Monday, March 30, 2009

Give it time

Babyweight. Ugh.

I would like to think that I'm not a vain person. In honesty; however, gaining and losing the babyweight was something that I spent a bit of time pondering during those 10 months. (Yes, 10 not 9. Faulty math is perpetrated on mothers around the world!)

Initially, I swore that I wouldn't gain more than the "recommended" 25 pounds. When only certain things taste good (hello Pringles), and you are HUNGRY all the time, it isn't so realistic. I can honestly say that I ate pretty much whatever I wanted while I was pregnant. Very quickly I realized that it wasn't worth worrying about. And, regarding the "What to Expect ..." recommendation to ask yourself before every bite of food - "is this the best thing I can feed my baby?" Hooey! You'll have a lifetime of feeling guilty as a parent - no need to start so early.

As my chins and feet expanded; however, I thought that I might pay for it later.

Genetics plays a huge role in this. (And everything else, for that matter, says the genetic counselor). I have had several people tell me that your body is "programmed" to gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy no matter what you do. They eat well during their 1st pregnancy, and less well during their 2nd and gain the same. Also, the rate at which you will lose that weight is probably also genetically determined.

I think breastfeeding definitely helps, but I don't know that it is the "cure" for weight loss. You have to have some fat on you to keep up your milk supply. One good friend told me, per her OB, that the amount of weight you gain by your 20 week visit is about the same amount of weight you will have to lose at your 6 week postpartum checkup. I found that to be true.

At 16 weeks, I am about 8 pounds heavier than the day I got pregnant. I feel fortunate that I have eaten whatever I wanted since Girly was born and have done absolutely nothing to get the weight off and it just keeps going away. I bet that I am reaching the end of that dream scenario and I will need to do a little work to get the rest of it off. Trouble is, you do need some fat in your diet to breastfeed and a lot of exercise may decrease your milk supply. So, it might be slow going, but I'll get there.

As for post-baby clothing - I find this to be the ultimate frustration. As much as I liked shopping pre-baby, I now find it totally irritating. Breastfeeding is part of the reason - when you need easy access 6 times a day, a lot of shirts don't work. Plus, my ample bosom only fits in Large or Extra Large shirts, so in order to have clothing that is work-appropriate, I generally look like I am wearing a tent. Pants are another story ... I squeezed into a pair of former "fat jeans" at about 3 weeks, and some regular jeans at about 6 weeks (albeit I could hardly breathe). I bought some new pants at 6 weeks for a function and they were 3 sizes bigger than I used to buy and they barely buttoned. Now, at 16 weeks, I have purchased 3 pairs of black pants in the last month to have something to wear to work - 3 pairs in decreasing sizes. It kills me to keep buying new pants because the old ones are too big - such a waste of $$! However, I do feel happy that they are smaller, so I guess money sometimes equals happiness. The point is - buy as little as you can until you are the size you are happy with.

As a side note, tests are pending but it appears that an overactive thyroid may have been contributing to the weight loss. Thyroid malfunction is pretty common in women after they deliver a baby, even if they never had a thyroid problem before. I have felt pretty much like a space cadet since the Girl was born. I thought this was normal for a little while, but it sure didn't seem normal at 16 weeks. I happened to have my yearly GYN appointment last week and asked if being a space cadet was part of motherhood. Most certainly not. I'm not sure of the exact issue yet, but the point is .... take care of yourself! It is easy for a new Mom to put herself last. I like to play doctor for everyone who will listen, and while I thought I might have a problem, it seemed like a hassle to see the doctor and get labs done. If I hadn't already had the yearly appointment scheduled, who knows how long I would have been spacey Mom. You can't take care of your family if you don't take care of yourself!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't Cry

"Don't cry over spilt milk" has a whole new meaning when you are breastfeeding.

Yes, as everyone says, this stuff is like liquid gold.

I've been struggling, however, about what to do with my freezer FULL of milk. Seriously, I have enough to feed us for months in the case of a nuclear fall out.

I am freezing about 75-100 ounces each week beyond what I need to feed the Girl. Doesn't take a math major to figure out that I will quickly need a 3rd freezer. Some issues: 1) Milk doesn't last forever in the freezer, 2) The quality of breastmilk changes to best fit the needs of your baby - is it bad to give them milk from several months ago?, 3) It seems like too much work to freeze the fresh milk and thaw the frozen milk just to get it used up in time.

I asked my trusty LC what she would advise ....

She agreed that it was always the best option to feed freshly pumped milk if available. She also pointed out, which I hadn't thought of, that your fresh milk is best because it has antibodies to the microbials that you and baby are currently being exposed to, not just general immunity.

So, best case scenario, I continue pumping and nursing for 6 months or a year and end up with a HUGE amount of frozen breastmilk that was never used.

Seems crazy and, frankly, wasteful. I worked hard and stayed up late to freeze that milk! My LC also suggested looking into milk donation. While I never considered it, I am having nightmares about a power outage and spoilage of 500 ounces of milk, so it seems like a good plan.

She suggested the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. I read a little bit on the topic and it appears there are not-for-profit milk banks and for-profit milk depots. The idea is that milk is donated from around the country, pasteurized in large batches and then provided to babies in the NICU who need it. It is expensive for families to purchase from a milk bank, but it is outrageously expensive to purchase from the for-profit milk depots. Most require a donation of at least 100 ounces. So, if you are interested, check it out.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can donate because I regularly take medication. Other suggestions for 200 frozen bags of milk?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's the simple things

I use it almost every day.

I got this great tip from a family friend who is a nurse, before the Girl was born.

Maybe it is intuitive, but because someone told me about it, I'm not sure if I would have done it by instinct or not ...

Just in case ....

When you blow in a baby's face it triggers a swallowing reflex. The Girl chokes while she is feeding at least once a day (she is an eager little thing). Works like a charm.

It also works when you put medicine in their mouth to get them to swallow. Now ... if I could just get the whole dropper in there to begin with we might be on to something.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday, Bloody Saturday

Well, it happened.

I cut the Girl's fingernails today for only about the 5th time since she was born. I tore her little nails as long as I could because I was afraid I would cut her, but eventually her nails got strong enough that it wasn't so easy.

I have little baby nail clippers that seem to work OK. The first time, I tried cutting her nails just after she woke up and was drowsy. I propped her in the boppy in my lap, but she just got mad because she was hungry. After that, I cut them after she ate and was in a food coma and pretty content to lay in my lap in the boppy for a few minutes.

Her nails were so long today that she was scratching me, so out came the clippers. I was even getting full of myself thinking, "I'm so good - I haven't ever cut her finger!" Should have known better ...

Little baby thumbs bleed. A lot. She didn't even notice that her finger was cut and only squawked when I held her thumb in a kleenex to try to stop the bleeding. No luck. At that point I was trying to problem solve with a bleeding baby in my lap and a husband in Las Vegas. Awesome.

It was just a little blood, granted, but because it was on her thumb and her hands are constantly going to her mouth, she left little blood streaks all over her face. Nothing like that to make you feel like a crappy parent.

At first I tried a little bandaid. 1) Ha! What was I thinking? NO WAY will bandaids stick on baby fingers. 2) Even if a bandaid would stick on a baby finger, I'm sure it's a choking hazard.

My next attempt worked pretty well to buy me free hands to try something else ... She still grasps whatever is placed in her hands, so I wrapped a kleenex around the tip of her thumb and tucked it into her fist so she would hold it in place. If the bleeding would have stopped faster, this might have solved the problem.


Back to my original point that baby thumbs bleed a lot! It wouldn't stop, so a call to my mom ended with the suggestion of cornstarch. Luckily I had some and, let me tell you, it was like Three Stooges around here. Trying to put cornstarch on a baby's thumb and holding it in place until it stops bleeding is comical. Despite the fact that there is now powdery white stuff everywhere, it did seem to do the trick. My last ditch effort was going to be wrapping her thumb in kleenex and swaddling her to keep it in place until the bleeding stopped.

After she fell asleep, I searched on Parent Hacks for any other tips. I didn't find any about bleeding fingers, but several about clipping nails.
- I have friends who have their husbands cut fingernails while the baby is nursing. Might work for you, but Erik isn't interested in participating.
- Other friends find that baby scissors with rounded tips work better than clippers, but they are hard to find and I didn't want to buy a whole First Aid kit just for those.
- Lots of friends say they cut nails while baby is sleeping, but the Girl is always swaddled, so I can't get to her hands.
- Other suggestions from the website include cutting nails in the tub (softens the nails and makes for easy cleanup), using a lint roller to pick up the little baby nail shards from your furniture, cutting nails while baby is in the carseat or Bjorn, and just foregoing nail clippers and using an emery board instead.

Any other tips?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I loved being pregnant. Fortunately, I really had an easy pregnancy. Well, I guess there was that sudden loss of hearing at 36 weeks, but other than that, smooth sailing! I probably also have such fond memories due to the fact that I delivered at 38 weeks. At 37 weeks and 6 days I was saying, “Gee – I could be 37 weeks pregnant forever. I feel great!” At 38 weeks and 0 days, I was starting to understand why people complained about the end of their pregnancies. I guess the Girl knew and was trying to be nice – she was born only hours later!

I miss the rolling belly and the random jabs and kicks. It is so much more fun to have the real live baby, but there is just something so amazing about being entrusted to carry that little life around for a while.

Because the Girl arrived a bit unexpectedly, I didn’t have all the “lasts”. The last belly picture, the last night out with friends, the last date night as a solo couple. I would recommend squeezing those things in if you can!

A mental exercise for remembering those months …

I’m late. I’m crampy – surely my period will come soon. I’m late. That cilantro smells weird. I couldn’t be pregnant. I’m pregnant? I’m pregnant! Erik – I’m pregnant. WHAT? HOW? I think you know how. Elation. Fear. OCD. Big secret to keep. Quease. Lemon drops. Gingerale. Gingersnaps. Pringles. DO NOT let me gain more than 25 pounds. OH MY GOD, THE HUNGER. Beautiful nuchal fold. Cooperative little fetus. Sesame seed, lentil, blueberry, olive, kumquat – this thing gets to be the size of a watermelon? Guess what, we’re having a baby! More elation. Ugh- maternity clothes. Oooh – maternity pants! Mango Dango. Wedding Cake cookie. It’s a GIRL! Research, research, research. Registering. I’m eating whatever I want – I don’t care. Lovely showers, lovelier friends. Raisin bran and cinnamon raisin toast. Everyday. New paint, new furniture. Your feet get fat? My belly button looks like this on the inside? Lots of ultrasounds – chubby baby. Clean out the pantry, basement and every closet. I need bigger maternity clothes? Recover furniture. Feather the nest. Her heart rate is dropping. You are having your baby today. Seriously? Seriously! I can’t have a baby – my bag isn’t packed. Time for a c-section. My husband is getting lunch! Stay calm … everything is under control. Here she comes! WAAAH! (the best sound ever) Is she OK? Beautiful baby. Joy, tears, a new beginning …

Monday, March 16, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

I had two goals for my maternity leave: 1) Get baby to breastfeed well and, 2) Get baby to sleep through the night. Check, check. I felt that if I accomplished those two goals, and bathed her occasionally, we would really be on our way.

The Girl is a rested, chubby-cheeked, darling baby and I couldn't be happier.


It isn't always easy.

This article from the Today Show website sums up some of the ambivalence I feel about breastfeeding. The author talks about the mommy-scorn she got when she contemplated, out loud, quitting breastfeeding after her maternity leave. With her third child. After 28 months of breastfeeding in total!

She (correctly) describes the inconclusive medical literature about the benefits of breastfeeding. While there are likely certain benefits, the magnitude of that benefit is often overstated.

There is so much societal pressure to breastfeed and I never really considered it an option. It was a necessity. While I wouldn't trade the experience and I really value the cuddle time, that isn't to say that I don't let Girly sleep for 5 more minutes on occasion because I'm just not quite ready to sit tethered to her on the couch for half an hour. Or that I don't occasionally begrudge my husband for trotting off to do something when I need to be home to feed her.

The other interesting point the author makes is that breastfeeding has become an extension of "super-parenting". Baby Mozart. The best preschool. Harvard, damn it. You wouldn't dare do something that would jeopardize your child's future, would you? We are so fortunate that our daughter has the opportunity to grow up in a household with two loving parents, four loving grandparents, and countless supportive friends and family members. I believe it is those factors, more than anything else, that will contribute to her bright future. (And, she will go to Harvard, in case you were wondering).

We are educated parents (or, at least, I would like to think so). We made the decision, together, that breastfeeding would be the best option for our family. Here is where it gets tricky, though. By nature, or habit, or both, mothers take on the role of Primary Care Giver. Especially OCD-mom's like myself. Breastfeeding fosters that role. You are the one that feeds the child? Then you must be the one that best comforts that child. Or best burps that child. Or best sucks the boogers out of that child. If you aren't careful, you will be the "best" at everything and you are left doing everything. This is a two-way street. It may be easy for Dad or Significant Other to defer to the breastfeeding Mom, but it is also easy for the breastfeeding Mom to feel that her way is the best way.

At 14 weeks of parenthood, I am trying to let go of the little things. It isn't easy for me. Different doesn't mean worse. If I always do it, I can't complain because I didn't give anyone else the opportunity. And when someone else tries to help, I can't critique if it isn't my way, as long as the Girl is happy and healthy.

So, as I sit here pumping for the first of three (or more) times today, I feel lucky. Lucky that I had the choice to breastfeed. Lucky that I have an education and work in a place that allows me the freedom to pump. Lucky that our daughter is healthy and growing.

So, for now, Mr. Medela and I will continue with our intimate relationship.

For how long? I'm not sure. It may be that my OCD-nature is contributing ... when I begin to think about the possibility of formula, and then perseverate over the possibility that she may be gassy, or have an allergy, or god knows what, I just stop.

It is working.

For now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Programming Note

I've just loaded a LOT of posts on here. Curl up with your computer and get reading! You can check the labels on the side if you want to be more efficient. What? You aren't hanging on my every word?

I initially typed up a lot of posts and planned to just add them every now and then, but I got tired of looking at them.

The topics are so 2 weeks ago!

Stay tuned for more good stuff (or more blathering depending on your view of things). Fourteen weeks is interesting .... what does week 15 hold?

Also, to any readers (new mom or not) ... please add your comments! There are SURELY good tips and tricks that I haven't learned yet!

Parenting - It's Hairy!

Along with all the water you retain during pregnancy, you also retain all of your hair. Probably one of the nicer side effects of pregnancy is that you have thick, shiny hair that grows really fast.

What is less predictable, however, is how your hair will react to all of the post-partum changes. If you have hair of the curly variety, like mine, you may find coarse, black, corkscrew curly hairs sticking out all over your head. Or hairs that are black at the root and white at the tip. Or hairs that are tiger striped. (What?)

Then, your hair starts to all fall out at about 12 weeks after delivery. And, I mean ALL fall out.

I also have my suspicions that your body goes into shut down mode when you have a c-section and hair stops growing, then re-starts, resulting in 1 inch hairs sticking out all over your head. I have also been told that this happens when you stop breastfeeding.


Back to Work: Thoughts from the 2nd Day

Or, really could be titled: "You can't be too organized or too nice"

My number one thought is YOU CAN DO IT! I wavered throughout my maternity leave - at times wanting much more stimulation and projects and at times being perfectly content with PJs and CSI:New York. The bottom line, at least for our family, was that not working was not an option. I feel privileged to be only working 3 days, but working 0 days was not in the plan. So, the sooner you can understand that no one will pay you to stay home and that daycare MUST work out, the better you will be. (This is not to say that it was an easy transition for me - I must have told Erik 317 times in the last week that I was just going to quit my job and stay home and that Girly told me she agreed).

The next thought is: be organized! I can take anal to a whole new level, but I feel that over-organized is better than under-organized. It will certainly depend on your daycare situation, but being at a daycare center or a larger place with lots of kids means LOTS of bodies and labeling everything. I ordered labels from Label Daddy and they are working great so far. I got the combo pack with 3 sizes to use for clothes, bottles, caps - all kinds of stuff. Some have peeled off the bottles, but I really think any kind of label will come off with something that is washed and sterilized so often. I also ordered bumpy name labels from - I think this will work best for bottles. Also, I kind of sorted out things that needed labels and things I thought wouldn't go to daycare - don't waste your time. Just label everything so you aren't racing around trying to find labels in the mornings. This includes pacifiers - label them all.

I typed up an emergency contact sheet for daycare and made one for me and Erik, and also our parents or whoever else might be picking up baby. Daycare can be a little scatterbrained, so I was sure to leave one in the Girl's room, too. I also typed up her typical schedule and little hints about her (when she gets the paci, how warm the bottles are, that she cries when you take the bottle out of her mouth ... whatever). The daycare providers are certainly great with kids, but they don't know your kid yet. I send the Girl with a Lands End monogrammed bag everyday with her bottles, a jacket, ziploc bags for dirty stuff, papers - whatever she might need.

On that note, be NICE to your daycare providers. Not that any of you are anything less than super nice people, but I think it is surprising that some parents just aren't nice. My friend Marie told me that she gives her daycare provider a card every week with her $ in it and sometimes a little candy or something. The lady said Marie was the first person in TEN YEARS to really thank her! After all, these are the people you have entrusted with your child's life ... if your baby gets extra special attention because her parents are lovely, then great!

Next tip ... LET IT GO. This will be a work in progress for me because I pretty much perseverate over every.little.thing. I think it will make me a better parent when I am forced to get over the little things - like Girly smelling like spit up the first day when I picked her up because her-shirt-was-dirty-and-I-probably-would-have-caught-it-but-they-didn't-because-they-were-busy. Your child will not follow your "home" schedule while at daycare, at least not at first. They probably will, however, be able to transition to a "home" schedule and a "school" schedule with time.

If possible, make Dad do the drop off in the morning, at least the first day. I cried in my kitchen, but actually physically leaving her would have been worse. Then, you can race to pick baby up after work and be the good guy!

Pumping (or, a good way to literally suck hours out of your day): I can see why people stop breastfeeding when they go back to work. Milk supply issues are a potential concern and certainly wouldn't have shown up yet for me, but it takes some dedication to deal with ALL the supplies you need for the day. Also, depending on your work environment, it may or may not be so easy to take the time out of your day to pump. For me, it is pretty easy. I now leave the house with four bags every day and my big hospital mug of water: work bag with laptop, pump bag with all supplies, purse, lunch. I need to find a way to consolidate ... will probably order another Lands End bag for me (I'm obsessed) to hold all the pump paraphernalia and lunch, at least. This is where the Medela Freestyle Pump is so great - can go in any bag you want.

I need to pump 3 times at work, at least for the beginning till we get this all figured out. I try to pump as close to the times the Girl eats as possible. I bring 6 little bottles with me and 3 sets of the pump parts, along with sterilizer bag, ziploc bag, pump, freezer bag and ice cooler, burp cloth, extra breast pads and a log to write down pump amounts. I also put a diaper in the bag so it smells like "baby". I have access to a microwave and fridge, but it is difficult to sterilize the parts and set them out to dry - much easier to sterilize and throw in a ziploc bag to take home, and then just use a spare set next time.

Your morning routine will be interesting - took us 1 hour and 45 minutes the first day! I have to leave at 7:15 to get to Topeka, so for us it works best for Dad to give a bottle first thing on those mornings while I pump instead of me nursing her and then pumping after. I was stressed about her getting 4 bottles on those days instead of 3, but in the end I think it is better for me not to get up so early and I focus on nursing her as soon as we get home and then before bed. Eventually it will probably be easier / faster for me to nurse first thing and not have to pump after. Lay out baby's clothes the night before so Dad can dress them and have bottles in the fridge ready to go in the cooler pack.

This is what I know so far .... it's a transition, you know ...

Pumping (or, couldn't you buy me dinner first?)

The pump and I have a love-hate relationship. Yes, it allows me to feed my child and it also allows my husband to feed my child, thus buying some freedom. It also feels like a ball and chain at times. Despite that, for me, it is a necessary evil as I am committed to breastfeeding as long as it works for us. And it is working.

Opinions from a less-than-expert ...
1. Start pumping early! I'm no lactation consultant, but it is really hard to find good advice about the pump. My LC told me to get out my pump one day at about 1 week old when I was really engorged and I thought I might be getting mastitis. It is super weird the first time, but you get the hang of it quickly. Ever since then I have pumped almost every day, with the exception of when the Girl was going through a growth spurt.

2. We started with the bottle at about 3 weeks, so I would pump while Dad gave her a bottle. Initially I would pump first and then he would give her the freshly pumped milk, but I couldn't quite keep up, so it was better to have a bottle ready to go and then pump at the same time for the next day's bottle.

3. I started off giving Girly 4 oz. Again, very little direction on this, but you might have a better idea if you use formula. She gobbled it up. I think a rough formula is 24 ounces in 24 hours - just divide by the number of feedings they are getting and that is the approximate right number of ounces. Some kids more, some kids less.

4. Use the Soft Fit breastshields if you have a Medela pump - seem comfy and the LC at the store I go to says she won't sell anything else now.

5. I use the microwave sterilizer for everything, but I find that the milk fat doesn't really come off the bottles well after they have been in the fridge with milk in them. Use the dishwasher for bottles at that point. Life is too short to wash bottles by hand.

6. From about 1 week-6 weeks Girly would have random times when she would only eat on one side (I always offered both and she averaged 10min/side). I would pump the other side because I wanted to keep my supply up, didn't want my boob to hurt, and it was a good way to build up a little supply in the fridge.

7. When Girly first started sleeping much longer stretches at night (around 7-8 weeks) I would only feed her on one side when she woke up in the morning. This will totally depend on your baby, but I was very engorged and she would choke and sputter and spit up if I fed her on both sides. She seemed satisfied after one side, so that was it. Then, I would pump both sides (double pumping is always more effective than single pumping) and I would get lots of milk. I have continued to do this every morning, but it is a bit of a Catch-22. If I weaned off the morning pumping I could nurse her and get out of the house much quicker before work, but I get SO MUCH milk when I pump first thing that I am afraid my supply will drop and I won't be able to keep up with her bottle demands for daycare. So, pumping it is. Now I put the pump and bottles by my bed the night before I have to work so I can just barely wake up and do it while I watch the news.

8. Details: I tried to read a lot online, but the info varies so much. Many websites say it is normal to only get 2-4 ounces TOTAL when you pump both boobs. I found this was pretty close to what I would get when I pumped during the day, but I just couldn't see how I would ever keep up with the Girl's bottles if she took more than 4 ounces each time. Plus, when I asked my friends, they all said they got a lot more! So ... I started pumping 15 minutes each time I pumped (or, longer if you still see drips), which gradually helped a lot. I also add in an extra "feeding" each day - the Girl nurses 5 times and gets 1 bottle and I pump twice, to make 7 "feedings". I have GOBS of extra milk in my freezer at this point, but I wanted to try to bank as much as possible before going back to work. Try these things, or adding a beer a day, before using meds to increase your supply. In just a few weeks time I now have 200+ oz. of milk in my freezer.

8.5. This isn't to say that meds don't work. I have several friends who have used Fenugreek and prescription meds with great success. I was just hesitant to start because I didn't think I had a low milk supply, I thought I just needed better pumping habits. As it is now, I feel like I spend all of my time on "milk maintenance" and I can't imagine if I was pumping MORE than I already am.

9. Freezer supply: My LC told me to have about 30 oz. in the freezer when I went back to work. Sounds like a lot, but really that is only about 2 days at daycare! Build up as much as you can. And, here is the catch - I read that you really shouldn't use your freezer supply unless you really have to. Once you start relying on that to meet the baby's bottle needs for the day, your body interprets that to mean you need to make that many fewer ounces each day and it is a vicious cycle until you make too little to feed the baby and your freezer supply is gone. I just plan to use it in emergencies and when I am weaning her.

10. As for milk storage, I will leave fresh milk in the fridge up to 4 days before giving it to her or freezing it. I follow the La Leche League guidelines - figure they know what they are talking about. My pump doesn't go directly into bags, so I transfer from the little bottles. I was using the medela bags, but they are pricey, so I am switching to Lansinoh. Also, I have a milk storage gizmo in my freezer that works great to smoosh the bags flat. When this is full, I transfer the frozen blocks to those ziploc throw-away tupperware things. The rectangular size works great.

11. I've said before that we use the medela bottles and they work great for the Girl without adding a step of transferring milk to another bottle. I have about 20 of the 5oz bottles and we still go through them like crazy - 6 for me and 4 for her each day I work, plus random overflow bottles in the fridge from pumping. Eventually, she will take more than 5 oz and these bottles won't be so useful. As it is now, when I pump first thing in the morning I can fill up a bottle. I got some cheapy 8oz Evenflo bottles for the morning pump. They are bpa free and fit medela pumps. Dr. Browns bottles also fit the medela pump if you use those.

12. Keeping track! I used sticky notes at first to keep track of what day I pumped the milk. In a stroke of genius (at least I would like to think so) I got a narrow dry erase marker to write the day of the week on the cap. Now I also use it to keep track of daycare bottles and first morning bottles. Wipe it off before you throw it in the wash.

13. Vitamins - our doc recommended PolyViSol since the Girl was exclusively breastfed. I put the dropper of goo in her daily bottle so we don't battle to get it in her mouth, She doesn't seem to care. I also put her tylenol in her bottle after she had her first shots. I don't yet feel confidant getting the whole dropper in her mouth and this eliminates the guesswork. Also, after Ellen's first shots she screamed when I laid her down to breastfeed because her legs hurt. Next time, I'll probably just plan for the bottle.

14. Finally, if you are pumping when you go back to work, you will hopefully be pleasantly surprised at your supply. I almost never pumped during the day - just first thing in the morning where I got tons, and late in the day when I had much less, which is pretty typical. I have pumped a lot more in my first week back than I would have expected. Good so far!


Sleeping Through The Night, that is.

My primary goal before I had the Girl was to get her to sleep through the night before I went back to work. Although she is a darling, growing, healthy child - this is my proudest achievement to date.

Disclaimer: There are MANY ways to parent your child and MANY opinions about the best way to do it. The bottom line is this - if you are parenting your child with love and your techniques work for your family, then you are doing the right thing. What was best for my family may not be best for your family. Here, however, is what worked for us.

As background, all of our friends have delightful children. Two in particular, however, had children who were excellent (truly, excellent) sleepers from very early on. They primarily followed the methods described in Babywise and I knew that we would try to make this work for us when we had a child of our own. There is a lot of controversy about this book online. I'm not really sure why - I think the critics probably didn't read it. At the end of the day, books don't make you do anything to or for your child. They are tools to help parents figure things out. You can't follow them blindly - you have to use the information and put it in context with your child and family.

I read Babywise during the middle of my pregnancy and then again closer to delivery. I have re-read parts of it over and over. I have found it to be extremely helpful, along with much of the information on the Chronicles of a Babywise Mom blog. The Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child book was also recommended by several friends and I have found it to be a nice supplement to Babywise. Some of the details are different, but they are overall quite similar and the Healthy Sleep Habits book is more detailed about sleep and covers challenges throughout childhood, not just infancy.

We really started from the first day on focusing to get the Girl to take full feedings. She was SO sleepy in the hospital that this was a challenge. We also didn't "room in" in the hospital. This is a personal preference, but I thought it was better for us to try to get some sleep for 3 days before we came home. The Girl was in our room all day and then in the nursery at night, but still brought back in every 3 hours to eat.

She slept in her room in her crib from the first night home. Our room is only a few feet from her room and we used the monitor and heard every sound, but it helped to eliminate another transition from a bassinet to her crib later on.

I firmly believe some kids are born sleepers and some are not. Fortunately, our Girl is of the sleeping variety. My friends both said that they could tell their children would respond well to Babywise. I had no idea what they meant until we had a child of our own and I figured it out ... you will just know if and when they are ready to respond to some sleep training.

As you might expect, it is EXHAUSTING to get up every few hours with your new baby for feedings. I religiously set our alarm clock to wake the Girl to eat every 2.5-3 hours for the first 2 weeks. She literally NEVER woke to eat during the night on her own (and rarely during the day, for that matter). I realize that this likely made our sleep training easier than for those babies who wake up screaming in hunger, but it was our reality.

Many books and specialists will tell you that "by the clock" feedings should be avoided and that you should read your baby's hunger cues and feed on demand. On-demand feeding was not an option for me: 1) the Girl was not demanding and wouldn't ever eat if I left it up to her, and 2) I didn't want to become a pacifier. I really needed to set a schedule for her because she wouldn't do it on her own. This is not to say that I didn't feed her if she appeared to be hungry and she wasn't due to eat "according to the clock". In truth, I still wake her for most feedings even at 13 weeks old.

Once I felt confidant that the Girl was growing (had regained her birthweight and then some) I let her go up to 5 hours at night between feedings, or whenever she woke on her own. (This is measured from the time you wake them to start feeding until the next time you wake them to feed. This does not equal 5 hours of sleep for you!).

Her first night of sleeping 4 hours was at about 12-13 days, and then her first night of sleeping 5 hours was at about 15 days. Her first night of 6 hours was between 3-4 weeks and her first night of 7 hours was at about 5 weeks, and this is for an exclusively breastfed baby. She certainly went back and forth over time, but I knew we could expect her to begin sleeping longer.

By about week 2 we started following the eat / wake / sleep cycle as best as possible. It is hard to keep baby awake for long at first. We also set her first morning feeding at 6:00am (the time we would need when I went back to work) at about 1 month. It probably should have been done earlier ... I had the Girl on a pretty consistent 3 hour schedule, but it was never the same 3 hours because we woke up at a different time each day. She became much more predictable when our days always started at 6:00am (give or take 30 minutes).

You may not believe it, but you really will learn to understand your baby's sleep cues and figure them out sooner rather than later. (The Girl yawns, sneezes and yelps). As described in both Babywise and Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, your baby should be taking 1.5-2 hour naps and should not be awake more than 2 hours at a time. Our Girl would never stay awake more than 2 hours. Once I really paid attention, her optimal awake time was more like 50 minutes from the time she woke up until she needed to go back down for a nap. Practically, this meant she woke, fed for about 30 minutes, was awake for about 20 and was back in bed. This awake time will lengthen with age, but we are still at about an hour or an hour and 10 minutes at 13 weeks.

About the time we became consistent with the 6:00am waketime, I worked on actively getting her to sleep when it was time for her to nap. The "5 S's" in Happiest Baby on the Block were useful for this to help to establish the pattern of eating, waking, sleeping.

Our days were great, but bedtime and night feedings became exasperating for me. The Girl would feed great and would appear tired, but would just lay in her crib and NOT SLEEP. We played the game of bouncing, shushing, and replacing the pacifier over and over and over again. She wouldn't scream, but would squawk and grunt and whimper. Before you knew it, you were awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night just trying to get her to sleep and that 6:00am feeding would be right around the corner. My coping skills were wearing thin ...

Now for the controversy ...

I felt the Girl was ready to "cry it out" at about 6 weeks. (For us, this meant allowing crying to fall asleep at naptime and bedtime. We would still get up if she cried during the night to eat, but we let her cry when we put her back in bed to sleep). She had been so easy going and cried very little and really seemed to respond to our schedule. I understand we were lucky! We pieced together a plan that worked for us - started on a Friday night when no one had to work the next day. We planned our naptime and bedtime routine: swaddle, pacifier, rock for 5 minutes, then in bed. We agreed to let her cry 5 minutes and then check and re-plug with the pacifier and walk out. Then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. You and your partner MUST both be in agreement that this is the right thing and the right time for your family. The crying is hard to listen to and you don't want to cave 20 minutes in. (Note: I did listen to all of the crying rather than leaving to go outside or something. It may frazzle you, but you do learn what the crying means - tired, hungry, mad...)

Girly cried for a total of 1.5 hours the first night, off and on. We also committed to ALL sleeping in the crib from the day we started - naps and bed. I was prepared for a few days of crying at naptime, but she miraculously never really cried when being put down for naps. Her crying at night was always less after the first night, but some nights were better than others. I don't know exactly when it happened, but by 12 weeks (6 weeks after we started) she generally goes down for all naps and bed without a peep. She is sleeping about 9 hours at night consistently.

A few tips:
- If we had the right pacifier for her (see Pacifier post) it might have made the crying even less from the start. There was a lot of crying when the pacifier fell out of her mouth only seconds after we put it in.

- We didn't check her after 5 minutes for long - it seemed to make things worse at times. Ten minutes was about right for her.

- Develop a nap routine and a bed routine that you can stick with. Our routines are generally the same, but we add a book at bedtime. The nap routine especially should be something that is brief and can be done other places, like if baby naps at grandmother's house, for example.

- We initially had rocking for 5 minutes in our nap and bed routine, but cut it out after a week or so. This is such special cuddle time for parents, but I don't think it is as important for baby and you run the risk of training them to sleep ONLY with rocking. My great wise friend suggested rocking when you wake up - genius! Still gives you cuddle time and doesn't interfere with sleep training.

- Despite how I've written it, our Girl is not the perfect child. (She is close to perfect, though!). From close to the beginning her evening nap from 7p-9p was dicey and she would scream and scream and we would end up getting her out of bed and putting her in the swing. My wise friend again suggested we just start with the swing at that time of night to avoid the scene. Swings are OK for sleeping as long as your child doesn't NEED it to sleep. The Girl does fine in her crib at all other times, so this is our solution for now.

At 13 weeks, Girly takes 3 good daytime naps (7a-9a, 10a-12p, 1p-3p) when she is at home. She usually takes a shorter nap in the 4p-6p window and then usually sleeps from about 7p-8:30p in her swing before her last feeding. Then, to bed!

We are blessed.

There are sure to be trials and tribulations to come (weaning from the swaddle and pacifier, for example), but we are all happy and rested for now. Life is good.


I confess - I am a diaper snob.

Those Pampers people know what they are doing when they stock hospitals with little newborn diapers.

You will go through diapers like crazy! I like Pampers best for the Girl and Huggies wipes. I tried to scour coupons and deals to find the best price and it turns out that Sams Club has huge boxes of diapers and wipes for a great price - better or equal to the best deal you would ever get (with coupons) at Target or the grocery store. Much less hassle for me. My time is much more valuable now.

Also, the Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers (Newborn) have a little line on them that turns blue when baby is wet. It is surprisingly hard to tell if newborn diapers are wet.

For those of you who like the challenge, Baby Cheapskate has all kinds of tips and tricks about buying diapers.

Bath time

The Girl loves her bathtime! It was certainly stressful at first - those wet babies are slippery! - but it is fun now.

Our first several baths were sponge baths next to the kitchen sink. The Girl did not appreciate those, although it got slightly better when I learned to leave the water running - she liked the noise.

After we moved to the baby tub, it was great! We still use a baby tub in our kitchen sink because we don't really have any counter space in our bathrooms and I am trying to save my knees and back as long as possible before transitioning to the real bathtub.

We use this tub and it has worked very well.

I love the Aveeno babywash (smells so good!) and lavendar lotion. We use Cetaphil for faces and Aquaphor for crackly hands and feet.

Several friends gave us big fluffy hooded towels for the Girl - work much better than the thin baby ones. I do like baby washcloths, though - gentle for faces.

Feathering your Nest

Planning the nursery is tons of fun and the first thing I started dreaming about. I'm sure all first time parents want it to be just perfect, but there are a few things I've learned and would have done differently.

Be sure you have a clock in the room where you will be breastfeeding. I nursed the Girl in her room at night and needed to time her feedings. Our first night home I was struggling to check the time on my cell phone while I handled her - stupid.

Have some type of soft light in the room where you will feed at night. A little nightlight wouldn't have been enough for me to see to change a diaper and feed, but I didn't want to turn on the overhead light.

We also went out to get a cool mist humidifier soon after coming home for a little white noise in her room.

I have been happy with our glider, but I could have also considered just a comfy chair. We didn't rock much - more bouncing and patting that could have been done in any chair. Also, we got the smallest glider we could find due to the small size of our nursery. It is a little hard to fit the Boppy and the baby in the chair to feed - should have tried it out first.

Bumpers are so cute! But also, so NOT necessary. Our Girl is a wiggly one and we took the bumpers out after 1 week. Sad, but safe. This was after HOURS of deliberating over the perfect fabric to have them custom made. Again, stupid.

Also, on the topic of bedding, it is challenging to put sheets on baby mattresses! We do, however, layer a big waterproof pad, then a sheet, then another pad and another sheet. It helps with middle of the night sheet changes if you only have to strip sheets and not re-make the bed.


I wasn't sure about using a pacifier, but the tiny piece of plastic has become a new best friend. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends them to reduce the incidence of SIDS, but also says to wait to introduce them until 1 month of age if mom is breastfeeding.

We started with the Soothie pacifier (at about 3 weeks) because the hospital uses them and I heard that a lot of people loved them. While the Girl sucked on it just fine, it is pretty heavy and kept falling out of her mouth. We quickly got to playing the game of putting her to sleep with the pacifier and it falling out seconds later. Plus, it is round and easily rolls out of the crib and on to the floor.

We had been given other pacifiers as gifts and I was contemplating trying another one when some good friends confirmed that babies really need a "pacifier try-out". They told me to buy several different kinds and have the Girl try them - they said she would just "slurp" in the one she liked best. Who knew?

At 8 weeks we finally had the trial. We started with the RazBaby Keep-it-Kleen because we had them. A HUGE improvement over the Soothie, but kind of hard to put in her mouth with only one hand. After trying the Mamm, Avent, Gerber and Gerber Nuk .... the winner is ... Gerber Nuk!

It used to be that the Girl would wake up around 5:00am and we would try to give her the paci to buy a few more minutes of sleep. It might have worked for 3 minutes. The first morning with the Nuk, it bought us over an HOUR. Worth a million bucks!


I am guessing that most people have very strong opinions about the bottles they use. There are so many choices out there and I tried to research what would be the best. I chose to go bpa-free because, well, why not?

The Adiri bottle seemed to be the latest and greatest. They are pretty pricey compared to other bottles. While the idea is interesting, I generally found them exasperating to use. Mine always leaked and it was a hassle to transfer milk from the Medela bottle that I pumped into to the Adiri bottle. When I searched online for opinions on these, people either loved or hated them. Checkmark hate.

I found that the Medela bottles work best for us. I can pump directly into them, eliminating a step. They are inexpensive, easy to read and easy to use. Medela now makes 8oz bottles, too, but they are only in glass and some daycares have a no-glass policy.

(fyi - Dr. Brown's, Evenflo and Green to Grow bottles also fit the Medela pump)

The Girl was never gassy, so we didn't try out the Dr. Brown's due to all the parts, but I know lots of people like them.

Nipple Confusion

My general opinion is that nipple confusion is a bunch of hooey. I'm not a doctor or a lactation consultant, but I think the majority of children will be able to transition between the breast, bottle and pacifier if given the opportunity at the right time. (And my pediatrician agrees, thankyouverymuch).

I've certainly read and heard about kids who refuse all bottles, or only take one obscure bottle or pacifier, but I don't think that will be true for most.

Let me tell you about my experience with the Girl (or, a case series of 1).

We didn't start a bottle or pacifier until about 3 weeks old. We chose not to give her a pacifier in the hospital, but really it was just a snap decision. "Do you want her to have a pacifier or not?" they asked. Not, we said. There was no good reasoning behind this decision. It did help, however, that the Girl was so content and didn't require much pacifying.

We were fortunate that she latched and fed well pretty quickly. By the time we were home from the hospital most feedings went OK, and by the end of the first week we were on our way.

We introduced the bottle at about 3 weeks. Despite much hemming and hawing on my part, she did just fine - sucked it down. She did fine when we changed bottle types on her about a week later - didn't even act like she noticed. Once baby is feeding effectively (baby is gaining weight and peeing and pooping well), I wouldn't hesitate to introduce a bottle. My breastfeeding class said for Mom to leave the house when Dad gives the first bottle of breastmilk because the baby can smell the Mom. Again, I vote hooey.

I held off on the pacifier until after the bottle. Again, not for any good reason, but because she didn't really seem to need it. Eventually it came to be that the Girl liked to wake from her naps early and it was a little difficult to get her back to sleep. The pacifier really seemed to help with these sleep transitions.

She still transitions among all three with ease.


I am the kind of person that likes to read EVERYTHING about every topic, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much. Especially when it comes to pregnancy and parenting and the gajillions of theories and opinions out there. (And, now look at me, adding my own!)

When I was pregnant I got my hands on lots of books quickly - What To Expect, A Girlfriend's Guide, etc. - and then quickly became overwhelmed and stopped reading all together.

I've tried to be a little more selective with this new parenting thing.

In the 3rd trimester I began reading about getting your baby to sleep (!) as this was one of my greatest concerns. The two best books I read were Babywise and Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. I found that Happiest Baby on the Block wasn't as helpful for sleep tips, but did have good soothing techniques (the 5 S's).

For new baby, I have liked Your Baby's First Year: Week by Week and Your Baby's First Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

And, if you are in search of the best baby book, here is my strategy: I am transferring our digital photos to to make a book for the Girl each month. (Yes, this is ambitious). It allows you to customize it and add text and it is pretty inexpensive for the 7x7 inch book. This eliminates the need for scrapbooking or printing and transferring photos to albums. I will put all of the miscellaneous items (cards, artwork, etc.) into archival boxes for storage. Finally, my mom got me this cute little journal - Baby's Journal - that is perfect to jot down ALL of those cute things.

Gear: Inital Thoughts

After the first week of living with the Girl, here were some of my thoughts on baby gear:

Changing Pad:
This is the changing pad we got and I have been very happy with it. It doesn't require a pad or cover which is KEY because I find that it gets poop all over it on a regular basis. I can just wipe it out with a wipe and be done with it. Otherwise, I would be washing changing pad covers a few times a day.

Pack and Play:
It was a very lovely gift and has proved so useful. We primarily use it as a changing table downstairs, for now, but it will be great to contain the Girl as she gets more mobile.

Carseat accessories:
I registered for a little fleece "snuzzler" and a cover for the car seat (December baby). Ultimately, though, our car seat came with both of these accessories. Check out what comes with your carseat before you pick any of these things.

This is the single most useful item so far. It is great for breastfeeding (although a bit akward with a small baby), and the Girl naps in it propped on the couch.

We borrowed a swing and it has been a HIT! Some kids apparently don't like them, but it is like crack for our Girl. She doesn't, however, want anything to do with the vibrating chair.

I found a lot of helpful tips in The Happiest Baby on the Block, and Swaddling was one of them. My friend Carrie gave us some great swaddling blankets, and I also like the Swaddle Designs blankets. At night, I'm still not confidant enough in my swaddling skills, so we use the SwaddleMe wraps to make sure there aren't any loose blankets by the Girl's face.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Breastfeeding: Clothes for Mom

I know, I know ... it's a breastfeedingpalooza around here ...

As any pregnant mom knows, her shirts get smaller and smaller as the bump gets bigger and bigger. And, it isn't only the belly that grows ...

There are only so many times one wants to buy "the next size bigger, please" -

I thought I was being very clever in buying nursing bras for my 3rd trimester. Multitasking! Turns out, not so clever. There just isn't a good way to predict what size bra you will need. Good nursing bras are expensive - don't waste your money on the wrong size.

I have worn nursing tank tops almost exclusively since having the Girl. Easy access and comfortable. My favorites are from Target. I had an expensive Medela one that shrunk a ton. I hated the ones from The Gap - only a tank top, no bra inside.

I really like these nursing PJ tops from The Gap. Get dark colors - leaks show less.

For "real" clothes, I find that cardigans with a nursing tank under, or wrap-style tops work best. Actual "nursing tops" aren't usually all that attractive and I kind of put them in the maternity clothes category - something that serves only one purpose and probably isn't worth the money.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Breastfeeding: Accessories

I am a firm believer in the benefits of breastfeeding, but understand that it is not the right decision for everyone. Or, that not every mom and every baby will be able to make it work despite their best efforts. While I intend to breastfeed as long as it works for us, it isn't always easy. The right tools make a difference!

The Freestyle Medela Pump is probably the best baby-related purchase I made. It is more expensive than their other pumps, but is super-portable, which was my primary concern. I haven't used other pumps for comparison, but I swear that some of my friends are jealous of this little thing! I didn't even realize that you often have to plug in other pumps (mine is battery operated and rechargeable) and that other pumps didn't have timers. Mine has 2-phase expression, which is very effective. I travel between 3 different offices and find myself moving around the house with this thing - definitely worth it.

If you will be pumping a lot, or pumping at work, get at least 2 sets of the breastshields (SoftFit are best) and extra pump membranes and back caps. (I have 4 sets). Otherwise you will feel like you are sterilizing parts all day.

I use the microwave sterilizer bags and they work great, for the most part. Once milk has been in the fridge in a bottle, I think the milk fat doesn't clean off the sides of the bottle in the sterilizer - use the dishwasher.

Get a milk storage system for your freezer - we use this. Once it is full, I transfer the frozen milk bags to Ziploc Snap n'Seal rectangle containers - they are the perfect size. Also, freeze your milk in 2, 3 or 4 oz. portions so it is easy to thaw and make the right size bottles for your baby without a lot of waste.

Milk storage bags: I was using Medela, but they are pricey and Lansinoh are similar for a little less money.

Dry Erase pen! Sounds strange, but pick up a narrow-tip one at the grocery store. It works great to label the bottle caps in the fridge so you know what day you pumped and when it needs to be used by. Also works well to designate bottles for daycare if you go back to work.

Breast pads: I have used the Medela cotton ones and they have worked fine and are a little more economical than the disposable ones (but are thick and will show through some shirts). I've read that a lot of people like the Ultra Thin Lansinoh disposable pads. I also really like Lilypadz. I have two sets at a time so one can be washed while I am wearing the other. Works well for me to contain leaks. They last about 2 months.

Combating soreness the first few weeks ... I used lanolin every time baby ate and also used Soothies for several days with a cracked nipple and it helped immensely.

TMI? Get used to it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Labor (?) and Delivery

I had planned (ha!) to go into labor at home in the evening or on a weekend so I could be certain to get everything we needed. It would be a nice, orderly procession to the hospital. It would surely be after my due date, but definitely before Christmas - it was my first, you know. I would be in charge.

In reality, our girly arrived via an un-planned, semi-emergent cesarean section at 38 weeks. In the middle of the work day. On a Wednesday!

I had hemmed and hawed for weeks about what to pack for the hospital - Googling for THE PERFECT list. In the end, it was all for not as our bag laid empty on the floor of our bedroom when the call came. My husband, bless his heart, was able to follow my chicken scratch notes from the described Googling and gathered most everything we needed in record time.

While all you really NEED is yourself and your significant other, there are quite a few things that make the experience a little nicer. I started with this and this and added or subtracted as I saw fit.

Some highlights:
- Your own pjs - pants and a top for breastfeeding
- Your own underwear and pads - the ones they give you at the hospital seem like ones from the 1950's and you probably will want something different
- Nursing bra or tank top (I like these the best)
- A robe for walking the halls
- Bring chapstick - you will need it
- A camera, of course, and our laptop was nice to have. We brought our iPod, but didn't really listen to it as I didn't spend a lot (or any) time in labor.
-Some lists say to bring snacks, but our hospital had a room full of all kinds of snacks and drinks for new parents
- Going home clothes for baby (newborn size unless you are having a giant)
- Pillows for you and Dad
- Comfy clothes (and a change of clothes) for Dad
- Good smelling shampoo and soap
- Warm socks with anti-slip bottoms
- Going home clothes for Mom - try to buy something new that is stretchy and will accommodate your post-delivery belly, but at the same time is not the dreaded maternity clothes

Also, my two cents on delivering a baby: There is no trophy at the end. Whichever way that baby gets out, you have a BABY at the end and that is what is important. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own wishes about having that baby. While my mother and I may have had a tiny disagreement about epidurals, I will say that my nurse in L&D asked about my thoughts on pain management and I told her I wanted an epidural and she said "Good for you - it is the only civilized way!"

Further, regarding birth plans, BAH! As my doctor eloquently stated, "The plan is to have a healthy baby and a healthy mother". I agreed. Surprisingly, being one who loves lists and planning, I never saw the need for a birth plan. Good thing, as it would have been a waste of my time.

Mother Nature may not be your friend

As a good friend told me while I was pregnant, breastfeeding just isn't natural. It may be what Nature intended, but that does NOT mean that it is easy or intuitive or painless. To emphasize, or painless.

I felt committed to breastfeeding from the start and feel lucky that it has gone so well. I understand that it isn't the right decision for everyone and that it may not work for everyone. I also think that even one day of breastfeeding is better than no days of breastfeeding, so it is probably worth a shot!

I took a breastfeeding class in my 3rd trimester that was helpful in becoming familiar with the lingo and such, but you can't really learn until that baby is in your arms. I also bought my pump (the Medela Freestyle), but didn't open it until we were home about a week. Pumps are expensive and non-returnable if opened, so I wanted to make sure that I would be breastfeeding.

I didn't read any books on breastfeeding, but I still find the La Leche League website and the Kelly Mom website to be very helpful if I have questions. And I do.

Some Lactation Consultants are better than others and I feel fortunate that I had a good experience with 2 out of 3 while in the hospital. And our mother-baby nurses were also very helpful. They gave me a feeding log which I still use to this day (remember people, I'm OCD). At first your memory really sucks and you need to write down numbers of wet and dirty diapers, how long baby fed and which side to start on, and when you took your pain meds. Now I also use it to write down naptimes. Always searching for patterns, you know ... (don't confuse me with the guy from A Beautiful Mind).

Ask for help if you need it. I was fortunate that I had lots of friends with experience. Also just trust that if you feel strongly about breastfeeding, something really does click at 3-4 weeks and it becomes easy and painless. Give it a chance.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Counting Them

Our blessings, that is.

What a joy it is to be a parent! It is something we cherish and do not take for granted.

We have been blessed with what seems to be the perfect baby girl ... do all parents feel this way?

Our dreambaby arrived in a somewhat spectacular fashion two weeks early. If her entry into the world was to be any indication of her personality, I was concerned she would be impatient, demanding and all-around unpredictable. Nothing could be further from the truth. She is a laid-back, un-demanding, HIGHLY predictable child.

So far, that is.

Remember - we're 13 weeks into this lifetime gig. What do we know?

My sleepy girl allowed me the good fortune of an easy adjustment to life as a mother. It is my nature to make lists and perseverate over all things big and small. It started the day the stick showed two pink lines and hasn't stopped since. Napping while your new baby naps? Not for me! It was more like lay in bed and think of all the things you have to do and make lists because your baby brain will forget.

It is so much more fun to watch your friends have babies after you have had the privilege of having one of your own. We delight in our many friends who are on this journey and I treasure now, more than ever before, our parent-friends who went before us. I pester them for their opinions on all matters, important and not-so-important.

I began to draft emails to my expectant friends on "things I wish I knew". Granted, I am an information-seeker. Sometimes to my detriment. If you can google it, you can be sure that I have. Regardless, I thought an occasional email might be helpful to someone else and would give me some purpose in those early days of diaper changes, feedings and not much else.

I will compile those emails here. Take it all with a grain of salt, or hell, a shaker of salt. We are novice parents with one extremely good baby. I can't take credit for all the information within - I just consolidate what I have learned elsewhere. And, it goes without saying, I'm no doctor (although I like to play one some days) - this is opinion, people.