Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sleepless Nights...

Last night one of my oldest friends came over for some mommy and baby time (oldest meaning I've known her all my life)!  Brittany brought her three month old  son, Grayden, over to visit and spend time with me and Brody. It was a lot of fun sharing stories about our trials and triumphs of being a mommy!

We decided to cook dinner (she brought the food; thanks, Britt!) and it was pretty interesting trying to cook with crying babies in our arms. It took a lot of teamwork and time, but we managed to make a delicious dinner!

After they left, it took several hours for Brody to fall asleep. My poor baby is a little constipated, and although I gave him breast milk before which made him have a BM almost instantly, the past few times I've given it to him, it didn't work. So instead of taking care of my normal deep-sleeping baby, where rarely any sound make him wake up, Brody has been extremely sensitive to sound and movement.

Last night, I became extremely frustrated when the dogs would bark at nothing or I'd accidentally hit something or make a noise that'd wake him up.

Since we moved into our new house, we've had issues with our microwave; it'll randomly beep and won't stop until you unplug it (apparently the keypad is going out). And of course by the time I finally get Brody down, the microwave starts going off, waking him up. This was at 3 a.m.! I don't know why things like that always happen at the worst time!

Needless to say, I had to call my mom this morning to see if she'd come over to let me get an extra hour or two of sleep. Luckily, she did. Thanks, Mom!

The past two days and nights Brody has been a little more irritable than normal, and it's hurts me to not be able to make him feel better! So, I'm praying we get a good poopy pretty soon!

Ok as a proud aunt, I have to mention this! Brody and I went to watch his cousin Presley (my sister's daughter) at her first t-ball game today! Here's a pic of Presley (left) and Emma (right), Staci and Mark's beautiful little girl. Aren't they adorable?

It was a lot of fun watching them play and have fun. Although I don't want Brody to grow up, because thinking about it already makes me sad, seeing these little ones having a blast playing ball makes me excited for Brody to get that age! Plus, let's admit it's hilarious watching kids try to play ball at this age. Presley would just let the ball roll right by her when she was in the outfield. I guess we need to work on that!

Anyway, this post is going to be pretty short today! Brody is asleep so I'm going to try to take a nap while I have the chance!

Crossing my fingers and praying for the best tonight...


Friday, March 30, 2012

Mommy Trade-Offs, When to Ask for Help & Tips for Friends & Family of New Parents

I'm not so happy to say that our seven-hour sleeping record was short lived. Last night, Brody fell asleep around 1:30 a.m., woke up at 3:30, went back to sleep around 4:30 and back up at 7 a.m. Truthfully, I didn't think the longer sleep was going to last too long. I'm still hoping that this was just an "off" night and was only just a little "bump" in our road to sleeping success. I imagine his sleeping pattern won't become incredibly consistent just yet, but I hope we can get some sort of consistency going soon. But I'm still hoping for the best for the many nights to come!

Amidst all the restless nights and exasperation, there are joys of waking up in the middle of the night with Brody. Lately, we get to see, what I like to call, little Brody "smile sessions." Seeing my little baby smile is not only one of the many precious moments that make me feel like I'm doing something right, but his beautiful grins never fail to put a smile on my face.

I think this is one of the many trade-offs of being a mom. Through the fatigue, exhaustion and many breakdowns, come these sweet amazing moments that let you know that it was all worth it.

By far one of my favorite things is watching him smile when I sing. He's the only person in the world who likes to hear me sing! Watching him smile because he likes to hear my voice, not only makes me an extremely happy mom, but it also helps keep me sane.

Here's a little peek at one of our singing/smile sessions:


I know many moms are struggling with sleep deprivation and feel like they might "lose it," and one of the things that's hard for me to do is admit when I needed help. I'm not really one to ask for help (or admit that I need it) because I like to prove that I can do it myself. Pediatricians and nurses will constantly tell you to sleep while your baby is asleep. But how are you supposed to do that when you need to clean, wash bottles, do laundry, shower and make you something to eat?

My exhaustion took priority over all of those things and led me to neglect taking care of myself. I was so tired that even though I was starving, I didn't want to make myself something to eat because all I wanted to do was sleep. By the time Brody and I woke up, I'd have to feed and change him, leaving me hungry and never having the time to eat or make anything. I'd go all day without barely eating anything (which probably had to do with the decrease of my breast milk).

Although your priority is making sure your child is taken care of, it's important to remember you have to take care of yourself and part of that is knowing when to ask for help.

In the first few weeks after Brody was born, my mom came over and stayed with us overnight a few times to let Klay and I get some much needed rest. Getting more than 4 hours of consecutive sleep helped restore some of my sanity. If you can't get someone to stay overnight, have someone come stay during the day and let you sleep; it will help you regain some of your energy. But remember you have to ASK for help, and LET people help you!

If you're a friend or family member to someone who's recently had a baby, cook a meal and take it to their house, help them clean their house or offer to do laundry.  Two great friends of mine came over and made a meal for lunch, helped clean my house and even made a freezer meal that we could heat up in the crock pot. Amber and her mom, Wanda, relieved some of our stress and frustration through spending a few hours of their time to help around the house. This simple act of kindness goes a long way and is truly the best gift any new parent could ask for!

Having help like this--whether it's having someone watch the baby to let you sleep or letting someone clean and cook for you--can make a huge difference through this exhausting time and give new parents a little break.

So, reach out and help someone you know that just had a baby or remember to return the favor when someone helps you!

P.S. Never forget to utilize the grandparents!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Formula, Diaper Rash & Constipation Frustration

I'm so excited and happy to announce...we had another night of 7 hours of sleep! Woo hoo! Sorry, had to get that out there.

I honestly think that the sleeping longer all stems from switching formulas. I've learned that one of the toughest things about formula is finding the right kind that suits your child. This is one of the main reasons I'm still pumping.

We started using Similac Advance, which was one of the samples given by our pediatrician. This seemed to be working fine, and we had absolutely no constipation with it (Brody was producing at least 5-7 soiled diapers a day). We did, however, have absignificant amount of spit up with this brand.

The number of stool-filled diapers Brody was producing a day seemed normal to me because that's how much he'd been pooping since he was born. However, I was having a major issue with his diaper rash (and also tiny bleeding under his scrotum from irritation) and diaper creams really weren't cutting it. My expert googler of a husband, researched and thought we weren't leaving diapers off long enough to air out the irritated area. So, we were tried everything to fix it. We left his diapers off for an hour at a time (after his nightly bath) and kept him wrapped in a towel, we'd tried Butt Paste, Butt Aid, Desitin (not a recommendation by the way), Baby Powder, Vaseline and even corn starch (this usually works according to my sister and grandma and there is even baby powder with corn starch in it apparently). But nothing seemed to completely heal it; they'd make it appear like it was getting better for a few diaper changes, and then it'd be red, irritated  and bleeding again.

Anyway, because of his spit up we decided to switch to Similac Sensitive for Spit-Up.

Within the first day of using this formula, Brody went 12 plus hours without a bowel movement. Being the worrier I am, I began to fret that he'd get a tummy ache and the constipation would worsen. Although I figured the formula switch might constipate him until his body got used to it, the drastic change from 5-7 soiled diapers a day to not producing one in a solid 12 hours didn't sit right with me.

I immediately wanted to switch back to Similac Advance. But I fed him breast milk, hoping he'd poop soon after digesting it, and within two hours he produced a thick, muddy-like dirty diaper (this is another reason why I love breast milk worked like a charm!).

We saw Brody's pediatrician Tuesday and discussed our butt/scrotum issues and formula and constipation problems. She told us that since he's over a month old, he may only produce a stool-filled diaper once a day or once every few days depending on his body and routine. "His pooping will start to slow down at this point," she said. And in the two days we switched formula, his butt rash completely healed  (obviously from the lack of pooping) and we haven't had any issues since.

According to Similac's website, supplementing with formula will cause changes in your baby's behavior: "If your baby refuses the breast, eats faster, goes longer than usual between feedings, or does not pass stool after a few days, don't be overly concerned — these changes are common and do not always signal a problem."

Going through some Similac samples I'd gotten from the hospital, I found reading material on baby stools. (This might be gross to people who don't have kids yet, but you quickly learn in the hospital the color of the stools and what your child is producing in their diapers lets you and the doctors know everything is functioning properly! Also once it's your kid, it changes the way you think about changing diapers or at least it did for me.)

The info had some images of different baby stools. I soon realized I was mistaking his formula stools--they were actually more like diarrhea. Brody was producing a lot of watery-looking stools (not overly watery because they were still yellow and seedy), but because I knew formula stools were different from breastfed stools, I thought it was normal.

My poor baby had diarrhea (off and on) for a solid week and a half, maybe even longer, which caused the irritation on his butt and under his scrotum, and maybe even some dehydration. The dehydration might also explain him waking up every 2-3 hours and his vigorous and sometimes difficult feedings where he'd act like he'd never eaten before! Now that he's staying fuller longer, he's sleeping longer, keeping mom and a dad a little more sane, and his butt rash has completely healed. He seems to be a very happy little baby!

So for especially new moms and all moms out there, here's a link to Similac's Diaper Decoder. Click the stool that looks most like your child's and get info on why it appears the way it does! It should help put an ease to worried moms and assure you that you're baby is ok.

I hope this was knowledgeable and other new moms learn from my experience!

Wishing all babies to be rash- and constipation-free,


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When will it get better?

Brody is now one month old, and Klay and I both still feel extremely sleep deprived. Our constant exhaustion turns into frustration and the frustration has caused serious damage to my normal "sane" mind. I'm only left with bits and pieces of my brain causing an inability for me to function properly. So now this mushy thing that I used to call a brain causes never-ending forgetfulness (trying to remember "did I put one scoop of formula in the bottle or two?"), lots of expecting Klay to know exactly what I'm thinking or wanting without saying anything ("are you going to make him more to eat?" and getting a response of "I didn't know you wanted me to"), trying to recall times he ate, pooped and how long he's been asleep ("wait am I thinking of last night or today or two days ago?") and not understanding why or how I do certain things (marking my breast milk freezer bags  with a date two weeks before Brody was even born).
So, needless to say this morning was extremely exciting because we woke up with a solid seven hours of sleep!!! (Well almost... I sort of woke up with an allergic reaction from something that bit me. Not sure what it was but I'm ok!).

Now, I'm hoping this is the "getting better part" and Brody will start sleeping 6-7 hours at night. This would truly be amazing. My only concern is that he tends to sleep longer in his boppy on our bed. I know pediatricians don't advise this, but in his first few weeks of life, as a new mom and dad, we'd do anything to get some sleep. There were several late night feedings where the only way to get more that an hour was to let him fall asleep on my chest. Every time he's not sleeping with us, he doesn't sleep any longer than four hours. Although four hours may seem like a decent time frame to some people, my little man is a grunter and loves to squirm. So every time he moves or makes a sound, I hear it and wake up.

But it can't all get better can it? Though my sleep may have been long and enjoyable, my day got pretty chaotic rather quickly. Klay and I woke with Brody and began feeding him and had quite a scare. A couple of weeks ago, Brody has had a stuffy nose which caused him to get blocked tear ducts in both eyes. According to the pediatrician, babies' tear ducts go down in to their noses (see picture), are really small and grow and get larger as the baby develops.

"It only takes one good booger to really cause the blockage," she said. So, Brody's eyes began to leak and had white and yellow goop start coming out of his eye. We eventually got prescribed antibiotic eye drops to help clear up his infection.

Although his eyes got better, his stuffy nose continued. I've been using Little Noses  saline spray/drops by Little Remedies to help loosen and get those pesky little boogers out so Brody can breathe easy (we also massage nose where his tear duct area is to help loosen up the blockage). The past few days, his eyes started producing the goop again, and his stuffy nose has caused feedings to become slightly unpleasant. I think he can't breathe that well while eating, so he's spitting up and not swallowing that well.

Anyway, today we fed him and almost had him back asleep, when he got the hiccups (most frustrating thing ever!). I gave him some Little Tummys Gripe Water to hopefully relieve them (most of the time works pretty great)and then he started to gag and choke. He began to spit up out his mouth and his nose, and then the spit up turned into what I'd describe as a projectile vomiting all over me. I quickly ran him to the sink to get him off my soiled t-shirt to prevent any further choking/gagging, and Klay rushed and grabbed the aspirator (or what I like to call the booger sucker) and started sucking stuff that was oozing out of Brody's nose. Luckily, my incessant patting on his back and dad's quick booger-sucker-action managed to get control of the scary situation.

I'm going to make sure he is propped up better during feedings, leave him propped up for at least 30 minutes after and pray that will help clear up his stuffiness and prevent any further milk-spewing/choking spells.

After the morning scare, another fiasco ensued. Right after Klay left to go work, I let my dogs out in the back yard. Then Stretch escaped, my child began crying, I ran to the front door to get Stretch and found a spider in my path, heard my dog and some other dogs making noise outside, rushed out the door to save Stretch from a lab and pit bull that chased after him, then I got chased by the pit bull which jumped on me as I raced to my house, and I luckily made it inside before he managed to bolt through the door. Although I made it in my house unharmed to my crying child, I still didn't manage to kill the spider. This all happened in a matter of 2-3 minutes, and of course, Klay wasn't home to help.

So, hopefully no more crazy situations will arise today in the White household! Just going to pray the sleeping-longer stage has begun for my little Brody man. I'll just wait and see how tonight goes! Wish us luck.


The Mom who Attracts All the Chaos

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? That really is the question.

During my pregnancy, many women often asked me if I wanted to breastfeed. Before I got pregnant, the answer was originally "hell no." I'd heard horror stories about what it does to your boobs and how horrible they are after, but then I got pregnant and my answer changed rather quickly.

After seeing the effect pregnancy had on my body, my boobs were the least of my concern. But more than that, feeling my little nudger kick and squirm around in me changed things. I wanted what's best and most natural for my child, but I didn't want to become obsessed about breastfeeding. "I'm going to try," I'd respond to the inquiries. That was the truth, I had every intention of trying, but I told myself and everyone else that I wouldn't get my hopes up and become some crazy mom who would cry and get upset if it didn't work out. But by day two of breastfeeding, I'd become a liar.

Let's be honest...breastfeeding is no joke. It's tough and in the beginning the odds are really against you. A 2008 report from Brigham Young University shows "while three out of four mothers start breastfeeding, only 36 percent of them continue for at least six months," according to a NY Times blog. So naturally I didn't think breastfeeding would actually work out for me for several reasons.

  1. I didn't think I'd like or enjoy it. The thought of a baby on your boob is weird to some people, and I thought I might feel the same way.

  2. People told stories of how it would solidify the bond between mother and child, but I didn't buy it. I'd been surrounded by formula feeding moms and babies who seemed to have a great bond. So, I never truly believed or understood how it really could breastfeeding could create an essential, powerful and stronger bond than a non-breastfed child.

  3. The baby may not take to it and learn to latch on. It's a fact that sometimes babies don't learn to latch properly or struggle with the whole breastfeeding process. I didn't want to get my hopes up.

  4. People told me I'd have to watch what I eat and couldn't eat/drink certain things. If anyone knows me, they know I love to eat. I was afraid I might get tired of having a restricted diet and having to watch what I eat and drink (and medications I might take).

  5. I'd heard it could be painful. Some friends told me that they stopped because breastfeeding was extremely painful and unbearable. Some had even gotten a breast infection, like mastitis. This was a little scary.

  6. Breastfeeding is a lot of work for you and the baby. I didn't want to be the only person who was able to get up with my baby. I wanted my husband Klay to get up and have the opportunity to feed and help out in the middle of the night. I know me and I'd start to get resentful that while he gets to sleep, I'm still up all night with our son.

Needless to say I felt the odds were against me. But I wanted to try and hoped that we'd succeed at it.

When they first put Brody on my chest for our initial two-hour skin-to-skin time, I was in awe. This sweet little boy was so beautiful, and I wanted to do everything I could for him. So when my nurse said it was time to try breastfeeding, I was completely ready and excited to try. To my surprise, he naturally latched on to my breast and it wasn't at all weird. It was one of the sweetest and most precious moments I've experienced.

By the second day, I was eager to try to feed him every 2-3 hours and enjoy our bonding time together. Amazingly, he seemed to be doing pretty well at it, or I thought he was. We'd have our occasional struggle, and either Klay or Brody's baby nurse would help me with getting him to latch, but once he was on, he stayed on for a while. By day three, a lactation nurse came to visit and showed me all of the proper ways to hold, cradle and position him, how to get and recognize the proper latch, how to get him to stop sucking and release my breast when I wanted and taught us about proper storage, when to pump and deciding how long we should breastfeed.

While the lactation nurses were with us, they made breastfeeding seem extremely easy and nursing was a cinch. The more I breastfed, the more I enjoyed it but I'd become what I'd feared--extremely attached to it.

On day four, we had experienced our first night at home alone, and had a follow-up appointment with a lactation nurse to check Brody's jaundice levels. Unfortunately, my baby had lost too much weight, getting down to a mere 5 lbs 8 oz from his birth weight of 6 lbs 4 oz, so the nurse insisted on watching me feed. She wasn't happy with what she saw and feared that he wasn't getting enough because he appeared tired and frustrated while feeding. She said he was working so hard to get little colostrum, and in order to lower those jaundice levels, we needed my milk to come in asap. Since Brody's jaundice levels were rising and we needed to make sure he was getting plenty to eat to poop out the bilirubin, she advised us to rent a pump to help stimulate and speed up my milk-production and feed the expressed breast milk to Brody via a bottle.

The first time I saw Brody take a bottle was devastating for me. It took every ounce of strength I had to not cry while Klay fed him a bottle of my breast milk at the appointment. The idea some thing, some plastic bottle, was feeding him and not ME was completely appalling. On top of that, I'd maybe had a whopping two hours of consecutive sleep since he was born, I was completely exhausted and in pretty bad pain from giving birth. I had a hard time walking, sitting and doing everything else, and my hormones were going crazy.

After several tears that day and feeling like a I failed my first mommy test, I quickly realized giving him a bottle of breast milk was a lot easier than putting him to my breast. I still had to try to breast feed, so he wouldn't show preference to the bottle and to increase my supply, but the struggle and repetition of both feeding and pumping began to take it's toll.

There are many things I'd learned on my own about breastfeeding.

  1. The images of these smiling mommies with calm, perfectly latched babies wasn't at all what I'd experienced most of the time. Sure, I did get my good and decent feedings in where Brody and I appeared like one of the moms you'd see in parenting magazines, but majority of the time I was fighting a squirmy, floppy and incredibly strong newborn who'd go nuts when he couldn't find my nipple. He'd repeatedly let go from not getting a good latch or just randomly release my breast for no reason, and I'd have to readjust and try again. The process was extremely taxing and time consuming.

  2. People talked about the pain the actual feeding could cause, but I discovered there were other pains that came along with breastfeeding. During the first week of feeding, your uterus contracts when you feed and you often feel a passing of blood from the uterus (or I did) when feeding. These contractions were pretty freaking painful! There was a time they lasted 10 to 15 minutes and I was in so much pain, Klay googled to try to find ways to relieve the pain. He told me I needed to stay hydrated. After the first week, the cramps ceased, but the pain of Brody's nails digging into my boob or scratching my nipple was yet another frustration I'd have to overcome.

  3. Breastfeeding is based on supply and demand. Your body adjusts and produces how much your baby needs (based on how much they are at your breast and eating). After all of the feeding and pumping, I was producing enough milk to feed a hospital nursery. But after a while, the exhaustion and frustration began to set in and I'd grown tired of fighting my baby while he was at my breast, so I just pumped and fed through a bottle. And once I was tied to my pump a few hours a day, (and having to pump in the middle of the night after feeding Brody), I began to pump less and less. I didn't know what skipping a pump session here or there would do to my supply. My supply eventually decreased immensely to only a few ounces (if I was lucky) each session.

  4. The process of building back up my milk supply is hard work. To stimulate my body to produce more, I'd to putting Brody back at my breast, for skin-to-skin. Plus side to this, drink dark beer! It somehow helps you produce more breast milk, according to my pediatrician.

  5. My loss of appetite greatly effected my breast milk production. After Brody was born, I was too tired and exhausted to make myself eat (plus I hardly had the time). Nothing sounded good except graham crackers and apple juice (I was really sick and vomited a lot in the hospital and that was the first thing that I held down, so I think that's why I crave that). Being sleep deprived and having my focus be taking care of my child, and because he came first, my nutrition and taking care of myself fell to the wayside. I looked forward to the 500 and some odd calories you burn with breastfeeding, but Klay had to force me to eat to make sure I was taking care of myself and it wouldn't hurt my milk supply.

  6. Frustration with leaky and hard, painful boobs. While I'd begun leaking colostrum during pregnancy (at 5 months), and woke up many nights with giant wet spots around my breasts and on my sheets, continuing to have to deal with leaky breasts on top of everything else added to my frustration. And while breastfeeding, I'd be leaking over Brody if my other breast wasn't covered, or milk would drip on my clothes (even after pumping) and get everywhere. And if I didn't feed, my boobs would hurt and get extremely hard and engorged. The only relief--to feed or pump. If you are out and about and can't find a place for privacy to do either one, the pain becomes distracting and annoying.

  7. Weird things happen to my boobs when my baby would cry. It's amazing what your body knows and reacts to. When Brody would cry, my breasts would leak or my nipples would begin to throb or have a stinging sensation like my body was saying "go feed your child."

  8. Breastfed babies eat more often than formula fed babies. This didn't matter so much to me because of the nutrition my child was getting from breastfeeding, but after two weeks of hardly more than two to three hours of consecutive sleep, I'd do anything to sleep another hour. As time went on, formula began to seem more appealing.

Through all of my struggles and my low production of breast milk, we were eventually forced to supplement with formula. We are currently still supplementing, but it's become mostly formula now, and we give little breast milk as I'm not producing much.

I'm still pumping and I like to still have my options open on what I can feed him. I'm not fully ready to close up shop just yet!

I'll keep you all posted as this journey still I'm off to pump!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Blog Mom Blog!

The morning sickness, the stretch marks and the many late night trips to the bathroom all led up to this moment--becoming a parent. Going through labor and actually seeing your child for the first time is truly the most amazing (and painful) experiences ever. As a first-time mom, I was unsure what I'd feel or how I'd react at that exact moment, but the feeling is absolutely overwhelming. Holding this tiny person that you created for the first time is powerful, moving and indescribable.

But along with the happiness and joy of having my new baby boy, Brody, now comes the trials and triumphs of parenthood. During one of my restless nights, I put my son down praying he'd sleep for three to four hours and it hit me--I wanted to blog again. And what better thing to write about than my new experiences of being a mom? So I created this blog to communicate and talk to other moms, share my experiences with other first-time mommies, and encourage and try to relate to parents during this, sometimes hard, exhausting and trying time!

I hope many of you will enjoy and relate to my experiences! We all need to stick together and learn from each other. No one truly knows how it feels to experience all the emotions, joys, struggles and frustrations of parenthood than my fellow mommies!

Hope everyone is enjoying your role as mom! I'm wishing everyone great success, patience and many hours of sleep!