Saturday, July 30, 2011

An update on all the babes!

We've been doing this blog for quite a while and we all shared our birth stories and have kind of talked about our nurslings here and there but we haven't done a really good update in a while! So we're all coming together and doing a post together to talk about what's going on with our babes!

Ella (Mama Christa's babe):

Ella is a big fat chunky boobie baby at almost 10 months old (holy crap!!). She's about 17 pounds and has more rolls then Chase and Chicklett put together. She's sitting, saying a few words and scooting on her back, only going backwards (it's hilarious). She IS trying to crawl though and I'm pretty sure it's right around the corner. We started a few solids here and there when she was 7 months old (5.5 months adjusted). I had full intended on waiting until she was 6 months adjusted but it kind of just happened one night when we had squash. She was pretty lukewarm about solids until recently. We tried a few purrees but she couldn't have cared less so we are doing baby led weaning. If we're eating something she can eat, I give her some. There is no real hard schedule as to when she gets food, we're pretty casual about solids around here (TOTAL opposite about how I was with Olivia!!). She loves feeding herself though and in the last week or 2 has really got into food. Nothing like Chase (MOOSE!), but she enjoys feeding herself. Overall, Ella is a major boobie baby and nurses generally every 2 to 3 hours, but if there is a boob, she will take it. Preemie WHAT?? :-D

Chicklett (Mother Hen's babe):



She is 9.5 months old and still nursing strong! She has two bottom and top teeth and has nibbled me, but so far so good on her learning it's not a fun thing to do to me. We started purees at 6 months, to which she immediately spit everything back out. We figured she just wasn't ready for food yet, so we just took it easy in offering it a few times a week. After about two months of occasionally offering purees I threw in the towel and have been doing more of a baby-led-weaning approach. Since about 5 months old she has been very demanding and grabbing at our plates, so one could say she's been giving me a hint for a very long time. She just wants real food. I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around what or how to just give her food... but we're learning. Favorite foods are probably black beans, steamed carrots, rice puffs, and mum mum crackers. She was born at 7 pounds 3 ounces and she was weighed at 9 months old 14 pounds 4 ounces. She is a peanut! Other milestones would be crawling (she's got a mean army crawl), jabbering "mamama" "dadadada", waving, and dropping down to two naps a day.

Chase Racer (Megz's Babe)

Chase is 9 months old and a total booby baby. Through our move he was given no bottles and thus will now frequently refuse a bottle of pumped milk which is a pain in the butt if we are in a pinch and need him to take one. But hey, less work for mama! He is up to about 20 pounds now, according to our bathroom scale. He went through a busy stage during which he hardly nursed at all during the day, but with our trip up to MN, suddenly he started nursing like a maniac during the day, though he still nurses A LOT at night. We've both gotten really good at mobile nursing now...I can hold him in arms, NOT supporting my boob, and walk around the house while he nurses if need be. I never reached this sweet spot with Aiden. We nurse in our Ergo all over the place. Chase and I are a little better team. He is now eating solids and we give him chunks of food instead of purees, baby-led weaning works well for our family. He totally loves to chomp and has 3 table meals a day, and still nurses as much as he does without those meals. His favorite foods are avocados, bananas, cheese, and mama's homemade oatmeal muffins! Chase also just LOVES a sippy cup and thinks water is the greatest thing invented since the boob. During our trip, I was driving alone with the boys and he took a sippy of pumped breastmilk (FYI, I'm fairly certain pumping while driving is not legal...and surely HAND EXPRESSING while driving could get me in serious trouble...lol) He's a big, busy boy and now has two gorgeous pearly whites. Much to my chagrin, he has bitten a few times, but we seem to be working that out. It helps to have all the great tips from mamas who have had biters to guide me. It's not slowing us down.

Many of you remember that I am in serious uncharted territory at this point. Aiden was weaned by this age, so all of this is new and exciting for me, like the first time nursing a baby all over again. I'm surprised and thrilled by how much fun we are having nursing...we play games while we nurse, giggle, snuggle, smile...it's so neat and fun. I sooo wish I had not thrown in the towel with Aiden, but every baby is different and I'm still convinced that part of my struggle with Aiden was personality. He did not love to nurse the way Chase does! Chase is still bedsharing with us, much to my husband's dismay, and I am doing my best to allow his sleep maturity to develop naturally. It's hard sometimes, but we are working it out!

On the binky front, Chase gave up his binky during our move to Indiana (5 months ago). He now sucks his two fingers on his left hand. It's pretty adorable, and VERY convenient. During the day he does love his fingers, at night, he prefers breast in a big big way.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guest Blog: Boob. It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner....

I have a facebook page. Like so many others I have it to keep in touch with my family and friends. Some of those friends I have had since grade school and others are just friends of friends of friends but I am a pretty open person. I like to share what is going on in my life even when life is just average.

My breastfeeding back story is I have twin boys who are now 12. I was young when I had them and even though I wanted to nurse them I did not have the support or information to make it work. Fast forward 11 years and I was blessed to add another boy to my family. This time I was going to breastfeed. I gathered every morsel of knowledge I could ahead of time and I asked a million and one questions to my sister and friend who were both breastfeeding while I was pregnant.

So February 25th I gave birth to a beautiful 9lb baby boy. I held him right after he was born and nursed him right away. Unfortunately since he was 10 days over due and 9lbs he had to be tested to see what his glucose level was and it turned out to be low, a point low. He was tested 2 more times before that said I have to give him formula and breastfeed and be tested every hour. 24 hours after birth his levels were up and we stopped the formula. I would love to say it was smooth sailing after that but it wasn’t.

My son’s weight kept dropping and it took 5 days for my milk to start coming in. In the mean time my son had red brick dust in his urine from dehydration and dropped from 9lbs to under 8lbs. So I nursed both sides, pumped then gave that to him plus a little bit of formula until his weight increased. After his weight started to increase my goal was to wean him off the top ups and build my supply and that is what I did. I went from 4 top ups aday to 3, 2 , 1 and then finally we were completely off formula and I was one proud mama. Every day I am thankful for each feeding. Even when nights are long and days are even longer. I cherish this experience.

Ok now what made me want to share all of this? I had a great opportunity to have a photo shoot done to commemorate my breastfeeding journey so far. I shared those pictures with fellow friends and have since heard the strangest feedback some from people “Oh, I hear your girls are all over your facebook page?” Or comments to my husband “all your wife does is talk about breastfeeding and show pictures of breastfeeding on her facebook nowadays”

YES! I talk about breastfeeding because that is what is going on in my life right now! YES! I am sharing links and stories because they are touching and beautiful. YES! I am sharing beautiful pictures of myself feeding my child because I am proud, they are amazing and I will only be doing this for so long.

I try not to take it personally. I don’t have to be a breastfeeding “fanatic” to want to share what to me is a normal day. It is who I am today. It is a special bond I get the privilege of creating and yet it is NATURAL!!

Not all my friends and family are so judgmental but I bet there are more ooohh’s and comments going on than I probably will even know. I am sad that I can’t just be myself. That people can’t just be proud and supportive. That it has to turn something other than just beautiful.

All of this is going on right before Breastfeeding Awareness month which is now making me chuckle……. Guess what people. You haven’t seen anything yet!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Guest Blog: Jessica's Story


My name is Jessica and I have the most beautiful daughter. The last 8 months have been a roller coaster and I wanted to share it with you and your readers:

When I woke up on November 16, the last thing I thought I would do was have a baby. I was 32 weeks pregnant, and my water broke. All I could do at the hospital was cry. I wasn't ready, the baby wasn't ready, my boobs weren't ready. Well, Elizabeth was ready!

She was born a mere 5 hours later. I got to see her for a few short seconds before she was rushed off to the NICU. She needed oxygen at first, then intubation and a vent along with two doses of surfactant to help her lungs inflate/deflate properly.

I started pumping that evening, and continued for about a week or so until I could start trying to nurse.

She didn't take her first feeding until Saturday, November 20th. I remember the exact date because that was a HUGE day for us. That was the first time we got to hold her. We couldn't even touch her before then. A few days later, we were given the go ahead to try to nurse.

At first, Lizzie would open wide, take the while nipple into her mouth, I would get my hopes up....and then she would quickly fall asleep. So, the nurses started letting her latch while gavaging her feeding. That way she would start to realize that mamma's nipple meant full tummy. At that point she was battling jaundice. She was under lights for a total of 10 days. During those 10 days, I could only take her out to attempt to nurse once a day, and she could only be out of the isolette for 45 minutes, maximum. This meant that usually, we would spend most of the 45 minutes struggling her sleepiness to get her to nurse, and my poor husband would only get to snuggle her for 10 minutes or so after I finally gave up and let them gavage a few milliliters.

Slowly, but surely, Lizzie started to get the hang of it. As she grew stronger and more stable, she got moved around to different spots in the NICU. I found out later that a couple of the nurses advocated for us to have the best spots in the corner because she was a good nurser and deserved the good spot - with more privacy.

We spent 29 days in that NICU, and by the end of it, Elizabeth was breastfeeding full feeds at least three times a day, and taking the others from a bottle. Thanks to my diligent pumping right from the beginning, she has only ever had breast milk.

We came home on December 15th, and the transition to full time breastfeeding was hard - on both of us. She had to work harder more often, and I had to spend virtually 24 hours a day with a 5lb baby attached to my breast.

Just when we were getting into a groove and both my husband and I were getting more than 2 hours of sleep at a time, BAM! I needed my gallbladder out - the day before Christmas Eve.

I was told that I needed to pump and dump for at least 24 hours after my surgery, and 24 hours after my last pain pill. I had a nice freezer stash, but not that nice. I only took the prescribed pain pills for one day so I could go back to nursing as soon as possible. I was more determined than ever to not give my daughter any formula. Hey, we made it through a whole month of being separated, I wasn't about to let one little bitty surgery get in my way now! Thankfully, an amazing friend offered to donate some of her frozen milk to bridge any shortage I may have had.

Once I recovered from surgery, we were back to smooth sailing. The amount of time she needed to complete a whole feeding had gone down to about 20 minutes or so, I was actually getting a little sleep, things were great!

Then I went back to work part time.

I was (and am) able to pump once (sometimes twice) during my work day, which is about 7 hours long, including drive time. I did everything to keep my supply up and keep enough milk in the fridge for her. I even pumped while driving. Slowly my supply started to dwindle and my pumping output went way down. *Enter amazing, beautiful, milk donating friend* She not only donated MORE milk to help us out, but gave me tips and encouragement to help get my supply back up. I have to admit, during that time, the sample cans of formula were looking kinda nice.

After trying fenugreek, oatmeal, sports drinks, and tons of water, my supply finally came back.

Now, Elizabeth is eight (8!!!) months old and nursing like a champ. We actually just had a day when she was ALL about the boob and wanted nothing to do with my husband or anyone else. He jokingly said, "Remember when it was a struggle to get her to eat? Geez, where'd that kid go?" Hmph.

She is starting to become more and more mobile, and more and more busy, so lately nursing has been the only break time we get. I love sitting down to feed my amazing daughter and looking into her eyes. We have such a special bond.

I am so very proud of her for being so strong so early. She has shown me a strength I have in myself that I never knew was there. I couldn't have done any of this without the help of my cheerleaders, including my amazing, supportive husband.

It was all so worth it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hiding

This last week has been a whirlwind of family while we attended a family reunion. Those who are on my facebook know that I'm tandem nursing but I wasn't sure how comfortable I would be nursing Olivia in front of all of those people. I had NO problems nursing Ella but Olivia is almost 3 and society says that breastfeeding a 3 year old is weird. I do NOT agree that breastfeeding a 3 year old is weird. I think it's beautiful and I'm SO proud that Olivia relatched and is nursing again. It drove me crazy that I felt uncomfortable nursing her like I usually do in front of all these people. I talked about it with my husband and my friends and I turned her down multiple times. Finally, right before bedtime, she was asking and so I did it. I nursed her in front of my mother in law. She just kept talking to me and didn't look twice. I don't know what she was thinking, but I so appreciated the fact that I didn't feel judged by her.
While we were at the family reunion, Olivia was too busy to want to breastfeed so it didn't become an issue. After we left, my brother in law came back with us so he can spend some time with all of us before going back to California. This morning, Olivia wanted a boobie (as she always does) and so I nursed her. My brother in law came upstairs. He ate breakfast and didn't look at me weirdly, didn't say anything...nothing. Again, I don't know what he was thinking but the fact that he didn't say anything or give me weird looks really meant the world to me.


I wish I could say I am now fully comfortable nursing Olivia in public. I wish I could say that I cured of my insecurities about nursing a toddler...I'm not though. It is definitely something I'm struggling with but I am working towards being more comfortable with it. Because our nursing relationship has been reestablished after a year of not nursing, Olivia is essentially nursing on demand and she likes to breastfeed at least 3-4 times a day, as much as 6 (usually not though). Generally speaking, I don't deny her when she wants to breastfeed, however I find myself denying her in public or when we're around family other then our immediate family or my mom.

I don't want to be this way though. I don't have a problem with people who keep their toddlers on a schedule, I TOTALLY understand it. The only reason I'm not is simply because we recently reestablished and she went a year without. As time goes on, I think I'll limit her a bit but for now I'm letting her nurse on demand and trying to work through my own issues that society has put upon me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Blog: Mandy's Story

Growing up I don't remember seeing anyone breastfeeding, I know step-mum fed her boys as I remember her having a conversation with her friend about what the best breastpads where and that she would give her friend some to try. I did see a lot of bottles but then it was the 80's. For some reason though, I knew when the time came I would breastfeed, to me there wasn't another option.

I was 26 when I had my 1st, a gorgeous daughter. I had planned a natural water birth, but as seems to be way with my little girl, it didn't go to plan. Everything that could go wrong did, after 37 hours of pre-labour, where I got to 5cms then dilated in reverse, I was rushed to theatre for an emergency section. I don't really remember much of her birth, my husband got the 1st cuddle and showed me our daughter and I passed out. I had been adamant from the start that she was going to be breastfed and even through the worst moments I kept reminding everyone that that's what I wanted. Once she was around 15 minutes old I got my wish. The midwife put her to my left breast and my Princess latched on immediately, as if she had been doing it her whole life, she fed for what felt like ages then fell into a contented sleep. As I was recovering from surgery the midwives helped me latch her on all through the night.

I was in hospital for 3 days before I was begging to go home, the whole time I was on the ward the midwives didn't help at all, I was the only mum in a ward of 4 who was breastfeeding. I had one feed where I just couldn't get her latched on at all, I buzzed on loads of occasions but no one ever came. Eventually I managed to get it right by myself, and discovered I had lived in the same street as the health care assistant, she was great; she brought me extra pillows and made sure I had plenty to drink.

By the time I got home, breastfeeding was 2nd nature. Sometimes I was embarrassed because it was so easy for me, but I was coming to terms with feeling like my body had failed me because I need a section, finding breastfeeding so easy was very healing for me.

When my health visitor came round, she told me she could have hugged me, I was her only milker she told me. She was determined I not stop, probably more so than I was.
I fed anywhere and everywhere, I didn't use a cover even though I am large breasted. I did start to get to comments once she was 6 months old about when I was planning on stopping, but I was planning on feeding for a year. Unfortunately she decided to stop at 10 months, I now know that was probably a nursing strike. I'm confident I would be able to work through that now. I always seemed to have plenty of milk, and could easily pump 8 ounces from 1 breast, I was gutted that I ended up having to throw milk away as it was going to waste.

I found out I was expecting my 2nd, a beautiful boy, the day before my daughters 3rd birthday. I was terrified of having the same experience with him so begged the consultants for an elective section. I had to have 2 separate appointments with the consultants before they would agree. They wanted me to have a trial by labour, as this was their policy. I wasn't happy to put my mental health at risk, or put my husband through watching his wife again, just for their numbers. When they finally agreed and gave me a date, it was very strange knowing the day my baby would be born. I had a feeling the whole way through that he was breech but my midwife shrugged off, but sure enough he came out foot first. I didn't pass out this time but was very shaky, so daddy got the 1st cuddle. I re-iterated my wish to breastfeed and the midwife said she remembered. As I had done more research this time, I was a little nervous that it might not be easy 2nd time round, but I was very lucky again; he latched on straight away and nursed like a pro. The midwife, said I clearly knew what I was doing, so would leave me to get to know my little man. As soon as she left, I started vomiting, unfortunately once I started I couldn't stop. I can laugh about it now, but I was mortified at the time when threw up into a bowl, all over myself and all over the bed, but not a drop went on the baby.

As I was at a different hospital from the 1st time, I found the staff a lot more supportive. I was told I was an old pro, and even helped a few of the mothers with their issues. I had a visit from the infant feeding co-ordinator about training as a peer supporter. For some reason I was a lot iller the 2nd time around, and needed to stay in hospital an extra day, on day 3 my milk came in, and it was like some had turned a tap on, I literally had milk pouring from me and filled 3 containers using the hospital pump.

I had read about milk donation after my oldest had stopped feeding, and vowed that if I had loads of milk this time, I would not pour it down the sink but donate it to where it would maybe do some good. So from when my son was 6 weeks old till he was 6 months, I filled bottle after bottle - took up a whole drawer in my freezer - everyday to go to the nearest milk bank.

Again I fed everywhere and anywhere, and only once encountered a problem: we went for a family meal, and being a sociable little boy, he wanted something to eat too. So I just went ahead and fed, I noticed a woman out of the corner of eye staring at me and whispering to the man she was with. They called over the waiter and started talking and gesturing to me. I thought great, let them try, I know my rights. The waiter came over to us, smiled and offered me a free re-fill on my drink, I could have laughed, here I was ready for a confrontation, then this lad who couldn't have been more than 21 was subtly standing up for me.

Again once he got to 6 months, I started getting the question from other people about when I was going to stop. I knew I wanted to feed for longer than I had my daughter, I set myself a goal of 12 months then see how we go. My son had had quite severe eczema since birth and nothing was shifting it, it was horrible to watch a small baby scratching away at himself. I posted on a mum's forum asking for advice on creams, and someone mentioned in passing that their child had an allergy to dairy. I trawled the net looking for back up and everything I read said that a dairy allergy could manifest as eczema. My 1st port of call was our GP but my theory was rubbished, he told me babies can't have allergies. But my instincts told me I was right, so I cut all dairy from mine and his diet for a week to see what would happen, and his eczema seemed to lessen, I started introducing diary back in and he flared up. I returned to a different GP and demanded an allergy test, and 2 weeks later just after his 1st birthday, we had a diagnoses that he was severely allergic to all dairy, but also had a topical allergy to bananas, tomatoes, egg whites (only if it isn't cooked) and strawberries. After that his skin cleared up brilliantly, along with a creaming regime from the community nurse. I was determined to nurse him for as long he would take. He stopped himself at 16 months, I was devastated. I tried everything to get him to latch back on but he wouldn't have any of it, and by then I had stopped pumping and could no longer get anything out with any pump I tried. I did get some donated milk from a friend but she couldn't do it long term, so I had to accept that he was done.

Breastfeeding and watching my babies grow, knowing it was all down to me, is one of the proudest achievements of my life. But without the unwavering support of my husband, who always helped as much as he could (I sometimes wonder if he'd had the tools, he would have probably fed the babies himself). He never offered to get some formula just in case, and would only offer to give them a bottle of expressed milk if I was absolutely exhausted from lack of sleep.

If I was to pass on advice to an expectant mum, I would say 1st read everything you can about breastfeeding, educate yourself, there are some brilliant websites and facebook groups out there - The Normalising Nursing in Public League is one of them (http://www.facebook.com/NNIPL?ref=ts ). Take it 1 feed at a time and congratulate yourself after every feed. Don't listen to people who aren't supportive, and trust your instincts.

If you can consider donating your extra milk to a sick kids or premature unit. It's a very worthwhile cause (http://www.ukamb.org/donor.html ). There is also a group on facebook for mother to mother milk sharing (http://www.facebook.com/HM4HBUK ).

Mandy, mummy to 2. Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Off Topic Tuesday: The journey counts as well!

Warning: Picture and discussion of c-section and birth trauma. This may be difficult or offensive for some. 

I'm a birth advocate. I had planned on having a natural, drug free birth for both my children. I was educated on the downfalls of epidurals and c-sections and I knew I didn't intend on having either.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. With my first daughter, Olivia, I was induced at 34 weeks. My cervix was as high and closed tight as could be. My body was NO where near preparing for her birth yet. They did every method they could to give me a vaginal delivery. I feel confident that they really did try. However, after about 48 hours of labor I had only dilated 4 cm (and had been 4 cm for about 20 hours with NO change). In comes the word I was terrified to hear. "C-section". I. Was. HEARTBROKEN! I sobbed so uncontrollably that I missed her entire birth and remember very little of it except the fact that my anesthesia was overdone and my throat closed up. So not only was I having a c-section but I was choking on my own spit. Good times.

In comes pregnancy number 2. The minute I see my OB, I tell her flat out that I AM having a VBAC. Not that I want a VBAC...no no, I am HAVING a VBAC. Even once I was diagnosed with pre-e (again, sigh) I was still determined that I would have a VBAC. I was NOT having another c-section and nothing anyone said was going to change that.

Enter stage right: Christa in high risk hospital at 28 weeks. 


I believe it was 3 days before I actually ended up delivered they told me I couldn't be induced because I'd had a previous c-section and in order to induce me, my cervix had to be softened (naturally). There was only one way to induce (safely) a previous c-section patient. I argued. Oh how I argued. Every SINGLE doctor in that hospital knew who I was because I talked to them all. Finally, after having FOUR people come into my room (including the highest of the high at Abbott) I finally had to accept that I would be having another c-section. Again, positively heartbroken. I did end up having a somewhat healing c-section experience (My Birth Story) but it was still a c-section.

9.5 months later, everything is great. I have 2 beautiful daughters who are healthy and you really couldn't tell the difference between them and a baby who was born vaginally. Olivia is extremely intelligent and Ella is a fat girl.



So, why should it matter how they were born? Why do I still feel like I've missed so much  because I had 2 c-sections and premature births if they are fine, healthy, intelligent and beautiful?

Because the journey counts as well. That's why. For so many of us, especially the girls here at The Good Letdown, pregnancy and delivery is a beautiful thing that we feel passionate about. The journey of childbirth is not something we see as this horrible, painful thing. It's a beautiful journey that women take. For me, it was a terrifying moment of my life that has caused me much grief and many emotional scars. So when people say "But you have 2 beautiful daughters, it shouldn't matter how they were born" my answer to them is that "while the destination IS the most important, to me the journey (of birth) is almost as important". It makes me all the more passionate about educating women on their bodies and the effects of c-sections and premature birth.

I will always grieve my loss. Because for me, that's what it was, a loss of pregnancy, a loss of a natural birth, a loss of a normal experience. My c-section scars are not just a physical scar but an emotional one as well. One that will take a long time to fade, but will never fully go away.


July Cloth Diaper Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of the Sew Is Your Baby cloth diaper is..... Adrienne Yorba Burdett Nielsen!!!!! Congratulations to you! Visit http://www.sewisyourbaby.com/ and pick out what diaper you'd like. Please email us your selection and address to thegoodletdown@gmail.com and claim your prize within 72 hours or a new winner will be selected.

(the random generator was done out of 76, I'm not sure why the max changed to 100 when I copied the image over here, but I promise it was 76 when I did it!)
True Random Number Generator 72Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'll Admit it... I Judge When I See Formula...

... but I'm not judging the mothers. I'm judging the failed system that led that mother down and let her to needing to depend on an artificial substitute.



HOW can you be a pediatrician, lactation consultant/counselor, family practitioner, nurse, peer, or human being and not figure out that your advice is repeatedly ending a breastfeeding mothers relationship? Haven't you realized that almost every mother who comes to you with trouble is no longer nursing at four months? Shouldn't you wake up and get yourself some training so you are better at your job? This IS a part of your job! If you were a mechanic who knew nothing about fixing electrical components of cars and kept breaking peoples cars by pretending you knew what you were doing you'd probably be in jail by now!

I put pediatricians on the highest fault level because most other professionals probably don't see a follow up to know if their advice worked or not. Typically newborns are seen at 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 16 weeks. That's six times in their first four months of life. When moms ask for my advice its almost always the same concerns, and just trusting your body, baby, and boobs is almost always my answer. If your baby is happy and having wet diapers - it's ALL GOOD. I wish pediatricians would get on the same page about that and stop dolling out horrible advice about feeding schedules, expecting a specific weight gain as compared to a formula fed baby, and just not understanding anything about the natural process.

A good point was brought up to me the other day about my concerns about weight gain with Chicklett. She gained only 2 oz from 4 to 6 months, and another 11 oz during a 6 week trial follow up period - she fell from being 40th percentile down to 15th. I was positive they were going to try and talk to me about supplementing with formula. Fortunately, they did not. BUT... in the hands of the wrong pediatrician I could certainly see it happening. What advice would doctors give a mother with a formula fed baby who had the same weight gain pattern? Would they suggest she find some breastmilk or start lactating? Why are pediatricians so quick to always blame the breastmilk whenever there is a problem?

Are there good professionals out there? Of course there are... but they certainly aren't required to know anything about breastfeeding to be a pediatrician. How can we change that? Demand more from your health care providers. Report when you are given false information. Seek out pediatricians that have taken the time to do specialized training. In most situations you are warrent enough time to ask for a second opinion, have an appointment with an LC or IBCLC, and ask around your support groups. If it is not an immediate life or death situation you have time to ask for these things! Most of all trust your gut instinct. You know what is best for your baby. If your pediatrician isn't running in sync with your instincts it is time to look elsewhere.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Blog: Khera's Story

My first nursing journey began on February 4th 2009 when my first child was born. Right off the bat, I had an amazing woman who helped counsel me through my whole pregnancy there helping with the first latch. I had a beautiful nursing session with my daughter.

Once I was out of the delivery room and into the post recovery part of my hospital stay the overnight nurse I had told me I was nursing my daughter incorrectly and showed me how I should be nursing her. Well after a night of having this nurse, I complained that my nursing hurt and a lactation consultant arrived. She told me I was doing the latch wrong and informed me that because I was bigger chested I could "only" nurse in the football hold. This didn't help so I contacted my public nurse (whom was the one who was there for my first nursing) and said she was showing me an improper latch and my daughter wasn't getting enough nipple in and that it didn't matter how I held my daughter. With the whole night of my improper latch, it caused very sensitive, slightly bleeding nipples that eventually cracked. At this point we had finally gotten a rhythm to how nursing would go.


My daughter and I did so well with nursing and I loved the bonding time we shared. Around 3.5 months old I started noticing some issues with headaches, extreme hair loss and fatigue. Finally by her 4th month of life I was struggling to make it through a day. I continued to nurse and I remember setting up an appointment with my primary doctor for the next day. That night I told my husband it was getting so hard to breath that it felt like someone was choking my neck. At my appointment blood was drawn and my doctor felt my neck and instantly sent me down to our major hospital to have an ultrasound done on my neck. My TSH levels came back in the middle 40's (normal TSH levels should be 0.3-5.0..with doctors preferring to have the levels around 1-3) I was diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis or PPT. I was given a 50/50 chance of having hypothyroidism forever or PPT that would go away. I started Synthroid (levothyroxine) immediately. I did my homework and went online to determine the class that Synthroid was and felt confident in taking it.

Within 2 weeks I noticed my milk supply was less and less even though I was drinking a lot. I then decided to do more research on Synthroid. I found it is 100% WHILE breastfeeding. Well since I had started taking it after I started breastfeeding I had a risk of losing my milk supply due to it. I ended up doing something I never wanted to do in my daughters life, supplementing with formula (which I had named "devils juice") *Please note, that I knew my daughter wasn't getting enough from me and even though I hated the thought of formula I knew it was what I had to do. Since I hadn't pumped much being a stay at home mom I had little supply stocked up to give her.*

By her 5th month of life I had nothing coming out and pumping and fenugreek wasn't doing it so she went from being an exclusively breast fed baby to a supplementing with formula to an exclusively formula feeding baby in a matter of a month. I was devastated. My entire pregnancy I was so focused and determined to nurse my daughter until she wanted to wean and here being diagnosed with hypothyroidism I had it taken away from me. I went through a very hard mourning period and felt like I was the worst mother in the world for not being able to provide the basic need of food for my child. That I was a failure who had to feed her something that I knew wasn't best.

It was one of the hardest things I had to overcome as a new mother. Nothing anyone said made me feel better. It took me a LONG time to come to terms with it (which I still haven't fully but am trying) and know I did the best I could. I even found an older bag (one of the last pumped bags) of breast milk and I let it sit in the freezer door. I saw it every time I opened the freezer. It was a reminder of what I went through. I finally was able to lay it to rest 2 days before my son was born *I didn't want to mistake it for new milk and give it to him*. It was a bittersweet moment for me but now I look at my 2 year old independent, healthy, happy child and know I did the best I could and no one could have known (certainly not myself) this was going to happen.

With my next pregnancy I was determined to do everything in my power to make it nursing. We discovered 3 days before my daughters 1st birthday that I was pregnant. My husband would chime in right about now and tell you how I came into the bedroom early in the morning and woke him up and said "Honey look" and handed him a positive pregnancy test "I'm pregnant." My inflection of my voice held little excitement and it was almost like I was telling him something of little importance. After a few minutes of sitting letting it sink in we were expecting again (we had been actively trying since my daughter was 8 months old) I jumped up and yelled "OMG OMG OMG I get to breastfeed again!" Its the joke in our family that I was more excited that I would be able to nurse my child then the fact that child existed! I talked to my doctor/midwife/public health nurse and did a ton of research on what I had in store for my next nursing journey. I was informed that since my body has been use to the Synthroid my milk supply would establish on top of it.

My 2nd nursing journey began on October 19th, 2010 when my son was born. This time I refused all help with nursing him in the hospital. I pushed away everyone and knew what I was doing. (The BEST thing I could have done) I refused to see a lactation consultant for fear of messing up my already perfect latch with my son. My son and I were a team from the get go. He would open his mouth nice and wide and gingerly take my nipple in. I had no discomfort from my nursing and the fears of another bad experience quickly left my mind.
This time I decided in the worse case that I "may" lose my milk supply, that I would pump from the start. So I pumped, pumped, and pumped! I quickly filled up our freezer above our fridge and was given a new deep freezer for Christmas. I waited and waited for the day when I would lose my supply. Days, weeks and months passed and no loss occurred. I had done it. I had successfully continued nursing while on Synthroid. I even began giving my daughter milk (which made me feel so much better about what I went through when she was an infant) and still to this day she gets 1-2 cups of mommies milk a week. Around December I was informed about Eats on Feets (Human Milk 4 Human Babies) and quickly found a mother who needed milk for her child who was 5 months older than my son. All that milk I pumped (minus about 50oz of just in case milk) I donated to her son. I made another donation a few months later to total about 300oz of breast milk. I wish I had known something was available for my daughter to help keep her on breast milk.


My son turned 8 months old on the 19th of June and we have been a nursing team! He is my booby baby and I see no quitting in sight.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NIP: Support from strangers...it's not all insults and stares!


Today, while the ladies of The Good Letdown were playing at the park with our 6 kids, I sat at a bench and nursed Ella (pointing myself at a VERY pregnant mama to be so she could see that it's okay to nurse in public!). It's been hotter then hell here lately and of course I always forget water ::facepalm::. I was sitting there thinking that I wished I had water and BOOM, a religious group comes over and starts handing out water bottles to people. They came up to me and the woman handed me a bottle, smiled and said "A nursing mama especially needs some water!"

Now, whether or not you're a Christian and despite how you may feel about religious propaganda being handed out at a park, I was very impressed by their openness and attitude towards me NIP. I wasn't making any effort to cover whatsoever (I never do) and my breast was exposed (as was my fluffy belly). She looked straight at me, didn't look at all embarrassed and she had children/her husband with her. I was very pleased how she acted and made an effort to talk to me about nursing.

I've never had someone approach me while I was nursing and especially not in such a positive way. I was just pleased as punch that she was so open and accepting of me nursing openly at the park (and almost as happy that they had cold water...I drank mine AND Mother Hens haha!).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Off Topic Tuesday: Sleep Regression

From what I know about sleep regression, it seems to go hand-in-hand with growth spurts and cluster feeding. Kelly Mom says, "Common times for growth spurts are during the first few days at home and around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less)." Folks often refer to "4 month" and "9 month" sleep regression. It basically means your baby goes from sleeping longer stretches to sudden being up every couple hours again just like a newborn. Now, some cluster feeding is necessary to boost your supply back up... but I think nurslings get into a habit after a week or two where they want to be on the boob, even though they aren't hungry. It does through a wrench in the system and leads to questioning your parenting style for sure. I know I was close to caving to the "cry it out" pressures of my peers. "It's the only way" I kept hearing. Well, no it's not.
Around 9 months of age my son had been sleeping 4 hours at a stretch, and suddenly he started waking up every hour. After a few weeks of this I was losing my mind. One mom gave me the advice of giving my son a pre-bedtime snack of whole grain oatmeal, bananas, and yogurt. The first night we gave him this meal about 30-45 minutes before bedtime... and a miracle happened... my son who had been waking every 1-2 hours suddenly slept through the night. I was in shock!! The foods I had given him were full of serotonin. Now, I will have to admit to you that after that first night he was waking every 5-6 hours - but that is still WAY BETTER than hourly. I can handle twice in a night for the long haul.
Some foods that promote sleep are turkey, bananas, whole grain crackers, milk, tuna, nut butter, dates figs, and yogurt.
The Buzzle made a list of sleep inducing bedtime snacks - check it out and get some good recipes!
What tricks do you have for getting your children to sleep longer stretches naturally?

Monday, July 11, 2011

July Giveaway - Sew Is Your Baby Cloth Diaper

Sew Is Your Baby is donating a cloth diaper for our July giveaway! Winner can pick any diaper from her whole catalog! She is a work at home mom who has adorable one-size pocket diapers. Super cute and wonderful quality!

Large Giraffe Minky Cloth Diaper

The giveaway starts midnight Monday July 11, 2011 and will end at 11:59 PM on Monday July 18th, 2011. We will announce the winner on Tuesday July 19th, 2011.

Rules:
*You must be have a United States address.
*You must be a follower of our blog.
*Selected winners must provide a valid mailing address. Please do not post your address in the comments section. If you win, we'll ask for your address.We will announce the winners on the blog on Tuesday July 19th, 2011 and the winner must email us at thegoodletdown@gmail.com and claim their prize within 72 hours or a new winner will be selected.
*Winners will be selected from all eligible entries by the use of the random.org random integer generator.

Entries: You may have up to 6 entries (and remember, you have to be a follower of the blog!). Each entry must have it's own comment. Each entry is like a raffle ticket! The more entries you have the better your chances are of winning!

Entry number 1: Comment on this blog post and tell us your favorite thing about cloth diapers. All entrants must do this and then may do the subsequent entries for the giveaway.

Entry number 2: "Like" The Good Letdown on Facebook. We'll need to know your name on FB so we can double check! Make a separate comment on this blog post letting us know that you "liked" us on FB.

Entry number 3: Sign up for Sew Is Your Baby newsletter: http://www.sewisyourbaby.com/pages/newsletter Make a separate comment on this blog post letting us know you signed up.

Entry number 4: follow Sew Is Your Baby and The Good Letdown on twitter: (http://twitter.com/sewisyourbaby & http://twitter.com/TheGoodLetdown) tweeting about the giveaway. Make a separate comment on this blog post letting us know you've signed up to follow both of us on Twitter.

Entry number 5: "Like" Sew Is Your Baby on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/sewisyourbaby We'll need to know your name on FB so we can double check! Make a separate comment on this blog post letting us know that you "liked" her on FB.

Entry number 6: Become a follower of the Sew Is Your Baby blog;
Make a separate comment on this blog post letting us know that you become a follower. Be sure to let us know your blogger ID name.

Be sure to do separate posts for each of your entries as we are using random.org randomizer to pick the winner.