Eleven Weeks Post Partum – The 411

It has been 11 weeks since we welcomed Baby Girl into the world !

She is fat, fluffy, and such a delight. She can now hold her head up and keep it in line with her body when  being held upright.   She turns her head to look for me when she hears my voice.  She loves tummy time and at long last she enjoys her bath.

At current, she still averages 3 to 4 ounces of milk at a time. She drinks 14-28 ounces in a given day but on average, she drinks about 22 ounces a day.

The baby is laughing out loud now and coos when you talk to her and flashes the biggest smile.

I am beyond in love with her and am excited to spend Christmas with her.

Mommy News:

I am down 64 pounds since giving birth and will continue to work on my body.  I plan to walk a few miles a day on the beach and continue with a low carb high protein high fat diet.   

The feeling around my incision is starting to come back and it feels weird.

My milk supply has dropped quite a bit since the clogged ducts.  I have pumped only 10 oz the last several days.   I’m not going to stress about it.  She has been sleeping a lot over the past week and has been drinking about 14 oz total so she is still getting more breast milk than organic formula.  We are in DC for the holiday and I will spend more time trying to pump every other hour when we get back to try to get the supply up.   I also started taking the motilium again now that the clogged ducts are gone.

Grandmom News:

My mother is doing well.  Her wound is almost closed now !  Other than nausea, she feels pretty good.

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Nine Weeks Post Partum – The 411

 

It has been two whole months since I gave birth to the most amazing baby girl ever !  It is still surreal to me.  I keep thinking I will wake up and realize it is a dream.

The baby smiles and coos at us when she is engaged.  She loves for me to sing to her and loves when you talk to her or read to her.  She is infatuated with lights.  Now she will laugh or giggle when you talk to her in high pitch voices.

We survived her first round of vaccinations.  My mom went with me to the appointment.  The baby HATED her vaccines !  The only one she enjoyed was the oral one.  She got a few injections in the leg and she screamed and got really mad.  It took me a minute to calm her down.  I gave her Tylenol and Motrin before we left the appointment and I gave it to her every four and six hours respectively for twenty four hours after the injections.

The baby has grown quite a bit over the past nine weeks. She is now 11 pounds and 22 inches long.

My Update:

I finally had my postpartum appointment and had to get a papsmear.  I am awaiting the results but everything else checked out. I am down 63 pounds.

My Mom:

My mother finally got off the wound vac and most of the medications she was taking.  She is feeling a lot better and has been placed on sick leave by her doctor until the end of the year.  Her stress levels due to cancer-related  PTSD was wearing on her and her vitals were not stable.   

My baby and my mom are basically twins.  I pulled up old photos of my mom and Baby Girl looks just like her.

My mom is entirely smitten with the baby.

 I am in the process of planning the baby’s Christening which will take place Christmas weekend on the beach.  We just ordered her custom made gown with a bonnet and a headband.  

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.

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.

Lactation Consultant – Two Hour Class – The 411

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Because no one properly taught me to latch my baby while I was in the hospital for FIVE NIGHTS and I have been exclusively pumping, I researched and found a top lactation consulting firm, Premier Lactation Services , and called and hired them to help me with my breastfeeding woes.

The company has only RN-BSNs who come out to your home and start with a two hour class and assessment.

My nurse, Jennifer, came today and we started with an assessment of my breasts, medical history, current meds etc.  She said my breasts look great for making milk and they will work with me to increase my supply and get the baby latched.  I am currently making enough milk to exclusively feed the baby breast milk instead of having to supplement with formula.  If I can stay at home long enough to get my eight pumps in per day !

I have had to go to the ER daily for wound care. Now that my incision has pretty much healed to the point that it does not have to be packed any longer, my health insurance is almost done with processing my out of network request for home health care !  Go figure !!

Today, we got the baby latched right away, as she knows exactly what to do and goes for it and we have discovered that the baby wants immediate flow like with the bottle.  I was given a 1 ounce syringe with a long tube on it that slides under my nipple shield and the baby can suck the milk out and it mimics nursing, until the baby is able to cause let down.  She has a great suction, but she, like most preemies, tucker out and will not work for the milk.  By using the SNS method, the baby will have to suck and I control the milk flow, which encourages her to latch the nipple and not be bottle dependent.

The nurse gave me Lecithin to help thin out my colostrum so that the baby has an easier time getting the milk to flow quicker so she doesn’t get discouraged.  I was also given Fenugreek to take as well to increase milk production.  My goal is to pump 25 ounces a day and continue to build from there.  The baby needs 15 ounces per day to grow properly and she should be eating eight times a day at minimum.  I was given a list of meds that my OB can prescribe if need be, but we are going to start here and see if I can get my supply where it needs to be.

In other news:  My mother is still in the hospital and has a staph infection.  The infection was found in the fluid that pooled in her abdomen that collected when the drains were removed.  They now have her hooked up to some kind of machine that drains the fluid and they discard it.  The machine is attached some kinda way up under her skin and the hoses have to be removed and the machine and area has to be cleaned every so many days.  When she is allowed to come home they will send her home with a skilled nurse.