Friday, September 30, 2011

My Nursing Must Haves

Breastfeeding can be tough in the first few weeks. Heck the first few months. M hit 8 weeks and all of a sudden a switch flipped and breastfeeding was second nature to us both. There was no more pain, my supply settled, and I became a pro at nursing in public. What I learned though is that there are some things that helped me get through the tough times. Here are my personal must haves for beating booby traps.

Welcome to Heaven. These are Earth Mama Angel Baby Boob Tubes. This is probably the product that saved me and my nursing relationship. They wrap perfectly around your nipple or breast. They heat up in the microwave and cool in the freezer. They are worth their weight in gold. So those are my three reasons why you need these. When my milk first came in it was like someone filled my boobs with cement. I would heat these up and wrap them around before bed and throughout the day. If you are having problems with letdown heat up and put on. When I had a clogged duct heat up and put on. When I had milk blisters heat up and put on. If you think that's amazing then listen to this. Frozen boob tube on your shriveled up raw nipples. Enough said.
Lather those puppies up. Even if your baby latches perfectly chances are it's still going to hurt in the first several weeks. You've got something sucking on your nipple about 12 hours of the day. It's not going to feel pleasant. So in the meantime until your nipples become leather and not even alligator clamps would hurt your going to need some lanolin.
Invest in a good pump. I was going to wait until I went back to work to get one. Luckily my husband talked me into getting one before M was born. The first thing I did was run to my pump when I got home from the hospital. I was so engorged M couldn't even latch. You never know what is going to happen with breastfeeding. You may need the nipple stimulation in order for them to perk up and become easier to latch. You may have too much fore milk and need to express some. You may be like me and need it for some relief. You may need to up your supply and pump after or in between sessions. You never know what will come your way and a good pump will help.

This is a nursing bra cami. It has made nursing in public so easy. If you're like me and you want to nurse without a cover but not show your stomach then this is perfect. It's a bra and tank top all in one. Just snap and pop your boob in your babies mouth. It's that simple. This one is by Bravado!. I have their nursing bras and they are amazing. The stretch material is so comfortable. Sometimes a good nursing bra is worth the splurge.

I have only used this next product a couple of times. I mainly bought it for pumping once I go back to work. This is the Simple Wishes Hands Free Nursing Bra. There have been times when I'm running late, need makeup, need hair, and need to pump. This is perfect for those times. It is probably the least attractive thing you will ever do. Strap this sucker on and continue what you're doing. When I go back to work I'll get two fifteen minute breaks to pump. I'll put this on and double pump while having my hands free. In fifteen minutes I can finish pumping IF I'm doing both at the same time.

You may think after reading all of this that breastfeeding must suck. I won't lie. In the beginning it can be hard. There will be things that trip you up. Whether it's discomfort, supply, or public opinion. Just know that breastfeeding will be the most rewarding and beneficial thing you ever do. Looking back on the past 12 weeks I feel like I've accomplished something. I stuck it out and endured the hardships for my daughter. I wanted her to have the best start she could have so I sacrificed my comfort and time to give that to her. It might take a bit of time, but you will come to love your relationship with breastfeeding.

Monday, September 26, 2011

M's New Skill

About a week ago I put M down on her play mat and went to go change. When I came back out the stinker was on her belly. I thought it was a fluke since at her age it's pretty early to be rolling over. She was 11 weeks yesterday. Well I guess it's not early for M. In the past few days she has mastered the art of rolling over. She now gets ticked if she is somewhere where she can't roll over. i.e rock n' play, car seat, and bouncer.

I wasn't ready for this. So now she is on some pretty heavy supervision. Lets just hope she's not an early walker. I'm not ready to put all my crap up. Speaking of walking early. I need to get out a little thing that gets under my skin. I think it's the early childhood educator in me. Having a baby that goes straight to walking is not something to brag about. Crawling is a very important step in a babies development. It's important that if your baby doesn't crawl that you work with them on learning how to do so. The reason being that crawling is the first lesson in crossing sides of the brain. Babies that never crawled may have a harder time learning to read in the future. It can also effect language development. There I got that out.

So now that I went off on a ramble unrelated to this post here is a video of M rolling over. My baby is adorable.

As her mother it is my job to think she is the smartest thing EVER. We are both at fault for calling her a genius 500 times a day. So in more doting mom fashion here is a bonus video of our prodigy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trying To Love A Cesarean: My Birth Story

Ten weeks later and I still have to remind myself that my c-section got M here safely. It's my way of trying to feel better about how she got here. On July 4th I was preparing to be induced the next day. I was five days past my due date and so over being pregnant. I think when I hit 40 weeks I just locked myself in the house for the safety of the general public. By that time I had accepted that I wouldn't get the excited 'my water just broke' and all that. I had my bag packed and I was ready to get her out.

That day I had my last non stress test and my nurse had told me about pelvic thrusts. She suggested I try these at home to help get M into position. I figured I'd try it and waste more time. After all I had walked the entire town several times over, bounced on a ball for hours on end, and ate about a pound of basil. So I waited awhile until A.U. finally convinced me to try them. I did about ten of them and then gave up because my grandparents came over to eat strawberry short cake. About fifteen minutes after I did the thrusts I got the biggest cramp and lost some fluid. I was schocked to say the least. Slowly I just kept losing more. I was in a panic while my family calmly ate their strawberry short cake. They just kept saying 'oh we've got time.'

Finally we all got to the hospital and I waddled up to the third floor looking like I peed my pants. It's not only my c-section that didn't go as planned. Nothing went as planned. First I always wanted a med free birth. Not so much. Two hours in they hooked me up to pitocin. Dry labor and pitocin is no joke. So about that time I got morphine in my IV. Then my blood pressure was going all over the place so I also had some meds put in my IV to help with that. When that didn't work I also got some blood pressure pills. Then at four cm. I got my epidural. Heaven. I won't lie. Fast forward sixteen hours and all of a sudden it all went wrong.

M's heart rate dropped to 50 bpm which is not good at all. I had four nurses rush in moving me side to side, hooking up oxygen, and trying not to look panicked. For the first time I thought I might not go home with M. I was crying and praying and crying. I just thought ' God, I can't live without her.' Finally they got her heart rate to stabilize, but it didn't last long. She had several more dips and I wasn't progressing past 7 cm. It was all falling apart. I went from not getting induced and having my dream birth to the farthest thing from it. When the Doctor arrived I was done trying to get her to be ok. I just wanted her in my arms. Safe. My amazing, wonderful Doctor could tell. He called for a cesarean and thirty minutes later I was being moved to the operating table.

Getting wheeled in there it really hit me. What if she isn't ok? What if I'm not ok? How could this happen? The medicine I had at the point made me really sick. I was so afraid of throwing up and choking on it. I wanted to Hulk out of the straps they had me in. I was shaking uncontrollably from the medicine. There was blood on the blue curtain right in my face. I felt like I was getting tugged in every direction. To this day I can't believe how small my incision is. It felt like I was cut side to side.

Then I heard it. M's cry. She was brought around to us and all of a sudden the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen was right in front of me. We touched cheeks. I told her I loved her. Told her how proud I was of her. I was going to take her home. She was coming home with us. It was like a power ballad just burst into my head. I was all 'Can't explain all the feelings that you're making me feel. My heart's in overdrive and you're behind the steering wheel. I wanna kiss you every minute, every hour, every day. You got me in a spin but everythin' is A.OK!' Even though I was on deaths door and strapped to a bed with my organs hanging out I was on cloud nine.

That was M's birth. It wasn't ideal. I cry daily during A Baby Story. I'm super jealous of girls who have vaginal births. I'll never have that. I'll never hear it's time to push. I'll never have the excitement of the huge light coming down from the ceiling. I'll never have a baby placed directly on my chest. I'm dealing with it. In the times where I feel down I hold M close and kiss her. Her chord was wrapped around her neck. She wasn't doing ok. So I tell myself she's here because of my cesarean. God made it up to me by giving me one hell of a boob sucker.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How To: Mei Tai, Ring Sling, Moby

I wanted to make some videos to show how to do different carry positions. One thing that can be a little difficult is reading how to do a tie. It is for me at least. I am more of a visual learner. If you are too these may help you get a good position in your carrier. Like a lot of things in life some carriers need practice. It takes a couple times to get it down pat and to be able to tell if a hold isn't right.

You may doubt at first that you'll be able to get a good hold. Every mom worries about their babies safety and in the beginning you may question if they are safe. A good rule to follow is if you can kiss the top of their head without leaning down then they are in a good spot. Make sure that they have their head turned to one side so that their nostrils are showing. This allows good air flow. Compare how you would hold your baby in your arms to how they are positioned against you. Happy baby wearing!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Benefits Of Extended Breastfeeding

There is no doubt that any amount of time you can breastfeed your baby is valuable. What most people aren't aware of are the tremendous benefits of extended breastfeeding. Statistics say that 75% of women start breastfeeding, 43% are breastfeeding at six months, and 22% are breastfeeding at one year. The number one response I hear from people when I tell them I want to breastfeed M for at least two years is that it's weird. Unfortunately this is a pretty common opinion. I feel like most people feel this way because they aren't aware of the benefits. Many women know that breast is best, but do they know why?

  • Breastfed children have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter durations.
  • World Health Organization, "a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness."
  • Studies have shown that one of the best ways to prevent allergies and asthma in children is to breastfeed for at least six months.
  • Research has been done to show the link between cognitive achievement and children who were breastfed for long periods of time. These include IQ scores and school grades. It was found that children who were breastfed had an average of ten higher IQ points.
  • "Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood." Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq. in
  • Breastfeeding babies prevents obesity. Even in infancy, breastfed babies as a group are leaner than their formula-fed peers.
  • Breastfed babies have better jaw alignment and are less likely to need orthodontic work as they get older.
  • Some researchers believe that breastfeeding during infancy may lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life.
  • Babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes mellitus during childhood.
  • Lowered risk of multiple sclerosis.
There are also many benefits for the mother. Breastfeeding truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

  • Reduces the risk of breast cancer.
  • Reduces the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
  • Lesser rate of osteoporosis.
  • Studies show that breastfeeding mothers show less postpartum anxiety and depression than do formula-feeding mothers.
  • Promotes postpartum weight loss.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis
These are a couple links that will give even more information on the benefits of breastfeeding. Click here and here. I tried to look up the advantages of formula feeding to add to this, but could not find any. I'm not bashing formula, but the info just isn't out there. All I could find were the benefits of breast milk over formula. There are certainly situations were formula can be a life save for mothers. Just know that in the beginning it may not be easy, but it is so worth it. I would also like to add that there are many milk banks out there. Many mother's will donate their breast milk and some for a fee.

‎"Bottles fill his stomach but breastfeeding fills his soul." - Diane Weissinger
"Parents and health professionals need to recognize that the benefits of breastfeeding (nutritional, immunological, cognitive, emotional) continue as long as breastfeeding itself does, and that there never comes a point when you can replace breast milk with infant formula, cows' milk or any other food, or breastfeeding with a pacifier or teddy bear, without some costs to the child."
KA Dettwyler, "Beauty and the Breast" from Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives, 1995, p. 204.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Accepting The New Me

I can't. To say I feel down about how I look is putting it mildly. I wasn't some hottie before getting pregnant, but I was better than this. What's funny is I had so many insecurities about my body back then. God if I knew then what I know now. I just want to go back in time and kick my own butt for not loving how I looked. I wasn't a stick, but I had a shape. Now I just look in the mirror and only one word comes to mind. I don't want to say that word here. I'm a big piece of flab with stretch marks. Also, I have no idea why anyone would want big boobs. I miss my old ones.

I've been having these feelings a lot lately, but after a pound of fries and a bowel of ice cream they really came pouring out. I need to make a change. I walked more nine months pregnant in the July heat than I have recently in the cool breeze. I did ok at first with eating, but here lately it's like I'm pregnant again. Why can't I just crave a salad? I lost like 30lbs in the first few weeks after M was born. Now I'm at a stand still. The rest is up to me. So instead of throwing out half my closet I need to get busy. My plan is to walk five days a week. I'll be getting some disgusting Kashi cereal for breakfast. Mmm tree bark. For lunch a salad or a sandwich. No more chips or desserts at lunch. For dinner I'll try to keep it away from the freezer and out of the fridge instead. I used to always cook. I loved it. Now I'm just lazy and pop in some chicken fries.

I figure that with the exercise, breastfeeding, and healthier meals that I can get away with a dessert for dinner. That is my weakness. If you are having trouble accepting the new you head over to Shape Of A Mother. It is a seriously awesome blog of women with their postpartum bodies. It makes me feel like I'm not alone. We aren't. It is what it is. Now it's all about what I do from here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Hopes For M

When I was pregnant with M I would often think of my hopes for her. I was such an emotional wreck with overwhelming love for her that sometimes I would start to cry thinking about how much I loved her. That hasn't really stopped. I still cry in that dang Pampers commercial every time. The thing is when M was born was the most amazing, unbelievable, life changing event. I achieved everything I want in life that day. Even if it didn't happen the way I had planned. It was perfect. You have this baby growing for nine months and it's so hard to wrap your mind around it. To see her in person and know that those elbows were what I was feeling. That her little butt was what I felt rolling back and forth. It is so unreal. I love her with every part of me. So I wanted to write down my hopes for her.

I hope you always know how much we love you. We've loved you for so long.

I don't care what you believe or stand for as long as it's something.

I hope you decide what you believe and stand for yourself.

I hope you are aware of other people's beliefs and ideas and realize that they are entitled to them and not wrong because they aren't yours.

I want you to have peace and spread peace.

I hope you accept everyone even if they aren't like you.

I hope you go everywhere and do everything your heart desires.

I hope you find a love for something and never give it up even if others put it down.

Most of all I want you to be exactly who you want to be and embrace it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Goodnight Moon

M watching the "moon"
Today M and I are talking about the moon. I'm basing this around the book 'Goodnight Moon'. To get the repetition of the book we'll read it several times today. Once with our morning reading and then once with our night reading. Sometime today we'll shut off the lights and shine a flashlight on the ceiling. To help her follow to and past the midline with her eyes I'll go side to side on the ceiling. Babies love to stare at lights, and this is a way to bring the book into that. After our night reading of today's book we'll go outside and talk about the moon. Of course she's too little to understand the words, but she's not too little to hear them. Talking as much as you can to baby is great for language development. We'll not only talk about how far it is but also about shape, color, and size. Be as descriptive as you can while talking to baby. Say things like 'the black car' or 'the eight yellow chicks.' This helps not only language but color recognition, counting, and whatever you describe. Have fun!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sun Magic (The Scoop On Poop)

If you are breastfeeding I'm sure you've realized by now that your little bundle pees poop. They probably will until they are on solid foods. Ideally a breastfed babies stool should be runny and yellow. If it is green then they are most likely getting too much fore milk and not enough hind milk. That can happen if you have an oversupply. Off topic, but a tip for that is to hand express or pump a small amount before putting your baby to the breast. That way they can get more of the hind milk(the good stuff). Any who that runny yellow stuff may be an easy wipe up, but it is most definitely not an easy wash up. I'm talking stains. M was down to about one pair of socks without stains before I learned the power of the sun.

It was getting time to cloth diaper her since she was almost 10lbs and it hit me that these things will be sick with stains. It took twenty socks to realize 'hey this isn't coming out.' So I looked around for ideas on how to remove poop stains. This is good for formula fed babies as well. Poop is poop. The sun is a natural bleach. It is seriously magic. It does what bleach and detergent can't. I know this because once a month you need to throw in some bleach with your wash to fight odors. It does nothing for poop stains.

So here is what you do, and it's so simple I can do it. Buy a drying rack or clothes line. I chose drying rack because my husband didn't want a clothes line to deal with. Plus he thinks they are trashy. I think they look old school and environmentally friendly. I got a drying rack from Wal Mart for $9. You can find it here: It's rated three stars. There's a reason for that. It sucks. Set whichever one you chose up where it will get direct sunlight. Let them dry. That's it. Watch your pesky poop stains magically fade.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To Delay or Not To Delay: The Vaccine Question

Today was V day. I've been dreading it since I got two lines back in October. I did the research from the beginning. Part of me felt like 'ok let's just not.' First I should say that it had nothing to do with autism. You may or may not know that Dr. Wakefield who made claims that the MMR vaccine was linked to autism has been debunked and lost his license to practice medicine. Turns out he was working on his own MMR vaccine and wanted to scare people away from it. I guess what bothered me is just the fact of putting so many things into her body.

On the other hand there are people who rely on heard immunity for their own safety. Most of these people cannot have vaccines because of allergies in them. So when the country just stops vaxing heard immunity goes out the window. You can see why this would be a horrible thing. So not vaxing was also out of the question.

I don't feel strongly one way or the other. If you want to that is great! If you don't, just do your research. However if you are just saying 'Jenny McCarthy says my kid will have autism' then you're an idiot. I can't really put that nicely. So our question was to delay or not. I went back and forth the whole nine months and continued in her two whole months of life. For me it was like why not? It couldn't hurt anything, right?

Dr. Sears's Alternative Vaccine Schedule

  • 2 months: DTaP, Rotavirus
  • 3 months*: Pc, HIB
  • 4 months: DTaP, Rotavirus
  • 5 months*: Pc, HIB
  • 6 months: DTaP, Rotavirus
  • 7 months*: Pc, HIB
  • 9 months: Polio (IPV)
  • 12 months: Mumps, Polio (IPV) (See 3rd UPDATE)
  • 15 months: Pc, HIB
  • 18 months: DTaP, Chickenpox
  • 2 years: Rubella, Polio (IPV) (See 3rd UPDATE)
  • 2 1/2 years*: Hep B, Hep A (start Hep B at birth if any close relatives or caregivers have Hep B)
  • 3 years: Hep B, Measles (See 3rd UPDATE)
  • 3 1/2 years*: Hep B, Hep A
  • 4 years: DTaP, Polio (IPV)
  • 5 years: MMR
  • 6 years: Chickenpox
  • 12 years: Tdap, HPV
  • 12 years, 2 months*: HPV
  • 13 years: HPV, Meningococcal (once Meningococcal vaccine is approved for age 2, Dr. Sears will move it there and delay Hep B by 6 months)

Last night all I could do was toss, turn, and nurse. I woke up this morning set that we would do a delayed schedule. I wanted to make it as easy for M as possible. I felt like I had finally come to the right decision for our family. So all this morning I checked her temp like every hour. I watched for signs that she didn't feel well. I remember reading in one of the millions of baby magazines that I got while pregnant that you should wait to vax if there are signs of fever. Nothing. She was her usual half fussy half super smiley self.

So we got ourselves ready and went to the health dept. I got there a little early to talk to them about how I wanted her to be on a delayed schedule. Well, turns out they don't do them. So that was that, and my months of research and worry were decided by a policy. I stood there crushed and full of worry. What about Dr. Sears? What about my M? My choice was decided for me. Maybe it was better that way. Maybe I just made my first parenting mistake by not going elsewhere. Either way I've accepted it.

It was awful. M had her first real tear after those three shots. Her poor little thighs had three Winnie the Pooh stickers. Three! I cried. She cried. Her dad held her and stayed strong for the three of us. She got a book and we got some pamphlets. That was that. We go back in two months. Right now she is sleeping it off. She hasn't been crabby and her temp is regular. Here in a bit we are getting in the shower to hang out and sooth her little legs. We've been doing the bicycle leg motions to help her muscles. I hate to think that she may be sore right now. Her second diaper change since I took off her band aids. There was blood on them. Little specks. My little defenseless baby bled. It broke my heart. As much as it hurt to see her hurt I really feel like in the long run this was best for us. If it's not best for you then I just hope you stick to your guns. You know what's best and that's the best we can do.

Here are some articles on delaying your child's vaccine schedule:

Here are some articles on Dr. Wakefield (from both sides):

Saturday, September 3, 2011

0-3 Month Royalty

Yes, it's true. M is officially a baby queen. She always was in our eyes. Putting M in a baby pageant wasn't something I ever really saw myself doing. I don't know why. Turns out it's actually pretty fun, but maybe that's because we won. I'm pretty sure I would have been a bit defensive had we lost. That's just me, but who knows. I could have been the bigger person too. We'll never know.

Not only is M pageant royalty, but her cousin also won first place in 4-6 boys. We came, we won, we went back to our own town. Which wasn't the plan, but apparently the fair never showed up. So there was an empty field, baby show tent, and a country festival afterwards. Not really our thing.

This place was so packed it was ridiculous. At first it was about 5,000 degrees out and the sun was only a few feet from us. Then all of a sudden there's a down pour and some crazy wind. So instead of having the show up on a stage we were under a tent that was about to cave. Luckily that only lasted about half way through. So being that it was insanely packed and really loud there aren't really any pictures of this amazing event. All we got were some celebratory shots afterwards.

The best part was how alert and happy M was the whole time. Then five minutes after her win she was out. Girl knows how to perform when need be. Now don't worry I'm not going to start getting her spray tanned. I'd say our pageant days are over. We decided to hang up our hat while we're ahead.

Sister, Brother in Law, and King baby A.
Check out that fedora!

Husband, Me, and worn out queen M.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mastering The Moby

The Moby was the first carrier that I purchased in preparation for M. Let me tell you when I got that 5.5 meters of fabric I thought 'well forget this.' It's pretty intimidating. I would practice and practice, but it looked pretty bad with my huge belly and a teddy bear. So I started to stock up on ring slings which I became I pro at with the help of my cat. Once M was here and I knew what I thought all along. That I would be in love with baby wearing. I decided to purchase a Mei Tai. The Mei Tai is easy. I love it. It's easy. Not as easy as the ring sling, but just as great.

So last night I decided to make another attempt at the Moby. I was hoping that with a slimmer belly and better Guinea pig it would work. It did. She loves the Moby. I loved how easy it was to move around in. I have to tell you that even if you are intimidated keep trying. It's really not so bad. The one thing I can say is it was pretty hot with it on. So now that I feel confident in my beginner wrapping skills I feel like I can do something that I've dreamed of all along. Investing in a beautiful woven wrap. I love seeing these wraps being used online. I've never seen it in person. Or really any baby wearing for that matter.

The art of wrapping intrigues me. I've you tubed the crap out of woven wraps in the past nine months. To me it's the pro level of baby wearing. That's just me personally. So now that I feel like I can purchase one without it being a waste of money I better start saving. You would be surprised how much a piece of fabric cost. Those people are making a killing.

This is M and I in the Moby. Once I get the woven I'll add my attempts. It will definitely be a learning experience. The day I have M in a back carry with a woven will be a great day.

Yes I'm in pajamas and look like crap. It was one of those days.