Someday I will write a post detailing all the wonderful things about breastfeeding… but this my friends is not it. I could also use this post to tell you things you already know, like “it’s the best thing you can do for your baby”, “it helps you lose weight quick”, and “it’s very convenient”… but again you already know that stuff. So instead, I want to share my breastfeeding journey with you, which has been the hardest yet most rewarding experience of my life. There were countless towel throw-ins, tears and late night pump cleanings… but I’m now so very proud to tell you that I stuck with it and turned my underweight baby to a 10 week old baby who is completely off the growth charts for height and weight!
So my nursing troubles started at birth. Although Dylan initially latched beautifully, he developed Jaundice which caused him to sleep… A LOT. And there’s a lot to love about a super sleepy baby, but unfortunately they don’t eat a lot. It also didn’t help that he was put in the NICU for a day and given formula… so when we finally got home from the hospital 5 days later and his appetite started to increase, he got pissed when his milk machines were not giving him the goods. I mean, who wouldn’t be… right! Then the next day at his first dr. appointment, the worst happened… he hadn’t regained his birth weight and his doc gave us the option of starting formula or going to a lactation consultant to assess the situation. So off we went to whip out and talk about my boobs with a few more people (vanity is sooo out the window at this point). My LC’s recommendation was probably the suckiest (pun intended!) moment of my experience – since he didn’t transfer enough milk, she suggested that I nurse, pump and then supplement with at least 1 oz of pumped milk or formula. And yes, I did this for every feeding for 4 straight weeks = My. Personal. Hell.
So although this totally, 100% sucked…. it’s also really worked. Although the first week I was only able to express 1/2 an ounce after a feeding, that quickly increased and by 3 weeks I was pumping almost 2 oz and Dylan was quickly gaining weight. Aside from pumping, I also took Fenugreek to increase my milk supply for a few weeks but had to stop as I just couldn’t stand smelling like the waffle house. At our 4 week LC weight check-in, my LC happily told us that we had graduated and against her recommendation, I then completely stopped pumping. She suggested that I wean off the pump, but I was soooo sick of pumping and Dylan was eating every 2 hours so I desperately needed the break. Big Mistake. Within a few days, I developed a low grade fever and lump in my breast. Yep… that’s a sure sign of a clogged duct and a day or so away from Mastitis. Luckily I was aware of the symptoms and caught it fast. Although it was painful, I made Dylan nurse extra on the breast with the clogged duct and within a few days it cleared.
Needless to say, back to the pump I went! But only twice a day and now happily once a day. Since Dylan is transferring plenty (at 2 months he weighed 13 lbs!), I’ve been building a pretty nice supply of the liquid gold, and boy am I proud of that stuff when I open my freezer and see my stock pile! So after gathering tons of different ideas for how to store and organize my supply, I found the coolest idea from Roni at GreenLiteBites.com… and of course I had to copy it. What I love about her method is that it ensures you use your oldest milk first by dispensing it in the correct order.
- Here’s whatcha need:
- - A small gift bag
- - Scissors
- - Tape (to reinforce opening)
- - Milk storage bags
Simply cut a hole in the bag on one of it’s sides, making sure the opening is wide enough for your storage bags.
Store your oldest milk at the bottom and simply stack on your newer milk. Before placing the milk in the bag, I make sure it’s labeled with the date and volume. I also only store a 3-4 oz bottle worth of milk per bag.
I usually have a little treat sitting next to my bags, because after all, nursing allows us a few extra calories a day
- Oh and here are the LLLi guidelines I follow for storing breastmilk:
- - At room temperature (66-78°F, 19-26°C): for 4 hours (ideal), up to 6 hours (acceptable)
- - In a refrigerator (<39°F, <4°C): for 72 hours (ideal), up to 8 days
- - In a freezer (-0.4 to -4°F, -18 to -20°C): for 6 months (ideal) up to 12 months (acceptable)
By now you know that I love me some organized spaces. Something about everything having its own home and dedicated space just makes me ocd-giddy. But it’s not just about putting all your junk in a bin… it’s about strategically putting what you need, where you need it, and if it happens to be in fabulous bin, well then that’s just a double whammy!
And trust me, having what you need, where you need it, can absolutely help de-stress your life. There is nothing more stressful than a screaming baby in your backseat who decided to decorate his carseat with his poop. Oh wait.. there is something more stressful… it’s realizing that you don’t have any more diapers or wipes in your diaper bag to clean it up. Yeah, that would be my first and nowhere near my last total parenting fail. But ya live and ya learn… and then you stock pile your car with your mom tools. And immediately after this poopisode, I did just that and struck gold with this Laura Ashley Trunk Organizer that I found on Zulily for $15 bucks, although you can also get it via Amazon for $25.
So for my swagger-wagon, I decided that extra diapers and wipes were a must! I also like to tote around some extra paper towels, tissues, hand sanitizer, stroller blanket and flashlight. I also seem to be hording reusable grocery bags, so I thought this would also be a good home for them as well. Ewww, so I saw a stat last week that said 80% of peeps don’t clean their bags.. and grosso me being part of that stat, had to immediately wash them. Do it people… leaky chicken juice is straight up nasty.
So here’s the bin all loaded up, with room to spare! I think I’m totally preparing for the stinky, sticky toddler I’m soon to have
My favorite part is the Velcro on the bottom of the bin. Even with my crazy driving, this bad boy is staying put!
If I had a nickel for everything I didn’t know about babies, I’d be one rich lady. Before Dylan, I had literally been around one baby – my precious niece, Kaitlyn. So when it came time to register for and buy baby stuff, I was pretty clueless. Needless to say, we got and bought a ton of stuff… some we’re loving and can’t live without and some we’ve turned into dog toys. I wish I could make you one of those awesome Target back to school commercials detailing this list, que the “backpackkkkkks!” but I’m just not that cool, so here’s my “Love it” and “Gotta have it” list of infant stuff. The Gotta have it list are seriously things I couldn’t live without now.
Oh and please take this post for what it is – just one new mama’s (with limited baby exposure!) favorite baby stuff! I’m by no means a baby expert, I just know what makes me and my 8 week old baby boy happy!
Soft, light and super versatile! I typically use these for swaddling and cuddling, but I’ve also used as a nursing cover and even a burp cloth from time to time. I’ve even found myself sleeping with these… without Dylan!
Love everything about this car seat and it’s super easy to install / get in and out of the car.
The stroller is also super nice and such a smooth ride. My only complaint here is storage… I can barely fit my diaper bag underneath sometimes, but I carry a ton of stuff around with me!
Dylan LOVES this. We spend about 30 minutes everyday playing on it and he coos and smiles the entire time. We also do our Tummy Time on it because the mat is so soft.
This chair has been a lifesaver during dinner time and when I’m getting ready. It vibrates and keeps him entertained when I can’t hold him. I also love that it’s super light and I can tote it around the house with me.
This is seriously cool. It attaches to the crib and plays soothing music, while little fish swim by. It also has a timer and remote so I can restart the music without coming into the room. Playing music from this toy is now part of our bedtime routine!
I didn’t love this at first and still don’t think it’s as good as the BreastFriend pillow that I used while at the lactation consultant but it’s still a great pillow for nursing. I also love to prop Dylan up on it when we play or sit on the couch together.
I tried the Bjorn, the Boba and the Peanut Shell sling and although I like several things about each one, I LOVE the Ergo Baby carrier. It’s the most comfortable and feels the most secure. It’s also magical, as it literally puts Dylan to sleep in 2 minutes flat.
I think these are such a cute way to capture your little one growing! There are tons of these on Etsy but this would also be a great DIY project!
The Miracle Blanket This is the one product that actually changed my life. It took Dylan from 2 hour sleep sprints to 5… instantly! I initially thought he didn’t like to be swaddled because he could get out of every blanket and SwaddleMe swaddle… but he cannot get out of this one! It’s also super easy to change his diaper in, as you don’t have to undo the arm swaddle to pull his legs out.
Instead of a bassinet, we used this guy and Dylan loves it! He spits up a good amount, so this has been perfect at keeping him at an incline while he sleeps. It’s also super portable and lightweight. I’ve spent full nights rocking this sucker… I think I can do it in my sleep now!
This is another Dylan favorite and basically his seat in our living room when we’re not holding him. What’s great about this is that it plugs into the wall (so no batteries!) and it has a great sound machine. I switch between the white noise and the lullaby. Jer and I joke that we now hear the lullabies from this even when it’s not playing. I even start humming them randomly.
What a LIFE SAVER this has been. So I’m working on another post about my breastfeeding drama/journey, but basically I was nursing AND pumping 8 times a day and having my hands free for the pumping part was so very helpful. If you plan to pump, this is a MUST!
Watching Dylan fight gas pains is probably worse on me than the actual gas is on him. These gas drops are amazballs…. nuff’ said.
Jer did a lot of research on baby monitors and claims this has the best product reviews and after using it, I’m hooked! Talk about peace of mind… being able to watch my little guy sleep and even zoom in to see him breathe has been so comforting! I also love that I can talk to Dylan and play music through it.
I know I featured this in my baby organizing post, but this has seriously become the downstairs “baby station”. It’s where we change him and store burp clothes, blankets, the diaper bag, etc. It’s been so nice to have one spot downstairs where we store all his stuff!
Ok… enough of my favorites, what baby products are you loving?!
Disclaimer: Yes, this post title accurately reflects its contents (aka: we’re talking about a topic that involves my va-jay-jay) So if that’s awkward for you or if you’re a guy friend/co-worker please don’t read this
I’m back! Well… kind of. I’m still in a bit of survival mode as we are no where near sleeping through the night, but I think I’m finally starting to adapt. Thank you guys so much for the sweet messages and comments and a special thank you for all of the advice you provided along the way – it was used and definitely appreciated.
Over the past few weeks I also got several messages asking for new mama tips that I’ve picked up along the away and for my birth story. It may take a few weeks but I’ve got several posts in the works that answer pretty much everyone’s questions and I’m starting a new blog tab to archive it all (come back soon to check it out!) I’ll start with my birth story since I loved reading these before Dylan because I really think they helped prepare me a little for what was about to go down. Although everyone’s different, here’s the story of how baby Dylan made it out the va-jay-jay:
So ever since we got pregnant I had a feeling Dylan was going to be a June baby. His due date was July 4, but I just had one of those deep down feelings he wasn’t going to make it that far… and only partially because I was constantly fattening him up with cheeseburgers and milkshakes. So on Saturday, June 30, I went to bed a little bummed only to stand up minutes later to my water breaking. And “breaking” is such an understatement… it actually busted, exploded, gushed. It was a moment of “I just totally peed myself, wait.. that’s a lot of pee and I didn’t even have to pee… oh snap, that’s not pee, I’m having a baby… oh wait please don’t come out in the toilet like they do on TV!”. So I immediately called the after hours line of my OB to let the hospital know we were coming, threw our stuff in the car, and kissed Bo goodbye, promising to bring him home a baby brother. And then as soon as we got into the car, the contractions began. For the past few weeks of false labor pains I kept telling my friends how much I hated the saying “when it’s real labor, you’ll just know!” but it’s so true. In my experience, you can’t walk and you can’t talk through them. You can walk/talk between them, but not during them. They hurt like a mother trucker.
Ok, so picture what happens next in fast forward as it’s just pretty standard stuff: Got to the hospital, filled out paperwork with a dumb receptionist while having contractions, then went into a triage room where they realized I was telling the truth about my water braking, hence the lovely amniotic fluid dripping down my leg. Then I was taken to the birthing room where I got my IV and this dreadful belly monitor strapped to me. HATED the belly monitor, mostly because it was super tight on my contracting belly but also because it didn’t really work and wasn’t giving me credit for the contractions I was having.. I’m not talking about a gold star but a pat on the back for doing this cave woman style for a bit would be nice!
So my plan all along was to get an epidural as soon as labor started. Hell, I would have gotten one in the car ride over if that was an option.. and as much of the stuff as my body could take. I’m talking pain free people. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me since the doctor on staff was caught up with the woman in the next room screaming at the top of her lungs. So I waited and waited and waited. Two hours later I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced AND finally got the epidural. I was pretty nervous about getting it, but it was literally a little bee sting and felt a million times better than the contractions or the IV did. The only bad part of the epidural was the shakes. Oh the shakes… I wasn’t prepared at all for my entire upper body to shake uncontrollably and I think it totally scared my mom and husband, who watched this whole process as if I was the Discovery channel.
So after the epidural, the nurse left for a while and said, “ok, now you just gotta hang out. Hit this button if you’re in any more pain”. I’ll totally admit that my pain tolerance sucks and even with the slightest pain, I hit the button. So around 10 button hits and 2 hours later, I felt a sudden urge to push and more “water” running down my legs. The nurse, who I think totally underestimated these birthing hips left us for a while and seemed very surprised when she returned to find me 9 cm dilated and fully effaced, aka: time to push that bambino outta there.
I guess because of the movies, I always imagined using stirrups to brace myself while I pushed, not my nurse holding one leg and my husband holding the other. It was awkward but after about an hour I had the process down: every time I felt a contraction coming on (and the stupid belly monitor confirmed it) “my birthing team” grabbed a leg and a foot and I pushed 3 times for 10 seconds. This continued about every 3-5 minutes for an hour. Then the scariness started – I started contracting every 1 minute and Dylan’s heart rate significantly dropped and the entire room panicked and my nurse picked up the phone (later to find out she was ordering an emergency c-section). The doctor rushed in and ordered the nurse to give me a shot of something to slow the contractions and several people flipped me on all fours (think yoga downward dog). My hair was covering my eyes so I had no idea what was happening as I couldn’t read facial expressions, but as soon as I was able to see Jer’s face, I knew it wasn’t good. He was straight up flipping out. A few minutes later they flipped me back on my back and Dylan’s heart rate was back around 150. Whatever they did worked and we continued to push and push and push. Finally 3 hours later the new doctor (I think the Dr. shift change totally screwed me here!) decided to perform an episiotomy. I was able to watch the entire birth process in the mirror across from me (which I totally recommend for a medicated birth, so that you can gauge your pushes) but I just couldn’t watch this part. Then there was a snip (which I never felt) and then I was told to push really hard. So I closed my eyes, held my breath, clinched my fists and pushed with everything I had. What happens next is something I’ll never forget so long as I live – the moment they put my sweet baby boy on my belly and he looked up at me. Every parent talks about the love they have for their child but it’s truly impossible for words to explain this love. It’s like no other and by far the most amazing feeling in the world.
So that’s the story of how my sweet Dylan made his grand entrance!
|My postpartum healing story is lots shorter. I followed my doctor and nurses advice to a T and healed my episiotomy and third degree tear in about 2-3 weeks. Every potty I used an epi spray bottle, New Mama Bottom Spray, Tucks and Epifoam. This is literally a breath of fresh air for your lady parts – def def def recommend all three.The day we left the hospital I asked my nurse for extra pads, undies and tucks and she totally hooked a sista up! Trust me, you’re paying for it, so take everything you can – diapers, wipes, soap and those plastic buckets for storing it all!|
So all in all what has surprised me the most about this journey is that the birthing process has honestly been the easiest part. Breastfeeding, sleep schedules, fevers and a screaming baby are way harder! Working on a few posts to share all this new mama drama with you soon!