Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What I've Learned So Far

A friend recently emailed me asking for some details on the last month. Mostly what I have learned, how we've been coping, what I'm glad we have, and what I wish we had. So I thought I'd share my answers.

Breastfeeding: Going well so far. My milk came in on the 3rd day. For the most part Lena eats every 3 hours during the day. Meaning she starts eating at 8am, and will eat again around 11am. She was feeding 15 mins on each side per feeding. So a total of 30 mins. Plus burping, etc. This week she started eating longer, more like 20-30 mins each side. Night time is different though. She usually does at least 3 hour stretches at night. She has done some 6 hour and 5 hour stretches though. Those are heavenly. 

Pumping: I haven't pumped too much. I have found that I can only pump in the morning after her morning feeding. Because she does longer stretches at night, I have more milk in the mornings. I'm slowly trying to stock up in the freezer.

Formula: I never thought I'd supplement, but Lena started cluster feeding some days. When she has a growth spurt, she wants to eat for hours upon end, mostly in the evenings between 6-10pm. On those days, I was super exhausted, and completely drained. So we ended up researching some formulas. We found Earth's Best Sensitive and Vermont Organics to have the best ingredients. Not every day, but on the cluster days, I will give her 4 oz of formula. It's also come in handy  when we want to go somewhere and know she'll need to eat again, and I don't want to breastfeed where we are. 

Things I'm so glad we have:

A changing table on both floors. So much easier for daytime and night time changes, especially post surgery.

Flat bassinet that fits in the bed. We ended up putting it beside the bed on her toy chest because we only have a queen bed. I also keep a small lamp on at night so that I can see her and keep a constant light for night feedings. 

Fischer Price Rock and Play. Great for when her gas is bad at night. She's slept in that a fair amount as well. The sitting position helps the gas to release.

SwaddleMe wraps. Helps to keep her crazy hands secure while she sleeps. Without it, her hands wake her up.

WubbaNub pacifier. Didn't think I'd be using a pacifier, but it's really helped to calm her down when she's ready to sleep. Saved us on night #1 at home. 

Swing. For the most part, she sleeps in that during the day. I've found it's helped to keep a difference between day and night. We were using the bassinet on the coffee table during the day, but she wasn't sleeping as long at night.

Things I've learned:

1. Get out of the house as soon as you can with your little one. Even if it's just to walk around Target. It allows you to feel human, and lets your little one adjust to being out and about. Especially sleeping, ensures there's unexpected noises that they learn to sleep through.

2. Baby screams for 3 reasons: food, gas or tired. Try each one, if one doesn't work, move on to the next. 

3. Rub baby's back to relieve gas, works better than patting.

4. Stock your freezer with easy cook or ready made meals. There are definitely nights where I don't want to cook. 

5. I shower and get out of the house on M, W, and F. T & Th we stay home, unshowered, relaxing. Let's me recuperate from our previous day. 

6. Get yourself a big water bottle or massive cup, and keep it filled with water all day. Drink drink drink. 
7. RELAX. The best thing you can do is remain calm. Baby will feed off your energy. If you feel like you're going to break down, let hubby take over. And do the same for him.

8. Change baby's diaper before you feed them. This helps to wake them up so they stay awake to eat. Especially at night. Chris usually does the changing, so that I can wake up, and get prepped to feed her. 

9. Take at least one nap a day when baby naps. You will appreciate this at night. Trust me, you'll be exhausted. A nap a day is ideal. Two or three is even better if baby is awake a lot at night. 

10. Join a mom's group. Especially one with babies a few months older than your own. They'll be filled with knowledge and have great suggestions. It will also help to keep you sane and feeling human. And it's another reason to get out of the house. Our group also does Mom's Night Out once a month. So nice to get out of the house sans baby with friends.

11. Buy some inexpensive, non restricting sports bras. (I know sounds like an oxymoron.) They work great for sleeping and night time feedings. And much cheaper than nursing bras. I found mine (shhhhh) at Wal-mart. Danskin, 2 for $10. Super soft, super comfy, and super easy to move for feedings. 

12. Half a glass of wine at night, won't hurt anyone. Hardly any alcohol will get into your breast milk, and it will help to calm you down after a long day. 

13. Shower, do your hair, and put on some make up. Nothing wrong with looking fabulous. Look fabulous, feel fabulous. 

14. Remember to eat. No matter what time your meals happen at, just make sure they happen. Eat well, eat healthy. Everything you consume, goes to baby. It will also help them later on once you introduce solids. 

15. And last but not least, take care of yourself. Cry when you need to. Just remember to smile and laugh as well. Get out for a walk. Change your clothes. Wash your face. Do whatever you need to to stay sane.

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