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Breastfeeding tips part 2

Here it is, part two. I’m not going to have much of an introduction here, but if you would like a part 3, please leave a comment letting me know what you would like to see me include.

Reality of breast feeding

So, what is the reality of breastfeeding? The reality is, it’s hard at first, you’re going to want to quit, switch to formula, cry, scream as loud as you can, and any other emotion that you can think of. I remember when my daughter was a couple days old, sitting in my house crying because it was so hard. I wanted to quit. The pain was terrible, and I dreaded when she would want to eat. But I’m glad I had my mom, because she talked some sense into me. She told me I just needed to get past the hump and I was almost there, and then it would be so easy. And you know what? She was right. I kept going, and got past the hump, with several more tears shed, yes, but I got past it, and now, 4 months later, I love to breastfeed my daughter. I love the bonding time we have, and how excited she gets to see me, because she knows she’s about to nurse. The look in her eyes when she’s nursing, and you can tell how happy she is to be close to Mommy, when she stops midway through a feeding, and my milk shoots to the other side of the room, and she thinks it’s funny. So yes, breastfeeding is hard, but it’s oh, so very worth it.

Cluster feeding

Cluster feeding is something that I feel like needs to be talked about more during pregnancy, to prepare you for the fact that your baby is going to have days where she just wants to eat all day. When I was pregnant, my midwife always talked about feeding every 2 hours when they are a newborn until they got back up to their birth weight, or until all their meconium had passed (My daughter never dropped her birth weight, and she passed her meconium before she was born). But what they don’t tell you, is more than likely that baby is going to want to eat far more than every 2 hours. In my case, it was about every 30 minutes for 45 minutes, until she was several weeks old. But cluster feeding is such a good thing in the early weeks, because it helps establish your milk supply. So just relax and let your baby do its thing, and watch some Netflix. And your baby will cluster feed from time to time when they go through a growth spurt.

Breastfeeding station

Now this is something that I am still learning, but definitely having a place or two set up where you will breastfeed, with a few essentials will greatly help. I have two spots, one is my bed at night and the other is this big, comfy chair in my living room. In both spots I make sure that I have, my phone, a water bottle or two, a few snacks, a blanket, burp cloth, and a nursing pillow. You will need these things, so you will be comfortable, hydrated, fed, keep your baby clean, and if your baby falls asleep, you can put them in the nursing pillow temporarily.

Breastfeeding essentials

I have a couple, but the most important this list might shock you… It’s, are you ready for this? It’s…. Your boobs. Okay, seriously, here’s the rest of the list.

Nursing bra, or nursing tank top, to make feedings easier. Some kind of nipple cream in those early days to help with pain. Nursing Pillow, water, lots of water, reusable breast pads. And in some cases a nipple shield. Nipple shields should only be used though if you absolutely have to have one, like of you have inverted nipples. But if you have to use one you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it, I had to, and my experience breastfeeding has still been great.

Again if would like a part 3, please let me know, and say what you would like me to include.

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Breastfeeding Tips part 1

We can all admit, breastfeeding is much harder than we thought it was gonna be. Even if you knew it was going to be a full time job, you just didn’t expect it to be so tiring, like literally… Nearly every time I breastfeed, I nearly fall asleep. Keep in mind, I’m only 3 months postpartum, so obviously I don’t know everything there is to know about breastfeeding. I’m also going to break this up into parts, this will be part one, and each part will have several tips, I hope you enjoy.

Don’t give up:

This probably one of the best tips I can give you. It is going to be hard, very hard, at times.

My daughter had problems latching when she was about 2 weeks old, and it was the hardest thing for me. She latched so well in the hospital, I didn’t have a problem at all, got home with her, and she continued to do well, and then things got difficult. She literally just stopped latching, she would scream and scream, because she couldn’t latch. I was at a point where I just wanted to give up, I was done trying. I would be crying at night and during the day, because I just couldn’t get my baby to eat. But the thing that helped me the most to get her to latch is my next tip…

Nipple shield:

The nipple shield was a lifesaver for me. Once I bought it, and immediately tried it, my daughter latched, and has not had an issue since. We are still using it, and although it is really irritating to have you use it every time she eats, I’m just glad I can still breastfeed my baby. I bought the Medela brand, and it works well. My suggestion though is if one brand doesn’t work, try another, and if it hurts, try a different size.

Coconut oil:

Regardless of what you might get told breastfeeding is going to hurt a little or a lot. I was told if it hurt, it was because I was doing it wrong (I had a really stupid lactation consultant). The reality is, it is more than likely going to hurt, and one main reason for that is your nipples have never been through that before, so they have to get used to someone sucking on them all day. The best thing I found to help with dry, cracking, bleeding nipples, was coconut oil. No, not any of those creams marketed for nipples, but coconut oil. I would just apply the coconut oil to my nipples every time my daughter would finish eating, and it healed everything amazingly. Another reason for pain might be a bad latch, which I will get into in my next blog post.

Going topless:

Another good thing for your nipples is going topless. This actually has a lot of advantages, but I do feel like it helped my nipples feel better. Literally go topless, let them babies air out, and this will also make it easier for breastfeeding, since you are trying to get used to things.

Building Supply:

This is very important, you have to build supply. The thing that’s most important during this time is skin to skin contact. Get your baby on your breast as much as possible, this will help establish supply. And don’t freak out if you seem like you’re not producing enough, I know that’s probably easier said than done. Especially if you going to start pumping, remember your baby is getting more milk from you than a pump will, because it’s the saliva that helps build supply and make the milk(BTW, I’m not saying that pumping is bad, I know it’s a necessary thing for a lot of women). On the subject of pumping, try to wait a little while before starting to do so, at least a few weeks, this can actually do some bad to your supply. But if you’re still having issues building supply here are some things below that I have used to help, and it really does work.

Milk Rich from Wish Garden:

This stuff works wonders, within minutes of taking it, I would feel a let down. I had to start taking it, because I started my period, and my supply dropped, but it really helped.

Link: https://www.wishgardenherbs.com/herbal-remedies/Milk-Rich-With-Goats-Rue-557

Also buy from Amazon, at this referral link: https://www.amazon.com/WishGarden-Herbs-Supplement-Increased-Production/dp/B006H9RM7W/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1507490595&sr=8-5&keywords=milk+rich&linkCode=sl1&tag=natfrurai6kid-20&linkId=a9a2ff406413d504b6a25432829b8c5c

Drink lots of water. Your breast milk is made up of a lot of water, so it only makes sense, to drink a lot of water. This is the number one thing I was told that would help my supply, so I only feel that it’s right to pass the information on. I can’t say enough how much this helped.

What to look forward to in part 2 :

Reality of breast feeding

Cluster feeding

Breastfeeding station

Breastfeeding essentials

And don’t worry, if I didn’t get to something in this post, or the next, I will probably have a part 3, so just let me know what you would like me to add.

Tips for labor and delivery

Here are the biggest tips I can give you for labor and delivery.

Know that nothing is going to go right:

Absolutely nothing will go as you planned it would, well, at least not as smoothly as you might have expected. I wanted a water birth, in a birth center, and to not be hooked up to all kinds of contraptions. What I ended up with was a, hospital birth, that I had lay on my back to deliver my baby, and I was hooked up to everything imaginable.

It’s Your Labor:

Just remember, this is your labor and delivery, not the hospitals. Unless something becomes life threatening, there is no reason you should be treated like you don’t matter. You tell them what’s going to happen, and don’t let them push you around. You can get out of that bed, you can be pushy and request they not do certain things to your baby, and you. For example: if your nurses start pushing interventions on you that are not needed, you don’t have to do them. They are only pushing because it will make their job a little easier.

Write A birth plan:

I am so glad I had a birth plan in writing. Because of that I didn’t have to try to answer most questions that came my way, because it was on the birth plan. And because I had it in writing on paper and on my phone, they had to obey it.

Eat before:

Eat before going to the hospital. You don’t know how long your labor is going to be, for me it was 24 hours. Take your time, eat a meal. Your labor is not going to go any slower or faster if you get to the hospital sooner.

Have a support team:

This is probably one of the most important things. Have a support team that is on your side, and understands how you want to birth. I had my husband, mom, and Doula. Without them my labor and delivery would have been much different.

Breath:

And the last tip… Just breath. It’s all going to be okay. Regardless of what happens during your labor, at the end of it, the outcome will be the same, you’ll have a beautiful little baby.

Photo Credit: Photos by Cheree

Postpartum essentials

Those first 4-8 weeks postpartum are definitely a roller coaster. Here are a few essentials to make that time easier.

Maxi Pads:

I wasn’t too picky about brand, but the thing that was really helpful, was overnight pads with wings. That first day or two ( at least for me), you will need overnight pads. And another little tip. If you deliver your baby in a hospital, ask for more pads, underwear, and witch hazel pads, before you leave. This way you don’t have to buy any witch hazel pads, and when you go to the bathroom, and there’s a mess, you can just throw away the mesh underwear. Trust me, you are not going to want to deal with the cleanup of that.

Peri bottle/ hair dryer:

Now it’s very important that you don’t wipe down there after giving birth, especially if you tore, like I did. So usually you are sent home with a peri bottle. Wow… Best thing that was ever invented. It’s basically just a squeeze bottle, that you fill with water to make sure everything gets clean after going to the bathroom. Sometimes I still use mine, simply because it makes me feel cleaner. And the next best thing after that, a hair dryer. Obviously things need to be kept dry down there, so after using the Peri bottle, you need a way to get dry. I was told by many people just to use a wash cloth to dab dry. But then a friend of mine told me about using a hair dryer. Just place it 8-12 inches from you, and dry. It feels so good, and really helps some of the itching I was having.

Baking soda bath:

Now in the hospital they are going to tell you to not take a bath, because of infection risk, and blah blah blah… But here’s my reasoning on why it’s better to do it. They give you a Sitz bath to take home with you, to use once a day for 20-30 minutes. So you are literally sitting on the toilet, with your butt and everything in a bucket of water, everyday for at least 20 minutes… I don’t know about you, but that does not sound very relaxing, and an actual bath is the same thing. One of the nurses in the hospital I delivered at kept getting mad at me for not doing it while I was there, even though I was hooked up to IV’s almost the entire time. So they made me bring it home, where I then proceeded to stick it in my daughter’s closest, that’s where it’s been for the last 11 weeks. So, instead I’ve been taking baths since 3 days pp. Baking soda is very healing, and helps with a whole number of things. And actually, most midwives will tell you to go home and take a bath.

Comfortable clothes:

Whatever is the most comfortable for you to wear. For me it was loose skirts, and granny panties. But yoga pants, and PJs are good options too.

Food and water:

This is especially helpful if you are breastfeeding, but regardless new mother’s need to keep up their strength. When I go to breastfeed my daughter, I always make sure I have water close to me, and I have my husband bring me food when I need it. This is especially important because newborns cluster feed very often, so there will be days where you get nothing accomplished, except for feeding your baby. So having food and water next to you is essential.

Sleep:

This is probably the most important one when you have a new baby. I know you will probably want to get things done when the baby is asleep, but my advice, DON’T. Sleep when your baby sleeps, and if you can’t sleep at least lay down and rest. This will go a long way to you healing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please let me know what else you would like me to write about.

First Month Being a New Mom

Challenges:
Let me start off by saying that even with these challenges that I’m about to discuss, I wouldn’t change any of it. My daughter is one of the best things in my life, and she is so precious to me.
I talked about this briefly in my labor and delivery story, but both Zoé and I wound up on antibiotics after she was born due to my testing positive for Group B strep, and my spiking a fever after she was born. Now this in itself was a challenge for me. I had to watch my helpless newborn have IV’s in her little hand for the first 2 days of her life. But that wasn’t the only challenge that was faced from the antibiotics. After we got home it became clear that we were both having reactions to the medication. Both of us would get hives, and anytime my breast milk touched my skin for the first 2 weeks, it would burn and I would again get hives. This has slowly gotten better. And there were a few other issues from the antibiotics that I won’t get into, but they could’ve caused some problems.
Latching has also been an issue. When we were still in the hospital she was latching, and doing really well with it, but she was having a few issues. When we went to her first appointment with her pediatrician, at 6 days old, we found out Zoé has a lip tie. It’s a minor one, but still a lip tie nonetheless. We were told that if it caused issues, it would be speech related, and that it didn’t need to be clipped. Well, a few days went by and I started to notice that Zoé just wasn’t latching, like she was in pain, and she wouldn’t sleep at night (which she had been doing, and still does). So I decided to check her tie, it was inflamed. So I figured that was the issue. I talked to this great woman I know, and she pointed me in the direction of a nipple shield. Basically it’s exactly like it sounds, it’s a shield that goes over the nipple. It has been a life saver. I went out and bought one, came home, put it on, and decided to try to feed Zoé. She latched right on the first time without an issue, she was happy. And she again started sleeping through the night. My plan at this point is to find someone that will clip the lip tie, so that my baby doesn’t have to struggle. But for now I’m so thankful that I found out about the shield and that she can eat without a problem.
Successes:
My sleeps through the night. I’m not sure how I got a baby that does that. I mean, we have had a few 4am nights, that she just wouldn’t settle down. But for the most part she’s in bed by 11pm(she eats right before this), and she’ll sleep until 4 or 5am to eat, and then she’ll sleep until 7 or 8am, before officially waking up. Even if this doesn’t continue (which I’m praying it does), her sleeping so well, has really helped me with healing after having her, because I actually feel rested.
I can now do domestic things with one hand. Of course that has been made easier by using a ring wrap. But goodness, as a mom, you really learn how to do things one handed, and in my case it seems like I have to do things one handed with my non-dominant hand.
What I love most about being a mom:
I love when I wake up in the morning and my little baby is right there smiling back at me, and making the sweetest little noises. I love watching her get so excited when she hears or sees her Daddy. I also love watching her explore the world around her, and wondering to myself what could possibly be so interesting. I also love when she’s nursing, and she looks up at me with her big blue eyes and smiles do big that she practically unlatches herself.
I’ll never forget the first time she realized that Mommy was one of her comfort zones. She was being held by some family, and she started to get upset, because she was being passed too much. She was crying so hard, so I took her. Once she realized it was me, she grabbed hold of my shirt really tight, looked at me, calmed down, and went to sleep. It nearly made me cry. It was the first time that she didn’t need me just for food, but for something more. She just wanted her Mommy.
Being a new mom is definitely challenging, but I love it. I love getting to watch this little human that I grew inside of me for 9 months, grow everyday. There are some days that I still can’t believe I’m a mom to a precious little girl, that I actually have a daughter. I love you, my little Zoébeañ.

My labor and delivery story.

Here’s my story:

On June 30th I started to have very early labor pains. Contractions were coming every 15 minutes with some closer, but not too many. They weren’t that bad, just noticable contractions at this point. This lasted all weekend, which really exhausted me.

By July 3rd, I woke up out of a deep sleep at about 4am, to really painful contractions that were coming every 3-5 minutes apart, and there was no way I was going back to sleep. I was in active labor.

Later that morning I had an appointment with my midwife, so I decided that unless they got any closer I would just wait until my appointment to go in (both my midwife and my Doula were aware that I had been in early labor all weekend).

By 10am I had no change, so I was hooked up to some monitors to track my contractions and keep an eye on the baby. 3 different times a nurse in the office came in to tell me that it was going to be another 10 minutes, because they weren’t getting what they wanted. Then after about 30-40 minutes of this, I was told to go eat lunch and come back in an hour, and they would try again, they thought maybe the baby was just sleeping, and I needed to eat something to wake her up.

So after an hour I came back, they hooked me back up, and within 10 minutes they told me that I could now see my midwife. So into another room I went. And then the words that no mother wants to hear came out of my midwives mouth, “You have to go the hospital, your baby’s heart rate is dropping during contractions.” She then went on to explain that it wasn’t a bad drop, but they needed to be able to keep her continuously monitored and the only way to do that, was for me to be in the hospital.

So after crying for a bit(more out of fear for my baby) to the hospital I went. By 3pm I was in a room and was hooked up to monitors. It was a pretty typical labor (well hospital labor) at this point. I couldn’t get out of the bed, they wanted me to lay on my back during contractions (which by the way, I didn’t listen to, I was gonna move around), and they hooked me up to an IV of fluids and an antibiotic, because I had tested positive for Group B strep, and they told me I couldn’t eat. They also wanted, but I didn’t let them, to hook me up to pitocin to make labor stronger.

The labor by this point started to go pretty fast, by midnight I was dilated to 9, but this is where I stayed for the next several hours. Now honestly by this point I was really out of it, I was exhausted, and I was still going with no pain meds. So by the time I was 9 cm, I would have a contraction, and almost immediately fall asleep, and the start of the next contraction would wake me up. So I remember very little about this part. But according to my husband and mother, I became very angry and was kicking things. The only thing I really remember was my Doula at one point saying, “Brenda kicked the peanut ball across the room again.” And I also remember really wanting to push, and being mad that I wasn’t allowed to.

A little after 3:35am I was finally told I could start pushing, because I was dilated to 10. By this point I started to remember things again. And let me tell you, after being told for hours that you couldn’t push, finally being told I could was the best news I had gotten in almost 24 hours. And I was determined to get my baby out of me as fast I could. I pushed for 15 minutes, and she was born at 3:40 am, July 4th. She was born all at once, once her head was out so was the rest of her. She had also passed her meconium (when I say that, I do mean she passed ALL of it, not just some, she came out pooping actual poop). She was on my breast within moments of being born.

She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was instantly in love with my daughter.

There was some worry after she had been born that she might have been affected by the group b strep, because I spiked a fever as soon as she came out, so both of us were put on antibiotics for our stay in the hospital.

But overall, now my baby is healthy, she was the healthiest baby on the floor when we left the hospital with her to come home. She’s now 10 days old, and has stolen mine and her father’s heart. She’s discovering things and changing everyday. She is the best baby, she sleeps through the night (at least for now), smiles all the time, and has started to giggle in her sleep.

Below is a picture of my daughter. I hope you enjoyed my story.

What’s in my birth center bag?

I will have a few different things in my bag, that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily need to go to the hospital, but since I’m giving birth in a free standing birth center, this is what was recommended to bring, along with a few things that I thought would be good to bring. Things to keep in mind, I may seem like I haven’t brought enough of something, but I’ll only be in the birth center for 6-8 hours after our daughter is born.

Babies and Daddy’s bag:

Since they both have less stuff than I’ll have, I’m putting their stuff in the same bag.

For baby:

3 preemie newborn onesies

2 regular newborn onesies

1 0-3 month onesie(not pictured)

A newborn dress, for her to come home in.

One pair of socks

4 hats, in varying sizes

8 newborn diapers

5-6 size 1 diapers

Baby wipes

2 blankets (not pictured)

Nursing pillow (not pictured)

Daddy’s stuff:

Swim trunks

A change of clothes

Socks

PJ’s

Snacks

Phone and charger

Mommy’s bag:

For laboring:
2 sports bras

A robe

Socks

Essential oils and a diffuser

Toiletries:

Maxi pads

Breast pads

Toothbrush/toothpaste

Hairbrush

Shampoo/ conditioner

Hair ties

Chapstick

Granny panties(not pictured)

Coming home:

Maxi skirt (I’ve been told wearing a skirt is more comfortable)

Sports bra

T-shirt

Flip flops(not pictured)

Other:

Phone and charger

Snacks(not pictured)

For snacks, I plan to buy some that are high in protein, and some that are a little more bland in taste.