Breastfeeding Photos

We finally had family photos done for the first time since Peanut was born (I know, I’m a horrible mom) and I made sure to get some of Peanut breastfeeding. The same photographer that did our wedding did these photos in the same park we were married in.

Playing one of our nursing games where she sticks her fingers in my mouth and I chomp on them and say nom nom nom.

We almost caught her smiling!

I am also happy to announce that I have taken the plunge and posted the first two of these photos on Facebook. Honestly, one of my biggest hurdles was that I thought  my husband would be upset because he had said in the past (prior to me breastfeeding in public without a cover) that he didn’t want other men possibly seeing my breasts. When I asked him he was entirely apathetic, which I decided was the go ahead. If he doesn’t care, I shouldn’t care! We should all practice what we preach!

Remember that December 27th is the day to change your Facebook profile picture to a picture of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding in the Hospital

I realize that I am too late to join in on the November Carnival of Breastfeeding, but I figured I could share my story anyway.

We had planned to have Peanut at The University of Utah Hospital—even though it is 45 minutes away. We were living in Salt Lake City before I got pregnant, but moved to West Haven so that we could live with Curtis’s parents until Curtis graduates school. My OB/GYN (and later my midwife when I transferred to one in the same office) was in Salt Lake, the U of U hospital is the only Baby Friendly certified hospital in the state and very pro-natural birth, etc. We had a perfect birth plan and were well versed in what to do in nearly every situation regarding a hospital birth (thanks to our Bradley Method teacher Amy). The best laid plans of mice and men. I gave birth to Peanut on March 20th, 2009 at 1:30am in our bathroom after 33.5 hours of labor. Curtis caught her—still in her amniotic sac. Curtis’s parents were on the phone with 911. We were rushed in an ambulance to a hospital closer than the one we had planned.

I did not initiate breastfeeding within the first hour. I know that’s the golden rule, but it just couldn’t happen. I tried at home, but no one knew how to help me. Even after taking a class on breastfeeding, reading extensively about it, and attending La Leche League, my mind was entirely blank. I even ripped off my dress—in front of about 5-10 paramedics, 2 sherriffs, my in-laws, and of course my husband—trying to figure it out. I finally settled for cuddling with her skin to skin.

Once we got to the hospital, I was taken into a delivery-type room. A nurse there helped me breastfeed and then took Peanut over to the other side of the room to get checked while I was stitched up from tearing (on a side note, if I tear next time I’m not getting local anesthetic to get stitched). We went to the room and I ate and fell asleep.

We only stayed in the hospital for about a day and half, but it was enough that I never want to have a hospital birth. Since my blood pressure was high when I was admitted (I just had a baby in my bathroom! I would hope I would have high blood pressure!) and was strep B positive (obviously I didn’t get antibiotics during labor) nurses had to come in and check our vitals every 2 hours.

I was having problems getting Peanut to stay awake long enough to eat and positioning her correctly to latch. Every time one of the nurses came in to check our vitals, they would tell us to do something different. Some tried specific holds, some said I need to press my breast to make sure she can breathe, and there was even one who said she had no clue what-so-ever. Finally I talked to a lactation consultant who walked in, put Peanut on the breast, and walked back out. That was good for one feeding, but by the next one I was confused again. They also told me that I need to feed her on both sides for 10 minutes. While that’s good for initial supply, it made her projectile vomit once my milk came in. Would have been nice to know that I don’t need to continue to do that.

My biggest regret with breastfeeding in the hospital is that they told me I had to give Peanut Pedialyte. They told me her blood was too thick (I have no proof of this, but I’m convinced it was the vitamin K shot I didn’t even want to give her) and she needed it. I told them no bottles, so they luckily let me syringe feed her at the breast. A few hours later, they said her levels were normal. Considering she just spit up all that we gave her, I don’t think it was the Pedialyte that fixed it.

I still consider Peanut exclusively breastfed because the Pedialyte was for medical reasons, but I don’t want to go through that again. I don’t want to go through all of the silly procedures and I don’t want to sleep in a hospital bed. I truly believe that hospitals are for sick people, not healthy moms giving birth. Though this is something I wouldn’t have even thought of before having my Peanut, I plan on doing a home birth next time around.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Banana

Warning! Do not try this at home without a change of clothes. Or you could try it naked for that matter, but it’s getting cold outside so we’re going to have to get out of the habit of naked eating.

Bananas are great for baby-led weaning. It’s something easy, quick (to give to them quickly, not quick including clean-up), and Peanut loves them. There are a few tips and tricks we’ve stumbled into.

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The firmer, the better.

Especially in the beginning, bananas are difficult to handle. The Baby-led Weaning book suggests that you peel the banana down a bit, cut off the hanging skin, and give that to the baby. We tried this approach, but Peanut just chomped on the end with the skin on it. So I just try to buy firm bananas, then she can hold on a bit better while eating them.

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Bigger pieces=less waste.

I just take the banana and break it in half for Peanut. We buy organic, so you might need to do thirds for conventionally grown bananas. Once the banana gets to the point that it’s the size of her fist, she usually discards it.

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Be ready for mess.

Yeah, I know, all baby-led weaning foods are messy, but this one really takes the cake. I thought that bananas would be relatively low on the mess scale—they’re white, I eat them without mess, etc. Oh boy was I wrong. Bananas get everywhere and once they’re on there, they’re stuck. I have to rub Peanut’s skin pretty vigorously to get the banana off. Plan on cleaning bits of banana off for the rest of the day.

Random tip: For some reason, everyone wants to bring the washing to the baby. I mean, it’s natural to go wet a paper towel and them bring it to the baby to clean them off. This angers Peanut like no other. I’ve figured out that she’s less upset if I just take her over to the kitchen sink and wash her up there. This might be because we’re doing elimination communication and we wash Peanut’s hands every time after we potty.

Newsletter – 8 Months

Hello Little Miss Toothless,

Yeah, you’re severely lacking in the teeth department. Other moms say I’m lucky, but all I feel is worry. I was reading on the internet that delayed teeth can be normal, or it can be a sign of hypothyroidism or rickets. Your Grandma Fay has hyperthyroidism and you’re not receiving vitamin D supplements. That said, mama is a little worried. So we start the countdown of one month until your next pediatrician appointment where I will bring it up. Hurry up and make an appearance teeth!

A month after learning to climb up the stairs, you finally mastered down. This whole delayed learning thing was very inconvenient when you thought you could just sit down to stop climbing the stairs and fell off—3 times! Luckily, you were only on the first stair all three times. Unluckily, you cry like you just got hit by a car whenever you feel any pain.

Now this next little tidbit is pretty important so pay attention. Peanut, you need to realize that nighttime is for sleeping. A couple months ago, we finally got it figured out that it’s a good thing to go to sleep at night, even though Oh. My. God. I’m. Missing. Events. Ah! After finally figuring that part out and getting back into our routine, you’ve decided that you can make up missing things in the night by waking up before the rooster crows. Don’t get me wrong, Mama doesn’t need to sleep in until noon, but 7am would be nice. So, remember, night time is for sleep. I have a feeling you are your father’s daughter in that department.

Finally, I would like to go over the exaggerated goodness which is walking. I know, right now it seems so cool to let go of whatever you may be leaning on for balance. I know it’s what all of the popular kids are doing, but it’s really not worth it. First it’s this fun new thing and everyone cheers—hey, you can even chase the dog better—but then you fall on your ass and run into things and bump your head. Just know that it’s not worth it. Don’t cave into the peer pressure. I don’t want to be talking about how I had this lovely daughter that was doing so well and then she started walking straight into a downhill spiral and is now a crack whore next newsletter. Kthnx.

Much love,

Mama

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Spaghetti

Spaghetti is fun and messy, but what baby-led weaning food isn’t? I suggest the bare minimum clothing for this food. Peanut tried her spaghetti naked (let me know if you have any awesome bibs to recommend because the traditional under the chin ones just don’t cut it when your baby is putting food on her lap). This is good and bad because cleaning her up was easy, but she peed in the highchair. Yet again, I’m very happy that I bought a highchair with0ut cushions. Another suggestion regarding spaghetti and the highchair would be to clean up immediately after your babe is finished. Of course, spaghetti stains easily. Even with a quick clean up, it still took some effort to avoid permanent staining.

Here are some (kind of old) pictures of Peanut eating spaghetti and meatballs. All home-made by my mother- and father-in-law.

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She was pretty interested in the noodles at first. This was the first time she’d had them sauce or no.

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We cut the meatballs in half so that they would be easier to handle. They broke up pretty quickly—as all ground beef does—but she was okay with it by this time. The first few times she tried ground beef she didn’t like it very much. I think she was just confused about it breaking up.

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As you can see, she got pretty messy with the noodles. They were literally wrapped around her legs. So at very least bring a change of clothes.

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And in the end we have a naked, messy, and very happy baby.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays

I’ve decided to start a new weekly post about baby-led weaning. I’ve heard from a few moms that my blog has helped them with their baby-led weaning experience, so I’m hoping that posting more baby-led weaning info will help more moms. So every week I’ll be posting pictures of Peanut trying new food, tips regarding specific foods, reactions, etc. So welcome to the first edition of Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays!

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Start with the boob.

The biggest thing (no pun intended) that I forget is the boob. Remember, it’s very important to breastfeed—or bottlefeed—your baby before you give them solids. With baby-led weaning, the purpose of food is exploration—not hunger. This is especially important in the beginning when the baby doesn’t ingest much and they don’t understand that food is for eating. It’s the same as giving them a bunch of toys when they’re hungry and expecting them to not get upset. Think of food as toys. Solids are not supposed to replace breastmilk or formula for the first year even when weaning to purees. Breastfeeding them before solids feeding them will insure that they still get all the milk they need.

Peanut’s Vaccine Schedule

I’ve been “writing” Peanut’s vaccine schedule in my head for a long time now and I finally got it down on paper. I’ve talked before about how we want to do a modified schedule and I’ve read The Vaccine Book over and over. Finally it is done. I feel like a huge weight has been taken off of me.

So, obviously we’ve made some of our decisions already since Peanut is 7.5 months old. We’ve mostly decided to spread the vaccines out rather than entirely forgoing them. It feels like the vaccines that are for the scariest and most common diseases are the ones that have the scariest ingredients/reactions.

Here’s a copy of the 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics Recommended Immunization Schedule

2 Weeks: Hepatitis B

We purposefully didn’t get the Hepatitis B shot in the hospital and the only reason we got it at 2 weeks was there was some confusion at the pediatrician’s office. I felt confused and bombarded. I went to the library and checked out The Vaccine Book right after the appointment. Next time around, we wont be getting this one so soon.

2 Months: Rotavirus, DTaP, and HIB

We talked with our pediatrician and he said that we can’t request specific vaccines, so I asked the names of the ones they carry. We worked with those vaccines to create a list that: 1. Didn’t have too many vaccines at once so that her body could deal with only a few at a time. They expected me to give Peanut 6 vaccines at once and that just feels wrong. 2. We wanted to do the “most important” vaccines first. The ones that would be the most devastating if she got the disease before getting vaccine immunity. 3. We wanted to limit the amount of aluminum she got at one time. This round has 330 micrograms of aluminum.

3 Months: PCV, Polio, Hep B

I felt kind of guilty making Peanut go through pain twice as often as recommended, but I quickly decided that I’d rather have her be in a little more pain than possibly have bad reactions or long term side effects. To reduce the amount of pain she has to go through, I nurse her while she’s getting the shots. At first, the nurses were quite baffled, but now they don’t even notice. I would recommend you wait until your milk lets down until they start getting poked–though not too long after let down. You want it to still be on that big rush of milk so that they’ll notice that milk is coming out and start sucking and calm down. This round has 375 micrograms of aluminum.

4 Months: Rotavirus, DTaP, HIB

5 Months: PCV, Polio

It was too early to do Hep B. If I could change things, she wouldn’t be getting Hep B at 2 weeks and she would be getting it at 5 months.

6 Months: Rotavirus, DTaP, HIB

7 Months: PCV, Hep B

We could do Polio here, but since we don’t have anything to do at 9 months and she will be going in for a well check, I figured we might as well space them out.

9 Months: Polio

12 Months: MMR

I’m feeling the most conflicted about this one. No, it’s not about autism–it’s the fact that they’re live viruses. When The Vaccine Book was written, you could get M, M, and R as three separate vaccines. Since then, they’ve decided to stop making the separate ones for some reason. Though after the recent outbreak of measles, I’m afraid of not getting the vaccine. So, for right now, I’ve planned MMR at 12 months. I may or may not change my mind and I’m really hoping that they just start making them separate again. If we do get the MMR at 12 months, we plan on making sure Peanut is really, really healthy. If she’s had any illnesses for a few weeks before, we’re going to delay. Also, we’re going to give Peanut vitamin A and D before and after the shot.

15 Months: PCV, HIB

Only 125 micrograms of aluminum in this round.

18 Months: DTaP

4 Years: Dtap

They recommend Polio, MMR, DTaP, and Chickenpox (we’ll get to that one in a minute) at 5 years. Since you can give them any time between 4 and 6 years, we’re spreading them out.

5 Years: MMR

6 Years: Polio

11 Years: Test for Chickenpox and Hepatitis A

Both of these diseases aren’t serious to children, but can be pretty bad for teens and adults. You can get a test to see if you’ve been exposed to them enough to get immunity, so that’s our plan. If she doesn’t have immunity, we’ll give her the vaccines.

12 Years: HPV (3 doses), Meningococcal

There is some controversy with the HPV vaccine, but as a cervical cancer survivor, I would like my daughter to get the vaccine. Meningitis is scary enough that I feel the Meningococcal vaccine is required.

14 Years: Tdap (and every 10 years after)

It’s important to get a tentenus shot every 10 years, but if you’re already doing that you might as well get immunization to pertussis (whooping cough). Pertussis isn’t serious to adults, but adults who get it expose babies to it and that can be very serious.

We still haven’t made a decision regarding the Flu or H1N1 vaccines. Keep an eye out for a post about that decision soon. If we do decide to get them, we won’t be doing them at the same time as the other vaccines. Spacing is good.

I’d like to stress here that every parent makes the choice that is right for their family and my choice is not necessarily the right one for you. I would also like to stress the point that being educated is part of making that decision. Good luck with your vaccination journey.