, dye free laundry detergent and absolutely NO fabric softener.  We bathe him with Dove unscented sensitive skin body wash (or the store brand version).  We do not use lotion on T man's skin.  Instead we grease him up with unscented petroleum jelly like a little pig =) His bath is just plain water, no "bedtime" bath scents and his shampoo is plain. 

I know what you're thinking.  "OMG she's a crunchy, hippie, tree hugger!" LOL no I'm not.  All those things I don't use on T man? I use them on myself!  =) I like my clothes, my hair and my body to smell nice, but I have tough, old(ish) grown up skin. I am not a delicate, sensitive, still developing infant.

Dr P told us, when T man was only 4 days old, to throw out the baby wash and baby lotion.  "Don't use them, they're crap" he said.  O_O ... but ... but ... I just got all these products at my baby shower?!? =( What did he want me to use???

Vaseline and Dove body wash.  He said it is all you need to keep your newborns skin healthy.

OMG! He's a crunchy hippie tree hugging doctor!!!! LOL :-) but you know, he's absolutely right.  Babies don't want to smell like apples and coconut and lavender.  Do you know what a babies favorite smell is? YOU. He loves the way his mommy smells.  You're milk, your breath, even your stinky B.O. =) when his eyes are unfocused, he has to rely on his nose instead.  Perfumes are confusing.  He just wants to smell you, mommy. He loves your smell and you should love his too

My baby smells like a real, actual baby.  And you know what?  I love the way he smells. =)

Packing the diaper bag

I'm an over packer. Always have been, just ask anyone whose ever gone on vacation with me =)  That being said, I don't think you can ever be over prepared with babies.  Under prepared yes, but not over prepared. I'm also crazy organized.  Everything has its place, I have little containers and cubby holes for everything, and my diaper bag has 12 individual pockets (not including the main one) =) I love to be organized! =)

So here are my tips for making sure your diaper bag is well prepared.  To prevent you bag from weighing 50 lbs, be sure to use small containers and travel sized products.  Most baby products are offered in 2 sizes, one for home use and one for diaper bag use.

Pack only the diapers you need to "feel comfortable"  my magic number is 7.  I'm (very) uncomfortable leaving the house knowing that I have less than 7 diapers.

Take along a pair of jammies in case of accident.  One footie sleeper takes less time and space than a full outfit (onsie, pants, socks, etc)

Small tube of zinc oxide diaper rash cream and a small tub of petroleum jelly will take care of any skin issues.  (You don't ever need lotion)

Wipes, of course.  I like the plastic bag style with the recloseable pop up lid.

A reusable changing mat.  You can also buy disposable changing mats but that would get expensive.

One bib.  Yes, just one.  It has two sides, use them both! :-)

Nursing pads.  Make sure you use the individually wrapped ones for sanitary reasons.

A couple of panty liners, just in case.  And in a pinch, you can use a panty liner as a nursing pad! (Hey, don't laugh.  I've done it!)

Lanolin oil or APNO cream for you nipples.

Tylenol for your aches and pains.  Your vitamins and herbal supplements for your health and milk production.  Use a pill container to carry just a couple days worth of pills at a time. 

A receiving blanket.  I've used a receiving blanket as a sun shield for baby's face, a towel for emergency sink baths (they happen!) a pillow, a toy, a teether, a burp rag, a nursing pad (don't ask LOL) and probably a hundred more things :-)

First aid and grooming kit.  I have a handy little pouch that I carry all of T man's stuff in.  Teething tablets, cold tablets, Tylenol, gas drops, nail clippers, hair brush, thermometer, nasal aspirator (I use the baby nasa kleen) cotton swabs and saline. 

A roll of the disposable poop bags (arm and hammer I think) I use them more often for carrying home soiled clothes than I do for throwing away diapers. 

Snacks if your baby is old enough and possibly a jar of food (don't forget the spoon) Bring a couple of sandwich bags to keep the food/spoon contained and clean.

Deodorant! :-) I leave the house at least twice a week without putting on deodorant LOL

Wallet, hairbrush, chapstick and Kleenex (for mom)


Toss in a few toys before your walk out the door and that's just about it.  You'll find most products are good for multiple uses and you'll get very inventive with your on the go mom skills.  I promise.  =)

Monday, June 24, 2013

This is not obscene

I love the information, support and pictures from The Leaky B@@b (spelled just like that!)

Check out this wonderful community of BFing moms on FB at The Leaky B@@b  =) 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lactation Muffin recipe

These make an easy, quick breakfast.  Just toss in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm them up & eat on the go.

Preheat oven to 400*  Grease muffin tin with bakers release or use paper liners (that gets expensive though)

2 Tbsp ground flaxmeal
4 Tbsp water
1.5 cup self rising flour (or SRF substitute)
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon (more to taste)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups old fashion rolled oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2-4 Tbsp banana cream pudding powder
1 Tbsp maple syrup (the good stuff!)
2 Lg eggs
2 tsp vanilla
6 oz sour cream (full fat gives better texture & moisture)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 bananas mashed (very ripe)
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (aka brewers yeast)

Combine flaxmeal & water.  Set aside 3-5 minutes

Sift (very important) flour, yeast, cinnamon, baking powder & pudding powder in to large bowl.  Add brown sugar & oats.  Sir with spoon to combine dry ingredients.

Whisk eggs, oil & sour cream together.  Add banana, maple syrup and vanilla.  whisk

Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients.  stir with spoon until just combined. 

Add Flaxmeal mixture.  stir with spoon.

Spoon mixture into muffin trays 1/2 full

Bake for 15 minutes on middle rack.

Lactation Cookie recipe

I notice a  significant increase in my supply when I eat a few of these cookies every day & an obvious decrease in supply when I don't.  You can use any kind of "add in" ingredients you want (choco chips, nuts, raisins, etc.)  This recipe is for my favorite flavor cranberry chocolate chip

Preheat oven to 350*  Grease a cookie sheet with bakers release.

1 cup butter (not margarine)
1.5 cup dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp ground flaxmeal
3 cup old fashion rolled oats
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (aka brewers yeast)
2 Lg eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (or more) dried cranberries and semi sweet choco chips

* Mix together flaxmeal & water.  set aside for 3-5 minutes

*cream (beat well) butter & brown sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, mix well

* stir flaxmeal mixture & add, with vanilla, to the butter mixture.  Beat until blended.

*SIFT (very important) together dry ingredients (except oats & add ins)

*Add to butter mixture.  Stir w/ spoon

* Add oats first (stir with spoon) then add ins (stir with spoon)

Spoon onto greased cookie sheet & bake 8-12 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack to finish cooling.

Sick baby tips

Now that I've lived through my first "sick baby" incident, I thought I would share a few tidbits with you.  (not that I'm a pro, but hey, shared what you know!)

This was a run of the mill "virus" that T man contracted that brought on a fever, diarrhea and some mild vomiting.  But mostly (and most exhaustingly) it made T man Cranky!!  Oh the whining!  He was just so irritable and distressed.  It both broke my heart and grated on my every nerve.  BUT!  I knew he didn't feel good, he didn't understand why and I knew this was going to end soon (hopefully) so I was able to maintain a calm, loving bedside manner even during his most ear piercing moments.

When I awoke that morning & put him to breast, I realized that he was radiating heat like a furnace.  As soon as I was able, i took his temp and found that he was running quite a high fever.  I immediately took him to the pediatrician to be checked out.  I found out that it was in fact a virus & was instructed to "keep him hydrated, administer Tylenol as directed & wait it out"  After a stop by the pharmacy, we came home to begin our 5 day "vacation" at home in our jammies. 

As any responsible mother would do, I contacted the mom's that we had played with the day before to warn them of his fever.  When I told our mom friend "J" of T mans fever & other symptoms, she asked me the most honest & logical question.  "How did you know he was sick? How did you know to take his temperature?"  It's such a innocent question, but also an incredibly relevant question.  Because, honestly, how DOES a new mom know that she needs to take her babies temperature?

Okay, maybe this sounds silly to you.  "he's hot, take his temp!" Duh! .... Not always.  "J" asked me this because her little boy "W" always feels warm to the touch & he's a sweaty sleeper.  I told her that T man was very obviously hot & I just ... knew!  I hate to say it, and I really hate when people tell me this, but you will just know.  You will! When you spend every waking (and some sleeping) moment with your baby, you begin to know every little piece of them.  Physically, emotionally, vocally and medically.  When your little babe is sick , you may not know exactly whats going on, but you definitely know that something is wrong.  Follow your gut, trust your mom instincts and do what you "know" you need to do.

So besides that, here's a few tips to keep in mind.

>> Make sure your thermometer takes a reading in less than 6 seconds.  Anything longer is an eternity with a newborn or infant.  The ear ones work very well and are my favorite.  If you don't have an ear thermometer, you can also use a forehead thermometer, a rectal (um, no thanks!) or an oral thermometer used under the arm pit. If you have to use the arm pit method (like I did that morning) make sure you do it correctly. 
        Have your baby sit on your lap facing to the side. (his shoulder into your chest)
        Place the oral thermometer under his arm closest to you. (^^ that one)
        Wrap your arm around him to keep him still & keep his arm pit closed (its harder than it sounds!)
        Add 1* to thermometer reading (100.2 temp is actually 101.2)

>> Keep baby hydrated.  Nurse frequently.  T man would "snack" every 30-45 minutes.  Sometimes he was actually eating, sometimes he was just comfort nursing.  Either way he was getting a bit of B-milk on a near constant basis.  When he wasn't nursing, he was sipping on some pedialyte and water.  Keep him hydrated!

>> A room temp bath works wonders for temporarily cooling down the body.  Not a "cold" bath (remember, he's just a little guy) so room temp is your best choice. 

>> In the case of diarrhea, rash cream & petroleum jelly are a must.  Keep that poor little bum protected from the harsh acidity of all that gross liquid squirting out his bottom. (yeah I know, that's gross!  But hey, you're a mom.  Deal with it!)

>> Depending if he's old enough for solids, as long as baby has a fever/vomiting/diarrhea he is on a strict liquid diet.  Foods can actually dehydrate your baby while he's sick, cancelling out all the nursing & pedialyte sipping you've been doing.  And NO JUICE!  You shouldn't be giving your under 1year old baby juice anyway (but that's a different post) but definitely no juice while sick.  The sugar in the juice will dehydrate him.

>> What's the difference between vomit & regular spit up?  Volume.  Spit up is anything from a teaspoon to a couple of tablespoons.  Vomit on the other hand is large quantities, more like 1/4 cup or moreDepending on how soon after eating, it will be extra chunky where spit up is more phlegmy.

>> Sleep sleep sleep.  Just like when you're sick, little guys need lots of rest to recover.  Let him nap, go to bed early, sleep in late, etc.  Whatever he needs, whenever he needs it.

>> Tylenol & Motrin (infant formulas) should be administered only according to your pediatricians directions.  Infants are grouped into weight classes for medications, so make sure what your babies current weight is before giving any medications.

Follow your gut, call the pediatrician as often as you feel necessary (don't worry, they're used to it) and listen to your baby.  If you pay attention to his needs, his body language & his cries, you'll be able to weather this storm and come out smiling =) 

(My sick little T man, pictured below)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

My poor sweet sick baby

My heart is just falling to pieces right now.  For the first time ever, my dear little T man is sick.  8 months of perfect health and now we've been hit with a triple whammy.  Fever, vomit, diarrhea, the whole package. 

I put him to bed last night at 8pm (a little late for him but no biggie) and he slept solid till 7am this morning.  At first I was super excited!  Who wouldn't be, right?!?  He woke up calmly enough, no hysterics or anything! =) I picked him up from his crib and noticed he felt warm, but I didn't realize how very, very hot his entire body was until I put him to breast.  Every inch of his darling little body was radiating heat like a furnace!  O_O  Even his finger tips were burning.  Oh no!  My poor baby boy! =( 

He nursed, he burped, he nursed, he burped.  He seemed completely unphased by his obvious fever.  I let him nurse to his little tummy's content, then changed his diaper & took his temp.  Naturally, I couldn't find a thermometer that worked (or worked right) so I had to revert to the old "thermometer under the arm" thing.  Have you ever tried that with an 8 month old?  yeah, not easy.

His temp read 100.2 under the armpit and you have to add 1° so it was actually 101.2 =(  I lost it.  I never lose it!  But I lost it.  I cried and cried as I held my hot,sick baby boy and called into work.  Just as i was planning on leaving for a walk in visit to the pediatrician, T man heaved.  Then he heaved again!  Ah, crap, he's gonna blow! We raced to the bathroom just in time for him to vomit all over the floor, all over the sink, all over himself.

Our visit to the pedi was uneventful thankfully.  His fever was down 2 degrees and no more vomiting! yay! =)  Doc said everything looked good (ears, nose, throat, etc.) and that there is a virus floating around.  All I can do is give some fever/pain meds & nurse him as often as I can.  He should be over this in a couple of days.  Days?  DAYS?!? oh my, it's gonna be a loooong couple of days.

We stayed home all day, playing, crying (him, not me, I promise) sleeping, nursing, crying some more (okay, me just a little).  The sad, scared, desperate way that he cried today, with that pleading look of confusion in his eyes just destroyed me.  I know he doesn't understand why he feels this way and he doesn't understand why I'm not making it go away.  I can't wait for these next few days to be over.  Not that I mind all the cuddles I've been receiving but I just want my happy, smiling baby back. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Little Things (part 2)

See, I knew I would think of other things ;) ******************************************

While prego, use a suction cup shower mirror to help you shave after your belly bump becomes too big to see around

Make sure the clock in the nursery is either glow in the dark or digital. Your sense of time is completely thrown off in the MOTN (middle of the night). What feels like 30 minutes is really only 6 minutes =( ugh!

Don't wear socks while at home. Bare feet are your best friend! You'll be amazed at what you learn to pick up with your toes =)

Keep snacks with you. Whether or not you BF, being a new mom makes you hungry! All the heavy lifting (car seat, diaper bag, etc) the erratic dinner schedule, not to mention the screwed up sleep cycles, can really confuse your body. Keep trail mix, lactation cookies, granola bars, etc in the diaper bag for on the go munchies.

Water water water! Never leave the house without a (reusable) bottle of water. BFing requires lots of hydration & you will be thirsty at the most inconvenient times.

Zipper jammies are WAY better than snap jammies. There's nothing faster or easier for MOTN diaper changes. I can't tell you how many times I've mis-snapped T mans jammies at 2 am =/ LOL

Prevent stains from setting by keeping clothing wet. A diaper blow out could ruin a perfectly good outfit, but it doesn't have to. If T man has a diaper problem or something and we are home, I will toss the clothes in the bathroom sink, fill with water and leave it until I have time to start a load of laundry. Easy! But, if you're away from home, you have 2 options. If you have access to a sink, rinse the clothes out & get them soaking wet. Then use one of your handy little "poop bags" to carry the wet clothes in till you get home. (you know, those arm & hammer disposal bags you got at your baby shower) If you don't have access to a sink, clean off as much of the accident as you can, then pack the clothes, focusing on the stain area, in wet wipes and again, use a poop bag to get the clothes home. Wash as soon as you can.

"Fix" the car seat straps when taking baby out, to make putting baby back in a breeze. There's nothing more frustrating than opening the car door, baby on your hip, diaper bag on shoulder, keys in hand, phone in pocket (ringing of course) water bottle on the roof of the car (don't fall off ... again) and you find that the car seat straps are a sloppy pile of buckles puddled in the bottom of the seat. UGH! (DH does this to me all the time BTW) Easiest solution? Fix that shit BEFORE you take baby out of car. (see pic below) When I unbuckle T man, I immediately tuck his straps into the side of his seat. It takes 2 seconds per strap (I timed it LOL) but dealing with it while holding baby (aka one handed) takes 7 seconds per strap (at least) save yourself the headache =)

Spicy Blackened Salmon rub

I love salmon & it's wonderfully good for you (both prego & not)  Here's my recipe for a spicy salmon rub that grills nicely & gets a bit crunchy , which I love =)

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp salt
1-2 tsp crushed red peppers (depends on how spicy you like it)
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 salmon filets (I buy the frozen stuff at the wholesale club)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add oil a little at a time until it makes a thin liquid/paste.  You want it more liquid that paste, but not super runny.  I like to grill my salmon outside but you could probably bake it indoors too if the weather is bad.  I lay down a piece of foil on the grill, place salmon filets on foil & baste with the rub paste.  Flip immediately and baste other side.  Cook till filet flakes apart easily, flipping twice.

P.S.   T man loves salmon! I don't give him the spicy outside part of course, but he eats the inside like crazy! =)

Teach your infant diaper etiquette

First, let me say that I began doing this just by instinct, not because I "knew" or understood what I was accomplishing.  I didn't really realize that I had done anything special until a friend pointed it out to me at BF group one day.  We were standing at the changing tables, doing our thing, changing diapers & chatting away, when I told T man "legs down!" and he (of course) put his legs down.  I didn't think about it, it's just what we do.  I learned that day that (apparently) not all babies do this! LOL I began watching other moms, both at group & just out and about, and I realized that I had actually taught my baby Diaper Etiquette =)

I want to brag on my hubby a bit first. =)  I didn't change a single diaper till T man was 4 days old =) My darling husband did every single diaper while at the hospital & during our first day and a half at home.  Love that guy!  So because of that, I didn't begin our "training" till T man was almost a week old.

When you change a diaper on a brand new newborn, it's like trying to hold open a slinky.  Those little legs just wanna pop right up and fold  into the fetal position.  I had read (in my endless prenatal researching) that "talking" to a baby is good for their development.  Even if you're just narrating your actions, it helps to stimulate their senses, teach them your language and familiarize them with your voice. 

So as I was changing T mans diapers, I would gently press on his legs and say "legs down!"  I did this every single time, not knowing or realizing that I was training him to perform a task. Eventually, I would say "legs down!" and I wouldn't have to press so hard because he was helping me do it.  Then it got to the point where he would begin to lay his legs down before I started pressing.  We finally got to the point (when "L" observed us at group) that all I have to say is "legs down!" and down they go. 

Once T man discovered his feet (foot goes straight in mouth) I did have to start pressing on his knees again to remind him of what needs to happen during diaper changes.  I also found that using a lower voice & saying it with a bit of firm authority helps baby understand that you're not playing with him.  You're giving him an instruction.  Daddy doesn't seem to have as much luck with the "legs down" command because he uses his "parentese" voice (that sing songy play voice we use when talking to babies)  If T man ignores me, I look him square in the eyes, use my normal adult voice and repeat "Legs ... Down." and down they go. ( I always tell him Thank You so he knows he did it right)

Now that he rolls (a lot) he thinks he can roll over during diaper changes too!  Mama says No!  I watched "C"s mom wrangle and fight with him one day as he wanted to roll away with his naked little butt squirming all over the place.  It was shortly after that, that T man began his own rolling away actions.  I knew we had to stop that one early!  We've now added "on your back" to our diaper routine.  I place my hand on his shoulder and gently press him back onto his back while saying "on your back" then immediately add "legs down".

I don't know if this will help any of you with older infants (several months old??) but it may be worth a shot.  And for all you soon to be moms, I promise you'll have easier diaper changes and probably some jealous friends ;-)

Oh, PS.  I also say "arms up" (press on the elbow) when changing clothes and it makes getting dressed less stressful for both mom & baby

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My favorite FB pics.

There are so many wonderful BFing and parenting pages on FB.  I like to keep some of their posts and pictures on my phone for easy reference.  Here are a few of my favs.  Remember to check out these pages on FB =) 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Wonder Weeks

Life saver! Plain and simple.  This is the most useful and instructive book I've read so far.  I only wish that I had heard of it earlier, it would have saved me from the Day of Hell.
Allow me to share with you my single worst day of my child's life.
Hubby stayed home with me for the first 2 weeks of my maternity leave.  He had to return to work when T man was 2w3d old leaving me home all alone.  That first week home alone was good, nothing too exciting happened.  The following week we actually got out of the house at least once each day Mon-Thur.  I decided on that Friday (he was 4wk exactly), since we had such a busy week, we would stay in and have a lazy day at home.  The morning started out normal enough, but as the day wore on T man became increasingly irritable.  It seemed that nothing I did was right and everything was just pissing him off.  After his afternoon nap things went from bad to atomic!  He started screaming and SCREAMING!!! I tried everything that I could think of, absolutely nothing worked.  Nothing! I changed his diaper 15  times (i didn't know what else to do!) I tried nursing him (He said - oh hell no) I changed his clothes, I tried burping him (again and again) I even tried leaving him alone in his bed (like I said, i was desperate) I was at my complete wits end, desperate for him to just ... shut ... UP! 
AHHHHH!!!!! >:-{
After 2 exhausting hours of his mouth never closing, he finally passed out from sheer exhaustion.  It was right after this that my mom just happened to stop by on her way home from work.  What she found was me, blubbering & sobbing, cowering on the sofa, desperately trying to not wake up the sleeping creature that was in my arms.  I say creature, because that was NOT my baby!  I don't know what that thing was, but he was sooooo not my sweet little T man.
Day from Hell =(
So, what is in this book that could have saved me?  Plenty.  mostly, just having the basic understanding of WHY the tantrum happened would have eased a lot of my panic & frustration.  Like I've said before, knowledge is power, and at that time I had no knowledge of what my baby was going through.  Everyone knows that babies go through physical growth spurts but we never think about the mental growth spurts that are happening.  Because we can't measure it on a scale or with a measuring tape, we don't realize the enormous mental changes our babes live with.
The Wonder Weeks explains when and how theses changes are going to affect a baby with almost prefect accuracy.  Let me try to explain it a little.
You have to start with your babies original due date.  This is because your baby's brain began to develop from the moment he was conceived, not from the time of birth.  And remember,  this is a study on mental growth.  So if your baby was a preemie he's going to be "behind" in the chart vs a baby who was born a week late (Mr T man) who will appear a week ahead on the chart.
Following the graph provided, you can monitor your baby's brain development and anticipate when, and for how long, he's going to be "difficult". 
Just like the physical pains that children experience during growth spurts (growing pains) a baby will experience mental stress and increased anxiety during a Leap (as they call it). 
Just imagine waking up one morning,  discovering you've gone completely blind.  First thing you'd do, would be to panic, but, eventually you would adjust.  A baby's first leap is the reverse of that.  He goes from having extremely limited eye sight (only a few inches from his face) to being able to see most of the world around him.  His little brain now has to relearn everything he thought he knew.  The world he was living in is gone and now he's got a whole new world to see and explore.  Sounds fun, but for him it's the first stressful Leap in a long series of Leaps to come. 
This first leap occurs at (approx) 5 weeks old.  (Remember, T man was born exactly 1 week late) so on that fateful day when he turned 4 weeks old and we lived through our day of Hell, we were actually surviving our first Wonder Leap.  Thankfully that first Leap is a relatively short one, only about a week or so. 
I'm not proud to admit it, but I need to be honest with you guys.  I was an angry, resentful mother at times during those few weeks that followed.  I could blame it on postpartum hormones, which is partly true, but mostly I just felt that my baby was being a mean little jerk.  And what's worse, he was doing it on purpose!! The nerve of this guy! =/ Of course that's not true, but like I said, I had no knowledge at this time.  When I discovered The Wonder Weeks around 7 weeks old, it was light having a huge weight removed from my shoulders and my heart.  My baby didn't hate me, he was just trying desperately to process all this information that he didn't understand! 
I'm happy to say that, although it hasn't been all rainbows and butterfly kisses, I haven't allowed myself to become angry or resentful towards my infant son.  If he starts to work on my nerves, I check my Wonder Weeks app to see where he is on the chart.  A lot of the times, I'll find that he is going through a Leap.  Knowing that, I can help ease him through the transition so everyday life is easier for the whole family.  If he's in between Leaps, then we work together to figure out what is stressing him out, and then we work through that as well.

(The Wonder Weeks chart pictured below)
Here is a screen shot of my app showing where my son is at in his Leaps as well as 2 of our friends. (I'm tracking the babies for their mom's)  T man is currently in Leap 6 the "Leap of Categories"  He is discovering now that not all things that look the same are the same.  For example, a black & white cat is different from a black & white cow.  He will begin to study objects, compare them to each other & determine how they relate to each other. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I hate pumping.  I'm doing it right now, not that I enjoy it, but I'm doing it.  I don't think any one actually enjoys pumping, but just like diaper dooty, we gotta do it.  It is completely irresponsible to EBF your baby & not pump.  Even if your a full time mom like I am, always with your baby, never leaving him, you still have to pump.  What if something happens to you? Or more likely, what if you want to go to the movies?  That's what I got to do today =) I went to the movies for the first time since T mans birth.  Oh, it was wonderful =) but now I have 2 very full breasts & they need to be emptied.  T man took one boob and fell asleep, so now I'm pumping.

Here's a few tips I'd like to give you about pumping:

Pump early & pump often. The sooner you begin pumping (as in, the day you come home from the hospital) and the more frequently you pump, the greater your supply is going to be.  Supply & demand ladies, supply & demand.  Start your freezer stash early & you will have a nice supply if/when you return to work.

Size matters.  Using the correct pumping flange is so important!  Too big & you won't get any milk, too small & you're likely to damage your nipples.

Lubricate.  If you get a lot of friction, use your lanolin oil to lube up your nips.  Just the areola, you don't want it getting into your milk stash.

Power pump to increase your supply. This really sucks! Sorry, but it does.  Hook yourself up to the pump (double preferably) and set a timer.  Pump for 15 minutes, rest for 5, pump for 15, rest 5, pump 15, rest 5, pump 15 & done.  Yep, that's 1 hour & 15 minutes of being hooked up to your pump.  But it works! Do this for 3 consecutive days at approximately the same time each day & you will notice an increase in your supply.  You have just successfully tricked your body into thinking your LO had a growth spurt  =)

Pumpin Pals Flanges. I highly recommend these aftermarket pump flanges.   These are much more comfortable and productive than any of the standard flanges that are offered by the pump manufacturers.

You will get your largest quantity pumps in the early morning.  Try to get up earlier so you can pump before work,  or if you LO wakes for an early morning nursing (4-6am?) feed him, then go pump.  Sleep allows your body to produce more milk, so take advantage of it.

Nurse & pump simultaneously.  Hold baby in the football hold on one boob, while using a pumping bra to pump the other boob.  Talk about multi-tasking!

Speaking of pumping bras.  No need to buy one of the expensive ones.  Just take your least favorite nursing bra (you know, the one you never wear unless all the laundry is dirty) and cut a slit on each cup right over the nipple.  Ta da!  Pumping bra! Take your detachable flange and place it thru the bra from the inside.  Clip the bra up and get to pumping =) flanges not detachable?  Just cut the slit a little higher (not lower) and feed the flange thru from the front.

Pump early, Pump often.  I can't say that enough.  I wish someone had told me that 8 months ago.  I hope these tips help you pump more comfortably. =)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

BFing essentials

You'll want to make sure you have a few items on hand at all times during your early days of breastfeeding.  I've tried & tested most popular brands available, but you'll need to test them for yourself of course.

Nursing Pads
I highly recommend the Johnson & Johnson as your primary nursing pad.  These are incredibly comfortable.  They are thickly padded, designed with a deep contour and have the all important adhesive strip.  But most importantly, they have a unique nipple indention which will cradle & protect your poor sore nipple.  Unfortunately though, they are not individually wrapped.  They will be your at home pads, but are not the best for travel (diaper bag)  I suggest buying 5 boxes of these and you can plan on using 1 box per week for the first 5-6 weeks postpartum.

For your diaper bag, I recommend Lansinoh nursing pads.  These are individually wrapped so they will stay sanitary for you when carried in the diaper bag.  I like these better than any other brand I've used for several reason.  First, they are wrapped as singles where other brands wrap in pairs.  You don't always need 2 & I don't like having one just floating around in my bag.  Second, I love how soft & silky they feel.  There are no rough or scratchy parts to these pads.  (Some pads I found have scratchy edges)  They are designed with 2 seams to give a cupped contour (although not nearly as contoured as the Johnsons) so they won't pucker under your bra.  They also have the very important adhesive strips.  I would buy 2 boxes of these to begin with.

After your milk regulates and your leaking mostly stops, you can switch to cotton nursing pads.  These are more economical and can be very comfortable if you use the right ones.  I posted a picture of 3 different brands showing that they are not all created equal.  I do NOT suggest buying the Medela brand. They do not wear well, wash well nor do they feel very nice.  At least half of mine have scratchy threads and I can't stand wearing them.  I prefer the UdderCover pads but they are only available online.  The Avent are sold at Babies are Us.

Nursing Bras & Tank Tops
Do NOT spend a lot of money on bras right away.  In the beginning, your milk will be abundant, your breasts will be engorged and sore and you will still be dealing with a lot of postpartum weight & fluid retention.  I suggest buying 2, maybe 3 bras at first.  Stick to the soft, all cotton (no foam cups)styles.  And NO underwires.  Wires can cause clogged ducts & you do not want a clogged duct!!  Nursing tanks are going to be much more comfortable & easier to nurse in.  With no cup/bra sizes to worry about, your breasts will have some room to breathe and you won't feel so restricted.  I would buy 7 or 8 tanks so you have plenty on hand in case of leaks.  After your milk regulates at 6 weeks you can invest in a few more bras, but don't buy the expensive ones yet.  You'll have a hormone change at 12 weeks and your milk will adjust again.  Then you can look into buying some good quality bras (I like Bravado)

Creams & Ointments
Keeping your nipples dry is very important to keep your risk of thrush low, but at the same time you need to keep them moisturized.  I know, that sounds like a contradiction, but it isn't.  There is a big difference between wet and hydrated.  For your basic, everyday moisturizer, you'll want to use a good lanolin oil.  I recommend Medela. It is like melted butter! So soft & it glides on perfectly.  (The other common brand, Lansinoh, is sticky, thick and firm.  It drags across the skin causing unnecessary irritation) Use the lanolin after every nursing session.  It is "edible" so baby can ingest it safely.

APNO is a prescription ointment that you can get from your OB before discharge from the hospital.  This cream contains anti-yeast ingredients that will help fight thrush. 

Hydrogel (or soothie) patches.  These gel patches are to be applied directly onto the nipple for instant soothing relief.  Refrigerate them before use for increased effectiveness.

Nursing Pillow
Some moms love these, some moms can live wihout one.  I love mine!  There are a lot of options.  Boppy is your best seller (that's what I've got)  Basically, it's a horseshoe shaped pillow that wraps around your waist, giving you something to rest the baby on while nursing.  It frees your hands, removes stress from your arms & shoulders and allows baby to feel more secure & relax while nursing.  After you outgrow the nursing need of the pillow, baby can use it as a sitting assistant or even a tummy time pillow.

(cotton nursing pads pictured below)

this is what the Medela look like every time I pull them out of the wash.  Terrible! I use the UdderCover pads the most and I recently purchased the Avent.  I like both of these and recommend them over the Medela.

Little things that make everyday life easier

I remember right after my son was born, my best friend was visiting us and she told me something that really made me stop & think.  She said that when she had her first baby, she had a difficult time alone at home with him.  She didn't have any extensive personal experience with babies so she really just didn't know what to do sometimes.  It wasn't until her LO was a few months old that her mother asked her why she didn't rock him in the rocking chair? ... O_O (face palm) she never even thought of that!!

People tend to assume that you just know certain things because they seem so basic.  But, sometimes you just need a friendly reminder.  So here a list of "basics" that you probably know, maybe you don't, maybe you've never thought about before! =)

~ Trash can with a foot pedal.  You'll find your hands are rarely available after baby is born

~ leave doors unlatched.  I park in the garage, so I leave the door from the garage to the family room open so I don't have to fumble with the door knob.  With baby, diaper bag, grocery sacks and shopping bags in tow, I just don't have hands free for door knob turning

~ pull out a couple diapers before bedtime and get them opened and ready.  Saving yourself 7 seconds at 3 am can make a world of difference. 

~ layer the bedsheets for super quick emergency changes at night.  I layer T man's mattress with a water proof pad, then sheet, then pad, then sheet, pad, sheet, pad, sheet.  I only changed his sheets every other week (excluding accidents) so I only have to do this once every 6-8 weeks.  Last night he had a diaper accident.  Instead of having to "change" his sheets at 3:30 a.m. I simply pulled off the top sheet and pad and voila! Clean sheet ready to go!

~ rinse your breast pump parts with hot water after pumping and place parts in refrigerator.  This is good for 24 hours without washing.  Makes night time pumps easier and last minute, run out of the house pumps less stressful.

~ shower at night. The chances of your morning going as planned are slim to none

~ washing your nursing bras and tanks with baby's clothes will insure they get washed more often.  (I tend to wash T man's clothes more frequently than our grown up clothes)

~ eat dinner after baby goes to sleep if possible. Otherwise, plan on eating in shifts and make sure your food is good hot or cold

~ load the car first, then feed baby and go.  Feeding baby first, then taking the time to load the car, will cut into those precious few hours that you have until baby needs feed again.

~ pack everything the night before. Load the diaper bag, pack you lunch, gather any errands you need for the next day.  Load what you can (safely, no wallets, etc.)  in the car at night. One less thing to do in the morning

~ keep a few diapers in the car.  The diaper bag will be empty when you least expect it.

~ carry deodorant in the diaper bag or car.  I promise you, you'll leave the house without it at least twice a week

~ always keep a spare shirt for yourself on hand.  Leaky boobs willl happen at the most inconvenient times.  Make sure the shirt is dark so you don't have a colored bra conflict.

I'm sure there are a million more things I'm just not thinking of right now.  But you get the idea.  Plan ahead to make the everyday tasks easier.

NIP (nursing in public)

I was going to start this post by discussing the controversy surrounding NIP, but I don't think I'm going to do that. I want to focus on the actual how-to of NIP to help new moms become comfortable and confident while out and about with their precious little babes.

First, dress for success.
There's no reason to spend lots of money on special "nursing" clothes. Anything will do, it just depends on your level of modesty. I, personally, am not comfortable wearing a regular t-shirt and pulling it up to expose my whole post baby body. I prefer to pull down from the top instead.

In the cold months, I like to layer a stretchy tank or a nursing tank under a loose blouse. That way I can reach inside, unclip my nursing bra or tank, pull that down to expose boob and pull up the blouse to latch on baby. This is by far your most discreet method of NIP. Once baby is on you can adjust the top blouse to keep exposed boob to a minimum and baby covers the rest. And if you wear the same color tank/blouse (black on black, etc) everyone will assume baby is asleep in your arms. I can't tell you how many times people have said "awe, is he asleep?" When I say "no, he's eating" they don't believe me! LOL

In the Midwest, layers in summer are just not an option. (Unless you enjoy being a walking talking wet sauna) there are a variety of other clothing options for easy NIP that don't require layers. My favorite right now is the peasant blouse. You know, a modern twist on that iconic hippie blouse that our moms used to wear! The super stretchy elastic collars give fast and comfortable access to just one breast at a time. Just grab and pull. =) I have them in 3/4 sleeves, cap sleeves and sleeveless.

Another option of course is buttons. Either a full button down or a 5 button style give you the opening you need to pull the boob out of the shirt. I wear a basic 5 button polo shirt at work each day for my nursing at work uniform. I choose one that had 5% spandex to give me a better stretch. I found that 3 button shirts don't typically come down low enough for me to get the boob out successfully.

My shopping technique nowadays consists of a quick tug on the collar to see if it stretches. Looks can be deceiving. I recently found a super cute top that has a full stretchy neckline without any visible elastic. =) whatever you find that works for you, I recommend buying multiple of the same shirt in every color they offer. I have a top that is perfect, I love it, I went back to buy more but they had stopped selling that shirt. =( sigh

Bring a few essentials
Okay. Once your dressed for success you need to make sure you have some essentials to help you while away from home. Depending on your skill and comfort level, you may or may not want to/be able to walk and nurse. In the beginning, I was all thumbs when it came to nursing my son. I was awkward and clumsy and not very graceful about any of it. My only option was to sit down and devote my whole attention to the task at hand (or boob I guess)

My constant traveling companion was the Travel Boppy. A zipper closed version of my nursing pillow with a carry strap. That thing stayed in the trunk of my car 24/7. I took it in the mall, to my folks house, my in laws, doctors office, etc. I eventually grew out of that, but man, it was nice having it when I needed out.

You'll also want to make sure you've got extra nursing pads to change out your wet ones. You've got to keep those nipples dry!

A burp cloth or receiving blanket is a must for cleaning up dribbles, drools, spit up and any accidental milk that may shoot forth during an unexpected unlatching.

Nursing covers. Hmmm. Another topic of heated debate. To cover or not to cover, that is a choice only you can make. I chose to cover in the early months. Not for anyone else's comfort but my own. Like I said, I was clumsy and awkward and I felt I could concentrate better on feeding my baby if I wasn't distracted by my own self consciousness. So yes, I covered. I tried several different nursing covers until I found one I liked. It was the UdderCover that you can order online. I liked the light weight material so we didn't get stuffy, the collar stood out very well so I could see my babe in action and it folded up nicely for diaper bag storage. T man was about 15 weeks old when I decided that I was ready to go without and we've never covered since.

***I want to say now that you DO NOT have to cover. Ever! You have every right to nurse your hungry, sleepy, cranky, frightened, teething, whatever baby absolutely anywhere at anytime. No one can tell you to stop. No one can tell you to leave. No one can tell you to cover or relocate to a different room. NO ONE! You are protected by state and federal laws. These laws come before any "store policy" or personal opinions. Do not let ANYONE bully you.***

Where to nurse
Anywhere! :-) okay, that doesn't help much. Here's a few tips for nursing openly while still getting "used to it".

Go to the baby aisle. Wether it's the grocery store, the pharmacy ora department store, they probably have a baby aisle. Go stand in it. No one who's shopping in the baby aisle should care if you're nursing a baby.

Go to the feminine products aisle =) you won't see many men lingering around that aisle, and if they are, they're getting out as fast as they can LOL

Go to the lingerie department. Again, all women, no men.

Need to sit down? No problem. Is there a bench by the customer service counter? Sit on it. Patio furniture in the lawn and garden section? Sit on it. Furniture in the home decor department? Sit on it. At the pharmacy or grocery store? They probably have a blood pressure machine. Sit on it! :-) remember. They can not ask you to leave. They can not ask you to stop. If they don't have it posted saying "do not sit" then you can sit down wherever you need to.

NIP is one of the most liberating and empowering things you can do for yourself. Take control of your body and take care of your baby. You are an amazing and awesome woman.  You are a mom!

Diaper Dooty

Dirty diapers are definitely a mothers #1 on her list of least glamorous.  Diaper dooty (pun intended) has 2 teams.  Team Cloth & Team Disposable.  No matter which team you choose, you have a lot of stinky days ahead of you.  Both cloth & disposable have pros & cons, you just have to choose which ones are the most important to you.

Here are some mind blowing facts

*** Pros ***
great for the environment
budget friendly (after the initial purchasing cost)
comfortable for baby
healthier for baby's skin
less diaper rashes
chemical free
they are SUPER cute!  a total fashion accessory =)
*** Cons ***
laundry (who needs more laundry to do?)
need to change more frequently (less absorbent for extended times periods)
depending on size of baby - may interfere with car seat buckles &/or clothing

*** Pros ***
they're disposable! just toss in the garbage and you're done
super absorbent
no laundry
available everywhere, easy to purchase
*** Cons ***
terrible for the environment!! they take forever to decompose (an estimated 250-500 years!!)
uncomfortable on babys delicate skin
increased likelihood of diaper rashes
filled with chemicals
EXPENSIVE!!! it is estimated that a child will need approximately 6000 diapers during his first 2 years!  Thats a lot of $$$

Most cloth mama's that I know make their own diapers.  They are incredibly easy to sew, even if you're not a crafty kind of person.  I also know a lot of mom's who are half & half moms.  They cloth at home & disposable while out & about.

Check out this awesome mom & her custom made cloth diapers.  she will tailor make your LOs diapers just the way you need them, adding extra wet protection where your little squirter tends to leak out the most.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Victorian BFing mothers

Formal photos of BFing mothers from the 1800's

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gentle Parenting is Not Anti-Spanking

Gentle Parenting is Not Anti-Spanking

I absolutely love The Badass Breastfeeder!    This article she wrote is so simply phrased and non aggressive.  I couldn't have wrote it better myself =)  thank you Badass!  :-)

Picking a pediatrician

This is probably one of the more nerve wracking tasks of becoming a new parent.  not only do you have to care for this little baby, but you have to also choose the doctor who you are going to be trusting his health & medical well being too.  How in the world do you go about doing that?!?

First, check with your insurance company to get a list of pediatric practices covered by your policy. 

Ask around.  Neighbors, co-workers, friends, relatives, etc.  Who do they use now or have used in the past.  Any reason why they left that doctor or switched offices? 

Set up an in office consultation with a few doctors to get a feel for them.  Just because you sisters neighbors cousin likes that doc does NOT mean you will too.  Personality has a lot to do with pediatrics and you have to be comfortable with them both as a person and a doctor.

Have a list of questions ready for your visit.  This will help you get perspective on their medical practices.  A few questions to ask would be:
*What are your views on breastfeeding vs formula feeding
*What is your standard practice regarding circumcision
*At what age will you recommend starting solid foods
*Would you support my decision should I choose to delay vaccinations
*Do you prescribe pharmaceutical medications first or are you willing to explore alternate methods
*When will my calls be returned and who will I primarily be speaking with on the phone
*How quickly can my sick child be seen
*Where do I get help after hours
*What if my doctor isn't available?  Who will I see in place of my regular doc?
  And most importantly
*Do you have privileges at the hospital I am delivering at?

Even if some of these questions don't pertain to you specifically, ask them anyway.  It will give you a broader view into their personality & medical preferences.  You'll be surprised at the very wide variety of pediatricians out there.  You need to be 100% comfortable with both the doctor & the office personnel. 

(*) I want to share about the pharmaceutical vs alternate method real quick.  My son has never had a diaper rash.  He's been a bit pink/red occasionally and he had  a few bumps once in the early weeks but it went away in just a couple hours.  That being said, I changed his diaper one day (6 mo approx.) and noticed 3 pink bumps on his (intact) penis.  No big deal I though, I just used a touch of cream and forgot about it.  The next day the bumps were red & he had 5 bumps now.  Okay, used a stronger diaper rash cream.  Day 3 the entire head of his penis was red & puffy! Oh No! =( I texted my friend, whose son is only 5mo older than T man.  She said "C" had recently had the same thing & it was a yeast infection (of all things) Her pedi had prescribed one ointment that didn't work so they had to get a second prescription.  Took over a week to heal.  I immediately called  Dr P to get T man in that same day.  Dr P agreed with my thought of a yeast infection.  He told me to go to the store & buy some athletes foot cream (such as Lotramin) Apply that to his penis with every diaper change for 1 week.  His penis was clear in 24 hours. =)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Knowledge is power

Imagine this.  You wake up one day to find yourself in a foreign country, completely lost in unfamiliar surroundings and unable to communicate with anyone because you don't speak the language.  Think how frightened you would be!

Now imagine that you had 9 months to prepare for that visit abroad.  You study the culture and language, you plan your route through the city.  You make yourself as ready as possible before the big day.  Once you arrive at your destination you're not only comfortable, but your actually excited!

Child birth and motherhood are the exact same thing.  Going through pregnancy without preparing yourself for Labor & Delivery is not only irresponsible, it's just plain lazy.  I promise you, if you prepare yourself for what is ahead, although you may not be giddy with excitement,  you won't be terrified out of your mind either.  Child birthing classes are usually offered at your hospital or birthing center and are often free to parents delivering at that location.  These classes will introduce you to the facility, hospital admittance procedures, tour the maternity floors and explain  birthing procedures.  They will also take you through the actual physical birth.  Knowing what is going to happen to your body physically will remove a lot of the mystery.  I won't lie to you.  Child birth hurts.  But it is a manageable pain.  This is not a "forever" pain, it's temporary. A few days of braxton hicks contractions and (hopefully) less than a day of actual labor.  Being prepared and knowing what to expect takes a lot of the stress and anxiety out of the equation, allowing you to focus on the wonderful experience you are about to have.

Besides taking hospital birthing classes, I also highly recommend a few alternate forms of self education

My favorite books:

Mommy Rescue Guide (series) -> they offer a variety of books covering topics such as Breastfeeding, Potty training, Baby's fist year, etc.  What I love most about these books is how easy they are to just pick up & read in spurts.  There is no need to read an entire chapter if you only need info on one topic.  They are also pocket sized.  You can just toss it in your purse & take it along with you to read while you sit in the doctors office

The Happiest Baby on the Block -> available in book or video, this is a must!  Read &/or watch the video BEFORE baby comes.  The information presented here pertains to what is called the "fourth trimester".  The first 3 months of baby's life is full of difficult transitions for your little one & knowing how to ease him comfortably into our world will make both mommy & baby happier

The No Cry Sleep Solution -> one of the most sanity saving pieces of information is to understand the difference between adult sleep patterns and infant sleep patterns.  Infants do not sleep the same way that we do.  For example, "sleeping through the night" for a baby is only 5 hours!  When you consider how quickly they grow & how often they eat, this shouldn't surprise you.

The Wonder Weeks -> a pure life saver.  This one you will not read before baby comes (well, maybe the introduction) it is a read as he grows kind of book.  This amazing book charts & explains the mental growth spurts that all baby's experience at roughly the same times during the first 20 months of life.  Being able to anticipate "fussy" periods in your little ones life will help you suppress any irrational burst of anger that commonly occur in new parents.  Sleep deprivation and a drastic change in your life style can cause short fuses & frayed nerves.  Add a sudden (and unexpected) personality change in your beloved bundle of joy & you might feel like your going to snap!  Prepare yourself before it happens & you will be able to weather the storm & come out smiling.

Apps / Websites / FB Pages:

WEBSITES -> join your "birth club" to connect with women due the same month as you

The Wonder Weeks
baby center
what to expect
Feed baby pro -> allows you to track baby's feedings, medicines, diapers, naps, growth,etc.
Contraction app (just find one that's free and easy to use)

FB PAGES (there are tons, but these are my favs)
The Leaky B@@B (spelled just like that LOL)
The Badass Breastfeeder
I hate it when people act like breastfeeding is obscene.  GET OVER IT!

Basically I'm just trying to say ... Educate yourself!

So called "bad habits"

When I was pregnant with T man I got lots of advice. Some of it useful, some of it not.  And when you're a first time expecting mother you are so completely overwhelmed that you have no idea what advice you should keep and what advice to ignore.  That was one of my motivations for doing so much research.

I'll list you some of my favorite "bad habits" that I was warned against and I'll explain why I choose to do these things anyway.

#1 "don't let him use you as a human pacifier"
»» Sounds reasonable doesn't it?  Until you actually stop to think about it, that is.  If your infant is feeling some sort of discomfort or unease and he needs to be pacified, why WOULDN'T you let him use you?  Why should the task, no ... the privilege of calming your baby be given to an artificial device made from plastic, rubber and silicone?  If you are distressed and you "just need a hug" (because haven't we all?) Would you want that hug to come from a mannequin or a human?  Nursing is SO much more than nutrition.  This is your babies version of a nice long hug.

#2 don't pick him up every time he cries.  You'll spoil him. It's good for him to cry a little bit.
»» O_O ... oh wow. You already know where I stand on "spoiling" so let's move past that to the crying bit.  Where do people get off thinking that crying is "good"? Crying is a babies last defense.  After he has used all the body language he knows, the only thing he has left is his tiny voice.  Crying is a plea for help.  He's saying "something is wrong, I don't know what exactly, but I need you mommy.  Please help me"  do YOU want to be ignored during your time of need?  He has many, many times of need, so yes, he will cry often, but only because he can't communicate any other way.

#3 Sometimes he's not actually hungry.  Just give him a bottle of water
»» Okay, there are a few sides to this one.  First off, it's an old practice that just isn't medically recommended any longer.  Mothers used to give their babies a serving of water between feedings to fill their tummys and keep the baby on his feeding schedule.  Nowadays, babies don't follow a feeding schedule. BFing mama's nurse on demand.  Baby's hungry? Let him nurse! Just ate 20 minutes ago? That's okay, let him nurse. We don't deny our infants access to the breast.

Is giving your baby water absolutely terrible? No. I mean, come on.  They're not gremlins! :-) when the nurses and doctors tell you "don't give your baby water" they are referring the ounces of water our mothers and grandmother's used to give us.

So ... when and why would you give your baby water? Usually I would only give my newborn water if he'd been crying for an extended period of time and refused the breast.  During his early colic weeks, T man would get all worked up and agitated to the point that he couldn't stop himself even if he tried.  He cried because his throat hurt and his throat hurt because he was crying.  It was a vicious cycle that he didn't understand and was helpless to stop on his own.  Using a medicine dropper, I would slowly place 3-4 ml water in his mouth to soothe his throat and calm him down.  Once calm I was able to get him latched on and nursing.  A nap quickly followed.

#4 don't nurse him to sleep. He needs to sleep on his own
»» why? He came from a tiny little world that consisted of just him and his very cramped living quarters.  Now he's living in this huge, open, cold place with nothing to snuggle expect artificial objects.  Which would you prefer? Going to sleep alone in your great big bed, cold and alone, or snuggling up against a loved one (probably spooning) and falling asleep in their arms, knowing you are safe and loved? I'll take door number 2 please :-) and so will my baby.

There are so many more, but these were my "big ones" Everyone has their opinions, including me.  No one is perfect and we all have our own methods, but I feel these ideas need to be packed away and forgotten about.  Let's raise our babies to be well loved and never ignore their needs.

Could you Would you on a train?

One of the most wonderful things about breastfeeding is low maintenance, hassle free traveling. Here we are on the Amtrak coming home from our holiday weekend in St Louis.  I can't even begin to imagine all the hassle it would take to formula fed a baby on vacation.  Packing the bottles and formula and possibly your own water?  Then having to mix the bottle while on a moving train. =/ Then (yep, not finished yet) you have to figure out how to warm it, or serve it to your baby cold.  And who wants to do dishes while on vacation?!? Not me!! :-)

Besides having instant milk available at a moment's notice (perfectly prepared and at the exact right temperature) I was also able to soothe and comfort my cranky infant when his bedtime had come and past.  Since T man goes to bed at 730, but the train didn't arrive at home until 920, you can only imagine how fussy he got being on the train with all its bright lights and busy commotion.  Having mommy's warm, safe, comfortable, familiar embrace while nursing kept my son happy and calm.  He fell asleep just before 8 pm and slept all the way home and transferred into his crib easily.  He knew that mommy was with him. Not only could he feel my presence, but he could hear my heart and my breathing and he could smell my milk. 

What a prefect ending to a wonderful weekend.

The horse riding stance

My little T man trying out some new nursing positions.  He loves this one because he gets to be in control =) 

You can't spoil a baby & they don't have ulterior motives

This bothers me more than anything else I think.  The idea that people believe a newborn or infant baby can become "spoiled" is absurd! To think that an infant has the kind of mental awareness to understand special treatment is simply ridiculous.  Can a toddler or child be spoiled? of course! But only because they understand what is happening.

Let me elaborate a bit more.

To be spoiled, a person has to understand that the treatment or attention he is receiving is different or exceptional compared to the treatment that others are receiving.  How can an infant possibly understand this? Simply put, they can not.  Infants have only the most basic of thoughts.  They exist on pure instinct, knowing only that they "need" not that they "want". 

Babies do not have ulterior motives.  They do not act out of spite or malicious intent.  They become aware when something is different or wrong and that causes them to NEED you.  A baby is hungry or gassy, hot or cold, over stimulated, tired, agitated, frightened, lonely, bored, confused.  These sensations can cause the infant to need you and you are either there for him or you are not.  Plain and simple.

Being responsive to your infants needs does not spoil him.  It teaches him trust, love, dependability and security.  He knows that should anything happen to him you will be there for him.  It is surprisingly difficult to be a baby! They have to learn how to do everything that we take for granted and that is exhausting (both physically & mentally) They NEED us.  They can not care for themselves.

On a related subject, a similar phrase that grates on my nerves is "Oh he's just doing that so ......" NO! They aren't!! That would imply an ulterior motive that just does not exist.  If a baby does something that seems irritating or manipulative, that is only your perspective that you are projecting towards him.  What seems incredibly disruptive to you is simply a learning experience for him.

Everyone knows the "dropping game".  Baby drops a toy, you pick it up just for him to immediately drop it agian.  Irritating right? You feel that he is doing that "just to make you pick it up again." So ... he's doing it out of spite?? NO! he's learning about cause & effect.  Actions have consequenses, but he doesn't understand that yet.  How does anyone learn anything without being taught?

The next time your little one is working on your last nerve, remember it is only his way of learning how the world works.  It is not a personal attack against you.  You are his parent, you are responsible for his growth and development. 

10 things I never thought would happen

In no particular order :

* falling in love with something that is almost always sticky, stinky, wet or slobbery.

* being fascinated and amazed at the milk streaming out of my breasts

* having another human being poop directly into my open hand

* finding that I don't actually need any sleep to still be able to function throughout the day

* selling my motorcycle and giving up riding (for now)

* breastfeeding! (You should have met me a few years ago)

* having my son set my curfew for me.  7 pm? Really ?!? sigh, okay =/

* that I would become so confident and comfortable with my son's breastfeeding that I will openly and willingly pop a boob out absolutely anywhere =)

* finding a whole new set of reasons to love my husband

* me (of all people) becoming a mother!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

A few disclaimers

I should post a couple disclaimers before I head off to bed.  Ya know, just in case someone follows this blog without fully understanding my intent =)

This is, among other things, a BREASTFEEDING parenting blog.  I will,I repeat, I WILL!!! be posting pics of myself and my little baby T man BFing.  So I'm warning you now. And this will be my one and only warning, if you don't wanna see it, don't look at it. ;)

Secondly, I have the cutest, most adorable baby on the planet.  Sorry folks. It's true. He's amazingly gorgeous.  Get used to it. =D LOL

Third.  I am a highly opinionated person with a very flimsy filter.  I curse, I rant, I even whine occasionally.  Take it or leave it.  Find me offensive? Good! LOL

I'm really here just to empty my brain.  I only hope that you can take away some piece of helpful information along the way. 

Good night internet =)

What kind of mom am I ?!?

First, a little back story.  By the time my son was born, I was 31 years old, married 12 years & completely comfortable in my life the way it was.  I never, i mean Never! thought I would be a mother.  I didn't want kids, heck, there was even a time in my life that I "didn't like" kids.  So what happened to me??  Honestly, I have no idea! =) after hubby & I celebrated our 10th wedding, I was due to have my IUD replaced.  Suddenly, I just didn't want to!  I couldn't explain it, but I just could not bring myself to continue on birth control.  We talked it over & decided that we would take whatever life & God handed to us.  If we were meant to be childless so be it.  Parents?  .... (deep breath) okay, we can do that too!  Well, 8 weeks later I was prego! Unfortunately that sweet little angel was not meant to be.  I lost my first baby at 13 weeks ='(  We waited 6 months to try again.  Got prego instantly (I am fertile!!) but, once again, that baby was not meant to be mine.  I lost my second pregnancy at 8 weeks.  This time we didn't wait any longer than we technically had to.  I got prego again (quickly of course) and this time he stuck =)

So, what kind of mom am I ?

At first, everything was very surreal.  I was paranoid of course after my losses so I didn't dive in head first.  It began as more of a creeping in the shallow end, then a slow wading into the deep end.  I knew I was anti-circ (umcision) but that was the only issue I was defensive about.  How did I feel about other aspects of parenting though?  cloth diapers? maybe, but probably not.  Vaccines? I didn't know I was supposed to care! Breastfeeding? (hang my head in defeat) Okay, if I have to. I mean, it is free after all.  I was just worried about carrying this baby, all that stuff will figure itself out later, right?!?

Eventually, my obsessive research instincts kicked in and I became a self educating fanatic. =)  I read every scrap of information I could get my hands &/or browser on.  Birth boards, magazines, books, apps, you name.  I took classes, both real & virtual.  I scoured the library for any kind of books I could find.  Partly cause I'm research happy, partly cause I was terrified to some degree. (but aren't all first time moms)

I discovered other things that I became defensive about.  Cry it out (never!) babywearing (always) bed sharing (still undecided).  Breastfeeding? (hang my head) it's free, right?!?  I remember lying in the hospital bed, in active labor, pushing my baby out & telling hubby "I don't think I can breastfeed! I can't do that!" He reminded me that I still needed to finish actually "having" the baby LOL Once that sweet, gooey, kind of purple, cone headed baby came squeezing out of my body though, my first & only thought was "I WANT TO BREASTFEED MY BAAAAABY!" gimme gimme gimme =) and we've never looked back =)

So, to answer that question.  What kind of mom am I?  Well, I'm a BFing, anti-circing, babywearing, never letting him cry it out mom.  Some things are still up in the air for now, but i know what direction my path is pointed & I'm traveling down the road one day at a time.