Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Year Full Of Thankfulness

I may be alone in this, but I love Thanksgiving. It's such a great time to get together with family and celebrate without the pressure of gifts. It's the start of the holiday season and better moods. Everyone is in the holiday spirit and then we're back to blech. Not to mention I am a turkey girl and not much for ham.

I've been hearing a lot of homemade noodles. This isn't a tradition in our family, but I think it needs to start! I am a huge sap for creating traditions for M. We had so many around this time and they are so near and dear to my heart.

Reason #345 to like Thanksgiving, four day weekend. In my case five day weekend. Also, putting up the tree! A is the fluffer and I am the decorator. At this time he clears the living room so I can crank up the Christmas music which he hates.

Looking back on this year is such a trip. This time last year I was about ten weeks pregnant and trying to hold down my food. I was throwing stuff on the tree just to get it over with. Possibly crying throughout it. Now this year there is so much hope and dreams for the future. All the things I always pictured doing with M are finally happening. Buying her gifts and reading her Christmas books we always had. Seeing her take in her first Christmas tree was so amazing. We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade together. A and I went out and bought her first ornament. You always think about how these things will be, and when they happen they are so much more than you ever thought they'd be.

It was a great day like always. It's hard to see the count dwindle down as we have lost family members over the years. Ones that have been here so long are now gone and new ones are coming up. It's such a blessing to have these two babies with us and however many more our family can get. (Just kidding, my sister and I have been rationed one more baby each by our husbands.)
A, M, & Me

Grandma & Grandpa

Grandpa & M

Sister & Brother-in-law

M & her cousin

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peace, Love, ERGO Baby

Some how I convinced A to let me have my Christmas present early this year. I already new it was the Petunia Pickle Bottom Ergo carrier. For some time I didn't feel like I wanted a buckle style carrier. I have a love for the basic old school slings and wraps. The culture behind them is just beautiful, but when A said this needed to be my last carrier I wanted to get something totally different.

Hey, Mom! Mom what are you doing?

With some research I decided on the Ergo Baby carrier. It is a buckle style that works like a mai tai carrier. There is no forward facing, which is good. M can ride on my hip or back as well. This carrier is like the Rolls Royce of carriers. It fits like a dream. The adjustments give you the perfect fit. Her weight is distributed evenly. I have no trouble wearing her for very long periods of time.

Another thing I love about the Ergo is the sleep hood. It tucks neatly away in the front pouch and is easily snapped into place once M is asleep. I would love to have this feature on my mai tai. I've also used the sleep hood during bad weather like wind and rain walking in and out of the store.

This carrier is so extremely easy to put on. If you own one then the directions will easily tell you how to put it on. I decided to make this video to show you just how easy it is to put on and how the sleep hood works. If you're looking for an easy to use, durable, and stylish carrier than your search may end here!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Milwaukee, Get Your Facts Straight

I read this article today while nursing M on my break. I have to say it got me a little heated. The ad is from the city of Milwaukee featuring a baby in bed with a knife. "Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous." Ok Milwaukee, then how about instead of scare tactics you get the message out on how to safely bedshare. Maybe you can also get the message out that safe bedsharing actually REDUCES the risk of SIDS.

The article goes on to say that Milwaukee is concerned that they have a higher rate of infant deaths than 30 developed and undeveloped countries. Let me just say this. How the hell do you think those families sleep in those undeveloped countries? They bed share.

I honestly feel that we as a society in this country have a much worse outlook on how to raise babies than those third world countries. Which is probably why I parent like them instead of what would be considered the 'norm' here.

So a few words on bedsharing. It is an amazing bonding experience. To have your breath sync with your baby. To feel them so near even in your sleep. To know that if they wake they see you and feel that comfort. It saddens me when people try to scare others away from that experience or try to guilt them out of doing so.

There are unsafe ways to bedshare just like there are unsafe ways for your baby to sleep in a crib. SIDS happens. It's scary and horrible and should not happen to anyone. I have known babies who were asleep on their backs in their cribs without bumpers, blankets, or toys. It happens. Do not confuse SIDS with suffocation. Doctors can't 100% say whether or not a baby has died of SIDS or suffocated. So often they tell you ways to prevent suffocation, because really they just don't know. So since you often hear of ways to safely sleep in a crib here are the ways to safely share a bed.

  • Leave blankets at your waist or go without.
  • Don't use pillows while in bed.
  • Have your baby sleep on the mother's side of the bed (not in between or on dad's side)
  • Never bedshare under the influence of drugs or alcohol (includes some prescriptions)
  • It is not safe to bedshare if you are very large breasted or extremely overweight.
  • Put your mattress on the floor if your baby starts to roll out.
  • Try to sidecar your crib (below is a video on how to sidecar your crib)
  • Add a mesh bed rail if you are afraid of rolling off the bed.
  • Never push your bed against a wall to avoid baby rolling off.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Air, Goodnight Noises Everywhere

We're pretty anti routine with M. She leads the day. She eats when she wants to eat and sleeps when she wants to sleep. Our only "routine" is bed time. At nine I run her bath while A gets her ready. I set out three books by the glider and turn on her lamp. She gets her bath and some play time in the water. Then it's pajamas, swaddle, books, and bed. I either put Aveeno Calming Lotion or Baby Vick's on after her bath.

Not only is it the calm down part of her day, but mine too. It's how we both unwind and get ready for bed. Just me and her. We've been doing this for about a month now, and you really can tell she is used to this. If one night we are out somewhere and it's getting time for bed she has this look like 'I'm tired, but we haven't had a bath.' I might be putting those words in her mouth. The few nights that she was fallen asleep before nine and woken up an hour or so later we have to go back and do the routine. Otherwise she is lost. My goal is for her to be two years old and picking out the books, because she knows what happens at that time.

I try to switch it up with the books we read. Each book I read her the title, author, and illustrator. I guess this comes from my preschool class and them needing to know the difference and able to identify. To me it's never to early to start I guess. Even though I like for her to have options we still end up with several of the same books. I thought I'd share some of our nightime staples.

It's Time To Sleep My Love by Nancy Tillman

I love this peaceful dreamy book. All of her books have the most beautiful illustrations. I have been sold on anything that she writes. Each book is so full of love. I always think about the memories I'm making when I read this to M.

 "I'm getting very sleepy now so moos the tired milking cow, So croaks the almost-sleeping frog amidst the settling of the fog, So go to sleep my love"

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Every night this is our third book. I swear when she hears those three last lines her eyes are out. Something about this book makes you read it in a whisper. I love that. It relaxes me.

"Goodnight room, Goodnight moon, Goodnight cow jumping over the moon"

On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
You will cry. At least the first time. I can't help but look at M in such wonder while reading this. The day she was born is just so clear. Like each second is frozen in time and I can so easily go back there. Maybe that's why I love this book. It always sends me back to that day.

 "On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder, that the stars peeked in to see you
   and the night wind whispered, "Life will never be the same"

The I Love You Book by Todd Parr
I LOVE TODD PARR! His books are so incredibly awesome. I have four so far and want them all. He conveys the exact message that I want M to hear. Love, acceptance, tolerance, and humor. I love this one for nighttime, because it's like it's from me to her. 

"I love you when I am away, I love you when we are cuddled up close, I love you when you sleep, I love you when you don't sleep."

Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess
This is classic Dr. Suess. I remember reading this book along with Goodnight Moon when I was little. I love having that to share with her. Another wonderful thing about this book is the message. Sometimes in life there are ups and sometimes in life there are downs.

"You have brains in your head, You have feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself Any direction you choose."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Remember, It Gets Better.

I wish more women were told this at the beginning of their breastfeeding journey. I hate the mentality that 'if it hurts you're doing it wrong.' That's simply not true. M had a perfect latch from her first time at the breast, and guess what it still hurt. It's to be expected. You are going through a transition of having a baby at your breast for about thirty minutes every hour or so. Chances are there will be pain with that. What you need to remind yourself is that it does get better.

There are so many issues that can come out with breastfeeding that most women feel they should give up over. Please know that there are answers to most breastfeeding problems.

For pain in the beginning get a good cream whether it be lanolin or an all natural cream like Earth Mama Angel Baby. Ice packs are your friend. Place them over your nipples after feedings for some relief. One thing you'll probably notice is that showers will be painful on your nipples. I would try and face away from the stream as much as I could. Cover them with your arm if you have to face in.

Most women aren't prepared for what it is like for milk to come in. I know I wasn't. Each breast was probably 50lbs each. Try a heated wet rag or a Bed Buddy. I would lay mine over my chest in bed and throughout the day. Your Bed Buddy can also be put in the freezer for a cooling effect. During those first weeks I had to pump just so M could latch on. Which really is counter productive. Just know that the more you tell your body you need the more it's going to produce.

If you are dealing with low supply try an herbal supplement called fenugreek. You can get this herb alone or in a blend with other supplements that help milk supply. After getting my supply under control it dipped pretty low. I took Mother's Milk which includes goat's rue, blessed thistle, and other herbs. You can also get similar products in tea and drop form. You should also pump after each feeding to try and boost your supply. Nurse from each side. Until your supply is established make sure you are nursing or pumping frequently. At this point I can sleep seven hours without it effecting my supply. Using heat will also help your milk let down.

Most people wouldn't think having an oversupply could be an issue. It can be. Oversupply can cause fussiness, too much fore milk, gagging, and gas. I had this issue with M. She would clamp down on my nipple to control the flow and then pull away gagging. Her stools were often green from getting too much fore milk. To get your supply under control put down the pump and step away. It will hurt at first and you will be engorged. If it gets to be too uncomfortable hand express a small amount out for some relief. Block feed until your supply settles. This means only nursing one side each feeding. This will also help your baby get hind milk. If your let down is too strong lean back or lay down while nursing. Side nursing is my favorite position now.

You may come across milk blisters, especially if you are dealing with over supply. These a little blisters on your nipple that may appear white, clear, or yellow. Try soaking your nipple in an Epsom salt mix. I would take a bowl of warm water and add 2 teaspoons to a cup and soak. If you can break the skin over the blister. I used my clean hand. Try a wet compress and then nurse. You also need to find out what is the cause of your blisters. Think oversupply or yeast as examples.

For the dirty little 'M' word. I never dealt with mastitis, but I did have a plugged duct which is all I want to know of it. You may feel this as a hard lump in your breast. This could be further into your breast like mine or a block in the pore. I was pumping strings of milk. Yeah, it was sick. You can still nurse your baby on this side to clear the clog. I didn't want to so I just pumped that side until it was clear and the lump was gone. Plugged ducts can happen for several reason. Oversupply, infrequent nursing, ineffective suck or latch to name a few. Mastitis is an infection that occurs in the breast. You may notice red streaks on your breast and a more intense pain accompanying your plugged duct. You may experience flu like symptoms and a rise in temp. Message is your friend. A would laugh at me while I would massage my breast and moan with a big ole' heating pad laid across me. Use heat in the form of a shower, compress or soak. I loved each. Have you or your partner massage the breast. I felt best going in an upward motion if that makes sense. Nurse frequently and try pumping after each feeding. I read a good tip to lean forward or stand above your baby or pump. I would massage my breast while pumping. It took about 24 hours for the duct to clear in my case. If you suspect mastitis you should call your Doctor as soon as you start symptoms. They may want you to start antibiotics. I called, but they didn't suspect I had an infection and they were right.

Nursing in public can be a challenge for a lot of women. That is why I love to nurse in public to show women 'hey you can do this too.' If you want to try a cover there are many out there. Some with front wires to make it easier to look down at baby. M hates covers so that wasn't an option for us. I usually try to wear a tank top under my clothes. I'll leave it down and pull my breast over the tank. That's for my comfort so my stomach doesn't show. If you want to add cover place a burpie over the top of your breast and away from babies nose. Practice at home until you are comfortable with your nursing skill. By the time I nursed in public I had the process down from practice at home. You would be surprised how little others can see. Remember, it's your right. Nothing is more natural and beautiful than a mother nursing. I seriously question a person's mind who finds nursing to be offensive or sexual. If you don't want to nurse in public you can always take pumped bottles with you. Get a good cooler pack and you should be good for 24 hours. Remember breast milk can set at room temp for up to 10 hours. It's hard to mess that up. It's all about your comfort level. Just don't let public feeding determine whether or not you should breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is Love

I hope I've covered some of the common breastfeeding issues. I'll add more if I think of them. Just remember it does get better. Here we are pain free with no issues at the breast. You can do this. There are millions of women out there believing in you and cheering you on. I know it may not feel like it at times but you are not alone and you are meant to do this. It gets better!