Friday, July 12, 2013

A Few Tips

Since getting rid of the shield was such a huge hurdle, I wanted to share some of the things that helped Ellie and me, JUST in case someone who reads this blog finds themselves in a similar position.

1. Don't give up. As tempting as pumping and bottle-feeding, or just switching to formula seems, don't give in. Disclaimer: I have NOTHING against either of those things. They definitely have their place. All I'm saying is if you really want to nurse and the only thing standing in your way is a little piece of silicon, then keep at it.

2. Schedule. I have to give a great big thanks to my sister-in-law Michelle on this one. She has baby scheduling down to an art. I spent the whole day with her when Ellie was still having troubles and she really helped me tune in to Ellie's natural schedule. She helped me to realize how important it is to watch the clock! It had only been an hour since I last fed Ellie when she got fussy, so she said, she's probably ready for a nap! I know babies don't just cry because they're hungry, but since she had such a hard time eating, I always felt like she was never full, so I thought she just cried out of hunger. Well, Michelle helped me see that she needed help falling asleep, which is why she was so fussy. (I also thought babies would just fall asleep when they were ready...silly I know, but Ellie had been doing it and I didn't know she had grown out of that). I would have just assumed she hadn't had enough to eat and was hungry again. Well, she napped for an hour and started to wake up, so Michelle said since she knew it had been two hours since she ate last, I should hurry and go feed her before she got too fussy. That was so helpful to feed her before she was too awake. Basically, what I'm saying is pay attention to the clock! Be prepared when baby is hungry so that she is calm and collected before she tries to eat. From what I have heard, baby will eat, play, then sleep, over and over again throughout the day, so when baby wakes up, FEED!

3. Try different things. I was given a lot of advice and read a lot of different things. The thing I heard the most was to let her start eating with the shield, then take her off, quickly take of the shield and re-latch her. That did NOT work. At all. She just got more upset that she was forced to stop. Instead, I would feed her on one side with the shield, then when she was ready for the next, I would latch her without on the other side. The first few times were a little rough, but after a few successful latches, she was off the shield completely. I was also told to try different positions, especially the football hold. That was somewhat helpful, but not the problem solver but it might be for someone else.

4. Don't let her get fussy. This is really important. I read a few experiences of other women, that they would just fight their baby until they finally got a good latch. I would strongly recommend against this. The more frustrated Ellie got, the worse it went. You have to build trust with your baby and let her know that she will still get food from you and have a positive experience. If your baby gets fussy with trying to latch without, put the shield back on and try again without later. Eventually, it will work.

5. Research. At first I didn't want to read anything, because I felt like a failure. I thought if I read online, I would get more discouraged because other women were able to get their babies to latch just fine. But research was so important, I was able to find so much information that was helpful. My two favorite resources were: and

6. Don't worry about the "perfect" latch. This goes back to the article from the #5. When I first got Ellie to latch without the shield, her latch was not ideal. Her lips were not flanged out. There was some pain, but I'm sure it was only because I had been using the shield for so long. After a few days, the pain went away, so I thought all was well, but I wanted to be sure. When I searched for how to encourage babies to flange their lips, I came across that blog post. It stressed that if the latch is working and it doesn't hurt, then it's probably a good latch. I felt so much better! I didn't want to force her lips out because I was afraid it would just make her mad. Her lips still don't flange, but I don't feel pain, her mouth is very wide open, and she is gaining weight just fine, so it's a good latch for us.

I am by no means any expert on breastfeeding. These are just the things I found to be helpful and I wanted to share!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Two Months!

Ellie is officially two of yesterday probably by the time I finish and post this...or like three days later, no big deal. Things with Ellie have definitely changed. She has come so far since the one month post.

First off, I would like to announce that Ellie is no longer using the shield! I can't believe how much easier it is to feed her now. I honestly dreaded feeding her when I had to use the shield. It was messy, time consuming, and just annoying. I was so scared she would never be able to figure out how to eat without it, but she pulled through! It's been three weeks since this hurdle has been crossed and I can't even describe the change it has made in everyone's lives (including Mathew, he was a trooper and washed that dumb thing many times for me).

Ellie finally loves her binky. I struggled and struggled to get her to take one. It seemed like by the time she would take it, it wasn't really worth the effort I went to. I finally had the thought that maybe she didn't like the shape, so I headed to the binky aisle at Wal-Mart this past Saturday. I was about ready to check out with a binky I felt pretty good about when I noticed they have ages on the package! I almost bought her a binky for a 6-month old so I ran back and found a newborn size and it is so awesome! She took it instantly and it has helped so much ever since. She can now fall asleep on her own, stay asleep longer, stay calm if I can't feed her right away, or if I feel like her feedings need to be spread apart. Her crying has reduced significantly since we found that magic binky! In case anyone would like to know, the MAM binky is the one she loves. We used the soother binky they give at the hospital for a while, but I had reservations about it so I really wanted to find an alternative. The NUK was the second one we tried and pretty sure it was just too darn big and she didn't like the awkward shape of it. I truly feel like Ellie is a completely different baby now.

Like I mentioned, the binky has helped her sleep habits tremendously. For naps, we used to have to swaddle her tightly, and take her into the bathroom under the loud fan to get her to sleep, while bouncing and shushing her. Then we could only lay her down when she was completely out and then mimic the swing motion as we slowly put her in the swing while still shushing her to keep her asleep. Then she would maybe take a 45 minute nap max (except in the afternoons she was sometimes getting a 2-3 hour nap in!). Now I just have to swaddle, pop the binky in, and put her in the swing and she's good to go for about 1-1.5 hours. At night, she is still getting a 5-6 hour stretch most nights, but now has added another 3 hour stretch after that.

We started giving Ellie a bottle around 7-8 weeks so that we could leave her with someone if necessary. I was really nervous because of all the feeding problems she had, but knew it was important if I ever wanted to be able to go on a one-on-one date with Mathew or go to the temple again. I left Mathew alone in the room with her and nervously waited. I heard her cry a few times, but soon enough Mathew came out and all was well. She took the whole bottle and was just crying when he stopped to burp her. Woo-hoo! He gives her one bottle every night now while I sit and pump for the next night. It's turning into a good bedtime routine.

She is interacting so much with us now. She started smiling at 4-5 ish weeks. She loves to be whistled to. It puts a great big cheesy grin on her face. We have also started giving her a rattle to hold on to and she doesn't really know what's going on but she holds on to it really well! She is also old enough to enjoy her little jungle thing that plays music, she loves to watch the lights bounce around on it too. She definitely gets fussy and bored quickly though and likes to change activities often.

Since the binky was introduced (seriously I was NOT kidding when I said it was magical and she is a different baby), she is so much more content and able to schedule. At first I was struggling to get her in a routine of eat, play, sleep, but now she falls right into it because she has something to soothe her besides nursing. She eats for about 20 minutes, will play for another 20 ish, then will go right down for her nap and be up ready to eat 2 hours after her last feeding. It's so nice to be able to predict more when she will be ready for a particular activity.

Now for those who don't like reading paragraph baby updates, here is the list, plus a few more not previously mentioned:

1. Takes a binky beautifully now.

2. Eats every two hours and naps for about 1-1.5 hours with good play time in between.

3. Loves to kick her legs and put them straight up in the air.

4. Nurses SO much better now and no longer needs the shield.

5. Fits perfectly in all her 0-3 and 3 month clothes.

6. Loves to go for walks in her stroller.

7. Has become quite the shopper and is content going to the mall with my mom and me.

8. Smiles a lot and we love it. Whistles bring the biggest smiles.

9. Holds on to a rattle and likes listening to it.

10. Hates being in dirty diapers. I can not wait very long to change her before she is crying about it.

11. Is super happy to just lay on the floor and kick and look around.

12. Still sleeps swaddled in her halo.

13. Loves getting a bath.

14. She also enjoys the occasional nap in my homemade moby wrap.

15. Her hair is really coming in now and it is still red!

16. Drools like crazy and blows bubbles in her carseat. Two teeth have been teasing us since she was about 3 weeks. Not sure when they will finally pop through!

17. She is still long and skinny but her cheeks and thighs are filling out. Mathew saw her in her carseat and said her cheeks look like a dogs because they sag down haha.

And just a final little story. My parents and Mathew and I sat down to watch a movie about a week ago maybe. Mathew had successfully put  Ellie down for bed (pre-magic binky) so we thought we were set for the whole movie. We heard her fuss a bit, so I went in to check on her and she was WIDE awake, just laying there happily. As soon as I walked in the door, she looked at me and let out this huge smile. It was so wonderful and made me really feel like I am her mom and she knows that. It just really made me feel so much more connected to her since she recognized me.

I thought these two pictures were hilarious. She loves having her hand(s) up by her face. She had them both up by her face in the 20 week ultrasound.

Don't know what we'd do without that HALO!

Oh that smile melts my heart!

What did I tell you...MAGICAL binky!


I love this picture of Mathew with her. Shows how much she loves her daddy and likes to hold on to his finger.

Ellie with her penguin at one month...

Ellie with her penguin at two months. I'm kind of in awe at the difference!