Monday, March 21, 2011

The No-Cry Blocked Duct Solution

OK, I've had a ton of blocked ducts, and am getting to be a real pro at getting rid of them. I've tried lots of tricks, but two of them in conjunction work the best:

1. Take an advil an hour or two before your next pump/feeding. Its anti-inflammatory properties help the clog get out, plus pain killer - yay.

2. Put a hot compress on the spot for a good 20 minutes right before feeding/pumping. Longer if possible. This thins out the fat in the milk and further expands tissues.

Massage gently while feeding/pumping. No more clog.

Most of the crunchy advice skips the Advil part. I think that's why I read so many complaints of it taking several feedings for it to go away. I would take hot showers, pump leaning way over, massage the thing as hard as I could stand it and it would still take a day or two for it to go away. I think the Advil is critical, but of course, that's a drug. Of course, you let these things go long enough they can develop into mastitis, and that's antibiotics. Luckily, I've not had to deal with mastitis yet... knock on wood.

So there you go - anti-inflammatories for clogged ducts.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adventures in No-Sleeping *a-hem* Co-Sleeping

We were told we would not be getting any sleep with a newborn, at which we scoffed knowingly. Ah, but we are going to co-sleep. None of this struggling to get the baby to sleep in his crib in another room all by himself... No, sir. And we will be well rested because of this decision.


Why, no Mom. No need for you to take a night shift with the baby. We are putting him in bed with us. We'll see you in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed. You'll see.


OK, babies sleep like 20 out of 24 hours, waking to eat and then go right back to sleep. Right? How can you not get an abundance of rest if you simply sleep when they sleep? You could get 20 hours of sleep if you want, it would seem. But here's the reality. Baby sleeps in your arms after you breastfeed him to sleep. Then you can't put him down cause he'll wake up. He'll wake up in 30 minutes anyway and want to breastfeed back to sleep again. It's amazing how much sleep this constantly sleeping person can somehow deprive you of, but they are engineered somehow to do this.

The first night went fairly well. Baby was completely passed out. In fact, he went 5 hours without waking and we got worried, so tried to wake him to feed, and with some difficulty, we fed him at 2am. Subsequent nights, this was not an issue. Baby would suddenly start screaming blooy murder - we discovered he went from 0 to starvingangryfamisheddying baby in a second flat. No warning, just sudden and total meltdown. Hubby would deposit him on a pillow on my lap and I would feed him. He'd be asleep within 5 minutes. Ooookay. Move him over beside me and turn out the light and lay down. starvingangryfamisheddying baby instantaneously. Oookay... feed. Asleep in 5 minutes again. Move baby - nope. Okay, feed. Asleep. Wait for baby to be soundly asleep. Veeerrryyy gently try to move... nope. Okay, feed. Asleep. Wait 30 freaking minutes for the baby to be very soundly asleep. Nope. Okay, prop self up with pillows, feed baby asleep, try to sleep sitting up with baby on lap. By the way, intersperse about 10 diaper changes in there.

This was the our cosleeping attempt. We did this for about a week when Mom came back into town and again offered to take a night shift. We were both half-crazed zombies and eagerly agreed this time.

Mom took baby downstairs to the living room where we had a changing table, rocking chair, cradle, two couches and a baby swing. Basically, an uber nursery. I came down every 3 hours to pump and I'd find them curled up on one couch or the other. Or she'd have him in the cradle next to one of the couches. Or he'd be in his swing. But she'd be beside him with a bottle all night, waking every hour or so, but giving us some much needed respite.

When she left again we were not about to reattempt the upstairs cosleeping nightmare from before. No. Downstairs was working for him, it made sense for one person to stay with him and meet his needs while the other got some uninterrupted sleep. So began the shifts.

I would sleep upstairs from 8:30 until midnight or 1, Mike would get him to sleep in his swing, feed him when he would wake, and try to sleep a little in there too. I'd come down at 1 and pump, then Mike would head upstairs and I'd take over downstairs with Parker. I get 3-4 hours sleep upstairs, and another 2-3 downstairs. Altogether, its a survivable, functional amount of cumulative sleep. But is it co-sleeping? Its certainly not the family bed we envisioned. But it works. It's a survival mechanism.

Parker is 4 months now and we still do this. We eagerly look forward to the day he can sleep upstairs and we can all be together. But for now, this keeps us all relatively ok. Parker never cries it out. He's never felt abandoned or alone. I think this is good. But in a month or two we will have to reassess some things and wrap this up...

So that's what is working for us. You have to find what works for you. You might need to employ a little creativity and intuition tho. Read all the books you like. Ultimitely, the baby is in charge. At least for now.

As terribly fun as that sounds...

Child-led weaning. Purportedly it happens "anytime between 2.5 - 7 years old" and is better for their emotional and mental development.

Do you have any idea how CRAAAAZY you sound? A 7 year old? Still sucking on a mommy's boob? I mean, I hate to judge, but... wow. I'm trying to picture that...

and how ruinous that would be to my marriage, what with my official diagnosis of "Lactational Atrophic Vaginitis" which renders me either a nun or writhing in pain during sex for the duration. We like having his father around, so STFU about him being lucky enough to decide when he's done. We're not doing this for 7 years. We hope to make it 2 more months, but after a year, he's cut off. Why? Cause maybe he'll be "lucky" enough to have a sibling some day and mommy and daddy can't really work on that under present circumstances.

Mommy wars are fun and all... but I've learned this - every baby is different. Every mommy is different. Every family dynamic is different. These supposed studies don't know my situation. I hear how they don't like to consider themselves judgemental - they're just "sad" for you that you're not willing to do the best for your child. "I guess you'll have to decide for yourself if Parker deserves better than trace amounts of rocket fuel." That's not non-judgemental. That's actually pretty damn condescending. I'm only mildly annoyed you think your parenting choices mean you love your baby the right way, and because they don't work for me, I'm not trying hard enough or don't love my baby enough. But only mildly annoyed. Mostly, its beginning to just strike me as funny, and I'm ready to start poking you with a stick. Because rice cereal and formula are not going to hurt my baby when and if he gets them. So are a bunch of other choices that I might make.

poke poke poke

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm dismissive, so why won't you go away...

So the podcast "Parenting Within Reason" did an interesting enough interview with Dr Amy that I decided to give a very open minded listen to their hour long FAQ on vaccines, on which they are pro. Sadly, I found them to be barely coherent, smarmy sneering idiots on the topic, knocking down strawman after strawman and even giving outright misinformation (sterility is a *common* complication of mumps. Is 1 in 10,000 what you would call common?) And they brought up Andrew Wakefield's shortcomings as proof that vaccines are safe. Strawman strawman strawman.

Now, I'm willing to reconsider a lot of things. I will listen to reason. But before you and I talk vaccines, I'm afraid you'll have to pass this quiz I have formulated to screen out morons who don't know what they are talking about, or at least know less than me - in which case, why would I listen to you? Here we go:

1. What is the epidermis and what its role in protecting the body from enviromental toxins?

a. Where is approximately 80% of the body's immune function located?
b. Name at least one major filtration system in the body that a vaccine would encounter when injected into the body? (Note: this is a trick question)
c. In light of this, is there any merit to pointing out how many environmental toxins a normal, non-intravenous drug using person encounters every day/how much aluminum there is in formula/breastmilk/a tuna fish sandwich during a vaccine discussion?
d. Would you consider a pureed tuna fish sandwich a safely injectable substance? Why or why not? (Note: If you answered yes, please put down your pencil and hand in your paper. We are done talking.)

2. Who is Russell Blaylock and what is his profession?

3. Who wrote the paper entitled "Tobacco Science and the Thimerosal Scandal"?

4. What is glutathione?
a. What is the effect of Tylenol on glutathione?

5. Discuss the origins of herd immunity theory.

6. What does VAERS stand for?

7. Where did Bill Gates receive his medical training? (Note: also a trick question)

8. What is the safe level of aluminum in mcg for IV solutions for newborns per day according to the FDA?
a. What is the maximum cumulative amount of aluminum in mcg that a 2 month old following the CDC immunization schedule could receive in one day?

9. The vaccine industry touts the statistic that 50,000 Americans die from vaccine preventable diseases every year. What disease makes up the bulk of this statistic and in what age group?

10. What is the efficacy rate of the flu vaccine?

11. Is the flu a vaccine preventable disease?

12. What other condition mimics autism almost exactly? So exactly in fact, you'd swear they were the same thing?

13. Autism is one thing anti-vaxxers are concerned about. Name at least 5 other conditions that are a concern to them.

14. Would an anti-vaxxer be more worried about vaccinating their son or daughter and why?

15. At approximately what age does the blood-brain barrier develop?

16. What common vaccine still contains thimerosal?

17. Name 3 vaccine ingredients besides aluminum and thimerosal.

18. When was thimerosal removed from the MMR?
a. Please explain why this is a trick question:

19. When was the last case of Polio in the US and how was it acquired?

20. Please explain what a live virus vaccine is and name two vaccines that are live virus.

21. What is an adjuvant?

That's enough for now. I'll add more later as I think of them.

I swear those horns were around here somewhere...


Dr. Amy Tuteur, the Skeptical OB, is making more sense to me all of a sudden. How did this happen to me? She's a monster. A hateful, ignorant, self-righteous monster.

I'm reading through her blog, listening to her interviews with a more open mind and finding a whole community of people who are not fans of homebirth, but who still (inexplicably) love their children. There are other people who feel let down or deceived or embarrassed or angry by this beautiful mythology of peaceful birth...

I so wanted to be a poster child of a successful home water birth. It didn't happen. For the longest time I didn't want to talk about it. I felt so depressed about it. But I do need to talk about it. I think the homebirth movement has more red-headed stepchildren like me than anyone wants to admit. I didn't see them when I was pregnant. Or if I did, I could quickly analyze exactly what they did wrong so I wouldn't repeat their mistakes.

I wouldn't have believed it unless I experienced it for myself. I did everything right. So did my midwives. We still ended up with a csection.

Dr Amy talks about the MANA (Midwives Association of North America) research data on homebirth that they won't release to anyone unless they sign something swearing they will only use the data to further the cause of midwifery, and also a confidentiality agreement. And they have to be well-vetted. She sounds like she might be right in that if this data said something good for homebirth, they'd be crowing about it everywhere. There would be press releases, not confidentiality agreements.

...what does it say, I wonder...

That there are a lot more women like me? Or worse... I was lucky. I am healthy, I have a healthy baby. This is a good outcome. Maybe there are a lot more bad outcomes that we haven't been hearing about... Scary to think about...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why you will hate breastfeeding

To all my preggo first time moms out there, particularly the ones like me, who were asked if they plan to breastfeed and responded quite naively, Why of course! What - do I hate my child? Of COURSE I will breastfeed. What kind of monster wouldn't? And then would really wonder why its seems so controversial... really why wouldn't someone breastfeed... what am I missing...?

Well, let me tell you why you will hate it. (and why you'll do it anyway)

You will hate breastfeeding Week 1 because:

You will freak out over low/no supply and you will be convinced your newborn is starving. Then after putting the baby to the breast often enough to get your supply going, you will be raw, cracked, bleeding and sore. To the point where you will cry at the thought of feeding the baby again. In one hour. Plus breastfeeding will be awkward and ungainly and all manner of strangers will see you barechested. Oh, and the baby will have latch problems that will exacerbate the soreness and you will have to annoy the newborn constantly to correct this. If you even can.

Week 2

The nipple sheilds you got to give you a tiny bit of relief from clothing brushing up against your exquisitely sensitive nipples will give you the beginnings of thrush. Enjoy. And you'll experience your first growth spurt. You are nursing (and therefore in pain) about every hour or two round the clock. Sleep deprivation + cabin fever is slowly making you a little crazy.

Week 3 - 6

Pain is not going away, but getting worse - thank you, thrush - and you start getting your first of many golf balls stuffed into your boob tissue, otherwise known as a blocked duct. Ouch. You start practicing with the breast pump in an effort to assuage the cabin fever and let daddy give baby a bottle so you can get 2 hours of sleep in a row. The breast pump is not working on your breasts and you really start to panic.

Week 7-3 months

More blocked ducts, on a weekly basis. Treatment for the thrush you finally figured out you had, and a bout or two of mastitis. You can finally use the pump - hurrah - only now the baby will only take pumped milk from a bottle. This sentences you to constant bottle washing and feeling like a damn milk cow hooked up to a machine all the time. Baby is eating every 3-4 hours now and sleeping longer, its 6 weeks, so it's time to finally jump back in the sack with your man, but hold on... what the hell is wrong with my vagina??? I'll tell you what. Elevated oxytocin and decreased estrogen. Due to - you guessed it - breastfeeding. These hormones are killing your libido and making the walls of your vajayjay paper thin. Plus every drop of moisture in your body is now going out your boobs. You're like the Sahara desert down there. Ouch. Side note: this also means you're very constipated. You make a very embarrassing appointment with a doctor to ask what the hell is wrong with you (has something prolapsed? am I frigid? WTF?) and right away he knows what no LLL leader will admit: breastfeeding sucks. the very life out of your sex life. He says it won't get better until 3 months after you stop breastfeeding. Until then, be patient, use lots and lots, buckets and buckets of lube. ew. charming.

In general:

Every time the baby seems fussy or gassy, you will wonder if its because of something you ate. Related: people will tell you that because you are breastfeeding, you must not eat *insert favorite food here*

Formula feeding parents will brag about their baby sleeping through the night before yours. Formula is more filling. Sticks in their craw like a bag of cement. After several weeks of sleep deprivation, this will begin to have lots (and lots) of appeal.

Pain, stress, sleep deprivation, inconvenience, pain, loss of sex life, and did I mention PAIN - with so much to hate, why why why would anyone do this? If breastfeeding were a person, you'd have an excellent case in court against him. But you will do it anyway - or try your darndest - for reasons well-covered by the pro-breastfeeding nazis out there, but I will touch on the main points:

You get to eat anything you want and still lose weight. Really. Breastfeeding uses up a BUNCH of calories, so you will be under your pre-pregnancy weight in no time. Literally. For me it was a couple weeks.

That's not all. It's cheaper. Formula is criminally expensive, and aside from pumps, lanolins, bottles, bras, what-have-you, breastmilk is free. (plus the cost of extra chocolate cake)

Breastmilk has antibodies. If you are like me, you dread the first real bout with illness in your child. Kiss your baby lots, feed him breastmilk, and with any luck, it will be a long long long time before you worry about colds and flus, even if everyone else in your house is sick. Don't be surprised if your breastfed baby is fine.

Number one reason why you will breastfeed: because you love your little kidlet with all the love in the whole wide world and this is the food he is supposed to have. End of story.

***OK not everyone experiences all these problems - you'll have your very own special set of them! But for every problem there is a solution, or at least a way to cope... but if you can expect the worst and still forge boldly ahead, congratulations - you have truly earned the title MOMMA. Be proud of yourself. It may not work for you, or it may not work for as long as you'd like, and that's OK. Just do your best.

Breastfeeding Sucks

...literally. That is all.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In the wee hours...

Last night my little boy was having some sort of tummy trouble, maybe a little constipation, although he was having poopy diapers, he seemed very uncomfortable and was very restless in his sleep.

Now I may be a working mom. I may let someone else (a very wonderful, grandmotherly someone else) look after my boy all day, and his daddy does more than his fair share of holding and caring for the boy in the day time... but he knows who holds him at 3 in the morning and kisses it all better.

That was this morning in the wee hours. Something told me it was time to try the pear juice I've had on hand. He made his face he makes when something besides mama milkies is put in his mouth, but it was like magic. He was instantly settled, stopped whining and fidgeting. I laid him across my chest, put my pandora radio on "Enya" and we slept on the couch tummy to tummy until dawn, quite peacefully. And when I got up with him to change his diaper and laid him on the table he looked up at me like I was his absolute hero. Made me feel 10 feet tall.

My little boy is 4 months old today.

I read this morning of a woman in Japan frantically searching for her 5 year old little boy. Couldn't finish my breakfast after that. What if she never gets to make it all better for her little man, ever again? What if he is somewhere crying for her and scared? Makes me want to go get my little boy and cuddle with him all day on the couch... Hurts my heart...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yes, please!

Mmmmm... what's the uncrunchiest thing you can think of to eat?

That's correct - SPAM. And I'm eating it right now. It's delicious. It's actually one of our staples and a guilty pleasure in our house. We try not to think too much about what's in it.

Actually, we do. We joke all the time about the corneas and assholes that go into delicious Spam.

Did you know that George Burns and Gracie Allen shilled for Spam on their old-timey radio show? They were "Spam-bassadors"!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Not tonight, honey, I have a breastfeeding...

What they don't tell you about the prime sacrament of crunchiness, breastfeeding, is that it can really mess up your sex life. I mean really. Apparently increasing oxytocin and decreasing estrogen can be a deadly combination for some women. Breastmilk douses libido and even makes sex excruciatingly painful. I seriously thought something was wrong with me and asked my doctor about it. I thought something had prolapsed. I contacted endocrinologists about my hormone levels. No, this all just comes with the breastfeeding territory. Between the hormones and the fact that my body is socking every last drop of moisture available into my boobs, guess what?

My previously hardcore pro-breastfeeding hubby, upon learning these facts was like - Right, formula it is. kidding, but...

This, we were not prepared for. We were expecting the requisite 6 week postpartum recovery period. It's now been 4 months. I know I'm not the only one. But those breastfeeding nazis don't talk about this a lot because they don't like to talk about the things that would discourage women from breastfeeding. I guess it doesn't happen to everyone... Just special women like me for whom Murphy's Law in crunchiness applies.

But back when I was stockpiling all that St. John's Wort and witch hazel and castor oil I didn't need, I could have also stocked up on heavy duty lubricants as well.

I want to find those women who guiltily slink back into the bedroom after 4 weeks instead of waiting all 6 and wring their lucky little necks. (hee hee, we just couldn't wait! *blush*) Same with every Facebook update I see of "A perfect peaceful home water birth! Enjoying our babymoon!" If I was a generous soul I could find it in my heart to be happy for these people. Sometimes I'm just mad at what they made me expect that I didn't get.

I was set up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Look what I can grow!

My thumb is not entirely black. I forgot about this yummy chocolate cake, and now...

... the cure for some major disease is in there, I'm sure of it.