All Hail, Another Round of Babies is Coming Forth!

It seems like babies come forth in little swarms and another round of babies are about to make their presence known in this world.  To celebrate I’m passing on a few healthful hints to new mommies (or reminders to veterans if it’s been a while.)

In General

If you are not part of some type of online mommy support network, join one! (This is where I give a shout out to all my NHCM’s!  I love you all!) You make tons of new friends and there is always someone up at 2am, or 3am or 4am when you are in desperate need of some help or a pick me up that will respond to your desperate plea for help.

About Sleeping

-They say to sleep when baby sleeps… YES, do this! Don’t clean or organize or do anything else! SLEEP. (I am still a big fan of this rule and love taking weekend naps with my toddler.)

-Cry it Out is not for everyone.  A lot of people will tell you to let your baby cry themselves to sleep or “self-soothe”.  I am NOT a fan of this method. I just cannot do it and you don’t have to either.  Sarah Ockwell-Smith has a great article about it Here: Self Settling-What really happens when you teach a baby to self soothe to sleep. –

About Breastfeeding and Pumping

-Breastfeeding isn’t easy, try not to get frustrated (which can be so very hard).  Keep Trying and Ask for Help if you need it!  Lactation consultants are great! Also Le Leche League International- is a great resource

-Breastfeeding is messy keep a burp rag nearby.

-There are many different tools that can help make nursing easier, like nipple shields and fenugreek. . . try them if you’re having trouble.  Using tools to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals does not make you defective.

-Pumping sucks, but you should do it if you can, build a stock before you go back to work, it’s amazing how quickly it can deplete.

-Watch the video that comes with your pump. Sometimes it takes two or three or four or five times to figure it out. (Like,oh duh, the dial turns up higher than the stupid little picture above it.)

-Pumping can be messy, keep a burp rag nearby.

-Use your friends who have or do Breastfeed and pump as a resource. They are an invaluable resource!

About Diapers

-They say you will change 8-12 diapers a day in the beginning. I swear it was more and I think sometimes I’m still changing 8 a day.

-Diapers are labeled all sorts of different fancy ways: swaddlers, snug and dry, cruisers etc… I haven’t found much of a difference except the color change indicator is way cool! Most brands seem to be about the same quality. (I didn’t choose to cloth diaper, but to all the moms who do I just want to let you know I think you’re awesome)

-For kicks and giggles put a diaper through the washing machine to see how much they can really hold (Oops, did I really do that? Why Yes. . . Yes, I did).

Cheers and Congratulations!

To Breast or to Bottle

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Studies show that breast feeding baby for as long as you can has many benefits to both Mom and baby.  Being a breast feeding Momma, I highly recommend it, but I also know it’s a super huge commitment.  Breastfeeding can be time consuming and a lot of work.  It can be draining and sleep depriving and it can make hubby feel left out.  The decision to breastfeed or bottle feed is a highly personal choice.   You should NEVER make anyone feel bad over their choice.  Many people try and fail because of reasons beyond their control.  That being said this is what I learned. . .

1. Get a support group. Mine consists of the hubby, a few girlfriends with experience and a FB mommies group.  I cannot stress enough how helpful it is having a community of women you can turn to when you first have a baby, whether it’s friends, family, or a virtual group. (Which is where I give a shout out to all the wonderful mothers of NHCM)

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  (There will be questions many questions.)

3. Understand going in that it takes dedication to be successful. . .research tips and tricks to help. I immediately tried nursing the baby after he was born. All the tests they need to do in the hospital can wait a little bit. I also exclusively breastfed in the hospital. No bottles. I read that giving bottles too early can lead the babe to prefer the bottle because its easier to nurse from bottle than breast so I waited weeks before letting a single bottle hit his lips. (I also tried not to use a pacifier for the first few weeks for the same reason.)

4. Patience is key. Sometimes it feels all you do is nurse, it gets easier as time goes by.  (I promise it does, but it takes patience and dedication and uh, more patience.)

5. Experiment with different positions to find what works for you.  You’ll be surprised at just how many different positions there are to try.

6. Don’t be afraid to use contraptions to help you out. I used a nipple shield on multiple occasions to make nursing easier for both of us. The nipple shield can be helpful if you have a fast letdown (translated to English this means you have a strong spray when you first start nursing), it can help when you first introduce the babe to a bottle and are going back and forth between bottle and breast (and it can also help when baby is teething…as protection.)

7. Get a good pump if you planning on nursing while  you work.  (And watch the video that comes with it to make sure you are using it properly.)

8. To pump at work you need a quiet room preferably with a lock on the door (Or for those with a sense of humor, a sign of a cow that says milking in progress).  I am lucky that I have a lock on the door to my office and that I could close my door for prolonged periods of time and no one bothered me.  Pumping can take between 10-30 minutes.  I pumped up to 5 times while I was at work especially towards the end when my supply started to drop.

9. Every time you think you’re not pumping enough double check all your pump parts.  Every time I was having bad pumping results it turned out to be something silly with my pump, but until you figure out the pump is the cause (and you really aren’t defective) it is super frustrating.

10.  A couple of good resources:

HTTP://KELLYMOM.COM/

WWW.WORKANDPUMP.COM/

If you are up for the challenge of breast feeding, kuddos to you, cheers  and good luck!