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

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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 »

Guest Baby Tip: Throw A Baby Kegger/Shower For Your Buddy
Jan 17 2008

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! :-)

Today’s guest baby tip is written by one of my favorite dads, Daddy Clay.  Clay is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of DadLabs.  DadLabs creates all sorts of cool, informational, not-so-informational, and downright hilarious videos about being a father in this new era of “let’s share parenting responsibilities, shall we?”  On Monday’s they have a new video in The Lab, on Tuesday’s they are in The Lounge, on Wednesday’s they have Daditude (Daddy Owen is pretending to be pregnant by wearing a pregnancy belly), and on Thursday’s they are all about Gear Daddy.  Check them out!

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Welcome any and all baby showers/keggers!

For lots of guys, as soon as the excitement of a positive pregnancy test wears off, the first concern is about money – well maybe the second concern – the first concern we’ll deal with in another post.  But money is definitely a big worry.  This concern hits an early peak on the first visit to the baby Mega-store – usually a scouting mission.  There, a guy silently tallies up the expenses of all the items on the “necessities” list while trying to seem enthusiastic to the expecting mother.   How are you gong to afford all the baby gear?

Women long ago figured this whole deal out. Need to outfit the nursery? They gather the gals for a baby shower to play cute little games and open gifts with nifty wrapping. They giggle and gossip. Sound like fun, fellas?

Get over it.  Go along if you are invited, and tap into the power of community.  Actively encourage your wife to land as many showers as possible.clay-son.jpg

And here’s a radical idea.  Throw a dad shower.  But we can’t call it a shower.  Not gonna happen.  Let’s adapt.  How about having a Baby Kegger instead?!

You provide the beer. If you don’t like the idea of setting up a gift registry, host an auction. Ask your funniest buddy to MC and offer various goods and services up for sale to the highest bidder. Any bids on the last round of golf with the expecting dad before his life changes forever? Got to let the motorcycle or the season tickets go? All proceeds go to the stroller fund – - or the 529 plan.

Let your guy friends in on the action of supporting your new life as a parent. 

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in our other recent guest baby tips:

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

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

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, entrepreneurship, father, parenting, working dad, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Guest Baby Tip: Keeping a Baby Food Journal
Dec 19 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! :-)

The last baby tip was by Carole Hayes on wonderful, well-researched ways to increase milk supply and now we bring you…

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

baby-hippo.jpgI am honored that Aruni has asked me to do a guest post here on entrepreMusings.  As a “seasoned” mother of four the Baby Tips category is right up my alley and a hard one to pare down (I have accumulated a lot of advice over the years – 11 to be exact!).  In later years, when our other children were ready to start solid foods, we were much better prepared. By being slow and meticulous we were finally able to have fun with the introduction of solid foods.The key to our success is what we called a Baby Food Journal. 

 

When our babies were around six months of age, and we made the decision to start the solid food phase, the journaling would begin.

Everyday, I would record the time of feeding, the amount, and the babies reaction to the taste (this one was for fun).

After the feeding, I would make notes of any unusual observations and the time they occurred. These would include skin rashes, health issues, upset stomach, gassiness, or general fussiness.  babybeingfed.jpg

The next day the process would be repeated. If the food seemed to agree with the baby then it was time to increase the amount and again record my observations. If I saw an unusual reaction a call the pediatrician would be in order. And if I was unsure whether the reaction was indeed caused by the food, something like fussiness for example, then I would feed the baby a small quantity of the same food and watch for a repeat reaction.

Only introducing one new food per week in the first few months of starting solids was my rule. If things were going well I would reduce the time between new foods to three or four days.

Keeping a Baby Food Journal took a lot of stress and uncertainty out of the feeding process. And it was good documentation to give the pediatrician if things weren’t going well.

*photos used in this post by belgianchocolate and joeltelling, respectively

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Check out Neena’s blog.  She has a lot of great things to share…with 4 kids she knows more than most of us about raising kids! :-)  Since her kids are older she never had the opportunity to use Babble Soft applications and she told me that when she was writing this guest tip, it crossed her mind that Baby Insights might help people keep track of solid feeding.  We will be adding that feature in the future but  interestingly our families often use the Medicine Dose pages to keep track of baby’s and/or mom’s food intake to discern patterns in baby’s reaction to foods or breast milk.  Go figure.  Our families are so awesome and so creative!

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, baby care, baby tips, breast milk, food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

How to Trim Your Baby’s Nails: Baby Tip by Babble Soft
Oct 23 2007

Since I babble about business, babies, and parenthood here on this blog, 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!  :-)


 

babytipteether

When our son was born we were told to cut his nails while he was sleeping in his crib.   Being the sleep-deprived, paranoid mom that I was, following are the reasons why this did not work for me:

  • This boy barely sleeps and you are asking me to risk waking him and losing my sanity to cut his nails?!?  No freaking way!
  • What if he’s lying on one side and I can’t get to the hand or foot I want to get to?  Then refer back to item #1.
  • What if some of the little nail cuttings find their way into his mouth, ears, nose, or belly button, and he can’t breathe and he and I both go into shock?  What if one of them simply pokes him…then refer back to item #1.
  • What if I accidentally cut too much of his nail and cut his skin…then of course refer back to item #1.
  • How do I lean over his crib or bassinet with a huge post-partum belly and conduct what to me seemed like minor surgery on my precious baby without breaking my back or having a let-down?

So being the resourceful parent/entrepreneur that I am, here’s what I did:

  • Put him in a reclining bouncer (with neck support if needed) and either a) wait until he fell asleep or b) put on a Baby Einstein video (back then it was OK to watch Baby Einstein videos).  I also occasionally did this while he was still in his infant car seat.
  • If he fell asleep and I didn’t think he would wake up (usually from age 0 to about 2 months), I would get some Kleenex tissue and place is strategically under his hands or feet.  I would then gently press the nail down so just the part that needed cutting would stick out over the end and commence trimming with the Safety 1st nail trimmer, which we still use today, that you can buy here at Amazon.com.   I would collect the trimmings in the tissue and throw them in the trash when I was finished.
  • If he didn’t fall asleep (2 months to present), I would do what I did in item #2 above but with a video (e.g., Baby Einstein) I knew he could not take his eyes off of.  I would trim the nails on his right hand, take a break then move to his right foot.  I would repeat on his left side.

To this day, I cut both of the kid’s nails in front of the TV.  It is a much less nerve wracking experience for all of us to do it while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than while they are asleep.  :-)

Happy Nail Trimming!

***

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, baby care, baby tips | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Listen to Yourself: Baby Tips and Advice by Babble Soft
Jun 18 2007

I have been thinking about publishing a series of interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, hopefully useful Baby Tips by Babble Soft for quite some time.  Now that I’ve started to get the hang of blogging, I thought this would be the perfect time to start.  Keep in mind these are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers.  Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tips 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 ‘inaugral’ baby tip below ‘everything is relative!’  We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and link back to their site!

Now here comes the inaugural Baby Tip by Babble Soft:

babytipteetherNo matter what advice, tips, coercing, guilt trips, or loaded suggestions you receive, trust your gut/mind/heart above all else (unless of course you have a track record like George Costanza on Seinfeld and in that case do the opposite!).  In 99% [not verified, just something I thought would emphasize the point] of cases, new parents wish they had followed their thoughts/feelings about a stressful situation instead of acting blindly on the advice of friends, family, strangers, health care professionals, or innocent bystanders.  You and your baby are unique, the situation in your home, the situation with your spouse, and the situation with your family is also unique and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.  So if all the books in the world tell you to let your baby cry his lungs out and your gut tells you ‘this doesn’t feel right,’ then pick him up.  On the other hand if all the books in the world tell you to carry your baby 24/7 and you are about to have a nervous breakdown, put her down and take the break your mind/body is telling you that you need.  Make sense?  This tip is probably the hardest to implement and follow…but try to keep it in mind in between feeding, napping, eating, going to the bathroom, cleaning dishes, pumping, doing laundry, and changing diapers. :-)

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby advice, baby stuff, baby tips | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments »