Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Our Favorite Things – 0 to 3 Months

We were very fortunate to receive a number of gifts making the transition from no baby to baby, relatively easy. With that said, I wanted to share some of our favorite items, my hope is that someone will find this list when they’re looking for a review of an item and it will make their decision a tiny bit easier.

In no particular order…

1Consumer Reports Online Website

Seriously! This might seem really silly but it was one of the BEST purchases I made. I was able to go onto their website and search for items to determine their safety and assembly rating.

When I was registering for our gifts, I had the toughest time making decisions because the reviews for multiple items would be great and the colors would be perfect but this made it easy. I’d find the top two or three rated items on their site, compare real people reviews of those 2 or 3 items and make my decision from there. It really simplified how certain items were chosen. The website isn’t all encompassing but things like cribs, car seats, strollers, are all there and with the trusted Consumer Reports review.

If you’re expecting a baby, I HIGHLY recommend you get a membership. It was $6.95 a month when I was a member and it’s a month to month subscription, so you can cancel at any time.

2: Fisher-Price Newborn Rock N Play Sleeper

The experts recommend that a baby sleep in the same room with their parents for the first 3 months of life to reduce the risk of SIDS. The issue for us is that we live in an apartment with VERY small bedrooms so fitting a full sized pack and play in with our bed, would have been quite a squeeze.

One day while searching for a portable bassinets on Amazon, I came across this baby and I was immediately sold! It is approved for infants to sleep in, is 100% portable and fit perfectly on the side of our bed without taking up so much room that we were crawling over it. Emmett loved it and we had a hard time transitioning him from sleeping in this to his actual crib.

3: Boppy Pillow

Not everyone will need or want a Boppy pillow, however for myself and Emmett, it was absolutely necessary. I am nursing him and putting this pillow around my waist and laying him in front allows everything to be much more comfortable.

There are other brands of pillows on the market for nursing mothers but I am unable to compare because I’ve only ever used the Boppy and I love it!

4: Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine

When Emmett was first born he roomed with us (in his own cradle). Seamus and I use an air purifier as a white noise machine for ourselves, so we knew when we moved Emmett to his own room he’d require something similar. This machine has worked perfectly for us! It is small, lightweight and affordable. It plays a bunch of different sounds and music and you can also connect your mp3 player or iPod/iPhone to it and play music from it through the sound machine’s speakers. It also has a night light which I like because we leave it on all night long, so that when I go in to nurse Emmett in the middle of the night it’s not pitch black in there.

5: Fisher-Price Cradle ‘N Swing

There have been days when I could not have lived without this item. You can read the product description but it is just phenomenal! It swings 3 different ways, has 6 different speeds, plays music has a mirror above the baby and some birds/leaves that float around, so perfect. Emmett has taken many a nap in his swing on days when he would just not sleep in his crib. Not much more to say other than it’s a life saver!

6: Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Bouncer

At first glance it may seem as though you might not need both the swing and the bouncer but in my opinion, you do. The swing is great for calming a baby when they’re screaming or need a nap but the bouncer is mobile and you can bring that with you to the bathroom when they won’t let you out of their sight and you so desperately need a shower.

7: Summer Infant Swaddleme Blanket

Swaddling a baby is easy and can be done with just a blanket but using one of these is even easier and doesn’t come undone like a regular blanket will. Emmett has slept in one since the day he came home from the hospital and will continue to until he starts rolling form back to belly (it is no longer safe for their arms to be swaddled up at this point). These are great at keeping baby warm and for soothing them, making them feel as though they’re in the small enclosed space of their mother’s womb.

8: Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends Play Gym

This item has come in handy countless times when I’ve needed to put Emmett down for a quick minute and no where is really safe for him other than on the floor, the mat is slightly padded so it’s not like placing him on the hard wood. There are also numerous little toys that come with it and tons of little notches to place them on. When Emmett was new, this was great for him to just lay under and look at and work on his eyesight, as well as do his tummy time but now he spends hours on it between back and belly. The center star lights up and plays music so that catches and holds his attention and then reaching for the items has now become his favorite activity.

9: The First Year’s Infant to Toddler Tub with Sling

Best. Baby. Tub. Ever! Seriously!

When you first bring the baby home from the hospital you can’t give them a full bath because you’re not allowed to get their belly buttons wet and if you’ve had a boy and had him circumcised you can’t get that wet either. The sling that comes with this tub hooks to the top and allows you to lay the baby in the tub without them getting wet. This way you’re able to give them a sponge bath and let the water drain into the tub instead of all over your counter. Now that Emmett is older and able to get wet he sits right in it on the reclining side and loves it. It supports him well and he’s able to sit, kick and play and enjoy the sensation of the water without me needing to constantly hold him in place.

10: Avent Bottles and Pacifiers

Emmett is exclusively breastfed but since about 6 weeks old he’s been given at least one bottle of pumped breastmilk a day so that he could get used to it before going to day care. He’s responded very well to all of the Avent bottles, we’ve never had any trouble.

And the same goes for their pacifiers. Emmett has used one since his first week of birth and has enjoyed them on and off without any trouble with his latching to my breast or to his bottles.

11: Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump

Before going to our breastfeeding class, Seamus and I had tossed around the idea of getting an inexpensive pump but after going to the class and hearing the lactation consultant explain what can happen to your breasts and nipples if you do not use the proper pump, we decided to go with the Medela pump. Yes it is $300 but it is so worth it! I’ve had 3 different lactation consultants, who were in no way affiliated with Medela tell me that they’re the best and well worth what you pay for (I tend to agree).

If you happen to live in the Western New York area, I recommend purchasing your pump at The Care Connection. It is a locally owned small business that specializes in breastfeeding and breastfeeding supplies. If you purchase your pump there, they will ensure you are given the proper sized phalanges and will show you how to use it. You can certainly purchase the same one at a department store but you won’t receive the personalized attention that you do at The Care Connection.

Okay, so that’s the list so far. I’m sure as the months tick away we’ll have a new list of favorites and I’ll be sure to share with you then.

I’d love to hear what you found most useful or couldn’t have lived without. Or you can even feel free to share items that you found were completely pointless!

*Not paid reviews*

Emmett’s First Days – 2

When using our hospital, after the baby is born, they give you a packet FULL of information. Some are things that they’ve given you in the Birthing Classes or Breastfeeding Class but some are new and definitely a good read. One such item in the folder was about how on (typically) the second or third night of a baby’s life (in the outside world) tends to be a restless night because the baby begins to cluster feed. Basically, they’ve run out of their excess calories that they had gotten from you in utero and need to start stocking up in the outside world.

Cluster feeding, also called bunch feeding, is when babies space feeding closer together at certain times of the day and go longer between feedings at other times. This is very common, and often occurs in the evenings. It’s often -but not always- followed by a longer sleep period than usual: baby may be “tanking up” before a long sleep. For example, your baby may nurse every hour (or even constantly) between 6 and 10 PM, then have a longish stretch of sleep at night – baby may even sleep all night.

Emmett’s cluster feeding began on his second night. They were still doing glucose testing on him so it was important to ensure he ate whenever he wanted it, even if he had JUST eaten, so that his blood sugar stayed above our target. This was taking a toll as it was because he was eating almost every hour and I was so so tired because I hadn’t really gotten any sleep. Once nighttime rolled around, they took Emmett to do another blood test and brought him back in a really awful mood. He was screaming and crying and nothing was calming him down. The nurse even tried taking him and shushing really loudly, it worked for a short period of time but he was right back at it within minutes of her leaving.

Being new parents we tried everything. We had read and were very familiar with the 5’s, swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking, we tried all of those and he kept on wailing. It was a real shocker because he had been so laid back up until now; we thought we had given birth to a sweet and silent baby. The only thing that calmed him was coming to my breast and nursing. This went on ALL NIGHT LONG! I’d get him latched, he’d eat for a short period of time and fall asleep, once asleep, I’d remove him and attempt to put him in his cradle but within moments of being laid down, he’d be up crying again. We repeated that same scenario umpteenth times; I was frustrated with the situation and didn’t know how to fix it.

Being a new mom I immediately jumped to my milk supply. I assumed I wasn’t producing enough, that he wasn’t eating enough and since he was starving couldn’t sleep, so he’d wail. I had a horrible awful time that night and if it weren’t for Seamus, Emmett would probably have been formula fed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with formula but it wasn’t what I wanted for Emmett.

I was crying and begging Seamus to allow me to feed Emmett formula. Saying that we’d know his tummy was full and that we’d then be able to rule out hunger as the reason for his sobbing. Seamus was loving and gently persistent, he reminded me how important breastfeeding was to me, that this was Emmett’s night of cluster feeding that they’d warned us about in our breastfeeding class, that it wouldn’t be like this forever, that I should ask for help from the lactation consultant if I was concerned with my milk supply. I was frustrated with him, he wasn’t allowing me to do what I so desperately wanted to do at that moment but I went along with it, I continued to nurse Emmett and eventually sometime in the very early hours of the morning he fell asleep latched to me and when I removed him he actually remained asleep, we were finally able to get some rest.

When I awoke several hours later, feeling more human than I had in 3 days, I realized that Seamus had been right. Breastfeeding was so very important to me; it was what I wanted to give to my son. I thanked him and told him what a wonderful and supportive husband (and now father) he was.

That night was probably the most difficult night of my life. You hear all the stories about babies not sleeping through the night and the stories of babies who have colic and cry incessantly but you never really think it’s going to be that bad or that it will happen to you but I want you to know that it CAN be that bad and that it CAN happen to you.

I loved Emmett through all of it. We had an impossibly arduous night but I loved him, I wouldn’t have gone through it if I didn’t. It is amazing what the love for someone can give you the strength to do.

I write all this, not to scare anyone away from having children, quite the contrary, I want everyone to have babies if they want them, it’s a beautiful, amazing, fulfilling thing but I want you to be prepared. I want you to know the truth of how demanding it can be because I wasn’t aware, it hadn’t been shared with me. Sure I’d heard the jokes but no one ever truly sat me down and shared what could happen. I don’t blame anyone, it’s no one’s job to educate me but I wish there were more “real” life stories out there that share what REALLY happens the first days of a baby’s life. I wish the hospital had given us that packet of paper during our childbirth class (a month earlier), rather than AFTER Emmett had been born. So I hope this helps, I hope someone reads this and is better prepared for those first few days of their gorgeous new baby’s life.

In case you missed it Part 1.

Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 7)

My migraine was gone and I was ready to hold my little boy. It still took the nursery about 15 minutes to bring him to me and I was beyond anxious to just hold and touch him. Remember, up until this point I had not touched my baby because I’d had a c-section.

If you are breastfeeding it is recommended that you allow your baby to feed within 2 hours of his life because studies show that newborns who have early contact with their mothers learn to latch on more efficiently than babies who are separated from their mothers in the hour or two following birth. This is also a time when the baby will be in a state of quiet alertness, the optimal behavior state for interaction with you. Her eyes are wide open, she is attentive and is looking for another set of eyes – and for the breast. (source)

I had decided that I would be breastfeeding Emmett so it was important that he and I be able to have some skin-to-skin contact within that two hour window to allow him to learn to latch. Seamus and I were concerned we’d fall outside of this time frame because of my c-section but the hospital did a fantastic job of ensuring he got to me well within that time.

For any soon-to-be moms out there, I want to recommend that you ask the hospital to hold off on bathing your baby (if you’re planning to breastfeed) until after he’s fed for the first time. Once they’ve done that, they will set him under the heated lamps to bring his body temperature back up, which takes a lot of time, this is time away from you and your breast. This is a critical time and not one that your baby needs to be spending under heated lamps, your skin against his will warm him plenty.

When they brought him into the room and handed him over to me, my breath caught in my throat. It hit me, he was mine and no one else would ever be his mother. It was such a moving experience that just thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.

We immediately had our skin to skin contact and worked on his latching skills. It actually went quite well, I needed assistance but Emmett was still alert and ready to nurse

If you’re breastfeeding, after the baby’s birth, all modesty goes out the window, you have nurses and lactation consultants grabbing your boob, showing you how to hold it and then placing it in the baby’s mouth, there’s just no time to be shy. I’d heard this ahead of time but I still figured I’d be slightly uncomfortable with it but truthfully, I wasn’t. I knew what they were doing was teaching me how to feed my baby the perfect food. And in the end, their advice was all VERY helpful!

After we’d had about a half hour with him, they took him back to the nursery. I was still in the labor and delivery unit and needed to be moved to my private room in the Mothers and Baby Unit. So they took Emmett back to get a bath and a few more tests, one being a blood glucose test. He was born with low blood sugar so they had to test it every few hours to see whether it was increasing.

When we got to our new room, the nurse came in and introduced herself and explained some important information to us. After she’d done all that she took my temperature and blood pressure, helped change the pad on the bed and assisted me in putting a pad on myself. If you’ve never had a baby, let me say that the bleeding you experience after a baby is far worse than any period you can even imagine, it’s gross but necessary.

Eventually they brought our baby back to us, we were “rooming in” with the baby. This is something new that the hospitals are suggesting to parents and I was fully on-board. Instead of the baby staying in the nursery, he stays with you (morning and night) so that you can adjust to sleeping together and so that you’re there to feed him as he needs. I’m very glad we did this, I don’t think I’d have wanted my baby down the hall away from me.

Time started to blur together because I was so exhausted. If you remember I hadn’t slept more than an hour or two combined the previous night and I’d just gone through surgery. I needed to rest but I was still riding on the high of my brand new boy.

In case you missed them; Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 6)

His first cry was the sweetest sound I think I’ve ever heard. It was strong and loud and I knew he was here!

I have no idea how Seamus managed to capture this picture at the precise moment that they pulled Emmett out and he began to cry, but he did. I immediately teared up and wished I could just hold him.

As the nurses were walking with Emmett over to his cradle they kept saying he had red hair and asked whether anyone in our families had red hair. I have a cousin with red hair and Seamus’ beard comes in red in certain areas, so we knew that having a red head was possible. I personally was thrilled!

After they had E in his cradle they told Seamus he could go over and take some pictures while they examined him and cleaned him up. I just wanted to get up off the table and join them but I was stuck, being put back together.

The whole time Seamus was over there snapping pics of him, he was crying on and off. I hadn’t even seen him yet and all I wanted to do was hold and comfort him. The bond I felt with him was immediate and so strong, it was pretty unexpected! I figured I’d bond with him quickly but I had no idea that site unseen, it would be that strong.

There came a point where one of the nurses held Emmett up for me to see him but because I was still dealing with an ocular migraine, I had the auras in my eyes and could not see anything beyond the blurry spots in my eyes. It was kind of sad but I knew I’d get to see him soon enough.

The nurses worked quickly to get him all cleaned up so that I could finally meet him.

I am so grateful that Seamus was there to capture this picture. It was my first moment meeting Baby Emmett and even if the memories ever fade, I will always have this picture. It warms my heart and still brings tears to my eyes.

When they have the baby in the OR, they don’t yet give him a bath. They simply wipe him up good, they give them a bath later on typically after the mother has had a chance to hold and breastfeed the baby, if the mom is breastfeeding, which I was.

After I met the baby, they handed him over to dad who was prouder than ever, of his beautiful little boy!

At this point, they took the baby back and put him in his cradle and had Seamus follow him to the nursery. They had a few more tests to do before they would bring him back to us in the recovery room. I was freezing and shivering uncontrollably by now. It had been about 40 minutes since Emmett had been born and I was ready to be unhooked from everything and hold my son. Once they were finished, they had me move from the operating table back to my bed and threw THE warmest blanket on me. It felt like a delicious warm bath. I continued to shiver but once we got back to the recovery room they threw 2 more blankets on me and I quickly warmed up.

While at the nursery with Emmett, Seamus snapped some adorable pics!

As I waited for Seamus to get back and for them to bring Emmett, they gave me some pain meds for the pain from the surgery and also for my migraine which was still acting up. But FINALLY it was time, they brought me my little boy and I was finally going to get to hold him.

In case you’ve missed them, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

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