How Can I Tell If My Breastfed Baby Is Getting Enough?


newborn breastfeeding

It is very important to follow the “early & often” rule in breastfeeding. Put the baby to the breast for every feed. It is recommended to do skin-to-skin in between feedings. New babies find much comfort in being on Moms chest. It really helps with breastfeeding as the hormones trigger Oxytocin. (The hormone that helps with bonding and milk production) For best results, it is NOT recommended to supplement, offer pacifiers or bottles until after breast milk supply is well established.(6-8 weeks) These will disrupt the hunger cues. Remember, breast milk digests very quickly because its is so pure. It is normal and healthy for the breastfed baby to eat often. Do NOT watch the clock or feed every 3-4 hours. If your baby seems hungry- nurse! Remember, “when in doubt, whip it out!”

*If you are experiencing any pain (cracked nipples, bleeding, blisters etc) while breastfeeding, Please get to a Lactation Consultant right away or call your local La Leche League Leader for a free home visit. Do not self diagnose. Do not “wait for it to go away”. 

For The First Week:

  • The first 24 hours: Expect one black sticky poopy diaper (meconium)
  • Day 2 of life: at least 2 brown and sticky poopy diapers
  • Day 3 of life: at least 3 greenish poopy diapers
  • Day 4 of life: at least 3 green to yellow poopy diapers
  • Day 5-30 of life: at least 3 yellow, seedy poopy diapers
  • Day 1 to 2+years: Your baby should have multiple soggy diapers per day (more than 5 in a 24 hr period)

Once your Milk Comes In:

  • Your baby should begin to gain weight and pass birth weight at least 10-14 days (It is normal for the exclusively breastfed baby to lose weight after birth, they account for this weight loss by ‘beefing up’ right before delivery)
  • Your baby should continue to gain weight (about an ounce a day for the first months of life)
  • During feeds, your baby’s eyes are open and looks interested for the first part of the feed.
  • Your baby should have slow, steady sucks for a part of every feeding , beginning soon after the feeding starts (Remember to look for milk collecting in the corners of your baby’s mouth and a “keh” sound. That is the sound of them swallowing- If they are swallowing, they ARE getting food)
  • Your baby is content for at least a few minutes after nursing and can almost always be consoled by nursing again
  • Your baby has calm and alert times in between feedings
  • Your baby should be visibly ‘filling out’ (not loose or saggy skin) is growing in length and head circumference

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Tips for an Awesome Supply:

  • Breasted right away “early & often
  • Try to deliver baby all natural. No drugs, no IV fluids, No interventions at all
  • Ensure that baby be put to the breast immediately after delivery and stayed on me for 2-3 hours.
  • Drink a lot of water all day and eat very healthy (a lot of foods that help with lactation)
  • Breastfeed on demand all day and night
  • Use a high quality breast pump. I perfer a Medela double electric breast pump
  • Do not leave the  baby.. Stay close
  • I do recommend to pump at night, if your baby is sleeping all night. This may keep your supply from dipping and getting overactive let down in the morning.
  • Do a lot of skin to skin, especially after her bath at night.
  •  If we are out and about, I baby wear and I breast-feed my baby in the Tula or Ring sling.
  • At times, I will take extra pills of fenugreek and eat certain foods to up my supply if I have a donor baby in immediate need. Do not take anything to increase supply in the first 6-8 weeks. (Unless advised by a IBCLC to do so) Let your baby talk to your body and tell your body what to make and how much. Nursing often is paramount!)
  • I highly recommend the books, Mother Food and Making More Milk– both are on half.com or on the La Leche League website.
  • Do not use formula
  • No bottles or pacifiers.
  • Every feeding is at the breast.
  • Watch for diapers, not the clock. If she’s having soggy diapers and frequent poops- supply is just fine.
  • If you pump, do NOT gauge your supply by what you pump out. Babies are far more efficient than a pump at removing milk from the breast. Pumping shows how much we can pump NOT how much we make. Our bodies know the difference between a machine and a baby.

Having Breastfeeding Issues: 

  1. Find a Lactation Consultant at your nearest hospital or Birthing Center (Ask to be seen, have your baby examined for a lip or tongue tie, have them check your baby’s latch and do a weigh, feed weigh)
  2. Find your local La Leche League Leader and inquire about a FREE home visit (www.LLLI.org)
  3. Look for drop in clinics at your local WIC Office: They have Breastfeeding Peer Counselors available to help Moms
  4. Call your Midwife or OB for a Lactation Consultant recommendation (Please be aware that pediatricians and OBs are NOT trained Lactation Consultants.)
  5. Do NOT self diagnose! If you need help, seek help. Many breastfeeding issues are fixable and a long breastfeeding relationship can follow. Do not give up. You can do this!! Do not doubt your body. We were made for this!

The Best Damn Lactation Cookies. Ever.


My daughter, Gabriella (4 years old) and I made these lactation cookies today (just for fun, lord knows I have ZERO supply issues) but if these cookies work, my donor babies will all be very happy!

The cookies are delicious!

(I used my Kitchen Aid 5qt stand mixer to make these cookies)

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2.5 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp of  of ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp of ground fennel (most health foods sell it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 cup chocolate chips (or one bag-I like Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips the best)
  • 1/4 cup of brewer’s yeast

Directions:  

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 4-6 minutes
  • Mix/beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar well
  • Add in the eggs and continue to mix
  • Add in vanilla and flaxseed meal  and let it mix in well
  • Slowly add in flour, baking soda, salt, ground fennell and brewers yeast (one at a time, let each ingredient mix in well)
  • Slowly add in cinnamon, Oats and chocolate chips, let it mix well.
  • Scoop onto baking sheet  (one inch round balls)
  • Bake for 11 minutes on 350 (cookies should be soft and chewy)
  • Once finished baking, place cookies on drying rack for 10 minutes
  • Enjoy, eat and lactate!!

Please note that this is not the most healthiest of cookie recipes… but then again…cookies are not that healthy. Its a treat.

You CAN add in 10 capsules of ground fenugreek and 10 capsules of blessed milk thistle for added lactation boost. (break open capsules and pour in while mixing the dry ingredients)

Yes, I know…there are two cookies missing. They were good. nom. nom.

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The Birth of Ireland Rose


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When I delivered my first daughter Gabriella, I wanted nothing more than a peaceful beginning to her life. I see now that I put my trust in the wrong person, (a money hungry OB) when I should have put the trust in myself. I should have, could have and would have done thing so differently if I had done just that. Trust the process. Trust my body. Trust my intuition.

When you know better, you do better.

The whole time I was trying to conceive and pregnant with our second baby, I engorged myself on midwifery books, spent hours of research, watching documentaries, studying Ina May Gaskin (the legendary midwife)and reading hundreds of birth stories. From this amount of research, It is my belief that the best outcomes often come with zero medical interventions are introduced, from beginning to end. I knew I wanted my second daughter to come into a world free of anything foreign and all peaceful. I accomplished exactly that.

I initially wanted a home birth and looked for solutions that would work for us. My husband’s job change and a move from Colorado, back to the Bay Area, changed all of that when I was 28 weeks pregnant. I called the Bay Area Home Birth Midwives and all were booked until April. Appearantly, there are a few in the area and the midwives book up quickly. My husband and I chose a hospital because it was the best of both worlds. Not just any hospital though, it had to be “baby friendly”. My insurance covered everything, I got to use a midwife, they had a birthing tub and the hospital had very relaxed protocols. I really wanted to deliver at Alta Bates since they have the best reviews and come highly rated in California. It was nice that they are one of the few hospitals that have a good reputation for natural birthing–which it IS in Berkeley…so no wonder ;-) My midwife team and the hospital were very supportive of natural birth, delayed cord clamping, did not freak out at our request of no immunizations and respected our wishes for us to keep my placenta for encapsulation. No other hospital has midwife privileges in our area. I had a picture perfect pregnancy, low risk and everything went to plan. I took my vitamins, ate well, drank lots of water and saw my midwife on schedule. I was 41.5 weeks when I delivered our second daughter, all natural.

This is our birth story.

Saturday February 16th, 2013

This day was just like all the other days, in the final days of my pregnancy. I was already nearly 2 weeks over due and everyday was getting harder and harder. The week prior I did a Non Stress Test, sonograms and signed a waiver against any inductions. My midwife was getting concerned with the size of my baby, but since I already heard that song and dance with my first birth- I did not pay too much attention to the “concern””. My husband takes our 3 1/2 year old daughter to their weekly Daddy/daughter swim class on Saturday mornings. I wake up that morning and am swollen beyond belief, my hands and feet look like cased sausages and I’m experiencing numbness in my arms and hands. Since Ella was gone, I actually got to take a shower uninterrupted. (what a treat!) I took a shower that morning and just let the water run over my head. I closed my eyes and visualized my baby looking at a calendar and choosing a birthday. I imagined my baby saying with great joy that it was the best day she could have picked to be born. I imagined my body, getting ready, baby getting lower in my pelvis and then a flashing green light. “I will not be pregnant for much longer”, I told myself. I did my monthly “veet treatment” on my bikini area, shaved my legs,shaved my arms, tweezed my eyebrows (who knows how long it would before I could do all that again!) and got myself all ready. I started making a mental list of things to remember to pack in the car and putting random items by the front door. I was not going to be pregnant for much longer, I repeatedly told myself. It would be close. And it was. I took a nap and dreamed of my perfect birth. Dreams do come do.

My contractions started that evening/night around 3pm, rather infrequent. Since this was my first time actually going into labor, I wasn’t sure of what these sensations were. (I was induced with my first daughter for non medical reasons) I felt like a lightening bolt was going through my uterus and my lower back really started to  hurt. The braxton hicks were getting stronger, longer and more frequent. I started tweeting to my fellow doulas about how I was feeling. All replied with “sounds like early/slow labor”. I ate a light dinner, appetite not too big, like it normally was. I went to bed at 9:30 pm, with 2-4 contractions an hour. I wanted to make sure this was it, so I took 2 tablespoons of castor oil, ate some ice cream, drank some water and went to sleep. That night I woke up to a few strong contractions but they were not too terribly bad so I went back to bed.

Sunday February 17th, 2013 5:10 am

I was laying in bed. My water broke after a very strong, long contraction. I felt a pop sensation and at first thought, “What did Ireland just do?” Then I felt a huge gush of water. It got all over our bed and myself. I woke up my husband, who literally jumped out of bed, turned on every light in the room. I laid there, still trying to fully wake up. He got in to the shower then loaded up the SUV while I started calling/texting family. I called Alta Bates Labor and Delivery and they told me to come in right away.

A few strong contractions occurred while my husband was in the shower and then it finally hit me. I was in labor. This was it! I went to the bathroom and had a tiny bit of bloody show. I could smell the infamous “smell of labor”. That confirmed it for me, again, that this was it.

I was scared, happy and sad all at the same time. This was the moment I had been waiting for. My baby girl was on her way!

6 am: My husband got Gabriella, our three year old daughter, from her bed and put her in the car. We headed to my aunts home, about 35 minutes North, to drop off Ella. I labored the whole way, while my delirious preschooler is in the back seat, cracking jokes, laughing at herself, asking questions and helping me keep my mind off the contractions. They were getting stronger and stronger, lasting longer and longer. 2-3 mins apart. I’m texting my Mom who is in Texas working as a Postpartum Doula/Night Nurse; she unfortunately could not make it to California for my birth. I really wanted her there. My Mom is coaching me via text, she is with my older brother as they drive from Texas to Atlanta. Reading her words were very comforting to me. She knew exactly what I needed to read. We drop off my daughter at my aunts home then race to Berkeley, Alta Bates… this is getting real.

7am: We get to Alta Bates Medical Center (Berkeley, CA) and of course, no parking. If you know anything about Alta Bates, they have a very small parking garage and tiny parking spaces that are for mini coopers’ only. We had to drive up to the 5th floor (which took forever) to find a parking space big enough for our SUV. Of course, the parking garage elevator took 7 minutes (I counted) I walked into the hospital and took the elevator up to the 3rd floor. I had two contractions in the hospital elevator, full of nurses.

I get checked in to triage, monitored and checked, I am 4cm. I labor in the triage bed and had a few more contractions while the triage nurses phoned my midwife. My midwife, Jeri is not on call that weekend so Lindy comes in. (They are partners) I see Lindy and immediately, I felt a sense of calm. Lindy and my Mom had a very special bond; Lindy delivered my Moms surrogates. They go waaay back, like 20 something years back. My labor and delivery nurse would be Heather. A traveling nurse from Houston, Texas. (I got a little bit of Texas at my birth, even with my Mom not being there!) She was tall with a strong athletic build. She had a very firm demeanor with me, not cozy, compassionate or soft… more like, down to business, “get it done”. My midwives and her did not seem to mesh well as Heather wasn’t too confident in this whole natural birthing thing… I proved her wrong. Our personalities could not have been more opposite. She was very pro cesarean sections where as I am against them, unless severely medically needed.

8am: I get into my delivery room; it has all the normal cold hospital room feeling. I turned it into my sacred space. I opened a bottle of lavender oil essential oils. The room smells like a spa. Lindy, my midwife, rubs the lavender oil on my pressure points. Lights are low, blinds are closed, the room is warm, I make it my own. I feel safe. I feel calm. My labor/delivery nurse Heather, turns on a sound machine that was playing the sounds of the ocean. She coaches me and tells me that each contraction is like a wave, a wave that leads to me to shore, where I get to meet my baby. “Ride the wave..” I am comfortable and happy, despite being in labor. I work through each contraction. Heather and Lindy (my midwife) trade off on coaching me.  Lindy’s voice is like silk to my ears. Every time I got a contraction, Lindy would push my chakra on my forehead and encourage me to take a breath. “Relax your face, relax your shoulders, relax your chest, relax your stomach,relax your uterus, relax your thighs/ legs, relax your ankles, relax your toes. Allow your body to open, your pelvis to open and welcome your baby, getting lower and lower.” For every time she said “relax”, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath. Lindy would push on each pressure point on my body, taking the pain away. Before I knew it, the contraction was over. “This is not pain, it is just a sensation that requires my immediate attention. My body is doing it’s job”  I read that in one of my Ina May books and decided it would be my birth mantra.  I repeatedly told myself those encouraging words, over and over.  I was getting emotional, crying for reasons I honestly cannot remember. Perhaps it was a mix of disbelief and excitement mixed with pain, or hormones. I was getting the birth I dreamed of. I was 5cm.

9am: After trying a few labor positions, all of which did not feel good to me; Lindy recommends I get into the birthing tub to help me relax and open up. “Yes! Please!” I say. She pads the bottom of the tub with pillows and while the tub fills up with warm water, she places warm towels over my naked body. Lindy pens the bottle of lavender oil and places it beside me to smell. I cannot tell you how good this felt. Lindy is still with me, reminding me to breathe and giving me sips of cranberry juice in between contractions. My husband sprays warm water over my body and I continue to labor with Lindy along with my husband guiding me through every contraction. I open my eyes and Jeri, my midwife is there. She made it! I have both midwives there with me, encouraging me to relax, surrender and release.

10am: I get out of the tub and I am now 8, almost 9cm. At this point, I’m going through transition. I am laying on my left side with pillows all around me. After trying more labor positions, the soft bed with tons of pillows, on my left side, in a up right position,  feels the best to me. My nurse Heather is with me, Lindy and Jeri offer support and encouragement . My husband is there with me, encouraging me to stay focused. I am going through transition and pretty much losing it. All while my nurse Heather decides this is the perfect moment to try to start an IV block. She tries 4 different times to find a good vein and she isn’t having much luck. “Get the F_ away from  me right now…” I whisper in the middle of a strong contraction,  and she finally gives up. I am getting pretty firm for my desire to not be pregnant and not be in pain any longer. The pain is getting more intense. Each minute feels like an hour and I am getting quite inpatient. (I’m really proud of myself for not screaming. I was vocal but not in a unproductive way- just lots of Oh’s and ohm’s in a deep breathy voice) My husband and nurse, Heather encourage me to keep going. I want to give up and get pain medication but any of that is too late. My husband is leaning over the bed, hugging me, encouraging me, speaking into my ear the words I need to hear. “You got this, you are almost done”. I am almost done. I am doing this. I go inside myself and go in and out of sleep; or what feels like sleep.I can hear everyone in the room, talking. My husbands face is so calming to me. I feel so trusting of him. He won’t let me give up.  Every time I’d open my eyes, I would see different people around me. Nurses, doctors, NICU nurses…the normal people that come racing in at the last of each hospital birth. I am not bothered by there presence. I close my eyes again, focus, breathe, surrender and release. My midwife, Jeri calls in a OBGYN to be in the labor room just in case the baby is as big as they thought, there was a concern for shoulder dystocia. The OB helps me through contractions and encourages me, waiting to see if she will be needed. I have no idea who this OB was but my memories of her are very pleasant. She was so gentile and warm. She was beautiful, I remember. I even think I told her that she had the most beautiful skin, like a Geisha.  (For an OB, I was very impressed with her supportive nature.)

11am: I can feel my baby get lower and lower. I feel a mix of pressure and the feeling of needing to pee. My midwives have been putting jojoba oil and doing little passages on my perineum to prepare it to stretch, all morning.  I know the end is near. I keep remembering all the things I read in the many childbirth books I read. I knew I was getting close to the end, from how I felt. I keep looking at the clock. “How much longer?”, I keep asking everyone in the room. Lindy, my midwife, leaves for another delivery and lets Jeri take over for both labor support and delivery. My contractions are 2 minutes apart and rapidly gaining momentum. I want to push. Jeri checks me and I am 10cm. I keep going in and out of consciousness, in between each push. I start pushing at 11:45(ish). I continued to push and push and rest in between. “Jessica, feel your daughter’s head, she is crowning!” Jeri said with excitement. I reached down and felt my daughter’s head. It was slimy, warm and soft. Right then, I feel the ring of fire, at first I am scared of it; then I want to push against it. Jeri continues to squirt warm jojoba oil on my perineum and massage me open. The OB is not needed after all and I will be able to birth unassisted.  I am curled around my husband and nurse Heather, laying on my right side now and pushing with everything I have. “Jessica, with your next contraction, I want you to reach down and grab your baby, she is right there waiting for you.” My midwife, Jeri encourages me. I can do this! I let go of my nurse and husband, sit up, give a gentile push, reach down, grab my daughter and place her on my stomach. (Just like Kourtney Kardashian did in her birth videos) Feeling my baby exit my body, into my own hands, feels absolutely electric! Baby girl’s umbilical cord is very short so she cannot make it to my chest. I rub her back and she lets out the perfect cry. I am instantly at peace. Relief. I did it. “I F*CKING DID IT!!!!!!!!”

Within an instant my heart grew, my life changed and my soul was renewed.

On February 17th, 2013, Ireland Rose was born at 12:18 pm, weighing a healthy 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 inches long. I stare in complete awe of her beauty. She is absolutely perfect. I am proud of myself, I cannot believe I did it! All natural, no IV, no drugs, no interventions. Just like we wanted.

After experiencing a miscarriage and months and months of trying to conceive; My prayers were answered. My birth could not have been more perfect.(I highly recommend doing warm oil.) Ireland stares at me with such intensity, laying on me skin-to-skin, I know she came back to me. The baby I lost in 2011 came back to me. I am forever thankful and at peace.

Postpartum

My postpartum experience was also awesome. I laid with Ireland on my bare chest for two hours in the labor room, while our PP room was getting ready for us. We waited 30+ minutes after birth before cutting the umbilical cord. We did not cut until after the placenta was released. No shots were given to either of us and Ireland did not have any antibiotics put in her eyes. I did endless amounts of research on all typical hospital protocols and based on my health and our situation, decided that Hep B, Vitamin K vaccines and goop in my baby’s  eyes was not needed. (not to mention, dangerous!) My labor and delivery nurse, Heather, did throw out a few harsh words of our choices and honestly, it went in one ear and out the other. (A lot of threats “You know Ive seen a lot of dead babies…”) I was too high on oxytocin to hear or comprehend anything negative. I did my research. I educated myself. Despite Heather’s negative demeanor around our birthing plan and postpartum choices, she was a huge help to me at certain times. She did help me focus, she did help me with positioning and pushing, she helped me take a shower after birth. At that moment, Heather helped me get my cozy pajamas on and encouraged me to not put on lotion after my shower as it would interfere with my scent/hormones that the baby needs. We took Ireland back from Daddy, took her out of all those blankets, placed her on breast where she nursed for an hour. It was serious heaven. She was so sweet and beautiful.

Anna, “the placenta lady” came a few hours after my birth to pick up my placenta and then came back before I left the hospital (48 hours later) to deliver my pills. I took 3 pills at the hospital, right away. I decided to encapsulate my placenta due to all the benefits (no PPD, instant milk supply, faster postpartum healing, lots of energy, replenish vitamins lost in labor, balance hormones…) I can tell you, I felt amazing after Ireland’s delivery. I still feel amazing. I was up walking around with no problem. The pain only lasted a night and a few Motrin. Compared to Ella’s (medicated) birth, that horrible stage 4 episiotomy, I felt like I had been hit with by a truck at least nineteen times! My family has seen the difference this time too. I have far more energy this time. I’m so in love! I feel amazing!

After we get settled into my postpartum room,  my husband went to Whole Foods Market and came back with a bag full of food. We were both so hungry. He had been up since 5am with no food and by this time it was 5pm. He was too afraid to leave me during labor, since everything happened so fast. We sat on the bed together, having a feast: eating turkey and avocado sandwiches, fruit salad, split pea soup, pizza and cheesecake while drinking fruit/veggie smoothies. We laughed about the day, texted everyone pictures of Ireland, updated our facebook accounts, took calls from excited family members and connected with our newest blessing. It was just us, in that moment. Such a special moment, memory we shared.

In Closing

I am very happy with my birth. Everything went according to plan and my birth plan was respected. I feel so bonded with Ireland, instantly. I now have experienced a medicated birth and a natural birth. Based on both situations and how easier it was the second time, I can say natural birthing is the way to go. For the record, I did not have a natural birth so that I could go around town with my head held higher, or have a conversation piece; I delivered our baby naturally because I felt it is what was best for my baby and body. Looking back, I would have it no other way. I feel so empowered. My birth effected me in the very best way. I want to give this birth to other Moms so I plan to become a Childbirth Educator in the next year.

I really wanted my Mom and my family/friends present when I had Ireland. I thought I wanted a room full of “support” this time. This delivery was just my husband and I. We are so thankful it was just us. We shared something so special together, that day when Ireland was born. It was such an awesome day!

I encourage other Moms reading my birth story to believe in yourself. Your body knows how to birth. Trust your body. You too, can have the birth of your dreams…whatever that may be.

20130406-215413.jpgIreland Rose, 3 hours old

20130407-180140.jpgMommy and Ireland Rose, 6 weeks old

Our Birth Plan


I thought I would post a copy of my birth plan for anyone who would like to see what one looks like. When I had Gabriella, three years ago, I copied a birth plan from a website. Now that I have studied, researched and know better, I have recompiled my list of wishes for our baby girl, who is due in early February.

Our plan would be to deliver at Alta Bates Medical Center, with a midwife, 100% natural and avoid interventions all together.  I will have my birth plan with me, my labor supporters who attend the birth will know what my desires are and together, we can all ensure  the birth of our daughter is nothing less than magical.

Our Birth Plan

Parents: Jessica & Daniel 

Due Date: February 2013

Physician/ Midwife: Jeri Zukoski, CNM and Lindy Johnson, CNM

Baby: Ireland Rose (Girl)

OVERVIEW

We desire a labor and delivery that is free from any unnecessary medical intervention, 100% natural. We strongly prefer a soft/calm vaginal delivery and are avoiding a Cesarean Section, at all costs. Please discuss any suggested interventions or procedures with all of us, in full detail and obtain our verbal/written consent before initiating any such interventions or procedures. We want to know the full scope of risks prior to consent.

Labor

  • I request a private room with a hydrotherapy bath tub, if available.
  • Ideally, I prefer my environment to have dimmed lights, soft music and voices respectfully lowered
  • FHR monitored by intermittent monitoring only, no internal monitors placed on baby’s head!
  • Vaginal exams when medically necessary, not every hour, please
  • NO PITOCIN at all! This is a natural birth. I would like to use natural methods to keep labor progressing.
  • NO EPIDURAL!! We desire a 100% natural birth and will use natural methods for pain management.
  • I would prefer to labor in the birthing tub for as long as possible, as much as possible.
  • I would like the freedom to move/walk around during labor along with the use of birthing balls & stools.
  • If the midwife feels that pushing may not be progressing efficiently, I would like to change positions.
  • I would like to try different positions to ease labor discomfort, to be conducive for a natural delivery
  • I request the freedom to eat and drink during labor as needed, if tolerated
  • I prefer no IV at all.  
  • Please avoid use of urinary catheter
  • Prolonged length of second stage if progress is being made, let my body progress on its own timeline
  • I would like to use nipple stimulation, reflexology, pumping and walking to keep labor progressing
  • Would like to labor down, on my own until natural urge to push is felt
  • I would prefer to tear than to have an episiotomy–if out of bath, Please use massage oil to guide the birth of baby’s head and body
  • I would like a mirror available so I can see my daughter’s head when it crowns, if delivering out of birthing tub.
  • Even if I am fully dilated, and assuming my baby is not in distress, I would like to try to wait until I feel the urge to push before beginning the pushing phase.
  • My Husband (Dan), and family are to be present at all times

After Birth

  • Dad would like to have the opportunity to catch baby in delivery, if baby is delivering well and it is medically safe. If Dad does not want to or unable, I would like to pull our baby out; put her on my chest.
  • Skin to skin contact to be immediately established for the first hour. Weight, measurements may occur after the 1st hour. I am breastfeeding & would like baby to crawl to breast, on her own.
  • DELAYED CORD CLAMPING Do not cut cord right away! Please offer cord cutting to Father, once cord is finishing pulsing (45+ min after birth).
  • Natural delivery of placenta: PLEASE DO NOT DISCARD PLACENTA, we plan to take it home for encapsulation
  • Please provide me with nutritious food and drink as soon as possible, following birth.
  • Baby to breastfeed immediately, would like help from nurses on positioning, latch.
  • NO FORMULA or Water! I would like to breastfeed and have every feeding be at my breasts, only.  
  • No post-delivery Pitocin or pulling on the cord
  • If stitching of perineum is necessary, please use local anesthetic
  • Newborn to stay with parents at all times. “Rooming in”
  • Please perform all physical exams on baby and procedures in the  room with mother present
  • If my baby must be taken from me to receive medical treatment, my husband or some other person I designate will accompany her at all times.
  • I would like to postpone any immunizations until a later time. I do not want baby to receive any Vitamin K shots, Heb B shot or any other vaccinations post birth.  No antibiotics in the baby’s eyes, as well.

 

“There is a secret in our culture, and its not that birth is painful, it is that woman are strong.”- Laura Stavoe Harm 

Your Husband is an Asshole


I once was an admin on another ‘mommy page’ on facebook. The topic of ‘sex after baby’ came up. As sex was a frequent topic of discussion on this page.

So I asked the question:

How long after birth did you wait until you and your husband were intimate again?

I honestly could not believe my eyes at the responses I was reading. Some Mothers said five weeks. A few mentioned months. Which I understand because when you have an episiotomy, can bearly sit for weeks, you are squirting warm water on yourself after every time you go pee… yeah I don’t blame the ones who waited months. I am right there with ya!  Then you add leaky breasts, trying to figure out breastfeeding, you are engorged, sleep deprived, feeling like a zombie, navigating guests and everyone wanting to see/hold the baby, remembering to eat and getting the swing of this Mommy thing. Yes, for most of us, sex is the last thing on our mind. After I had Ella, if someone would have said the word “sex” to me, I would have thought they were referring to the gender of my child, not the act that created this child.

One Mother on this Facebook Page hit a cord with me. She mentioned how she gave in to having sex the night after her c section surgery, in the hospital bed, because her husband couldn’t and did not want to wait. They continued to have sex, post surgery and she wound up pregnant again by her six week postpartum check up. Why does this bother me so much? It is not that she got pregnant right away; it is that her partner, the one who is to support her and nuture through her recovery is more concerned with his sexual needs than the medical needs and recovery of his wife. You just had your gut cut open, your uterus ripped open by a pair of clamps, your baby removed, your whole abdomen suctioned out. Not to mention,  you are stitched up in every layer of muscle and skin. And a few hours after going through this surgery, your husband wants to have sex? How can he even request such a thing? Your husband is an asshole.

Granted, I have never had a C Section and hope to never endure such surgery. I do not have an idea how it feels post C Section surgery. I have taken care of many woman who have had one. Based on what I have seen working in postpartum care, I can tell you that sex and the motion of the body moving is not only dangerous in recovery but seems to be incredibly painful. You can get bacteria infections, a UTI, vaginal damage and more.. Like an unplanned Pregnancy! Getting pregnant so soon after a C Section is very hard on the body and has high chances of miscarriage, since the uterus is still healing. I have seen first hand Mothers recover from C Sections and they are in so much pain, they are hunching over to walk and unable to move without experiencing pain, for weeks. C Sections are not glamorous. It is surgery, after all.

In knowing and understanding the female anatomy like I do, I completely understand the importance of waiting those six weeks (or longer)  and why a midwife or doctor would be so strong to recommend to wait for the body to fully heal. Your body goes through so much in pregnancy, then morphs into a machine in labor and delivery. It needs time to fully recover from all the changes that took place in the last nine months.

There are so many other ways to bond and be close with your partner than just having sex, while you are in the healing stage. Our partners need to understand how delicate we are after birth. There are so many emotions and hormones going on during this time. We need to be held, shown affection, told we are doing a good job, encouraged to keep breastfeeding, given uplifting words of praise, cooked for, fed, hydrated and helped. “I’ll hold the baby honey, you take a nice long shower”. As we heal in the postpartum period, new mothers cannot be expected to give in to our husbands sexual desires. It is just unfair. Its medically dangerous to be intimate too soon after delivery. It can wait. Any partner that cares for you and puts your needs, the needs of the baby, before his own, will understand that.

“No sex before the six”

We Are (finally) Pregnant!


I can finally share the exciting news.. Yes, I am pregnant with our second child!

Getting pregnant after my miscarriage last year wasn’t the easiest, in fact, it took eight months of trying and lots of “tricks” to make it happen. So what worked, that cycle in May? I am unsure. I did a lot of things actually, so to put it on one or the other..Really, I do not know. I did try acupuncture along with soy isoflavones, on the previous cycle, so perhaps that played a part. I used ovulation predictor kit and used PreSeed every time. I did the ‘pillow trick’ every night I was ovulating and fell asleep that way until 2 or 3am every time. I drank lemonade a lot and ate ice cream every night before bed.

I didn’t really notice any strong symptoms because every month I got pretty good at telling myself I was pregnant. My boobs started to get sore at 8DPO and I was sleeping really good at night. (not normal for this insomniac) My uterus had that full, heavy feeling and whoa, I had the worst headaches ever! At 12DPO, I was on my way to get my daughter something from Target, while I was in there I was like, “What the heck…might as well get another box of First Response, I am out of them anyways…”  So we grabbed a box and and then we went for our lunch date with the girls at Nordstrom Cafe’. (Our favorite place to have lunch) I had the box of pregnancy tests still in my diaper bag and since I was having to pee every hour, I took a test right there…in Nordstrom’s bathroom, before lunch! I put it in my bag, washed my hands, walked out and met up with my girlfriends and our kids for lunch. We sat down, ordered and about 15 min later I glanced in my bag and my heart fell on the floor! It was a faint positive! Faint, yes…but still POSITIVE!! I passed it around the table and everyone agreed…BFP! Yay! I am pregnant!
So yes, I got my BFP at Nordstrom… what is even better, as I am sitting at lunch, staring at this BFP, in absolute shock, I got a call from a fertility specialist who wanted to start me on treatments. It felt so good to say, “I wont need to schedule those appointments because I just got a positive pregnancy test!”
I am just over the moon with excitement. I went in for my genetic testing appointment and the specialist said the baby did not show any signs of genetic disorders and “This baby couldn’t look more perfect!” ahhh! What a relief. I go in for my 20 week appointment in September.
These days, I am feeling pretty yucky. Luckily, the morning sickness (that lasts all day) only has me barfing up one meal per day; its an improvement because with Ella, I had HG and had to get IV fluids frequently. I threw up non stop, several times day until 24/25 weeks. I really pray this pregnancy is easier and the all-day sickness doesn’t last that long. If I can keep my prenatal vitamins  down, I know I am good!
I know that every week that passes is one week closer to meeting and holding my miracle baby. And a miracle he/she really is. A lot of prayers, tears, appointments, money, diligence and love went into this little persons creation. I am just in awe of it all!  How can you love someone so much, that is so little and you have never met them before?
Pregnancy is such a wondrous 40 week (ish) event for me. The fact our bodies make people and it knows just what to do. It is simply extraordinary!
And so it begins… The creation of life: “Our Family is Growing!!”
UPDATE: 9/2012 IT’S A GIRL!!! HER NAME WILL BE —->  
 IRELAND ROSE  
Everything is going fantastic, my appetite is slowing coming back and baby girl is becoming quite active. I am near the half way point of this pregnancy and feeling great! I am doing prenatal yoga everyday, lots of stretching  and I walk as much as I can.

Increasing Your (Breast) Milk Supply



If there is one things you have determined from my blog is that I am a pro-breastfeeding Mommy. In working with new Moms and newborns for the past fifteen years, I have always loved helping others and sharing my knowledge with those who enlist my postpartum services. When I learn of a new “trick to the trade”, I am always the one to get the word out. For me, I did have a a lot of school under my belt; however nothing was a better crash course in breastfeeding than nursing my own children. With my oldest, Gabriella, In the first six weeks we literally had every nursing problem thrown at us…and we overcame. All of them! Sure I could have given up, give her formula and go on with my life- and that would have been easy. However, what is easy; is not always right. As you may remember from previous posts, my daughter had horrible acid reflux that was causing her a great deal of stomach discomfort and me, a lot of sleepless nights and heartache. The Doctors and specialists wanted me to use a very expensive line of formula, wanted me to keep pumping my newborn full of prescription drugs and “watch her for surgery”. Thankfully, I found the tools to make more milk and feed my daughter less formula. Like magic, Once formula was fully eliminated, my daughter, Gabriella never needed any zantac or supplements, ever again. Now that I know what formula has in it, the awful cancer causing ingredients, the traces of bleach and arsenic, the long list of warnings, the several recent recalls, baby deaths  and all the lies of marketing propaganda that goes into it, I am every so thankful I stopped formula and found a solution that worked better for us. That solution was increasing my breast-milk supply.

-Please note that low milk supply is determined by the babies diaper output. If your newborn is wetting less than 5 diapers a day and has less then 5 poops a day, then please see a Lactation Consultant for a weight-feed-weigh.

If I had a dollar for every time a new Mom asks and tells me of having a low or no supply, I’d be a millionaire. I first think that this “problem” is so common is because there are a lot of myths around breastfeeding and ‘having enough milk’.

  • First and foremost: Labor and Deliver Naturally. It really is better for you and the baby. Drugs given in inductions (pitocin, stadol, nubane, cytotec, epidural etc) are known to cause baby to go into distress and will be hard for the babies to eat in those first days as they come off (withdrawal) from the drugs. Now, not every baby will suffer effects, but most do. Getting induced or any use of pitocin will put the baby into distress and often ends in C Section. Instead, let your baby chose its own birthday. If you are overdue (42-43+ weeks), maybe see an acupuncturist, trying pumping for 45 min/walking for 30 routine- do 5 cycles. (I have known, a ton of moms go into labor from doing pumping/walking cycles after getting a session of acupuncture) Check with your Midwife and explore your natural options.
  • Just say NO! A lot of the culprit for having low or no supply begins in the hospital, so if you are expecting, ensure the hospital you are delivering at is “baby friendly”. Also make sure the nurses know you want absolutely no bottles/formula given to your new baby. Also request that your baby stays with you. (Unless there is a serious medical issue that arises) Put this in your birth plan and give it to the nurses once you arrive at the place you are birthing. Stay Firm! If you deliver  at a birthing center or at home; you won’t need a birth plan. I don’t recommend offering a first bottle (of expressed breast-milk) until baby is 4-5 weeks old and breastfeeding has been well established.
  • Put baby to breast as much as possible. From the first minutes/hours of life, do skin to skin contact. Nothing stimulates your breast to make milk than your baby nursing directly from you. At every single feeding. Some people  forget how pure and gentile breast-milk is and how quickly it digests. Breast-milk digests much faster and easier than formula, so in turn, baby’s tummy will empty faster and he/she will want to eat more. Its is not because you are not making enough and that you’re starving your baby. You are not!  Put that negative thought to rest, because its simply not true! Baby eats a lot because you are cozy, your arms are a safe haven, you are warm and your milk is the perfect temperature for them; it tastes good. You, the Momma, take care of all there needs with one little latch. If you only nurse three times a day then of course, your body will only make enough milk for three feedings. So it is important to nurse and nurse a lot in those first few weeks/months to establish a sufficient supply. Feed on demand. Even if just nursed, feed again. Your baby knows it needs and if it need to nurse all day, let it happen. Frequent nursing is newborn newborn behavior.
  • All or Nothing: Say you have a low supply, it doesn’t mean that you cannot nurse. It does not have to be all or nothing. There are ways to increase supply. Its actually a very easy fix! Feeding your baby some  is better than none. Don’t give up Mom, you got this.
  • Nipple Confusion: If your baby is having issues latching, you can still nurse. Medela makes wonderful nipple shields that you place over your nipple. It helps pull your nipple out, feels like a nipple/bottle to the baby and if your nipples are sore, helps a lot with sore, cracked nipples. They can be purchased online, in retailers like Target and many breastfeeding boutiques. *If your baby cannot latch, please have a Lactation Consultant check your baby for a tongue tie. Hurtful/raw nipples (blisters, soreness, bleeding), latching issues and bottle preference are signs of a tongue tie. When a baby cannot latch properly due to a tongue tie, it will effect your supply. The baby cannot effectively transfer the milk (get the milk out of your breast) and in turn Mom can get clogged ducts, mastitis and low supply. 90% of the time when a baby doesn’t properly latch, it is from a tongue or lip tie. You can also try different nursing positions. Again, have a lactation consultant show you how. 
  • Support  Eliminate those who are not supportive. The nay-sayers and those who say, “I fed my baby formula and they came out fine”, can just wait to see your new baby. You don’t need any negativity around you while you are in a delicate state. I am here to tell you that YES, you can breastfeed. You absolutely CAN! You are not broken and you are not failing as a mother. There are six billion people on this planet, our species is Millions of years old and formula is only 60 years old. What did we do before Enfimil and Similac? We nursed. Our bodies are wonderful works of art that are fully capable of feeding the children we birth. You CAN do this. Go into a quiet room, lay in your bed, Wipe the tears, whip out your boob and latch that baby on. Love and bonding will follow.
  • Supplements There are those who need to up the supply in lieu of going back to work or letting Dad have some feeding time. (Fathers can bond without bottle feeding) For whatever the reason, there are natural herbs out there that are known to increase breast milk production. I highly recommend More Milk Plus (Special Blend) pills, Made by Motherlove Herbal Company. I took 3 pills, 3 times a day and drank a bottle of water (12oz)  every 90 minutes. I also took 3-4 Fenegreek and 3 Blessed Milk Thistle capsules everyday. I also recommend Goats Rue drops  and a few cups of Lactation Tea, everyday. (Again, I am not a doctor so check with your doctor before starting any supplement) If one of my clients is having a hard time producing, (at the recommendation of a trained and certified Lactation Consultant) I will bring them some More Milk Plus Pills, Blessed Milk Thistle, Goats Rue, Fenegreek capsules, raw oatmeal and a box of Lactation Tea to take through out the day. Normally within two to three days, I have a milkin mamma on my hands! These herbs worked wonders for me. Because of my highly medicated birth, My supply was low. Within 24 hours, I went from pumping 2 oz total to almost 11 oz at every feeding. (These figures are not typical for mothers, I have a rare case of over supply) I had so much milk I fed adopted twins and ended up donating over 1,800 ounces to a milk for premature babies in dire need. It can be done Moms! You can find the herbs and  drops at the health food store, on amazon and through the Motherlove Herbal Website. While taking herbs to increase milk production, nurse your baby as much as you can, always put baby to the breast, do a lot of skin to skin and try to stop formula. Every feeding should be at the breast, for optimum results.
  • Pumping Another good way to boost supply is to wait 30 minutes after a feed and pump for 15 minutes after each feed. If your baby is nursing from you frequently, do not pump. Just nurse your baby as your baby is the best simulator. Do not get discouraged if you only get an ounce or two out. That is ok. Please know that pumping doesn’t empty the breast like a baby does. **DO NOT GAUGE YOUR SUPPLY BY WHAT YOU PUMP OUT!**  Some pumps work better than others. Personally, I have not had good luck with hand held pumps. Hygeia and Medela Pump in Style (double electric hospital-grade)seem to be the top two fav’s among Moms these days. Whatever pump you use, Do not get discouraged, do not give up. You are doing a good job.
  • Supplemental Nursing System is made by Medela and is great for moms who are needing to feed there baby and still stimulate there breasts by feeding. This little tool also helps adoptive mothers to lactate. If supply is low, this this a wonderful tool that kills two birds with one stone. An SNS can be purchased at most Breastfeeding boutiques, amazon, diapers.com and on Medela’s website.
  • Eat and Drink  In the days following having my first daughter, my Mom totally took care of me. She did things I didn’t think to do. She put a little basket on the night stand filled with string cheese, crackers, granola bars, Trail Mix, apples and a few bottles of water. I would nurse in the baby’s room, sitting in a rocking chair. When I sat down to nurse I would snack and drink water. I know staying hydrated and well nourished is a key element to keeping a good supply. Feed yourself so you can feed your baby.
  • Breast Size does NOT Dictate your ability to breastfeed. Breast size is a result of fatty tissue and since breast milk is made from Mammary glands, the two are unrelated. Do not believe the myths! Keep nursing.
  • Visit a Lactation Consultant if you have any issues with nursing or if you feel like you need someone to show you how to get the perfect latch. There are tons of great books out there that are available at the library and have great information on breastfeeding. Just do not give up. Seek help from a qualified Lactation Consultant. We are here to help you and support you to a successful breastfeeding experience.
  • You Tube If you are interested in seeing videos and how-to-examples of a good latch, how to breastfeed, positions etc, there are a ton of great videos on You Tube.

A little video for your viewing pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaR-pvh4K_g

Again. I am not a doctor.

I am a Lactation Specialist and a Postpartum Doula. Boobs and Babies are all I do.

We are here to help.

Disclaimer:  Low Milk supply is diagnosed from a Lactation Consultant, please see a IBCLC for an official diagnosis. This page is not intended to treat or diagnose any breastfeeding issues. Please see a doctor or IBCLC, first. 

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