Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pump Pump (again)

Tomorrow is my first “official” official day back to work. Every day of the week.  Which, whatever, it’s fine – I actually like working and OMGAH we need to figure out a routine around this place.  I am going to miss the hell out of my kids (and my husband, for that matter) – but it’s part of life and I get to drink my coffee & eat my lunch in peace five days a week so it’s not all bad.

The past few weeks where I have only been working 2-3 days I haven’t been pumping what the baby has been eating.  But I had a decent freezer stash.  Or not. Because it is pretty much non-existent anymore – which happens when you take one bag out a day and don’t put anymore in.  We have had to supplement some with formula when I am gone but are obviously hoping to make that an occasional thing, not a rule.

Again, we still need to work on our routine during the day.  But I feed her before I leave for work and I try to feed her when I get home – but sometimes she can’t wait until 6 so I just pump and then feed her before bedtime.  So far it has worked out the best to pump twice at work, three times if I can squeeze it in, 15 minutes per session. I have my reminders set in my calendar so I don’t get scheduled for any meetings, etc. I realize that isn’t always when she eats, but it’s the best I can do at the moment. Before bed is always the easiest option – or it would be if I wasn't so freaking tired! But I am also throwing around the idea of pumping on my way to (or even from) work since I have a long commute.

It has also been a bit of a challenge to figure out exactly how much she needs during the day.  I have tried to do weighted feeds with her to see what she gets while she eats as a baseline.  Sometimes it appears she gets 2-3 ounces, sometimes it appears she gets 1/2 an ounce.  She nurses for a LONG time (25-40 min a side, thankfully she only eats on one side at a time!) and just likes to take her time.  Apparently she also enjoys pounding down her bottles since it is super easy for her. I am constantly hearing “well, she pounded down that X ounces and probably was still hungry” – I am loosely throwing around the idea of switching her to an even slower flow nipple.   Regardless of how long it takes, or doesn’t take, her to eat – she still takes more than I pump in a day so I know that I (begrudgingly) need to work to squeeze in an extra pumping session somewhere.

I am looking for any other tips on helping increase production!  I recently started massaging while pumping, and that has helped a little bit with production as well as leaning forward a little bit so I can use gravity to my advantage.  I also recently got pumpin’ pals flanges which are SO SO SO much more comfortable!  I haven’t used them enough to notice a huge difference in production, but I am hopeful.  I do have a hands free bra thing so that helps too.

I am also looking for any other tips related to efficiency when pumping!  I always feel like it is such a process to set up (even though I do leave my pump set up all day) and clean up.  I have some medela steam sanitizer bags which are really nice.   I think it is always just going to be a bit of a process, by nature, but any tips anyone has I’ll take! 

And lastly, and this is going to sound totally ridiculous – how do you dress for pumping? I am a dress person, which is obviously not the easiest thing to maneuver when you have to hook your boobs up to a machine several times a day and don’t necessarily want to get undressed each time!  Clearly shirts/pants/skirts are the easiest bet and I almost always wear a nursing tank.  Any awesome wardrobe tricks that make pumping (and direct breastfeeding, for that matter) less of a clothing challenge? 

There have been so many challenges to this breastfeeding journey in the barely three months of Aleesia’s life between her MSPI, lip/tongue ties, her being sick, my low output, a million blocked ducts (and now a milk blister. fun.) but I can’t quit it – and really, I haven’t even thought about quitting to this point.  It helps that there is so much support available though, so thank you for supporting me and entertaining my questions and neurosis.

BabyGanics Fine & Handy Hand and Face Wipes {Review}

I am kind of a nut, or at least I try to be kind of a nut, about making sure Gianna’s hands are always clean before she eats.  And I can’t stand it when her face is a mess – but that is even more of a loosing battle usually.  Obviously, it’s easier said than done to have a clean 4 year old, but still, I do make an effort! 

That being said, I have tried a lot of “handy wipe” type products – baby wipes, sanitizer wipes, etc.  Recently I was able to review the BabyGanics Fine and Handy Hand and Face Wipes and they are, by far, my favorite product of this nature.  They are fragrance free and they don’t leave that sticky residue on your hands that some other wipes or hand sanitizing products do.


I am a big fan of BabyGanics’ products in general, and I was glad that this particular product didn’t disappoint.  With summer coming up and what I anticipate to be LOTS of sticky faces and hands it’s nice to know there is a plant-based, non-toxic (gluten free!) product available to take care of the sticky-ness.  They come in a 30 wipe, re-sealable package that actually STAYS sealed once you open it – even in my crammed to the brim diaper bag!

Miss Aleesia is just starting to get into the “I want my hands in my mouth all the time” phase – these wipes are also good for taking care of the dreaded “hand jam”. And bonus that I don’t have to worry about her eating any gross chemicals from the wipes since they are chlorine, bleach, paraben, sulfate and phthalate free.

If you are looking for something to keep in your diaper bag, or purse, or car, or stroller this summer while you are out and about – grab a back of the BabyGanics Fine & Handy Hand and Face Wipes. They are about $5 a pack and available at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby,, and  I know we are going to have them pretty much everywhere!


I was provided the BabyGanics Fine & Handy Hand and Face Wipes to review.  All content and opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

This one has a SERIOUS pout lip!

Monday, April 22, 2013

another type of reflux

It was Gianna’s birthday and we were taking both girls for their well checks.  No biggie, besides the whole shot business.

I got home with Gianna from preschool and went to feed Aleesia who felt like she was on FIRE! So I got out the temporal thermometer (love that thing) just for kicks.  Except it said 103.1! So I did it like, 4 more times and then got out the rectal thermometer.  It said 101.somethingthatIforget. 

Good timing since we were walking out the door to the doctors office.  So, of course we told them about her fever and totally threw the resident off his game.  She looked fine – ears were good, not stuffy, not coughing etc.  Scrawny (she had only gained 2 ounces in 6 weeks – and I am sure that gain came after we had her lip and tongue ties corrected) and feverish for no good, obvious reason.

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The pediatrician told us “you know, they keep babies this young in the hospital sometimes for fevers”.  And I rolled my eyes – there was NO TIME FOR THAT! My sister was getting married. In 2 days. Lots going on.  But he really felt strongly that we needed to have blood and urine cultures done on her, and perhaps an LP, and the ER was the best place to go.

So we went.  And my sister waited with me for many hours while Mike took care of things with Gianna. (who hung out with both sets of grandparents and really didn’t realize we weren’t there!)

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She loved the crinkly paper on the table.  She did pretty well with the blood draw and the straight cath.  And we waited for the results.  Which were that this little peanut had bacteria in her urine and her blood. She had to have a spinal tap (which, I did not stay in the room for because I couldn’t. it was hard enough to be outside the room). And we were not going home.  I am not sure if I cried because she was sick or because it was Gianna’s birthday and I had spent most of it in the emergency room or because my sister’s wedding was in TWO DAYS!

Either way, I cried a little, but knew she was in the very best place she could be.  We have a fabulous children’s hospital in our area. 

They ran the first round of IV antibiotics while we were in the ER waiting for a room. (which took approximately 3 more hours)

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We got up to our room after midnight, did the whole admission thing.  And tried to sleep.

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Doctors came in and out, just as soon as both of us fell asleep of course.  Friday was kind of a blur – but after that second round of antibiotics that morning she looked SO MUCH BETTER.  She was able to rest and the infection that had been brewing for who-knows-how-long was on its way out.  They also had her on continuous fluids which helped as well.

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Her pediatrician rounded in the afternoon and he had mentioned that she might not go home until Sunday, depending on how thigns went.  And I tried not to cry right then – remember, WEDDING!! But we also saw infectious disease who told us her official diagnosis would be urosepsis secondary to pylonephritis.  (so, she had a blood infection from a UTI and kidney infection) – however he did say that with the right antibiotics she could go home the next morning. Urology came and checked on her and did a renal ultrasound (it looked ok) as well.

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I made sure everyone was on board with us getting the heck out of dodge before noon on Saturday and praise the lord (and thanks to many prayers) we were out of there and on our way to the wedding day festivities by 11 on Saturday!


Tuesday we went for a VCUG to check out her bladder/kidney function.  The urologist, pediatrician and infectious disease doctors all thought the likely culprit was kidney reflux.

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She did great during the test and it immediately showed VU reflux.  We saw the urologist right after who graded it as a Grade III – middle of the line in severity, basically.  We will follow-up closely with the urologist over the next year (and hope she grows out of this!) and she will be on a daily antibiotic to help prevent future UTI’s.  The reflux itself isn’t necessarily the problem – it’s when infected urine enters the kidney’s and lead to a UTI that causes the problems. 

So – she has some MSPI, some GI reflux, some VU reflux and now that they are under control – she is literally a different baby.  It’s pretty astonishing the difference in her personality.  But everybody is allowed to cry when they don’t feel good, right?

While it was pretty frustrating having her in the hospital, and the timing could not have been worse, I’m glad we were there, figured out the problem, have a treatment plan in place and it isn’t anything more than this.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Let me paint a picture for you:

We take Aleesia to her one month well check, discuss her extreme screamy-ness and very clear reflux issues with the doctor.  Decide to try going dairy/soy free to see if we notice any changes in her behavior.  I noticed some changes, she was very obviously more upset if I ate cheese than if I didn’t but she was still screamy and obviously uncomfortable.  So we gave zantac a try to see if it would take the edge off for her.  And it really didn’t.  So, I made the general assumption that I make tiny little girls who really like to cry and get really uncomfortable when they eat.  I also made the assumption that breastfeeding must be okay, she had gained some weight at that appointment and I figured that the discomfort I had and the length of time she spent at the breast were normal because I had no idea otherwise. 

I had overheard a conversation between two moms at a jewelry show about driving 4 hours to have their kids upper lip tie (ULT) and posterior tongue tie (PTT) revised with a laser.  I had NO FREAKING CLUE what they were talking about so I asked!  They told me about these things and I listened.  And didn’t think much of it after that.  Until Aleesia was about 7/8 weeks old and I looked at her one morning as I was getting her dressed and jokingly said “hey peanut, are you shrinking?” because the onesie I put on her looked bigger than the last time she wore it.

I remembered the conversation from a few weeks prior and reached out to one of the girls just to get a little more information.  she pointed me to a local midwife who is really really knowledgeable on the topic and I started reading and researching.  And a big HUGE light bulb went off over my head.

I was reading the symptoms commonly associated with ULT/PTT’s. Symptoms you might see in a baby include:

  • Colic (had it)
  • Reflux (had it)
  • Gagging, choking when feeding (she actually “clicked” because she couldn’t maintain any suction at all)
  • Snoring/open mouth breathing (had it)
  • Prolonged nursing sessions/too frequent nursing sessions (nursing 25+ min on one side!)
  • Excessive Crying (re: screamy baby!)
  • Foul smelling/odd color bowel movements (yes, but could be from the MSPI too)
  • Termination of breastfeeding/refusing the breast when hungry  (she would get angry at the breast, actually. because she wasn’t transferring hardly any milk)
  • The baby failing to thrive/slow weight gain (yep)
  • Poor bonding between baby and mother
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Problems with introducing solids

Things that might be experienced while trying to breastfeed a tongue/lip-tied baby may include:

  • Pain (yes! I totally thought it was normal too)
  • Poor milk supply (apparently so)
  • Nipple damage, bleeding, blanching or distortion of the nipples
  • Mastitis, nipple thrush or blocked ducts (blocked ducts)
  • Severe pain with latch or losing latch (yes and yes)
  • Sleep deprivation caused by the baby being unsettled
  • Depression or a sense of failure

So I did what anyone would do – I looked at her lip and tongue to see if she had a tie.  And yes, yes she did.


class IV upper lip tie


really hard to see, but she has a severe posterior tongue tie – her tongue could not touch the roof of her mouth

I actually contacted this midwife directly to discuss and get her clinical advise – and after seeing Aleesia’s pictures she said based on the thickness of her ties - we should visit a dentist that could fix these problems with a small laser.  We also discussed how these ties are midline defects that tend to have a profound effect on a baby’s GI system once fixed.

I would do pretty much anything to make the screamy baby a happy one – so we made an appointment to get this little problem taken care of.  We saw the nicest man who was so knowledgeable about ties – and really committed to helping women successfully breastfeed which was kind of a cool thing.  The whole procedure took about 3 minutes.  It was SO simple and easy. The worst part, hands down, is the stretches we have to do on her lip and tongue to make sure everything heals right and doesn’t reattach.

The difference in feeding after the procedure was night and day. 

4.5  (3) less than an hour after, fed and satisfied!

I had NO IDEA how uncomfortable I was until I wasn’t any more! her upper lip was swollen for a few days, but she has healed so so well. 

4.5  (5)same day – little upper lip swelling

She doesn’t get so angry when she eats (probably because she is actually able to hold suction and get milk out!), her gas pains are greatly diminished and her reflux seems less severe.  I have taken her to a chiropractor for a cranio-sacral adjustment since she was basically only using her lips to suck with – that has helped her facial muscles become stronger and her latch/suck mechanism to improve. 

I just happened to be nosy enough to ask for more information when eavesdropping on someone else's conversation and found this solution that has potentially made my baby much less screamy, much happier and MUCH more satisfied.  I fully believe that this was the right decision for us – breastfeeding is so hard on it’s own, when a baby literally can’t latch or feed it is obviously that much harder – and it is such a simple fix.  However! I did go to my pediatrician and to a lactation consultant – neither of which checked her mouth because it just isn’t something they look for.  The dentist that did the procedure? He put his finger in her mouth to feel her suck and in literally 2 seconds knew what the problem was and why we were having the problems we were. 

It’s amazing the information that is out there and the information that is not – this is a real thing, that causes real problems – if you are looking for more information on upper lip and tongue ties – leave me a comment or shoot me an email, I’d be happy to chat with you about it/share more of our experience.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

It has been crazy around here lately. Birthday girl. Sick baby. Sisters wedding. Lots of appointments.

More on all of these later.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A letter to my {oldest} daughter: FOUR!

Dear Gianna -

I know I say this every year – but time flies.  I honestly do not know how is it even possible for you to be turning four tomorrow?!!  It has been a crazy, fun, exciting year.  You are so much the same, but so much of a different more mature person than you were last year.  It is amazing how much you have changed and grown.

This year you have gone from wearing diapers and taking a binkie to bed

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to wearing underpants and taking lots of books and “pets” to bed.

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You had sleepovers and lots of fun adventures with your BFF’s.

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Visited the princesses at disney world for a whole week.  And you talk about it every single day – you are a disney girl, there is no doubt about that.

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You started and LOVE preschool. I have seen you grow and learn so much this past year.  I love to hear your stories about school and as much as I complain about all the crafts – I really love them.  One of my favorite things to do when I get home from work is to hear about your day, I hope we always talk about our days with each other.

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But the biggest changes of all revolve around you taking on the titles of big cousin and big sister.

You LOVE your cousin Luci and love playing with her now that she plays back. 

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And your sister? I think it is fair to say that you are smitten with each other.  Gianna you are always so concerned with where Aleesia is, how she is doing, where she is and what you can do to help her.  Sometimes it’s okay to be frustrated – and you are – but you do a pretty good job of expressing how you feel, which is awesome.  I could listen to you talk to Aleesia all day – the way you say “Hi miss!” to her in the morning melts my heart.  I hope you always love her so much (but I know you won’t always like her so much!) and that you always adore her.  You have also been such a huge help – I always ask you to tell me if she is awake or asleep in the car and when you answer “her eyes are awake” I can’t help but smile.

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My favorite part of being your mommy right now is how sweet you are and the conversations that we have.  You are such a little person with big ideas (elaborate stories!), very serious opinions and just the right amount of logic behind your choices that it’s hard to argue with you most of the time.  You are a caring soul – always concerned with how everyone in your life is doing and feeling. I hope you are always that way.  Your very serious opinions tend to get you in a little bit of trouble sometimes but we are working through that together and things are getting better – I know you can’t be good all the time and it’s okay to have a bad day.

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You have your own sense of style and you will NOT be persuaded otherwise, despite all of my best efforts.  So I started letting you pick out your own clothes before we buy them and when you get ready in the mornings – if I am going to pick something to stand my ground on, this isn’t going to be it.  I have started to really love seeing what you decide to wear – almost always leggings with either a dress or a shirt!  But your favorite thing is pj’s – you always change immediately when you get home!

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There are some words that you still say “wrong” and I love it.  It helps remind that despite your mature personality, you are still a little girl.  Some of my favorites are “fader” (bother), “kitty hello”, “elphanent” and “belly egg” (belly ache!).  You still stutter when you are excited about something.  The way we communicate and converse amazes me almost every day.  you are starting to understand my sarcasm which I am sure will come back to haunt me!  you might talk non stop, but I’ll never get tired of listening to what you have to say no matter how busy I am.  And when you come up to me and say “I love you mommy” – nothing else can go wrong.10.25  (1)

Your imagination is one of my favorite things about you right now.  You are GREAT at playing independently and as often as I can I just sit and listen/watch you and your imagination at work – it is truly amazing.  Barbie's, baby dolls, “pets”, lalaloopsy dolls, horses, your dollhouse, kitchen, legos – just about anything can entertain you for hours. You still love books and you REALLY love crafts and stickers.  Something you really enjoy, and often beg to do, is sweep and mop the floors and to wash the windows and the counters with your “helper stool”! I take any help around the house you want to offer. We work on chores and you do a great job clearing your dishes and putting your clothes in your hamper.  You are still my tiny dancer loving dance class and you started swimming lessons which are going really great.

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This has been a really big year for you – one full of changes, growth, learning, challenges, fun, excitement and so much more.  You are an amazing girl and not a minute goes by that I don’t feel beyond lucky and blessed to be your mommy.  Aleesia is so lucky to have you as her big sister – I am positive you are going to teach each other so much.  Last night you sat down next to me on the couch and said “you are my best friend mama” and it’s just a moment I won’t forget.

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One thing will never change – you will always be my first baby.  the one who made me a mommy.  the one whose goofy smile and big blue eyes make any bad day good.  the one who gives awesome hugs and kisses.  I can’t express just how much I love you, sweet girl, just know it’s a lot more than I can ever express.


Happy fourth birthday, bug – I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store.

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Love you forever,