c-section scar tips and more – help spread the word!

Yesterday I took a class about how to strengthen your core after having a baby. There was one really interesting section on dealing with issues after having had a c-section. While I did not have a c-section, I thought this was worth mentioning in case any of my mama-friends that have had c-sections didn’t know about this.

So, apparently, the incision for a c-section (which is a major abdominal surgery) is very close to the bladder. Once you have healed, you will have a scar and it takes time (even many years) for the scar tissue to relearn how to lay properly. Sometimes, when it doesn’t lay properly, the impacted uterine muscle and other abdominal muscles don’t function as well as they used to. This can cause bladder issues – the bladder feels like it’s full before it actual becomes full because the c-section scar prevents your muscles from stretching and moving naturally as your bladder fills up. I think I explained that semi-correctly. Anyway, the point is that you may want to do some c-section scar massage on yourself.

Lynn Leech, the PT that taught this class has a youtube video showing you how to do it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he_YB9e__rQ

So spread the word in case you know a mama who has residual problems and has not been able to get help. You can get better!

p.s. you can also have residual problems with scar tissue from if you tore during a vaginal delivery. This gets a little more intimate, but you can also do scar tissue massage to improve the elasticity of those muscles – this can help mitigate pain during intercourse postpartum especially if it seems like the pain never seems to improve after you have had a little one. Try to find a physical therapist in your area that does intravaginal pelvic work. Crazy right? but you also had a human being come out of your hoohaw…it’s be almost as worth it and a lot less painful, I promise.

7 month milestones

I need to record this so that years from now or hey even months from now I remember… B turned 7 months on 10/11 and sometime around or before that time, he began to sit up unassisted. If he is laying back on a Boppy pillow, he can pull himself up to sitting, otherwise, you can set him down sitting and he will remain in that position until he decides to roll over and do something else. He doesn’t pull himself up to sitting by himself yet.

Two nights ago, I pulled out the under the knees insert in his little whale bathtub because he had no interest in laying back any more. He now sits up and leans forward to splash the water with his hands. He’s very careful to hold on to one side of the infant tub as he splashes with the other hand (which I find adorable).

A couple of weeks before his 7 month birthday, he also started a version of army crawling. Within just a couple of weeks he has become quite adept at getting around when he wants to. I’ve found him under the end tables by the couch, under the bar stools by the kitchen counter, etc. He also has just started trying to pull himself up on things like the sides of his little bath tub and our legs. Oh boy!

Somehow, the cats aren’t phased at all by this newly found mobility.

Delicious, delightful lactation bars (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.)

The other day, I had an epiphany. I crave sweet desert food all the time now. I’m constantly obsessed with keeping my milk supply up. Why not make a delicious dessert-like treat that will help keep my milk supply up? An apple a day, heck no! How about a dark chocolate chip oatmeal bar a day or maybe even two a day? Win, win.

Allergy free lactation bar with chocolate coconut milk icecream

Now, the trick was to make a delicious lactation bar that is also gluten free and dairy free. Darn food sensitivities.

After a quick google search, I found this recipe at http://rumbleinthekitchen.blogspot.com, modified it a little and ended up with delicious results. My oatmeal bars are dairy free, gluten free, egg free and soy free.

Let’s back up for a second, what is this lactation bar you speak of? A lactation bar is made of ingredients that supposedly will increase your milk production. For example, oatmeal is supposed to make a difference, but unless you’re my dad, oatmeal gets old after a few days. Seriously dad, I can’t believe how much oatmeal you eat!

Anyway, back to these lactation bars. This recipe is really easy and it makes a lot! We’re talking a 9×13 pan and another 8×8 pan, but hey this is all for the good of the baby, so I just made it all and froze the bars from the 8×8 pan for later. TIP: GF stuff tends to keep better frozen.

Basic Ingredients

  1. Vegetable Oil (1.25 cups)
  2. Sugar (1 cup)
  3. Brown sugar (1 cup)
  4. Coconut flour (1 cup)
  5. Oat flour (3.5 cups)
  6. Baking soda (1 T)
  7. Nutritional yeast (2 T)
  8. Steel cut oats (2 cups)
  9. Salt (.5 t)
  10. Cinnamon (1 t)
  11. Ginger (1 t)
  12. Clove (.5 t)
  13. Water (.5 cup or more as needed)

You also need parchment paper, one 9 x 13 pan and one 8 x 8 pan.

Extras (some combo of the following to delici-fy your oat bars)

  • Chocolate chips (1 bag – look for dairy free, etc.)
  • Candied ginger (.5 cup – cut into little bitty pieces)
  • Walnuts (.5 cup – chopped up)
  • Dried Cherries (.5 cup)

Putting it together

  1. Set oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix ingredients 1-3 together in the biggest bowl you have. Seriously.
  3. Add ingredients 4 and 5 and mix.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients plus your choice of extras and mix it up some more. The mixture should have a moist yet slightly crumbly consistency, so after adding that half cup of water, you made need to add more but add just a tablespoon at a time to not over do it.
  5. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. You may need a second 8 x 8 pan as well.
  6. Pour mixture into each pan, and pack down a little bit.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. Cut up the bars and enjoy.
  9. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer in a vacuum tight container.
Fresh out of the oven

p.s. even if you’re not trying to increase your milk supply, this makes a pretty decent, healthy treat.

Results

I’m on day four of my supplemental lactation bar diet, and I actually woke up engorged this morning (which hasn’t happened in months). So, yes, I think it is working for me. Give it a try if you’re a lactating mom and let me know if you see results!

Dear Mamas

I know, two posts in one day, but I’m feeling motivated tonight and this has been on my mind for a few days now….

Dear mamas and mommies and mothers and mamans, etc. I’m sorry. Breastfeeding is a tough topic. And I say this not to alarm or freak out my future mama-friends. I say this out of love and a little bit of sadness.

I know mamas that never wanted to nurse and were judged for that decision. I know mamas that tried to breastfeed and couldn’t produce enough milk. I know mamas that got open sores on their breasts and bruises from trying to nurse or pump to do “what mamas should do”. I know mamas whose babies went on a nursing strike and self-weaned far before the mama was ready. I know mamas that have developed deep anxiety and postpartum depression from the act of nursing. I know mamas that haven given up entire food groups so that their allergy-prone baby would stop breaking out in rashes or having bloody stools. This is serious stuff folks…this “simple” business of providing sustenance for our little ones.

I know mamas that overproduced milk and dealt with terrible bouts of mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the breast that causes fever, pain, exhaustion and more. I know mamas that nursed through the mastitis time and again. I know mamas that gave up nursing after a really bad bout of mastistis. I know mamas that have never had too little or too much supply but they still wonder every day whether they are producing enough.

I know mamas that had to put their baby in daycare even though their baby refused to take a bottle. I know mamas that pump at work three times a day, every day that they go to work for months and months to give their babies that precious liquid gold. That’s like an hour and a half, five days a week for months on end. That’s like 180 hours of pumping over the course of 6 months!

I don’t know if I know any FTMs (first time mamas) that haven’t felt at least a little bit of guilt, pain, sadness or anxiety when it comes to producing food for their baby. Guilt for not nursing or having to stop… Anxiety when their baby stops eating… Sadness when they have to stop nursing before they are ready…

I’ve heard people be shocked at the idea that breastfeeding is hard or that it hurts or that a baby may have trouble learning to latch. Isn’t it natural? Aren’t women born to do this? Yes, and wasn’t the infant mortality rate a lot higher before the introduction of formula? Didn’t women used to live in more communal societies with woman openly nursing so that new mothers could see and learn from the elders and peers that surrounded them? Didn’t some women have jobs, yes jobs as nursemaids to feed babies whose mothers couldn’t for whatever reason provide them with milk?

Here’s what I do know. I do believe, we as mothers are hardwired to want our children to survive. We want to give them everything we can. And when the decision is made for how we feed our babies, it’s rarely a simple decision. A lot of us don’t even consider the path we take a choice. We do what we must.  And I say this just to hopefully help people understand what a sensitive and difficult subject this can be for mamas.

Be gentle with your mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. And most of all be gentle with yourself. A healthy baby and health mama and papa is king. How you get there is just another chapter in that messy adventure of life.

A Week of Firsts

1. The Swim Crawl

On the move!

This week, Bailey started crawling or at least of version of getting from point a to point b in a fairly adept manner. It’s mostly upper body strength driven with some serious abs. The legs, he sort of drags along behind him as if they are in the way. I’m sure he’ll figure out how useful those really are when it comes to crawling soon enough. But for now, his technique is definitely getting him around the room. And boy is he determined to get around even in the midst of a big, bad cold…

2. The Fever 😦

A serious snot bubble after a giant sneeze

Today, Bailey got his first fever. It’s at 101 right now which is a low grade fever accompanied by a wicked cold. I’ve never seen so much snot come out of one little being before. I’ve given him ibuprofen. I’ve given him a lukewarm bath. I’m keeping him hydrated and watching for enough wet diapers. The cold actually started over the weekend, or was it last week or the week before? Hard to remember… he started daycare the week before Labor Day, and I swear he’s had a cold a week. This one is by far the worst. I imagine his body is aching all over, especially his head, yet the kid is still smiling through it all (or most of it). He does wake himself up through the night, crying this pitiful wailing sort of cry. But during the day, he is rolling and crawling and jumping in his exersaucer and talking and rubbing his face and going none stop between naps. Even in the midst of this fever, I can’t tell if he’s just effervescent about life or just slightly delirious from being ill as he stares at the circles on the shower curtain like they’re the coolest thing ever.

This is what moms do: We turn on the shower in the smallest bathroom in the house and hold baby to let the steam help relieve the congestion. And then we sit on the toilet seat in the steam, trying to get baby to nurse to also help relieve the congestion and to help with hydration. Almost 7 month old babies help out by noticing what a crazy different place this is to be having a meal – meaning they have to check out everything, and I mean everything around the room except for the meal.

This is what mom is thinking, “Does his forehead seem warmer? I know the steam is good for congestion but is heat bad for a fever? Should I give him a bath? That would make me feel better, oh wait, but google told me that a bath is bad unless it’s lukewarm…ok, maybe a lukewarm bath next… oh for the love of…do I need to hold your head in place – focus baby, focus!! How long have we been sitting here? What? Only 2 minutes? Go to your Zen place. Go to your Zen place…”

This is what baby is thinking, “Mmm, milk, yum, yum, yum, whoa! What was that? Holy crap! Is that? Oh, it’s the toilet paper holder. And is that toilet paper? Wow, so cool…oh right, milk, yum, yum, yum…whoa! Something on the other side, what is that, is that? OMG, that shower curtain has the coolest circles on it. Wow, I wonder if I can eat those, can I eat those? Mommy, mommy, please can I eat those?? Why are you trying to clamp my head down to your chest?! Can’t the milk just follow me? I’m so confused. I’m hungry, yum, yum. Oh wow, you’re pretty. Can I smile at you?” And so on…

3. That Zen place

I’m not the most patient person in the world. I get bored easily if I don’t have a task. I like to be productive. I like to multi-task. This weekend, when Bailey got his bad cold, I finally found a Zen place. I found it late at night when he was coughing and sadly crying after having woken himself up again. I had fed him, soothed him, turned on the humidifier, given him pain medicine, everything really that I could think of and he was bereft. Whenever I tried to hold him, he writhed away and I could relate. When I’m sick, I’m just miserable. I want to be left in a dark corner to whine about my misery until sleep overtakes me and fixes me.

This was probably the fourth time that day that he was bereft. And each previous time had filled me with anxiety and concern. But this fourth time was different. I went in, shifted him around and told him he was okay. Then I left the room and continued about my business. I felt calm…not numb or anxious or like I had given up, but instead it was a sense of Zen. I had done all I could, and Bailey didn’t really want me to help more, he just needed to work it out. Ten minutes later, he was asleep and slept a solid 8 hours.

In this Zen state of mind, I was able to go to bed less anxious. I was ready to shut down my ever-whirring mind. I was ready to just let it be. I’m a part of a few online forums that have been really helpful. That evening, I had posted something about being worried that my baby wasn’t getting enough to eat nursing through his cold because he either got distracted or fell asleep in exhaustion. He also seemed like he could barely breath through his congestion as he tried to nurse. Part of me was thinking that the nursing helps the mucus move and the milk provides immune defense. But I was also tired and getting run down which can affect supply, so I was going around in circles about whether I was producing enough.

Anyway, I wanted to know whether I should just give bottles to get more into him. A few BTDT (been there done that) moms replied. They said that nursing is great for your baby right now. He will get through this cold and you are doing exactly what you should be. Reading those responses somehow felt like a benediction. I was fine. Everything was fine. I just needed to carry on supporting my baby. And so I found this Zen place. If my supply drops, he’ll let me know and we can move on down that path. Otherwise, calm the heck down mama! Your stress is not helping anyone here!

Harder done than said, but I say we should all be open to that Zen place and maybe even actively practice the feeling so it becomes more the norm in this anxiety-ridden world.

Good luck out there mamas, papas and future parents!

Makin’ baby food

Around labor day weekend, Bailey began to show a strong interest in food. I would sit in a restaurant holding him in my lap and suddenly he would dive bomb for my food or my glass. He would watch Lee bring his glass or food to his mouth and practically lick his lips. The first time, we brought a glass to Bailey’s mouth, he grabbed with both hands and started trying to slurp water out of the glass. He’s still hasn’t figured out that you need to tilt the glass to get to the liquid but hey, he’s working on it!

Image

That weekend, we were on our way to Aspen for the long weekend. I quickly mashed up a little avocado and put it on a spoon to see what would happen. Bailey gobbled it right up.

Now, a month later, we are feeding him solids twice a day. I’ve decided to play around with making my own baby food since I can’t bring myself to actually taste jarred baby food and I would really like Bailey to end up eating what we eat!

So far, we have tried sweet potato, acorn squash, avocado, pears, apples, zucchini, baby greens, rice cereal, oatmeal cereal and gosh, he just tried carrots and turkey (that last one was from a jar). I guess, we’ve tried alot now that I’ve written it down, and he has loved it all.

 

My fav recipes so far:

Sweet potatoes and pears

  1. Bake one sweet potato (in foil in the toaster oven at 400 for 45 min or til soft)
  2. Steam one pear with a tiny piece of fresh ginger and some cinnamon (about 4 min)
  3. Scoop sweet potato out of its skin and puree with the pear, ginger and some water.
  4. If it is too watery, add rice cereal to thicken

I think that makes about 12 servings so about 6 days worth. You’re only supposed to refrigerate the food for up to 3 days. I bought BPA free icecube trays with lids and I fill the tray up and then freeze it. He gets 2-3 icecubes per meal (that I of course defrost and serve warm or room temperature).

Baby Greens, Zucchini and Sweet Potato

  1. Bake one sweet potato
  2. Peel, slice and steam one zucchini with dried dill (about 5 min)
  3. Steam a large handful of baby greens (I use SuperGreens, it takes just a couple minutes for the greens to soften and wilt)
  4. Scoop out sweet potato and add the other veggies to the blender and puree (add water as needed)
  5. If you want to thicken it, add oatmeal cereal

Random factoid – rice cereal can constipate, oatmeal cereal can do the opposite. I choose my cereal depending on what the other vegetables are. Pears are great for digestion so I add rice to slow things down. The other recipe might be normal to slightly harder to digest, so I add oatmeal since baby’s body is still learning how to process solids. Cereals are good to add because they are iron fortified.

Favorite gadgets for meal time:

  • Silicon spoons – got mine as a gift from my friend Annie
  • Bailey’s Fisher Price high chair space saver  – a gift from Aunt Judy (it has an infant setting for before they can sit up really well, plus it can change into a booster seat when they’re older)
  • Waterproof bibs (the cloth kind get so filthy – you basically have to go through one a meal- boo. This one you can just wipe off and reuse – yay!)
  • A regular blender (like for smoothies) – for pureeing the food

And I’m still breastfeeding/doing bottles like normal – the food is just on top of the liquid diet to get Bailey to have even more calories and to play with food. So far, making my own baby food has been pretty darn easy, you might want to give it a try too!

xoxo LG

Cloth Diapering my way – 0 to 6 months

I was very skeptical of cloth diapering for a number of reasons. The number one reason being that I hate doing laundry and Lee was not interested in doing a diaper service but he travels a lot which meant I would be doing the laundry more often than not. In the end, it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s quite easy once you figure out all the tricks and I feel a lot better not buying all those landfill diapers! So here it is, in great yet hopefully concise detail!

We were lucky enough to inherit Fuzzibuns sized diapersfrom Lee’s sister. Thanks Mara!! However, when Bailey was born he was a skinny 6lbs 3 oz and essentially pooped right out the legs of the small Fuzzibuns. Foothills Community hospital in Boulder only does prefold cloth diapers in the postpartum ward, which meant we got to learn how to diaper and practice with prefold cloth diapers before we even got home. And it was easy! So, we started with a three month rental service from a local cloth diaper shop. They offered us waterproof diaper covers as well as prefolds cloth diapers. It was nice to rent all the materials because once we outgrew them; we could just return them to the store and move on to the inherited diapers.

Bailey in a prefold diaper and rumparoo cover in the midst of milk coma

If you do “prefolds”, I recommend starting with:

  1. 6 waterproof covers (we used Rumparooz)
  2. 25 prefolds
  3. 1 Snappi

If I was buying my own prefolds/covers set up, I would probably go with the Econobums package to start with.

Prefold diaper tips:

  • The prefold diaper folds into the waterproof cover.
  • The Snappi helps you get the prefold snugly around baby.
  • The waterproof cover snaps or velcros over the prefold.
  • It is essential to make sure the prefold is completely covered by the cover, otherwise pee will wick straight up out of the cover and on to baby’s onesie.
  • Once you have your technique down, your covers can last weeks because, everything is contained in the prefold part. I think we did diaper laundry once a week back then.
Using a snappi on the prefold diaper, cover comes next.

I really loved using prefolds. I felt like you had more flexibility to wrap the diaper snugly around the baby’s upper thigh. They seemed less messy in general. With prefold covers, you can get sized covers or one sized covers that supposedly fit from birth to potty training. The theoretical benefit of the one size covers is that you obviously need less diapers overall. However, the one one-size diaper that I tried was too big early on, so it really depends on your baby. It’s best to try out different brands and styles before committing to buying  a lot of diapers.

Once Bailey grew into the Fuzzibuns small diapers, we switched over to those. Personally, I like them a little less. They are called pocket diapers which means you have to stuff an insert into the diaper and then pull the insert out after the diaper has been used. With prefolds, you can reuse the cover multiple times before washing it. With the pocket diaper, you have to wash both the insert and the cover after each use. The pocket diapers are super cute and less bulky though. As Bailey grew out of the small Fuzzibuns, he clearly did not fit into the medium ones, so we bought six one size fuzzibuns which I liked a lot and supposedly they will keep expanding through the rest of his diaper career. We still use the one size diapers as his night diapers because we can control the elastic at both the waist and the leg.

Pocket Diaper basics –we have:

  • 25 of each sized diaper + 6 one size diapers
  • 6 additional hemp inserts that we add for night time diapering. My fav is the thirsties insert
B in a Fuzzibuns diaper

How we diaper with Fuzzibuns

  • Daytime diapering – we use the regular insert that came with each Fuzzibun. Change diaper every 2-3 hours unless we know he’s pooped and then obviously we change it sooner.
  • Nighttime diapering – we double stuff with a regular insert and a thirsties insert. He has never leaked through since we started doing that and he is in that diaper for about 12 hours.
  • We wash diapers twice a week mostly because you don’t want the diapers to sit in pee and poo for much longer.

The Diapering station: His diapering station is on the bathroom counter by his room. We have:

  • a loose waterproof pad on top of
  • a foam changing pad (which also has a waterproof cover).
  • Several prefold cotton diapers that we use under his bottom in case things get messy, you can also use them on top to prevent accidental pee fountains! Whatever you do, don’t get one of those silly peepee teepee things – they just deflect the pee back down on to the baby which still makes a mess of his clothes.
  • Little  washcloths to clean him
  • Diaper ointment. I alternate between 100% shea butter and Honest healing balm
  • Maalox. Yep, that’s right! It works great if baby has diarrhea and gets a really icky diaper rash. Just dab it on.
  • Five gallon bucket with lid (see below for why)
  • Borax – still not sure what it is exactly but boy does it do a lot of different things!

Where we keep dirty diapers

  • We keep a five gallon bucket on the floor filled up a third of the way with water and a ½ cup of Borax. Each dirty diaper goes into the bucket. Close the lid and move on. This method works so much better than a wet bag or diaper pail. There is absolutely no smelly bathroom if you do this method. The borax and water are not critical until around month 4 or 5 when baby’s urine starts to smell more like ammonia. It also really minimizes stains and poo smell (once baby starts to eat solids).

Washing cloth diapers

  • Every Thursday and Sunday, we empty the bucket into the washing machine to wash the diapers.
  • Set the washing machine to largest load – you want all that water to get all the dirties out of the diapers!
  • Run one with no detergent  (preferably cold)
  • Add 1 tablespoon of detergent of choice and run a hot/cold wash, heavy load. Yes, it’s important to use less detergent so that your diapers don’t get detergent build up.
  • If the diapers still smell, run another rinse cycle and then consider adding more detergent or trying another brand of detergent. Just remember that diapers really don’t need much detergent.
  • Throw diapers into dryer on low for a long drying cycle – the night inserts take an especially long time to dry. You can also put the diapers outside in the sun to dry. The sun naturally bleaches out the poop stains, though it is important that the diapers are pretty wet when you put them out in the sun.

Detergents

I’ve tried Charlie’s soap – diapers didn’t smell clean; Tide original powder – recommended by dozens of CDing moms, but was too harsh for Bailey; Seventh Generation – again diapers didn’t seem clean; and finally, we tried All Free & Clear liquid – and it was just right for us – diapers smell clean, have almost no staining and we haven’t had to strip the diapers since we started using it. You’ve just got to experiment, since your machine and water is different than the next cloth diapering mama…

If your diapers don’t seem to be working…

  • If your diapers are brand new, did you remember to break them in to get them to absorb the best that they can? If not, you can wash them several times using a hot water cycle. You can also just boil the inserts in a pot on the stove for 10 minutes – that’s what I do.
  • If your diapers don’t seem to be soaking up liquid after you’ve been using them awhile, your diapers may have detergent build up.
  • Detergent build up requires that you strip your diapers. This is how I strip diapers: Put clean diapers in your washing machine and 1 tablespoon of Original Dawn dishwashing liquid and run a hot cycle, super-sized setting. Run a minimum of two more cycles to get the Dawn completely out of the diapers. If you see soap bubbles, you need to run another cycle. Once you are confident that the Dawn is gone, dry the diapers on low. Your diapers should start working better immediately.

That’s it for now. We’re just starting solids, so I’ll have an update in a few months about using sprayers and flushable inserts…til then!

Looking cute in a one-size Fuzzibuns

One last comment about disposable diapers.

I’ve always heard that Huggies are for girls and Pampers are for boys. Are you a mama? What do you think? We use Pampers swaddlers in a pinch and they work great, they just aren’t biodegradable. I’m not really a fan of seventh generation diapers. They don’t really biodegrade either. My favorite ‘sposies are Honest diapers –super cute, biodegradable and work really well.