8 BABY SLEEP PRODUCTS THAT SAVED MY SANITY

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Why would I listen to sleeping advice from this lady when she says her baby doesn’t sleep?” I know, I know. It’s true, my baby is not a great sleeper, BUT he was once an even worse sleeper than he is now if you can believe that (I sometimes cannot believe it).
When Eli first came home (and for about four months following that) he was up every hour to two hours every.SINGLE.night. We tried EVERYTHING! People kept throwing advice at us, trying to find the solution to this non-sleeping baby, but nothing worked. In my professional mommy opinion (take that with a grain of salt) I don’t think he was ready to sleep. I do not think there was anything we could have done to get him to sleep better. He just wasn’t ready! I know baby sleep can be a controversial subject (cry it out? don’t cry it out? put him on a strict schedule? no strict schedule? etc.), but this is not about any of that and I do not want to get into that in this particular post.
When Eli was around 4 months old his sleep started to be manageable and was so much better than those every two hour wake up calls. He was stretching his sleep time to every 4 hours and that was survivable. I wanted to share with you what products we noticed that really helped make a difference with Eli’s terrible sleeping habits in those early days. These are the products that helped us as parents and that helped Eli be more comfortable with his sleeping, which eventually led to those nice longer stretches of sleep.

These are the items that I will most definitely be pulling out of the storage when the next baby comes!

1. The Woombie

Eli did not like being swaddled with blankets and we did not like swaddling him. It was always a big ordeal. He would fuss and fight it and even once it was done he just always seemed uncomfortable and even from very early on he would figure out how to bust out of his little burrito. We found the Woombie and loved how easy it was to put on him. We just zipped him up in his little pea pod and he really liked it too. I think he liked the fact that the fabric gives a little and he was able to still rest his sweet little hands on his chest while still being wrapped up tight. He was all about those hands being nice and close to him. I also love the fact that you can zip from the bottom up so that was nice during those middle of the night diaper changes and not having to unswaddle him and then reswaddle him while he’s screaming like a banshee! I’ll be honest, Eli still woke up a lot with the Woombie so I wouldn’t say it was a lifesaver or anything (he did sleep longer stretches with the Woombie on than any other swaddling blanket) with his sleep, but I noticed a BIG change with his comfort level once he had the Woombie. He just seemed much more cozy.

2. Gas Drops

The Gas Drops were really helpful for us in those early days. Eli had a hard time with his tummy around two-three months old, especially late at night. Poor thing just seemed so uncomfortable and it woke him up quite a lot. When we started giving him some drops here and there we noticed a difference in his comfort level and they really seemed to help!

3. Video Monitor

This was more for the parents. Obviously, Eli is not getting any better or worse sleep with a video monitor. I found this calming to be able to see him. At first I was constantly looking at it, but now I only check it if I hear him. It is so helpful for us to see if he lost his paci or if he’s standing up (he seems to forget he has the ability to sit back down in the middle of the night even though he sits himself back down all the time if he’s up and playing) or whatever else we need to check in on. I would have worried 30x more than I already do without having the ability to check in on him every once in a while with the monitor! It’s also a plus that I get to watch his sweet and cute little self snooze away. They always look like such angels when they sleep (if they sleep…)!

4. Soft Sheets

I don’t know if Eli even noticed this, but I would like to think so. We use these sheets with his crib. We had regular ‘ole crib sheets when we first started putting him in his crib and to me he just seemed like he could never get comfortable. I don’t blame him. The sheets seemed scratchy and stiff and not very comfy. If he is anything like his momma then he is all about comfort in his bed! I felt bad thinking he could be uncomfortable on those sheets and not be able to tell us so I found these sheets online and they had great reviews! They are super soft. They are like sleeping in a velour track suit. I mean, how is that not the most greatest thing ever? He also seemed to settle better and did really seem much more comfortable once we started using these sheets.

5. This Mobile

We got this mobile when Eli was two months old. I did not rush on getting a mobile when I was pregnant because I did not know how important it would be and how much we would need one. This is very helpful in putting Eli to sleep. We like this one because it plays a little light show on the top of it and he just watches it and watches the animals spin and listens to the soft music and gets very sleepy. I think it is really comforting to him. Although, now that he is standing he likes to stand and attack the animals with all his might.

6. Sound Machine

This is another big necessity in our house. Our house is loud. It’s old. The floors creak and the dog makes a lot of noises … and so do the three cats we have. We do not have a fancy sound machine. We plug the iPad in and use a white noice app that makes static noise. I forgot to put it on once and Eli did not sleep good so, it is very necessary for us. I know a lot of people worry that if you use a sound machine with your baby they will then be dependent on it for the rest of their lives. Eh, not a big deal to us. If we have to carry around an iPad with us whenever we travel or wherever we go so Eli can get some decent sleep then that is fine with us. If he has to have an iPad on (or whatever other latest gadget is out there by the time) with him to get some good sleep as he grows up then that is fine. I think there could be worse! He can always take it with him and it’s no big deal. His college roommate will just have to get over it or else momma bear will come over and rip his face off. Just kidding …sort of.

If the iPad didn’t work so well as a sound machine we would give these a try:

Sleep Sheep
Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine
Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother

7. Wubbanub

These were huge for us! Eli started using the Soothie pacifiers as soon as he was born, so it’s great that they are the same pacifiers attached to the Wubbanub. These were and still are so helpful with Eli’s sleep because he can easily find them in the middle of the night in his dark nursery and he is able to easily put them in his mouth. When he learned how to put his own paci back into his mouth that was a GAME CHANGER. We were no longer having to run back and forth from our room to his to reinsert the paci. These were a big way that he learned to put them back into his mouth on his own. He is also super attached to them and they’re really cute! He puts himself to sleep when he is sucking on his Wubbanub and playing with their little arms and legs. He LOVES them. We have the giraffe and the elephant.

8. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit 

Two words. LIFE SAVER. I am sure you are like me reading this and seeing the picture of this giant snowsuit and you are skeptical. I was skeptical too, but I was also desperate. The reviews on this suit are really positive and Eli was around 4 months old when I ordered it and this house needed more sleep! I remember when it arrived I was SO EXCITED. I ran down to the laundry room the second it was in my hands and threw it into the washer so it would be all ready to use that night. When it came time to try it Eli seemed fine in it. He definitely preferred this other than being swaddled and he did not seem confused at all about why we were stuffing him into a giant spacesuit. The first night we used it I did not see much of a difference and I was feeling pretty disappointed, but we wanted to keep trying. The second night he actually slept a little better! Was it the suit? Or just a good night? Okay, the third night he slept 5 HOURS STRAIGHT! First time ever! I was floored! We kept using the suit and his sleep improved SO MUCH. I have a friend who I recommended it to as well and it really helped with her baby’s sleep too!
I ended up ordering two more when he went up in size and we enjoyed a good two months of some pretty decent sleep and I credit that ALL to the suit! It is truly what it says – magical! When Eli started to roll over in his sleep and then started standing in his crib we sadly, had to say our goodbyes to the sleep suit and I packed it up with care in the storage to go up to the attic. You better believe we will be busting out the suit whenever we have our next baby.
Magic Merlin Sleepsuit, I love you.

Continue reading

Relactating After the Flu

I know this may seem like a strange topic, but this was a pretty big deal in my life for a little over a week and I thought that maybe it could help someone else who encounters this same issue because it is STRESSFUL.

Flu

Last week I got slammed with the stomach bug and it all but destroyed me. Okay, maybe I am being a LITTLE overdramatic, but it was BAD. Sorry to be graphic, but I was throwing up every 45 minutes for almost 24 hours straight. I was severely dehydrated and I was unable to take care of Eli. My husband stayed home with him and I tried to nurse him as much as I could, but my body just ached so much and I was so tired that I attempted to sleep for most of the afternoon while my husband gave him bottles of my pumped breast milk (very thankful I had a freezer worth of pumped milk and probably the one and only time I wanted to praise the breast pump!).

The following morning around 4:00 a.m. when Eli usually wakes up to eat I felt decent enough to breastfeed him. I immediately noticed a decrease in my milk.

1. I did not have a letdown and I have ALWAYS had a strong letdown that I have always been able to feel to the point that it has been almost painful.

2. Eli was getting frustrated and kicking and pulling off. I did not feel full in my breasts and I just knew my milk had diminished.

Dang you FLU!

So, I did what any mature 28 year old mother would do. I PANICKED! I started to cry and moan to my husband that my breastfeeding days were over and that the flu destroyed me and everything about me and that I would never be able to breastfeed again. I have never denied being dramatic! But I seriously was so scared that I would not get my milk supply back to where it was and it’s been really important to me that I am able to breastfeed Eli to a year old.

So, after Dane talked me down a bit I began to research on what to do and found out that this is actually very common after the flu due to how dehydrated you are. I became determined to get my milk supply up and guess what? I can proudly say that a week later it feels like it is back to normal. I know a week does not sound like a long time, but when you nurse your baby 4-5 times a day every day then a week can seem like a lifetime! Here is what I did and what worked for me to get my milk back up after that evil and nasty flu temporarily stole it:

1. Nurse, nurse, nurse! I went back to nursing Eli every two hours. He was not too excited about this. Eli is not the most dependent on nursing and never really has been. I won’t be surprised if he weans himself soon, but the more you put the baby to the breast the more your body will know that it needs to be making milk.

 

2. Pull out that pump. I had just retired my pump literally the day before I got sick. I remember smugly packing up all the parts and thinking how done I was with the pump. Yeah, the evil little sucker (literally) showed me! I pumped after Eli went down for the night each night until my milk came back up. Again, it told my body to make more milk!

3. Mother’s Milk Tea. LOVE this stuff. I buy mine at Target. I had three cups a day and always have mine with about a tablespoon of honey. It makes it more tolerable for me!

4. Fenugreek. Along with the Mother’s Milk Tea I took about three Fenugreek pills a day.

5. WATER. I am really bad about drinking water. I admit it, I don’t like water. I don’t like the way it tastes and I think it’s boring and I can list 100 other things I would rather drink before water. I know, I’m bad. I gave up my coffee and all other drinks that I prefer (soda, juices, etc.) for that week and literally spent my days chugging water to make sure I was well hydrated. Eli, if you are ever reading this I hope you see this large sacrifice I made for you – DRINKING NOTHING BUT WATER FOR 7 DAYS!! 😉 I kid, I kid, but seriously…. I do not like water …

6. EAT. This one was hard for me. I did not want to eat much after that flu came in and wrecked my body! I mean, I had lost 6 1/2 pounds after the flu was done with me! It was so important for me to get a lot of calories in and to keep my energy up and get back to normal and that was SUPER important for my milk supply. I could not eat whole meals so I snacked a lot and all day long. These foods helped a lot with increasing my milk supply:

– Steel cut oats
– Spinach
– Garbanzo beans
– Sweet potatoes
– Brown rice
– Garlic
– Nuts – I ate a lot of almonds and macadamia nuts!
– Salmon

I started to notice a big difference in my milk supply on day three, but I continued to do all of these things for a week to be on the safe side. I have always enjoyed breastfeeding and knew it was something I wanted to continue, but did not realize how important it was to me until I felt like we were nearing the end when I almost lost my supply. I am so thankful my milk is about back to normal and am really hoping we can make it to my goal of a year nursing – we are so close!

Has this happened to anyone else? Any other tips on increasing your milk supply after the flu?

 

Breastfeeding Tips For New Mom From A Veteran Mom

Newborn baby breastfeedingCongratulations for deciding to go the natural way-breastfeeding your lovely little one. Even if you are just planning to breastfeed him for just a couple of months, you are a super mommy for doing this! The first few days of breastfeeding a really important for the baby as the colostrum contains vital antibodies that protect the body against any diseases and also strengthens the immune system of the baby.
There is more to breast feeding than just putting your baby to the breast. It’s hard and not at all easy! Hats off to you mamas that have done it!
To make the experience much easier for any new mom, here are some tips that will help you.

Ensure you get the right latch

This is important. If you do not have the right latch, you will end up with sore and sometimes damaged nipples. There are so many online resources that will show you how the proper latch looks like. In a nutshell, it’s all about the lower part of the breast and areola being in the baby’s mouth so that the nipple is hitting right at the upper palette so that the milk is stimulated.

Do not panic if it’s painful

At the beginning, breastfeeding really hurts. Your nipples are often cracked and your breasts are sore. The first two weeks breastfeeding were tough for me. Anything that touched my boobs was hurting and I kept wondering if this is what I would go through until baby was weaned. At the same time I was also taking samples of my medical receptionist resumes to various places because we needed extra income. Well, now that we are more than 6 months, it not as painful as it was in those first two weeks. It actually becomes natural and you do not feel any pain.

Moisturize your nipples

Moisturizing your nipples really saves you from chapped and painful nips. You don’t have to use those overly expensive nipple creams, olive oil works wonders and it’s inexpensive. Lanolin cream is also another great alternative.

Never stop trying

I know too well it can be so easy to give up breastfeeding, but hold on, better days are coming. Try and put your baby back to latch as many times as you can so that both of your get used to it. Get all the support you can from online communities, friends, family and other nursing moms. Whatever it gets to get you through the tough breastfeeding phases, do it. You will be glad you did. During those times I was looking for a job, I met a lpn who was dropping their resume samples at the same hospital I was and she was also breastfeeding. We instantly became friends and we would motivate each other when the going got tough.

Keep it natural

Until you have established a good breastfeeding routine, avoid introducing any bottles or artificial nipples. This helps in establishing a bond with your baby so that the baby does not get confused with your nipple and artificial ones. The motion required suckling an artificial nipple and the nursing one is totally different and you could end up confusing your baby.
Finally, ensure you nurse your baby in a quiet and calm environment so that you have an interrupted milk let down. After some time, you will simply need to unhook your bra and your milk flows naturally.

BREASTFEEDING MINI-SERIES

I am wrapping up the Breastfeeding Mini-Series with an amazingly raw and honest post from Danielle over at ooh breathe, just breathe. She so very graciously offered up her intimate journey with breastfeeding and I hope you will find it as encouraging and touching as I do. I think this is an important post to show that your journey will always be YOUR journey and you may not be able to breastfeed for as long as you hope or want, but it’s important to rejoice in the victories you have, whether you breastfeed for one week or one year!
Your baby is beautiful no matter if formula fed or breastfed and that is a fact. I think as mothers we need to make it a priority to do less judging of what other mothers are doing and more loving. As long as the baby’s needs are being met and that mother is doing the best they can and they are being fed and loved then that is enough for me!

Continue reading