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Nipple Know How

Yea, I said it. I’m referring to breastfeeding, but lets face it, your nipples are the ones that endure the actual battle. Before my memory fails me, I want to write a post ENCOURAGING new moms who are choosing to breastfeed. I know how hard it can be in the beginning, but trust me, it does get easier, I promise. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you survive until then!

Breastfeeding Takes Practice

Let’s just clarify one thing…breastfeeding, while it is instinctual for mom and baby after birth, it is not an ingrained behavior. You and baby LEARN to breastfeed together. Before I had the experience of breastfeeding, I thought, seriously? How hard could it be? You put the baby near your chest and they do the rest, right? WRONG. Babies have a rooting reflex as well as a sucking reflex, this helps once they find the nipple, but you are the coach teaching them how to position it in their mouth so they can get the most milk, with as little discomfort to you. While the lactation consultants in the hospital meant well, and did their best to offer assistance, they weren’t much help to me. I remember being exhausted, and really just wanting privacy with my new baby to figure things out on our own. Absorb any information you can while you have access to professionals, but keep in mind that you know what is best and most comfortable for you and your new baby. Try different holds and latch techniques. Then, practice, practice, practice. Do not be discouraged if you and baby don’t get the hang of it right away, MOST moms don’t.

Latch Suggestions

I can’t stress this enough, if the baby has a bad latch, use your finger in the corner of their mouth and remove the suck to take them off. I know how frustrating this can be because you think, I just got the baby situated and latched, re-latching is too much work. But, a bad latch will only make things more painful, and not allow your nipples to heal.

A few learned tricks that I didn’t find on breastfeeding websites are these: When latching, cup your breast using a C shape with your hand. Use your breast to gently push the baby’s chin down to open their mouth wide. Then insert your breast deep into their mouth so that the nipple is far back. Make sure your baby’s lips are positioned properly on your nipple and pursed out like a fish, this will help prevent dented nipple (not a pretty sight). If your baby’s lips are curled under, and not pursed, gently  use your finger to un-curl them.

I found the best indicator that the baby was getting enough milk was the way the nipple looked once in the mouth, and the sucking motion of the baby. The nipple should be mostly covered, and the chin should move down and pause for a moment before coming up again. This means the baby is swallowing big gulps of milk. *Note: the baby will make smaller, quicker sucks at the beginning of the feeding session until your milk lets down (you will feel a tingling, dropping sensation). Then, the big gulps will begin.

The good news is, I found that focusing on latch was really only important for the first 2-2.5 months. After that, the baby learns how to latch themselves with little to no help. If they get a shallow latch, they most likely will take themselves off and re-latch until they are comfortable and have the access they want.  Meanwhile, you can just sit back, relax, and let them do their thing. And by then, all the latching and re-latching won’t hurt because your nipples practically become numb.I remember Eli hitting this milestone round 8 to 10 weeks.

Pain is Normal

You may get red, dry, cracked, or blistered nipples…and maybe all of the above. This is completely normal and expected from a first time mom. Think about all that your nipples are enduring. Moisture, pressure, and sucking, ALL DAY LONG. This is probably the most action they have faced to date. Be patient, they WILL soon heal, taking on the form of seasoned leather!

It is a common misconception that you will not have pain if your baby is properly latched. THIS IS NOT TRUE. I received help from numerous lactation consultants in the hospital, all of which observed Eli’s latch and confirmed that it was a good one. It still hurt like the dickens. Again, pay attention to the way your latch looks, and the way the baby is taking in the milk, not the pain factor. It’s gonna hurt.

I remember dreading nursing sessions because of the pain. I would clench my jaw and have to breath slowly to try and relax my muscles. Eli was nursing every hour for 45 minute sessions…yes, do the math, I had 15 minute breaks in between. But, take heart! All this work and pain is for a reason! With every session, your body is adjusting, learning, and adapting to this new thing called sustaining another human being. Your baby and you will find a rhythm, your milk will regulate, and the pain will subside.

Pain Management

You might be saying, ok, I get it will eventually get better, but what do I do with this gutwrenching pain in the mean time? Here are a few products that helped me get through those 2 months.

Boob-ease Soothing Therapy Pillows– these packs can be heated to help open clogged ducts, or cooled to help sooth sore nipples and breasts. I preferred to use them cold, and would keep them in a quart sized ziplock baggie in my freezer. I would pop these in my sports bra any chance I got, and they really would ease the pain. *Warning: you may resemble Dolly Parton when wearing these!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large, Soft Sports Bras– My favorite bras are actually from Wallmart. They come in a pack of 3 and are 100% cotton. I tried other traditional nursing bras, but none were as comfortable as these. Plus, they don’t have a bunch of clips to fiddle with when your hungry baby is screaming to be fed. I would just lift up the bra before I nursed. I recommend getting 1-2 sizes up than your pre-pregnancy cup size. I was a 34 B, and ended up finding a 36 C most comfortable. Account for engorgement, breast pads, and the pillows mentioned above when purchasing.

 

 

 

 

 

Motherlove Herbal Nipple Cream– this cream is simply wonderful. It is all natural and does not have to be wiped off before nursing your baby. It helped heal my nipples and was much better than traditional lanolin, which gave Eli a rash on his face. It comes in a tiny 1 oz jar, but a little bit goes a long way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breast Pads– you will have a stretch of time where your milk regulates based on the frequency of your baby’s feeding and the amount consumed during those feedings. Breast pads will become your new BFF during this time. They are wonderful at soaking up those unexpected leaks, and helping to avoid public embarrassment. I prefer these over disposables because they are cheaper in the long run and are much more comfortable. They are made with soft, organic cotton, not itchy plastic like disposables. After use, you can toss these in with your regular laundry and use them again. I would stock up on these and carry a few extra sets in your diaper bag for emergency change outs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Breast Pump– Even if you are choosing to breastfeed, there are times when you will need to prepare a bottle for your baby. Having a reliable breast pump is a good idea for this reason alone. However, another reason to have a breast pump is to relieve unbearable engorgement when baby decides not to do it for you. I remember the first time I used my breast pump. It was 3:00 am, and Eli had just fed from one breast, but refused to feed from the other. After putting him back down to sleep, I rushed to the closet where my pump was (still packaged in the box) to relieve the pain. I sat on the closet floor, squinting through tired, contact free eyes to read the instruction manual. I fumbled through the setup, but eventually got that sucker working and boy was I glad that I had access to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Tip: While showering, avoid washing your nipples with soap, this will only further dry them out. Instead, simply rinse and clean with hot water.

Last but not least…

Support

It is so important to have someone, or even a group of people supporting and encouraging you to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is such a wonderful bonding experience that you and your baby will share, and it is the best nutrition you can give them (more on that in another post). When you have someone reminding you of why you chose to breastfeed, and cheering you on through the process, you will be more likely to stick out the hard months.

Got more in-depth questions? Visit kellymom.com, this was my go-to site for breastfeeding information.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I would love to help in any way I can!

 

 

 

 

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DIY Projects

DIY Spring Wreath

Springtime is here, and you know what that means…cleaning out winter dust, organizing for a new year, and decorating for one of the most joyful holidays, the day our Savior saved!

I had a few Easter decorations from last year, but I knew I wanted to make a wreath. I found this beauty on PB, but was reluctant to spend $80 on something that would only hang on my door for one month. I knew I could make it myself for less.

Most Fridays, my sister and I meet up at Mom’s with our kids. I absolutely love this time together swapping stories, sharing recipes, and encouraging one another through motherhood. We usually try to tackle at least one adventurous thing, in between naps, feedings, and diaper changes. Some days it’s a walk to the park, last time it was our spring wreaths. We each brought supplies that we had gathered during the week:

2 Wreath forms

2 Packs of decorative eggs, varied sizes

2 Pussy willow branches

Hot glue gun and sticks

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and brushes

We got all of our supplies from Hobby Lobby and Michaels (with coupons), except for the chalk paint, which my Mom had on hand.

If we didn’t have three nuggets drooling, climbing, and crying, we probably could have made these wreaths in about 15-20 minutes. But we thank God everyday that we do have these babies, even if they did add to the time it took to finish. In the end, we stood proud gazing at our work, I for one with white globs in my hair, which could have been one of two things…spit up or paint.

Step 1: (Optional) Paint the decorative eggs to match a color scheme that you like using chalk paint. Let dry completely.

Step 2: Cut your pussy willow branches down so they are in single strands. This makes it easier to work with. Carefully weave the branches into the wreath, bending them slightly.

Step 3: Do a mock arrangement of your eggs on the wreath, and then glue them down using hot glue.

I think they turned out just as beautiful, and ended up costing only $17 a wreath to make! I’m using my sister’s pics because I love the way she displayed hers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romans 1:4-5 “and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead from the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romans 6:8-11 “And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John 11:25-26 “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.’”

 

 

 

 

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Little Man

Why Cloth?

 

What kind of crazy people still use cloth diapers?! The answer is, a TON of young moms. There is a new generation of women who are choosing to use cloth over disposables. The era of giant pieces of fabric held together with two pins is long gone. Pre-folds are still used today, but most moms who CD use more modern versions that are well made and efficient…not to mention cute!  Maybe, just maybe, I can help you see these diapers in a new way. This is why we chose cloth over disposables…

Cloth diapering will save us money

When I say money, I’m not talking about a few hundred, I’m talking into the thousands. Here is the mathematical breakdown for our family:

I assume Eli will be in diapers for 2 years until he is potty trained. He uses 8-10 diapers a day, averaging at around 60 diapers a week. This means, in 2 years, he would use a little more than 6,000 diapers! Now let’s look at cost. The name brand disposable diaper we would use costs $.26 per diaper. This means it would cost us around $1500 to use disposables. We are currently using 20 Rumparooz cloth diapers which cost $23.50 each (a little over half were gifted to us) which comes to $470. This stash should last us until Eli is potty trained. Are you seeing these numbers!? That is about 1/3 the price of disposables!

We also use cloth wipes, which costed $50 for 25. I only have to use 1 cloth wipe per diaper change (poopy or not) and it gets the job done. My only experience with disposable wipes was in the hospital, and we were having to use at least 2-3 disposable wipes per change. $25 is an averagely monthly cost for wipes, totaling at $600 for 2 years.

Other accessories needed to cloth diaper (2 wet bags, 2 pail liners, dryer balls, trash pail, drying rack, and sprayer) cost a total of $240. Our detergent will cost around $100 for 2 years, at 3 loads per week, and our water bill did increase $12 a month.

Phew…math…so the grand total for cloth diapering for 2 years for our family is $1,148. The total for disposables would be $2,240 (factoring in a diaper pail and disposable bag liners). Savings for first child: $1,092. Savings for second child and beyond: $2, 215 per child!

 

Cloth diapering is the greener option

I wouldn’t put myself in a category of super earth friendly folks. I do little things like use reusable grocery bags, turn off the faucet while brushing my teeth, turn up the air when leaving the house, and occasionally buy used items. I would recycle if it were available at our apartment complex…I’m too lazy to drive my recyclables to a drop off. I can do much better. Cloth diapering is one way I am helping to reduce our family’s carbon footprint. Instead of 6,000 diapers a child, I plan to use around 20. The cloth diapers we use are biodegradable, and when composted, will biodegrade in 4-5 years. No one knows exactly how long it takes a disposable diaper to biodegrade, but it is estimated at 250-500 years.

Tons of resources are needed to make and use disposable diapers. Think about the amount of paper, plastic, and chemicals that are used in the production cycle. Then think about the pollutants from the factory that makes the diapers. And the pollutants given off from trucks to transport the diapers to stores. Then think about all the gas burned from us driving to and from the stores to get the diapers! Yuck!

I’m not looking to save the planet here, but I wouldn’t mind contributing less waste and keeping it a little cleaner.

Cloth diapers don’t contain harsh chemicals

There is some pretty fishy stuff contained in disposable diapers. This is the number one reason why I chose to cloth diaper. The thought of these chemicals touching my baby all day and night makes me nervous. Here is a breakdown of the biggies.

Dioxine, used to bleach the diapers, is the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals, according to the EPA. It is not banned in the United States, but is in most other countries.

Sodium Polyacrylate, that super absorbant gel material, was found to increase the risk for toxic shock syndrome in the 1980s when it was banned from tampons.

Tributyl-tin, a toxin proven to cause hormonal problems in animals and humans.

Plastic, increases scrotal temperature in baby boys, which may interfere with proper sperm generation.

It feels good knowing exaclty what is touching my baby’s skin. Rumparooz are made with  TPU, a polyester fabric that has been laminated using a heat bonding process, not chemicals.

 

Cloth diapers contain well and don’t smell!

I never realized just how bad disposables were until I had to use them during a rash episode with Eli. We were using a heavy barrier cream and didn’t want to risk ruining our cloth diapers. Not only did I have blow outs and leaks, but the diapers smelled awful the second he went to the bathroom. I was not used to this, and it made me nauseous time after time. If you wash them properly, cloth does not smell, even when the diaper is dirty. I rely on grunts and the clock to let me know when it’s time for a change…not reeking odors. We have never had a blow out with our Rumparooz, and have had very few leaks.

Cute cloth bottom!

Ok, you have to admit this one, cloth are just cuter! They come in so many fun prints and colors, and look adorable on your little one’s tush! Honestly, once you see your baby in a CD, you might never go back…on looks alone!

 

Please let me know if you have any questions about cloth diapering, I would love to help in anyway I can!