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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is It Really Worth It?

I'm a big fan of breastfeeding. I know the health benefits and I appreciate the bonding aspect of it as well. Although Princess wasn't a good nurser, I still nursed her for a year. She didn't nurse exclusively because she was such a lazy eater that she didn't get enough that way, so she did have formula as well. But when you consider how hard it was to teach her how to latch on and then to keep her sucking long enough to get a full meal, a year is pretty impressive.

I was planning to breastfeed Little Man for a year as well. Now, I want to be done as soon as possible. It's been a nightmare to nurse him since the day he was born. He has problems latching on so I have to use a nipple shield. Then he screams and gets angry if milk isn't pouring into his mouth the whole time so about half the time I have to fight to get him to stay on the breast long enough. I can't take him anywhere because he refuses to nurse anywhere but home. Occasionally I can get him to nurse when we're out somewhere, but usually I end up giving him a bottle. Then I started getting plugged milk ducts, which are pretty painful. One of those led to a pretty bad case of mastitis which took over a week to clear up completely. Since the mastitis, I've been getting a plugged duct almost every day. I also got mastitis again, but since I'd just had it, I knew how to treat it right away to keep it from getting worse.

Breastfeeding has NOT been a bonding experience at all with Little Man. In fact, it's actually kept me from bonding with him somewhat. He has flatout refused to nurse more than once or twice a day for the last week which means I get to haul out the good old breastpump and vacuum out my breasts multiple times a day. Yay. I would love to just stop nursing, but with my issues with plugged ducts and mastitis, I have to go VERY slow so I don't end up with a bad infection.

The lactation consultants and breastfeeding advocates I've talked to have been discouraging me from weaning Little Man. They keep saying that if I just pump, I'll get my milk supply up enough, and I shouldn't be giving him bottles because that's just making the problem worse. I've gotten so many tips on how to get him to latch on, how to relax and enjoy nursing, etc. But, you know what? None of these people are here when Little Man is screaming and turning purple because I'm trying to get him to nurse while Princess is in the bathroom using my toothbrush to clean the diaper pail. So while I still support breastfeeding and believe it's the best option for the baby, I also believe that if it's not working and it's making the mom miserable, IT'S NOT WORTH IT! By the way, the breastfeeding advocates I've talked to all had an easy time nursing, so they really can't judge me for bottle feeding.

And yet, no matter how much I'm looking forward to being done breastfeeding, I'm sad that it didn't work out. I enjoyed nursing Princess and only gave it up at a year because so many people told me that she was "too old" to breastfeed anymore. I know I'll second guess myself later and wonder if I'd tried more, if I could've breastfed Little Man longer. And anytime Little Man gets sick, I'll wish I'd been able to nurse him longer to give him more antibodies. I wavered on my decision to stop breastfeeding for over a month until I got mastitis and decided for sure. But even now, I find myself thinking that if Little Man is my last baby, I'll never get the chance to breastfeed again. However, no matter what decision I'd made about breastfeeding, I think mommy guilt would've kicked in.

Unsolicited Advice:
Breastfeed if you can, but if you can't for any reason, don't sweat it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Baby Stuff I Love

Apparently I'm not loyal to any one brand. These are some of my favorite brands of baby products.

Boppy pillow: Works great for breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and propping up the baby while he or she is learning how to sit.

Boppy Bare Naked Pillow

Avent bottles and training cups: I love that the nipples are marked with a number indicating how fast the flow of milk is, unlike other nipples which you have to guess at. I also like the wide mouth of the bottle because I don't spill the formula when putting it in the bottle. I used the training cups when Princess was transitioning from a bottle to a sippy. The handles and sippy top screw onto the bottles as well so I didn't have to take a bottle AND a sippy cup when we went out.

Philips AVENT BPA Free Infant Bottle Starter Set

Nuby sippy cups: The soft top makes the transition from bottle to sippy easier on baby.

Nuby 2-Pack 8 oz No Spill Cup with Super Spout

Mam pacifiers: Louise's cheeks and chin broke out everytime she used a pacifier until I found the Mam pacifiers which have dimples on the underside and holes for air ventilation.

MAM 2 Pack Start Orthodontic Silicone Pacifier, Colors may vary

Jeep stroller: I LOVE my jeep stroller. I got an all terrain jeep stroller as a gift for Louise and I used it a lot. It's big and roomy with plenty of storage, has an mp3 hookup, and can navigate rough terrain which is a must since I live out in the country.

Jeep Liberty Limited Urban Terrain Stroller, Spark

Members Mark baby wipes: Reasonably priced at Sam's Club, and the packages come with a pop up lid so you can use them straight out of the package or refill your wipes case with them.

Member's Mark Folded Moist Wipes, Case Pack, 8/90 Count (720 Wipes)

Carter's clothes: Cute clothes, reasonable prices. Need I say more?

Carter's Boys Firetruck 3 Pc Shorts Set 2 in 1 Outfits

Carter's Pink & White Love 3-pc. Bodysuit Set

Sassy toys: Sassy makes some really cute baby toys with bright colors.

Sassy Illumination Station

JJ Cole Diaper bag and pacifier keeper: After going through 3 diaper bags which ripped after a few months of use, I splurged and bought a JJ Cole Mode Tote Bag in the cocoa tree design. I haven't been disappointed. It's heavy duty, comes with shoulder straps, hand straps, and stroller straps, a large changing pad that folds up really thin so it's easy to carry with, and is roomy enough for all the junk I carry around with me. I also like the pacifier keeper JJ Cole makes. It's a good size, straps onto any bag or stroller, and has a velcro closure that makes it easy to get to the pacifier.

JJ Cole Mode Diaper Tote Bag, Cocoa Tree

What are some of your favorites for baby gear?

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Survived Month One!

Little Man is a month old this week and still not nursing well. He eats nonstop, which Princess is thrilled about because that means she can pretty much do whatever she wants, and I can't stop her until Little Man stops eating for a few minutes. Because Little Man eats so frequently and has a VERY hard time nursing anywhere other than home, we've been pretty much housebound since he was born. I'm giving him one more month to start nursing better and less often before I start supplementing with formula. I've given him a few bottles so far, and I enjoy feeding him that way. Nursing, on the other hand, feels more like a chore right now and I honestly don't enjoy it. So much for that bonding experience.

Little Man is a great sleeper. He takes a long nap in the afternoon at the same time as Princess which gives me a little downtime, and he only wakes up once at night to eat. The only problem is getting him to sleep. The long nap in the afternoon is usually his ONLY nap all day and he fights it like crazy even though he's so tired he can barely keep his eyes open. Bedtime is a fun event that starts around 6 pm when Little Man starts getting tired. It stretches out into a marathon of nursing/crying that doesn't end until almost midnight. He's been doing this for several weeks now.  Princess was hard to get to sleep too, but Little Man is worse and started at a much younger age than his sister.

Okay, enough of the griping. I have some observations about baby clothing to share.

1. Pockets.
Seriously. Why in the world do baby clothes, starting at newborn sizes, have pockets in the pants? Every once in a while, I'll run across a fake pocket that doesn't actually open and is for decorative purposes, but most of them aren't like that. They're real, honest-to-goodness, stick your hand in 'em, pockets. It makes me feel as if I should provide my one-month-old with a wallet filled with diaper coupons, a stroller license, and maybe some monopoly money.

2. Belt Loops.
How many newborns do you know that wear belts? To be honest, my skinny little baby boy could do with a belt to hold his pants up, but I haven't come across any belts that are small enough for a baby younger than 2 years old. Maybe I should market a new line of baby belts and take advantage of the otherwise pointless belt loops stitched onto many pairs of baby pants.

3. Snaps.
Yes, I'm thankful that baby clothes isn't inundated with tiny buttons instead of the easier option of snaps, but still... I can't count how many times I've wrestled a screaming baby into an outfit, fought with a myriad of snaps around the neck and legs, and realized when I get down to the last snap that I'm one off. I have no idea what would be a better alternative, but all those snaps still annoy me. My favorite outfits are the sleepers with an easy (and fast) zipper from foot to collar, and a onesie I found at a garage sale that has a strip of velcro instead of snaps in the crotch.
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