Saturday, June 24, 2017

Problems With Breastfeeding

Please note that I starting writing this a few weeks ago but never got the chance to finish it until now. This all took place about 2-3 weeks watch for more updates coming your way (hopefully) soon!! xoxo

I had wanted to do a video update about Isa's and my breastfeeding journey, however, time does seem to slip away from me before I seem to pick up the camera.

If you watched our 1 month update video HERE, you know that Isabel's doctor has been slightly worried about her weight gain. Mainly that it seems to be very slow.

Her doctor asked me if I would be willing to meet with one of the lactation consultants that they have on staff at the pediatrician's office (have I mentioned how much I LOVE this office?!!) and, I'll admit, at first I was wary. I have been breastfeeding for over 4 years. I really didn't feel like meeting with a LC like I was some kind of newbie. I know how uppity that sounds and I don't mean to...but we all have things that we are proud breastfeeding "skills" are one of my things. ::shrugs:: But I do want to make sure that I am doing all that I can to ensure Isabel is happy and healthy.

So I agreed to meet with the LC (Lactation Consultant).

My appointment was NOTHING like what I was thinking! Molly, the LC that I met with, was so extremely friendly and helpful! Here's how our appointment went....

As soon as we came in, she weighed Isabel. Then she asked me if I would be comfortable removing my shirt to nurse Isabel skin-to-skin. I had no problems with that, so once I removed my shirt, she had me lie down on the couch in the LC room.

She placed Isabel on top of me, not really near my nipple, and we watched. Isabel fairly quickly began scooting herself across my body and found my nipple all by herself! She was able to latch on initially and nurse a bit but soon "lost" her latch and struggled to relatch.

I sat up and latched her on and she was, once again, able to nurse for a few minutes before losing her latch.

We tried different positions to help her regain her latch...all to no avail.

She took a look in Isabel's mouth and concurred with Isa's doctor: posterior tongue tie.

But then she found something else interesting: Isabel has a high palate.

Meaning the roof of her mouth is higher than normal. That, paired with the tongue tie, poses a big problem with breastfeeding. See, when a baby nurses, their tongue basically pushes the mother's breast (the part inside of baby's mouth) against the roof of their mouth. It's kind of like a wave motion and that's how the baby nurses.

But in Isabel's case, her tongue is tied down to the floor of her mouth. She'd have a hard time pushing my breast against the roof of her mouth anyways...but since the roof of her mouth is even higher than what is considered "normal", it's extra hard for her. That's why she's unable to maintain a latch for very long.

Molly said with resignation that she rarely EVER promotes using a nipple shield except in extreme cases. But she feels that Isa is one of those cases. A nipple shield is what it sounds like, sort's like a shield made out of super thin silicone that's shaped like a nipple. It goes over the mother's actual nipple to help baby get a better grip, so to speak; to help them achieve and maintain their latch. So we tried nursing with a shield.

It didn't work. She just screamed and screamed, mainly out of frustration.

Though she wasn't able to nurse for very long, we weighed her again, just to see how much milk she had drank. It ended up being over 2 ounces.

Molly had a few suggestions to help Isabel get more calories, though:

I can nurse, as usual, but also add in a couple of pumping sessions.

I can use a Haakaa to collect breast milk from the other breast while Isa is nursing on the other.

I can begin nursing Isabel anytime she even begins to remotely show interest in nursing. Even if she's not fussing or crying. Basically, if I see her lick her hand (a classic sign of looking for milk, even if just for comfort), offer her the breast.

I can also massage and sort of manually express milk while she's nursing to encourage the fattier hindmilk to reach Isa faster.

She also recommended scheduling an appointment with a well-known and oft-recommended pediatric ENT here in Atlanta to get her frenulum clipped (to get rid of her tongue tie). She said that he is typically booked a month in advance, so that I could just schedule the appointment and just wait and see what happens at Isabel's 2-month Well Child Checkup appointment in 2 weeks to see if there is any improvement in her weight.

As the final part of my appointment, Isabel's pediatrician came in to review and give his ultimate decision on what he recommends. Molly went to powwow with him first, to try and convince him not to tell me to supplement with formula.

When he came in, he was all smiles. He said that there was a definite improvement in her weight gain, albeit a very small improvement. She went from gaining a mere .5 oz per day to .7 oz!

But she went from being in the 4th percentile for her age/weight to being in the 3rd.

But he said that he was still happy that there was an increase in her weight gain...he just would like to see her to get up to 1 oz per day.

He did not suggest supplementing with formula. In fact, he said that she was looking a little more "filled out" than she did at her 1 month Well Child visit.

He also said that he was not convinced that she needs her tongue clipped. Ironically, Molly said that out of all of the doctors that she works with, he's the most on-board with understanding the impact tongue-ties have on the breastfeeding journey. (She said that many doctors feel that tongue ties really aren't a "thing". What?!) He actually said that he did not feel that I needed to take her in to have it clipped.

That made me happy. I really didn't want to have it done, nor did Antonio. But we would definitely let the doctor's opinion weigh heavily in our decision making. And he said that he didn't think it needed done! ::whew::

So now the game plan is for me to just nurse super frequently and see if she can get her calories in that way. Hopefully we will see a difference at her next doctor's visit!

Wish us luck!! xoxo

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mylicon Infant Gas Drops vs Little Remedies | Mommy's Favorites

It turns out that Isabel is a very gassy baby.

And, if we're being completely honest, her farts could clear a room and peel the paint!

Which I would be okay with...except that they also make her tummy hurt.

And that is not okay.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've tried two different brands and I have chosen the ones that I think work the best (for Isabel).

Both are the same dosage and their main active ingredient is "simethicone". Both contain 20 mg Simethicone per .3mL (newborn and infant dosage). Both can be given up to 12 times a day. And both formulas I used were the "dye free" formulas.

However, I prefer the Mylicon drops BY FAR.

When I gave Isa the Mylicon drops when she'd begin getting fussy and pulling her legs up to her tummy (classic sign of a tummy ache), she almost immediately calmed down. She'd let loose a bunch of gas (toot toots!!) and be a much happier little Princess.

However, when I ran out of the Mylicon drops, I ordered a bottle of Little Remedies Infant Gas Relief Drops off of Amazon instead of the Mylicon drops, mainly because the Little Remedies had tons of great reviews.

I had high hopes, ya'll.

But they failed to deliver.

Isabel has been fussier than ever since switching to the Little Remedies.

I first noticed the difference in the early morning. See, our routine has been that she wakes up around 6:30 am (that varies...but let's just go with 6:30) to nurse and sometimes get a diaper change. Then she and I will fall back asleep until...whenever. BUT sometime between that nursing session and "whenever", she gets gassy. She'll lay in bed and grunt and grunt, trying to relieve her tummy ache. When I gave her the Mylicon drops, she'd cease the sad little grunting sounds and fall back into a peaceful sleep. But with the Little Remedies, she continued to grunt and be restless.

Then I began noticing that she was getting extremely fussier, especially in the evenings. I'd give her the Little Remedies drops but they did little to nothing for her discomfort. Because she was never quite that fussy when using the Mylicon drops (I'd give them as soon as she'd start crying and pulling up her legs), I could tell that the Mylicon drops were helping to ease her pain. (I also bicycle her little legs to help get the air bubbles moving)

I am not even going to finish using the bottle of Little Remedies and am going to buy another bottle of the Mylicon drops...hopefully tonight. Mama and Isa need some rest!!

PS...I have talked with her pediatrician about her tummy aches and he doesn't feel that it is anything in my diet that is upsetting her tummy. I don't drink dairy milk or eat yogurt (nor do I eat much cheese or other dairy products). I don't drink soy milk or eat soy very often (I will eat a veggie burger on occasion...but I don't think I've had one in weeks...) I also don't eat a lot of bread products. Her doctor thinks it's just normal newborn tummy adjustment issues. Also...over the last week (after using Mylicon), her gas has been distinctly less stinky! Yay!!

For those of you who have used these gas drops, which is your favorite??

Monday, May 8, 2017

Milk Sharing With My Friend's Newborn Baby

Sweet Isa & I before heading's her favorite thing to do. hahaha

Oh my gosh, you guys!! I had such a wonderful day yesterday!

A dear friend of mine (I've known her for almost 15 years) just had her first baby last week. Yesterday, Baby V was just 3 days old. And has more hair on her head than I do! She is completely adorable!!

Anyway, my friend had a very long and tiring labor and delivery and her doctor...ooooh, girls, let me just say that they had to practically hold me down from going after that doctor. She was just AWFUL to my friend during labor. My friend was literally crying in the hospital bed from the way that the doctor had spoken to her. And this was in the throes of labor when a mama needs the most support!

(For the sake of my friend's privacy, I am not saying her name or her baby's)

Anyway, my friend was determined to breastfeed but after such a long and strenuous labor, she was exhausted. The baby was exhausted. On top of all that, breastfeeding is hard in the beginning...especially when you've never done it before!

My friend was totally discouraged because someone told her that she wasn't producing enough milk/colostrum to feed her baby. Baby V wasn't making it easy on her mama by fussing at the nipple. When my friend pumped, however, I knew that she was producing PLENTY of colostrum for a newborn....she just needed some encouragment (and REST!) after the ordeal she had been through. many of you are so familiar with...the hospital quickly convinced her to begin supplementing with formula. That was when I knew that my friend needed some extra love and encouragement. (Let me stress this: her husband, mom and mother-in-law have been helping her SO much! But sometimes we just need our girlfriends, right, girls??)

So Antonio, I and baby Isabel went to visit them in the hospital.

After we had been there for a little while, Baby V began fussing and rooting around on her mama's chest. We all know what that means!! It's time to eat!!

First off, let me just say this: hospital beds are HORRIBLE at positioning the new mama for learning to breastfeed. It was so hard to get the angle she needed because the bed wouldn't sit up completely straight. So I had mama sit up straight and I put some pillows behind her back for some comfy support. I showed her how to express some milk onto the nipple and let Baby V smell/taste the milk to encourage her to latch on. And, boy, did Baby V want to latch on...but she's an impatient little thing! hahaha She'd latch on...but then was so busy hollerin' that she wasn't doing much suckling. So mama would have to reattach Baby V to the nipple. Over and over again. And Baby V's yelling wasn't helping her mama to relax.

My friend's shoulders slumped down after repeated attempts at latching Baby V onto her breast.

We were getting nowhere fast. Isabel and I had a rough start to breastfeeding (something I will blog about later) and I knew how my friend felt. I had experienced MANY moments with Isabel when she was just screaming, not latching on, and I felt like I was doing something wrong. My baby was hungry and I would think about myself "what kind of mother couldn't feed her own child?!" I would sob in bed and Antonio would look on helplessly. I felt extra frustrated that I had 4 years of breastfeeding under my belt only to be unable to get Baby #5 to latch on.

I knew how my friend felt.

A screaming baby doesn't help the situation.

But baby is hungry and not wanting to really participate in a learning exercise.

My friend looked up at me sadly and said "She's so hungry. She's not wanting to latch on. Should I call the nurse to bring us some formula?"

I was nervous because I knew that what I was about to suggest could very easily offend my friend...or freak her out...and might possibly make things worse...but I took a deep breath and asked softly:

"Would you mind if I breastfed her? Just to get her to calm down and then we'll try putting her on your breast again?"


My friend smiled in relief and said that she wouldn't mind at all. That she really didn't want to give Baby V formula...she just wanted her to have breastmilk.

I also figured that if Baby V truly wasn't able to latch on, I would be able to tell.

So I gently lifted Baby V up and carried her to the sofa that was next to her mama's hospital bed.

I lifted my shirt and opened my nursing bra and put Baby V to my breast....and she latched right on! She nursed like a champion!

We let her nurse until she was full and sleepy, no longer fussing.

Then I took her over to her mama, who then took out her own breast and offered it to a drowsy Baby V....she latched on and just began suckling.

You could feel the relief radiating from her mama! I knew that she could do it!!

I suggested that she let Baby V nurse whenever she wanted. That she would help her milk come in and in great supply. But that, for now, she has PLENTY of colostrum for Baby V.

We left the hosptial at the same time she did, they were discharged! Baby V was cleared to go home. My friend decided that she is going to continue to pump bottles for Baby V to have to give to her when she gets super fussy and doesn't want to latch on. That way she isn't having to give her formula. But that after her bottle, she will give her the breast and let her nurse. That way her milk will be encouraged to come in sooner and that Baby V will be familiar with breastfeeding and will be more willing to nurse once her milk comes in. (some babies will have a harder time accepting the breast if they have only been bottle fed for the first few days.) 

Later that evening, I got a text from my friend...she sent a picture of a bottle of colostrum she had just pumped: 1 ounce!!! That is awesome!!

She sent me another text this morning and said that she had pumped another ounce.

I am so proud of those two!!!

Yay for breastfeeding!!! And a special Thank You to my friend for allowing me to share my milk with Baby V. It was such an honor and seriously made me fall head-over-heels in love with that sweet angel!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Isabel's First Doctors' Appointments

Baby Isabel was born on Thursday, April 13, 2017.

The midwife came for our 24-hour postpartum visit on Friday morning and said that Isa looked a bit jaundiced, so that I should make her initial pediatrician visit as soon as possible. I've took all 4 of my older children for that first visit...and have always left the office feeling like it was a big fat waste of time. So I hadn't been planning on taking Isabel for an immediate visit. Besides, I really hated the thought of taking her out into the big wide world when she was so little.

But I love my midwife and trust her advice...and since she told me to do it, I asked for her recommendations for pediatricians in the area.

She recommended one office, in particular, because she had heard that they can send parents home with a special blanket for jaundiced babies, if the babies needed it. I liked the sound of that, so I picked them out of the choices she gave me.

They ended up getting us in right, "be here in 2 hours" right away!

So we got ready and headed out the door to Isa's first doctor visit!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of that visit because, as good as I felt for just having given birth about 24 hours before, I was still really tired! Picking up the camera didn't even occur to either Antonio or I.

But here's the general flow of the visit:

The doctor was clearly against home birth. It's not that she necessarily said it, but you could tell by her mannerisms. She also did make at least one snide comment about my midwife. So, yeah, we were over that appointment right away. Well, over the doctor anyways...the nurses and staff were AWESOME!!

She told us that Isabel did not have jaundice.

They weighed her...she weighed 6 lbs 5 oz (she weighed 6 lbs 11 oz at birth), so Isabel was off to a great start in the "getting enough to eat" department. Typically, breastfed newborns lose about 10% of their birth weight right off the bat...but Isa had lost less than 5%!! Way to go, chica!!

She passed her hearing test and they took her blood for the PKU testing.

It wasn't an easy feat (nor was their getting her blood pressure reading) because she did NOT want them touching her at all!

(My midwife had already given her the vitamin K shot that morning as part of our 24-hour visit. We had previously discussed what the vitamin K shot is for and we discussed the oral version vs the injection. I opted for the injection.)

Then, the doctor ordered labs for Isa to have done. Off site. The tests were for finding out her Rh factor (I am O+) and for Coombs disease. The reason for these tests basically stemmed from Isabel having jaundice. Which she didn't have. So WHY would they be wanting these tests done? It made no sense to us. So we asked why she needed them when she was, according to the doctor, not even jaundiced? They didn't offer much by way of an answer except to say "it needs to be done. They would have done it automatically if she had been born in a hospital." Well, you know what? That's not a good enough answer for me. The reason I chose a home birth is to AVOID most of the things that hospitals automatically/routinely do.

They scheduled us for another weight check in 3 days.

We didn't take her for the testing...I even bought a baby scale to weigh Isabel at home so that I didn't have to take her back to that doctor. But I belong to an awesome network of like-minded moms and one of them has been going to that office for years. She said that I should go again and just see a different doctor because not all of them were like the doctor we had seen. I was also doubting the original doctor's opinion that Isabel didn't have jaundice. She definitely had a yellow tint and her eyes looked slightely yellow.

So we went to the 3 day check up and saw a different doctor.

And it was a GREAT experience!!

She had actually gained 2 ounces!!

(bringing her up to 6 lbs 7 oz)

And the doctor was fantastic & super helpful and informative.

He said that she DID, in fact, have jaundice. But that it was very mild and that he wasn't worried at all. He said that I have been doing the perfect thing for helping her get over it: lots of breastfeeding on demand!! Plus, my milk had come in and she was pooping yellow more meconium!! He said that the jaundice would be gone before we knew it. (and he was right!!! It was pretty much gone by the next day)

He didn't mention her needing those tests that the other doctor had wanted done, so unless he tells me that he wants her to get them (in which case, we'll have a thorough discussion about it), I'm considering the matter closed.

I'm really glad that we opted to take her back for that second really did help to put my mind at ease.

Not too shabby for just a few days postpartum, eh??!!
...the exhaustion hit the next day, I think. hahahaha