Friday, November 30, 2012

Lets be honest. It's not always easy.

Four years ago I never would have imagined I would be where I am today, helping Moms and babies breastfeed.  See, four years ago I was struggling to breastfeed my newborn daughter.  When I was pregnant I had visions of spending my maternity leave cuddling with my new baby and of course breastfeeding.  Little did I know how hard it would be.  I will never forget sitting on the bed in our guest bedroom and crying out of frustration and feeling completely helpless as my baby girl screamed and cried as I tried to latch her on.  From there I spent six weeks enduring excruciatingly painful feedings that lasted an hour or more.  This wasn't how it was supposed to be!  So, why didn't I get help?  I did!  I had a lactation consultant come to my home.  She spent over an hour with us.  She helped me latch my daughter.  She said everything looked great but then we weighed her she hadn't gained any weight!  What was going on?  Well, we figured it out- we meaning my husband and I.  My daughter was tongue-tied.  Why hadn't anyone- our pediatrician, the lactation consultant, the nurses in the hospital- why hadn't anyone noticed this?  We got it clipped, but it was too late.  I was beyond frustrated and my daughter had been latching the wrong way for so long I just didn't have the energy to fix it at that point.  So, I pumped.  For seven months I pumped.

I was determined that when I had my second child it would be different.  I had learned from my experience with my daughter and believed it wouldn't, couldn't happen again.  My son was born with a cleft lip but thankfully it did not affect his ability to latch.  And you better believe one of the first things I did was check if he was tongue-tied!  So, things were going well but then my milk came in.  And man did it come in.  Suddenly my sweet little boy was crazy fussy, before and after feedings.  I was at my wits end!  Was he not getting enough or was he getting too much?  I was so confused.  Was this really happening again?  So, I pumped and I didn't stop for seven months.

So I am now a lactation consultant who didn't actually breastfeed her own children!  Ironic, right?  I think it has given me a unique perspective.  I know first hand how painful, challenging, and exhausting breastfeeding can be.  I have been there.  But as a lactation consultant I also know it doesn't have to be that way, it shouldn't be that way.  New Mom's need and deserve the right information and support so they can have a successful experience.  Although breastfeeding is natural it doesn't always come naturally.  I don't want any new Mom to struggle like I did.  There is nothing more rewarding than helping a Mom learn to feed her baby.

So, if I have a third baby will I breastfeed?  Of course.  Third times a charm, right!?

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Must-Not-Haves

Where has the time gone?  Can it possibly be November already?  So, this post is way overdue!  At the beginning of October I talked about what I consider to be the top registry must-have items.  Then a few weeks ago I highlighted SmartMomma, a local baby store who specializes in custom registry design.  What happens if you aren't fortunate enough to work with a baby planner or a baby gear expert who can steer you in the right direction?  Well, most people will rely on recommendations from friends and family, which of course is fine.  But, unfortunately what ends up happening is you registry for items you don't need, don't want, or ones that are just plain useless!  This means you end up wasting your money or the poor sole's money who bought the useless item as a gift.  Below I've listed what I consider to be the Top 5 Must-Not-Haves when it comes to registry items.  Now, this is of course a matter of opinion and some people find these items useful, so don't get offended if you see a favorite on the list!

1.  Baby Wipe Warmer

This has got to be one of the most frivolous items you can put on a registry!  Yes, wipes are cold and having a warm one would be nice, but is it really necessary?  Trust me, your baby is going to cry regardless of the temperature of the wipe.  And think about it from a logistical standpoint.  If you have a two story house are you going to run upstairs to get the warm wipes if you are downstairs changing a diaper?  And what about when you travel?  Do you take the warmer with you?  Although, they do now have a travel warmer for the diaper bag!  Okay, if you need to have tons of extra items on your registry to accomodate all the showers you will have, then go ahead and get the warmer.  But for the average you money!

2.  Bottle Warmer

This is sort of in the same category as the wipe warmer.  It's not really necessary and in fact most babies will drink cold milk if it is given to them!  I understand the safety aspect of them- it prevents people from putting bottles in microwaves and unevenly heating or overheating the milk.  But guess what, a large plastic cup with warm water in it works just as well! 

3.  Diaper Specific Trash Can

I'm referring to all those magic cans that claim to seal up the odor to prevent your whole nursery from smelling like spoiled diapers.  Speaking from personal experience they just don't work that well.  We had one, a high end one at that, and our bathroom constantly stunk of old urine and we didn't dare put a poopy diaper in it!  From what I have found they either don't work, they require special bags, or they are impossible for the poor babysitter or grandparent to figure out how to use!  Just stick the pee diapers in the kitchen trash which likely goes outside every couple of days and stick the poopy diapers outside- problem solved!

4.  High Chair

Okay, bear with me here!  This is a stretch for a lot of people.  You assume that you have a baby, so now you will have a giant, space hogging high chair in your kitchen- right?  Again, not necessary.  So, when your baby is just learning and practicing with solid foods, before they are able to sit independently, the bouncey seat is a great place for meals.  Of course, never put them on a counter or table and always make sure they are strapped in!  Then when they are a little more steady in the sitting position move them to a portable booster seat.  They are lightweight, strap onto one of your kitchen chairs, and they can travel anywhere.  They are also way easier to clean than a traditional high chair- just throw them into the bathtub and let them soak!

5.  Blankets, and hats, and booties oh my!

Do you need this stuff- yes.  Do you need to register for it- no.  Trust me when I say you will get more blankets, hats, socks, and bibs then you will know what to do with!  So, don't bother putting any of it on your registry.  What you should put on there are swaddle blankets- see previous blog post.  And if you are buying gifts for an expectant couple, resist the urge to buy this stuff.  I had a client recently who received a pile of blankets that stood a few feet tall.  How many blankets does one little baby need!?  And to make matters worse, she didn't actually get the items on her registry that she needed.

So, this is just a few of what I consider to be unnecessary baby items.  There are many more out there though!  What item did you find useless?