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Breastfeeding ain’t easy…

I have been meaning to write for quite a while now, but time has gotten away from me. I also started a blog about breastfeeding a while ago and somehow lost it, so alas, I must start a new one :).

First, a quick update on life as a mommy! Mommyhood is going well — I am definitely tired, but what mom isn’t?!?!?! Our little guy is a very good baby — he doesn’t cry too much (except when he gets over tired), sleeps pretty well, and is super cute. We are learning his cues, how to distinguish between his cries, and adapting to parenthood. Baby W loves being held and sung to, and is a BIG fan of eating. He doesn’t like the car (yet) and doesn’t like sleeping in his bassinet, but we’re working on it!

Now, onto breastfeeding. I am writing this to share my breastfeeding experiences — both the good and bad. Luckily, 5 weeks later, we are still going strong, but it hasn’t been easy!

While I was pregnant, one of my biggest fears was that my milk wouldn’t come in and I would be a failure at breastfeeding. Because of this fear, I signed us up for breastfeeding class, read a couple of books about the topics, and asked our doula for advice and additional instruction about what to expect when Baby W arrived. I know that breastfeeding is “natural,” but that doesn’t mean it comes easy to everyone. In fact, many of my mommy friends have told me how hard it is, and more than half have stopped breastfeeding because it was just too much. I now understand why…

Right after Baby W was born, the doctor put him on my chest and he immediately found my left breast and started to eat. He latched on perfectly and was a pro-eater. After 30-35 minutes, he switched to the right side and ate for another 30-35 minutes. The doctor, nurse, and our doula were quite impressed with his breastfeeding expertise. I was thrilled that he knew what to do, and that we had gotten off to such a strong start. Over the next two days, Baby W ate every 1-2 hours and continued to impress the nurses and lactation consultants with his ability to latch and suck. Everything checked out, and we were discharged to go home a mere 2 days after our little guy arrived in the world.

Life at home was actually really nice – no annoying nurse check-ins at 4am right after you got the baby to sleep. Plus, my hubby was the best — he literally made every meal, changed every diaper, and did anything else I needed so I could sleep whenever Baby W wasn’t eating. Since he ate so often, I was pretty exhausted, and since my milk wasn’t fully in, Baby W was a little fussy because he was very hungry. He was also losing a good amount of weight. Weight loss in newborns is perfectly normal — up to 10% of their birthweight — but our little guy had dropped to 8lbs at his first pediatrician appointment 4 days after his birth. Our pediatrician was concerned about his weight loss, and asked us to supplement his feedings with 1 ounce of formula. I was, of course, very upset about this request. I was worried that supplementing with formula would hurt my milk supply and might lead us down a slippery slope of switching to 100% formula. I was also worried about nipple confusion, so refused to use a bottle to give him the formula, but instead opted to use a syringe to feed him. To increase my supply, I also started pumping a few times a day — I didn’t get much milk, but I am convinced it helped my milk come in more quickly.

Thankfully, everything we did worked, and at the next appointment 3 days later, Baby W had gained 6.5 ounces. Our pediatrician was thrilled with his progress, and said we could reduce the supplemental feedings to 2-3 per day. We listened to the doctor and I continued feeding him on demand and we supplemented a few of his feedings. One week later, we went back to the doctor, and he had gained another 12 ounces — he was averaging almost 2 ounces a day! I was beyond happy — we could stop supplementing and continue with our regular feedings! YAY 🙂

We definitely got lucky with everything, but I also think knowing what to expect and being prepared helped us get through the rough spots. Based on our experience, here are a few ti[s — feel free to take them or leave them 🙂

1. Breastfeeding is hard!
It’s hard both emotionally and physically. Your nipples are going to hurt and you aren’t going to get much sleep. It will take a lot of willpower to get through the feedings in the middle of the night, but you can do it! Know that every woman who has stuck with breastfeeding has gone through this struggle, and if we can do it, so can you!

2. It’s gonna hurt, so be prepared.
It takes a little while to toughen up your nipples for regular feedings. It will be even harder if your little one has trouble latching on. So, make sure you are prepared with ways to reduce the pain. I strongly suggest lanolin cream — bring it with you to the hospital and start using it immediately. It will help to heal your nipples and is perfectly safe for you baby to ingest. I also suggest gel pads (my hospital gave me some to take home, but you can also find them at baby stores). Store the pads in the fridge, and after feedings put them directly on your nipples. They help to heal your skin and the cold feels great! Plus, the gel pads are reusable, so you only need a few.

3. Ask for help immediately.
When you’re in the hospital, ask to talk to a lactation consultant, and work with her to position your baby and get the correct latch. If you don’t deliver at a hospital, work with your midwife. If you start having trouble when you’re home, call a lactation consultant right away. The earlier you get help, the more likely you are to solve the problem and correct it. When we got home from our first trip to the pediatrician, my first call was to a lactation consultant to get her advice. It was great to have the support and to know that we were doing the right things for our baby.

4. Spend as much time skin-to-skin
Early on, spend as much time as you can skin-to-skin with your baby. The contact will actually increase your milk-making hormones and help your milk to come in. It also helps your baby to feel safe, improves his body temperature, and helps regulate his blood sugar.

5. If you’re in a hospital, room in with your baby
I know this sounds crazy. You are going to be tired from labor and delivery, but it’s important to learn your baby’s feeding cues. The more time you spend with her, the better you’ll become at recognizing them and at knowing when to feed her. It’s also important to feed her often — the more time she spends feeding, the more quickly your milk will come in, which will make your breastfeeding relationship better.

6. Tell the nurses at the hospital that you are breastfeeding
Make sure the nurses know that you are breastfeeding your baby, and that you don’t want any supplementation with formula. Nurses mean well, but if they begin to supplement your baby, then it can be very detrimental to your milk supply and your milk coming in. Your milk supply is all about supply and demand — the more time your baby spends with you at your breast, the more milk you will produce.

7. Ask for help
You will not be able to do everything when you get home. You are going to be exhausted and you need to focus on feeding your baby. In our breastfeeding class, the instructor told the class, that your only job as a mom was to feed your baby whenever she was hungry, and leave the rest to your partner, family, and friends. This was hard for me — I hate not getting things done, but it’s so important. You need to rest and spend as much time with your baby as possible. You are also healing from labor and delivery, so you need to get a much rest as possible.

8. Sleep when your baby sleeps
I received this advice from a million people, and you know what, it’s the best advice! You need your rest, everything else can wait. Ask your partner, friends, or family to clean and/or cook; order food; and, if you can afford it, hire someone to clean. You will be a better mom, and will stay more emotionally stable if you get sleep, so do everything you can to rest. In the beginning, I stayed in my room with Baby W and whenever he dozed off, I did the same. I felt a little guilty, but I also wanted to be the best possible mom I could be, and knew that sleep was an integral part of that.

I hope these tips help! All my best to you and your growing family 🙂

Baby dust


37 1/2 Weeks

37+ weeks and feeling good! I can’t believe that my little boy will be here sometime in the next 2 weeks or so – yay! I am beyond excited 🙂

This week has been good, but it’s getting more difficult to sleep and I am definitely not as hungry. I am still suffering from pretty awful heartburn, but I’ve found a pretty successful combination of Zantac and tums to keep the burning pain at bay. We had our 37-week appointment last Friday, and Baby W is beginning to settle in for his entry into the world. It was funny because the doctor couldn’t tell if he was head down – apparently his bottom is pretty round – so, we got another quick ultrasound to make sure he was in fact still head down. Thankfully, he is head down and ready for labor and delivery!

On Sunday, we had a great meeting with our doula. I really like her and am happy that we chose her to support us throughout our labor. She went over breastfeeding, labor positions, as well as what to expect during labor. As the date nears, I am getting more excited, but also feeling a little more anxious. Since it’s our first baby, labor will be a brand new experience. I know what to expect, but there is no way to fully prepare for it. It’s kind of like practicing for a big competition… There is only so much one can do to be ready before one has to perform. Hubby and I have to set aside this time this week to practice different labor positions and other pain-relieving techniques. This practice will help me to feel more relaxed on the big day. We practiced throughout our birth classes, but as my due date gets closer, it’s important that we’re prepared.

I have also been reading a lot about breastfeeding. Our bodies are truly remarkable! I can’t wait to bond with my baby by feeding him. At our hospital, the medical staff places the baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth and allows him to crawl up your body to nurse. I can’t wait for those first hours together- it will be truly amazing! I also learned that our health insurance covers our breast pump and 6 visits with a lactation consultant. I plan to take full advantage of both.

In other news, hubby is working ferociously to finish up the nursery. The room is painted and he is finishing up the baseboards and trim. It looks beautiful! He is also working on painting the baseball stitches on the wall. The furniture will be up in the room by this weekend, which will give me an opportunity to setup and organize the nursery. I want to put away all of his clothes, sheets, diapers, etc in the nursery and set up his bassinet in our room as well as a small changing station in our room. Finally, I want to set up his pack n’ play downstairs with a changing station, so no matter where we are, I can easily change his diaper and clothes as needed. It will be great to have it all done…

I will post some belly and room pictures soon. Until then, have a great week!

Baby dust.

35 weeks – size of a coconut

Woohoo, we are 35-weeks pregnant! It’s pretty hard to believe that I only have about a month left before we get to meet our little boy. I am so excited that I can barely contain it – yay!

I am feeling good, but my heartburn has resurfaced and I am definitely more sleepy these days. I am sleeping okay, but my body definitely requires more rest to get through the day. It could also be that we have been pretty busy with the holidays, which has required a lot more energy and thus more sleep. Either way, I have been taking advantage of my holiday vacation and getting more sleep as well as enjoying more downtime. 🙂

We are having a great holiday season… It’s hard to believe that it’s almost over. We had a nice Christmas – hubby got me an iPad! It will definitively come in handy with the new munchkin. It has an amazing camera, great video, and makes FaceTime easier. Plus, there are a ton of new mom apps to help with keeping track of everything from contractions to diaper changes! Very useful toy. After we celebrated, we went over to our friends’ house for a nice afternoon and dinner. Usually, we spend Christmas with hubby’s family, but spending 11 hours in the car just isn’t that exciting when your this pregnant. We had such a nice time relaxing with our friends- it was nice to spend quality time with them and enjoy a delicious meal.

Since we didn’t see family on Christmas Day, they are actually driving here to spend the weekend with us – I can’t wait! We basically get 2 Christmases! We have a lot of fun planned. On Friday night, I am going to make dinner for everyone. I am looking forward to it. I love cooking! I am going to start tomorrow, and will get everything done by Friday night. On Saturday, we are going to spend family time together and then head into NYC for a show and dinner. We are going to see Chaplin – fun fun! It will be a memorable weekend!

Anyhow, back to baby land. We are planning on starting (and hopefully finishing) the nursery over the next couple of weekends. I can’t wait to have it all done! Once it’s done, I will feel as ready as possible for for our little guys arrival. I will definitely post pictures soon. I also finished packing my hospital bag and the diaper bag. We also put together our stroller and car seat, now I just have to install they car seat base into my back seat. It doesn’t seem that hard, but its apparently pretty easy to mess up, so I am going to schedule a consultation to make sure I do it correctly. I am also reading two great books by Ina May Gaskin – one about natural childbirth and one about breastfeeding. They are both well-written, and very comprehensive. I am learning a lot about what to do to prepare myself for childbirth, and what to do immediately after birth to encourage breastfeeding. Our hospital is certified as ‘baby-friendly,’ which is great for breastfeeding. The hospital encourages skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth as well as rooming in. Plus, the nurses don’t give formula or pacifiers to the baby, which makes breastfeeding that much easier. So happy!

Have a great week! Baby dust to all

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