Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Breast-feeding Pillows: Good, Bad or Gimmick.

When you talk to most lactation consultants, and I talked to several, they will urge you not to use the pre-made nursing pillows.  The position that most will recommend is a 45-degree angle in which the baby is positioned laying across mom’s body in the cradle hold position. The reason they are not huge fans of the pillow is because it puts the infant in a horizontal lying position that reduces gravity, which helps in digestion. 

However, the pillow can be helpful early on when you are learning to nurse and especially helpful when learning the football hold.  Many new moms will learn this position first since it allows the most control of the newborn’s head when placing baby on the breast. 

While learning the football hold I tried two pillows, the Boppy and the Brestfriend.  Of the two the Brestfriend was by far my favorite since the strap is adjustable and clasps securely like a backpack waist strap.  The Boppy seemed to slide around and I was never able to get into an optimal position.  I only used it for about two weeks until I transitioned to the cradle hold and found it better to just use an arm chair or a small pillow under my supporting arm.

See both positions below.  You can find out more techniques for each on the La Leche League website:  There is a local chapter in San Jose that meets the first Thursday of every month near the Rose Garden.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feeding the Baby, Schedule or Not?

Deciding whether to keep your baby on a schedule or feeding whenever the baby cries can be confusing for new parents.  However, your parenting style and choices depend on your lifestyle, personal philosophy and schedule.

We have chosen a parent-directed feeding schedule.  Schedule is a loosely used term meaning that you attempt to set the baby’s metabolic rhythm but you always feed a hungry baby.  This is the plan I am most comfortable with since I will need a somewhat predictable schedule with my patients, but I don’t want to starve the baby waiting for the designated feeding time.

This feeding cycle is based on the book On Becoming Baby Wise:  Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Seep by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam.

We like this book because of its simple and logical philosophy that helps get our baby on a somewhat predictable cycle.  The book also describes situations when the baby will deviate from the norm as such as nap times, sleeping through the night and growth spurts as well as ages when you can expect change This gives us an idea of what to expect with the understanding that every baby sets his/her own time frame and schedule.  So far we have a somewhat scheduled day with a cycle of feed-wake-sleep and this allows us to plan our day a little to help keep us somewhat sane.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Birth Story!

Labor began for me twice.  The first time was on the afternoon of July 9th and lasted until the next morning when labor ended abruptly. Then I had contractions off and on until Saturday morning July 13 when I awoke with contractions that were closer together and painful enough to get me up to walk around.  So when I say I was in labor for 60 hours, this is the start time even though I had been in early labor for several days.  The contractions continued to get closer and closer together and I wanted one last nice meal so my husband and I went out for Thai food. I was able to sit through the meal but still had to breath through the pain.  My parents were in Capitola and we called them to come since my mom was going to doula the birth. 
I labored at home until midnight and then my contractions were 3 minutes apart and 1 minute long and had been that way for two hours.  The hospital recommends you come in at 5:1:1 (contractions five minutes apart, one minute in duration for one hour) but I prefer 3:1:1.  That way mothers are further along in dilation. This is also the recommendation of many doulas and midwives.

When I went to the hospital I got the news that I was only 3 cm dilated and unless I wanted an epidural I wouldn’t be admitted. They gave me a high strength Benadryl and sent me home to sleep for a few hours hoping I would be rested and more dilated when I returned.  I went home and slept, but not well, between contractions for two hours and then labored at home until 1pm. At that point contractions were one minute apart, 1:30 minutes in duration and had been for over an hour.
When we arrived back at the hospital I was still only 5 cm dilated and they recommended some fentanyl to relieve the stress on my body so I would relax and dilate.  Fentanyl should last for 45-60 minutes but with my heavy contractions only lasted 20 minutes.  At this point I was losing strength and my contractions were painful but starting to get more erratic. My doctor told me that I would need augmentation or possibly a C-section if my body wasn't able to continue labor.  With my knowledge of Pitocin and how painful it makes labor and how much pain I was already in, my husband and I made the decision to get an epidural so the Pitocin could work.  Once this all started to unfold I was able to take a nap, but only fitfully, and then around 11:50 pm my water broke. It was like an explosion in my pelvis and I was ready to start pushing!
The nurse was going to do a few pushes with me then get the doctor, however after one push the baby was progressing so rapidly that she wanted me to breath through the pushing until the doctor got there.  I pushed for about 20 minutes then Zara was born at 12:22am on July 15th.  She weighed 8 lbs. 1.3 oz. and measured 19 inches long.  She was able to latch immediately and mom and baby are doing well.  Zara got her first adjustment about one hour after birth and some cranio-sacral the next day.
The birth wasn’t my plan or preference, but I got two great gifts. I didn’t push very long at all and my water broke naturally.  Sometimes the baby decides for you!

She is healthy and I am blessed.