Breast Feeding- 3 Weeks In Update

I must say that although both boys are extremely similar as newborns, my breast feeding experience the second time around is going so much better than it had the first time with Jack.

Max had a fairly good latch from the get-go, where as Jack was lazy and didn’t really want to have to “work” to eat.  Jack, when he did latch, was never for long and the latch was TERRIBLE.

I also feel more comfortable nursing and am more patient to allow Max to learn how to eat and am more relaxed with when he eats and for how long, whereas my pediatricians had me come in for 2 weeks straight for weight checks with Jack.  It’s almost like they put the scare in me that made me so nervous and crazy about breast feeding which I think may have translated to low supply and not having the confidence to carry it through.

This time, and maybe because it is the second time around, Max had lost some weight since he was born, but my new pediatricians just asked that I supplement a bit of formula as they suspected that my stressful two weeks has done a number on my supply.  Just a few days after their reccomendation to keep nursing and pumping to rebuild supply, I am already feeling a difference in feedings with Max.  He has gone from eating every hour to every two hours to eating once every 3.5-4 hours. 🙂

I have a small stash built up so far, thanks to my Hygeia LBI pump, which I LOVE!  My next nursing investment will be one of those nursing bras designed specifically for pumping hands-free.  (Jack still doesn’t understand when I am pumping that I don’t have a free hand to read him a book as I do when I nurse Max)  The hands-free bra will also be wonderful for when I am pumping at work and wish to check e-mails and work on projects simultaneously!

Any other advice, suggestions or positive stories with breast feeding are very welcome!  So thrilled that it is working out this time!  I think my next major obstacle will be when I go back to work with pumping.  My office is understanding about nursing mothers, but often times, my day is completely filled with meetings that consume my day, so finding the time to pump may be a bit difficult.  Suggestions or advice for that is also welcome!

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Max’s Birth Story

On Monday, June 18 at 9:30am, we were admitted to Labor & Delivery after a whirlwind of events from the week prior.

The nurse escorted us down the hall to room 341 and asked me to get into the gown, get settled and that another nurse would be in shortly to do our admissions paperwork, start an IV and check to see how I am progressing.

Chris and I decide that it is probably smart for him to rush home, repack my bag and come back to the hospital with all of the supplies that we will need for the next few days.  He leaves and I sit in the bed thinking about everything to come and soaking it all in.

Our nurse, who was actually a midwife was phenominal.  She remembered hearing my story from the previous week and was very caring and reassuring that all would be perfect.

My doctor came back at 10:30am and broke my water.  No meconium or issues that he could see, but he did say that I had a tremendous amount of amniotic fluid, which probably came in handy when I fell.

Around 11:30am, he began the pitocin drip and emphasized to the nurse that I went quickly last time and that he expected the same this time.  He also asked to be alerted to any changes with my progression and that I could have my epidural whenever I felt that I needed it.

Around this time, I was contracting about every 3-4 minutes and the contractions were increasing in their intensity.  Chris came back to the hospital around 11:45am and was shocked to hear that I was at 4cm and 90% effaced and progressing very quickly.

My nurse asked me in between contractions that I had been breathing through if I wanted my epidural.  I said that I was still doing well with breathing and that I was hesitant because of possibly stalling labor so early in the process.  She reassured me that it would be fine and that she would call the anesthesiologist to come in and get me set up.

The anesthesiologist was wonderful!  She was calm, caring, funny and sweet and I am so thrilled that I was able to have her.  Unlike my previous delivery where Chris was my support while getting my epidural with Jack, they had Chris exit the room and the nurse midwife was my support while they hooked up my epidural.

Once I was comfortable, I laid back and waited for labor to continue to progress.  About 15 minutes go by, and some alarms begin going off.  The baby’s heart rate was dropping.  Hy heart was in my throat as my thoughts traveled to an unforeseen issue with the baby from the fall.  The nurses turned me on my side and his heart rate came back up.  Thank God.  The deceleration of his heart rate happened every so often after that, but was always remediated when I moved a different way.

Around 3pm, the nurse checked me and said that I was about 8cm dilated and that it shouldn’t be long now.  The nurses also changed shifts at 3pm, so my wonderful nurse midwife left and another great nurse came in.  My doctor called for an update and announced that he would be back around 4pm to check me again.

As I had transitioned quickly in my last labor, I knew that I would never make it to 4pm.  Coincidentally, I began feeling every contraction, pain- just everything and was practically climbing the walls in pain.  It was almost as if the epidural just completely stopped working.  The nurse saw the amount of pain that I was in as I clutched the rails on the side of the bed, breathed and let the tears continually run down my cheeks.  Word could not escape my mouth and I felt as if the baby was going to come at any minute.  Our nurse called the anesthesiologist, who was also new due to the shift change and was beside himself when he saw the pain that I was in.  He nervously poked me with a sharp popsicle stick and continued to try and ask me questions as I breathed heavily and continued to let the tears fall.  He said that he would give me a bola (sp?) to help with the additional pain that I was in.  Chris was smart and said to the nurse that she may want to check me again as this was similar to my previous labor.  She checked me and immediately called my doctor to come and deliver.

When my doctor arrived a few minutes later, he said that he wanted to see how I had progressed and when he looked, he asked me to wait so that he could put on his coat for delivery.  He announced that he could already see the baby’s head and that this was going to be quick.  Other nurses and the pediatrician flooded the room and he said to start pushing.

With only two pushes, our sweet and beautiful baby boy was here!  Max Russell came into the world on Monday, June 18 at 3:50pm.  He was 8lbs, 9oz and healthy as could be.  He received 9’s on his APGARS and was absolutely perfect!  I felt my mother in the room the moment he was born.  She was there watching over all of us and ensuring that this wonderful and beautiful boy was safe.

Max was cleaned up a bit and handed over to me where he almost immediately wanted to nurse.  We bonded as Chris and I soaked up every minute of our secind son’s first hour of life as he nursed and cuddled us in the hospital.

How lucky and fortunate we are to be blessed with this wonderful little baby.  🙂

Max Russell

High-Tech Milk Maid

Even though I had so many issues with breastfeeding Jack, I still plan on breastfeeding this new baby and due to the fact that I will be returning to work a mere 12 weeks after having him, I will need a solid and reliable breast pump.

I never took the plunge with buying a pump the last time because I truly didn’t care for many of the pumps and options available.  I rented one from the hospital for a while, which was bulky, difficult to travel with and not something that I was happy with.  However, I did appreciate some of the features of the hospital grade pump that was not offered with other standard pumps: varied suction settings and the fact that it was sanitary amongst users.

A major issue was pumping when Jack was not around.  I had no issue running to the mall on my lunch break at work and while perusing the Baby Gap racks, a baby would begin to cry and my shirt would be soaked.

Being the researcher that I am, even after I was finished with nursing Jack, I began learning about the Hygeia EnJoye breast pumps.  I knew immediately that I wanted one.  They have every feature that I have been looking for: portable, quiet, varied settings for suction, you can record your baby’s cry to help with letdown and the best part?  It is a green product and can also be used by other people.

The Baby Guy, from www.babyguygearguide.com is giving away a brand new Hygeia pump!!  I am dying to win this!  And if I don’t win, I am stalking Zulily on Twitter to see if they will go on flash sale on their site anytime soon, but I would love to win one!  Anyone can enter, so be sure to throw your name in the hat if you would love this pump.  To read more about the pump, click here.

Good luck!

Revlon Womentum 5K in NYC

After speaking with my girlfriend, Lindsay, she mentioned that we may want to join them for the Revlon 5K in Manhattan because it was coincidentally the same weekend that we were planning on going into the city to visit my sister, Colleen.  The race is a run/walk, however, participants who will be pushing strollers are asked to walk the race as not to run into other people at 5 MPH.  Ouch.

We all got our little bums out of bed at the crack of 6:45 to get out the door and on the train in time for the start of the race.  Jack was anything but happy about the early wakeup, but I assured him that it was to end women’s cancers and he was all “Oh then that’s cool.”  Such an easy-going toddler.

For anyone who has ever stood smack dab in the middle of Times Square, you know that it is chaotic, busy, packed with people and noisy.  Well, add almost 25,000 runners and walkers for a race, celebrity onlookers (Jimmy Fallon, Jessica Alba, Dr. Oz, and Nate Berkus anyone?) and it is a freaking mess.  We stood up against one the two TGIFridays windows as we were being smushed by people walking by and group teams who decided to park it and wait for their teams on the sidewalk.  Umm…no dice.

Getting ready to race

Jack is ready to go!

We met up with two of our other friends who were running in the race, but unfortunately, we could not meet with our friends Lindsay, Mark and baby Greg who we planned on walking with before the race began.  Thanks to cell phones and creative barrier hopping with a stroller, we met them at the start and were on our way!  Granted, we started the race late, so we didn’t hit the 1 mile marker until around 35 minutes, but we were also trying to keep up with the crowd and the thousands of walkers around us.

Kevin, Chris and Beth before the start

The Start

The 5K this year was a bit shorter than previous years due to construction in the park and other chaos.  Which is just as well because Jack was finished with riding in the stroller.

We totally took our time

After a few pit stops for diaper changes in central park, photos of the group and helping Lindsay get situated to nurse baby Greg in the Ergo while doing a 5K while giving directions and while talking on the phone (multitasking at its best!), we were thrilled to cross the finish line with a sense of accomplishment.

Our Family in Central Park

We as a family participated in support of my Mom who is still battling Stage 4 Cervical Cancer, and even Jack’s stroller got its own special sign.

Jack's sign for the race

It was a beautiful day of camaraderie and people coming together to end such a horrible disease.  Hopefully the money raised will help to eradicate all women’s cancers so that no other women will have to endure awful chemotherapy, radiation, mastectomies, and deaths from any of these diseases.  No other families will ever be changed for the worst with having to grow up without a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, cousin or friend.

Jared, Colleen, Chris, Jack and I at the finish line

The Family at the Finish Line

We just did our part to say that we won’t stand for this and that we have the Womentum to fight until all women’s cancers are no more.

Jack and his medal

Additionally…can I just say that it was awesome to turn around in Central Park steps away from the Finish line and see Jimmy Fallon walking with us?!

Jimmy Fallon!!

Molly’s Favorite Things

2011 is already shaping up to be a pretty amazing year, and amidst this freezing cold winter, I have been getting so many wonderful phone calls from my girlfriends.  Eight (so far) of my girlfriends are pregnant and due this spring/summer!  YES!  Eight!  Eight more playmates for Jack!  All but one are first babies, but my best friend Andrea is on her third!

Since many of them are first time Moms-to-be, they have been asking what are some of my “can’t-live-without-this” baby gear is.  Not that I am an expert by any means, but they know I do my research down to the core before I buy something.  This does not usually just go with baby items, but dishwashers, home things, etc…  My trusty copy of Consumer Reports magazine and the book are my sidekicks as I waltz into a store and demand a deal.  (I have to admit, it really gets my adrenaline running.  Looking for a deal!)

Aside from my highs when negotiating, I do enjoy some shopping for whatever or whomever it may be for.  (Just ask my Visa.)

So ladies, here are my top 10 favorite “can’t-live-without” baby items: (in no particular order)

10. A baby jungle gym.  This was my saving grace when trying to make dinner or fold laundry.  Just enough activity and stimulation to get me a free 10-15 minutes (with supervision of course) to get my chores completed.  Plus, Jack loved the lights, sounds, dangling animals and the textures on the mat during tummy time.  (Great for developing gross motor skills!)  I also liked that it was portable and that it folded flat.

9. Sophie the Giraffe.  I hemmed and hawed over spending $22 for a piece of rubber shaped like a giraffe, and when we were visiting my sister in Brooklyn, we broke down and bought one at Giggle in SoHo.  Absolutely the best money that we have ever spent on a toy.  She stimulates all 5 senses and keeps a smile on Jack’s face even though he is currently cutting 2 molars.  (Ouch)  She goes everywhere with us and has absolutely been worth her weight in gold.  An absolute must have!

8. A Maclaren.  Hands down the best umbrella stroller out there!  We are both pretty average when it comes to height (I’m like 5’8 and the hubs is 5’11) and all of the cheap umbrellas didn’t even come close to where we would comfortably be able to touch the stroller handles.  (Think Hunchback of Notre Dame)  We broke down and bought a Maclaren Triumph and we absolutely LOVE it.  Easy fold, great for travel, long handles, storage, light weight, stylish and comfortable for Jack.  What more could you ask?  And yes, we also own a Bugaboo Cameleon, which is awesome for neighborhoods, but not for trunks and everyday errands in and out of a car.  We also have a Chicco, but we have only used it once and it has sat in our storage unit ever since.

7. Baby Kisses and Butt Paste.  Both are made with natural ingredients, and I have used them from the time that Jack was born.  The Baby Kisses are great for chapped lips, sensitive cheeks in the cold, pacifier rash around the mouth, and any chapping anywhere on the face.  It has been used for all of them and cured all within a day or so.  The Butt Paste is fabulous for diaper rashes and any redness in the diaper area.  All are cured also within 24 hours.  It is easy to wipe off, if need be, but it still does a great job.

6. A baby swing or bouncy chair.  To be honest, you can get away with one or the other, but we did end up getting both.  I wasn’t one of those Moms who relied on the baby swing too much.  We never even changed the batteries in it and the swing still works to this day.  However, it was fabulous for when I was making dinner on the stove or trying to clean up the house.  As Jack got older and after I went to work, the bouncy seat helped to keep Jack occupied when I was showering in the morning before work, or even as I was getting dressed and putting on my makeup.  Small enough to fit in the bathroom while I showered and easy enough to tote him around as needed.

5. Any of the Lamaze dangling toys.  These were fabulous to keep Jack occupied while sitting in traffic for an hour on the way to day care and to keep his attention when I needed a second to get meats from the butcher.  We still use them on his stroller to keep him occupied while shopping, etc…  Both have been worth their weight in gold.

4. A baby carrier.  I started off with the Baby Bjorn, and I wish I did more homework before registering for it.  I absolutely used it when Jack wasn’t 20+ pounds, but I do miss being able to strap him to me and do what I need to do.  When he was small, it was perfect during cold/flu season when I didn’t want anyone touching him because even though people touch your belly, they won’t touch your baby in a carrier.  Weird.  Anywho, I loved using it to vacuum, get the mail, at the grocery store, etc…  And to be honest, I really miss it.  I have been looking at the Ergo baby carrier, which I think is awesome, but the pricetag is a little steep right now until I get a job, or if they sell them for $50 on Gilt.

3. Several pacifiers.  I hesitated at first on using a bluffer, but once my lactation consultant, Boob Donna (true story) told me that nipple confusion is a crock and the important thing is to keep a wide-mouthed latch, I bought a few.  She explained that babies have a natural tendency to suck and that it is a soothing thing for them.  We used the Mam pacifiers and never had an issue with them.  Yes, Jack still uses his for naps and bed time, but that plug is going to be pulled in a few short weeks.

2. A JJ Cole carseat cover.  Whether it is spring, fall or the dead of winter, this was an awesome gift.  Getting a small 9 pound baby in a coat and in and out of bunting is nothing short of a royal pain in the arse.  We had the heavy one for when he was born and used an additional blanket if needed when it was really cold outside.  When the sun started to come out again, we slipped the lighter cover onto the carseat and another season of not having to put on a difficult coat was avoided.  Fold it back if you didn’t need it and cover them up when braving the cold.  Awesome invention!

1. Nipple cream and breast pads.  Because I was a first time Mom, I didn’t realize how quickly my nipples would begin hurting or how fast I would rip through a small box of breast pads.  Even if you don’t plan on nursing, you still leak and your nipples will still be sore from the rubbing of the breast pads.  I did breastfeed for 3 months, and I went through a large amount of breast pads.  My decision to use reusable breast pads instead of the reusable ones was strictly because I didn’t know that they had reusable ones until I was finished breast feeding.  Your choice, but get whatever floats your boat.

My last piece of advice is to take all of the free visits at home from lactation consultants, home nurses, etc…  Its always nice for reassurance and help if you have any major concerns.

Enjoy your pregnancies!  Those babies will be here in no time!!!  🙂

Breast Feeding Envy

 

When Jack was born, my goal was to breast feed him until he was about a year old.  After he was born, I immediately wanted to feed him and hold him and soak up every little second with him.  My lactation consultant was very supportive and when he wouldn’t open his mouth wide, or he had a poor latch, she was right there reassuring me and helping me through.  The day after, my nipples were such a wreck, even nurses on the floor came by to ask if they could offer me anything to help.  Many had said that they had never seen anything so awful. (Don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely worth it)

Our first feeding session

Within his first few days of being home, I stuck with the feeding and supplemented a bit with formula until my milk came in.  The pediatrician had us come in for about 6 days straight for weight checks because Jack was not keeping any weight on and was feeding like a champ, or so we thought.  The doctor asked me to solely pump for one whole day each time that I would be feeding Jack, so I pumped and pumped and fed Jack all that I had for the day, which was about 3 ounces.  At this point, my hormones are a mess, I am covered in a body rash from head to toe from the crazy hormones and am recovering from childbirth. He tells me that I may just need to stick with more of the formula feedings because I was clearly not producing enough to sustain him.  Cue the tears.  I remember going home and just crying my eyes out.  I should have known that I was a well running dry.  Jack had given me signs that there was nothing coming out.  He had fought me to latch and had given up feeding after a few minutes each time I nursed him.   I was heartbroken and embarrassed.  Chris was very supportive throughout the entire process and was always on hand to bring me a Boppy or to assure me that he was latched correctly.

My Mom had always told us that she could nurse all of us without a problem, and she assured me that with the rack that I was blessed cursed with, I shouldn’t have any issued with production.

So, for three months, I hid my little non-producing secret from my family as best as I could.  Chris knew that I mostly just pumped and supplemented, but I felt like a failure if I told anyone else.

The day that I went back to work, I didn’t bring my pump.  Instead, I brought my nursing cover and went over on my lunch to nurse Jack one last time at daycare.  He had only lasted for about 2 or 3 minutes before there was nothing left and he awaited the bottle.  My eyes swelled up with tears as I knew that was the last time that I would nurse my wee lad.  No more little blue eyes looking up at me lovingly as he slowly drifted off to sleep on my chest.  The weirdest part was that I never went through a period where I was engorged while I “weaned” Jack from nursing.

Recently, I have found myself craving the ability to nurse Jack again.  He still occasionally pulls my top down a bit, but I doubt he is doing it because of nursing habit, because he hasn’t done so in 10 months, but it breaks my heart.

So many beautiful women out there and able to nurture and nourish their little ones, and I was as dry as the Mohave desert.  I still have a little feeling that I was a failure with breast feeding this first time around, but I am hoping to have a better supply with our next baby, whenever that may be.

Now, my Mom cherishes the last bottle feeding of the day with Jack.  I loved doing it when we were living in Philly, but seeing my Mom smile as she gives Jack a bottle and sing to him is so special.  No matter what kind of day she is having, she is always ready to give her Jack his bed time bottle.

Grammy giving Jack his bed time bottle