The Painful Blocked Milk Ducts! – The 411

So, I wake up yesterday feeling like someone inflated my boobs and immediately feeling sorry for not having gotten my butt up and pumped !  

I had a hard , wedge shaped lump in my left breast and it HURT!

I called Jennifer, my lactation  consultant, and left her a detailed message and then hopped on FB to ask in the Mom groups what I could do before I cut that boob smooth off !

My lactation consultant text me saying to take Motrin every four hours and use cold compresses between pumping.  Um….. I . cant..pump..while..in..pain!My friend in the FB group told me to shower with hot water, dangle my boobs to help create pressure while massaging and then put cabbage leaves on the breast for about two hours to dislodge the blockage.   Low and behold, it worked !  I had to pump twice and then poof !  Tons of milk poured out !  I filled two cylinders and 1/2 a 5 oz Medela bottle very quickly once the milk flowed.  It still hurt.  I made sure I pumped every 3 hours the rest of the day. 

After doing some reading, I learned that wearing tight clothing, ie. the sports bra I wore to bed because my nursing tanks were in the washing machine, was the culprit .  I didn’t want to sleep bra-less because I would surely wake up soaked.  

I also slept instead of waking to pump at 3 am.   Bad choices !

Lesson learned !

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Witching Hour Colic Solutions – The 411

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When your fussy baby won’t stop crying and you feel like you’re going to LOSE IT, it can be helpful to have a list of soothing techniques you can try.

Most of us end up getting stuck using the same old techniques, again and again, regardless of whether they’re working or not.

Following is a list of 40 techniques you can try to soothe your colicky, crying infant (they’re not in any particular order).

40 Fussy Baby Soothing Techniques

Movement

1. Bouncing on the exercise ball

This is the technique I hear most often from parents of babies 0-6 months. If I had to pick a single ‘go to’ technique, this would be it. Ideally, you’ll want to swaddle your baby up nice and snug, and then hold her up against your chest, or up high on your shoulder. Now bouncity-bounce while holding her, until she’s fast asleep. This technique works even better when you combine it with a pacifier or letting her suck on your pinky.

2. Gently rolling baby on an exercise ball

If gas is the problem, gently rolling baby across the top of the exercise ball can help. It works by adding a bit of extra pressure to his tummy, releasing those nasty gas bubbles. It also gives your little one a change of scenery, as well as that little bit of extra motion.

3. The standing jiggle

If you don’t have an exercise ball, the next best thing is the standing jiggle. If possible, swaddle baby up nice and snug, and then hoist him up high onto your shoulder. The key is that his entire head should be above your shoulder. Now jiggle up and down (quickly!) so that baby’s head is gently bobbing. This is the same technique you should use on the exercise ball.

4. The rocking chair

I know, you’re going to tell me the rocking chair is too gentle for your baby, and that it only makes her mad. I hear you. I had two babies like that. If you’re lucky enough to have a baby who likes the gentle sway of a rocker, you’re lucky! If not, you need to take things up a notch: Sway back and forth as HARD and as FAST as you can. Clear some space around the  chair: you’re going to need it!

5. The car seat swing

This is a favourite among dads especially. While not sustainable for long periods of time, this can be an instant ‘super soother’. Put baby in her car seat (be sure to buckle her up), and then swing that thing back and forth in a wide arc. Little movements won’t cut it…as long as she’s buckled in, she’s not going anywhere!

6. Baby swing

This is another one that some babies initially appear to hate, but simply need to be convinced of. If possible, swaddle baby up nice and snug (there are swaddles available that only swaddle the arms), soothe him in his preferred method, and then place him (drowsy or completely asleep) in the swing.

Now crank up the swing to the highest setting (important!), preferably accompanied by some loud white noise. It’s super important that your swing goes FAST! Most of the swings on the market are far too slow – the only one I know for a fact is fast enough is the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Cradle Swing (or any swing in that line).

Do not, I repeat DO NOT, put him in the swing if awake and fussy. As Harvey Karps says, “put a screaming baby in a swing, and you have a swinging screaming baby”.

7. Rocking in the car seat

If you don’t have a swing, or are on the go, rocking your baby in the car seat is a good alternative. Buckle her up, and rock that baby back and forth: fast and hard! We went on an overseas trip when Sammy was 4 months old, and without his swing, this is how I had to get him to sleep.

8. Car ride

The old stand by: the 2am car ride. Certainly not ideal, but most of us have resorted to it when all else fails. Buckle baby up, put some loud white noise in the CD player and drive until the crying stops. If you don’t have a white noise CD, try a white noise app, or even just loud radio static can do the trick.

9. A sling or baby carrier

This is another one you may have to convince your baby of. Strap on a pouch, sling, wrap or carrier, and start moving. The trick is to always combine it with movement; try it in combination with the standing jiggle (#3), or take a short walk outside. Once he’s asleep, you may be able to carefully lay him down. If not, plan to do your housekeeping with baby attached!

10. Stroller ride

Although not all babies enjoy the stroller, a brisk walk can work wonders on babies who do. Bundle her up, pop her in the stroller, and start moving. Just be sure not to slow down or stop. Ever.

11. Baby rocker

I’ve heard very good things from parents about the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. It’s kind of a cross between a bassinet, bouncy seat and swing. With a nice deep bucket seat, your baby will feel secure while you rock away.

12. The sway

Another technique that’s most effective for mild fussiness,  but worth trying nonetheless. Hold baby, preferably in a swaddle, and sway back and forth. The bigger the sway, the better!

13. Knee bends

Want to lose that extra pregnancy weight while calming your fussy baby? In big, fluid motions, bend your knees into a squatting position, and then straighten yourself up. This one works best if your baby is swaddled at the same time. Looking to build those calf muscles? This is the soothing technique for you!

Sucking

14. Comfort feeding

I’m a ‘do whatever works’ kind of gal. While some may disagree, I say if nursing works, go for it! Particularly during the ‘witching hours’ of around 5pm-midnight, babies may need to cluster feed, or may simply need the comfort that comes with nursing. Don’t be afraid to feed all evening if that’s what it takes…just try to stay on one side if you’re sure it’s comfort he’s needing, and not food.

15. Pacifier

If you’re lucky enough to have a soother-loving baby, count your blessings! Yes, I’ve heard of nipple confusion too, but from what I can tell, this is largely a myth. Talk with a nurse or lactation consultant, but as far as I’m concerned, if the pacifier helps calm your baby, more power to you! You’re lucky to have something that works.

16. The pinky

Babies that won’t take a pacifier often tend to prefer something closer to the ‘real thing’. Letting him suck on your pinky can be a great alternative to the soother. Weird looking? Kind of. But in that moment, who really cares.

White Noise

17. The vacuum cleaner

Another cliche, but one that can actually accomplish the herculean task of knocking out a screaming baby. Remember that the womb was loud – we’re talking jet engine loud – so the vacuum isn’t going to hurt her little ears.

18. White noise app

There are many white noise apps available for free for your phone or iPad, if you’re willing to sacrifice your mobile device for the sake of your sanity. Sounds like ‘gentle waves’ and ‘soothing lullabies’ will more than likely just make baby madder, so try to use sounds like radio static, vacuum cleaner, or the generic ‘white noise’ sound.

19. White noise machine

If you’re tired of sharing your iPhone with your baby, it may be time to upgrade to a white noise machine. These will be loud enough for your fussy baby, and are useful to mask household sounds even as your child gets older.

20. The blow dryer

There’s something about the harsh loudness of a blow dryer that’s strangely comforting to fussy babies. A word of warning on this one: make sure to keep it far away from baby, and never leave it on unattended.

21. The fan

While the sound of a standard fan may not be enough to calm really fussy babies, it can work with easier babies. If a regular fan doesn’t work, try a loud bathroom fan or the fan above your stove (which tends to be quite a bit louder).

22. Loud ‘SHUSH’ in the ear.

If you’re stuck with absolutely no other white noise options, a LOUD shushing sound in the ear is usually successful. You may notice your baby suddenly stops crying and looks you in the eyes in surprise. While this one is effective, it’s difficult to do for more than a minute or two without feeling like you’re going to pass out.

23. Sitting next to dishwasher or dryer

The beauty of the dishwasher and dryer is that it’s a combination of cozy warmth, vibrations and soothing white noise. If this alone doesn’t work, try putting the swing right next to it and see if that works.

24. Loud music

While standard white noise is ideal, loud music can do the trick as well. While you don’t want to burst their little ear drums, generally speaking, the louder the better. Watch your baby for cues: if she continues crying, it may be too loud or not quite loud enough.

Miscellaneous Soothing Techniques

25. Swaddling

As we know, babies like to feel as if they’re back in the womb. Swaddling helps achieve this sensation by helping your baby feel warm, secure, and by keeping her flailing little arms in place. But while many babies sleep better with the swaddle, they will often resist the swaddle at first…so much so that you assume he doesn’t like it. Here’s the trick: keep moving. Combining the swaddle with any kind of movement – carrying, the swing, or the exercise ball, for example – can be just the trick to stop the fussies and encourage sleep.

26. The bicycle motion

Place baby on her back in her crib or on a comfy surface, and gently rotate her legs in the air as if she was riding a bicycle. This can help release gas and aid in digestion.

27. Infant massage

You don’t need to have a specific technique or be skilled in massage therapy to be effective at infant massage. Whether it’s the gentle pressure or simply the human contact, I don’t know. But gently rubbing baby’s arms, legs, back and tummy can temporarily provide some needed relief.

28. The 5 S’s from The Happiest Baby on the Block

This is of course a combination of some of the other soothing techniques on this list. The ultimate in baby soothing, these 5 techniques from Harvey Karp’s book The Happiest Baby on the Block are perhaps the most important tool you can have in your arsenal. The 5 S’s are:

  • Shushing (or any kind of loud, harsh white noise)
  • Side-Lying: When placed on their backs, babies can feel as if they’re falling. Try holding baby on his or her side, away from your body
  • Swaddling (too loose, and it defeats the purpose)
  • Sucking (pacifier or pinky)
  • Swinging (in the swing or in your arms)

29. The colic hold

While this one has only worked for us once or twice, maybe it will work for you. Place your baby face down on your forearm, with her head resting in your hand.  This theoretically releases gas and provides gentle pressure on her tummy.

30. Fresh air

Another cliche, but one that often works some soothing magic. Even if all you do is stand out on the front porch for a minute or two, it can be just what your baby needs to distract him from whatever’s bugging him.

31. Give a bath

As a newborn, warms baths were one of the few things that actually calmed our son down. Even now (at 7 years old), he often hops in the bathtub when he’s feeling sad or angry. Make sure the water is the optimal temperature: too cold and he’ll scream even louder. If he still doesn’t like the tub, try getting in with him and see if that helps. This is also a great trick for babies who are having trouble breastfeeding: Feed them in the tub. It may relax them enough that they can finally eat a proper meal.

32. Cut out all stimulation

While many newborns prefer to be surrounded by distractions and loud, droning noises, sometimes it can all get to be a bit much. When all else fails, go into a dark, quiet room, and see if that settles him.

33. Put her down

Even little cuddle bums sometimes need some space. If you’ve tried everything and you find your baby is getting more and more frantic, put her down in a safe place, and see if that helps. When my daughter got particularly fussy, sometimes all she needed was to be put down on the floor so she could flex her arms and legs and cool off a bit!

34. The bum pat

Combined with the standing jiggle, this one can be a lifesaver. Bounce quickly up and down while patting her bum. The trick is to pat it HARD…remember she’s got a diaper on, so you’re not going to hurt her!

35. Warm compress on tummy

For mild fussiness, a warm ‘magic bag’ or hot water bottle (with WARM water) on your baby’s tummy can give some temporary relief. I’ve never seen this one work for the big fussies though!

36. Gripe water

Some people swear by it. It never did anything for us, but when you’re at the end of your rope, it can feel good just to try something. Look for gripe waters without charcoal or other yucky ingredients.

37. Gas drops

If you suspect gas is the issue (it’s usually not), it doesn’t hurt to try giving a few gas drops.

38. Skin-to-skin contact

Particularly effective with newborns, having some skin-to-skin contact can help comfort and calm your baby. Most effective when combined with bottle or breastfeeding.

39. Take his clothes off. All of them.

Some babies HATE being undressed. Others LOVE it. Do you know what your baby prefers? Be a little bit daring, and take ALL his clothes off. Even his diaper. Lay him on a soft towel, and see what happens. You may be surprised! (and would you rather have to clean up a bit of pee, or have him cry for another hour?)

40. Let baby hang out while you shower. 

Put your baby in his seat of choice (bouncy seat, car seat or swing) in the bathroom while you shower. For added effect, try turning on the bathroom fan. There’s something about the warmth and the droning white noise of the shower that helps calm and soothe the fussiest baby.

Six Weeks Post Partum – The 411

Time is flying by!  My baby girl is developing a pretty strong neck due to her tummy time.   She smiled at me for the first time this week and also let out a real laugh when chatting with Grandmom.  

The baby now roots when placed on her tummy.  She sleeps better on her tummy and her side.  It’s funny to watch her migrate all over her bassinet or the bed when I put her down on it.  She searches for body warmth as well when I nap with her.

I am still exclusively pumping and my milk production has increased quite a bit on Motilium.   I am changing the formula I am supplementing with to Earth’s Best Organic Sensitivity Formula.

The Little One is hooping and hollering like someone stole my boobs from 8 pm until she gets tired.  Last night it was from 9 pm until 2 am.  She screeched at the top of her lungs and only paused for brief periods when held or on my chest.  It was short lived.  I got a new formula because I supplement about 5-10 oz of her daily intake with formula and her poop is watery.  The probiotics are not doing enough.  Hopefully the lower lactose formula coupled with my milk will help.  I am very cognizant of what I eat and I don’t do dairy nor coffee. Oh how I miss my cheese and crackers, ice cream on occasion, and coffee.

My daughter is now 8 lbs !!  She will be getting her first round of vaccines.  I am doing a bit of research because I do not want to give her unnecessary vaccines that could potentially be harmful.

In Mom news, our mother is getting better.  She has another week on the wound vac and then she comes off and we leave for the beach after our postpartum appointments. 

Five Weeks Post Partum -The 411

On Friday,  I was 5 weeks post partum and my daughter was 35 days old!

I still can’t believe that I actually had a baby and that she is here. 

She now weighs 8 pounds and she is 19 inches long.   I am down 52 pounds and counting !  I need to decide on a waste trainer and start wearing it to help support my abdomen muscles and help shape my hips. I am smaller now that I was before starting IVF in 2013 !

NURSING:

I am still exclusively pumping.  I started Motilium a week ago and it seems to be starting to help.  I am pumping 5-7 oz per pumping with only a few times getting 3 oz. 

I understand it takes two weeks for Motilium to become effective.  In another week, we shall see.

I tried drinking a Guinness extra stout beer but could not stomach the taste.  I hate beer !  

MY MOM:

My mother is improving daily.  She has Visiting Nurses who come to my sister’s home daily to clean and service her wound vac and pack and redress her wound.   She is setting up home health at the condo this week so we can leave for the beach.  

My sister and her husband drove out to the condo to take all of the baby’s belongings and things we had with us that we need there.  They got week of free vacation to romp around a 2500 Sq ft oceanfront condo.   My sister says she is not coming back ! Lol 

MY BABY:

She is the sweetest, most chill baby with a sassy personality. She definitely knows what she wants and when she wants it.  She is so beautiful and such a smart girl.   I could not have asked for a more perfect baby !

She has an umbilical hernia and her Pediatrician  told me not to worry about it.  We have our next appointment in 3 wks so her doctor will look at it then.  Luckily my sister is a Pediatric RN and so is our lactation consultant.    I am able to get quick answers from them.

The baby seems to enjoy tummy time and she lifts and turns her head.  She also tries to pull up a bit when sitting propped up on her Boppy.   She loves her hands and enjoys music, white noise, and being read or sung to.  

She has started having witching hour at midnight till about 2 am, which is scary. It’s hard to console her and figure out what she wants.  She does love lying on my chest, though. 

One Month !

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My sweet baby girl is 30 days old today !   On Friday, she was four weeks old.  I can not believe how time has flown by.

Weight Update:

Baby girl was born weighing 4 lbs 10 oz and was 17.78 inches long.  She is now 7 1/2 pounds and is is 19 inches long. She sleeps most of the time for 3-5 hour stretches at a time.  

Nursing:

We are still supplementing with formula but she gets more breast milk than formula.  I am exclusively pumping since she can’t initiate let down yet. 

My milk supply seems to be improving and I am hoping that with starting Motilium,  the supply will increase even more.

Body Changes Post Partum:

* down 49 pounds

*still experiencing pain in my legs and feet due to edema.  My skin is rough and feels like alligator skin and I have blisters and sore knots on my legs.  The swelling has gone down immensely, but I still have some swelling.

* no more green poop !  The color and texture ( I know… gross) has returned to normal.

* my boobs are smaller now that they were and flatter unless full of milk.

* I have lost my rear end!  Very flat.

* periods of exhaustion come and go a lot like 1st trimester.

*my incision is nearly closed where it opened up.  

* the feeling is starting to come back in my lower tummy above the incision and in my vajayjay below the incision. It feels weird !

Mom:

Our mother is healing and is adjusting to being out of the hospital and her home health nurse comes out daily to repack her wound.  My mom has agreed to find a home health agency at the beach so that we can leave and head out there.  I am sooooo ready to go.  I am glad that we missed the Hurricane Matthew and storms that follow.

Three Weeks Post Partum – The 411

Yesterday marked 21 days since I gave birth to my little angel.  It is so surreal and I still can not believe God entrusted this gorgeous, spirited little girl to me !

The past two weeks have been challenging with my mom being in the hospital and adjusting to waking up every 3 hours or so.  

I am struggling to wake up to pump.  My baby sleeps for longer spells at night. She wakes up around 11-12 and stays awake just looking around for a while.  Most nites she will go to sleep around 2 am and not awake again until 6 am.   I take advantage of her nap and I sleep.   I really should pump at midnight and then pump again at 5:30 am before she wakes up, but I am exhausted most nights or just plain lazy.  I prefer to stare at my baby’s beautiful face and sing to her or talk to her rather than pump.  

I have to pump exclusively since the baby can not incite let down.  She doesn’t suck long enough,  as she is used to the immediate response of the bottle.  

Hopefully in a few weeks, she will not tucker out so soon and will be able to nurse from the breast.

Last night, I went to sleep around midnight and didn’t wake up until 6 am.  I also didn’t pump since around 7pm, which only yielded 1 oz total.  

I woke up this morning and my boobs had hard lumps in them and were sore. I got up, hooked up the pump and relieved my breasts.

Six ounces ! Not bad !

I am amazed at the amount of weight I have shed! The day of delivery, because of the edema, I had blossomed 10 whole pounds in a week’s time.   After delivery, I retained a ton of fluid from the IV, but it collected in my hips, thighs and feet to the point that it was excruciating and still is although it’s going down.   I got on the scale yesterday and I am down … drumroll….  48 pounds !!!

  • I am smaller now than I was before I started stimming.  The only caveat, I have lost my bum bum ! Squats will be my friend 🙂

I still need to order a belly binder. The one the hospital gave me, I gave to my mom when hers was dirty.  I want a post partum binder with the Silicon cut out for cesarean.

Next week, the baby and I have appointments with my OB and her Pediatrician.  Due to my mom’s hospitalization,  we missed our two week appointment last week.

My mom got released from the hospital on Wednesday and is trying to get some rest.