Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Solid Like a Rock

Continuing the solids discussion from the other day.........

Let me be clear - cereal was a waste of time, effort and money for us simply because my son would not eat it. I know loads of folks who had success with cereal. Just not us.

Ironically, this past Monday, I had dinner with a friend at one of my favorite Middle Eastern restaurants (the place leans towards Palestinian in flavor/cuisine). As I was eating my lentil soup, I had a total flashback. When my son was around 8 months, I remembered him slurping down on the soup - he loved it so much (of course, on Monday, the little stinker would have nothing to do with it!) At the time, I was SO relieved and wanted to jump for joy that he was willing to eat something "solid" after having struggled with the cereal and baby food for so long. I also had bought into the whole "iron deficiency" thing and was relieved because lentils are good for iron. He loved that place so much we even took him there to celebrate his 1st birthday, since technically, it was his favorite restaurant. I still have the little #1 candle we stuck in his piece of namoura.

With my son, I remember distinctly the doctor saying at his 6 months checkup saying "You can give him cereal now, if you want". At the time, I thought her phrasing was interesting but it made more sense later when I realized that cereal nor solids were critical for my son's health. This time going into the Solids Game, I have decided to not do a specific timeline, per se, but to just wait until 6 months and see how Anjali is doing then. I am certainly not going to stress myself out if she does not catch on right away. Besides, she is not necessarily ready yet - I am still struggling giving her the anti-biotic because her tongue control is just not there. However, she is very, very interested in what we are eating and that is a sign that she is gearing up to sticking food in her mouth. Finally, I am NOT going to invest in an entire box of cereal - I will scrounge around with my mommy friends and borrow a cup or two. Kellymom has some great information on solids and "when to introduce" which is in line with what I would like to do this go-around.

In the comments, Girlfriend makes the point that it was previously thought that breastmilk did not have enough iron and now we know that is not true. Again, with the Kellymom to the rescue:

The iron in breastmilk is bound to proteins which make it available to the baby only, thus preventing potentially harmful bacteria (like E.coli, Salmonella, Clostridium, Bacteroides, Escherichia, Staphylococcus) from using it. These two specialized proteins in breastmilk (lactoferrin and transferrin) pick up and bind iron from baby's intestinal tract. By binding this iron, they

  1. stop harmful bacteria from multiplying by depriving them of the iron they need to live and grow, and
  2. ensure that baby (not the bacteria) gets the available iron.

The introduction of iron supplements and iron-fortified foods, particularly during the first six months, reduces the efficiency of baby's iron absorption. As long as your baby is exclusively breastfed (and receiving no iron supplements or iron-fortified foods), the specialized proteins in breastmilk ensure that baby gets the available iron (instead of "bad" bacteria and such). Iron supplements and iron in other foods is available on a first come, first served basis, and there is a regular "free-for-all" in the baby's gut over it. The "bad" bacteria thrive on the free iron in the gut. In addition, iron supplements can overwhelm the iron-binding abilities of the proteins in breastmilk, thus making some of the iron from breastmilk (which was previously available to baby only) available to bacteria, also. The result: baby tends to get a lower percentage of the available iron.

With my son, I eventually gave up on cereal- we went to table food at around 9 months with softened bits of fruit and such. When we cook at home, it is primarily South Indian and yes, he ate some spicy stuff in the beginning as we experimented with what he could handle. Sometimes, he would fuss, but he quickly learned to reach for his water. These days, his tolerance is pretty good - when he hits something spicy he emphatically declares it to be "spicy!", reaches for his water, takes a drink, then digs in for more food. Hands down, when we cook at home, he eats like a horse. I also think my husband is secretly proud that one of his son's favorite dishes is a specialty from his state of Kerala - fish with a red sauce made from a sticky tamarind called kodumpuly.

And yes, my grandma is properly horrified.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Call Me Crazy Because I Am

I have not forgotten this blog. Besides my personal site at Rancid Raves and my odd compulsion to participate in the NaBloPoMo thingie, I have also taking up food blogging in support of my husband's new business venture - FoodieBytes. This is the 2nd business I have watched him build, so this not something entirely out of his realm. This is the first time, however, that I have played such an active role. Some of the stuff discussed in this post are really old, but this has been hanging out in my drafts folder, so I will go ahead and get it out anyway......

Over the past months, a few things came up breastfeeding-wise that I wanted to post about, but I was so late to the game that I felt I had nothing new to add. Weanergate? Yeah, those people criticizing Jen were IDIOTS. When they began questioning her use of the article "the" instead of using "a", I quit listening to her detractors. Weaning is a careful dance between a mother and her baby (or babies) - everyone has needs that must be met.

I would like to point you over to Jackie at Nursing Your Kids - Jackie has had some great pieces lately. One clarifies some facts missing from many of the news articles surrounding the Sophie Currier Case. For example, the following accommodations were offered to Currier:

* permission to express milk in a private room at the testing center during the allotted break time;
* permission to bring food and drink into the testing room;
* permission to pump milk while in her separate testing room;
* the option to leave the test center to breastfeed during the allotted time.

Jackie has some great insight/thoughts on this and I encourage you to read her post on it. In addition, Jackie has also posted about the new study that was released that shows that breastfeeding infants may end up not being such picky eaters after all, from the article she provides the following quote:

"Whether you are breast-feeding or formula-feeding, once you start introducing a food, make sure you offer your baby opportunities to eat fruits and vegetables. They need to taste them to learn to like them."

I would say that my experience has been fairly similar. Sure, there are some foods that my 2 year prefers over others, but hell's bells - there are foods that even I prefer over others. In the White People Food category, my son loves Greek yogurt, rice, fries, pizza, cauliflower, stinky cheeses, tomatoes, avocado, and all fruits. In the Indian Food category, he loves just about anything South Indian and he likes some things North Indian. We mostly cook South Indian at home and he has rarely turned away a veggie cooked South Indian. One of his favorites is a specialty from my husband's state of Kerala. It is a fish with red sauce that is comprised of spices, onions, and a stinky, pulpy fruit similar to tamarind called kodumpuly. It does not matter which sort of fish we cook with, my son will eat it.

Does my son eat such a variety because we were open to shoving such different things in his mouth? Or is it because he was breastfeed exclusively? Or did we just luck out? I will never know for sure, but as I am on the cusp of starting solid foods with Anjali, I have been thinking back to the lessons I learned with Arun. First and foremost, I am not sure how much I will mess with cereal. What a waste of time, effort and money. And canned jars of baby food? Again with the time, effort, and money. With Arun, I was a New Mom and had it in my thick skull that babies eat cereal and baby food. Now, I am not necessarily wiser, but not foolish enough to have Best Laid Plans. When Anjali turns 6 months old, I will attempt to give her some things, but am not going to stress about it.

My doctor said it best: "Solids before 12 months is a skill to be learned not a nutritional requirement."

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Last Wednesday, Miss Thang clocked in at 16 lbs, 3 oz. I celebrate every ounce because she will need them when she starts crawling. I remember when Arun began crawling and his weight pretty much stalled for the next 3 months, which freaked me out. That was when I really needed the lactation consultant and her constant assurances that Arun was fine, just fine.

One thing I feel compelled to discuss are bowel movements. Generally, I avoid these discussions because hello! BORING. However, Anjali's frequency of BM is so radically different than Arun's that I am still having a hard time not worrying. Arun had a stool about every day, often several times a day. He had very few blowouts and occasionally a leak here and there. However, my precious girl? Has a stool about once a week. Truly. No joke. No exaggeration. Once a week. At first, it was a constant source of worry for me. I am finally okay with it and have accepted that this is just her body's way of dealing. I am posting about this specifically to assure other parents in this boat that yes, breastfeeding babies can only have stools once a week. It is perfectly okay as long as the baby is not straining as if constipated and if the consistency/color seem normal.

However, it is very frustrating because we are at a point where nearly every single BM is a blowout that leads to a Clothing Catastrophe. Particularly, if she is in the carseat Oh My God...... When we are home, I can usually jump to the rescue and prevent such fashion tragedies.

Overall, I am tired of throwing away perfectly good outfits.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Doesn't Miss a Meal

Today, we had Anjali's 4 month appointment - she weighs 15 lbs, 9 oz and is about 25.5 inches. All of that came from me and my girls. We did that!

However, I feel it should be clear that I am not proud that I breastfeed exclusively. I am relieved....... grateful.....appreciative. With my life situation as it is, breastfeeding is much more convenient and economic. Formula would be a hardship in many ways for us. So, I do consider it a sort of gift that my body stepped up to the plate and did what biology had figured out in its grand plan. Um, not only that, but that I have no other reasons not to breastfeed.

Today, at the doctor's office, I saw the receptionist who is due this Friday with her first baby. Folks, when you have your children a mere 20 months apart, you get to know the kindly sort of people at your doctor's office quite well. This receptionist has been a total sweetie to me these past 2 years, and in particular recently with paying special attention to Arun during some difficult appointments when I was pregnant with Anjali. I love this gal, J, and have been excitedly following her own pregnancy. A few weeks back, I dropped off a small gift because I was anxious that she might have the baby before Anjali's appointment this week.

So, on Wednesday all was fine with J - she is very tired and very ready for her son to just get here already. That day while in the office, I mentioned that our hospital has a breastfeeding support group and that I do attend it - if she wanted to attend it also, I will be there. She told me that she would only get to breastfeed for the first 2 days because she has multiple sclerosis. As it was, it is a miracle her baby is okay because she got pregnant while on the medication she normally takes for the MS. She will not be able to breastfeed because of that medication.

It was a moment that gave me pause because I do take breastfeeding for granted. And J just happened to remind me that it would not hurt me to be a little thankful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It is YOU?

Anju has started this thing the past week where she will pull off while nursing, look around, and then notice me. Her face is a mix of amusement, amazement and fascination. As if she only just realized I have been the Gal Behind the Boobs all this time.

In other news, there are articles abounding on the gene that links Breastfeeding to IQ - apparently, a specific gene can allow for better metabolism of fatty acids in the breastmilk.
The gene in question helps break down fatty acids from the diet, which have been linked with brain development. Seven points difference is enough to put the child in the top third of the class, the researchers said.

In the past people have had different results about whether breastfeeding improves IQ and this would sort out the reason why. Some 90% of people carry the version of the gene which was associated with better IQ scores in breastfed children.

I thought this was simply interesting. That is all. Of course, now it is allowing for snarky comments via the comments section of the article - comments such as "More scare tactics! Breastfeeding isn't for every woman and in fact some babies get on better with a bottle."

I am not breastfeeding in the hopes that I get granted a little Baby Einstein. I am breastfeeding to simply feed my baby. It is free, healthy and it is formulated just for her.

That is a no-brainer to me. Of course, I was formula-fed. Whatever.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Suspect There Has Been a Coverup

Yet again, a nursing mother has been harassed for not covering while breastfeeding.
Cheryl Cruz, who as of Friday was still on vacation in Florida, said she took her children, including her 10-month-old daughter, Kalli, to Universal on Wednesday when she was approached by an employee. "We were just in the park sitting down and I was breast-feeding Kalli, and a park employee came over and said to me I have to cover up or I will be escorted out of Universal Studios," Cruz said. Cruz said a group of security guards surrounded her and she felt scared, humiliated and belittled.

I think long-time readers will remember that I used to be an advocate of covering up. "Cover thyself", I used to preach. Then, I went on to give birth to my 2nd child and ultimately, my brain. Having a baby in July meant that half the time, I forgot to pack a light blanket whenever I left the house. And I also quickly realized that covering with a blanket IN JULY actually brought more attention to me. I also realized that even while whipping out my maternal goods to feed my baby, I was still more covered up than most of the pretty young things prancing around in bikini tops, tank tops and shortie short shorts.

Besides, what kind of freak covers up with a blanket in JULY? Not me.

Anymore, that is.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pump and Dump Slump

Yesterday, I actually considered doing a Pump n' Dump for a malt.

Yes, you read that correctly. A malt. A vanilla malt, preferably.

Dairy, Greek gyros, and even my beloved Thai lhad na ga pow simply tears my baby girl up. I sort of feel sorry for her, but I also feel sorry for me. I would love to take advantage of these extra calories I am burning and treat myself to a freakin' malt.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

There is No Truth in Numbers

As this article suggests, it may be that breastfeeding does not cause your girls to sag, after all. According to a study presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2007 conference in Baltimore:

"Many women who come in for breast surgery tell us their breasts are sagging, drooping or are less full because they breastfed," said Brian Rinker, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study author. "Although the amount of sagging in the breasts appears to increase with each pregnancy, we've found that breastfeeding does not worsen the effect."

The study examined 93 women who were pregnant one or more times prior to having cosmetic breast surgery. Fifty-eight percent of patients reported breastfeeding one or more of their children. The duration of breastfeeding ranged from 2 to 25 months, with an average of nine months. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported an adverse change in the shape of their breasts following pregnancy.

As the first study to examine what impacts breast shape in connection to pregnancy, plastic surgeons found that a history of breastfeeding, the number of children breastfed, the duration of each child's breastfeeding, or the amount of weight gained during pregnancy were not significant predictors for losing breast shape. However, body mass index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history, and age were significant risk factors for an increased degree of breast sagging.

Frankly, I was not particularly impressed with a study of 93 women. That seems hardly indicative of a population size.
Truthfully, I do not care if I become a bit of a saggy hag after I am done with the breastfeeding business.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Size Matters

My daughter is 3.5 months old. Last week, she weighed 14 lbs, 15 oz. Whee! I am so excited that she is gaining weight at such a steady pace. It is still amazing to me that my body provided that sustenance for her.


I am frequently getting comments about her weight, how she looks "bigger" for her age, how she is a "big girl", how she will "slim down" once she starts crawling. Why does this bother me?

Because she only weighs one ounce more than my son at the same age. ONE ounce!

Yet, I rarely got such comments about my son's weight. Oh no, folks commented on his hair, his big eyes or how healthy and husky he was. Rarely about his weight.

Good grief - my poor girl is just over 3 months old and already has to worry about her waistline?? This after I was told by a variety of folks throughout my pregnancy that Anjali would probably weigh less than Arun since girls are "always smaller".

I am calling bullshit on this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Here, There, Everywhere.

Yessiree, folks. It is that time of the Post-Partum Year. You are innocently taking a shower, minding your own damned business while rinsing conditioner out of your hair when you notice that big, huge, clumps of your lovely locks are also being rinsed. And even though this is my 2nd go around with this, it is still a little horrifying. Oh My God. There is hair EVERYWHERE. Fortunately, this is perfectly normal at around 3-4 months post-partum and it is NOT caused by breastfeeding, either. According to Kellymom,
Postpartum hair loss is a normal - and temporary - postpartum change that is unrelated to breastfeeding. Most women will return to their usual hair growth cycle between 6 and 12 months after birth.

In other news, there is a wonderful article about co-sleeping titled Shhh...My Child Is Sleeping (in My Bed, Um, With Me)"
in the New York Times. As it states, co-sleeping:

".....is far more common than many people think. Nearly 13 percent of parents in the United States slept with their infants in 2000, up from 5.5 percent in 1993, according to a report last month in the journal Infant and Child Development. Countless children start the night in their own beds, only to wake up a few hours later and pad into their parents’ bedrooms, crawling into the bed or curling up nearby on the floor.

Ask parents if they sleep with their kids, and most will say no. But there is evidence that the prevalence of bed sharing is far greater than reported. Many parents are “closet co-sleepers,” fearful of disapproval if anyone finds out, notes James J. McKenna, professor of anthropology and director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame."

This was a pretty standard, catch-all co-sleeping article, but I thought it was still interesting to read. In particular, I LOVE the title and the fact that it addressed the perceived shame/embarrassment parents feel when having to "admit" they co-sleep. I still suffer a bit from this embarrassment, even 2 years later.

Also, I would like to clarify something - yes, I am a huge co-sleeping advocate. However, I cannot claim that co-sleeping is always easy. It is not. There are some nights when I wish my kids would just sleep by themselves already. Furthermore, we are having a tremendous amount of trouble getting my son to sleep these days. Let me stress the "getting to sleep" part, once he is asleep, he is doing fine. It is the "getting there" that is pushing us to some dark, dark places. It could be a lot of things - he is hitting a developmental explosion of language. He is cutting some molars. He has a new sister. He just started a Mother's Day Out program a month ago. And he is two. Did I mention that? I am not sure what the solution is, but I will say that co-sleeping has totally saved our sanity. It is hard enough to deal with all of this, I cannot imagine doing it sleep deprived.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nutrionally Deficient

Bah Humbug. This is like the 3rd or 4th time that I have heard Allison Sweeney, the Days of Our Lives star and host of the Biggest Loser, go on and on about infant nutrition and in the same breath mention Gerber. Coincidence? No, she is a spokesperson for Gerber. For example, in the interview, she says:

He almost never has processed sugar, but we always have fresh fruits around. And I love that the Graduates snacks are his favorites because they are so easy to take with me on the go, because it's also important to have a snack available so that a) he doesn't get moody! And b) we aren't stuck with needing to get fast-food.


Ben loves peas and corn. Gerber taught me that you have to let them try foods at least 10 times if not more before they might grow to like certain foods, so not to give up too easily.

I wish I had something profound to say, but I do not. I simply find it sad and false for a celebrity to use what is purported to be a personal interview as a vehicle to pimp a product.

Friday, October 12, 2007


In our house, we have 3 types of milk:
Mama's milk
Cow's milk

Part of me feels as if I should just say "milk" for my own milk, but I also do not want to create any confusion when he is out and about.

In other news, I was lying on my side on the floor playing with Arun the other night. He ran over my nipple with his car.

Oh. My. God. The agony. It is a good thing he is weaned because I suspect Right Girl will be holding a grudge over this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Feed me!

I have my own little Audrey Jr. in the house these days.

When one says "experienced" mom, it only means you know slightly more than you did the 1st time around. And not much more. Trust me on this, Grasshopper.

My sweet, adorable, easy-going baby morphed into a fussy, demanding little gremlin overnight conveniently as her daddy boarded an airplane for a week-long business trip. Her behaviour had me totally baffled until my friend Mojavi pointed out that Anjali was probably hitting her 3 month growth spurt.

Lightbulb? It is On, baby.

Kellymom has some great info on this and yes, it appears that Anjali is probably in the throes of her 3 month growth spurt. The site also mentions this can happen when a baby is hitting a new developmental milestone. Can you say "rolling over", kiddies? She has been able to get to her side quite easily for awhile now, but is working on the stomach. I feel like telling her to not bother because that would just only serve to piss her off. Particularly considering how she loathes tummy time anyway.....

However, babies these days? Do not listen to their mothers.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Taking Sides

Which side do you prefer to nurse on?

Personally, I prefer my Right Girl. For whatever reason, when I am nursing Anjali while galavanting around the house, this leaves my left hand free to do things like surfing the web, opening doors for cats, stirring cooking pots, answering phones, handling remote controls, sending text messages, turning pages on open books, and feeding ravenous toddlers. I also like nursing on my Right Girl while sleeping. I will even "schedule" nursing on my Left Girl to ensure that we will be ready for the Right Girl to pony up the nighttime nursing so that I can snooze for that 5am feeding. Because Sleep? She is Sacred.

However, I am a right handed. It seems sort of weird that I would prefer my left hand to be free while my Right Girl is busy. Odd.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Got Milk?

Holy crap, Batman. I was pumping on Saturday while reading a book. I looked down and had well over 5 ounces. I do not pump very often, so I was a little shocked.

So, we gave Anjali her first bottle that evening. It actually went okay. Our son only took a bottle under extreme duress or from my cousin the babysitter. So, we have been scarred from that experience and dreaded giving Anjali a bottle. However, Anjali is quickly earning her title as The Easy Baby and took well to the bottle as well. She sucked down 2 ounces like nobody's business.

It may seem odd that we waited 12 weeks to give Anju her first bottle, but really, we had no reason to hassle with it otherwise. However, in a few weeks I have a social event coming up that I would really prefer to go to sans progeny, so it is best to start with the bottle now.

Here are some tips for giving your baby a bottle. These are my tips, nothing "expert". If you have any to offer, I am most certainly open to ideas.
  1. Do not wait until the baby is ravenous, begin with the bottle about the time the baby is just getting hungry.
  2. It is best if someone other than the nursing mother give the bottle. Trust me on this. It is even better if the nursing mother can leave the room.
  3. When inserting the nipple of the bottle, point it towards the baby's palate to urge/stimulate the baby to suck.
  4. Try feeding the baby while the baby is sitting in a bouncy chair or highchair. This is the one that will drive grandmothers NUTS because they want to HOLD the baby. However, if a baby is being held while eating, he/she may expect her mother. My husband always had the best luck while our son was in the bouncy chair.
  5. If possible, borrow nipples/bottles from friends, then you will have a wide selection to test to figure out which your baby takes best rather than investing a chunk of change in one kind.

Here are some other great links for bottle feeding.
Dr. Sears
BabyCentre UK (Yes, this is the UK site, which I have always preferred to the US site, quite frankly. It is in the "formula" section, but still has good tips for breastfeeders. Particularly someone like me who little experience giving babies bottles)

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Littlest Foodie of All

I have been neglectful of this space, but I thought I would just check in with this:

One memory that I will always treasure from my days of breastfeeding is that of a little hairy noggin totally scoping my breasts with his/her nose while snorting and snuffing until he/she gets latched on and that relief of my milk letting down. Then, oh then.....the little noises of contentment and soft noises of swallowing and sucking. Those sweet, lovely, precious noises. That is what I will treasure most from these breastfeeding days. Always.

I love that this early on, my babies can totally enjoy their food source and that it can also be a source of comfort without worrying for potential need for therapy or Weight Watchers in the future. My son was a total Foodie when it came to Mama's Milk and nursed to 15 months....but now? He is a perfectly independent toddler who loves his food on a plate and thinks a fork is fucking COOL, yo.

Do not ever let anyone act like your child can become too "attached" to your breast. Instead, cherish it for what is is.

Nature at its very brightest.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Not Forgotten

I have not forgotten this place. In short, Arun is cutting 2 year molars and I am working on a project for my husband's new business he is building. I was very disappointed that I could not submit something for the Breastfeeding Carnival on Sleep. I had a draft I was working on, but ironically, two straight nights of Twin Terrors fighting the entire subject of sleep left me with no time to finish it. Again, the irony is killing me softly. Sigh.

Regarding "not posting", the other quandary I have is this: I am not sure what the crossover is in the readership here in relation with the power bloggers. I am assuming that if you read this site, you are reading other breastfeeding bloggers as well. I try my best to not post the same material and it is frustrating sometimes. Last Friday, as I went to bed, I had grandiose plans to post about Bill Maher and his breastfeeding diatribe that I had just watched live, but The Lactivist had already posted about it by Saturday. No, it is not a competition, but rather my desire to not send duplicate topics to everyone's feed readers.

Anyway, in other news...........
Sophie Currier lost her case - the Brookline MA medical student had sued to be allowed extra time to pump breast milk while taking the medical board exam. She must take and pass the exam before she can graduate and begin a residency program.

In a three-page opinion, Norfolk Superior Court Judge Patrick Brady said Currier could still find a way to expel her milk during the test or on regularly scheduled breaks.

"The plaintiff may take the test and pass, notwithstanding what she considers to be unfavorable conditions," Brady wrote. "The plaintiff may delay the test, which is offered numerous times during the year, until she has finished her breast-feeding and the need to express milk."

Currier�s lawyer, Christine Smith Collins, said she will appeal the decision to a state court of appeals judge, who could still issue a ruling before Currier takes the exam next Monday.

I am a licensed CPA and have taken the CPA exam -- therefore, I feel for Currier. To face a grueling test and to have to worry about pumping and not disrupting my milk supply? I cannot imagine. I find it difficult to believe that the exam board could not find a way to accommodate her in a way that would have served as a disadvantage to others taking the exam.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

AAP Approved Medicines for Nursing Mothers

I have had an upset stomach all day and for the first time in years, Pepto-Bismol appeared to be in order.

Or not.

According to Kelly Mom via the Selected List of Medications approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers, Pepto-Bismol is NOT approved for breastfeeding mothers. Crap. Of course, I bothered to look this up AFTER I had already taken 2 doses. Timed with the nursing sessions and the doses (which were spaced far apart), Anjali will be fine. However, this is an excellent reminder for all breastfeeding mothers to reconsider consuming even the most innocuous of medicines.

In other words, be not an idiot such as me. Cripes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It is not only your girls that need support.

Week 9
You may need support, too! All too often, new mothers spend scads of time hunting for the perfect nursing bra or post-partum clothing, but neglect to find support for the task of new motherhood, including breastfeeding.

So, I went to my hospital's breastfeeding support group yesterday. This is the same group that I attended for the first 13 months after Arun was born - in fact, I made a really, really good friend through the group. In attending that group, I realized how important it was for experienced moms to keep going even after they had breastfeeding down pat in order to support the new moms coming down the pike. I have only been once before with Anjali thus far - it is a little stressful to take Arun. He is so in love with his own "da bay-BEE" that to see even more "da bay-BEEs" is just too much temptation for his grubby fingers. Anyway, attending the group yesterday was awesome. There were a few other mothers there like me from the "Two Under Two" crowd. It was such a relief to hear I am not the only one whose patience is not her virtue. Also, there was another mother there whose baby is a Grazer like Anjali. It has been frustrating because Arun was such a quick eater, I am still not used to the lackadaisical effort Anjali puts into her meals. It takes longer to feed her and I have really fouled up scheduling more than once by not allowing enough time to take care of her nursing needs. Anyway, I am definitely going to be attending the group regularly and it will be easier once Arun begins his nursery school. I specifically put him in Wednesday mornings so I could attend the breastfeeding support group.

Overall, things are going well. Anjali weighs a whopping 12 lbs, 10 oz. It is absolutely awe-inspiring to think that my body magically produced the nutrition for her like that. All I had to do was eat healthily and make the commitment to feed her regularly. I am very grateful for my body in that respect when I see so many other mothers struggle with their milk supply. I try not to take it for granted.

Mood wise, I am doing okay. The past week, I have seen glimpses of my Old Self. The same gal who before this most recent pregnancy was very excited to take on Life. I am still planning on not taking the Zoloft because I feel this is a very mild/moderate depression anyway. I wish I could go into details, but the short version is that some of the side effects coupled with my personal and family history had me concerned. I would rather deal with the demon I can see, rather than one who may or may not show his face.

I want to be clear, very clear, that I am not against Zoloft or any other anti-depressant. If I were to give advice on the topic of post-partum depression, I would only urge you to take it seriously, push back any shame you may feel and to discuss it carefully with your doctor, your partner and yourself. What are your risk factors? How severe is your depression? Do you feel you are at risk for harming yourself or others? And finally, what are you comfortable with facing? I was simply more comfortable facing what I could already see. That's all.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dandelion Whine.

Formula companies strike again.

This Washington Post article details how the Human and Health Services department toned down a series of ads that promoted breastfeeding after the powerful formula company lobby pressured them to do so.
In an attempt to raise the nation's historically low rate of breast-feeding, federal health officials commissioned an attention-grabbing advertising campaign a few years ago to convince mothers that their babies faced real health risks if they did not breast-feed. It featured striking photos of insulin syringes and asthma inhalers topped with rubber nipples.

Plans to run these blunt ads infuriated the politically powerful infant formula industry, which hired a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and a former top regulatory official to lobby the Health and Human Services Department. Not long afterward, department political appointees toned down the campaign.

The ads ran instead with more friendly images of dandelions and cherry-topped ice cream scoops, to dramatize how breast-feeding could help avert respiratory problems and obesity. In a February 2004 letter (pdf), the lobbyists told then-HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson they were "grateful" for his staff's intervention to stop health officials from "scaring expectant mothers into breast-feeding," and asked for help in scaling back more of the ads.

Again, I don't judge mothers that use formula, but I DO judge formula companies and their nefarious corporate practices.

I also came across this OpEd piece that had some fun snarky commentary on our society talking about breastfeeding titled Talking About (Blush) Breastfeeding:

Meanwhile the nation’s mothers spend nearly $3 billion on breast milk substitutes. Not needing breasts any longer to protect kids’ health, they merrily spend another $1 billion on enhancing them, so they look great.

All with the encouragement of your friendly Bush administration and their consumer-friendly motto:

Better Things for Better Living Through Dissembling.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Zoloft and Breastfeeding

I am still not convinced that taking Zoloft is the way to go for me since I am fairly certain this will pass eventually. I would rather ride it out by trying the diet and exercise route before committing to something more serious. Frankly, I hesitated even posting about it, but decided to go ahead in light of the long history of women struggling alone.

There is no shame in numbers.

I'd like to personally thank Andi from Mama Knows Breast for sending me some awesome linkage about taking Zoloft while breastfeeding (Note: the search cannot be directly linked to because it expires. My search string was "breastfeeding and Zoloft"). She also mentioned that Dr. Thomas Hale, a pharmacology expert, had ranked it an L2 drug (L1 being safest, L5 being the most unsafe). I found this link on Kellymom regarding Dr. Hale's view on Zoloft. Also, Jen at The Lactivist also has some great information regarding breastfeeding and Zoloft. In short, taking Zoloft while breastfeeding appears to be safe for both mother and child - obviously, you would need to discuss this with your doctor if contemplating this path.

Regardless, I am comforted knowing that if things get worse and I don't feel I can go it alone that Zoloft will be an option.

Depression: It's depressing.

When I first learned that Owen Wilson had attempted suicide, my heart went out to him. I am not a particular fan of Wilson's, but suicide attempts always, always get to me. Years ago, I went through some dark days myself. Therefore, I am well acquainted with that pressing sense of despair and loss of hope for the future. I remember lonely nights spent planning and contemplating. The Note was written, but not sent. Fortunately, I was able to work through it. And I certainly hope Wilson does.

One thing I am extremely grateful for in my life right now is my children and my husband. I don't think the days are going to darken to the extent where I will be writing The Note - I won't let it get to that extent because I DO have hope. After all, I see The Future every single day in a certain pair of brown-hazelish gemstone eyes. And now, a second set of eyes have upped the ante in this poker game of Life.

But still. The sadness lingers. I saw the doctor today for my post-partum checkup and it was a bit of a disaster coordinating the kids what with their crying and all. I ended up crying myself and I did admit that I've been struggling emotionally lately. Fortunately, my doctor knows me well enough to know when I am serious. At one point, I confessed that I feel guilty for being so damned sad when I don't have any real problems. I have several friends right now who do have real problems. Why am I being such a wimp about this? She pointed out that "depression doesn't know problems".

I left the office with a prescription for Zoloft.

I am not happy about this, but I am also not happy about being Not Happy. Still. I am hesitant to just immediately start popping pills. I looked at the side effects for Zoloft and am leery of some of them. I am going to think about it over the weekend, but at this point, I am thinking I would rather concentrate on getting my lifestyle in order with more exercise and better eating.

At a minimum, I think some chocolate covered Choxie Pistachios are in order.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are you sleeping?

Tanya at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog has an excellent post about a book by Dr. James McKenna's titled, Sleeping with Your Baby. It's a book chockful of useful facts about the benefits of co-sleeping. I've written many times about my ignorance of co-sleeping and my reluctance to embrace it before I had my son. However, once I learned the benefits of co-sleeping, I never looked back.

I can't express how incredibly important co-sleeping has been for me. In short, it's saved my sanity and these past few weeks as I've dealt with some major post-partum blues have only served to verify that for me. I'm through the tunnel now, but I can't even imagine how much worse it could have been had I been sleep deprived. The first week with Anjali was the usual tough one with a newborn - every feeding required a diaper change, she was still too small for me to nurse while lying down and I was still recovering the birth. However, since the 2nd week, I haven't really lost that much sleep unless we're suffering from colds or I eat Greek food or ice cream (which disturbs her tummy just as much as it did Arun's. Sigh.)

As rabid of a co-sleeping advocate I am, it's not that I think everyone should absolutely, positively sleep with their children. No. Quite the opposite - not everyone is cut out for it, even babies. For example, my younger sister could not, would not, sleep with my dad and step-mom. She simply slept best on her own despite their efforts to get her to sleep with them. However, I wish more folks would at least consider co-sleeping and at a minimum, become more knowledgeable. I am tired of the tragic stories being trafficked that portray co-sleeping as dangerous. I am tired of folks pressing their lips firmly together when I "confess" my co-sleeping sins.

I will definitely be reading this book. It's almost as if I see at my personal mission to help end the myths and ignorance that surround co-sleeping.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mama Knows Breast: A Book Review

Correction: Oops! There IS an index. My bad!

On Thursday, I received a copy of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding by Andi Silverman. By Friday evening, I had finished it after just two sittings.

In short, this is a quick, easy, interesting read that will make an excellent gift for a mother - new or experienced. The author has an engaging tone and a moderate, non-judgmental voice that should make any mother feel at ease, even if she ends up supplementing or not breastfeeding at all. I would feel totally comfortable giving this as a gift, without feeling pushy towards the mother.

The book is divided into 8 chapters that cover the topics of pros/cons, basic breastfeeding instructions, pumping/supply maintenance information, breastfeeding etiquette, spousal support, sex, public nursing, and finally, weaning. This little gem is small, compact and easily held in one hand. Despite its small size, it still can get you through the entire process of breastfeeding - from the first latch to the last.

There were a few things I found lacking. This book can't be used as an "end all, be all" reference - it covers the highlights, but it doesn't have an index (I am a total Index Whore - I love me a good index). To make up for the lack of an index, it does provide an ample list of extra online resources, though. I also was disappointed in the paragraph regarding co-sleeping - it was a few sentences, mostly which served to highlight the dangers, rather than the benefits. Considering that co-sleeping can go a long way in supporting a breastfeeding mother, I'd like to see more about this in a future edition.

However, overall, I just loved this book and declare it to be an Inhaler * . The illustrations are quirky and the text is light and humorous. I enjoyed that because breastfeeding can be very stressful, scary and downright painful to a new mother. Per my quick Amazon searches, there simply aren't any fun, positive books regarding breastfeeding. Who wants to read a textbook if they don't have to? I'd rather have a friend holding my hand - and this book does just that by walking you through it in a reassuring and comforting manner.

Again, I think this would be a great, unique gift for a mother planning to breastfeed, which is why I posted it here over at Rancid Raves as well as here.

1. A book so compelling or suspenseful that it must be consumed immediately in only a few sittings.
2. A book so easy and enjoyable to read that it can quickly be consumed in only a few sittings.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dear Diary: Nursing a newborn in public with a todder sorta sucks

Pun not intended.

I am totally comfortable breastfeeding in public. Do I relish it? For the most part, no. Oh sure, I have many pleasant memories of nursing my son in various parks and beaches. My favorite memories of public nursing are in San Francisco and Boston, for sure. However, nursing a newborn while keeping an eye on a 21 month toddler is vexing, to say the least. While Anjali is latched on for dear life, Arun is running around like a mad man. It becomes a very tenuous game of keeping him near me and keeping her latched on. It's not too bad for situations and places where I am familiar with the surroundings and can have a game plan. A particular childen's discovery center we go to, Wonderscope, has a toddler area that is contained. Arun can run free, but can't actually escape too far. I just plan to breastfeed while we are in that area. The malls are a bit trickier. We have one mall that has a nice nursing area in the Nordstrom's store. The problem is this - while I don't mind, I know gals who are not comfortable going into fancy-schmancy department stores and therefore, may be intimidated by using the Nordstrom's mother's room. The other mall nearby has a play area in the food court that is somewhat contained. However, it is crowded, noisy and often full of obnoxious kids not being supervised by their parents. Every single time I am there, I have to jump up at least a few times to save Arun from getting pummeled. And I do NOT feel comfortable nursing in my car in most places - even my local Target. I feel like a sitting duck for purse snatchers and carjackers. It doesn't help that 2 years ago, a guy died in our Target parking lot because a purse snatcher ran him over with a car.

Today was stressful - we went to the Children's Museum of Kansas City. Not only was there NO contained place to nurse Anjali, the museum is located in a mall as well. I was able to keep Arun contained in the stroller by chucking chunks of Larabar at him, but it was stressful once the Larabar was finished since I had forgotten to throw some Hot Wheels into the daypack.

Still, breastfeeding overall is easier to do while on the go. I can't imagine having to pack formula, bottles, etc. When we head out the door, I just pack water and a few Larabars in the daypack - then, we shoot out the door.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Two for the price of one

Caro has an excellent, entertaining post about the Unforeseen benefits of nursing a toddler through and beyond pregnancy.

Although my toddler weaned about 6 months before my newest kid was born, I was still able to relate to much of this post. She is correct in that the less amount of time there is between weaning and birth of the new child, that will translate into a smaller amount of time for your milk to come in. I nursed Arun into my 2nd trimester and my lactation consultant did tell me that my milk would come in earlier with Anjali - which it did. In Caro's case, there was NO time between weaning and birthing, so her milk came in a mere 18 hours after birth! Also, I think Caro is right in that there seems to be less nipple soreness with all the nursing so close together. That and the fact that an experienced mother has the latch and positioning down pat.

Anyway, it's very encouraging to see such a smooth transition for everyone involved!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Milky Way.

Bryan over at Sympathy Pain has linked to a great article on how we gals go about making breastmilk. Definitely go over to Bryan's site and check it out! The only comment I have about the article is that it says the following:
During the first days of nursing, you may feel some cramps in your abdomen as your baby sucks. This usually mild discomfort signals the release of oxytocin, which helps shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size.

Mild discomfort? That's putting it mildly!! For me, the initial cramping like that was VERY painful. Not quite as bad as early labor, but far worse than menstrual cramps.

Next, I want to discuss semantics - what do you call all the different kinds of milk in your house? We have soymilk, cow's milk and mama's milk. I want my son to be clear and as such, I call them all by their "proper" names. In a related note, he calls food in general by the word "bop-poo" (we think it stems from his word for "apple" which is "bappull"). Even before Anjali was born, he would point to my breasts and say "bop-poo", so we think he may remember or have an inkling that he used to eat from them, too. However, he calls ALL nipples "bop-poo", so the poor kid has A LOT to learn.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beer, Babes and Boobs

As I was writing a post about beer on another site, I realized that folks may question a breastfeeding mother who openly admits she consumes alcohol.

The La Leche League is very clear about its stance on alcohol consumption for a breastfeeding mother.

The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount the mother ingests. When the breastfeeding mother drinks occasionally or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, the amount of alcohol her baby receives has not been proven to be harmful.

Dr. Jack Newman, member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says this in his handout "More Breastfeeding Myths":

Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers.

Also, the ole "Pump n' Dump" maneuver is not needed. Your body produces milk in a quasi-JIT environment - pumping n' dumping does not get rid of the alcohol any faster:

As alcohol leaves the bloodstream, it leaves the breastmilk. Since alcohol is not "trapped" in breastmilk (it returns to the bloodstream as mother's blood alcohol level declines), pumping and dumping will not remove it. Pumping and dumping, drinking a lot of water, resting, or drinking coffee will not speed up the rate of the elimination of alcohol from your body.

Obviously, the message is not that a breastfeeding mother should go tie one on at her local pub. However, it seems clear to me that she should be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage of her choice while relaxing and watching the latest episode of her favorite polygamists. Say, a pint of Boulevard Lunar, perhaps?

Does your milk smell like soap?

Over the weekend, a breastfeeding friend of mine expressed concern that her milk smelled "soapy" - as if she hadn't rinsed out the bottle enough. I told her that she perhaps had an issue with the enzyme lipase and would need to scald the milk before freezing it. Unfortunately, that was ALL I could tell her - I didn't know what caused it, for example. So, of course, Dr. Google came to my rescue and directed me towards Kelly Mom. Basically, all human milk has lipase, but some of us gals simply have more of it - I've always suspected I had this issue, but since my son rarely took a bottle, I never bothered to worry about it much.

Anyway, per Kelly Mom, the solution is simple:

To scald milk:

* Heat milk to about 180 F (82 C), or until you see little bubbles around the edge of the pan (not to a full, rolling boil).
* Quickly cool and store the milk.

Scalding the milk will destroy some of the antiinfective properties of the milk and may lower some nutrient levels, but this is not likely to be an issue unless all of the milk that baby is receiving has been heat-treated.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Five Breastfeeding Mistakes

My husband had told me about this article, but failed to send the link. Which, hello - not helpful. Then, my friend Alicia thoughtfully sent it - thank you! Because these fingers are too lazy to start walking all over CNN.com in search of the article. Know what I mean?

Anyway, the article highlights some common breastfeeding mistakes - here are the "short n' sweets". The article provides more details.....

Mistake 1: Moms go it alone
Solution: Get out of the house -- fast

Mistake 2: Moms forget about their successful breast-feeding friends
Solution: Invite one over

Mistake 3: Moms assume they don't have enough milk
Solution: Rethink your baby's nursing behavior

Mistake 4: Moms get intimidated breast-feeding in public
Solution: Have snappy comebacks at the ready

Mistake 5: Moms panic when milk doesn't gush out
Solution: Realize that at the very beginning, you're not going to see a lot of milk

After reading this, it highlighted even more so how fortunate I was in my experience. Not only did I have my sister, but I also had a good friend who was active in her Leche League group - both my sister and my friend were just a phone call away. Even if I had not had such awesome lactation consultants at my hospital, I was still a bit ahead of the game in the way of support.

In short, if you are a new mother the moral of the story is "Buddy Up to Your Buddies".

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Breastfeeding Style

In one of my favorite Wise Baby Tomes, Baby 411, the author explains 5 different breastfeeding styles on page 100:
1. The Barracuda - This little guy attacks the breast and gets down to business. Mom's nipples sometimes pay the price for this style. Be prepared.

2. The Excited Ineffective - Yes, this is the baby who is so excited to eat that he loses his latch. Calming, then reattempting to latch helps until baby figures out the routine.

3. The Procrastinator - The baby who waits until the milk lets down to bother with eating. There is no rush. Be patient and keep trying.

4. The Gourmet - She must mouth the nipples, have a taste test, then begin. Again, there is no need to rush. Let her do her thing.

5. The Rester - He takes his own sweet time. He eats for a few minutes, rests, then continues. He will eventually finish the meal and eat well but you can encourage him by rubbing his back or head.

My son was a Barracuda. He always got right down to business and ate quite quickly. Anjali? Um, not so much. She is definitely a Rester. Couple this with the fact that she likes to comfort nurse and basically, she would be happy to just suck ALL DAY LONG. It's been an adjustment for me, to say the least. There's been several times when I've pulled her off and got ready to head out the door when she made it quite clear that she was NOT done eating. I am still learning that I need to give her PLENTY o' time to do her business.

Totally Tangential: Regarding Wise Baby Tomes, I also swear by Toddler 411. Toddler 411 continues where Baby 411 leaves off - hands down, these two books are the ones I would own if I could only have two. They have absolutely everything you need for your child up to about kindergarten in 2 concise volumes that are easy to read, entertaining (you'll laugh out loud) and most importantly, are conveniently organized as a reference tool. The overall tone of these two books is that of a "Hey, you'll be okay, Grasshopper." -- a tone that is comforting and reassuring.

My other favorite parenting tome is the excellent The Science of Parenting - I enjoy this book because I am fascinated by the biology of what's going on with babies and toddlers. There are often valid reasons for what they do simply because their little brains and nervous systems are still developing, yet we desperately want them to act like little, logical adults. This book goes a long way in explaining why parents need to manage their expectations regarding what their Precious Progeny is actually capable of doing at their particular developmental stages.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Good Grief

This article covers the recent controversy with Katie Price giving an interview where she totally puts down breastfeeding. The article includes photos of Katie feeding her baby with a specific brand of formula which apparently, violates a UK law where the promotion of formula for children under 6-months of age is prohibited. In the OK! article, Price is quoted as saying

It's brilliant -- I have 20 crates of teats and bottles. I don't have to sterilize or heat anything, you literally take the teat out of the pack, screw it on, throw it away. I don't care what people say - you don't have to breast-feed. They gave me a tablet that dries your milk up so my boobs haven't hurt or leaked or anything. I don't want a baby drinking from me -- the thought of it makes me feel really funny. I think only a certain person could handle my knockers!

Good grief, for someone who is supposed to be comfortable with her body image, this reeked of issues. Normally, I put these articles underneath "celebrating celebrities" but frankly, there is nothing to be celebrated in such a piece. It makes me angry to think of how many young girls who idolize Price will be reading this article and will come away with a negative image of breastfeeding.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Growing up

Last night, I went to the La Leche League fundraiser to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. I didn't know a soul there, but at a minimum, I thought my son would have fun. We had a great time and I met some new people. I will definitely be looking into joining one of the chapters in my area.

Before I had children of my own, I had a distorted perception of the La Leche League. Some of this perception was based on media, some based on personal experiences. By the time I figured out that the League would actually be a good fit for me, I was already involved in the breastfeeding support group at my hospital. I didn't really have the time to get involved in something else an the support group was enough for me. However, this time around with my daughter, the support group at my hospital probably won't work for us unless I can get my son into a specific day for his mother's day out program. Simply, it's too difficult to drag an active toddler to the support group. The support group is comprised mostly of new mothers and frankly, most new mothers are leery of a grabby toddler around their newborns. I understand that and to be respectful, don't feel comfortable taking Arun there now. So, I will be looking into the La Leche League as an alternative. And after last night's activity, am looking forward to joining something new.

I wonder what other ill-conceived perceptions have held me back from new experiences?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Look at what the Stork brought in.

Stork magazine has a very cool article with photos featuring model Jessica Hebert breastfeeding her daughter. My favorite photo is the one of Jessica and her daughter with both of them completely naked. It was so artfully done and is simply beautiful.

Stork also has a great article titled Latching on to a Lactation Consultant which provides helpful information for finding a good consultant. As the articles states,

You may want to consider some of the following questions: Can you relate to this person, either in terms of personality or lifestyle or both? Do you feel you connect with this person and that she understands a bit about who you are as a person? If she runs a support group, attend that group once when you are still pregnant. Observe the types of questions that are asked and the answers the consultant gives. Does she really listen to the women in the group? Does she seem to give individualized advice or generalized bits of information to the new mothers? Much like a great personal trainer, a good consultant will help you define your breastfeeding style and meet your breastfeeding goals. She should be confident, creative, considerate and cheer you on. Don’t settle for less than that at this fragile time.

I can't agree more with the premise that you should find someone with whom you click. I've heard so many stories about new mothers not getting along with their LC and that can really hamper a new mother's efforts towards breastfeeding. I was fortunate in that I really got on quite well with both of the consultants at my hospital - I can't imagine how much more stressful it could have been had I not cared for them.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A few good things.

The Pool
Remember the baby pool? Well, we have a winner! Bethany of Ice Cream Mama came in with the correct guess of 8 lbs, 1 oz. It's a damned shame that ice cream doesn't ship well because we have two awesome local ice cream places here. Congrats, Bethany and I will be contacting you for your particulars so that I can mail your non-melty-like prize. It will be lame, but hey, bragging rights are priceless, no?

NYC Hospitals Remove Formula Samples from Gift Bags
In support of World Breastfeeding Week, NYC hospitals took the forward step of removing formula samples from the free goodie bags that are dispensed to new mothers. As the article goes on to say:

Instead, new mothers will get a tote bag stuffed with disposable nursing pads, a mini-cooler for breast-milk bottles, and pint-sized T-shirts for the babies that proudly declare "I eat at mom's."


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

News Roundup

News Roundup
Here's an interesting article about pregnancy advice regarding alcohol consumption - it gives a nice perspective of how some Europeans regard the issue.

An article on Why Women Don't Nurse Longer. A pretty standard article that lists all the usual reasons.

And great scott - here's yet another article about co-sleeping. Confession time: These articles piss me off (is that language allowed here???). Sleeping with my children feels so right and natural - it boggles my mind how the "experts" declare it to be unsafe. Yes, have some common sense - don't crowd your kid out with comforters and pillows, don't go to bed drunk and if you are heavily overweight, don't sleep with your children. But for the rest of us? Co-sleeping can go MILES in comforting parents AND babies. These days, I can't even remember when Anjali wakes up. I don't bother fumbling for my glasses to see the clock because that would be wasted effort. I roll over when she squawks, get her latched on and she begins nursing. At some point, I must pull her off because by the time the sun rises, she is no longer attached to my breast. And truly - I love waking up and seeing her little face furrowed in sleep. Precious. Simply precious. Also, for the record, my own doctor is 100% on board with co-sleeping and even admitted that she thinks parents should sleep with their children, but she would never push that opinion on her patients.

It makes me sad to think of how many parents are afraid to sleep with their own children because of articles such this.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

World Breastfeeding Week

I realize I've been a little self-absorbed these past few weeks. ...ahem.... I've been meaning to mention that World Breastfeeding Week is starting tomorrow, but again - the self-absorption..... Anyway, World Breastfeeding Week starts August 1st and will continue through August 7th - an entire week in which our breasts can reign supreme. Here are some great links regarding the coming week's events:

  • The World Breastfeeding Week official site explains the premise of the week itself.
  • The La Leche League site for the week's events as listed state by state. This year's theme is the Power of One - for example, breastfeeding within the 1st hour of birth leads to greater success. There is an event in my area at a local children's museum and I am thinking that would be a great activity for us this Sunday evening.
  • Andi at Mama Knows Breast is reporting that Colleen at My Baby and More is challenging folks to give away their breastfeeding books via Bookcrossing. What a cool idea for passing along knowledge.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Little Things

Around Friday, I could definitely detect a downswing in my mood. No, I'm not talking post-partum depression, but I was afraid I was facing a case of the Baby Blues. It hasn't gotten too bad and I am just trying to keep on top of it so that it doesn't get the best of me. How do I do that? It's the little things. Everyday, I make a few goals for myself - it might be just a small laundry list of household chores and errands, but for me, having a definable list of things to do makes me feel good. To accomplish a small set of things allows me to relax later in the day when they are finished. I also bought a load of Choxie Chocolates when I was at Target - quality chocolate for not a large price. They come in small packages, so I don't go overboard - a few pieces here and there with a glass of milk is a treat, but not a guilt-laden one. On Saturday, I bought some flowers - nothing expensive, they were $9 and the type to last at least a week. I am doing my best to keep the house reasonably clean because I know a mess gets me down - really DOWN. I've been scheduling outings with friends and family. I've also been carving time for my favorite hobbies that relax me - my books and my knitting. Conversely, I've limited my TV time and let the DVR fill up because I know that TV generally doesn't make me feel good.

And most importantly, I am making a point to just sit and hang out with my kids. When I am breastfeeding, I really use that time to talk to my son (even if he is watching TV, I'll talk about what is going on in the program), read books to him or just snuggle with both of them. This is when I really, really appreciate being able to exclusively breastfeed, because it forces me to sit down and focus on my kids. The dishes, laundry and the bazillion other things can wait.

So, no - I don't see post-partum depression lingering, but possibly some garden-variety Baby Blues. This happened with my son and I know from experience that it needs to be cut at the quick before it takes over. And for me, it's the little things that keep my head above water while I tread the current moves me to safer water.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Weight of the World

One of the benefits touted regarding breastfeeding is the fact that it can help you lose your baby weight more quickly. With my son, I gained 22 lbs and was back to my pre-pregnancy weight by 3 weeks post-partum. With my daughter, I gained 19.5 lbs and am back to my pre-pregnancy weight at 2 weeks post-partum. However, the body does get all "shifty" on you after having a baby AND my uterus still has not shrunk all the way. I'd be a liar if I didn't say the capris I am wearing aren't a teeny bit snug. Still, I can't complain. To be able to shed maternity clothes this early in the game is a HUGE boost for tackling the Baby Blues Funk I feel coming on. More about that next week.........

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Trapped, Wrapped

I really appreciated the honesty in the comments in my "Trapped" post. Unfortunately, I honed in on the breastfeeding aspect without looking at the big picture. Your comments made me think more about the issue and what I take for granted - the fact that I do feel comfortable nursing in public and that I am a bit of a homebody anyway.

Oh, and talk about feeling trapped. I've been trying to write this post for some time now and have written most of it with my left hand only at a snail's pace since my right arm has been occupied for most of the afternoon. And holy cow. The other kid just woke up as the new kid just fell asleep. Trapped? Perhaps.

By the way, I like my crow with a side of garlic roasted mashed potatoes, please.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One day at a time.

Today is one of those days where both kids are totally tag teaming me. Seriously. It's not that bad, but it's rare that I have both hands free enough to actually TYPE.

Something meandering in my brain is this:
I was reading a blog of a 20 something gal who is really cool. She was posting about her co-worker keeping breastmilk in the lunchroom fridge and the blogger was seriously grossed out by it. I replied (politely, I think) that it could be considered that cow's milk could be just as gross - have you ever been to a dairy farm? I had a grade school friend who lived on one and I can report there's some nasty stuff going on with the whole bovine thing. Now, if you also read this blogger, please don't mention who it is because I don't want loads of folks flocking to her site (I am emailing her to tell about this post, so NO, there's nothing passive aggressive going on here either), but I think it definitely highlights how serious the Ick Factor is for the general public regarding breastfeeding. The whole thing made me sad.

And sadder yet to realize I probably would have had the same reaction in my swingin' single girl days.

damn. i am back to one-handed typing now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I came across an article about how breastfeeding can contribute to post-partum depression because a mother can feel "trapped" by all the demands of her new baby. Um, this article just made me sad. Yes, motherhood can make one feel trapped. Any new life change can make someone feel trapped - a new job, a new house, a new husband. But to lay so much blame on breastfeeding? For me, breastfeeding actually made me feel freer in many respects. When I rush out the door to run errands, all I need are diapers and a blanket. When I was traveling coast to coast with my son, I appreciated not having to worry about cups, bottles, formula. Regardless of how breastfeeding makes an individual feel, if a new mother feels trapped by breastfeeding what other aspects of motherhood will make her feel trapped? After all, Breastfeeding is just the very teeny tip of a monumental iceberg of Responsibility that motherhood brings.

Breastfeeding is temporary, much of everything else about motherhood is forever.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lukewarm Finale: Day 12, 13, 14

My weekend was totally hijacked by a certain boy wizard. I am going to rely heavily on bullets....

  • Anjali had a doctor's appointment today - the goal was to reach 8 lbs, 1 oz (her birthweight) by this date - she weighed 8lb, 9oz. If that isn't proof the breastfeeding is going well, I'm not not sure what is. At this point, she is nursing steadily through the day every 2-3 hours. I top her tank off at 11:00pm before I go to bed, then she nurses again around 3:30am (which I mostly sleep through anyway), then she nurses again around 7:30am after which, I hop out of bed and get my precious, precious shower in for the day before Kid #2 starts squawking. I couldn't ask for a better schedule because I can function quite well on this sort of sleep.

  • After these first 2 weeks, the #1 lesson I would like to impart on new mothers is that yes, YES a good latch is important for decreasing nipple soreness. That and frequently rotating positions. I am still shocked at how little nipple soreness I had this time around and attribute it to proper latch and varied positions.

  • I'll admit, I am still disappointed that I never found a good solution for engorgement. Yes, there are ways to help relieve the discomfort and pain, but no true solutions, per se. Pumping helped, frequent nursing helped, baggies of cold water in my bra helped, ibuprofen helped..... However, the thing that helped me most was just knowing that it would go away after a day or two. That was it.

  • I wish I had some grand finale to wrap up this Two Week Diary with, but really - this second experience has been SO positive, that I am not sure what else I can write. How many times can I merrily say "Squee!!" before the eye-rolling commences? I am very grateful that breastfeeding has been easy for me - it's a gift that I try not to take for granted knowing that many gals out there struggle with it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

No Worries: Day 11

Regarding the odd bleeding, I did end up talking to a nurse at the hospital last night and she agreed that I should call my doctor, but that it could wait until the morning. Yep, I consulted Dr. Google at around 11pm last night and per usual, Dr. Google had me whipped into a frenzy. I spoke to the doctor this morning and it seems that everything will be fine and that I will live, after all. I am not running a fever, I am not achy or chilly, I am not experiencing abdominal pain or any other pain that is unusual for 11 days post-partum. So, things seem to be good.

Last night was awesome - I nursed Anju at 11pm, read in bed for awhile and was asleep myself by midnight. She woke up at 3am and I was finally able to get a good latch while lying down with her. I slept while she ate and when she was done, I changed her diaper, then quickly got back to sleep. I was up all of 30 minutes, so I was able to wake up at 7:30 and easily fit in my shower before she woke up at 8am.

Speaking of showers, I used to always hear how new mothers wouldn't have time to shower, blah blah. Um, that is one thing I refuse to sacrifice to the motherhood cause. I REFUSE. Even if I am in and out with a quickie 5 Minute Cursory Wipedown, I still get a shower in. If I don't have a shower, that is a sure fire path to the doldrums for me. No thanks!

So, overall, I am actually feeling pretty good. The knowledge that a certain boy wizard is waiting for me at my local Borders makes me feel even better.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rush Hour: Day 10

Today really got away from me. I had a friend in town unexpectedly, so I am late getting this out. I haven't seen her since last October, so it was well worth missing a deadline.

A few things:
--Anjali's umbilical cord feel off today. It fell off cleanly, unlike my son's which FREAKED me out because it was very goopy leading me to think that something was seriously wrong. Yet another thing the Wise Baby Tomes don't warn you about.

--I sent off the forms to add Anjali to our insurance - we have 30 days to add her. I wanted to do this in Week 2 to make sure that if there are any issues or additional documentation needed, that I have plenty of time to get it in. We had an issue with my son where I found out when he was EIGHT months old that his insurance forms had been bungled by my husband's company and that my son was uninsured. I spent two restless weeks waiting until it was sorted out. So, yes - I am paranoid about insurance and didn't want to take chances. Normally, I am a huge procrastinator, not this time.

--I have some weird bleeding going on. Um, I hate to get gross, so I won't go into details, but I am a little worried and will be calling the doctor tomorrow. No, I don't think I am hemorrhaging or I would be en route to the hospital, NOT typing this. However, there is something "off" with the smell that has me concerned.

--I guess this is a breastfeeding blog and I should include a tidbit about that, eh? Actually, there is not much to report. It is going fantastic and I am just utterly amazed at it all. I remember with my son that it was a good 2 weeks before things settled down and by the 3rd week, I was totally comfortable with it. I will probably wrap up the Daily Dear Diary at the 2 week mark on Monday. I will still continue the category as things come up, though.

I probably should go. My fingers are itching to consult Dr. Google on this bleeding thing and I just KNOW that would be a mistake.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Silent Night: Day 9

Wow. Things are going really, really well. Still a little nipple soreness and again, it's my own damned fault for not insisting that Anjali stuff yet more nippled real estate into her teeny gaping maw. I need to work on her latch, basically. The last few nights, she has been getting up around 3 am these days which is annoying because Lou Dobbs is on that time. I'd rather she wait until 4 when Anderson Cooper is on. My husband laughs at me every morning because I regale him with hilarious tales of breaking news that I caught BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. Seriously - I saw the Japanese Earthquake as " breaking news" event when it interrupted whatever it was that I was watching on CNN. I am so cool, no? Anyway - not too bad - I feed her around 11pm, right before I go to bed and then, she's up around 3-4am. It takes about 45-60 minutes to get everything done and then she sleeps until 7:30ish. I am the type of person who can live on sleep in 3 hour increments, so I am not sleep deprived at all, but I can understand where that might not be everyone's cup of tea.

In my previous post, Monica asked about co-sleeping:
Interested in knowing more about the co-sleeping. Does Arun still sleep with you all as well? We do it for naps but not at night. Well, not anymore. My husband indulged me for the first few months.

I have posted about co-sleeping previously here. However, the short story is this - my Indian husband thought it was crazy that we would put our son in a crib or bassinet. So, our son ended up sleeping with us for about the first 13 months, but he now sleeps in his crib. I never could get my son to co-nap. Never. My situation was opposite to most mothers - I was getting good nights of sleep, but in the afternoon spent many an hour sobbing on my couch, eating Choxie Chocolates because Arun would NOT NAP.

I try not to be obnoxious about co-sleeping because I can see where it isn't for everyone. Even for BABIES. My younger sister would not sleep with my dad and step-mom for anything. My brother LOVED sleeping with them. I can report that BOTH of them have extremely strong and healthy attachments to my dad and step-mom. So, truthfully, I don't co-sleep because I think I am getting a jumpstart on attachment. I do it because I like sleeping. Sleeping and I are best buds. I like reading in bed while my baby squeaks and snorts nearby. I like being able to open my eyes in the middle of the night and see that my baby is breathing and alive. And I especially like it when my baby lies there peacefully with his/her eyes wide open, staring into mine. That's all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Making Rash Decisions: Day 8

The rash is improving. I can see now that I am VERY spoiled by my son's hardy butt. I rarely put anything on him - sometimes, he might get a bit red and I will dump Cetaphil Cleanser on it. The Cetaphil is lanolin based and provides a thin protective barrier. But that's all I apply. I bought a tube of Aveeno when he was born, but lost it somewhere. Then I bought a tube of Huggies for "just in case". And that's it. The Cetaphil Cleanser was all we needed. I think what happened with Anju is this:
1. I wasn't changing her diaper enough
2. I mistook the beginnings of a rash for just a bony, red newborn tush
3. Anjali is peeling ALL of her skin right now and I suspect this includes her butt which only exacerbated the problem.

I did do some research on breastfeeding and diaper rash links to determine if something in my diet may have affected her. Dr. Google gave me a TON of information on yeast infections/thrush and diaper rashes but that is definitely not our problem. We definitely don't have thrush going on - her mouth is clear (apparently, white stuff would appear on her tongue and I wouldn't be able to "scrape" it off) and I don't have a yeast infection nor do I have red nipples (apparently, the nipples will turn a bright red in that case). Also, it doesn't appear that my diet would affect her, but feel free to correct me if any of you have differing information. Please!

So, we are applying generous does of Desitin Original Cream with good results. Once it clears up, I will go back to the Cetaphil and use that regularly on her until I determine whether she is just more sensitive or if it was a fluke.

I am definitely having more nipple soreness, but I think that is laziness on getting the good latch on my part. Overall, things are going awesome. She slept 6 hours night before last and 5 hours last night - I let her because she is nursing really, really well, she has plenty of wet AND soiled diapers, and she got in plenty of feedings during the day. I have no complaints.
[tags]breastfeeding, diaper rash, newborn[/tags]

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sleeping Beauty: Day 7

Update: OOPS. I meant to clarify what I meant by "sleep". I am getting "3 hours between feedings" as opposed to "lying in bed with eyes wide open gazing upon my rock hard breasts" sleep, which for me, isn't really sleeping at all. So, no - my newborn is NOT sleeping through the night!!! Also, we co-sleep, which goes miles in helping me and HER sleep. If I go to bathroom, she will fuss until I come back to bed where she can see me.

Mr Sandman,
My darling, please don't tell my husband about our illicit affair we've been conducting in the wee hours.

Forever yours,

Day 6
I am FINALLY sleeping (somewhat) and my breasts are cooperating. The nipple soreness is not that bad, actually. Once she gets latched on, I am pretty comfortable. Honestly? Getting a good latch and changing positions has been the key. I remember excruciating agony with my son to the extent that I dreaded it and even put off breastfeeding til the last possible moment. When he would initially latch on, I would curl my toes and bit my lower lip to distract myself from the pain. This time around I am not facing that. I've heard so many new mothers (um, including yours truly) scoff at the lactation consultant saying "it shouldn't hurt if the latch is good". Gulp. Um, they are right.

And wow. 2 nights of sleep IN A ROW. I feel like a new person. Maybe I AM a new person and perhaps, today I can make it through the ENTIRE day without bursting into tears. And no, it's not all Sad Tears. I am also wont to burst into Boo Hoo Mode over good things happening since as my Sentimental Meter is running full blast these days.

The big problem that I am facing is a diaper rash - fortunately, not on my own butt, but STILL. I did some research on diaper rash and came up with this article from Dr Sears. I am new to this thing called "rash" - my son recently got a rash, but it didn't BLISTER and was easily cleared up. We are trying a variety of creams and obviously, I am changing her diaper everytime I turn around. I wish I could just let her lie on a towel and airdry, but she needs to be swaddled these days. Sigh. A minor thing, sure and I am calling on my good buddy Perspective.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thy name is Perspective: Day 6

Last night was bad. REALLY bad. It didn't help that I was very weepy yesterday, too - per the following equation:

(hormones + difficult family situation) x Newborn + Teething Toddler - Sleep = Copious Amounts of Tears

Last night, I was still facing a lot of engorgement and needed to sleep on my back. The problem is that I am a "side and stomach" sleeper. I absolutely cannot sleep on my back. No way. No how. As I gazed upon my sweet newborn sleeping peacefully, I couldn't help but be frustrated. I did give up around 4 am and go downstairs to pump. I was pumping away, then looked down in shock to realize I had pumped 4 ounces in no time, but was still painfully engorged. Yep, I know it's a good problem to have, but it is still a painful one. I think tonight will be better, though - I can feel these bazookas deflating a bit now.

What kept me going is this - Perspective. On my personal site, Rancid Raves, I refer to this quite a bit. Perspective has gotten me through a lot of difficult days as a mother - teething, no naps, illness, long business trips on the part of my husband. Perspective is that ability to realize that all of this is temporary - and it got me through some dark days of motherhood with my son. One day, my baby son would have all of his teeth (only 2 left now). One day, he would nap regularly (check). I knew that one day, my husband would come home (check). And one day, my little boy would be all grown up and I would miss those days when he wanted to be held 24/7 (sob). So, this morning at 5 am while I tossed and turned, I still managed to hold it together emotionally because I knew that this engorgement couldn't last forever.

So, at 8 am when I woke still bleary-eyed, I was able to look into Anju's eyes, see them for the precious gift that they are and smile.

I'm still pretty damned tired, though.