Breast Feeding in Public

A few years ago I was travelling from Salt Lake back to Boise for a work trip. While we were waiting to board, I noticed a woman babywearing. She was carrying her infant in an Ergo. I thought her carrier looked pretty cool, and beyond that didn’t really think anything of it. Once we boarded the plane, the woman ended up sitting across the aisle from me, in the aisle seat.

During take-off she breastfed her baby. No cover, no apologies, just fed her. I remember thinking “wow, that is brazen.” It didn’t really bother me, but I had never seen someone breastfeed their baby on a plane before. At the time of my trip my Sister-in-law was pregnant.  She ended up formula feeding, but I told her about the breastfeeding woman on the plane. She said she probably wouldn’t do that. Her husband told her he didn’t want her to feed in public at all.

I remember thinking, I would feed a baby in public, but probably not on an airplane. This is one of those “famous last words” type of things, declarations that I made before I was even pregnant about what I would or wouldn’t do as a mother.

As it stands now, I have been breastfeeding for 17 weeks and 2 days, and I am proud to have fed my baby in a variety of places. I was thinking yesterday about all of the different places I have fed him.

~ Restaurants

~ Church

~A wedding reception

~A truck stop

~Parking lots

~The side of the road

~Scenic Overlooks

~Dressing Rooms

~ a dinner party at my husband’s new coworkers house

~ The park (coverless!)

~ and yes, even an airplane, no cover, just an artfully arranged swaddle blanket over my breast.

After I started breastfeeding, it just sort of became a non-issue for me. If my baby was hungry, I was going to feed him. It’s the life I chose when I decided to feed on demand. I’m so glad that breastfeeding is working for us!

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Baby Must Haves: 0-3 Months

I know posts like these are all over the internet, but I found them totally helpful when I was pregnant, and trying to register and navigate the thousands of possible baby items that we may or may not need. But, I am going to make this list only the things that I truly consider a MUST.  We had plenty of things that were nice, but we would have survived with out. Ok, we would easily survive with out most of these as well. So I suppose this is a list of things that are really really really really helpful, but not 100 percent necessary for babies survival. I suppose all you absolutely need is a way to feed the child, and clothe the child.

1. A Bouncer.

We have this one. It’s no longer sold, but a comparable one would be this one.

Picture from fisherprice.com

Nothing too fancy, and light enough to pick up and carry it around the house. I put Anderson in this pretty early, but he had pretty good head control, I don’t remember now how young he was when we first used it. Maybe three weeks. I put him in it when I cook breakfast, when I need to go the bathroom, when I am doing laundry, in fact anytime that he is NOT sleeping, eating, or actively playing with me, he’s probably in this. He has even napped in it a few times. Now that he is older, I have removed the center toy from the bar (not sure if the new models allow you to take these off, but my center toy is velcroed on) and have attached links with a grabbable toy on the end for him to play with. Our seat was a hand-me-down, so I think this is totally the type of thing that can be purchased used, and you will be getting just as good of a product as if you purchased new, assuming nothing is broken or missing.

2. A baby carrier.

We have this one, by Ergo. I don’t think one has to have the most expensive carrier, but I do think a carrier that supports baby’s hips in the correct position is a life saver. We also have in the infant insert.

I also purchased a ring sling, this one, by Maya. The ring sling is awesome. Until Anderson was big enough to sit in the Ergo with his legs out, this was by far my favorite carrier.

It doesn’t really matter what type you have, as long as it’s safe for the baby, and comfortable for you. But I find having the ability to have my hands free, was imperative. Also, my child HATES his car seat, so wearing him in a carrier is the only way to go to the store by myself, or out to eat before he became strong enough to sit on our laps while we ate.

3. Flannel/Cotton Receiving Blankets.

I received a ton of these at my various showers, and dutifully washed them, folded them, and placed them in the “swaddle” section of Anderson’s dresser. Of course, they are too small to actually swaddle a baby in, especially mine. BUT, they are the only thing I use as a burp rag. I also recieved plenty of wonderful burp rags, but they are all pretty small. I don’t know if Anderson has reflux (I don’t think so, as he clearly grows like a weed, and is rarely fussy when he spits up) but he spits up frequently, and a pretty decent quantity. With these flannel receiving blankets, I can cover half of my shirt, which saves me from having to change myself, in addition to him, every time he spits up. I have one on my shoulder anytime I am holding him.

image via shopko.com

4. Waterproof all-purpose pads.

I read about these on a blog, and promptly put a set on my registry. I use them over our changing pad. I only have one changing pad cover, and didn’t want to continually have to wash it.  These come in a pack of two, and I quickly realized that wasn’t enough, so I bought another package. Four total works for us, especially now that we are a bit more adept at changing diapers. They are also great for travel. When Anderson was 6 weeks old, and again when he was 10 weeks old I went home to Reno to visit my mom, and took one of these to act as his “changing pad.”

5. Google.

I don’t really need to link to Google do I? I have found the internet to be invaluable in this first couple of months, whether it’s googling breast feeding questions at three in the morning, or reading reviews on various baby products. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Google/the internet is the modern village.

6. A regular pillow.

I have a boppy, but it doesn’t work for breastfeeding very well. I don’t know if it just doesn’t work well with my shape, but it’s not easy for me to breastfeed with it.  I just use a regular old pillow, with an old pillow case.

7. A sturdy blanket.

We are blessed with talented friends and family members, so Anderson has two quilts that are beautiful, colorful, and quite sturdy. They aren’t going to be blankets to cuddle with, but they are perfect for tummy time on the floor. I keep one in the car for trips to the park, and one in the living room. We have a dog, so I’m not willing to put Anderson straight on the floor, while he still has the tendency to face plant towards the end of tummy time.

8. Something for bathtime.

I know, pretty vague right? We actually have FOUR different baby baths. Two were gifts, one was a hand-me-down, and one I purchased for use at Grandma’s house.

First we have the Babies R Us Stages & Ages Newborn to Toddler Tub. This is the tub we registered for. I thought the mesh sling would be great for infant bathing. Anderson HATED this. It kept him out of the water, which basically kept him cold. Also, I could not, for the life of me, get this tub to stop leaking. I should add, when using an infant tub we have to bath Anderson on our counter, as it didn’t fit on our sink, and our bathtub has one of those annoying sliding doors that only exposes half of tub at a time, and it didn’t make using the tub very easy when Anderson was an infant.

We recieved the The Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub as a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law. I like this tub, but it doesn’t seem very comfortable for Anderson. We used this from weeks 4-12.

I also received the Summer Infant Mother’s Touch Baby Bather as a gift from a fellow mom. We just used this last week for the first time, and I love it! I’m able to use it in either our sink OR our bathtub, Anderson can easily sit in it, and I don’t feel like I need an extra pair of hands to make sure he doesn’t topple over or slip into the water. Also, it’s so nice to not have to rinse and drain out a tub.  The bonus about this? It folds up completely flat, for easy storage or travel.

The fourth thing we have is a simple foam insert for the bottom of the tub. I bought it for  three bucks at Wal-mart, to keep at my mom’s house. It involves a little more work while Anderson is little, but once he can sit on his own, I think it will be great.

So, moral of my long story? Go with the Summer Infant Mother’s Touch Baby Bather.  I should also note that Anderson has been bathed in an old (clean) dish pan at my Mother-In-Laws house. This also worked fine. I don’t think it matters what you use, you just need something when they are tiny, and oh so slippery.

I think this is the end of my list. Obviously, we use other “gear” but these are the things that I would for sure purchase again, if I had to do it over. And, again, these are the things that I consider almost-essential. I do feel as though I should address the baby swing. We have one, a hand-me-down. Anderson sits in it, and enjoys it for about 10-15 minutes, but he likes the bouncer much better, and I like the bouncer because it easily moves around the house. I know some people have babies that sleep in their swing, but alas, I do not. Anderson has fallen asleep in his swing exactly once.

As Anderson gets older, I think this list will change. I plan on writing another one of these for 3-6 months.

8 weeks of breast feeding

Today I have been breast feeding my son for 8 whole weeks! I can’t believe it has been that long. Those first nights in the hospital seem so far away.

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Photo via Facebook.
This is what I know about breast feeding:
1. It is hard, and it hurts until you and baby figure out how to latch.
2. A good lactation consultant is invaluable. Go see a certified consultant if one does not visit you before you are discharged from the hospital.
3. At times, in the first few weeks, formula seems easier.
4. It gets easier.
5. Having large breasts is a distinct disadvantage when trying to nurse in public.
6. Nursing in public; not a big deal once you do it.
7. Have a comfy place to feed, with a constantly full water bottle near by.
8. Knowing that you alone are giving and sustaining life is pretty incredible.

6 weeks with baby

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I have been a horrible blogger! I never see my blog as first priority. If Anderson is awake, I want to interact with him. If he is asleep I want to: shower, eat, pick up the house, or sleep myself!

Anderson had his first well baby visit this week…he weighs 12lbs 11 oz. what a chunk! But I am glad he is growing so well!

The biggest changes are that we def know the difference between night and day! Anderson goes down between 8 and 10 each night and is up for the day between 7 and 8. He sleeps in 1.5 to 3.5 hour chunks, wakes up to eat and goes back to sleep. We start each night in his crib, but at this point I always bring him back to bed with me. He is just so sweet to sleep with.
I think about sleep patterns a lot and I try not to stress out about it, and go with his natural cues. He has moved (on his own) to a eat, play, sleep pattern. It’s only a pattern. I feed him on demand and try to read his cues for when he is ready for bed.

During weeks 4 and 5 we visited family in Idaho and Nevada. Anderson was a trooper, and did pretty well on our road trips. We learned that babies need a lot if stuff to travel (example, we brought the bouncer because it is necessary to have a safe place to put the baby down, but man does it take up a lot of room!) and that Anderson dies best if we leave first thing in the morning. Leaving in the afternoon results in a cranky and sad last few hours.

Speaking of being cranky, Anderson def had/ is having a 6 week fussy phase. He has a ” witching hour” hours really in the evening. I don’t think it’s colic, because he can be consoled, but sometimes he will fuss or outright cry if you aren’t holding him and soothing him to his liking. But as I write this, I realize this is already happening less and less.

I am so excited to have Anderson grow and develop, but as trying as the newborn phase is…I already find myself nostalgic for when it is gone.

3 weeks with baby

After a bath, with Grammy

I can’t believe that my baby is 3 weeks old today! I know that as the weeks progress, 3 weeks will seem so little, but right now, it feels like time is flying, and he is already so different than the day we brought him home.

Since bringing him home, he does two main things: eat and sleep. As the weeks progress he has more and more alert time, and I am starting to see a pattern emerge in his sleeping/waking/eating habits, not much of a pattern mind you, but more than the first couple of days.

After my c-section, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. No judgements on what other mothers do, for their babies, but it was really important to me that my son was breastfeed, and not formula fed. Again, if it had come, does come down to it, formula is fine, great even. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure my baby survives. BUT, breast feed, so far, has been going really well. As well as breast feeding goes for a new mom, and a 21 day old baby. The first 9 days were pretty rough. My nipples hurt, and I really had no idea what to expect.  Luckily, my midwife’s office, has an AWESOME lactation consultant on staff, and I made an appointment with her when Anderson was 9 days old. I had been feeling a tiny bit frustrated, mostly due to Anderson’s cluster feeding, and my lack of knowledge about if what I was doing was “right,” as in correct. She had me feed him in front of her, and she said that we were doing pretty well. She gave me a few pointers, that have made things better, and having the reassurance that we weren’t totally off base, was a great self confidence booster.  Now, at 21 days, I’m pretty confident in knowing if we have a good latch, and if he is eating, but feel like I’m on a new part of the breast feeding learning curve. I am feeding on demand,  and I feel like I can’t tell when he is eating because he is hungry, and when he is nursing for comfort. The internet  will tell you that babies don’t use mom as pacifiers, that if they are showing signs of wanting to nurse, that they are doing it either because they are hungry, or they know they need to increase your milk supply. Of course the internet will also give you the opposing position, and say that babies do use moms for pacification, and that you shouldn’t let your baby do that. You can find strong opinions on just about every aspect of child rearing, usually conflicting with eachother.

I have decided that if he is rooting around, and can’t be consoled by any means, than he is probably hungry and I feed him. Unfortunately, I think I sometimes don’t read his cues correctly. Last night he nursed for almost an hour (this was from 2:30 to 4:00 am by the way), I changed his diaper and he was fussy. I tried soothing him in my arms, but was so tired and frustrated (he had been fussy at the breast) that I didn’t really have the patience to try to soothe him with out offering him the chance to nurse. I did that, and he was not interested. I went into the bedroom, and told my husband to watch him, that I had to pee.  When I got back, my husband told me, to get in bed and go to sleep that he would soothe the baby and take him in the living room. And what do you know, he was able to soothe him to sleep, and he slept for almost two hours, till he woke up and was ready to nurse again. My point, I guess, is that I need to try other methods of soothing, and not always jump to nursing, i’m sure my nipples will thank me.

As for sleep, he isn’t sleeping through the night, and I don’t expect him to. I think mothers somtimes have too high of expectations for new borns. The past four nights he has been consistently up to nurse every hour and a half (although if you count from the start of a nursing session, to the start of the next, like some people do, then it’s more like every 2 to 2.25 hours). He is starting to have more of a pattern during the day, with a morningish “nap” and an afternoon “nap” although what times these occur are not consistent. Everything that i have read, says not to expect a baby under 4 weeks to have any sort of circadian rhthym, day and night are the same to them.

My recovery is going well. Two weeks ago I started taking short walks around the block, and this week was up to walking almost a mile. I have walked with Anderson in a moby wrap, an Ergo carrier, and his stroller. I am not quite confident or comfortable with the carriers yet, I feel like I either tie the moby too tight, or too lose, and with the Ergo I feel like his little face is smooshed into my chest. But, with both of these, and the stroller, he easily falls asleep as soon as I get him in the carrier and comfortable. I also have a sling, but it’s too small. I am sending it back this week, for a larger size. I’m looking forward to the new size arriving, so I can wear Anderson when we are out and about. Putting him in the sling is so much easier than the moby or the Ergo, at this point.  Ok, I got side tracked from my recovery….I don’t have daily pain any more at this point, and haven’t since week 1. I do have some pain when I sleep on my side for too long, or lift something too heavy. I’m trying not to get too anxious to get back into an exercise routine, so I can feel a little bit better about my body.

I have lost, with out trying, 30 pounds of the 42ish that I gained. I figure that 30 was the baby and fluids etc, from pregnancy, and the remaining 12ish are what I gained from not eating as strictly during pregnancy as I did, pre-pregnancy. Of course, like all moms, even though I have lost lots of weight, things are shaped differently, and my prepregnancy clothes, even my “fat’ clothes don’t fit yet. All in good time.

So, life with baby is good. His sweet little face makes every sleepless hour, and stretch mark worth it.