- Bibs: At first, I thought they were just cute accessories. But for a baby that gets fed from a bottle, it can help minimize the wet collar that inevitably happens as milk runs down their chin. And for both formula and breastfed baby, they are the first line of defense against spit-up and hence decrease the number of outfit changes.
- White board: As a new parent, you're constantly keeping track of feedings, diaper changes, pumping schedule, dr. appts, medicine dosages (if app) and stuff like that. When one is majorly sleep deprived, your memory is questionable so write it down and if you want to relay something to the other caregivers in the house (but don't have them right in front of you) this is an invaluable communication tool.
- DVDs to view: "Happiest Baby on the Block" & "Dunstan Baby Language" Both of these are extremely helpful in giving guidance about how to help your baby feel comforted and understood. "Happiest" gives 5 solid ways to soothe a baby and "Dunstan" interprets 5 distinct cries and what they mean. Rent or borrow first and then decide if you need to own a copy.
- Books to own: "Baby 411" & "What to Expect in the First Year" My bible was "Baby 411" in the first days/weeks. I was constantly referring it. I love the way it is organized by topic and the layout is easy to read with lots of bullet points (my favorite way to intake information). In contrast, "What To Expect" is organized by months of age, so you can see everything that should be happening within the monthly intervals. It's nice to be able to cross reference by topic and time frame.
- Drying rack If you bottle feed and/or use a breast pump, there are parts that constantly need washing. There are cages you can put certain parts in for the dishwasher but if you aren't running the dishwasher multiple times a day, you'll still need to hand wash a bunch of things. A rack will also be invaluable for storage and minimizing the impact to your counter space.
- Kiddopotamus Swaddle Me Wraps (cotton or fleece depending on season) New babies like to be swaddled and while you can do this with a blanket, these wraps are better because they contain the arms and legs separately. That means you don't have to undo the entire swaddle to change a diaper--this is key.
- Burp cloths shaped like a peanut, like THESE. For a spitty baby like ours, we use lots of burp cloths and these stay on your shoulder better.
- VIPP Diaper Pail This is a totally indulgent item that most people could do without, but if you've ever smelled the diaper of a formula fed baby--oh yeah--we needed this. In the book "Baby Bargains," (one of the best resources for baby things) they actually gave the VIPP diaper pail an "F" because 1) it's expensive and 2) the reviewer had some trouble getting the bag of used diapers out of the can. But I don't agree with this. It's not that hard to pull it out and honestly for the foot petal, soft close top, minimal use of plastic and *no* odor--that's pretty much why we bought it. Feel free to get something cheaper or just use the kitchen trash but since we still use disposable diapers enough of the time, it was worth it to us.
- Medela Symphony Breast Pump (as a rental): It's a hospital-grade unit and called the "Cadillac of Breastpumps." It's modulated by a computer that mimics the rhythms of a baby's suckle and it's quite powerful so you can spend half the time attached to it as compared to a consumer grade pump. Even though I owned my own home pump, I had to rent this one to increase my milk supply (when I was briefly trying to breast feed) and relieve engorgement that neither the baby nor my pump were able to. Regarding the rubber membranes that make this pump work--buy extra ones because they are fragile and use a teaball to wash them so they don't get lost down the drain.
- Cloud and Stars Crib Zipper Sheets: Simply the fastest & best solution for changing crib sheets--ever.
- Robe and slippers: Get some warm, comfortable ones. You'll be spending lots of time in them and need something wear as you shuffle into the baby's room for late night feedings. A robe can also act as a body-sized spit-up shield in a pinch.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Ron Faulkner 1/2009
Auntie Michiko 7/2009
Nation & Politics:
Iron Jawed Angels 10/2008
Obama Wins 11/2008
Understanding the Economic Crisis 4/2009
Sewer Pipes and Basement Water Damage, Update, Aftermath 11/2008
Wii Theremin plus Dr. Who and Santa Claus is coming on NPR 12/2008
Kali's Birthday Rap 3/2009
San Juan Islands part one & part two plus music video 1/2009
DC & the East Coast 6/2009
Ken’s Motorcycle Trip 7/2009
Manzanita Beach, part one & part two 7/2009
Salish Lodge 8/2009
@ 18 Weeks, 21 Weeks, 23 Weeks, 25 Weeks, 29 Weeks, 33 Weeks, 35 Weeks
Pregnancy Advice, Lists and Ruminations:
Mantooth hypothetical tweets 3/2009
Mantooth's advice for expectant fathers 3/2009
Questions People Ask 3/2009
Baby Room Themes 4/2009
About our Doula 5/2009
Building a registry 5/2009
Media and resources for pregnancy 6/2009
Media not recommended for Pregnancy 6/2009
Wetus chat 8/2009
Sidney Arrives 9/2009
Sidney’s Birth Story 10/2009
Breastfeeding Woes 10/2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
I’d say 99% of my conversations these days with fellow mothers hit on the topic of breastfeeding. As a new mom, your life can be consumed by it. The schedule, the technique, the accessories, the whole process...
As they say “breast is best” and any breastfeeding you can do is highly encouraged. Enough medical evidence and social pressure exist to support breast milk as the best food for baby which is a shift from a generation or two ago, where formula was the modern and best way to go. We certainly agree that breast milk is optimum but why do so many women find it unintuitive and confounding to breastfeed? To put this in perspective, think of the most frustrating experience you’ve ever had where you didn’t accomplish your goal--now multiply that feeling by 10. That’s breastfeeding for team Moore-Sakai.
Sidney and I just could not even get out of the starting blocks on this one. Here’s the full story on our experience of breast feeding.
When I gave birth, the 2 mounds of flesh on my chest finally had a purpose and I was looking forward to this ability to produce something within my own body that could completely and efficiently nurture our child. And that’s where my enthusiasm for the process began and ended. Several issues contributed to our consummate failure at nursing/breastfeeding…
was born 3 weeks early, she was very tired so her sucking was under-powered. This didn’t allow her to get the hang of how much effort she’d need to put out to get milk from the breast. Sidney
- We used nipple shields (plastic sheaths that go over your nipples that have holes in them) to give her something more defined to latch onto since her lower jaw was slightly recessed and limited her range of opening. From the outset, her latch was bad.
- As the days went on, we found out she needed to be treated for jaundice and the amount of hydration she was getting from the scanty colostrum I was stranded with before my milk came in was not flushing the bad stuff out. Not only did she have to be put on a light box to help dissipate the toxins, the doctors also recommended that we give her formula to start flushing out her system. So within days of her arrival and well before breastfeeding was established, she was sucking down formula from a bottle.
- Since breast milk works as a supply & demand phenomenon, the fact that she wasn’t adequately demanding meant my body wasn’t supplying so the amount of milk I was creating was not keeping pace with her need for it. We had to supplement with formula anyway.
But we soldiered on. We consulted a lactation specialist, our doula, rented a hospital grade pump and attempted to use SNS (supplemental nursing systems) which mimicked feeding from the breast. This included a tube and syringe that was precariously placed within the nipple shield that pushed liquid into her mouth or “finger feeding” where Ken would use that same tube and syringe but use put his finger into her mouth to ensure that she was sucking and latching somewhat correctly. So it took 2 of us to feed her every 3 hours and it was so tedious yet we hung in there.
At her 2 week check up, she gained back her birth weight plus 4 extra ounces so the doctor suggested we try removing the supplemental systems at SOME of the feedings. I, in my sleep deprived and eager state, heard “let’s cut over to nursing for all of the feedings.” At the time, she needed 2 ounces at each feeding so we supplemented ½ oz. of formula just to give her a safety net. We assumed she’d get the other 75% of her meal from the breast herself. We started this on a Tuesday night and noticed that while she would be fussy after most feedings, she seemed to be “doing it.” (Note: For the night feedings, we straight up gave her 2 oz of formula from a bottle per the doctor’s recommendation.)
We decided to be on the safe side and rent a highly calibrated scale where we could weigh her before and after feedings to see how much breast milk she was actually pulling. The scale did not arrive until Saturday, 4.5 days after we switched over to Sidney-powered nursing. You know what I said in the previous blog about her “latching and nursing pretty well”—yeah, not so much. To our horror, we realized that
I was traumatized by this turn of events. Despite our best efforts, there were so many obstacles in our way to make nursing successful. Our pediatrician was very empathetic and supportive of us. She commended our dedication to try to make breastfeeding work but glad that we had discovered & corrected the supply problem. She said many families would not have stuck with it as long as we had or gone to the lengths we did to try to make it work. So at that point, we decided we were done. Done struggling with a process that was supposed to be natural but was anything but for us. With my supply stagnating, her demand per feeding increasing and so much of her feedings being formula any way, we decided that we’d be weaning from breast milk entirely around 5 weeks.
She would already have received the vital antibodies at the 3 week mark which our pediatrician advised us was important and we’d know that for all of our efforts, we had really tried. It would also eliminate a huge piece of anxiety that surrounded all feedings. I know there is a very adamant and vocal community who would condemn our decision. Perhaps they would call us selfish or not committed enough to our daughter’s well being and welfare. But we really tried and it was heartily disappointing. Ultimately though you have to do what is best for everyone involved. Being raised on formula isn’t the end of the world though. So many of our generation were and thankfully there is that option when the breastfeeding just doesn’t work.My advice to all soon-to-be and new moms who want to breast feed is to line up resources and contacts as soon a possible. Don’t be afraid to reach out immediately when you have questions or things don’t seem to be going right. Hospitals usually have programs that can assist and there are doulas & consultants ready to help in-home as well. If you want to try to make breastfeeding work, there are the tools and folks out there. I will say the breast feeding is definitely worth trying even if it doesn’t become the long-term feeding solution.