Posts Tagged ‘baby’

Getting Over the Fear of Not Making Enough Milk While Breastfeeding

Monday, November 21st, 2016
getting over the fear that you aren't making enough milk

“When a baby is hungry, he tends to clench his fists tightly and bring them toward his face. If he falls asleep hungry, his fists usually stay clenched. But when he gets milk, he relaxes starting with his face. Then his shoulders relax, and finally those fists unclench. Eventually they’re as limp as the rest of him. Thing of his hands as a built-in fuel gauge.” p.120 Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

When my son was first born, we had a difficult time figuring out breastfeeding. It was challenging and stressful for both of us. In the very beginning, he lost weight instead of gaining and was extremely fussy. I contacted my acupuncturist and told her I thought my milk supply had decreased significantly. I didn’t think that I was making the amount that my baby needed and didn’t know what to do because my goal was to breastfeed until he was 12 months old. She had me come right in and she worked her magic with her needles to help get the milk flowing again, if it was true that I was having issues with my milk supply.

The amount of milk that a baby consumes while breastfeeding can be such a mystery, especially if they are exclusively breastfed like both of my children who refused bottles. It can be nerve-wracking wondering if an extra fussy baby means that they are actually starving because they are not getting enough milk. Since it was my first experience with breastfeeding, I was always seeking proof that my body was making the correct amount of milk that my baby needed.  These are some ways that eventually helped me feel confident that body was doing the job that it was supposed to, so I could get over my fear that I was not producing enough milk:

  • At breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants weighed my baby right before I breastfed him and then immediately after.  The number of ounces that he gained was proof that he was consuming a good amount.
  • Regular wet diapers proved to me that the process was working.
  • Appropriate weight gaining was on track and was proven at regular doctor check-ups.
  • Pumping milk into baby bottles to maintain a back-up supply showed me the number of ounces that my body was producing.

With my second baby, I learned to trust the process and reminded myself regularly that my body knew how to do it and would get the job done.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers.  She nursed both of her babies until they were almost 2 years-old.  Now, she wonders if her picky eaters are getting enough food at each meal.

Bedtime Routines for Babies

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

bedtime routines for babiesSleeping at night is a game that we need to teach our babies how to play. A bedtime routine is their cue that their job to go to sleep for hopefully many hours through the night is quickly approaching.

My babies weren’t quick to get the memo that they should sleep during the night. So, we worked very hard (and still do) to make sure they got the message loud and clear by establishing consistent bedtime routines.

Here are some things that you can try to put into your baby’s bedtime routine to let them know it’s time to go to bed:

  • Bath
  • Lotion
  • Massage
  • Nursing or a bottle
  • Singing songs
  • Reading books
  • Putting baby in their bed while they are drowsy but still awake

Our first baby, who is now 3 years old, loves his routine so much that it is still pretty much the same as it was when he was 3 months old. Every night, after getting his pajamas on, he gets three books of his choice read to him, the song “Operator” by Jim Croce is sung to him in his chair and then he hops into bed and gets his back rubbed with one last serenade of “Operator.”

The one thing that did change from the time he was a small baby was the song that we sing. I pushed for songs like “You Are My Sunshine,” but one crazy night after many attempts of calming our screaming child, my husband sealed the deal of getting our son to sleep with the ever so popular lullaby, “Operator.” I’m sure that I have broken some kind of world record of singing “Operator” the most times in a 3-year time period. My 2-year-old daughter also requests this song every night and before naps. So, yes, I win!

Our second child has challenged bedtime routines. Just when we think that we have one set in place, she changes it on us. She has taught us to be flexible and to keep trying. Even though she is set on her favorite song, sometimes she wants books, sometimes she wants to chat, or read to her babies by herself. She’s in charge. And, yes, she still has a difficult time sleeping through the night consistently. We hope to find something that impresses and pleases her before the time she is a teenager.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers. She enjoys writing and sleeping through the night.

Nursing Through A Growth Spurt

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

nursing through a growth spurtI quickly realized my place during a growth spurt. According to my breastfed baby, I had one job. That job was to make milk, feed him, and repeat often.

Before I learned my place, thoughts like “Is this normal? When will this end? Will I survive?” ran through my mind as I sat nursing my baby in the same rocking chair for what seemed like endless hours. I was challenged to be strategic with bathroom breaks and with feeding myself.

Here are warnings that I wish that I would have received about nursing through a growth spurt:

  • You will be off your normal schedule and will not be informed about this new temporary schedule ahead of time. There will most likely not be room for things like making meals, eating meals, cleaning the house or any of that kind of productive stuff.
  • You will be starving. Eat! Your body will be working overtime to increase your milk supply to feed your baby during a growth spurt. So, keep snacks nearby and ask someone to bring you dinner on their way home because you won’t be cooking it.
  • You will need to drink a lot of water. Keep drinking it.
  • You will be tired. Even if your baby has become a decent night sleeper, they may wake often during a growth spurt for multiple snacks.
  • You will be confused. You may think that there is something wrong with your supply. A growth spurt is a baby’s way of increasing your milk supply. Don’t stop breastfeeding or start supplementing during a growth spurt because you think something is wrong.
  • This too will pass. Growth spurts often stop as suddenly as they come on. By the time it ends you may actually be worried that your baby is not eating enough! But relax. Apps like WonderWeeks are helpful for somewhat predicting these phases and can help you keep your sanity with that simple heads-up.

Good news: growth spurts only last a couple of days. And, once it is over, there’s a good chance you’ll soon need to get out some larger sized clothing for your hefty eater. Not only will a growth spurt increase your milk supply that your baby needs, but it will increase the size of your baby, too!

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. She enjoys writing, playing with her busy toddlers and watching them grow.

Helping Pets Adjust to a Mobile Baby

Monday, October 17th, 2016

When researching about pets and babies when I was pregnant with my first, I found lots of information about introducing a new baby to your pets.  Other than Peanut needing to try out all the new baby stuff, once we brought our babies home, our pets, Midnight (a lab mix) and Peanut (an orange kitty) adapted well.  Midnight loved the baby instantly both times.  Peanut was a little jealous of the attention the baby received but adjusted quickly.

Introducing the girls was the easy part.  Once they started to crawl, and then walk, we needed to teach them how to treat the animals so that both our pets and children were safe.  This is an ongoing process, but we want both our pets and kids to be safe and happy.  Most of the following rules we have for interacting with the animals are common sense, but they take monitoring and reminding the kids how to be kind to the pets.  Some days I’m amazed at how many times I request that my 3-year-old moves her face away from the cat’s!

  1. If the dog or cat is sleeping, let them sleep and leave them alone.

  2. Keep your face away from the dog or cat’s.  Do not face nudge the cat, even if she has done so to you in the past.

  3. Stay clear of the dog and cat when they’re eating.

  4. No grabbing the dog and cat’s tails, legs, or ears.

  5. Do not try to ride or climb on the dog.

  6. Pet nicely (from head to tail) and limit the duration of pets.  Be conscious your pets’ body language so you know when to stop petting.

  7. When out walking, always ask another dog’s owner if the dog is friendly before trying to pet him.

In addition to the above rules, we have spaces for each pet to go that is their personal area so when the kids get to be too much, they can retreat and have some peace.  Both our pets are very tolerant and understanding of kids.  This does not mean that we let our guard down.  We love our kids and our fur babies, so we constantly watch how they interact and remind the kids how to appropriately treat the pets so that everyone is safe and happy in our home.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

 

 

Do We Need a Daily Routine?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

During my baby’s first year, one of the most common topics of conversation was about how she was sleeping.  Friends/family/moms in mom groups/strangers in the grocery line all seemed really interested in how she was sleeping.  Once we had established a daily routine, my response was much more positive to the dreaded sleep question. Routines are needed because they let your baby what to expect next, according to Babycenter.  When babies can anticipate what happens next, it provides comfort to them and helps them sleep better. Experts say that routines can be established as early as 2 months or as old as 6 months old, depending on your (and your baby’s) personality.

My first daughter was a snacker. She liked to nurse for short amounts of time every hour or two all day, every day up until she was about six months old. At about 6 months, we started to establish a routine with her, encouraging her to eat more during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night. My younger daughter was content to nurse for long amounts of time, less frequently. We worked out our routine around 4 months. Establishing a routine earlier with my second daughter also benefited my first because we returned to many of our activities that we did before the baby was born.

There is a wide range of philosophies about establishing routines, ranging from the parents setting the routines to basing the daily routine on the baby’s natural schedule and everything in between. For me, and my children, building a routine around their natural schedules worked best.  However, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I have flexibility with our days.

I found that using time intervals–instead of basing the routine off the clock–created a routine that was flexible but still offered my babies the comfort about what was coming up next.  Juniper was the most happy with about 3-3.5 hoursbetween waking and going back to sleep.  When she was about 6 months old, Juniper’s routine would begin with her waking up for the day.  I would feed her breakfast, play with her and do tummy time while her big sister was eating breakfast, get the three of us dressed, then about 2.5 hours after she initially woke up, I would nurse her for about a half an hour to forty-five minutes until she fell asleep for nap.  During her naptime, Lily and I would do one of her classes or another activity (like going for a walk or to the playground).  I would let Juniper sleep as long as she wanted, and then we would start the routine over (meal of solids, play/activity, nurse, nap) again, this would fit into about 3/3.5 hours.  At this point, Juniper was taking two naps a day and going to bed around 6/6:30 at night.  Because we were not tied to the clock, if Juniper wanted to nurse an extra time or take an extra nap, our entire day was not thrown off.

Setting a routine doesn’t have to be a struggle to have your baby follow a schedule based on the clock.  Setting a routine based on a pattern during a rough time interval offers your baby predictability and meets her needs based on her natural schedule with the flexibility that she needs day to day.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.