Got Breast Milk? :: My Breastfeeding Journey

Reader’s discretion advised. Male readers or sensitive female readers may skip reading this post. Just sayin’…

The Sad News: I’m officially supplementing with formula.

Yes, I don't mind comparing myself to a goat. They are cute.

Why sad? I am an avid breastfeeder. During my pregnancy I was never scared or worried about breastfeeding. Despite friends and close family members who were struggling. Frankly, I never even thought about.

Less than 2 hours old, Emma was a champ in latching on and nursing. From Day One we were a great team when it came to breastfeeding. I didn’t even have any cracked nipples or problems with her biting me and showing off her shark teeth (at the age of 6 months she had 4 teeth).

Our only struggle: Emma can’t sit still and nursing has turned into a wrestling match. Hence I decided to pump and bottlefeed. Only morning (before breakfast) and night (before bedtime) nursing was our special bonding time when she was actually cuddly and calm.

About a week ago, it got more and more difficult to produce enough breast milk to get Emma her daily 18oz. Frankly, I wasn’t totally clear on how much breast milk I should feed my giant 9 months old in addition to all that solid food she was chomping down. Emma’s pediatrician confirmed today that she needed indeed 18oz of breast milk or formula.

And there it was – the dirty ‘F’ word. Disclaimer: I’m by no means judging moms who decide not to breastfeed for personal, medical, ethical or whatever reasons. But you know I am on Team Mother Milk and for me formula was an absolute no no for as long as I could avoid it. Believe me, those past few months it became very tedious (and painful) to pump several times a day for at least 15 minutes per session. I pretty much worship my Medela Freestyle Pump but even she couldn’t help much. Yet, I kept pumping and pumping and pumping.

And that’s why today marks a sad day for me as I had to admit that I am no longer able to feed Emma with breast milk alone (in addition to her solid foods diet). We’ll see how much longer I can hang on to the morning and night nursing.

The Good News: Mr Thrasher gets ‘his’ boobies back.

As grateful as I was that Emma and I had such a wonderful breastfeeding journey, Mr Thrasher felt left out most of the times. The problem – besides boobs being occupied by baby or pump? I surely didn’t feel sexy about my breasts. They turned into a baby-feeding-and-soothing-machine instead of my not-so secret weapons (if you know what I mean).

Especially, those last few weeks of Extreme Pumping (Take that, Steve O. and Johnny Knoxville!) turned me into a wild animal every time my man came near me. (And not the wild animal he was hoping to find…)

Well, I just brought sexy back…

But tell me, how was your breastfeeding journey? How long were you able to nurse your baby? What did you struggle with and how did it make you feel?

Breastfeeding Doesn’t Suck!

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Time to celebrate the boobies and join the boob-olution!

A Happy Meal for Baby Emma. Photo: Paco and Betty

I don’t think I can express (pun intended) how much I love breastfeeding my baby so I’m just gonna leave it up to these hip’n'hot celebrity moms to share their message in a bottle. Click here to view the video: Join the Boob-olution!

(Thank to the bump: the inside scoop on pregnancy for sharing!)

Back to burping!

Where Is Super Mama When You Need Her? :: Parenting Challenges

I don’t have to deal with crazy deadlines, ever-changing briefs and tight budgets anymore like I used to when working at an ad agency. Now, I’m facing different kinds of challenges like how do I get my baby to like bath time, when and how often and how much do I feed her solids, how can I explain to my DH that Emma shouldn’t be playing airplane with him half an hour before bedtime, what can I do to teach her to fall asleep by herself, when is the ideal bed time and why is she suddenly throwing a fit every time I want to change her diaper.

At only 6 1/2 months, Emma already learned to pull herself up. According to her crawling is for babies. Of course, Papa and Mama are mighty proud of our Super Baby.

BUT, after we finally gained control over Emma’s sleeping patterns and taught her successfully to fall asleep by herself (as in: no more rocking, nursing or singing to sleep and no more checking in on her in the middle of the night – yeah!), we are facing a new challenge: As soon as we have put her down to sleep, she pulls herself up on the rail of the crib and just stands there. Since she hasn’t learned yet how to get back down, she eventually gets frustrated ‘up there’ and starts crying. Yeah, we’re not so proud anymore.

So we’re basically back to checking in on her and putting her down. We do that over and over. How fun.

Enter Super Mama with the solution: A sleep sack or wearable blanket or however you wanna call it.

Sleep sack by Steiff.

I love these things! Emma always used to wear them at night time but then I thought it would keep her from rolling on to her tummy. Her favorite sleeping position. So I stopped putting it on her.

Today I had the genius idea that a sleep sack might keep her from pulling herself up on the rail since her legs would be kind of ‘swaddled’. Ha, it totally worked! She is now peacefully snoozing on her belly. In her sleep sack.

Here are a couple of other Mommy Challenges that I faced and eventually tackled:

  • Hating bath time: I used warmer water and put a wash cloth on her belly to calm her down and keep her warm.
  • Falling asleep while nursing (and not getting a full feeding in): Undress baby and use a wet wash cloth to keep her slightly uncomfortable.
  • Teething pain #1: Put a schnuller (pacifier) or wet wash cloth in the freezer. Makes a great teething toy.
  • Teething pain #2: Elevate the head part of her crib mattress a bit. It takes some pressure off her gums which are causing her so much discomfort.
  • Frequent night wakings: I’ve written a gazillion blog posts about how we solved that problem.
  • Making sure she wouldn’t be afraid of water: I never covered her face when washing her hair. I obviously made sure she wouldn’t get shampoo in her eyes but it taught her that running water over her face is not a bad thing.
  • Congested nose: We set up a warm mist humidifier in her room.
  • Not taking the bottle #1: Make sure the milk is warm enough.
  • Not taking the bottle #2: Don’t wait until she’s too hungry and frustrated before you try giving her the bottle.
  • Sleeping in a new/foreign environment: Have her sleep in the travel crib a few days before you leave for your trip so she can get used to her interim bed.
  • Freaking out over all the stuff that’s going wrong: Look at the things that are going well and give yourself some credit. Motherhood is the most challenging job you can ever sign up for.
I’m not writing about this to brag about my fantastic mothering skills. I’m still learning so much every day. I’m sharing this stuff so you can take it as an inspiration for solving your very own Mommy Challenges. Some of those tips I got from my experienced mommy friends so I can’t even claim to be the brain behind all of this. As always, I like to invite you on my journey because if someone already made a path, why not walk on it.
Ok, now YOU tell me how I can avoid those diaper changing fights with Super Baby before I have poop all over me. Please. Thank you very much.

 

Little Miss Sunshine :: Sunscreen For Babies

Apparently, it was four degrees warmer in Daly City than in San Francisco today. Ha, take that, you haters! :-)

My little Miss Sunshine and me.

On that note, allow me to preach a bit about the use of sunscreen for your baby’s sensitive skin.

It used to be advised that you should not use sunscreen on babies less than six months old, but the American Academy of Pediatrics now states that sunscreen is probably safe to use on younger children, especially if you just use it on small areas of your baby’s skin that is exposed to the sun and not protected by clothing, such as the infant’s hands and face.

Still, younger children should be kept out of direct sunlight because they can burn easily and may not be able to handle getting overheated as well as older children. So even though it is likely safe to use sunscreen on kids less than six months old, it is safer to keep them out of the sun. ~ Source: About. Pediatrics.com

I am an avid advocate of using sunscreen instead of body lotion during the summer months for myself. That way, you get enough moisturizer for your skin but more importantly, you’re already protected before you step out into the sun. And for Emma I’m doing the same. I don’t care if we just head to the mall – I want her to be protected even on the short way from the car to the mall. I believe an adorable sun hat should be an essential item to your diaper bag during those summer days. And here’s why…

Ultra cool UPF 50+ sun protection hat by Comfykid.com

What Is Sunburn?

Sunburn is the result of an ‘overdose’ of UV rays. A first degree sunburn is not noticeable while you’re in the sun. It only shows through a painful, itchy red rash on your skin later. Often, you only see the damage after you brought baby back into the shade. A sun burn can be pretty painful for your baby, and the implications can be even more serious: Dermatological studies show that frequent sun exposure and sun burn in their early childhood can lead to a higher risk for skin cancer.

I have to admit that it happened to me, well, Emma. She got sunburned. I never felt worse in my life when I saw her cheeks turn red after a sunny day during our Easter vacay in Germany. And I did use sun screen! I guess I didn’t use enough or she had wiped it off and I didn’t reapply it soon enough. Lesson learned. For sure.

Should Baby Be In The Sun At All?

Baby skin is extremely thin and sensitive. Therefore, babies should never be exposed to direct sun light. Their skin is still in the process of developing a protection against UV rays. Only 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure (without sun protection) is enough, to burn baby’s skin. Especially, between 11am and 3pm, when sun rays are most intensive, you should keep baby in the shade (or inside).

So The Shade Is Safe, Right?

Not so fast. Even on a cloudy day, you should keep an eye on baby’s skin. Clouds don’t detain UV rays, the ones who cause sun burn. Who would have known? Parents also often underestimate the intensity of sun light in Spring and Fall. The proper use of pretective sunscreen doesn’t just apply to the summer vacays at the beach but also to play time in the sandbox, the playground, the Sunday picnic with the family or a visit to the zoo.

And did you know that Baby besides being protected from the risk of getting sunburned can also benefit from chilling out in the shade? – 10 to 15 minutes of indirect sun light already prevents Vitamin D deficiency.

Cover Up!

You may not think about the fact that UV rays can get through normal clothing and burn the skin. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+ can offer extra protection and peace of mind. The outdoor experts at REI have a thing or two to say about that.

Don’t forget about baby sun hats with a bring. They can be worn in the water or anytime there is direct exposure to the sun to protect your baby’s vulnerable scalp. Go ahead, add those cool shades to baby’s beach outfit. But make sure the sun glasses offer 100 percent UV filtration.

Adventure BanZ Baby sunglasses offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.

How To Use Sunscreen?

  1. Sunscreens should block both UVA and UVB rays. These are called broad-spectrum sunscreens, which should also be hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic so it doesn’t cause a rash or clog the pores, which can cause acne.
  2. Shake the bottle well before you squirt any sunscreen out. This mixes up all the particles and distributes them evenly in the container.
  3. Most adults should use about 35 ml or 1 oz. of sunscreen to cover their whole body. That’s the same amount that would fit into a shot glass. It’s also about the same as an adult handful. Remember, most people don’t apply enough sunscreen. It’s OK to use more than you think you should.
  4. Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun. This gives the ingredients time to attach to the skin.
  5. Cover all of your skin that’s exposed to the sun. This includes your back, ears, behind your knees and your legs.
  6. Some studies say it’s a good idea to reapply your sunscreen after you’ve been in the sun for 30 minutes. This makes it more likely you’ll get the places you might have missed.
  7. Definitely reapply the same amount of sunscreen every two hours, even if you haven’t been sweating or in the water.
  8. Reapply sunscreen as soon as you get done swimming, toweling off, or sweating heavily. Yep, the whole 1 oz.

Happy tanning!

 

 

Disclaimer:

The opinion expressed in this post is my own. I am not a doctor and claim no medical expertise. What works for me, may not work for you. Blog owner will not be held liable for the use of any information found on this blog post.

Boob = Pacifier? So What!

I am literally tired of them!

Who am I talking about? Well, the league of mothers or experts who discourage nursing your baby to sleep or back to sleep because it supposedly creates bad sleeping habits. (Ok, ‘tired of them’ may sound a bit harsh but I liked the word play.)

Nursing Emma.

Jodi Mindell says ‘While nursing to sleep seems like a healthy, enjoyable nighttime routine, it can lead to poor sleep habits that interfere with your baby’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.’.

Several studies support what most nursing mothers already know: Breastfed babies take longer than formula-fed babies to develop a pattern of sleeping through the night. Why? First, because breast milk is easier to digest than formula, babies get hungry quicker and wake more often during the night. Second, because breastfeeding is comforting and calming as well as nourishing, it doesn’t take long for a baby to make a connection between nursing and sleep. After a few weeks of nursing your baby to sleep, he won’t know — or want — another way of falling asleep. ~ Source: babycenter.com

Whatever.

I’m done contemplating the pro’s and con’s of what, how, and with which tools I can get Emma to sleep or back to sleep and what the implications may or may not be. If I somehow manage to get her to fall asleep peacefully and stay asleep for several hours (during the night) and at least 45 minutes during daytime naps, I consider myself successful.

Meine kleine Maus is a wonderful and happy baby. During the day she doesn’t wake up crying or needs me to attend to her as soon as she opens her tiny eyes. I wouldn’t call that a bad habit.

Last night, Paul took over the bedtime routine and put Emma to bed. He ain’t got boobs. So no nursing to sleep for Baby Emma. Guess what? She fell asleep right next to him on our bed. (I assume he was reading her from one of his geeky programming books again. No wonder, those put anyone to sleep.) When I was ready to go to bed, I just moved her into her crib. She slept for four hours straight, then woke up three more times that night.

Apparently, babies eventually learn to fall asleep by themselves or figure out how to sleep through the night. Until then, Paul and I will do whatever it takes to help Emma enter the land of nod. Whether it’s nursing, feeding her the bottle, rocking, singing or just watching her get sleepy and sleepier.

In your arms or snuggled alongside you, your baby is nurtured by the snuggly warmth of your body and comforted by your familiar scent (pheromones). She hears the beat of your heart and the sound of your voice. ~ Source: thebabybond.com

Why would I want to break that ‘habit’? Emma will only be little for a few more months and soon enough the last place she’ll want to hang out will be her parents’ loving arms. One of my girlfriends and mother of a 4-months old baby boy shared this blog with me a while ago: kellymom.com :: breastfeeding and parenting. This Kelly Mom is my kinda girl mom.

Isn’t it reassuring to know your baby loves to nurse and is growing so well on your milk? I am very blessed to have an abundant supply of milk, I have no problems pumping (so Papa can get his share of dinner dates with his baby girl), never had a sore nipple and Emma has latched on perfectly from Day 1. I am ok to use my boobs as a pacifier every now and then and comfort my baby girl if necessary.

She loves it, and I love her. All good.