The Ins and Outs

The ins and outs of new born life. I thought this was a clever title to talk about breast feeding and cloth diapers in one post, the two do really go hand in hand if you think about it. You now know the purpose of this post. Words like, breasts and poop will be used, you've been forewarned.

While in the hospital after having Alexandra it became quite clear that I was becoming her personal pacifier. As a direct result I didn't even make it home with out extremely sore, um, well, we will just call it like it is, nipples. Guess, I should have added that word to the warning, exit now if it offends you. This blog will only ever exist to document and share my mommy experiences and medical terms are part of that. Anyway, so there I was, extremely sore and not knowing what to do. Then we discovered the miracle that is the pacifier. We call it a, "soothie," since that was the brand of pacifier they had at the hospital, creative, I know. After figuring out that she could suck on something other than mom that made things a bit easier. Jot this down as another, "mistake," "lesson learned," we made with Karoline. After reading all of the pregnancy books and breast feeding books I did not want her to have a pacifier, not even as a new born. So, she didn't. I was worried she wouldn't breast feed well, or that she would "have" to have one to sleep or as she got older.

After getting home and trying to get into a rhythm with two kids I still had the painful feat of feeding my baby. When I had Karoline I did not experience labor. So, I would often say, "I didn't experience labor, but breastfeeding this kid has got to be as painful as that." I now know that's not the case (thank you Alexandra and your 28 hour labor before a c-section). But, in my experience breastfeeding my daughters is the second most painful thing I've ever gone through. I remember thinking those first few weeks after Alexandra was born, I'm going to find time to blog about how horrible this is. Sounds dramatic, but it was. I have to admit that if it weren't for the fact that I had breastfed my first born and wanted my second baby to have just as much of a head start in life as she got, formula wasn't so expensive, or that breast milk really is like liquid gold, I would have quit. Any woman who attempts to breastfeed, I applaud you. Any woman who has a supportive husband in her life, you are applauded as well. It takes a great support team to make breast feeding work. That support gets you through those moments of wanting to throw in the towel.

Fortunately, I never had an issue with supply, with either of my girls. Pacifier myth, busted. We also use a bottle for Alexandra every few days so that she has a way to eat when I'm not home for some reason or another. She still likes to breastfeed. Nipple confusion myth, busted. Of course this is not always the case, all babies are different. But, like in my last post, if I've learned anything from having a second child it is, go with the flow. Do what you need to do and don't worry about this, that, and the other.

A major hurdle was jumped when we reached six weeks and I didn't have mastitis. Mastitis is a horrible infection in your breast that often results from a clogged milk duct. If you are having your first baby I strongly urge you to google this and know the warning signs. I had mastitis when Karoline was just 4 weeks old and it was absolutely miserable. The worst, "sick," I've ever been. I was very cautious about it this time and actually could feel it trying to happen twice and was able to keep it from taking hold. I was very thankful. But, I still was worried and the worry was not helping anyone. When I finally realized, what is going to happen will happen weather I worry or not I was able to let it go. Let it go, let it go ... sorry, my darling two year old only requests one movie right now, bet ya can't guess which one.

With both of my rounds with breastfeeding I've had to deal with an over supply. I am thankful that this has been the problem I've encountered, versus not having enough milk. But, it is my experience that this is very frustrating and painful. There is a fine line between pumping enough to avoid mastitis and over stimulating your body's production.

With Karoline I felt like breast feeding and all of it's glory would never end. This time I am in shock that we are already only 3 months away from trying solid foods! The pain is now gone. A huge help with alleviating pain, for me, is to feed the baby while laying in bed. We both lay down, I am more relaxed, she is more relaxed and a better latch is achieved. The "let down," reflex is getting less painful and things are going well. I'm glad that I never did find the time to blog about my hate for breastfeeding early on. It truly is such an amazing thing to know that you are providing food for your baby. Keep in mind that my dislike and my hate for breastfeeding was with child number two. It just goes to show you that having kids is like apples and oranges. While I had a hard time with Karoline, and there were often times I would cry while I fed her because it hurt so bad, I still never even thought about calling it quits. My advice is to always have a good support system and to ask for help.

While in the hospital I didn't receive any breast feeding support from the staff, I loved our hospital experience but thought this was a bit odd. I am assuming this was because it was my second baby and we appeared to be doing so well with breastfeeding. This was my fault, I should have asked for help. I might not have had such a painful experience from the get go. Always ask for help, don't leave the hospital until you feel confident. On the flip side, with Karoline there were always people asking how it was going and lactation specialist who would come in and literally grab me (on the breast) and show me how to breastfeed. But, all the while it was a very scary process for me and the constant checking really upset me because it wasn't helping. So, if you're not getting the help you need or are feeling rushed, say so. You are your biggest advocate when it comes to breastfeeding.

I said it before, I'll say it again, if you breastfeed, go you! It annoys me that I have to intersect this here, but this is to avoid getting nasty comments. If you don't breastfeed or didn't this is in no way a slam against you. I am only speaking to my experiences. And from my experience, breast feeding is hard and a breastfeeding mom deserves a high five every now and then.

Alright, onto part two. My thoughts on cloth diapering. This is short and sweet, I love it! Alexandra was staring to show signs of getting rashes when I made the decision to switch to cloth diapers. Karoline never once had a diaper rash and I was a little upset when I noticed Alexandra was showing signs to be prone to them. I decided to nip that in the butt, pun intended. Choosing cloth diapers was also a financial decision. I'm a stay at home mom, why not do it and save the extra money. With help from some mama friends and this blog (p.s. her whole blog is awesome, check it out), I was able to get the inspiration I needed to make the switch. It's a little bit of work but, at the same time, it's oddly rewarding.

Alexandra also is showing signs of having an intolerance to something I'm eating. I think I have determined it to be dairy. I have cut dairy out of my diet, as well as gluten, something I've been wanting to do for a while. I'm two days in on my new healthy eating life style, I'm not calling it a diet because the goal is not to lose weight, and I don't like the word. I am hoping that I am able to not only change my eating habits but my families as well. I'm very excited about this.

Now, I just said that weight loss is not the goal, remember that. However, weight gain and loss is a part of pregnancy and I feel like reading about other real life moms and their weight gain/loss stories helps to create a healthy image. I gained 40 pounds with Alexandra. That means I weighed 166 pounds when she was born. Today I had a doctors appointment, I asked the nurse if I could jump on the scale. I weighed 133 pounds, Alexandra is three months old,  I have lost 33 pounds with little to no effort. I am a firm believer that it takes nine months to gain baby weight, it takes nine months to lose it. Even so, if you're breastfeeding beyond nine months, it may take even longer. Since I do breast feed my babies beyond the nine month mark I know that it will take me personally a bit longer to lose the extra weight. But, boy was I excited to see that I only have seven pounds to go to pre Alexandra weight. I say pre Alexandra weight because I was still breastfeeding Karoline when she came into the picture. I had not lost all my baby weight from my first pregnancy yet, I still had six pounds to go. Losing weight after having Karoline took a lot longer to come off. I am already able to wear clothes that took me a year to fit into after having Karoline. This time the weight is coming off faster, I could wear my wedding ring just a few weeks after we got home, instead of six months after. Pretty sure I have chasing a toddler around to thank for that! I do think that in changing to a healthy life style I will see a change in my body, a positive change. I hope to have more energy as well. But, first and foremost, I hope that my daughter is able to digest a little bit easier.

There you have it, my thoughts on the ins and outs and a little bit on pregnancy weight as well.

Every blog needs a cute picture. Don't mind the Halloween pumpkin in the background. Don't you know you can't organize/declutter/get rid of things with out a toddler "needing" what you're trying to  put away. 

*A friend of mine just gave me some great information about breastfeeding and pumps...
Medela's online breastfeeding course is free with this code: BRUEgX74fR
There is an all purpose nipple ointment, it is an RX that needs to be compounded by the pharmacy but works better than Lanolin (I would have loved this).
Most insurance companies will now cover a Medela breast pump! Start by calling the number on the back of you insurance card to check. Some lactation nurses can help too. Third party companies, like Babies R Us advertise they can help by billing the insurance companies for the pump!

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