Posts Tagged ‘Breastfeeding’

A Week of Firsts

Friday, December 19, 2014
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On Monday, I spent my first night away from AJ.

An early morning flight required a 4:30 a.m. alarm, so naturally AJ woke up at 3:00 a.m. to eat, leaving me about a half hour in between when I got her back to sleep and when my alarm was set to ring. Night 384 of terrible sleep marked off the calendar (okay, I know it hasn’t been that long since I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, but sometimes it feels like it).

Traveling while breastfeeding requires a significant amount of planning and preparation, and the main theme of my travel seemed to be pumping, since that is what it felt like I was doing most of the time.

Most of my worrying happened before I actually left, while I was trying to build up my supply to make sure she would have enough milk for while I was away, taking into consideration that I may experience flight delays.

I had to call my hotel in advance to make sure I could get a mini fridge put into my room, and was pleased to learn that not only could I have a mini fridge, but in the event that none were available, the hotel had a special fridge for breastfeeding mothers to store their milk. It’s always a pleasant surprise when accommodations are available for pregnant women or mothers.

Another of my main worries was traveling back on the plane with my breast milk. But again, I was surprised with how easy it was. I read the TSA policy on traveling with breast milk in advance, so I knew that I was allowed to carry it on the plane, but may be asked to go through an extra security check. But I zipped through security without incident or delay; in fact I would say they might have been nicer to me than usual.

I didn’t worry about AJ while I was away, because I knew she was in good hands with her daddy. I showed all my coworkers at least fifteen more pictures than they wanted to see, and thanks to technology I was able to Facetime with AJ and Chris before her bedtime.

I wasn’t able to take advantage of the much-looked-forward-to opportunity to sleep a full night; I woke up in pain and needed to pump. (Night 385…check.)

I returned to town Tuesday morning, and that evening AJ came down with a nasty cold. She had one cold before, but it didn’t warrant a visit to the doctor. This one did. A congested cough and a stuffy nose kept her from sleeping, which kept us up all night with her. (I’m not counting nights anymore.)

So Wednesday we had our first sick visit to the doctor. Luckily, they ruled out any infections or congestion in her lungs. Not-so-luckily, there is not much that can be done for babies with a cold. Humidifiers, snot suckers and saline drops are the prescribed remedies, so that has been the make up of our bedtime routine this week.

AJ and I are both running on fumes from our big week, but we’ve gotten some of the not-so-fun firsts out of the way. Both were events I long worried about handling as a new mother, and both were less dramatic than I anticipated.

The end of nursing isn’t the celebration I thought it would be

Friday, July 26, 2013
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For being one of the most natural things in the world, there was a lot about nursing that surprised me.

First, how challenging it would be for me and my son, who was brought into the world about eight weeks before he was ready.

Next, how my goals would change once we finally got the hang of things.

And finally, how easily my son could decide to end our routine and go about his days being the increasingly independent little boy he so desperately wants to be.

When I was pregnant, my intention was simply to breastfeed. I didn’t think about weaning; I just figured I’d cross that bridge when I was ready. I didn’t expect my son to cross it by himself, leaving me on the other side with a mix of emotions.
Don’t get me wrong – we had a very successful nursing journey, one that lasted just short of 17 months. For that, I am thankful.

The day after our 4-pound, 5-ounce peanut was delivered via C-section, I requested a breast pump from hospital nurses. It being the weekend, the lactation consultant was off, and no one working that day had much practical experience to help me with.

I expressed my concern to the OB who delivered our boy when she stopped by on one of her rounds. “Nothing’s happening,” I said.
“Well, it might not happen for you,” she said matter-of-factly. “It probably won’t happen for you.”

I took that as a challenge. Hours later I was proudly marching (OK, shuffling) down the hall toward the NICU with what couldn’t have been more than a teaspoon of breast milk. My baby’s nurses celebrated with me and promised to give it to him through his NG tube at his next feeding. We had success!

The next few weeks were tough as we encouraged our son to go from tube feedings to bottle feedings, all the while making daily efforts to pique his interest in the breast. When he was released from the hospital, it was a joyous occasion that also resulted in me having to return my hospital-grade, NICU-issued pump.

My Medela Pump In Style and I got along fine for a few days before I began running into problems – first clogged ducts that would make the mere act of picking up my newborn excruciating, then mastitis, twice.

My mother and husband both asked me, with concern, how long I was going to try to make breastfeeding work. I relented and ponied up the money for a hospital-grade rental. We saw lactation consultants. I sought the advice of moms on BabyCenter’s message boards and in local breastfeeding support groups.

Finally, around the 12-week mark, I had a nursling! A few months after that, I was able to cut my reliance on the pump and life was simplified. By fall, our routine was old hat and at the holidays, when we approached his first birthday, we were still going strong.

Each landmark encouraged me further. I went from saying “at least six months,” to “why not eight?” and then, when it became really easy, “might as well go to 12.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics says breastfeeding should continue for a year and, after that, “as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby.”

I guess I thought we would mutually decide when we were done. But it was a low-grade fever, coupled with a canine tooth popping through the surface, that began my toddler’s nursing strike, appropriately right around Independence Day. When he began feeling better, I tried two more times to nurse him, just to be sure that weaning was his decision.

Both times, he turned away from me with a flourish before wriggling to the floor to move on to a toy or a book or something else more interesting than mama. “Sometimes, they just decide they’re done,” our pediatrician told me. A glance back at Mommyhood archives shows this has been the case for lots of other moms, most who experienced the same range of emotions that I have.

So here I am, still a little bummed we didn’t make it to 18 months, a good round number to quit on, a little wistful and a lot unsure (surprisingly) of what to do with my new-found free time. So far, we’ve moved on to sharing Cheerios in the mornings and Sandra Boynton books at night.

Bless his heart, my boy has been sweet in easing the transition for me. On a recent night, I put him to bed as usual, only to hear him wake with a wail about 30 minutes later. I picked him up and set to rocking in our chair, and a minute later he was snoring, his head nestled beneath my chin, just like when he was a tiny thing fresh from the hospital.

It was a nice – and needed – reminder that even though he has different sources of nutrition now, I will still be one of his main sources of comfort.

Websites guide families to healthy eating

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
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As mothers (and fathers, grandparents, and any other caregiver that reads The Mommyhood) we are busy, but we want the best for our babies. Even when our babies aren’t really babies anymore. I know I want my child to eat good, whole, nutritional foods. However, I don’t always have the time to make it happen. I know there are days when it’s 5:30, there’s no food in the fridge and I remember we have to eat dinner.

Well, over the past several months I’ve been made aware of a couple websites with local ties that teach and support healthy eating, from birth on. They’re great resources for everyone that has a child in their care. In fact, they’re just plain ol’ good resources for everyone.

The first is Healthy Kids, Inc. Operated by locals Kirk and Mandy Curry — Mandy was recently named one of the State Journal’s 40 under 40 — the site offers a plethora of healthy eating tips. The Currys have two young sons, the inspiration for HKI.

I found out about HKI when I wrote this story for the Gazette-Mail Outlook edition. What I personally like about HKI is the guidance from menu planning, to the store, to food prep, to actual cooking. Mandy, with the help of dietician Sarah Sturgill and chef Joe Crockett (one of Jamie Oliver’s helper chefs in Huntington), do everything but actually cook for you.

There are step-by-step videos and great photos to use as visual guides, as well as provided nutritional content. I picked up a few tips from Mandy during my interview.

  • First, do all your prep on one day. After your menu has been planned and the food has been bought, take a chunk of time and get everything ready to cook. Mince all that garlic at once, get those peppers chopped, peel those carrots, etc.
  • Second, organize your meals in containers. Mandy puts everything for a meal in a container (which the site will have for sale, soon) and puts the recipe on top of the container. When it comes dinner time, Mandy pulls out the container, cooks up the meal and has dinner on the table in around 30 minutes. Isn’t that brilliant?
  • Third, buy fresh foods. Mandy told me she took a friend to the store one day. The friend didn’t believe you could eat fresh, healthy foods for less than you could buy frozen foods. Mandy guided her through the produce section and the friend ended up spending about half of what she normally spent, for a week’s worth of meals.

HKI is a membership-based site, but offers some free recipes if you want to try out the meals before committing your money. However, it’s less than $100 for a year’s membership. If you’re struggling with menus and need help creating kid-friendly foods, they’ve got you covered. Worth the money.

The second site is Eating for Breastfeeding. The site was started by Marshall grads Elizabeth Green and Stacy VanBibber. Elizabeth (aka Marybeth, for you St. Albans folks) is a broadcast journalist and WAHM and Stacy is a registered and licensed dietician. Together, they provide a series of videos on tips for breastfeeding and provide support to moms that might be struggling as they nurse their child.

Along with the videos, Elizabeth and Stacy also offer downloadable PDFs and a Q&A, as well as teach the basics, update you on the latest breastfeeding recommendations, and provide meal plans (the tropical salmon looks amazing), shopping lists and tips on how to save time in the kitchen. One of my favorite resources on their site is the Freezer and Refrigerator guidelines. I am always asking if our food is still good and may be throwing away food that is perfectly fine.

Here is one of the videos on Eating for Breastfeeding.

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I hope you take the time to check out these sites. I love that Mandy, Elizabeth and Stacy are taking the time to show other women what to eat. It’s a simple part of our life that we get so, so wrong on a daily basis. Enjoy!

A nontraditional patient of nontraditional medicine

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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Back when I was a working girl, I mentioned in a meeting that I had a chiropractor. My editor sat back and said “YOU!? Why do you have a chiropractor?”

In her mind, and traditionally accurate, chiropractors are usually visited by those with physically hard jobs or those with chronic back pain. I have neither. So imagine my editor’s surprise when I told her that not only do I go for regular chiropractic visits, but so does my son.

When my little one was actually still little (around 5 weeks) a kindred spirit stopped by to see him and bring me some much appreciated lunch. We talked about some nursing issues that my son and I were having, and how he was stiff while trying to find a comfy eating spot.

She said when her daughter was born she also had a little trouble nursing. A chiro-friend stopped by her house and gave her newborn baby a quick adjustment and the baby immediately showed improvement. So, she suggested I call a chiro.

Worth a shot, I thought.

I’m so glad I made that call!! When I took my little bundle in I had no idea what to expect. I had never been to a chiropractor, I just knew what I had seen on television shows and what friends and family had told me.

We met the chiro and she knew exactly what to look for. She said that often times, babies who spend a lot of time in the birth canal (mine did) become twisted and the first cervical vertebrae, or Atlas bone, can pop out.

Sure enough, my little guy had a popped Atlas. One little pinch, and it moved back into place. By the time we got back in the car, he was passed out. Finally, he could relax.

We made an appointment for two weeks later. We went back, and it was out again. Popped it back in, and once again he passed out before we could get in the car.

After seeing how much my son seemed to enjoy the adjustment, I decided to become a patient as well. Sixteen hours of labor had done a job on my lower back and hips.

A year and a half later, we’re still going to regular visits. The chiropractor and those in her office have become friends and my son loves going to visit them. Recently, he started climbing up on the table to get adjustments further down his spine.

As far as the medicinal side of the visits, I can’t say enough about them. In this age of ear aches and ear tubes, my son managed to make it to 21 months and counting with no ear issues. Molars came in with little pain.

Regular chiropractic care in healthy infants has been proven to help reflex actions such as sucking, swallowing and elimination. Overall sleeping is also improved. Colic may be prevented.

Studies have shown the reduction and/or elimination of strep throat, bronchitis, and asthma. Recovery from injuries is also more rapid.

All good things, am I right? While some might view chiropractic care of purely cosmetic, I totally believe in it. The spine controls the entire body, it should be healthy.

So, call me a dirty hippie, but please try chiro care! Your back won’t regret it.

WV Breastfeeding laws introduced

Thursday, February 3, 2011
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State Sen. Dan Foster (possible lactivist?) is sponsoring two bills this Legislative session that deal with breastfeeding in our state.

West Virginia currently has no laws (along with only Nebraska and Idaho) on the books protecting a breastfeeding mother or child.

The first bill, Senate Bill Number 80, adds a breastfeeding mother to the list of those that can be excused from jury duty. I honestly never thought about that particular instance, but in hindsight that is a great addendum! What mom wants to be leaking or engorged while trying to decide someone’s guilt or innocence?

Senate Bill Number 82, is a public breastfeeding bill.

It states:
(a) The Legislature finds that breast feeding is an important, basic act of nurturing that is protected in the interests of maternal and child health.
(b) A mother may breast feed a child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be.

Breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t need permission to feed their hungry children, but it is nice to know that there are lawmakers out there making sure that we won’t have to be stuck in a bathroom stall while our babies eat.

What do think? Are these bills needed?