I want to start out by saying that breastfeeding isn't for everyone and that is 100% ok. I don't exclusively nurse and we also supplement with formula on the occasion. I feel as long as you feed your baby, that is all that matters. Also, I am not here to give medical advice. This post is strictly about my journey with breastfeeding and what has worked to get us to this 4 month point. Please do not take my advice as scientific fact or evidence and if you have any questions or concerns I encourage you to always ask your doctor.
Oh the beauty of breastfeeding. It is a wonderful thing us mothers are able to do for our babies. I knew from the time I got pregnant that I wanted to try breastfeeding. I've always heard about the benefits of it from a health standpoint as well as the perks of how it can help prevent colic and SIDs. Also, formula can be very expensive. So why not go the free route if I'm able to and take advantage of it's added perks?
Well it's not that simple for some women, me included. I was a formula fed baby (and I think I turned out fine? ;) ), so I wasn't lucky to have my mom as a reference on what to do when it came to this part of caring for our baby. I wanted to try though and I knew it would be hard, but I didn't realize how hard it would be.
At first, I hated it. I wanted to give up. Due to the time of day Kai was born, things at our hospital were moving a little slow and I didn't get a chance to attempt to feed him until he was about 4 hours old. Not a great start. My first piece of advice to all you expecting mamas out there, demand they help you feed your baby within the first hour of their life. It is SO important. The first hour is when they are the most alert and their instinct to nurse is at its highest. After the hour to hour and half mark, they start to get sleepy. This is exactly what happened with Kai and that's where the latch problems started. He refused to latch on and then the cycle of fear began. I was worked up about him not latching so he would get worked up. I think we had 1 successful latch on 1 side the entire 3 days we were at the hospital. By day 5, Kai had lost too much weight when we went to his first doctors appointment, and we were instructed to give him formula for the time being. Our pediatrician told me to pump to get my milk to come in because Kai wasn't doing it for me and we needed it to come in ASAP. This is my second piece of advice, PUMP. If you have any kind of latch issues after a couple of days, please just pump. Don't let the hospital staff talk you out of it. They told me some crazy rule of waiting 3 weeks to try pumping at all and if I had listened to this it probably would have been too late or I wouldn't have been able to breastfeed Kai at all. He needed there to be a flow to get it at this point. I understand the concern over nipple confusion between bottles and breasts but we also have to remember, in the end we need to feed our babies. It doesn't matter how you do it, any way is fine. Formula, breast, pumped, it's all wonderful and gives them what they need.
I'm not going to sugar coat this for all of you, our first week of life with Kai and feeding him was awful. Down right awful. After that doctors appointment things did start to turn around but I was miserable with the breastfeeding side of it. What we did for days 5-9 was attempt to breastfeed for 10-15 min (failed every time), I would pump for 15 min, and Caleb would bottle feed him formula. We did this 10 times a day. The first two days of pumping I got little drops if I was lucky but then it started to come in! I was so excited and we were able to give him that pumped breast milk before giving him the formula. He was gaining some weight back, sleeping better, and going to the bathroom again. My third piece of advice is use regular baby bottles. Do not use the pre-mix bottles and the nipples that come with them. They flow way too fast and this definitely made us take steps backward in terms of him latching on to me. We realized this after a day or two and started using our baby bottles that we had bought. The ones that came out the winner and I truly believed helped with his nipple confusion were the Dr. Brown's bottles. We still use these bottles today, and he still loves to nurse. Then on day 9, it happened. He latched on to me! We got in a full feeding! A 40 minute feeding! It was amazing and the biggest relief aside from actually birthing a healthy baby. The next day we went back to our doctor for a weight check and he was back at his birth weight.
Next came the clogged duct/mastitis. At around 1 month I started not feeling well. I was really achy, my left breast was really hurting, and I started getting a red spot on it. I started to panic that I had mastitis. I actually had a full blown panic attack the night the red spot showed up. I was so ready to be done. I was on the verge of making the decision to become an exclusive pumper. For some reason though, this decision broke my heart. I wanted to be successful at nursing him and I wanted to enjoy the closeness nursing brings. At this point I would nurse Kai all day up until his 8pm feeding and for 8pm, 11pm, and 3 am, I would pump and Caleb would bottle feed him on nights he didn't have to go in to the office, otherwise I would take the 3am shift. It was still so exhausting especially because Kai was a very slow eater. Nursing sessions were at least 40 min each time if not 1 hour each time. I had no idea what I was doing and kept trying to play around with the length of times I let him nurse on each side. He was so sleepy while nursing sometimes I thought he was done. He has never really been a baby that pops off when he's good. Trust me, I've tried. The kid could stay latched on for 40 minutes on one side if I let him (I asked our doctor about this and she told me no, 20 min max ha!) Well apparently I was pulling him off too soon because I got clogged on my left side. I gathered myself up after that panic attack though and tried to make a plan. The next day I was going to exclusively pump every 2 hours to get the clog out and we would bottle feed Kai. Well the times didn't really line up with when we usually fed Kai so I took on a bottle feeding session that day. I only had a couple ounces of breast milk to give him (my clogged breast was barely producing any at this point) and I tried to give him formula to finish out the feeding. He straight up refused. He was screaming his head off and I knew he was still hungry. I didn't know what to do so I offered my breast to him and he took it immediately. He looked at me with this look in his eyes of "I only want you, mama" and something in me clicked. He would have to be the one to fix me. We could do this. I wasn't go to give up. I nursed him at every session the rest of that day and by the next day, the red spot had faded away. We had his 1 month checkup that next day, and our pediatrician graciously looked at it for me and told me I was fine. I never got a fever, so I somehow stopped myself from getting mastitis. So my fourth piece of advice is when they are this young try to get them to nurse at least 15 min per side, never go more than 4 hours without nursing or pumping, and even try to pump after you nurse. It's a lot, I know and understand that, but it's very important to empty our breasts often when they are this young and we've just gotten started with our supply. You will avoid clogs as well as start building a stock up so that you can take a break from nursing once in awhile and let Dad feed baby. I will be doing a post on how I beat mastitis soon, too, as it took more than just nursing Kai all day. My fifth piece of advice that I actually received from our doctor is for the first two months switch nursing positions every feeding. I rotated between football and cradle. When our babies are this little their suck isn't very efficient and so all the ducts aren't getting proper suction if we do the same hold every time. So if you switch your position often then each duct should be getting good suction throughout the day.
It was smooth sailing after this for awhile. Then it was time for me to go back to work. Another milestone that I was worried about. Day 1, pump 1 was a disaster for me. I barely pumped an ounce, I was so stressed. It got a little better after that once I got a routine down, but not fully better. I wasn't producing as much as Kai was eating from the bottle. We always feed him till he's full and as he was getting older and bigger he was wanting more. Without nursing my body didn't know that. I would nurse him when I got home from work, but it still wasn't enough for my body to realize it needs to produce more. So that's when I turned to supplements. At first I tried the Honest Company Postnatal Lactation Plus. The primary ingredient in them is fenugreek, which is supposed to really help promote breastmilk production. Unfortunately these did not work for me. It took a lot of trial and error but here is what I have personally noticed has helped with my production:
The Legendairy Milk supplements took about a week for me to really see a difference with them. They work best when I've been good about drinking water all day. If I am behind on my water intake, I notice a significant decrease. So regardless if you choose to take supplements or not, water is your best friend when it comes to breastfeeding. Eating healthy is very important too, not just for production, but because whatever you put in you, your baby eats, too! Lastly, I stopped taking some additional things that are known to be supply killers. I was put on a progesterone only birth control pill after my 6 week postpartum appointment but I believe this was hindering my supply, too. I also recently started taking allergy pills again thanks to springtime in Chicago and I also noticed a dip with this, too. Our doctor told me that they shouldn't be an issue but once I stopped taking both of these my production has increased even more. So it's something to try if you're struggling, too. My allergies haven't been that bad without taking them and I plan on only taking them if and when I have bad allergy days.
I've been taking the Legendary Milk supplements for about a month and can definitely say they really do help. I take 1 mL of Lactivist with a small glass of water and 2 Pump Princess pills in the morning, after work, and before I go to bed. We're at a point now where we do not have to feed Kai formula anymore and I am slowly but surely building up a stock thanks to Legendairy Milk. I sometimes pump after I nurse Kai, too, and I get an extra ounce or two every time. I was never able to do that in the past. I've also noticed a big difference in the quality of my milk when I pump. There is so much more fat in my milk! Thanks to this, Kai hasn't demanded 8 oz bottles anymore. These supplements really do work, mamas! I encourage you to give them a try if you feel your production isn't where you want it to be.
Here's a quick round-up of all my breastfeeding tips plus a couple of extras I didn't mention above:
I honestly love nursing now. It is my time with Kai and I dread the day he either doesn't want to nurse anymore or it's just time to wean. I personally do not enjoy pumping anymore but I gotta do what I gotta do to get that milk while I work! It's a complete 180 from the beginning though. I am so glad I stuck with it. I have Kai to thank for keeping me motivated and not letting me give up. So mamas, I know it is a very exhausting and time consuming commitment you've made, but if you have that drive to breastfeed then I encourage you to stick with it. It's hard work, but you can do it! You're all amazing moms, regardless. If any of you have any questions, need someone to talk to, or some more motivation, I'm always here for you!
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This post was not sponsored. However, I am a Legendairy Milk ambassador and was provided my code for my readers as a part of the program. If my readers use my code to purchase Legendairy Milk products, I will receive Legendairy Milk cash credit. Thank you to Legendairy Milk for this amazing opportunity and supporting our journey here at Tiny Dapper Fox. All opinions are my own and 100% honest and authentic.
Happy Hump Day everyone! I hope you all had a great long weekend. We we're very fortunate and had Monday off of work and were able to spend all weekend together. Saturday we ran some errands as a family and got some gardening done! I was so motivated last year to get our front garden looking great but then I got pregnant and basically missed summer. So this is the year! I know absolutely nothing about gardens and plants though so I've got some learning to do. If any of you have any tips for me please share them with me below! On Sunday and Monday we went to a couple of BBQs to kick off summer and celebrate Memorial Day. I want to personally thank all the men and women who serve our country and fight for our freedom. You are all incredible men and women.
How is Kai Bear 4 months old already!? I seriously can't believe how fast time is flying with this little one of ours. He is just getting more and more fun by the day. I wake up every day and wonder what amazing thing he is going to do today. Here are the highlights from this past month...
Weight: 17.12 lbs
Height: 24 in
We had a big month full of adventures! We celebrated Cinco de Mayo, you were baptized, and we spent my first Mother's Day together! You got to officially meet your new friend Avie Jo at Cinco de Mayo and you were both so fascinated by each other! Your baptism was such a beautiful day. You didn't cry at all and actually enjoyed getting the holy water poured on you. You looked absolutely adorable in your outfit but most importantly, it was so wonderful to celebrate you becoming a Child of God with all of our family. Then there was Mother's Day. You made this day so incredibly special for me, Kai. We spent the whole day together and I couldn't have asked for a better day. I will always remember that day. Thank you for making me a mama, little one!
So you love to eat and sleep. You've started eating around 30 oz a day and you sleep around 15 hours a day. You're still sleeping through the night and have gotten rid of your late evening nap. You also started sleeping in the Love to Dream Up swaddle now! We had to switch from the Swaddle Me Originals because you kept trying to get your arms out every night. You'd sometimes wake up pretty mad that you were stuck, ha! You've grown so much that you don't really fit any of your 0 to 3 month clothes anymore, too. We've been rocking all your new 3 to 6 month clothes and you always look so dang handsome. One of my favorite things we have for you is your little R2D2 PJs. Whenever you wear them I always call you little R2 and you think it's so funny! You've also started growing more hair, too! Its finally catching up to the size of your head ;)
Your little noises these days just kill me. You started doing this loud scream laugh earlier this month and it actually scared me at first! I thought you all of a sudden burst out crying, but instead you had the biggest smile on your face! It's hilarious when you do it! You also love to do this cute little screech and Dad calls you a screeching eagle when you do it. May 18th was a very special day though. On that day, you laughed for the first time. A real big laugh. You did it while being propped up in your boppy and I was tickling you behind your armpits. Mom and Dad were both home and it was a moment we will cherish forever! You also are so in love with Wrigley. You two are basically best friends now. You guys always do tummy time together and you've started petting him! We also started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to you. Dad bought you the illustrated edition and we read a little bit every night. You've been enjoying it so much, especially looking at all the pictures!
Kai, you make my heart burst right out of my chest. I look at you and I can feel it fluttering. I love you more than I ever thought possible. I look forward to every single moment of every single day with you. You are truly my everything, Little Kai Bear.
PS - I wanted to let you all know that in light of the Cosmo After Dark series fiasco on Snapchat, I have decided to join the movement of #byesnapchat and have deactivated my account. There is a push for a mass deactivation on June 1st and I encourage you all the ask questions or do some research on the topic. As a parent, I'd personally like to see Snapchat as a thing of past now. So #byesnapchat! You can always see our fun daily photos and video clips on my Instagram/Stories though! Have a wonderful week, everyone!
Breastfeeding can be stressful at times, especially if you aren't producing enough milk to keep up with your little one. We personally have no problem supplementing with formula, but our primary source of food for Kai is breast milk. He LOVES to eat and especially with going back to work I haven't been able to keep up with him as much as I'd like. One thing that I've done since the beginning to help with my production is make and eat lactation cookies. They are so yummy and really do help! On days that I eat them, I definitely see a difference in the amount that I pump. I've tried out a few recipes over the last few months but these peanut butter chocolate chip ones are by far my favorite! They are relatively healthy, too (just ignore the butter and sugar and concentrate on the oats and flax seed ;) )!
*The only warning I have is to make sure your baby doesn't have a peanut allergy before you consume these. Try out eating a little bit of peanut butter and make sure your baby doesn't have a reaction. If you are in the clear then bake away! Otherwise, just skip the peanut butter in the recipe and make yourself some chocolate chip cookies!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (I use the convection baking option)
2. Mix water and flaxseed meal in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes
3. Mix butter (at room temp), granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy
4. Add eggs 1 at a time until well combined and then add vanilla
5. Add flaxseed meal to mixture and combine well then set aside
6. In a separate medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brewer's yeast.
7. Slowly combine the flour mixture with the butter mixture in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. This takes about 1-2 minutes
8. Add oats, chocolate chips, and peanut butter to the mixture until well blended
9. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll in to a ball. Place balls on a cookie sheet
10. Bake cookies for 10-13 minutes depending on your oven. In our convection oven, 10 minutes is perfect
11. Allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling
And enjoy and make that milk, mama! Oh and if you aren't a breastfeeding mama, don't worry, these won't make you produce unwanted milk, ha! Caleb eats them with me all the time and loves them! If you're wondering though what the secret to helping with milk production is, it is the brewer's yeast. Oats and flaxseed help, too, but brewer's yeast is a natural mammary gland stimulant. So eat up, mamas!
Happy Friday everyone! I'm so excited for the long weekend ahead. It will be so nice to start celebrating the unofficial beginning of summer with some friends and family BBQs and have a day off of work on Monday! What are you plans for the long Memorial Day weekend?
So, Kai turned 4 months old yesterday (oh my goodness where is the time going!?) and in terms of weeks he is 17 weeks old. We did another feeding merge with his schedule last week at 16 weeks to allow him to have some more wake time in between his naps. It has been going so well so I wanted to share the change with all of you!
I want to highlight a few things before I dive in though. One, please follow a schedule (or don't follow one if you're not ready yet) that works for your baby. All babies are different and I am just here to share what works for us! Two, not every day is perfect for us even though our schedule is "working really well." Three, the 4 month sleep regression started for us last weekend and seems to be peaking these last couple of days soooo yeah things are by no means perfect with our schedule nor will they ever be! Sometimes you just have to go with the flow :) Ok but here we go...
Kai's Daily Schedule Updated at 16 Weeks
7:00 AM: Wake Kai up, change his diaper, give him his vitamin D.
7:05 AM: Feed (nurse)
7:30 AM: Playtime in bassinet while I pump extra milk
8:00 AM: Read a book
8:30 AM: Snuggle while I have breakfast
9:00 AM: Naptime in baby wrap
10:30 AM: Feed (nurse)
11:00 AM: Get Kai ready for the day
11:30 AM: Swing time/TV time
12:00 PM: Play mat time while I eat lunch
12:30 PM: Nap with me
2:00 PM: Feed (nurse)
2:30 PM: Tummy time + play time with me
3:00 PM: Go for a walk
3:30 PM: Playtime
4;00 PM: Nap in crib
5:00 PM: Feed (bottle)
5:30 PM: Rocker or play mat time
7:00 PM: Catnap if Kai wants it
7:30 PM: Feed (bottle)
8:00 PM: Bath (every 3rd night), get ready for bed, read a book
8:30 PM: Down for the night
10;30 PM: Pump for stimulation and supply
This is generally what I do with Kai on days that I'm not working and we're at home. The weekends are a little different for wake time activities if we're out and about but his feed and nap times are always the same no matter what day or where we are. Caleb and our nanny follow the same schedule when they are taking care of him but they of course do different wake time activities than I do with him, he sleeps in his crib for all his naps when he's with them, and they of course bottle feed him at all feedings. I just like the extra snuggles and really enjoy baby wearing, so the only crib nap I do with him is at 4pm. When I work in the office or if we're out and about I nurse him at 5:00 PM. I also included the kinds of activities we do with him during his wake times for ideas for you other mamas that are wondering what to do with your little ones, too. We still follow the same feed, wake, sleep cycle we have been doing since he was born, but now instead of 6 feedings a day, he gets 5 feedings a day with about 2 hours worth of wake time between each nap. Now that he is bigger, his tummy is able to handle more milk per feeding so we've upped how much he eats at each feeding so that he still is getting around 30 oz of milk a day. The biggest indicator that he was ready for this merge though is at around 14 weeks he really started fighting going down for naps at the 1.5 hour mark. We started to allow him to stay up for 2 hours between naps and it helped a lot but that was causing him to get only 30-45 min of sleep per nap. He also would refuse to nap after his 6pm feeding and we would always end up feeding him early at 7:30pm instead of 8pm because he would get really cranky. We never make him wait to eat, so when we just kept having to feed him early we figured it was time to rearrange his schedule a bit. He also always needs to be woken up in the morning so we figured moving his feeding time up from 8pm to 7:30pm wouldn't hinder him making it all the way through the night as long as we made sure he was eating enough food all day long. Here are some FAQs about his schedule and sleeping:
What was Kai's schedule before?
You can read my first schedule post here. But to list out the times real quickly he would eat at 7am, 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6pm, and 8pm. So as you can see he now has one less feeding. We merged the 9:30am and 12:30pm feeding to be 10:30am and moved the other times around to make sure he isn't going too long during the day without eating. He would usually get about an hour and a half of wake time between naps and now he is getting two hours.
Is he still sleeping through the night?
So far, yes he still is. Like I mentioned above, signs of the 4 month sleep regression have been showing up so I hope it only effects naps like it has so far. Only time will tell though...
How much milk does Kai have every day?
Kai eats around 30 oz of milk per day. Moving to the schedule we're on now has actually made measuring this out much easier because he will almost always have 6 oz at each feeding when we bottle feed him. We assume that's how much he gets when he nurses, as well, since he is content after both types of feeding. If he wants more or less that's fine, too. He's never had more than 8 oz at one time though. Like I've said before though, we try to not get too hung up on numbers. We feed him when he's hungry and until he's full. He is growing beautifully physically and developmentally with this method.
Has your supply gone down with taking out a feeding?
No, it's about the same. I've been struggling to keep up with the 30 oz per day for awhile now and have been taking steps to try to help it. I'll be doing a nice long separate post on my breastfeeding journey pretty soon here.
If any of you have any more questions I'm always here! I also answered a lot of questions in our original schedule post, too. Is your baby on a schedule yet or do you just wing it? I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Hello hello, everyone! I hope you're all having a lovely week. We've had quite the week... My dad had surgery to get his gallbladder out on Tuesday and we went to visit with him yesterday, which was a nice way to break up the week. Thankfully he's doing really well! However, on our way home though, Caleb's car broke down. So we've been having lots of discussions over if it's time to replace her or not. His car is the first ever car we bought together and on our own, so whenever we do decide to trade her in, it will be a very bittersweet moment.
ANYWAYS, we're trying not to let the stress from earlier in the week though lower our spirits today. Today is a very special day for us! Not only is Kai 4 months old today, but one year ago today we found out that our family would be growing! I thought it would be fun to look back on the last year and reminisce about all the good times plus see how much has changed in just one year.
I will honestly never forget this day. It is so ingrained in to my memory. It was around Mother's Day last year that I started suspecting that I was pregnant. Caleb and I were very private about growing our family at first, so literally no one knew. Not even our parents. I kept my suspicions to myself mostly with the exception of telling Caleb, of course, and confiding in one dear friend. I look back and I wish I could have surprised Caleb with the news but honestly we are such a team and we share everything with each other. I needed him during that week long wait of seeing if my period would come. I needed him to hold my hand while we waited the two minutes for the test to complete. So...maybe next time I'll surprise him, but looking back at it all, this day was so perfect.
I know I've told this story on here before but if you're new around here, here is how May 24, 2017 went...it was hilarious actually. Since being on birth control for many years I use to get my period like clockwork. The most it was ever late was half a day, so when I didn't get it in the middle of May I really started suspecting something. Prior to that though I had a few weird things happen like craving butterscotch pudding (like seriously, why Kai?) and not being able to tolerate some floor cleaner at Trader Joes (again, so random). So the 24th made it one week past when I should have gotten my period. I decided it was time to go buy a pregnancy test. I went to Walgreens on my lunch break that day. I was in the aisle with the pregnancy tests and all I could think about was how expensive these tests are. I decided to buy the cheaper analog one versus the digital one because it was $5 cheaper. I have no idea why I was obsessed with that $5 but for some reason I had in my head that I didn't want to waste the extra money on the digital test in case I wasn't pregnant? I know...I'm crazy. I walked over to the cashier and I was shaking when I handed her the box to ring up. I half wanted to be pregnant so bad and I was half scared out of my mind that I was pregnant. I went back to work and somehow finished out the day. I took the pregnancy test as soon as I got home and that was seriously the longest two minutes of my life. I was so nervous to look that I made Caleb look first. But we couldn't figure out if it was positive or not, ha! We were literally those two idiots trying to read the box and figure out this pee stick. The problem we were having is that the horizontal line was kind of faint. We finally realized though that the vertical line doesn't show up at all if you aren't pregnant and man was that vertical line clear as day. We started jumping around, hugging each other, crying, and just not knowing what to do.
Becoming a mom has been the greatest honor of my life. I didn't know it a year ago but that is when I became a mom. I know Kai wasn't here for me to hold yet but I was still caring for him in the most beautiful way possible. We grow them, we feel them, we share every moment with our babies for 9 whole months. Then we get to bring them in to this world and continue to love and sustain them now. Children truly are miracles and being a mom is such a beautiful wonder to me. I look at him all the time in utter amazement. It really does change you for the better and I can honestly say I love who I've become since becoming a mother. I have Kai to thank for this incredible gratitude I have not just for him but for myself. Growing our family has only made all of us stronger. We are all so madly in love with each other it's just remarkable. Even though some of the last 365 days were really really hard, I've loved every single one of them more than I can ever explain in words. Here's to many more years of being a mama and this crew of mine!
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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