About Pain
Mar 19 2010

Some of you may have been wondering why I took such an extended blogging break and why I’ve been so spotty in the times between posting.  I thought quite some time about posting this, but then I thought I might never reach my potential as a writer or even as a human being if I don’t throw caution to the wind and risk offending or for that matter validating/pleasing others.   Plus I thought that if it helps one person or helps someone think differently even if just for a nanosecond, then it would have been worth it.  Some of you may recall I wrote About Laughter, About Sleep, About Writing and About Car Paint.  This post is About Pain.

There’s physical pain and then there’s emotional, mental, and spiritual pain.  Most of us have experienced all different kinds in life.  The worst physical pain in my life came as a result of breastfeeding my son over 7 1/2 years ago now.  I developed an infection that hurt so bad I couldn’t sleep and if I was able to nod off, I would wake up with tears in my eyes.  I remember thinking “I want to die right now, but I can’t because I must feed my baby.”  I was determined to breastfeed him no matter how many people said I should give up.  I have never wished to die before or since.  I have wished to be waited on hand & foot while laying in a hammock on a beach drinking a pina colada and having my feet massaged, so if that’s what happens after death, I’m all in!  Thankfully the maternal instinct is so strong, and we live in a day & age where antibiotics are available that in a few excruciating weeks the pain was gone. But I still occasionally have memory pain that has diminished over time.

But emotional, mental, and spiritual pain seems to last much longer (unless you have chronic physical pain which probably exacerbates the emotional kind as well).  And unfortunately, a week of antibiotics doesn’t cure this kind of pain.  This kind of pain can start from childhood and stick with you…flaring up at various times in your life when things trigger your deep seated fears and emotional memories.  There’s a theory that you are often attracted to people that have some of the same traits as people in your family did growing up because it’s a known/comfortable pattern.  The theory continues that down deep, you want to resolve some of the pain that you as a child were never able to resolve, see your parents resolve, or resolve with your parents.  This theory is outlined in a book called Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage (Amazon Link), and I read it before I got married, but I didn’t really get it until now because I didn’t know what those patterns were until I was immersed in it as an adult and mother.

What happens when someone in a marriage (with kids) finally realizes that the pattern is not resolvable or they don’t know how to, don’t want to, or can’t resolve it?  They suffer or get divorced and the pain is horrid.  Especially the pain you feel for the kids as you imagine the pain they might feel.  I lived through a divorce myself as a child and was often caught in the middle of a lot of bitterness and anger, and I have relived that pain for my kids even though it’s a completely different situation and their dad is a very good, involved father.

What’s even harder is when you are both good people that happened to have a lot of unexpected crap happen throughout the marriage.  You wonder what is wrong with you.  When in most cases, there is really nothing wrong with you, but you look back and realize that neither of you knew how to nurture a marriage or you didn’t see or understand the signs that should have been big clues that something huge needed to fundamentally change in each of you.  It’s like you both have blinders on until suddenly one of you takes them off and doesn’t like what they see, don’t see, feel, or don’t feel.  Marriage, like life, does not come with an instruction manual and even if it did everyone is so different it would be hard to apply to your unique marriage and you would think you could wing it or that it didn’t apply to you.  There are more instructions around a divorce which requires a signed agreement between the two of you outlining your responsibilities than there is before a marriage.

So, yes I just got divorced after what was probably close to a year of being separated mentally, if not physically.  This past year is somewhat of a blur.  It’s the hardest emotional, mental, and spiritual pain I’ve ever experienced and unfortunately there are no legal drugs I can take to make the pain disappear in a few weeks.  Despite the fact that 50%-60% of marriages end up in divorce, it is the 2nd most stress inducing event anyone can experience behind death of a loved one.  And it doesn’t really matter if you are the one leaving, the one being left, or it’s mutual.  Mix divorce with unusual work dynamics, kids, and other personal issues and you have a recipe for a potential breakdown.  Fortunately, I am very lucky/blessed to have wonderful friends, co-workers, family friends, and family who have supported me and let me cry on the phone, on email (yes, it’s possible to cry on email) or in front of them and repeatedly (until I’m sure they were sick of it) told me that everything will be OK.  They let me say and write stupid (although sometimes funny) things and were kind anyway.  I have never felt so out of control in my life!  I mean I’ve gone months without reconciling my check book, was late on a couple of house payments, and my house (although overall neat) more disorganized than I’d like.  Plus a whole shit load of other emotional stuff.

I’m still a ways away from being back to normal whatever that is, but we both love the kids immensely and right now we can’t foresee not being friends and friendly for their sakes.  From my perspective, we both still respect each other and as hard as this has been, we’ve both taken the high road because that’s the kind of people we are, and we know it’s best for the kids.  A child counselor told us it was obvious we loved the kids and they loved us.  She also said that they got along so well with each other, were exhibiting normal behavior for going through what they were going through, and seemed happy despite what they were experiencing which of course took off about 80% of my maternal guilt.   I did a post back in September 2009, called Double The Trouble, Double The Fun which stemmed from me feeling glad they had each other during this hard time their parents were going through.  I felt that I/we had done at least one thing right by giving them the gift of each other to weather storms that life will inevitably bring them.

So now you know why I had such a long break from writing on the blog.  My personal life started to bleed into the blog, and I needed to get a handle on things for a little while.  I think back to that Entrepreneurial Ledge where I stood almost a year and a half ago.  When your sleeping heart wakes up suddenly, it’s a very disorientating, scary feeling.  It’s like gasping for air while at the same time trying to soak in all the colors, beauty, sounds, smells, shapes, feelings that you have not noticed/felt for years.  You start falling in love with life again and it seems that pain is a part of love.  You unknowingly/desperately reach out to people, anyone kind nearby to help ease this searing pain. In the case of some friends and family, they are there for you in ways you never imagined.  In the case of others, they can’t or don’t know how to be there like you want/need them to be and it exacerbates and magnifies the pain.  You start to realize that you are really reaching out to your lost self and the only one who can save you from drowning is YOU.  Then you start the process of excruciatingly, slowly mending a broken heart and falling in love with yourself…and you wonder why and when you fell out of love in the first place.

Thank you for reading.

About the photo:  The photo above is of a piece of art that my cousin, who goes by the pseudonym of Isaac Falconer, made for me when I told her I was getting a divorce.  I didn’t get to see her that often growing up.  She is a unique, vibrant, passionate individual.  She has followed her own path and seems to have found happiness in doing so as well as people who appreciate and buy her art!  She has even exhibited in Italy.  The piece is called No Pleasure Garden (c) 2009 and it’s made of Chantilly lace from Italy with hand made hypo allergenic orchids affixed to two locations on the huge piece of lace.  In her words, “It’s meant to be placed across the bottom of your bed as a reminder to you of YOUR personal glory – which has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with your life-mate or your kids or your professional work.“  It looks so lovely at the bottom of my bed and makes me smile when I enter the room.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, breastfeeding, father, marriage, mother, parenting | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments »

Emma’s Family – Baby Jaundice and a Heart Condition
Jun 29 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a Parent Story and now we have a great one!  I met this fabulous mom (Kerry Reynolds), who also happens to be a doula, on twitter.  I was introduced to her by none other than her mother, Susan Reynolds, of Frozen Pea Fund and Boobs on Ice fame!  Check out the post I did on the Frozen Pea Fund back in December 2007.

Stories like these are what keep me going and and make all the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur building Babble Soft all worth while!

Baby Emma Family Uses Babble SoftMother:  Kerry (SAHM/Birth Doula)
Father:   Mike (Project Manager)

Baby:      Emma
Born:      April 2008
Place:     Burke, VA 

Browser:  Mozilla Firefox v2.0.0.11
Websitewww.birthinbloom.com 

 

Kerry’s story 

Emma is my second child and her birth was long awaited as she was seven days overdue!  Labor lasted 20 hours and was exhausting. In the process I was up for 50 hours straight and was so ready to come home.  After Emma was born we brought her to her first doctor’s appointment only to discover she had a worrisome case of baby jaundice.  We were concerned about her health and the doctor told us to make sure we kept careful watch of her weight gain, feedings, and diapers.  We were very worried about little Emma but little did we know at that time, jaundice would be the least of our concerns. 

When Emma was one and a half weeks old she had a frightening episode which resulted in a trip to the emergency room. We discovered she has a heart condition called Wolffe Parkinson White and learned she would need to be on a heart medication until she reaches three years old, when her heart will be large enough to have a surgery to correct the defect.  After three nights in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) we arrived home frantic and sleep deprived, her medication schedule had to be so exact that we needed Baby Insights to help us keep track of every detail of her routine. In addition, her dosage was on a schedule to increase as her weight increased so it was imperative that we monitor it closely. 

Babble Soft helped us through some challenging times  

The information I got from using Baby Insights was and continues to be extremely useful!  It helped us think in a time we could barely add two plus two or string coherent sentences together.  The ability to go to one place and see all of Emma’s information was a life saver. I use Baby Insights to: 

  • Keep detailed notes on how often and when she was eating, which helped us track improvements in her jaundice and report feedings to her pediatrician and cardiologist.
  • Monitor her diaper changes so that we could feel comfortable she was in fact absorbing her food and that all was working well.
  • Monitor her heart medication which helped us remember the exact time and dosage as that is a critical part of keeping any further episodes at bay.
  • Keep track of how much breast milk I was pumping to make sure we had enough to give to baby Emma and to ensure my milk supply would stay steady and increase over time.
  • Stay aware of any decreases in her appetite as this could be a sign of another episode with her heart.

—End—

If you are interested in participating in your very own user story, please activate a FREE Babble Soft Trial.  All you need is an email address!  If you find that Babble Soft applications work for you and you want to tell the world about your great experience, please email us at info at babblesoft dot com for more information.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby insights, breast milk, breastfeeding, case study, parent stories, parenting, pumping | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

How To Recover From A Scathing Blog Post
Jun 5 2008

Just over a year ago, we officially launched Babble Soft’s first web and mobile application (then called Baby Manager, now called Baby Insights).  A prominent blogger, Jennifer Laycock, whose personal blog is called The Lactivist, a popular blog on breastfeeding, saw the release and created a post that made me feel shocked, anxious, depressed, angry, and misunderstood at the same time.  Jennifer also happens to be the founder, editor, and a writer for Search Engine Guide, a widely read blog on all things search. 

Fortunately, soon after discovering Jennifer’s post, I contacted Connie Reece who blogs at Every Dot Connects.  Connie helped me set up the first incarnation of this blog and gave me advice on how to get started blogging.  She is a veteran blogger and a social media guru.  I took several deep breaths, typed up something that I felt would be a good comment to Jennifer’s post and sent it to Connie for a sanity check.  She gave me a few recommendations and I posted it. 

Turns out that comment led to a few other comments and then an amicable online relationship with Jennifer when we both realized that we were supporters and donators to our local Mother’s Milk Banks.  Jennifer and I now follow each other on twitter and read each other’s blogs.  [As an aside, we offer all eligible milk bank donors a free subscription to Babble Soft applications to help them keep track of their pumped milk!]

Last week, Connie decided to create a case study on the incident and did a post called Case Study: Engagement Turns Critics into Allies.  Where she outlines what happens:

Company
Babble Soft, provider of Web and mobile software for parents of newborns

Challenge
A press release for a new product launch was picked up by an influential blogger who wrote a very negative review.

Solution
Every Dot Connects worked with Babble Soft on a strategy to engage the blogger in constructive conversation.

Success
The blogger apologized for the tone of the review and continued to interact with Babble Soft founder via her blog, email and, later, on Twitter and other social networks.

Well soon after, Mack Collier who blogs at The Viral Garden and Marketing Profs did a post about it too called Worried About Bloggers Dissing Your Company? Read This and he starts with:

“Babblesoft founder Aruni Gunasegaram found herself in a position that any company would dread. She had launched a new product that she had hoped would be well-received by her target audience, mothers who breastfeed their children. Unfortunately, the product was immediately reviewed, and shredded, by Jennifer Laycock, a very popular mommy-blogger who blogs at The Lactivist. What happened next is a great lesson for companies wanting to handle crisis-management in the blogosphere.”

Then, Jennifer decided to write her own post about it. I was just beside myself with 3 blog mentions from 3 prominent bloggers within the span of a few days!   Jennifer called her post Bloggers Need To Accept Responsibility Too and she says:

“Last year Aruni was launching her new parenting software. I happened to pick up the press release right as it went across the wires and had some pretty harsh words for the idea on my Lactivist blog.

‘Apparently, the company feels that there’s an untapped market in parents with extreme breastfeeding OCD issues, so they’ve made available some snazzy (I use the word loosely) new software that will allow these Ezzo-wannabes the absolute, total scheduling control that they long for.’

It got worse though. In fact, rereading that post I made more than a year ago I found myself chuckling and wincing at the same time. Chuckling because some lines in my post were really funny, but wincing as I realized just how biting and scathing my critique was. I’m generally a pretty easy going and nice person. I don’t tend to like to rely on snark, and yet there I was, throwing out snark like I was Perez Hilton.”

And continues:

“Ultimately, many of my readers ended up checking out the software and seeing the value in it for certain situations and while I still think the software’s a little on the anal side for the average mom, I fully recognize how helpful it could be for moms who DO need to track things.

Even more important to the story is the relationship that developed because of the way Aruni responded. Aruni became a regular reader of my blog and I became a reader of hers. We follow each other on Twitter and we’ve exchanged quite a few emails over the past year. Not long after the incident, I ended up sending her an email to share how refreshed I was at the way she handled things.

‘I want to compliment you on the way you handled your response to my blog post. I was pretty hard on you guys and you came in with class and style and really did a great job of turning the situation around to make yourself look good. I work in online reputation management and it’s rare to see a company respond so well. Just thought you should know that you gained my respect with that.’

So needless to say, I am honored at their mentions and I have learned a lot in the past year.  I hope I have at least become a better press release writer. ;-)

Personally, I think the biggest lesson that I have learned over the year is that although Jennifer’s choice of words were hard to read, her sentiments are reflective of what most new moms and parents think.  It’s not easy to introduce a new way of doing and looking at things to the truly oldest and arguably the most important profession in the world: parenthood! 

I think our applications can help a new mom having trouble with breastfeeding reach the other side of the breastfeeding bridge.  It can help her and her family understand patterns, positions, pumping schedules, etc.  But at first blush, most people don’t think of what we do that way.  The reasons why that’s the case would be a good topic for another case study! It always takes longer and costs more money to build a business than anyone ever thinks when they first start out.  Hence, my recent Fork In The Road post.

I just read a quote I can definitely relate to by James Cherkoff left in the comment section of a blog post that Fred Wilson of A VC did about sharing information on your company:

“Or in the words of Howard Aiken: “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.””

I saw it as I was finishing up this post and it made me smile  laugh out loud!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, breastfeeding, case study, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, milk banking, parenting, twitter | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Memorial Day – Babies and Our Military
May 23 2008

I met a gal on twitter who tweets by the name of @MailOurMilitary and @Dayngr.  Her real name is Trish.  We got to tweeting and emailing and then talking. 

Since Trish had gone through the hardship of being away from her husband when her first child was born, we both thought it would be a great idea to join forces to offer members of her non-profit organization, eMail Our Military free subscriptions to Babble Soft applications as well as access to a discount code for 20% off purchases for non-active military and friends.

So please let the military families you know about our offer and encourage them and others to sign up at eMail Our Military.  We know there is no way to make up for the lost time and touch of a parent who is away but now they have access to a free tool that can help bridge the unavoidable physical gap between two parents of a precious newborn.  We wanted to give people another reason, which is often overlooked (i.e., being away from their baby), to remember all those men and women who have put their lives at home on hold and/or laid down their lives to protect our freedom.

You can see the press release below, on our site, on PR Web, and on eMailOurMilitary’s blog.  Trish also wrote a more personal blog post called Baby Memories, Milestones, and Our Military where she mentions her experience as a new mom whose husband has to leave one week after her baby was born!

Happy Memorial Day everyone! 

Babble Soft and eMail our Military Join Forces to Offer Free Subscriptions to Babble Soft Applications for Active Duty Service Members with Newborns

Just in time for Memorial Day, Active Duty Service Members with Newborns now get free access to Babble Soft’s web and mobile applications through their membership at eMail Our Military.

eMail Our MilitaryAUSTIN, TX; MIAMI LAKES, FL – May 22, 2008 – Babble Soft and eMail our Military are partnering to offer free subscriptions to Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese for active duty service members with newborns. 

“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Babble Soft.” said Trish Forant, Founder and President of eMail our Military. “My husband was called into service only one week after our first child was born.  I had very few friends and family to turn to for support where we were stationed and it was difficult for me to convey to him what I was going through with our new baby.  I would have loved to have the online tools Babble Soft provides to communicate to him how often and when our baby was feeding, sleeping, etc. as well as important picture milestones!”

 “Our goal at Babble Soft is to help strengthen and enhance connections between family members during that wonderful, yet chaotic time after a baby is born.” said Aruni Gunasegaram, founder and president of Babble Soft. “We support our troops and know how important it is for new parents who have to be away from their newborns to feel connected to what is going on at home.  Partners can share experiences and photos with each other through Babble Soft’s unique web and mobile applications. As an added bonus, members of eMail our Military will have access to a discount code to purchase gift subscriptions for their other family members who may or may not have military ties.”

Baby Insights helps caregivers keep track of baby’s breast & bottle feeding, sleep periods, diaper changes, medicine doses, immunization records, as well as mom’s breastfeeding, pumping and medicine intake. Having important information stored in one location makes communication between parents, their nanny, babysitters, grandparents, or doctors seamless and reliable and gives new parents insight into their baby’s patterns to help with crucial baby care decisions.

Baby Say Cheese lets you create a wonderful online baby’s first year photo album with milestones such as ‘first crawl, first smile, first word’ and family tree that you can share with friends and family.  You can even send a fun, cute picture postcards of any of your baby’s milestones to anyone with an email address!

About eMail our Military, Inc.
eMail Our Military was created in 2001 as a response to the DoD’s cancellation of the “Any Service Member” and “Operation Dear Abby” mail programs. As a safe alternative, eMOM picked up where these programs left off. eMail Our Military is composed of volunteers from all walks of life who understand that regardless of our political views, our military service members deserve our respect, support & encouragement. Website visitors can join and take part in a number of support projects ranging from sending eMail on a one-on-one basis with a service member to year round support projects that are open to the public. For more information on eMail Our Military, please visit http://www.eMailOurMilitary.com

About Babble Soft, LLC
Babble Soft is based in Austin, Texas and creates products that help make the transition into parenthood babblesoft-babyeasier.  Whether you need breastfeeding support, are experiencing baby sleep issues, are expecting twins, or taking care of a premature (preemie) baby and would like to create your baby’s first year album, Babble Soft offers unique, easy-to-use Web and Mobile software solutions that improve communication between caregivers.  Babble Soft makes a great baby shower gift that you can easily send via Email to any new parent anywhere in the world!  To learn more and purchase Babble Soft applications, please visit http://www.babblesoft.com.

For more information, please contact:

Trish Forant
eMail our Military, Inc.
(786) 228-7096
Info(at)eMailOurMilitary(dot)com

Aruni Gunasegaram
Babble Soft, LLC
(512) 961-6002
aruni(at)babblesoft(dot)com                                                                                   

 

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby insights, baby say cheese, baby sleep, breastfeeding, diversity, entrepreneurship, father, FYI, national holiday, parenting, twitter, working father, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

What They Don’t Tell You About SEO – Part 3
May 19 2008

Photo by Sandy Blanchard
We are about 5 months and thousands of dollars into our search engine optimization (SEO) campaign managed by SpryDev and before you read the rest, I suggest you check out my Part 1 and Part 2 posts.

Let’s just say I’m not yet ecstatic with the results.  On the plus side, Website Grader now shows our grade as 79 which is up from 67 when I ran it for my Part 2 post on March 3, 2008.  We are also just now starting to show up in the first and second page of Google for our current keywords of ‘breastfeeding support’ and ‘baby sleep.’  We are showing up in the top 30 for other important terms.  Interestingly enough, we are showing #1 for ‘baby care software,’  but I have no idea what the search volume is for that term!

On the not-so-great side, although our overall traffic is increasing at a pretty good percentage rate, we still aren’t seeing a huge jump in total number of visitors or more importantly a significant jump in trial sign-ups which have shown in the past a 7 to 10% conversion rate to purchase!  For instance, according to Google Analytics, in December 2007 we had 873 total visitors of which 626 were unique visitors.  In April 2008, we had 1,585 (82% increase) total visitors of which 1,162 (86% increase) were unique.  Page Views during that same time have gone from 2,364 to 4,898 (107% increase).  In the world of the Internet, the percentage increases are good, but the total numbers seem low to me especially when you see numbers like 1 million visitors per month thrown around often on Mashable and TechCrunch.

In February and March we saw an increase in percentage totals of people finding us using organic search engine terms but saw a drop in organic search and trial sign-ups in April.  The more trial sign-ups we have, the higher the conversion rate of customers purchasing our apps.  Direct and Referring site traffic is still greater than 70% of our traffic sources which means that’s a heck of a lot of my time emailing, blogging, twittering, as well as links from my friends and other interested parties.  My family does not blog or twitter so unfortunately I don’t get back links that way. :-D

I know that the SEO link team is submitting articles, press releases, and creating directory submissions on a monthly basis which seem to be getting accepted and picked up at a reasonable rate.  SpryDev gives me good weekly and monthly reports, and I check out our Google Analytics to see how things are going. So I know that they are sharing all the information they can with me.

We did have an account manager change back in early March when Rose, who I mentioned in a previous post, left for personal reasons and now our account manager is Erik.  We also had a keyword shift around that time from ‘pregnancy week by week’ to ‘baby sleep.’  I’m still not sure why we selected that keyword since we don’t have an offering for that keyword, but I think it was because it had a high search volume…needless to say it had a high bounce rate.  In other words, people who found our site using ‘pregnancy week by week’ didn’t stay long on the site. 

We have also made several website conversion changes based on recommendations by SpryDev via Brian Massey of Customer Chaos, who I also mentioned in one of my previous search engine optimization posts.  Some examples include:

a) Changing trial period from 30 to 15 days
b) Changing our trial follow up emails from same text emails X and 2X days from sign-up to different text emails on sign up, X days out, and Y days out.
c) Adding the Try It Free button on the Babble Soft home page and throughout the site.
d) Creating a new Contact form.

I can’t really opine on the conversion changes until we see a huge jump in trial sign ups. So honestly, I’m a little stumped and frustrated.  Maybe my expectations at the beginning were not correct?!  I had hoped we would see better results by now especially since I was tying some of our fundraising success to SEO.  I don’t know if I’m alone in this or if everyone just has stellar SEO experiences and all of a sudden trial sign-ups and sales go through the roof!  Anyone?

As I mentioned in my SEO, Here I Come post, I signed up with SpryDev because of their guarantee:

“By the end of your contract you will have at least as much additional business from your Web site as you spend on our services…  or we’ll work for FREE until you do.”

Since the contract is for 12 months, we have 7 more months to go and they are assuring me that around the 6 month mark is when their customers start to see the big results…although so far May hasn’t been proving to be a big trial sign-up month yet.  I’ve heard from others that they’ve seen big results in as little as 3 to 4 months from their SEO endeavors. 

So now I’m wondering what could we have done better and what could we do better?  Are we optimizing for the right keywords?  Do people know to even look for applications like ours?  Are people even interested in using applications like ours?  Do we need to do more marketing around the benefits of using these kinds of applications more than the parent stories I pull together when the opportunity arises?  Should I put the money that I would be putting into SEO into paid ads on parenting related sites, Google AdWords, etc. instead?

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I will need to continue to bootstrap Babble Soft since fundraising has been challenging given this economic environment and because we have yet to demonstrate a compelling increase in the number of our users.  I would feel much better going out to raise funds with thousands or tens of thousands of customers.

I am beginning to think that I might just have to get a job to support my entrepreneurial addiction! 8-O

If you are interested in reading more about my SEO trials, tribulations, and hopefully victories think about subscribing to this blog.  If you know more about SEO than I do (which is likely), then leave a comment and share your advice with the rest of us!

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby sleep, breastfeeding, entrepreneurship, fundraising, sleep | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
Apr 26 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To check out more baby advice, check out the baby tips category

7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
by Aruni Gunasegaram

My now 5 ½ year old son was born by emergency c-section making my post birth recovery time challenging because a) I was exhausted, b) he didn’t seem to sleep very much and c) I developed a breast infection.  Now a) and b) are par for the course when having a baby but c) knocked me senseless.  I didn’t want to take any more medication given that I had just come off of several after the c-section so I waited to see if the pain would go away.   When I reached the point where I would wake up from a restless sleep with tears in my eyes from the excruciating pain and I began having thoughts like “I wish I could die right now, but I can’t because I have to feed my baby,” I began a round of antibiotics.  Within a week or so I felt sane again.

Now part of the reason I contracted the breast infection was because I wasn’t breastfeeding correctly.  It took about 7 to 10 days for my milk to come in and then because of the infection probably 10 weeks for me to quit wondering how the human race survived before bottles and formula!  I ended up breastfeeding our son for about 7 months and our daughter about 9 months when it was apparent to me that we were ready to move on to the next phase of our mother/baby relationship.  Here are some tips that helped me establish a successful breastfeeding relationship with my children.

1. Mentally prepare yourself that it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks. Some insightful person…maybe a nurse or my lactation consultant, told me “Give it 8 to 12 weeks before making a decision on whether you want to quit breastfeeding.” So I told myself ‘this is a marathon, breastfeeding is important to me and my husband, and I can’t quit before 12 weeks.’ I remember saying that to myself almost every day and when I was 10 weeks into it I realized “Wow, this isn’t so bad. In fact it’s pretty darn neat!”

2. It’s OK to supplement! I know I will be chastised by the pure breastfeeding advocates for saying this, but in my opinion it is OK to supplement with formula especially if you feel something is wrong with you or your baby. I was so afraid to supplement because I was repeatedly told that supplementing was the worst thing I could do, which of course made me feel like an awful mom. But let me tell you, if you are exhausted and your baby isn’t gaining weight, it is one of the best things you can do. After feeling guilty for a week because my milk wasn’t coming in and my baby wasn’t gaining weight, and trying to survive a breast infection, I decided to supplement just a little bit and what a relief because it helped me gain my confidence back. I had more confidence when our daughter was born 2 ½ years later. I smiled at the nurses who said I shouldn’t supplement and did it anyway for the first few weeks of her life.  UPDATE: Based on a reader’s comment below, it wasn’t clear that even though we supplemented in the first several weeks, I also continued to pump.  It is so true that if you quit pumping, your body will think you need to produce less milk. So I pumped and I took time to rest a little longer to build up my milk supply and that’s why my milk came in! Supplementing is not for everyone but in my opinion the sanity and health of the mom and baby are of utmost importance!

3. Don’t be afraid to take that baby off! Some well meaning nurses told me that when the baby is finished he will fall off. They didn’t know my son. He would stay on for over an hour on each side just suckling half asleep if I let him. I remember breastfeeding sessions that would last 90 minutes which when I had to start over again in an hour and a half reduced me to tears. I believe not pulling him off when I thought he was done contributed to my getting the breast infection. With my daughter I produced so much milk that after 8 to 10 weeks I was able to take her off sometimes at 7 to 10 minutes!

4. Keep a breastfeeding log. So that you have an idea of how much time you are breastfeeding and maybe even what position you are breastfeeding in, keep a breastfeeding log. When our son was born I used a form I created in Microsoft Excel to jot down often illegible notes. Fortunately when our daughter was born, we had an alpha version of our mobile software program, Baby Insights, available. I could easily keep track of my pumping and breastfeeding schedule which helped me understand her feeding patterns and how much milk I was producing.

5. Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating well, and getting good rest is a huge contributor to successful breastfeeding. In fact a vast majority of breast milk is water. Keep a bottle of water next to you when you breastfeed.

6. Ask and/or pay for help. Whether it’s a lactation consultant, a post-partum doula, your significant other, or a friend who has breastfed before, ask for help. A good lactation consultant can give you great tips on how to get your baby to latch on and feed properly. If you can afford a post-partum doula a few hours per week, they can be a god-send with both household and breastfeeding support. Ask your spouse to help you keep the breastfeeding log, bring you water, fresh fruit, snacks, and the baby!

7. Relax. I know this is easier said than done, but I found the more relaxed I was, the more my milk flowed. Lack of sleep and stress actually reduces your body’s ability to create breast milk. And worse you may start to resent the process and maybe even your baby! Watch a funny show or movie. Take a nap. Take a leisurely walk. Chat with a friend. Or just bawl your eyes out…we all know what a stress relief that can be!

Once your milk flow is established consider donating to a Mother’s Milk Bank near you.  I donated to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin with my daughter and it was a wonderful feeling knowing that my milk was going to help sick and premature babies.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

Increasing Breast Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

15 Tips for Surviving The World’s Youngest Insomniac by Rose at From the Park Bench

Why Keeping a Daily Journal Is Important for Moms and Nannies

How To Properly Swaddle A Baby 

Tips on Co-Sleeping and Ways to use a Co-sleeper

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby advice, baby care, baby insights, baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, milk banking, nursing, pumping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Why Keeping a Daily Journal is Important for Moms and Nannies
Apr 15 2008

I see the world of childcare changing before our eyes and having a place to keep up with your baby’s precious moments and activities can be a great way not only to share with your family and friends but also to make sure your baby is getting what he or she needs.  More often than not, these days there are many people involved in childcare from dad, to nannies, to sitters, to grandparents, to aunts, and communicating effectively with everyone about when your baby ate, slept, or had medicine can be extremely important!

One of the ways I am currently trying to get the word out about Babble Soft is through marketing relationships with nanny and sitter agencies, and I recently had the honor and priviledge to write the following article for the International Nanny Association.  

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Why Keeping a Daily Journal is Important for Moms and Nannies
By Aruni Gunasegaram, President and Founder of Babble Soft
Written for the International Nanny Association Spring 2008 newsletter

When a new mom leaves her infant in the care of a nanny or newborn care specialist, what are her concerns? What does she want to know? How can a nanny help her feel more connected to her baby and help her deal with possible feelings of guilt over leaving her baby?

A new mom’s perspective
As a new mom, I was so concerned about leaving my baby with anyone else … even my husband! When I returned, I wanted to know when he ate, if he slept, and practically everything he did. Now that I have two kids, I still ask their teachers and care providers what they did during the day. It’s so comforting to have an idea of how their day went. I sent our son to a home care on a part-time basis when he was a baby. I felt frustrated by the vague answers I received when I asked about the details of his day; but I bit my tongue, felt guilty, and walked away wondering what I had missed.

It was difficult to leave my son with someone else and thereafter, leave my daughter – but I wanted to work. My career is very important to me and I knew I would be a better mom if I was able to pursue my passion. However, I still wanted to stay connected to my babies. It would have been a pleasure to receive an email, a text message, a picture, or even have the ability to log in to a website to see how my babies were doing. It would have made my life so much easier if I was assured that although they might have cried a bit when left them, they were eating well, sleeping well, learning and having fun.

I was still breastfeeding when I returned to work, and I made every attempt to time my pumping sessions so that I could nurse my babies when I picked them up. If I arrived only to find out they had just been fed, I would have to go home and pump instead of feed them, making me feel very disappointed.  On the other hand, it was nice having breastfeeding support and knowing that I had expressed enough milk for them while I was away made me feel more connected to them.

What moms want to know
In the “old days,” moms had no choice but to stay at home.  They could get advice and make decisions based on one-on-one face time with baby, family members, and friends. Nowadays, moms rely on their nannies to communicate their baby’s daily activities, issues, fussy periods, smiles, and schedules. When moms are not present, having the opportunity to review their baby’s activities at a glance in a daily journal or report is not only powerful, it helps them and their nanny make better baby care decisions. It is also a great way to provide records for their pediatricians, which can aid in making medical decisions. Here are more examples that illustrate the importance of keeping a daily journal:

  • A new mom misses important milestones. While she is at work, baby shows off her biggest smile or makes a first attempt at crawling. Imagine a caregiver who captures the moment via a picture, includes a milestone caption, and emails it to the mom. What a way to brighten her day. Although the mom is not present physically, she can take delight in knowing that the true “first” was captured.
  • An infant spits up often but with no discernible pattern. Both the mom and nanny are busy and jot down handwritten notes, which might be stained or misplaced by the next day! Maintaining an online daily record of the baby’s feedings (with corresponding spit-up times) can help to establish a pattern of feeding times and a correlation between the feeding quantity and spit-up periods. The mom can forward the reports to the doctor to aid in a decision regarding whether her baby needs medicine for acid reflux or if there is a need to simply change the baby’s feeding schedule.
  • A baby has difficulty sleeping. Mom (or dad) puts the baby down in a specific manner and in a specific place during the weekends. The nanny arrives and puts the baby down in a different manner, thus she witnesses a different outcome. The baby appears confused, which results in additional stress for both the nanny and family. One solution is to review online reports that are designed to track a baby’s sleep patterns and reveal how the baby was put to sleep. The reports can serve as physical proof that specific baby sleep positions or methods work better than others for the baby. The reports can also give parents the assurance that their baby is okay, and shifting their behavior or the nanny’s behavior can make life easier for everyone.
  • A baby needs regular medications. Administering medications is a critical part of providing childcare. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a central place where medicine doses are recorded. This procedure can allow both the mom and nanny to ensure medicine doses, reactions, and duration are properly recorded and timed. Proper daily record keeping can help to avoid accidental overdoses and ensure a dose is not missed.
  • The nanny runs out of expressed breast milk for baby. If the mom keeps daily pumping records and both the nanny and mom keep daily bottle-feeding records, Mom can adjust her breastfeeding and pumping schedule to ensure there is enough expressed milk for her baby.

There are many more sound reasons to keep daily records. However, the most important reasons in my opinion, are for the health and well-being of the baby, and improved communication between the nanny and family. Although moms today have many more opportunities than they did in the past, they also have more decisions to make and more balls to juggle. Keeping daily records of an infant’s activities helps nannies and moms make better baby care decisions – and it helps moms feel more connected to their baby. A happy mom means a happier baby!

Aruni Gunasegaram is the President/Founder of Babble Soft and she blogs at entrepreMusings. To learn more about Babble Soft, please visit http://www.babblesoft.com.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby advice, baby care, baby sleep, baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, mom, mother, nursing, parenting, sleep, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

5 Parenting Trends That Affect How We Communicate About Childcare
Feb 26 2008

5 Parenting Trends That Affect How We Communicate About Childcare
by Aruni Gunasegaram

new-family-with-baby.jpgThe more things change the more they stay the same.  We have all heard that saying, but what we sometimes don’t realize is that even though things stay the same, the ways we go about doing those same things change.  For instance, 100 years ago when we needed to get to work most people would walk, ride a horse, take a train, or take a trolley to get there.  Now we still need to get to work but most of us drive a car or take a subway.  50 to 100 years ago if we needed to get a message to someone we would send a telegram or a handwritten note.  Now we still might send a handwritten note but more often than not we send them an e-mail!

In the “old days” a mom would get advice and tips through the network of family members and friends who more likely than not were in the same town or village and within a short distance from her.  With families and friends being spread across the country and the world, moms are now using the Internet to bring back aspects of that network.  As moms rely on the Internet for information, they are also looking to the Internet for ways to share and manage their busy lives.   Here are some of the trends I see with regards to moms using the Internet when it comes to childcare.

  1. Since word-of-mouth from other moms is the greatest influencer on a mom’s purchasing decision, she is turning to Internet forums and baby-related sites such as BabyCenter and iVillage to ask questions, seek out answers, and look at product reviews.
  1. Many women who wait until they are older to have children are experiencing higher instances of multiple and premature births.  They tend to be more concerned when having to make the decision to leave their baby in the hands of a nanny or other caregiver.  They want to know what is happening to their baby and they want to know as quickly and easily as possible.
  1. Many moms are busier than ever and often don’t have time to think in between working and trying to get sleep so they seek out tools that will help them with baby care decisions.  They have less time than in the past to deal with these problems and are therefore looking for quick and effective ways to get the information or advice they need to handle their unique situations.
  1. Many moms are returning back to work earlier but want to continue breastfeeding and want to know how their baby is doing during the day.  They are hiring baby nurses and pumping at work.  This means that keeping track of how much she pumped, when her baby ate, or how much her baby ate as well as who did what and when becomes critically important in order to ensure the proper nutrition and health of her baby.  
  1. More and more moms are finding and hiring nannies over the Internet and nannies and nanny agencies are reaching out to moms via the Internet as well.  Nannies are given access to and are using the Internet at their client’s home and are using it to do their jobs better, check their email, and communicate with their peers.  Nannies and moms are also spending more and more time communicating by cell phone and email in order to schedule visits and coordinate other childcare activities.

Some changes take a long time and many seem to happen overnight.  Since the beginning of humanity we have taken care of our children but the ways we take care of them has changed drastically with the introduction of diapers, formula, baby safety related items, and most recently the Internet.  Who would have thought that over 36.6 million moms in the US will be regular Internet users in 2010? (source: eMarketer.com). The Internet enables her to do research so she can be a better-informed parent and a savvier consumer (51% of the moms surveyed say the Internet changed the way they get information about products and services) and allows her to network with other moms, as well. 

The overall trend is clear: more and more moms are using the Internet to communicate with each other and to get the information they need to take care of their babies.  Nannies and nanny agencies are participating as well and are using the Internet to reach out to moms and their employees.  With families spreading out and moms finding it hard to get the one-on-one face time with baby, family, and friends, the Internet is stepping in.  It is a tool that is helping make parenthood easier and bringing back some of the familial and social relationships that are so important in helping parents raise healthy children in a safe environment.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The tools we use to aid in childcare are different now, but the goal of safety, health, and love are still the same.  Are you ready to embrace the change?

The author of this article, Aruni Gunasegaram, is the President/Founder of Babble Soft, which offers web and mobile software applications that facilitate communication between caregivers by helping them to keep track of  breastfeeding and bottle feedings, mom’s pumping, baby sleep patterns, diapers, immunizations and medicine doses as well as baby’s first year photo album.

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby sleep, breast milk, breastfeeding | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

One Entrepreneur’s 2008 Goals
Jan 1 2008

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I don’t really like making New Year’s resolutions.  However, I’m making an exception this year because I figure I’ll try something new.  Maybe I’ll even make quarterly resolutions!  This is the first year I’ve had a blog which means I can now write them down and let my readers hold me accountable.  So here it goes. 

Business Goals

Raise funds for Babble Soft.  I will finish the business plan, refine the pitch, and set up meetings with angel investors.

Establish additional nanny partnerships and other corporate partnerships that lead to increased revenue and revenue opportunities.  I have to make hundreds of calls, send hundreds of emails, set up meetings, and close deals.

Identify and become a member of at least 2 organizations that will help build my network to reach our customers.  If you have any suggestions on what organizations to join I would love to hear them!

Convince some great companies to advertise with us.  If I can demonstrate a significant increase in users (SEO please work!) of our applications, I believe those advertisers who want to reach new parents and caregivers that are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, changing diapers, taking medicine, pumping, and trying to get some priceless, precious sleep would be *extremely* interested.  Plus with our planned new applications that audience widens and deepens.

Find great people to help make it happen!  Must find great people.  Must find great people!  Key team additions needed are 1) Experienced Senior Product Manager with strong technical skills to manage products from design to implementation to market and 2) Experienced Internet Partnership, Social Media & Ad Sales Manager (does such a person even exist?).  Must find great people!

Personal Goals

Lose 5 pounds.  I will eat less and exercise more.

Take Yoga classes.  I will locate, sign up, and attend classes.  Anyone have any recommendations for instructors in the Austin, Texas area?

Laugh more.  I will find more funny and fun people to hang out with. :-)

Be less concerned with what other people think.  This will probably be the hardest one for me to accomplish and the hardest to measure.  Worrying about what people think of me, my decisions, my company, my appearance, my parenting, my words, etc. sometimes unduly stresses me out and takes up way too much energy that should be devoted elsewhere.  I’m not alone in this issue.  I’ve seen many bloggers write about it but more women than men which may be a result of our society or more likely Oprah.  I will work to drastically reduce the negative self talk in my head.  I think Yoga will help me with this goal.

My Personal Goals are mostly in my control.  I decide what to eat.  I decide when/how to exercise, etc.  I decide when to pick up the phone and sign up for a Yoga class.  

Achieving the Business Goals, on the other hand, are less in my control.  I can do everything right but if the angel investors don’t understand or care for the market or market need I’m addressing then funding sources might not be available.  If the stock market crashes and everyone quits investing then, c’est la vie.  If the funding doesn’t come through then I won’t be able to hire great people, etc., etc.  I believe I have the most control over establishing additional partnerships and joining organizations but that’s what I believe right now on January 1, 2008.  As the Internet has proven, things change at the speed of each new thought!

What are your goals?  Feel free to leave a comment here and/or leave a link back to your blog to where you posted your 2008 thoughts.

If you’d like to see if I meet my goals (or even heckle me – I don’t mind as long as its funny and helps me with my Laugh More goal :-) ) subscribe to this blog’s feed and share your wonderful thoughts with me.

Happy New Year Blogosphere!

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby sleep, blogging, breastfeeding, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Jacob’s Family and Baby Insights
Dec 11 2007

To help illustrate how different people use Babble Soft web and mobile applications, we have created family user stories.   I am grateful to the families who are willing to share their time, pictures, and energy to write/edit these case studies with us! To see our other user stories please check out our Testimonial page or click on the user stories tag.

Jacob’s Family: (pdf)

jacob334x222.jpgMother:   Lea (Financial Reporting Manager)
Father:    Chris (Partner/Marketing Consultant)

Baby:   Jacob
Born:    September 2007
Place:   Newport Beach, CA

Browser Used: Mozilla Firefox v2.0.0.11
Website:  http://www.fullmixmarketing.com/



Situation

Jacob, Lea and Chris’s first child, was born via unplanned C-section after a long and arduous labor.  While in the hospital, Lea was asked to keep track of Jacob’s feeding and diaper activities using generic paper hospital forms.  She had planned on entering the information into Baby Insights, which she had already set-up prior to Jacob’s arrival.  Unfortunately the papers were lost in the shuffle between the hospital and home, so she started entering information into Baby Insights four days after Jacob was born.

Prior to leaving the hospital, Jacob’s pediatrician recommended formula supplementation as Lea was concerned about breastfeeding following the c-section.  Lea’s milk did not fully come in for over a week, and with breastfeeding, pumping and formula feeding, using Baby Insights was tremendously helpful in keeping track of Jacob’s feeding schedule and intake.  Baby Insights was also very helpful in tracking Jacob’s diaper activities.  A feature of Baby Insights that Lea wasn’t initially aware of, but came to use extensively, was medicine dose recording.  She was taking three separate pain medications to aid in her recovery from the C-section.

Lea’s Experience

The information I got from using Baby Insights was so helpful!  I really liked the fact that I could go to one place and see all of Jacob’s information at a glance. In hindsight, I wish I had bought a PDA or smart phone before Jacob was born to make entering the information easier!  Some of the benefits I gained from using Baby Insights are:

  • Since we were supplementing with formula, it helped to see how much formula versus breastfeeding time he was receiving.  It’s been fascinating to see how the two amounts have changed over time.  The Daily Summary report was beneficial as it calculated the total amount of milk we gave to Jacob.
  • It was great to see how much I was pumping to get an idea of how much he was getting at each feeding.  Knowing this helped me make decisions about how often and how much to supplement.
  • As a first time mom, managing my time throughout the day can be quite challenging.  Baby Insights helped me see how much time I was spending breastfeeding and pumping so I could better plan my day.
  • Tracking my pain medication using Baby Insights was particularly helpful during my recovery from the C-section. I was taking 3 different pain medications at varying times and being able to view my medication schedules became one of my favorite Baby Insights tools!

—End—

If you are interested in participating in your very own user story, please activate a FREE Babble Soft Account. If you find that Babble Soft applications work for you, you want to tell the world about your great experience, and you are interested in being a part of our media campaign, please email us at info at babblesoft dot com for more information and a hook-up!  :-)  We plan to do a family story every one to two months so please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby care, baby insights, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, pumping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Guest Baby Tip: Increasing Breast Milk Supply
Nov 11 2007

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)


Since there were so many views of my first baby tip on Increasing Milk Supply post, and I saw on Carole’s blog recently that she was dealing with the exact same issue, I asked her to write up a baby tip based on her experience for my readers.  Carole is one my faithful blog readers and a Baby Insights user.  She has 3 kids at home and blogs at Alias Tex.  She is an amazing person and an awesome Mom!  Thank you Carole for a great baby tip!

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I’ve nursed three babies and have had supply issues with all three.  I was not able to correct the issue with the first two, so I ended up supplementing with formula both times.  When I discovered that my supply was low the third time around, I decided to work with a lactation consultant.  I ended up supplementing with formula for about a month; in total, I think Christina ended up having about 2 1/2 cans of formula before my supply was enough to make it unnecessary.  Here are the things we tried, in the order in which we tried them:

– Pumping.  I pumped as often as I could, but at least 5 or 6 times a day, for at least 10 – 15 minutes each time. (The pumping was in conjunction with all of the other things I was doing — I’ve heard that for some women, pumping alone can help, but I wasn’t one of them.)

– Herbs.  I took fenugreek, blessed thistle, and alfalfa — the highest dose of each that I could find at Whole Foods — two or three of each, three times a day.  (This did increase my supply some, but not enough that I could stop supplementing.)

– Domperidone* — I take 20mg capsules.  I started out taking five of them a day, then — once my supply was established — dropped down to four.  I tried cutting back to three and discovered that that was too low to maintain my supply, so I rented a pump for a week and jumped back up to five pills a day again.  Now, I’m down to four capsules a day, and I have enough milk that Christina only nurses one side at a time — and doesn’t usually even empty that one!  (I don’t like having quite that much extra milk, so now every couple of days I’ll take only three capsules — it seems to be working out….)

– Oxytocin nasal spray** — 1OU/ML.  (1 spray in each nostril, 2 – 3 minutes before nursing.)  In addition to my supply issues, I’ve had problems with my letdown reflex.  Sometimes it worked just fine, but it was not uncommon for me to nurse her for 45 minutes or more without having a letdown!  I also tended to have them at random times throughout the day/night, and then I couldn’t have another one for at least an hour, so I had to try to nurse her whether she seemed hungry or not!  The nasal spray has changed all of that:  if I don’t have a letdown when Christina starts nursing, I use my nasal spray and I have a letdown within a couple of minutes.  The only times it hasn’t worked are when I was experimenting, trying to see if I could do just one nostril, or use a drop instead of a spray.  (It does work as drops, but I have to do a couple in each side, not just one.)

Now that I have it all under control, my days of sobbing in frustration seem like a bad dream — it almost makes me want to have another, just so I can see what it’s like to get it right from the start!  Imagine:  me, with a baby who has never tasted formula….  It could happen!  : )

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*Some of you may know that the FDA issued a warning about Domperidone several years ago. (On the same day that the National Breastfeeding Campaign was to begin!)  It’s actually a stomach medicine, and was prescribed off-label for breastfeeding mothers.  Because of the FDA’s warning, it’s no longer possible to just walk into a pharmacy and get a prescription for Domperidone; you have to go to a compounding pharmacy to get it, and even some of those are afraid of FDA reprisals if they fill the prescriptions.  Fortunately, for those of us who need it to maintain a normal milk supply, there are still doctors and midwives willing to prescribe it for us, and some compounding pharmacies who will still make it.

Domperidone is widely considered a safe drug when administered orally, and is approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers.  Many were outraged when the FDA issued its warning — especially since the cases it cites in the warning were decades old. 

Official statements from prominent physicians can be found here.

A very good summary of the controversy can be found here, and many more links here.

Side effects of Domperidone.

Side effects of Reglan, another stomach medication that can increase milk supply, which has no warnings issued against it — even though it is NOT approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers!

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**I also get my Oxytocin nasal spray from a compounding pharmacy.

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Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion. Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, mom, mother, nursing, pumping, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

DadLabs Keeps Us Laughing
Oct 29 2007

Check out the new and improved DadLabs site.   I’ve been to their lab and met with pretty much all of them.  I have to say they are pretty darn cool.  They have some downright hilarious videos and I’m embedding some of them below.

Manly breastfeeding  – a.k.a. Daditude ‘Milk Man’ – (if you are easily offended you might not want to watch this one.  If you are ready for a good laugh, I recommend that you watch this one at least 5 times but make sure you aren’t holding a drink.  I was laughing so hard I couldn’t stop the tears!).

The Lab Shoes (all about finding that ever elusive kid’s shoe when you are about to walk out the door)

I can’t wait for them to do a Gear Daddy video on Babble Soft!

From Daddy Clay:

Howdy,

Well it’s here.  With an assist from our new producing partner For Your Imagination, the DadLabs site is relaunched, and Season 2 has officially begun.  Our kickoff episode is appropriately enough, all about shoes.  Get it?  Kick.  Shoes.  And check out the special guest appearance by Cooper John!

We could really use your support in this critical time, so please drop by the site and check out a video or three.  We will be posting a new episode of each of our shows each week: the Lab on Mondays, the Lounge on Tuesdays, Daditude on Wednesdays and Gear Daddy on Thursdays.  You can also check out a classic: all 100 episodes from Season 1 are available on the site.  You can even subscribe to us on iTunes now.

Our goal is 150,000 video views in the next two weeks, so if you wouldn’t mind, please watch 150,000 videos.  If you can’t manage that, please tell everybody you know to stop by the site and have a look.  And let us know what you think by leaving us comments.  Help us be the best internet television show on fatherhood.  Which shouldn’t be hard because I’m pretty sure we’re the only…internet…television…

Special thanks to the amazing guys at For Your Imagination.  When they announced their timetable for getting the relaunch done, I thought they were nuts.  Which they clearly are.  But they got it done, and it’s amazing.

So stop listening to me ramble on and go to the site!  And watch a bunch of videos and leave a bunch of comments.

See you over there.

Cheers,

Clay

Author: | Filed under: breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public, father, Just For Fun, nursing, parenting, working father | 3 Comments »

Baby Tip by Babble Soft – Increasing Milk Supply
Aug 9 2007

babytipteetherWhen helping my cousin with her new baby during my trip to NYC, I was reminded of some tips to increase milk supply.  When my first was born, my milk didn’t come in until over 10-14 days later.  I was recovering from an emergency c-section and was exhausted.  I was so distressed that I wasn’t able to provide enough food for my son that I often broke down in tears.  When he was a week or so old, my mom, husband, and I took him to a local mother’s store and with the help of a wonderful lactation consultant I weighed him, fed him, and weighed him again.  I freaked out because he weighed exactly the same as before!  Talk about feeling like a bad mommy.  However, after a few minutes we all realized that we had forgotten to put his socks back on when we weighed him the second time, and he had actually gained some weight!  Phew!  I can laugh about it now but boy at the moment…

Well-meaning lactation consultants and nurses told me repeatedly that I shouldn’t supplement.   I felt guilty (ugh!) about doing it, but I had to and I’m glad I did.  A few weeks later once my milk was in we no longer needed to supplement.  When my daughter was born, I had no qualms about supplementing the first couple of weeks of her life because I knew with certainty she would breastfeed exclusively and it gave me some time to recover a bit faster.  This time my milk came in within 3 to 5 days.  So here are some ideas from my experience and my cousin’s:

Fenugreek. This seed is commonly used in pill form to increase milk supply.  Fortunately for me, it is often used in Sri Lankan and Indian cooking and since my mom was here the first couple of weeks my kids were born I got to eat lots of tasty curries cooked with fenugreek.  I’m convinced this is what helped bring my milk in faster.  I’ll never know for certain but it was a yummy endeavor nonetheless!

Dark beer.  My cousin was advised to drink dark beer to help increase her supply.  We were both discussing how it was too bad that she wasn’t advised to drink a lot of red wine…which we both love.

Garlic.  I also ate a little more garlic than normal in the curries my mother made, but I have heard that some people will eat so much that their milk starts smelling like garlic!  They say that babies like the flavor/smell of garlic in their mother’s milk so they suck harder and eat more.  Go figure!

Whole grains/Oatmeal.  I’m not sure how this works but it’s probably related to why dark beer is helpful.

Rest. Sleep. Warm Showers.  Although it’s very hard to get any rest those first several weeks home, it’s probably what the body needs most to help stimulate milk production.  When you sleep, relax, and rest your body has time to make milk without added stress.  Stress has been shown to decrease milk supply because your body is using it’s energy for things other than making milk!

Aruni

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Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers.  Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby.  If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to babblesoft blogger for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted.  If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip.  We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’  We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, nursing, pumping | Comments Off

Breastfeeding Tip: Use Two Boppy Pillows – Baby Tip by Babble Soft
Jul 9 2007

babytipteetherHere’s a tip on breastfeeding a newborn:  Use TWO boppies.  When I had my son in 2002, I received a boppy (breastfeeding pillow) at my baby shower.  I really liked using it but discovered that I often had to put cushions or pillows beneath it to get our newborn son at a comfortable position for feeding.  The cushions would slip out or somehow (I don’t know how) he would kick them out.  I would then find myself hunching over and my back aching a bit after a while.  When my daughter was born in 2005, I received another one and happened to try stacking them and putting them both around my waist.  It was great!  Since I’m a bit short-waisted having the two breastfeeding pillows made me sit up straight thereby forcing me to maintain good posture (a plus).  Having two boppies was helpful to me in the cradle, cross-cradle, and football positions.  In the football position, I would put both boppies stacked on each other to my right or left and then I would place my daughter with her head toward me and her body/feet behind me resting on one of the sides of the boppy.  I used two for the first probably 12-16 weeks of her life.

Of course it’s not that easy to take a boppy with you when you are breastfeeding/nursing-in-public so on those occassions I propped them on our big, fat diaper bag because I always had it handy. ;)

If you can’t afford another boppy, try to find a really sturdy/hard cushion that you can place under the boppy for the football position.  You’d have to find two slightly firm cushions if you want to use them for the cradle and cross-cradle positions.  You can also ask a friend if they are done with their boppy…I just gave one of ours away to a friend.  We also used our boppy for tummy time, sitting support, and all sorts of fun things that I’m sure you are not supposed to use it for. :-)

Aruni

 ***

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers.  Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby.  If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to babblesoft blogger for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted.  If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip.  We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’  We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby stuff, baby tips, breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public, nursing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Baby Manager User Stories
Jun 21 2007

To help illustrate how different people use Baby Manager (i.e., the baby is managing you!), we have begun creating user stories/case studies.

We appreciate that many new parents are uncomfortable with having their picture online or don’t want to even think about the possibility of being mentioned in print or being on TV the first year or so after they have a baby.  But if you are the type of new parent who loves the spotlight, doesn’t care about being in the process of losing those baby pounds, and loves Baby Manager, we welcome your participation with open arms!

If you are interested, please activate a FREE Trial of Baby Manager and get familiar with it. If you find that it works for your family, you want to tell the world about your great experience using it, and you are interested in being a part of our media campaign, please email us at blogger@babblesoft.com for more information and a hook-up.  It’s not as big as the Harpo Hook-Up by Oprah, but it just might be what you need. :-)  

We will be posting all future case studies in this blog and on our Testimonial page.

So now for our very first user story about the Hayes family…drum roll please…ta dah (as my 2 year old would say)…

Hayes Family Case Study

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby manager, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, case study, nursing, parenting, pumping | 1 Comment »