Friday, July 25, 2014

Relax and Enjoy the Journey

I'm a very Type A personality. Some might say I'm a bit high strung at times. I prefer intensely passionate. As a first time mom, I wanted to be sure I did everything right. Or at least what I considered to be the "right" way of doing things. Breastfeeding was especially important to me and I got a little overwhelmed with worry. Worry about feeding her enough. Worry about my supply. Worry about enough wet and dirty diapers. Worry about how long it had been since I fed her. I used a tracking app religiously for almost her entire first year of life. I needed to know (down to the minute) how long she nursed, on what side, at what time. In hindsight, it was over the top.

As time went on, I stopped worrying about some things, but my old worries were replaced by new worries. Now I worried that my supply might be slipping since my breasts didn't feel as firm, especially as she went longer between feedings. I worried that she would never learn to sleep on her own without nursing to sleep. I worried that she would hate solid food and want to nurse forever. Okay, some days I still worry about that one.

As I talk with new moms about their breastfeeding concerns and worries, I see that so many moms worry about common things that are usually just sapping our already low supply of energy. With all the Booby Traps out there, it's easy to get caught up in a cycle of self-doubt and worry. After nursing for 17 months (and still going strong!), I've learned many things. One of the most important things I've learned is that most of the time, the fears are unfounded and a waste of time and precious energy. Are there some women who will legitimately have struggles with low supply or baby gaining "enough" weight? Sure. But these tend to be the exception, not the rule.

For most women, we can breastfeed our nurslings knowing that we are giving them everything they need. Instead of worrying about potential problems, enjoy the journey of breastfeeding. Each and every day is special, and we never know which one will be the last. So enjoy every aspect of your breastfeeding journey. Your hurdle might be the success story that another mama needs to get past the same thing. And remember...

Friday, July 18, 2014

You can't eat that...

At just a few weeks Exclusively Breastfeeding I got the dreaded suggestion from my pediatrician...
"Try to go Dairy Free"! My friends- this was the worst news, as I am addicted to CHEESE & Chocolate!
Beckett had a HORRIBLE acid rash on his hiney that we could not get rid of after 2 weeks of trying everything (It was bleeding,peeling, & bright red) plus he was extremely colicky, had a terrible belly ache every evening, and had acid reflux.  I felt like the worst mommy ever and I was willing to try anything to make it go away even if that meant giving up the most wonderful food on earth.

Here is Beckett in his Cloth Diaper we tried first to get rid of the rash. Now we always cloth! 


She said try it for 2 weeks if symptoms don't improve then we know it wasn't the dairy. Well just 3 days into it his rash started getting better and there was my answer. I was officially Dairy Free! Everyone I told just said "Quit breastfeeding so you can eat what you want" that was in no way an option for me, I would give up anything to make my baby boy happy & healthy! 

I quickly learned there are a lot of replacements for things that are just as yummy! Most restuarants have an allergen menu online so I would just look up what I would eat prior to our visit to the restaurant, you can also usually ask the manager to prepare your food without butter etc. if you cant find an allergen menu! Caution some people do not understand food allergies/intolerance; I could not tell you the number of times I would get "all we can do is give you the gluten free option"... UGGHHHH- I just sighed everytime, said "bring me a water", & prayed for our uneducated society! Also note- fries are not usually an option because all fried foods go in the same oil!

About 1 month later some of his belly aches returned. His Pediatrician  asked me to keep a food diary for a week. I consumed an ungodly amount of peanut butter (what can I say I love it! & I don't eat a lot of meat so its great protein). She said again 'cut it out & see what happens'... again success; I was now a dairy free & peanut free mommy. Repeat after me *** ANYTHING FOR MY BABY***  This process repeated yet again a few weeks later and I was asked to also lose ALL CAFFEINE! (Thats no cheese, no chocolate, no peanut butter, & no diet Dr Pepper!) At that moment in life I thought all things delicious were done for in my diet but the positive note was that I could lose weight by only eating spinach & celery right?!?! HAHA!  

 Another good note was that at 4 months I could try to reintroduce one thing at a time to see if he could tolerate it yet! I prayed every day that Becks would not grow up to be allergic to all these things!

Quickly I learned more yummy things to eat here are some options besides meat & veggies:

Bunny Brand Bread (toasted with Almond butter)
Almond butter
Minute Maid Honey Graham Crackers
Pumpkin & Flax seed Kashi Bars
Oatmeal Clif bars
Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips (in lactation cookies)
Little Caesars pizza can be ordered with toppings minus the cheese!
Special K cereal with soy milk or coconut milk
Parkay brand squeeze butter (only the squeeze kind)
Wheat Thins
Homemade desserts (sub butter with coconut oil)

 There is so much more I could name! I joined a facebook group (Dairy free mommies), researched online, read labels on EVERYTHING, and searched pintrest for recipes! *(note- many recipes online are lactose free not dairy free so be cautious)*

Breastfeeding is the most difficult but rewarding part of motherhood and cutting out all those yummy processed foods is extremely difficult but the health & comfort of my baby boy is all I need to make it worth it!

What did you give up to continue to breastfeed? What other food could you add to my list of allergy friendly yummies?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

FAQ: How can I increase my supply so I can stop supplementing?

Of all the questions we hear from new mothers, this is one of the most common. There are a number of reasons that a mommy may end up supplementing her breastfed baby's intake with formula, but many mothers and pediatricians prefer babies to be exclusively breastfed, if possible. Here are some key pieces of information and basic steps you can take to help achieve exclusive breastfeeding for your child.

1) Call a lactation consultant. Every situation, every family, every mother, and every baby is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all fix, so if you're having any difficulty with breastfeeding or your milk supply, the first thing you should do is set up an appointment with a lactation consultant as early as you can. Lactation Consultants are trained to recognize latch and positioning problems, tongue and lip ties, and many other problems that can hinder your breastfeeding relationship. Don't balk at the cost: it often takes only one visit to point you in the right direction, and in the long run, it's much cheaper than buying formula!

2) Breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand system. Particularly at the beginning, as you establish your supply, the only thing that will regulate how much you make is the frequency with which you completely drain the breast. A baby (even a newborn with a wonky latch) will always drain the breast more effectively and efficiently than a pump, which means that a nursing baby will stimulate your supply more than the pump will. If you've been relying mostly on pumping so far, that could be one reason why your supply hasn't caught up yet. Limiting feed times or adhering to a strict schedule instead of feeding on demand can also cause supply to lag.

3) An additional problem that might be going on if you're supplementing is a bottle preference. It's less work for a baby's mouth to get milk/formula from a bottle than it is to get it from the breast (literally, the tongue has to make a completely different motion), so many babies who are bottle-fed develop a bottle preference and become frustrated at the slower flow of the breast. A problem that comes with that is that they can drink more fluid in less time from the bottle, meaning their stomachs (which are TINY and usually can only hold an ounce or two as newborns) expand faster than they would were they drinking from the breast. And finally, breastmilk is metabolized much faster than formula, meaning a breastfed baby is hungry more often than a formula-fed baby.

As long as your baby can get his food from somewhere other than your breast, he won't be stimulating your production enough to increase your supply.

4) As long as your baby can get his food from somewhere other than your breast, he won't be stimulating your production enough to increase your supply. The most effective solution is also the most upsetting: Stop giving baby formula and offer the breast as often as possible. If he still wants to nurse after 40min, let him! If he wants to nurse again only a few minutes later, let him! If he wants to nurse 3 times in 2 hours, let him! Even if you think you have no milk left, you usually do, and better, if he really does manage to suck you dry, that means he's getting the fat-rich hindmilk, which is great for his weight gain! AND having him nurse you completely empty will send your supply into overdrive..... odds are you'll be engorged within 24 hours!

5) Some mothers who have been in this situation often recommend going into a quiet, dark room and just nursing for hours, some recommend trying skin-to-skin, some recommend co-sleeping, and so on: you'll find what works for you. And keep in mind that fussiness is not always hunger..... if she cries after eating, it could be gas, a wet diaper, tiredness, the desire to be held or swaddled, or just frustration. Keep in mind that your baby is likely to be upset and crying the first few days that you withhold the bottle, but as long as she's having regular wet and dirty diapers, she is healthy and there's no need for concern.

Make sure you are in communication and agreement with a pediatrician you trust at all times while transitioning your baby's diet, both for your child's safety and for your own peace of mind.

Keep calm and nurse on, mamas!