14 5 / 2014

I recently decided to go back to work. It’s not about the money or my career but I just miss meeting people. Or I just can’t stand spending my whole days at home. I’m not going to give up breastfeeding so we would have to introduce some changes into our daily routine. After spending couple of days getting used to breast pump I finally feel quite comfortable with it. I bought (actually my husband bought) Medela Pump in Style electric breast pump of Amazon. This pump allows me to express both breasts at a time. I thought that the hardest part is over. I was wrong.

My son and a bottle (battle)

I don’t know if my son is just extremely picky when it comes to bottles or this just happens when you want to combine breast and bottle feeding but we tested almost a dozen of bottles over the last week or so. Initially when Brian didn’t want to suck the bottle we thought that he might just not be hungry and waited some time. Eventually I got to know that this tactic is useless and a hungry baby will not be interested in trying a bottle. After he repeatedly refused to take a bottle for three days we went to see our doctor. I got to know that babies sometimes feel a huge difference between sucking mothers breast and a nipple of a bottle. We were told that the best option is to try another bottle and also to make sure that he does not develop a bottle preference. The latter means that he may like the bottle so much that will ultimately be not interested in accepting my brest anymore. I definitely didn’t want that.

What to look for in a bottle for a baby that is breastfeed?

There are several bottles out there that were specifically designed for breastfeeding babies. Those bottles usually have very wide nipples that look like a breast (Mimijumi - one of those bottles has a nipple that actually is not only shaped but also colored like a breast). This shape is supposed to make it easier for the baby to figure out that this device is going to produce milk once sucked.

Another aspect of these bottles is a very slow flow of the milk. If the milk goes too fast it will be much easier for the baby to feed from such a bottle then from mother’s breast. This may lead to his lack of interest in the original.

What companies make such bottles?

I found several bottles and tested most of them as Brian was very picky. We started with more popular bottl

es such as Philips Avent and Tommee Tippee and went through some interesting designs of Medela Calma (most advanced nipple) and Comotomo bottle (silicone bottle) but eventually settled with Mimijumi bottle. I found a full list of bottles for breastfed babies here. I’ve heard that many other people had to extensively test various bottles to find the right one but I also have friends whose babies took the first one offered. What is interesting there is no single bottle that would be universally accepted by all kids. Life can’t be that easy.

Final thoughts

When I first thought about going back to work I meticulously planned what to do and what to buy. I didn’t have any particular brand in mind but I wanted to have all the accessories from one company so they were interchangeable. I ended up with almost a dozen different bottles and and ultimately use bottles from Mimijumi, pump from Medela and storage containers from Avent. My advice for you would be: don’t buy whole sets of bottles and accessories before you are sure that your kid accepts them. Also be prepared to alternate your plans with regard to brands.

 

24 3 / 2014

It is always hard for every mom to see her baby crying. Inability to help may cause frustrations therefore it’s good to know how to soothe your baby in any given situation. In most cases crying is just the way your baby use to let you know about her needs. I wish my daughter could just tell me that she’s hungry or wet but this is not gonna happen anytime soon so I had to learn how to react in such situations. Once a negative stimuli (being a hunger or a wet diaper) is gone your baby will most likely stop crying. In other cases see these methods that I tested and found to be great.

Cuddling and holding your baby is one of the ways you can assure them you’re there. Sometimes babies feel insecure. The warmth and familiar smell of the mother can easily comfort them. This applies not only to babies but even few year old kids still find comfort and security in mother’s hands.

Swaddling your newborn quite tight may soothe them as this prevents them from additional constant stimuli of their moving limbs that they can’t control. Would you be able to fall asleep when somebody is pulling your arms and legs in various directions?

Gently and rhythmically swing and sway your baby. There are debates since ancient times why this works but it does. Some people say it recreates the natural movement of the baby once she’s still in mother’s womb. You have to be careful not to teach your baby to fall asleep only when she’s swung in your arms as you will regret this - believe me I was there.

White noise. This is for some reason a great way to calm down every baby I know. The appliance like hoover, hair dryer and kitchen hood became my daughter favorites. There is a theory that the noise produced by them drowns other sounds and therefore reduce stimuli. This trick works best with newborns. Older babies may sometimes dislike some of these appliances. My sister’s son was panically scared of hoover since he was one year old.

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Pacifiers. Sometimes the quickest solution is the best. Pacifiers are designed to sooth your baby and they do just that. Most babies after getting used to them start demanding pacifier and won’t calm down without it. There are, however, kids that never liked pacifiers and never use them. This is also normal and you shouldn’t worry.


Methods to avoid

Some parents think that if the baby likes her pacifier and also have to be fed often they may use the bottle all the time. In some cases the baby is even put to sleep every time with a bottle. This is not a good idea, especially after first teeth appear. Food covers teeth and provide great nourishment for bacteria that produce acid which cause enamel decay and ultimately cavities. Healthy enamel can handle short exposure to acids but if you treat it with acid almost all the time it will not survive long.

18 3 / 2014

After my daughter was born I produces very little milk. I was afraid that she is not getting enough food and maybe starving. I was asking around and got to know that most new mothers worry about this. So how much really should a healthy baby eat? It seems like it depends mostly on two things. Firstly is your baby breastfed or formula fed? And secondly how old exactly is the baby.

Breastfed vs. formula fed babies

The amount of food your baby needs depend on the source. Mother’s milk is digested more easily and the nutrients are easily accessible for baby’s organism. On the other hand formula milk requires more time to be digested and therefore breaks in between feedings have to be longer. If you feed your baby with formula they will require longer breaks between feedings.

Older babies eat substantially more but less frequently

Newborn stomach is very tiny. It can hold only very limited amount of food but needs to be filled every 2-3 hours, day or night. The intervals may be a little longer if you use formula from the beginning. But they will still require quite frequent feeding, probably every 3-4 hours. The intervals between feeding will become longer after few weeks.

It is important to correctly measure the time between feedings. The amount of time from the last feeding is measured from the start of the previous one, not from the end of it. This is particularly important when you breastfeed and it may take half an hour to complete. If you give your baby a bottle the time of feeding can be substantially shorter, especially if you use easy flow nipples which let your baby to suck faster. Make sure, however, that the baby does not swallow air bubbles as this will make them feel full without providing enough nutrients. This is why you should always take a break for burping. Gentle patting over the baby’s back may help with this.

Exact amount of food baby needs

  • Newborns need about 2-3 ounces of milk per feeding and need to be fed every 2-3 hours.
  • One month old baby need 3-5 ounces of milk per feeding and requires feeding every 4-5 hours.

How do I know that the baby is fed?

Babies will usually eat as much as the need and when they have enough they will signal it. There are some easy to spot signals that your baby sends when they are fed:

  • twisting head sideways;
  • looking around;
  • closing mouth.

There are also signals that the baby sends when they are hungry, such as:

  • putting fingers into mouth,
  • agitation,
  • drawing a tongue;
  • clicking;
  • sucking air;
  • moving head searching for a breast;
  • crying.

The baby can clearly indicate that they are hungry or full so there is no need to panic if something is slightly out of the norm. Especially the times of feeding can cache rapidly and it’s best to feed a baby when they need it. A reason for concern may be a loss of weight or very slow gain in young babies. In such cases it’s best to consult pediatrician.

 

13 3 / 2014

When people say sleeping with a baby they usually have in mind sharing bed with your child or sleeping in the same room. As you will see below there is a third, transitional way that you will see below. They all have their supporters and critics.

Just after giving birth to my daughter I also had this dilemma to sleep or not to sleep with my baby.  I just was not sure about her safety. In several states authorities warn against sleeping with young babies as this may be threatened their lives. On the other hand in Hong Kong, where sleeping with infants is a cultural norm the number of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cases is the lowest in the world. Most nursing advisors agree that sleeping with a baby is more convenient for the mother and helps to keep high level of milk production. Some people just don’t want to sleep with their babies in one bed. They are either afraid or uncomfortable.

Other options to keep your baby close to you at night

If you and your partner decide not to sleep with your child in one bed there are other options that may keep you close at all times. One of them is to keep your baby’s bed in your own bedroom. This is very convenient option for the mother. If you keep the crib close to your bed you can nurse at night without even standing up. It is a good idea to keep a nursing chair next to the crib for your convenience if you decide to nurse in the chair.

There are also special cribs that have one side, adjacent to your bed open. This way your baby’s bed is like an extension of your bed. For parents concerned about security of the baby this may be a great solution. There is no physical possibility of you overlaying on your baby while asleep. This option is even more convenient for the mother as she just have to move over to the baby to nurse them.

What are the benefits

Cosleeping is very convenient for breastfeeding mother. She does not have to get up from bed every two hours and walk around the house. Besides it also makes a baby sleep better. They can sense the rhythm of parents breathing and smell them. As this is soothing for babies they will sleep better and feel safer at night.

I tried bedsharing with my daughter from the beginning. It was just natural to me. I just can’t imagine having stand up three times a night for nursing. I do however understand other people concerns and therefore encourage you to try different options to to find the one most suitable for you.

What are your views on this? Do you sleep with your baby or maybe you bedshare? Share your tips and tricks with others!

12 3 / 2014

I’ve heard there are mothers out there who never ever had a problem of a baby that does not want to sleep. I’m not one of them. My daughter always required special attention and putting her to sleep was a “mission impossible”. Since she was one and a half month she always cried when it was time to sleep. I tried several tricks found in various books and on the internet. Some of them were very useful others didn’t work. It’s hard for me to judge if the method is good or not but I’ll present you which ones I tried and what was the outcome.

Stroking gently out over baby’s back. This one I found in a book “The Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg. This is a way of letting the baby know that we are around and she is safe. It worked for the first weeks. Later it made her actually more vigilant so I stopped doing it.

Putting a baby down to bed when she is drowsy and picking her up if she start crying. This is another method found in Tracy Hogg book. Your baby is supposed to realize that everything is OK and whenever she feels unsafe I’m there and will pick her up. A baby should associate her bed with you standing around and consider it as a safe place. The method may have some sense but in our case it didn’t work. After trying for couple of days I gave up. I was putting her down to bed and she started crying immediately. Then it was taking me about 5 minutes to calm her down. I repeated this maybe 10 times with exactly the same result and eventually after almost an hour we were both tired.

Holding baby’s hands. This method I heard from a friend. When a baby is exited she waves her hands. At the same time she does not control her movements yet so the moving hands provide additional stimulus. In order to calm her down I just hold her hands around her belly. It did work very well, especially when she was very exited. Similar method is used with newborns when you wrap them tight in a blanket. This not only provide thermal insulation but also restrict movements and calm a baby down.

The last method we tried was a hairdryer sound. This is something I found on several parenting forums (here).

The sound of a hairdryer recalls the sounds in mother womb. It was a very successful method. In fact she can still fall asleep quickly when I’m turning on the hairdryer to dry my hair. Tip for geeks - you can use an Android app called White Noise Baby that is based on the same idea.

 

11 3 / 2014

Just after my daughter was born I took her and she sucked for almost two hours. I was not only happy to finally see her with my own eyes but also happy that she so eagerly started sucking. After hearing so many stories about mothers spending hours just to start feeding I felt so lucky. During the next couple of days she was fed every 1-2 hours. After four days I started to produce so much milk that my little girl was not able to keep up drinking. She started to choke on the milk. I tried using pump to reduce the amount of milk in my breasts but this was not easy for me. I was not used to operating the pump. The situation soon got worse as my nipples swelled, probably because of my inexperience with the pump. They become so wide and hard that she couldn’t place them in her mouth. She was crying because she was hungry and I didn’t know how to help. I was devastated. This lasted for few days. Very long days and and very long nights. She eventually got used to my hardened nipples. This was a relief.

The first milk that I pumped I just thrown away as we didn’t need it. I was producing excessive amounts of it and was using the pump just to help her suck and prevent choking. Later I started to store milk in the fridge and freezer. I was told that even if I produce more than enough at the moment it often happen that your production reduces and then it’s better to have a back up. I didn’t have to wait for log to realize my friends were right. In week four I had a milk supply crisis. If not the frozen bottles I don’t what I would had done. Instead of 2-3 usual days the crisis lasted for full week. It’s a miracle that we didn’t switch to formula feeding at that time.

The overproduction persisted for most of the time. There were times that I wished I hadn’t produced that much. I tried several different breast pads. The cotton ones such as jonson & jonson or lansinoh couldn’t cope with the amount of milk that was leaking from my beasts.

I quickly realized that after about two hours since last nursing my breast were completely filled with milk and I felt an urge to do something about it and this was exactly the perfect time for the next feeding.

Over the months I tried several different nursing bras. Some of them were the quite expensive other cheap. I have to say that there was no too much difference between them. All of them stretched quite quickly. They are convenient in use but there’s no point is spending hours studying differences. In my opinion they are all the same.

07 3 / 2014

First few days of being a mother or father is a difficult and stressful time during which new parents have to face a lot of obstacles.

Everything starts with a delivery that provides a fair amount of unforgivable experiences. It is a stressful and painful beginning of a long and exhaustive journey. It also stripes you down from all the energy that you will need in the coming weeks. Initially the adrenaline has its effects but after couple hours even the toughest moms are barely conscious and this is only the beginning

Fatigue. This is the most prevalent experience you will feel for the next weeks. Even the most calm babies wake up every 3-4 hours. They require to be changed and fed. Seems like nothing difficult? But it can take an hour to feed the baby and the time count for the next feeding starts with the beginning of a current one. So you are left with only 2 hours. It’s fine when you nothing else than nurse. No one also said that the baby will sleep immediately after feeding. That takes away another time from your rest. You also have to remember that an infant don’t do nights and days, 2 am is as good as 2 pm.

You must be aware of this and do not plan to do much more than this especially within the first few weeks.

07 3 / 2014

Most expecting mothers visit internet websites dedicated pregnancy and infant care. Some buy bigger or smaller books about parenting. This way they gather information what to do in certain situations, such as when a baby has a hiccup or a rush. Some pieces of advice are great and other are crappy such as take a bath and relax yourself. For me the most important advice would to try to sleep whenever you can and how often you can. It sounds a little bit like a quote from a battle movie but it’s true. Being a mother is in my opinion similar to being a soldier, you have to expect unexpected and be ready 24 hours a day.

After reading a lot of “parenting” websites I realized that in most of them the true life of a mother is somehow not realistic. The reality is that it is not a romantic comedy. Your baby is going to cry and most probably cry a lot. Some people say that it is nothing in comparison to the feeling when you see the first smile of your baby. No one mention the she/he will most likely smile not at you but at the ceiling. So all the people writing about pregnancy should at least try to portray a more realistic world of new mother. Believe me the dilemma of choosing the right aroma for your relaxation bath will not be your worst.

In this blog I will shed some light on the real life of a new mother and the problems she faces.