Monday, March 22, 2010

Secret Sisterhood

I felt a bond the other tonight with a woman I had only known for about one minute. My family and I were at church when a lovely lady came over to admire baby Sam (who can resist). As she made sweet faces at Sam, I boasted about what a good baby he is and how I can take him anywhere. She smiled and asked if I was breastfeeding. When I replied yes there was a twinkle of passion in her eye and I instantly knew she had breastfed as well. We talked for a long time and talked as if we had known each other for years. I could say anything to her about breastfeeding, my breasts, sore nipples, you name it, and was amazed how easy it was to share something so intimate with someone I hardly knew. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and really didn’t want it to end. It was like she knew what I was going to say before it was ever said. It has been at least 15 to 20 years since she has breastfeed a child, but that didn’t matter, she was able to talk about this sacred dance between her and her babies as if they were not grown, but infants in need of her supply. I ate up all the advice she was willing to give and left the exchange feeling good about motherhood, good about breastfeeding, and great about myself. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to talk about it, or how I really needed to share the small triumphs I have experienced while breastfeeding with an interested ear.

Since Sam has blessed my life, I have had some very wonderful random conversations with Moms I know and Moms I have never met before about breastfeeding. Each time I speak with a breastfeeding Mom I am amazed at their willingness to share personal experiences and listen intently to mine. It is like I have uncovered a secret sisterhood and I am proud to be a member. I have not been to a La Leche meeting yet, but I think I just realized the importance of them. So…see you there!

You can find a meeting near you by visiting:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bath Time, Fun Time!!

When it came time to ditch the sponge baths (which my husband and I had down to a science) and move on into the baby bathtub, I was so excited. I couldn't wait to lay my little guy down in the warm water and have the best bath experience ever. Well...not so much. Sam screamed as if we were trying to torture him in a cruel and bizarre way. He screamed and cried so much that I actually cried and my husband with nerves of steel started to look a little frightened. It was not a good experience for anyone. As we tried to calm Sam down we knew that we had to find a way to make bath time a great experience for all involved.

If you think about it bath time is very scary not just for your baby but also for you as a parent. The water temperature was something that I obsessed over for a good 10 minutes before we put Sam in the bath. When he started screaming I of course thought I had burned his gentle skin. When I saw that his skin was not burned or even red I thought that the water was too cold and he would now get sick and it was all my fault. So stressful!! The design of the bathtub I had picked out was also part of the problem. It had a sling/cot that held Sam up over the water. This made him feel exposed and cold since he wasn't actually down in the warm water. He also looked and felt unsure laying on the bath sling/cot even with my hands there to support him. I knew we had to get a better bathtub and a way to make Sam feel safe and secure during bath time.

The search began for the best bath tub money could buy. Luckily, it didn't cost very much. We bought the 4moms Cleanwater Infant Bath Tub with Digital Thermometer. Yes, you read that right, clean water and a built in thermometer. Genius!!! The tub is also curved to fit your babies body with a thin foam like pad for him to rest his back on. The way it is designed allows water to flow over the thermometer sensor, then into a water reservoir, and then gently spill over into the basin where your child rests comfortably. There is a drain on the basin side that allows the soapy water to flow right out. The drain also prevents the water from getting too high. Your baby has the luxury of fresh warm water continuously circulating around him/her. The thermometer is awesome! It turns bright red and sounds an alarm if the water coming out of the faucet gets too hot or turns bright blue if it gets too cold. It gives you a green light when the temp is just right for baby.  I love being able to glance over and see the exact temperature while I am bathing Sam.

So, we had found the ultimate bathtub, but this was only one piece of the puzzle in achieving bath time, fun time. We needed to figure out how to make Sam feel totally safe and secure while being lowered into this new wet environment. I thought and thought, googled and googled, and then remembered what made Sam feel secure at night in his cradle when we first brought him home from the hospital... swaddling! Babies like to be swaddled. We swaddled Sam in one of his very thin baby towels. So far, so good. Put on some mood music. Then we lowered him in legs first into the already filled basin with water that we knew was being kept at the perfect temperature. It totally worked!!! Once in the tub we were able to slowly unwrap the towel and start bathing him. Since that night, bath time is a fun and relaxing time for everyone.

Speaking of relaxing... Sam's asleep, Daddy's home, I think I could use a soothing bath myself!

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Newest Toy

Last week I ordered The Balboa Baby Sling by Dr. Sears. Yes, yes I am one of those crazy Dr. Sears followers but I can't help it. His parenting tips fit my personality. I have read four of his books and with each read I find myself liking him more and more. The last book I read of his was called The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby and it introduced me again to the idea of baby wearing which I swore I would never do. But, wanting what is best for Sam and loving the idea of carrying him hands free, my husband and I went to the baby store and started trying on slings. It is no wonder that the most comfortable sling was made by the great and very rich Dr. Sears. So, I went home and ordered it on Amazon (seller...One Hot Mama Nursing and Maternity).
Today was my first attempt at wearing the sling while trying to get random tasks done around the house. It is very easy to adjust and although Sam looks uncomfortable, he does seem to really enjoy it. Getting the right fit for both of us to be comfortable did take several tries of me loading him in and out. I got frustrated at first because the lady and baby on the box look so blissful and Sam and I didn't quite have those same carefree smiles on our faces. But with practice I got him in the right way and I started walking around the house. Within 5 minutes he was sound asleep. Amazing!!!! I usually spend a good 30 to 45 minutes rocking him to create the right nap mood and this sling had him sound asleep with ease. With Sam quietly dreaming I decided to see what could be accomplished wearing my baby for the first time.

I can straighten up the living room.
I can put a new trash bag in a trash can.
I can hang up clothes.
I can blog.
Okay now the things I can't do with the sling. Well, at least not yet.
I can't unload a top loading washer.
I can't unload the dishwasher.
I can't rinse dishes that are in the sink. (Baby Sam got wet!)

I am slowly and cautiously falling in love with this sling. Just the fact that I was able to get Sam asleep so fast gets it a second date for tomorrow. It was very comfortable to wear and so far it feels very safe. I will have to practice some more around the house before I debut it out and about. I am really looking forward to using it at the grocery store and Target so I can ditch that incredibly heavy car seat!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Professional Please...

I have come to the realization that I need a professional organizer. I need someone to come in and fix my house. Then I would like them to teach me to make better use of my time. Now that Sam has arrived I can't get anything done. (I also had this problem before baby, but now I can use sleep deprivation as some sort of excuse.) I have about 10 jobs half done. The days that I decide to start something are the days he doesn't nap well. Yesterday he slept for 3 1/2 hours and I made the brilliant decision to watch for facebook updates during that time. It was a very productive day. Today I wanted to hang up all the clothes, put the towels away, get his clothes in order, and choose one corner of my messy house to claim as my own, call it organized and be proud of myself. But of course today is the day he has decided not to sleep. Will somebody please come and do it for me? I promise I will keep up with it if you just get me started.
The problem is that I really don't know how to get organized. I always seem to have too much stuff even though I really don't have that much. I am very good at throwing things away and I am not much of a hoarder. I do admit I have some sort of a problem with spatial reasoning. I can fit very little in a huge closet. What I really need is my mom to come over and treat my house like she used to treat my bedroom when I was a teenager. I would let my bedroom get out of control due to my ever pressing social calendar and my mom would surprise me by totally cleaning it top to bottom. Then she would completely reorganize all my stuff. I loved it and I always promised to keep it looking nice. That promise would last about two months and then she would have to do it all over again. I love my mom! Unfortunately I have lost my mom's time to baby Sam. When she comes over he is her top concern. So...what to do?? I need a plan. I need a great plan of action...first step, put down the computer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just a quick thought...

Today was a day where I looked at the clock and wondered how I had managed to make it to 2:00pm with spit up in my hair, jeans on paired with a stained pajama top, morning breath that has now turned into afternoon breath, and the need to take a shower for the benefit of all human kind. Then I look at the baby trying to fall asleep in my arms and realize that this wonderful and amazing day is thankfully just one of many. Cheers to motherhood!!

Breastfeeding Pressure

I must say that I felt a lot of pressure and worry during the first couple weeks of breastfeeding. I did no supplementing and no pumping (for storing). I was the sole food source for baby Sam. I felt this overwhelming fear of him not gaining weight and it being my fault. No one in my family or in my husband's family breastfeed. And I was too tired to get out and join The La Leche League. So I really didn't have a support system in place. I did have my best friend who warned me that you really have to want to breastfeed to be successful and was helpful during the day. But I didn't have anyone to cry to and ask, "Is this normal? Am I doing this right?" at 3 in the morning. It was scary flying solo. I shed many tears of concern with Sam at the breast.

I must say this (you will see this over and over) I have a very supportive family. My in laws and my own family support me in everything that I do. But even with their support, I felt their worry about Sam and whether or not he was getting enough to eat. I was also very touchy about breastfeeding. If anyone said anything that could be possibly be interpreted in anyway as a negative about my breastfeeding I wanted to explode. If my husband even whispered the words "supplement" or "formula" I took it as a personal attack to my milk supply. I felt very alone. So I turned to Google and my breastfeeding books. Google is an amazing resource for breastfeeding info. As you know, everything you ever wanted to know about any subject is available on Google and it is probably what got you to my site. I probably googled breastfeeding over 2000 times during the first two weeks. One book that I found incredibly helpful was Breastfeeding Made Simple Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PH.D.,IBCLC. This book answered many questions and made me feel validated as a breastfeeding mother. Their book made me feel really good about what I was doing and how I was doing it.

A website that calmed me in my darkest hour was,

The other thing I was looking for was for someone to say, "You are doing such a great job with breastfeeding." (the way I feel love the most is from words of affirmation, but that is a whole other post) No one really ever said that to me and I needed to hear it so badly. So, there I was tired, scared, lonely, and feeling a little sorry for myself.

Then the best day ever came! It was Sam's two week check up. I nervously undressed him so he could be weighed. I couldn't wait to see if I had been a good mommy. My husband and I handed him to the nurse and followed her down the hall to the scale and watched anxiously as she laid him down to be weighed. Then the great news came! He had gained almost two pounds since we left the hospital! The nurse turned to me and said, "Wow! Good job Mommy!". I had to hold myself back from hugging and telling her how I had waited for someone to say those simple words to me. Instead I just looked at my husband and gave a little "you see, they work great!!" smirk.

If you are reading this and it is 3 in the morning and your feeling scared and alone...You are doing a great job!! You are giving your baby the best!! This too shall pass!! You look amazing!! Kiss your baby on the head!! I know how you feel!! Sam is now 6 weeks old and it was totally worth it. Don't give up!! Give it 40 days. I promise it gets better!!

Getting Started

In the Beginning....

Wow! It was hard. I had Sam December 28th by a scheduled cesarean. I started my breastfeeding journey in the recovery room with my husband and a not so helpful nurse. We got skin to skin and I put him on my breast. What nobody told me was that my breast would be numb from the epidural and Sam would not attach right away. I had read all these books about a babies quiet alert state after birth and how they stare into your eyes and want to nurse right away. one gave baby Sam that memo. He was sleepy and not interested in nursing. I was totally numb and a nervous wreck. We tried it for 15 minutes and then I decided to stop torturing the grandparents and let them in to see their new grandchild. So, here we are in this truly spiritual moment and all I am thinking is..."Will he ever latch? Will the feeling come back in my breast? Did I totally screw myself and Sam by not forcing the issue right away?"

That night in the privacy of our hospital room I tried over and over to get him to latch. He did it kind of, but not really. He would cry and get super frustrated. They tell you that any nurse can help you and baby get a proper latch but I found this to be untrue. They were actually kind of rough with him and that seemed to make him even more frustrated. So I made a decision that made all the difference. I asked for the hospital's lactation consultant to come to my room. The nurses tried to get me to go to the nursing class instead but I stood my ground and asked for the lactation consultant. They put it in my chart for the morning nurse to make the call. And, there in my hospital doorway at 10 in the morning was my breastfeeding angel.

The moral to this first breastfeeding post is that if you have trouble you should insist on seeing the lactation consultant. The first 3 days were very hard and confusing, but having the lactation consultant checking on me every two hours during the day and helping me gave me the support and confidence I desperately needed.

You won't believe what all I had to do to make breastfeeding successful!! More to come...