Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breastfeeding Must Haves and Update for Month 2

Must haves:

  • Boppy or My Brest Friend 


My Brest Friend

They both have positives and I was fortunate enough to have both that were loaned/handed down to me.  The Brest Friend was my favorite in the beginning.  It's very sturdy and comfy.  It's great when you and baby are learning to breast feed.  The Boppy is more compact and has really cute slipcovers.  I got one at Pottery Barn Kids that matches my nursery.  They are both useful but I like the Brest Friend in the beginning and the Boppy later.  Now I really don't even need a pillow when I feed her.

  • Lanolin

Let's face it, you can't always expect to have a perfect latch right from the beginning.  Lactation consultants will tell you that you should not have any pain if you are doing it right but learning to breast feed takes work and you can get sore the very first day of trying.  Using the lanolin can save your nipples from some serious irritation that can make a huge difference in sticking with breast feeding or giving up.  Also, I don't care how good your latch is, all that feeding and pumping is just not something your tender skin is used to in the beginning.  

Take in your hospital bag and use it the very first day :) It won't hurt the baby and is totally fine for them to get in their mouth.  I don't think the brand matters as long as it's pure lanolin.  

  • Nursing Pads

Again, I have both.  The washable are easier on sensitive skin and are obviously more economical because you use them over and over.  In the beginning when your milk supply is still getting regulated you may leak a lot.  The washable pads will probably leak through.  They work better later on when there's only minimal leakage.  Some people don't need these but I always use one or the other because I don't want to get caught in a situation with leaking milk spots on the front of my shirt ;) 

  • Snacks and water

In the beginning, breast feeding made me really hungry and thirsty.  Also, once I sat down for an hour long nursing session with my newborn, it was hard to get up to get something to eat or drink.  I kept a basket next to the place I choose to nurse with snack bars and a water bottle, along with lanolin, nursing pads, and anything else I would need.  

  • Fenugreek
Fenugreek is a supplement that helps increase milk supply.  I use the More Milk Plus which has some additional herbs in it to help with let down and other things.  It is crazy expensive but I was obsessed with my supply when I was having some trouble with breast feeding so I thought it was worth it.  Just plain fenugreek also works and is more reasonably priced.  

  • Breast Pump
    The Medela pump is awesome and insurance now has to cover it for you.  Thanks for the breast pump Obama.
    Pumping after feeding and in the middle of the night if baby sleeps through really helps increase supply but consider this a full time job for a while.  It sucks but can make a HUGE difference.

  • Bottle Brush
    A bottle brush can save time with all of the cleaning of bottles and pump accessories.

  • Dr. Brown's bottles
    They have the slowest nipples and really make the baby work for the milk, which is the most similar to feeding at the breast.

  • Another huge tip that I didn't learn until later on was if you are going to be pumping all day, just stick the whole bottle and parts in the fridge in between pumping and pull out and reuse each time.  Clean them all thoroughly at the end of the day but you don't necessarily have to clean everything each time.  This will keep you from going crazy.  Make sure to have clean hands when pumping or feeding baby.  Once you've experienced Mastitis you will know you can never be too cautious:)

Some other really helpful things that can make all the difference in breast feeding:
  • Supportive husband/partner and family
  • Taking classes while still pregnant- education is so important 
  • A good lactation consultant- or 2 if necessary
  • A good book on breastfeeding- again, the more you know the better
  • A positive and relaxed attitude- it's really easy to freak out in the beginning but you have to be confident, trust your instincts, know that what your doing is best for baby and that it will eventually work out in the end if you're patient.
Also, some say these are myths/old wives tales but steel cut oatmeal, beer, lactation cookies, a little alcohol (to relax you) can all help increase supply.  Stress is a major negative but really hard to control (especially for me) so a glass of wine once and a while can help.  I did all of these things and I really increased my supply so who knows which really did the trick. 

My update:
Blake had a couple of weeks where her weight gain really slowed.  She never lost any weight but she was barely gaining.  I think it was my supply (from Mastitis) but I started to get really frustrated and stressed.  My lactation consultant suggested we see our doctor at this point and she didn't have any more suggestions.  I felt I needed a different perspective.  A friend recommended Kay Gregg who just happened to be really close to my house.  She's a lactation consultant but with a different method.  It was great to get to see two different ways of doing things.  They were both valuable but Kay's way of doing things was really what we needed at that time.  She was calm and relaxed and got me back on track.  She has a grandmother-ish sweetness and calmed my anxieties.  I never had to see the doc or supplement with formula and Blake got an A+ at our 2 month well child doctor's appointment.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cloth Diapering

Cloth Diapering is easy.  People told me I was crazy to even try this and that it would be so hard but really it's not.  It's not disgusting either.  It's fun and the diapers are super cute!

Here are my tips from what I've learned so far: 
  • Wait until you are ready to start.  Newborns have skinny legs and they go through 10-12 diapers a day.  I started slow when she was about 3 weeks with only a few a day until I was eventually using all cloth.
  • Double up the inserts at night if your baby sleeps through the night.
  • Make sure everything is tucked inside and the leg holes are snug to avoid leaks.
  • Leaks and blowouts happen in all kinds of diapers but I've had less in cloth than disposables ("sposies" to the cloth diapering mommas).
  • Baby can feel when they are wet so change often. This will be helpful for potty training and I personally think it's fine since I would never let Blake just sit around in a dirty diaper.
  • It's ok to use disposables and cloth.  They call it a hybrid approach but you might find, like me, that sticking to one is just easier.
  • I keep some disposables around in case I am not able to get to the laundry in time but I rarely use them.
  • I started with 24 Sunbaby pocket diapers, size 2.  They are the cheapest by far and I just ordered 12 more.  So far I have spent about $200 for diapers which is not too bad.
  • We have never had diaper rash but I use Aquaphor on her every once and a while to prevent it.
  • I have noticed less redness with the cloth diapers, she has very sensitive skin.
  • I wash with All Free and Clear detergent in hot water and dry in dryer on low heat (to try to save the elastic).
  • I line dry in the sun if they are stained but it doesn't happen too often.  If you want them to last longer I'm sure line drying every time is better for them but who has time for that.  I'm always washing last minute because I'm about to run out :)
  • While baby is under 6 months and is exclusively breastfed, there is no need to dump out or spray off poop.  Just throw the whole thing into your diaper pail and when it's full you throw the whole thing, bag included, into the wash.  The inserts will come out in the wash and I re-stuff when they are dry before I put them away so they are ready to use at all times.   When they are on solids, the poop changes and you need to clean them out a little bit first.  I'm not sure about formula but I'm sure the poop is similar to breast milk.  It just disintegrates in the wash.  There is no smell and the washer is fine.  
  • Use cloth wipes.  It's just easier to throw it all in the same diaper pail and wash it all.  I use baby wash cloths and squirt a little baby wipe solution (that I make) on them.  The solution is the same as for my homemade baby wipes but I put it in a squirt bottle.  It's the one from the hospital and anyone who has given birth will know what bottle I'm talking about.  Yay for recycling :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lactation Cookies

 I know, I'm in need of new baking sheets :)

The recipe makes a lot of cookie dough so I bake half and wrap the other half in waxed paper and put in the freezer to bake later.


1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2 -4 tablespoons brewer's yeast ( I use 3tbs.  It is a little bitter and can change the taste of the cookies so I don't do 4 but I want the benefits of the yeast so I can tolerate a little bitter taste)


1 Preheat oven to 350°.
2 Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
3 Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
4 Add eggs and mix well.
5 Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
6 Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
7 Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
8 Stir in oats and chips.
9 Scoop onto baking sheet.
10 Bake for 12 minutes.
11 Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.
*recipe from

Variation:  Next time I might try a little cinnamon and raisins instead of chocolate chips to switch it up a little.  All that really matters is that you have the 3 important ingredients for lactation: the flax seed meal, oats, and brewer's yeast.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Blake Olivia: 2 Months

What's been happening this month:
  • Blakey is sleeping through the night!! Not every night but probably 5 out of 7 per week.  If she does get up it's only once and I really don't mind it.  
  • I, on the other hand, am not sleeping through the night.  We go to bed about 10-11pm on work nights and I get up at about 2:30 to pump and then Blake wakes up about 6am.  So everyone is well rested but me :) But it's totally worth it to keep my milk supply up and to pump enough to give her fresh milk for bottles while I'm at work.   My freezer supply is growing slowly also. 
  • I am back at work.   I went back at week 5.  It was hard and I was paranoid all night texting my mom 100 times but it's getting easier and I am learning to let go a little.  It's good for her to spend time with her Grandmas.  
  • Going back to work, caused me to get something called Mastitis.  I didn't pump at work that first night and that was a huge mistake.  I got a plugged duct and it got infected.  I was off work about 9:30pm and by about 11pm I had a fever of 103 and was shaking from pain and the chills in my bed.  Its comes on fast and hits you like a ton of bricks.   It was the sickest I think I have ever been and I had to take care of myself and Blake.  She needed to nurse more often and it hurt for her to eat.  Luckily I had leftover Rx Motrin from her birth so those saved me.  If I stayed ahead of the fever with the Motrin I was ok.  It lasted 3-4 days and needed a doctor's visit for antibiotics.  
  • Breastfeeding set back: the Mastitis caused my milk supply to decrease a huge amount.  I don't know if it was the stress or what but I had to work really hard to get my supply back up.  I will post later about how I made it all work but we are finally back on track and didn't need any formula.
  • Blake is a slow weight gainer but she is already in the 3 month clothes so we must be doing something right.  She's very long and lean :)  I was so sad to put away the newborn clothes that she's already grown out of. 
  • She has started smiling!!! This is by far the best thing to happen all month.  There's nothing like seeing your baby smile at you.  I can't wait for her to start laughing. 
  • I am exclusively cloth diapering now.  I don't make her other care givers (grandmas) do it but when she's with me we only use cloth.  It's a lot easier than I thought it would be and I will do a full post soon.
  • I have the worst mommy-brain.  This actually happened: 
  • She LOVES being in the Ergo Baby carrier strapped to my chest.  Some days we spend all our time walking around and doing housework with her in there to keep her happy. 
  • She loves bath time but hates getting out and dried off.
  • She hates having a wet or dirty diaper but loves getting changed.
  • She loves looking at contrast, especially black and white.
  • She is making a lot of eye contact and looking at faces more.
  • She is drooling and blowing bubbles.
  • I'm trying to get back into working out so I've been riding the stationary bike in our garage while Blake hangs in the Ergo Baby.  She falls right asleep.  
  • She's almost got her thumb in there.  Might be a thumb sucker like her mama.
  • She watched her first Laker game.
  • bestie just found out she's having a boy in March :)