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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Berries, Beers and Beach

Well it’s been a month and we haven’t messed up yet! Not that we’ve noticed at least…

Baby2 has done a lot in a month; here are some recent happenings in pictures.

We went raspberry picking and I made eight jars of jam from our spoils. Mmmm jam…

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We went on our first bike ride! My parents got us this trailer – we can put our spare carseat in it and go for a bike ride!

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Baby2 is great at tummy time. She’s moving her head from side to side already!

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We caved and gave her one of these. I was a little sad to give it to her but she does seem to love it.

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I think it also helped her to finally take one of these, after trying all week. She certainly prefers her milk from the source. She doesn’t really like the bottle much, but she has about a month to get used to it before I go back to work.

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I had my first one of these since October! Oh it was delicious.

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Finally, we went to the beach with friends who came to visit us from the Midwest. It’s been a busy week!

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Book Review: Breastfeeding Made Simple

PhotobucketBreastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers is by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC. This is the first breastfeeding book I’ve read by actual lactation consultants and, let me tell you, I can tell the difference! So much of what I thought I knew or what I have been told about breastfeeding was clarified or even dispelled by this book.

The authors explain information they’ve gathered into seven natural laws: things that are inherent in every breastfeeding baby, mother and, thus, the breastfeeding couple. What’s so great about this book is all the information about the baby’s perspective. Babies are hard-wired to breastfeed (that’s one of the “seven laws”) so they come with a whole set of instinctual movements and behaviors to facilitate breastfeeding. A touch on the chin will cause their mouth to open wide, a touch on their feet will cause them to push themselves up to the breast, etc. I’ve never read about these things in any other breastfeeding book, and they really can make or break some of those first sessions together! For example, if you’ve got baby’s feet pushed up against something and he or she keeps pushing out of position, that could get very frustrating if you didn’t know why!

Based on some of the baby instincts I read about, I started making just a small change to the way I held Baby2 when feeding her. Suddenly she went from eating five minutes at a time to at least 10, sometimes 15 minutes. I’m not sure if she’s getting more milk (hopefully she’s not just being less efficient!) but I feel better that she’s eating in longer stretches. All I changed was just to pull her belly in tighter to my chest. Her belly was always facing me but we weren’t really smushed together. Now if she slows down or stops eating, I just pull her close again and she gets back to business!

There were only a couple things I didn’t like; one, there were numerous mentions of babies needing to make several “stools” a day. That freaked me out because, at the time, I was in the midst of Baby’s first dry spell (she went five days without a poop!). It is unusual yet completely normal for breastfed babies to go longer between bowel movements (my pediatrician keeps reassuring me). I wish the authors would say that several stools a day is normal but as long as your baby is gaining weight and all other healthy indicators are present, breastfed babies can go up to two weeks without a poop. Baby2 now poops about once every other day (and it’s a whole lotta poop when she goes!).

Also, I think that, while each of the laws are explained in good detail, to a mother who is really struggling with breastfeeding it may seem like an over-simplification of sorts. The authors have an underlying theme that anyone can breastfeed, no matter what, which isn’t always the case. There are a couple ladies in my moms group who have seen half a dozen lactation consultants and nothing is working. So the authors’ assertion that simply obeying the natural laws will solve all their problems may be a little off the mark. I think these two moms I know would find this very frustrating.

But it is great that some of the standard mantras that doctors give nursing mothers are explained and usually clarified as untrue. For example, feeding every two to three hours doesn’t make sense, at least in the first few weeks because milk production is at its peak in the morning and slows at night (which is why so many babies cluster feed in the evenings). That sort of schedule also does nothing to help build supply in the first month, when baby should be eating as often as possible so that the breasts know how much milk they should make. Did you know that supply is generally set as of baby’s one-month birthday? And that babies will eat about the same amount of breast milk at six months of age that they ate at one month of age? I had no idea!

I only wish I had read this book while I was still pregnant, but it’s never too late to learn more about breastfeeding. I feel like I’ve been able to apply the knowledge I’ve taken in order to strengthen Baby2 and my breastfeeding relationship. I’ve been searching for the go-to breastfeeding book and I really feel like this one is it. Highly recommended!

Next review: Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin

Book Review: The Milk Memos

This book was recommended to me by fellow new second-time mom and blogger, The E is for Erin. Thanks Erin! After reading Nursing Mother, Working Mother, I was looking for more books on the topic of breastfeeding moms working outside the home.

http://www.milkmemos.com/The Milk Memos is about a group of moms who work at IBM and pump their breastmilk. This real group of women kept spiral notebooks in their “pumping palace,” as they called their lactation room. They wrote back and forth to each other and encouraged each other to keep pumping and somehow stay sane in the endless search for work/home balance.

I identified so much with the women in this book. I returned to work six weeks after my son was born and pumped breastmilk several times a day. I recall the struggle to leave my baby at such an early age. Luckily I left him in the capable hands of Mr. Handsome (which I will do again after this maternity leave ends) but that hardly takes away the separation anxiety that a new mama feels upon returning to work. The women in this book felt the same things I felt then and will feel again when I return to work in September.

What’s great about this book is that the women are like characters in a story that is woven through a practical breastfeeding book. These women suffer through everything that typically plagues working mothers of infants: separation anxiety, struggles with milk production, faulty pumps, “mama brain,” unsympathetic bosses and co-workers and finding balance between a job you love and a baby you adore more than anything in the world. I very much enjoyed reading about their real lives and how they overcame real struggles, struggles that I’m sure I will have once I return to work.

Like I stated, this book is also a practical breastfeeding manual, covering the typical sub-topics but also giving them a working-mom slant. There’s great advice on buying a pump, storing milk, reheating milk, educating care-givers about handling breastmilk, finding an appropriate childcare solution, dealing with sleep deprivation, and on and on and on.

Also, the idea of keeping a notebook to write to other pumping moms in the company is complete genius. When you work in a big company (my office contains several hundred people), it’s hard to find co-workers in a similar situation. Having the notebook in the room not only helps to find like people but also encourages support and sharing within those people. I’m inspired to bring a notebook to my company’s lactation room so that I can try to find something similar to what “the milk mamas” had.

This book is well worth the read for any breastfeeding mama working outside the home!

Next review: Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC

Breastfeeding Progress and Recovery Update

Where the hell is time going? Baby2 is already three weeks old as of yesterday and Kiddo1 just turned nine and a half earlier this week! I can’t believe Kiddo1 has half a year until he’s ten. That’s just insane.

Anyway, since we’re going strong on National Breastfeeding Month, I thought I’d post about how Baby2 and I are doing with our own nursing efforts.

At my last update I noted that Baby2 was only eating in five minute increments. That hasn’t changed. Sometimes she’ll eat for ten or fifteen minutes, but most of the time I get five minutes. She doesn’t fall asleep or anything, she’s just… done, I guess. I tried stretching out her feedings to see if she’d eat more, but no luck (and sometimes waiting three hours just isn’t possible!). I change her diaper after five minutes and sometimes she’ll eat more but usually not. I can try to change sides, wait 20 minutes and try again, all kinds of stuff but, still, I only get five minutes.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI was worried and spoke to the pediatrician about it at Baby2’s two week checkup. The thing is, Baby2 is perfectly… normal. Her weight gain is fantastic – she gained back to her birth weight by one week (a full week earlier than needed) AND she gained another half pound by two weeks of age. So no need to worry. And I wasn’t worried until this week when she stopped pooping – we haven’t seen a poop since Saturday (which happened to be a massive one at the movie theatre!).

Our pediatrician tells us that breastfed babies can poop five times a day or once every two weeks. Both are normal. But this lack of poo is still freaking me out! Where the hell is it? Her body is not big. Where is she keeping the poo?! Fingers crossed for a big load soon.

Ah, the things a parents thinks about.

Anyway. I’ve been pumping every day, too, and the more I thought about my pumping quantities the better I felt about Baby2’s short meals. I can usually get 2-3 ounces from one breast in less than five minutes (I have a double electric Avent pump so I’m getting four to six ounces per session). I’m thinking about donating some of the milk I’ve saved up (I have almost 100 ounces already!). Initially I wanted to have a business month’s worth of milk reserved – 20 12-ounce days or 240 ounces. But why do I need that much? I’m sure I could part with my whole current stash and still be okay when I go back to work. So I’m looking in to that. I’ll post an update!

We haven’t yet used a pacifier. I’d like to see if we can get away without ever using one, but I won’t be sad if we do. We do have two that have been sterilized and are ready for us, just in case!

My Recovery

As far as my postpartum recovery, I feel pretty damn good, almost back to normal. The only time of day that I don’t feel pretty great is when I’m getting dressed – maternity clothes are too big but non-maternity clothes don’t quite fit right. Dresses are my go-to right now but I’m honestly getting a little tired of them. I miss pants! The time will come, though.

To expand on things that don’t fit:

  • My regular jeans don’t fit. Lame. I can wear the last two pair of non-maternity jeans that fit throughout pregnancy, but they feel tighter. What’s that all about? So I wear a lot of dresses.
  • My boobs are seriously huge and I have to structure outfits around their accessibility, which still feels odd. There are a few pre-pregnancy shirts I would love to wear but I can’t get to the feed bags so I don’t wear them. I’m starting to experiment with layering shirts so I can wear more normal stuff, but it’s still touch-and-go.
  • My shoes feel a little snug. Anything but sandals straight up did not fit after about 39 weeks of pregnancy but still three weeks out they don’t feel normal. I’ve gotten by but I’m going to need to wear my regular shoes soon. Fingers crossed that they will fit. As awesome as shoe shopping sounds I don’t want to have to replace my beloved shoes!

Some regular things that make me feel normal:

  • My midwife cleared me to exercise but because it has been So Damn Hot I haven’t actually done anything yet.
  • My wedding rings don’t feel tight at all.
  • The postpartum bleeding has stopped! I think I’m going to swim soon!
  • I haven’t wanted to mention this until now, for fear that I might jinx myself, but here goes… I didn’t get any stretch marks! I have a couple from my first pregnancy but none this time! Yay!!

Some not-so-normal things:

  • I’ve lost 14-16 pounds so far. I’m sure the other 20 pounds are in my boobs, right?
  • My linea negra is still around. Can’t I just scrub it off? (No, I’ve tried.)
  • I find myself telling myself to calm the hell down sometimes. I’ll get all antsy and impatient about things, especially if it involves Baby2’s eating or not eating or anything involving eating. I can calm myself, but I have to tell myself to be calm. I don’t remember being this uptight, but maybe that comes with the hormones?

Lots is happening in the next week or so. I’ll probably post another update around Baby2’s one month birthday!

Bra Switch-a-roo

Nursing bras are a fundamental part of successful breastfeeding. I’m lucky to have a few that I love but often it is a real struggle to find the right fit! If only some of the regular bras that we have come to know and love could be nursing bras, right?

Well, word on “the street” (meaning, the internet) is that Nordstrom will convert any bra, even a non-Nordstrom-purchased bra, into a nursing bra for a flat $10 fee. Amazing! I read about this initially on Science & Sensibility’s blog – here’s the post: http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=5100.

Happy last day of World Breastfeeding Week! Yesterday also marked the start of National Breastfeeding Month’s “20 Actions in 20 Days” campaign, an initiative to bring awareness, support and all kinds of good attention to breastfeeding. I hope to touch on at least a few of these topics in the coming weeks. Here’s the calendar from the USBC’s site:

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We Counted in the Big Latch On!

This morning, Baby2 and I participated in our neighborhood’s contribution to the Big Latch On 2012! There were about 50 mama-baby pairs joining in simultaneous breastfeeding. We had a great time!

I was a little nervous because the rules were firm: baby must be latched on for one full minute from exactly 10:30 to 10:31 AM. What if she wasn’t hungry? What if the room was too noisy? (She likes her mealtimes quiet!) What if I couldn’t get in the right position without my Boppy pillow?!

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Baby2 and me after the de-latching

But we were fine. We got there early and signed in, we found a spot next to someone I know and Baby2 was showing slight hunger signs just after 10:00. The room was noisy with all the babies, of course, but it got real quiet at 10:30. Baby2 confidently latched on and we were counted! My arms didn’t get tired holding all seven pounds of Baby2 – we held out and kept on nursing for a full feeding! Woo!

It was good to see so many mamas and even some whole families that are excited about breastfeeding. Some families brought their older kids wearing shirts that said how long they were breastfed (years!). I’m just glad Baby2 did so well – she didn’t get upset at all the commotion or anything. I was a proud mama.

So far the numbers on BLO’s website are killing last year’s – 8727 participants to 2011’s 5687. Lots more countries and locations, too! I was happy to be part of the event and I’m sure Baby2 was too!

Big Latch On

As part of World Breastfeeding Week, the Big Latch On is an event to not only promote breastfeeding awareness and support but also aims to break the world record for the most babies being breastfed at the same time!

There are events happening all over the world today and tomorrow at 10:30 AM (regardless of time zone). If you’re a breastfeeding mama, check for a location near you. You can also host your own location with as little as two breastfeeders! Check out the Big Latch On’s website (http://www.biglatchon.org/) for more details.

I’ll be participating at a local event tomorrow. I’m excited to post about it so stay tuned!