Wearing a Toddler or Preschooler

Toddler-Wearing-Oklahoma

This post continues the ages and stages babywearing series.  If you would like to learn more about newborn babywearing, wearing an infant until they’re able to sit up on their own, or wearing an older infant in to toddlerhood check out my earlier posts.

Babywearing in to toddlerhood and beyond is a great way to bond with your child.  It’s also a good way to build your core muscles.  Newly walking legs get tired easily.  When you can grab a carrier and put your child up on your back it can save everyone’s sanity when you are on vacation, visiting a theme park, hiking, at a festival, and more.  Babywearing also allows you to be able to go to places that strollers aren’t permitted and allows your child to interact more closely with you and the world on your eye level.

image

Babywearing while hiking on the Oregon coast.  Woven wraps are warmer for hikes than a soft structure carrier but can be more supportive as well.

I have children who have had sensory defensive issues (the part of sensory processing disorder that makes them really want to push away/not participate in highly sensory situations).  We really enjoy going to festivals.

image

 

My middle son (pictured above) enjoyed the people but didn’t enjoy the noises.  Wearing him helped him be able to interact on a level he was comfortable as well as receive the calming sensation of being wrapped snuggly (like a big hug as my children have described babywearing when they’ve had more words). My oldest son was extremely shy.  Babywearing allowed him to turn his head in to me when he didn’t want to interact and people were more respective of his space when I was wearing him (though not always but it was easier for me to tell he needed a break).

Babywearing children with special circumstances and needs can be extremely helpful for their mental and emotional well-being as well as yours (being able to provide the extra snuggles which also helps release oxytocin which soothes and promotes bonding).

image

Babywearing (toddler wearing) can be very soothing when your child is upset or hurt

Toddler wearing is also very helpful to soothe bumps and bruises and fits by offering additional comfort (while being a little easier on your body and arms than holding in arms when baby begins growing larger and heavier).  Toddlers are also notorious for falling asleep in the car RIGHT before you reach your destination.  Babywearing can be a great way to help meet your child’s needs (and allow them to continue sleeping) and your needs to make it on time to your appointments!

image

Toddlers are notorious for falling asleep right before you reach your destination!

Babywearing can also be a great way to keep little curious hands out of danger but caution should always be taken to watch what those hands are grabbing while you are wearing baby on your back.  This little gal (below) had recently split her head open.  She goes to a lot of conferences and events with me.  Babywearing has helped me to keep her calm while I’m working and also keep her safe too.

image

So what carriers are good for toddlers and preschoolers?

It’s important to keep YOUR child’s needs in mind.  After baby is 2+ the spread squat positioning isn’t quite as important but it’s the normal position for the hips so best practices are that you continue to support that position.  If baby has hip dysplasia or is at higher risk that position is very important to support. It’s important to counsel with your doctor and physical therapist if your child has special circumstances or needs so that you may be able to meet those as well as caring for their medical situations.

  • Woven wraps can always support that position through spreading the wrap to hit knee to knee. Try different lengths-shorter wraps won’t be quite as supportive (using fewer passes over baby) but may be quicker to wrap if your child likes to get up and down a lot.  Shorter wraps are also easier to tuck in a diaper bag or even in your stroller if you go back and forth between wearing and baby strolling.
  • Soft structure carriers and more structured carriers (like mei tais) may not support this position anymore because likely the panel isn’t wide enough any longer unless you purchase a toddler or preschooler specific carrier or one with stirrups (such as the Boba carrier).  Also, it’s likely at this stage that your child has outgrown the height of the panel as well.  If it doesn’t reach the base of their arms (where their arm meets their body) or higher up on their back the carrier is not considered tall enough any longer.  There is a fall and lean back risk even if your child usually does not lean backwards.

    image

    This is the first time that my oldest “made cookies” with me.  Babywearing allowed me to mix cookies while keeping him secure in a new environment he hadn’t been in before.

  • Ring slings may be ok for a few minutes here and there but many parents find that their back will get really tired using one for more than a few minutes.
image

Babywearing is great for all!  Even Yoda! (This is a meme that is often passed around online.  I don’t have a photo credit but if you know who made it I would love to credit them!)

I teach best practices for positioning for all babies because suboptimal positioning puts baby at risk for possible hip/spine issues down the road.  Like how drinking alcohol doesn’t ALWAYS cause liver disease or smoking doesn’t ALWAYS cause lung cancer the benefits and risks should be weighed when making decisions.  The risk is there and I recommend minimizing that risk.

I am a Boba Ambassador.  I do not receive payment from Boba but will occasionally receive new products and updates from time to time.  I am a Boba Ambassador because I believe in their products.  For more information about this as well my other disclosures please visit this page.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on babywearing help please contact me or visit my website.

What is your favorite carrier for a toddler or preschooler?

Advertisements

Lactation Cookies, Drinks and Galactagogues

lactationproducts

There is NO “magic” food or drink that will increase your supply.  Your breasts make milk based on supply and demand-the more milk removed, the more you make.  Most mothers can and should trust breastfeeding and watch for the cues that baby is getting enough (for more information see this post).  That said, there are mothers that struggle from hormonal issues, PCOS, diabetes, Insufficient Glandular Tissue, and some other issues that can cause low milk supply.  If after you have read the post linked and baby is not gaining weight sufficiently and/or isn’t having 6-8 wet diapers and 3 poopy diapers each day (24 hours) in the first 6 weeks (may have less poopy diapers after 6 weeks possibly) this would be a good time to:

  • Call an IBCLC and have a thorough assessment of baby’s anatomy and your breasts.  Issues can be ruled out and pre-feeding and post-feeding weights can be taken to get a glimpse of how much milk your baby is taking at that particular feeding.  This is just a glimpse and shouldn’t be used to determine absolutely how much milk your baby is removing from your breasts over a full day.  An IBCLC can also check on any possible positioning issues that may be going on-I’ve found with many of my clients very tiny changes can make a huge difference!
  • Pick up Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk before making any decisions about any extra foods/supplements to take.
  • You may also want to contact your doctor to have prolactin levels checked through some blood work.
  • Finding a cause of the issue is more preferable option because if you’re treating the symptoms rather than the cause you’re just putting a bandage on the problem.

A wise lactation consultant (Christy Jo Hendricks at the GOLD 2016 Lactation Conference) shared a story that really stuck in my mind that I will relay to you now.  We all have that one pair of shoes in our closet.  You know the ones I’m talking about-those ADORABLE pumps that you had to have.  They were a little more than we usually pay for shoes but they were just cute and you had to have them.  You got them home and tried them out for a date or an evening out.  OUCH!  Those adorable pumps aren’t as comfy as you thought there were in the store.  You get home that night and find a blister.  They’re so cute though and a little expensive so you put a bandage on and wear them again the next day to work.  You realize they’re a little too small and they really just don’t feel great on.  Every time you wear them you know you need to wear a bandage.

Closeup of a woman's heel with a blister plaster on

Ultimately, the problem is the fit of the shoes.  Instead of tossing them out and getting a different pair you put a bandage on and keep going though.  Galactagogues work much the same often.

Some mothers do find that certain foods or drinks have boosted their supply.  Some of these work because they’re acting on some type of discrepancy or some mechanism in your body that may need a little extra boost or they’re just helping mama limp along a little (like a bandage).  These are all very individual-Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk AND working with a knowledgeable IBCLC can help you figure out the possible problem together.  Taking the wrong supplement can actually reduce your supply or cause some serious medical issues (remember that herbs are medicines and just like taking the wrong prescription they can cause some major problems or possibly interfere with medications you are already taking).

A few “lactation boosters” that I have seen throw out a lot online:

  • Blue Gatorade (MUST be blue for some reason)-my guess is that this helps if mom is slightly dehydrated or has imbalanced electrolytes.  Oddly enough, I had issues as a child with “fainting spells” and a neurologist said I had issues keeping my electrolytes balanced.  I wonder if this is somewhat common and this is why it may work for some women, especially a new mom that isn’t able to take as good of care of herself as women in other cultures with laying in periods and lots of help from friends and family from their village.  Other options you could try are coconut water or homemade “laborade” drinks that have less sugar and less sodium.

Sports Drink Set Isolated

  • Lactation cookies/bars/smoothies-these often contain oatmeal, flax seed, and can even have some nuts, brewer’s yeast, and fenugreek (from imitation maple syrup).  Some of these ingredients work on the digestive system or just give a calorie boost.  They are often high in sugar though and can really upset a mom’s system with pre-diabetes (many mothers don’t know that they’re pre-diabetic).  Fenugreek also is known to interfere with some medications as well as cause issues with blood sugar.  If you want to eat a cookie-eat a cookie!  It probably isn’t a good idea for many mothers to eat the 3+ cookies each and every day that many cookie makers recommend.  Instead, try eating oatmeal in the morning or try some of the other digestive system aids mentioned in Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk.

American style oatmeal rising cookies

  • Lactation Teas-often contain some or all of the following: fenugreek, marshmallow root, nettle leaf, alfalfa leaf, fennel seed, red raspberry leaf, milk thistle, anise seed, or others.  Most of these are considered safe for breastfeeding depending on the source (it’s a good idea to use trusted brands if you chose to use herbal supplements or teas) according to Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  Many of these aren’t in sufficient quantities to really make a difference though or some are contraindicated long term (more than a few weeks)

Some of these may give you a little boost to help you get through a growth spurt along with nursing frequently and following baby’s cues.  They may also help if you need a little extra boost on occasion when you’re pumping if you notice a little supply dip.  They aren’t necessary though, and are just an extra expense that most mother’s can avoid.  Ultimately though, the best way to increase milk supply is to remove milk more frequently.  If you want to eat a cookie or drink a smoothie go for it!  It’s probably not a good idea to have some of these every day without finding a cause for low supply though.  If you genuinely have low supply issues, working with an IBCLC is the first and best thing to do.  If you don’t find the answers you’re seeking, just like with a doctor or other professional you can always seek out a second opinion.

What “lactation boosters” have you heard about or tried?

 

Don’t Put the Car Seat on the Cart!

shopping-cart

Photo credit: Niki Miller

It’s been publicized that the practice of attaching a car seat to a cart is not considered safe but when I go to a grocery store in Oklahoma City I usually find at least one baby in their car seat “snapped” in to the cart.  I would like to remind any parent reading this that if they are doing this currently to stop right away but don’t feel bad or guilty for doing this.  Many parents have “snapped” their car seat to their cart (myself included!) before knowing the dangers.  When we know better we do better!

So why is it dangerous?  Car seats were not designed to sit on carts.  All carts are differently shaped.  Even if the seat will “snap” on to the cart this practice is dangerous because it may break the part that clicks in to the base in your car which will render the seat ineffective in an accident.  Putting a car seat on a cart in this manner also makes the cart top heavy.  A small shift of weight by baby or even a shift of the cart can make the whole cart tip or the baby and seat to tip off of the cart which can seriously injure baby.  Another cart flaw can cause baby to fall through a cart and become severely injured as shown in this video.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Injuries associated with shopping carts are an important cause of pediatric morbidity, especially among children younger than 5 years. An estimated 24200 children younger than 15 years, 20700 (85%) of whom were younger than 5 years, were treated in US hospital emergency departments in 2005 for shopping cart–related injuries.

Among their recommendations to prevent accidents (including education for parents and possible redesigning of shopping carts) they state:

Providing adult caregivers with alternatives to placing a child in a cart while they shop can effectively prevent shopping cart–related injuries. Some stores provide supervised play areas for children. Parents may be able to arrange for another adult to accompany them and watch the child during a shopping trip. Other parents may be able to transport a young child in a stroller, wagon, frontpack, or backpack. An older child can be asked to walk. Some parents may be able to leave their child at home with an adult while they shop, but this is not an option for many others. Some stores offer shopping via the Internet with or without home delivery.

shoppingcarissatrautokcsupport

Photo Credit: Carissa Traut

Many carts now also include warnings to not put an infant in an infant seat on the cart.  Even if the cart includes a rest for a car seat it still isn’t recommended to do this because it can cause the cart to be too top heavy and tip or the seat to tip out, especially if a parent forgets to buckle the seat in to the cradle.

Car seat manufacturers also caution against this use of car seats.  It’s in your manual.  If you don’t read other instruction manuals do read your car seat manual!  Your baby’s life could depend on it since a car seat is a potential life saving device in a car accident.  Read the manual!

Photo credit: Kissably Close, Aimee Park

I suggest that parents have a soft baby carrier that they can put baby in while grocery shopping if there isn’t a built in infant seat in the car seat (but again, these can cause the cart to become top heavy so use with extreme caution and always buckle baby in!).  For more information on types of carriers and carriers that are good for different stages please check back to earlier blog posts.  When baby is old enough to sit alone it’s safe to put baby in the toddler portion of the cart (about 6-8 months).  Until then, consider wearing your baby at the store.

shoppingcarissatrautsupportokc

Photo Credit: Carissa Traut

For more information please see:

If you need help choosing and using a baby carrier in Oklahoma City, Mustang, or Yukon please visit my website or contact me.

What is your favorite carrier to use while at the store?

 

Wearing an Older Infant

wearinginfanttowalking

This post continues the ages and stages babywearing series.  If you would like to learn more about newborn babywearing or wearing an infant until they’re able to sit up on their own check out my earlier posts.

The spread squat position is still very important at this stage.  Be sure to read more about this in my newborn babywearing post.  When baby is in the carrier you are looking for this position (notice the curved spine and the knees higher than the bum (capital M position).

Carriers that are great to use at this stage:

  • A ring sling for shorter periods of time.  You may begin considering a wrap convert ring sling if this is your favorite carrier and you want to wear for longer spurts because the heavier weave helps distribute weight better.
  • Woven Wraps
  • Gauze or Hybrid wraps may become a little less comfortable as your child grows.
  • No stretchy wraps-they will not support the spread squat positioning at this point.
  • Mei tais start becoming a great option at this stage!
  • Soft Structure Carriers are also a great option for quick up and downs.

As babies grow and become older they will begin to like quicker up and downs (especially as they begin to walk).  Babies will also grow heavier but if you’re used to wearing your muscles will grow along with baby.  There’s no need to restrict wearing based on your child’s size/weight unless you have a medical condition to consider.

image

Wearing my oldest son at 12 months in a ring sling when he got overwhelmed by a play date

 

You may also begin to be interested in back wearing.  Back carries can help you wear for a longer period of time more comfortably as your child grows but remember that babies like to snuggle too and knowing how to nurse in a carrier is a good skill (not every mom is able to nurse in a carrier but if you can practice in several different carriers most mothers can find a way to comfortably nurse while wearing).  You may spend more time out of the house and at this point you may almost mourn if you have forgotten your carrier at home.  It’s a good idea to have an inexpensive back up carrier in your car or diaper bag or keep a carrier in your car all the time so your arms and back don’t ache when you’re out and forgot the carrier.

image

Boba Selfie! Back carries help baby interact with the world (including staying safe while watching older brothers ride bikes).

Back carries can also help baby interact a little more with their world.  When baby can see over your shoulder they can see and experience what you see but also be able to snuggle in when they become overwhelmed or shy.

image

My daughter at about 7 months “helping” me clean the house

At this stage you may experience a baby that wants to nurse and then doesn’t fall alseep nursing any longer.  Wearing your baby down may be a very lovely skill to have in your toolbox of parenting tricks.  With practice you can wear your baby and take a walk around your house or neighborhood (make sure to have a flashlight and stay safe at night!) or just snuggle and rock.  The tightness of the carrier often works better for this then just sitting in a rocking chair.  Make sure when you put baby down to remove the carrier so there are no suffocation hazards.

Back wrapping tips and tricks:

  • When you’re beginning back wraps practice while kneeling on your bed or a soft surface and/or start low.
  • Get help, have a spot
  • Practice getting a good seat in a front wrap cross carry before attempting back wrapping.
  • Use a mirror or your computer camera to help you see what’s going on on your back.
  • Get hands on help!  It makes a huge difference.

I recommend doing the “superman” method for getting baby on your back because you stay in full control and contact of baby while putting baby up.  Here’s a video that shows this technique.

image

Hiking with a toddler in Newport, Oregon

I teach best practices for positioning for all babies because suboptimal positioning puts baby at risk for possible hip/spine issues down the road.  Like how drinking alcohol doesn’t ALWAYS cause liver disease or smoking doesn’t ALWAYS cause lung cancer the benefits and risks should be weighed when making decisions.  The risk is there and I recommend minimizing that risk.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on babywearing help please contact me or visit my website.

What is your favorite carrier for an infant that can sit on their own?

How to Find Babywearing Support

findbabywearingsupport

We’re going to talk about babywearing support.  There are two types of babywearing support-volunteer support from a babywearing group leader, and paid support from a babywearing educator.  I have broken down the differences in this post and I highly encourage everyone to read it to understand why there’s a difference.

I started a babywearing group in Ogden, Utah when my son was about a year old mostly to find like minded moms to bond with.  It didn’t really get off the ground until another awesome like minded mom came in and started really organizing things (she knew other babywearing parents at that time, I didn’t).  I really enjoyed the group for a few months before we moved to Oregon for my husband to attend graduate school.  Less than a year after we moved I knew I really needed to create a support group in my new community and I better knew how to get it off the ground.  I started Corvallis Babywearers in May 2012.  I had seen some dangerous babywearing practices and heard from a lot of families that they had wished they’d been able to babywear but the two options that they could purchase locally didn’t work well for them and they didn’t know there were other options available.  I was able to work in my community until we moved after my husband graduated last August.  There are still some wonderful women that are keeping the group going which I’m so happy about because it was a great passion of mine and I put a lot of work in to it.

While we lived in Oregon I had the opportunity (in March 2014) to attend the Babywearing Institute on one of our trips back to visit family in Utah.  I was taught by Beate, the founder of the Babywearing Institute, who has been babywearing since she lived in Germany and wrapped her siblings.  She and her husband own Storchenwiege which makes beautiful German-style woven wraps.  They also own the online shop, Children’s Needs.  I was surprised how much I learned and different wrapping techniques.  I also learned better practices for how to teach babywearing.  I used the skills in my babywearing group but also started offering babywearing consultations until we moved.  I took a short break while we got settled and I again offer babywearing consultations.

I love both types of support and both types will help you wear your baby.  There are advantages to having a paid consultation and there are advantages to a support group.  I would like to share some tools to help you find local support.

Here are some tools to help you find a babywearing group or online support:

  • Babywearing International (not all babywearing groups are affiliated with BWI and are still awesome groups so be sure to check out several tools to see all the groups available in your area).
  • Online baby carrier retailers with listings or look up tools:
  • The Babywearer (Online forum with a lot of babywearing information.  There are also local boards within this forum.  You have to register to view forums but it’s free!)
  • Baby Center (online support)
  • Facebook (do a search of common terms that you call your area and babywearing.  There are also online groups such as Babywearing 102)

Here are some tools to help you find a local educator:

A special note on YouTube. You can learn to do a lot of things on YouTube.  Some can be dangerous and some can show not-as-optimal positioning.  It’s important to learn what is optimal positioning before scouring YouTube for videos.  I have compiled many babywearing videos on my YouTube channel.  You can check out my babywearing playlists here.

Where is your favorite place to go for online babywearing support?

I am a Certified Babywearing Educator and a Lactation Educator.  I offer babywearing and breastfeeding classes and consultations in the Oklahoma City, Mustang, and Yukon areas in Oklahoma.  If you are interested in learning more you can contact me or visit my website.

 

Watch the Baby, Not the Clock

watchbabynotclock

After my last post, you may wonder if it’s better to watch baby or the clock.  A sleeping baby usually only needs to be woken up if there is special circumstances once they have gained back to birth weight.  Breastfeeding is so very intuitive.  We are very procedural and scientific as a society and we are very concerned about numbers.  This is helpful in some ways, especially to make sure that baby is thriving and not having breastfeeding struggles.  In other ways it sometimes gets in the way of what is normal and natural about the ART that is breastfeeding.

Healthy, full-term babies can tell YOU when they’re hungry.

You should expect that baby will continue to want to nurse 8-12 times per day approximately in the first six months.  Unlike with formula, baby will continue to get approximately the same amount of milk at the breast until baby begins eating solid food.

Feedings will eventually become shorter but still work on supply and demand.  Many mechanisms in our bodies work in cycles.  Breastfeeding is no different.  It’s very normal for milk supply to be higher in the morning and lower in the evenings.  It’s very normal for baby to want to nurse more frequently in the evenings and even to be fussy (more on this in a later post).

Scheduled feedings based on a certain time came because someone took the average of 8-12 feedings per day and decided to break that up on a clock.  Because our bodies (baby’s as well as mom’s) don’t work on a strict schedule but more of a routine, this can cause breastfeeding issues when you limit feedings based on certain times.  Certain baby programs meant to train and discipline babies highly discourage feeding more often than a set amount of time (usually more often than every 2 or 4 hours) and also discourage feedings longer than a specified amount of time (usually 15 or 20 minutes).  All babies are different in their efficiency, breasts are different in how often let-downs occur (where baby gets the majority of the milk in a feeding), and some babies have a stronger sucking need than others.  All people are different.  We all have different appetites.  We all expect meals at a certain time to some degree but if we get hungry most people will have a snack when they start to feel hungry.  If you wake up thirsty during the night you will get up and drink some water rather than say “Only 2 more hours until I’m allowed another sip of water.”  Babies are the same in that regard.  Babies will fall in to a routine eventually and following baby’s cues helps keep breastfeeding going in the most optimal way.

Because we don’t have graduations like a bottle on our breasts and can’t see how much milk baby is actually getting in there are some good indicators to help you know that baby is getting enough.  The most important keys to watch for to be sure that baby is nursing frequently enough and getting enough milk are:

  • Watch for early feeding cues: rooting, smacking/sucking noises, bringing hand to mouth, and in the early days just waking up.  Don’t wait for baby to cry-it will be harder for baby  to latch on and baby may become so tired that they may not nurse as effectively.
feedingcues

Early feeding cues include bringing hands to mouth and making smacking noises.  This is my daughter when she was just a couple of weeks old.

  • Diaper counts: by the end of the first week expect to see at least 6-8 wet diapers and 3 poopy diapers.  At about 6 weeks baby may have less stools and this is normal.  Some babies may go less than once a day at about 6 weeks and may go as infrequently as once a week or up to 2 weeks and be healthy.  If you have concerns, talk to your baby’s doctor and see a breastfeeding professional.
  • Weight gain: Baby should gain at least 5-7 oz per week after getting back to birth weight.  Baby should be back to birth weight by 10 days, 2 weeks at the latest.
  • When baby finishes a feeding (baby should usually be allowed to finish the feeding by coming off when he/she is finished) his/her hands and body will be more relaxed.  Babies often have fists at the beginning of the feeding and relax as their stomachs are filled.

If you have supply concerns some helpful ideas are to:

  • Check latch-if it’s painful an assessment by an IBCLC is important.
  • Let baby finish a breast, burp, then offer the other breast.  Following babies cues is important as is getting enough breast stimulation so that you continue having a good supply.
  • Nurse baby on cue as long as baby wishes.
  • Take away pacifiers and extra bottles, if baby needs a supplement consider an at-breast supplementer or work on paced bottle feeding to simulate how your breast delivers milk.  If you have supply concerns, all suckling should be at the breast.
  • Skin-to-skin contact as long and as much as possible during the day.
  • RELAX!  Stress can inhibit your let-down and make you not feel the best.
  • And above all, get professional help and support.  Mother-to-mother support groups and volunteers can be extremely helpful as well.
  • A very helpful book is Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk.

 

For further reading see:

What cues does your baby give to let you know that he/she is hungry?

I offer breastfeeding and babywearing classes and consultations in Oklahoma City, Yukon, and Mustang.  If you would like more information please contact me or visit my website.

What to Expect in the Early Days of Breastfeeding

earlydays

To learn more about getting breastfeeding off to a good start and know what to expect in the first two hours postpartum please see my earlier post in this What to Expect series.  You can also learn more about what to expect that first night home from the hospital (regardless of the timing of that due to a normal vaginal birth, surgical birth, or bringing a preemie home) here.  To learn more about days 2-7 postpartum please see this post.

Now that you’re home from the hospital, your milk has transitioned and is changing to more mature milk, and you’re starting to get to know your baby more you may start to feel a little bit of a groove and your baby may be starting to get more of a routine (or not!).  Your husband or partner may be back to work or may have a little more time off.  You no longer have the call button that you had at the hospital and now is the time to call in those favors that everyone left (“If you need anything let me know.”).  Postpartum is the best time to learn to ask for those favors because taking care of you and your baby are the top priorities, even over dinner. I recommend during pregnancy creating a list of duties, chores, errands, and meal preparation so that when someone is visiting you can encourage them to do a task before getting to see baby.  In many other cultures outside of the United States women have some type of a “laying in” period that other women come and take care of the household chores so mother can feed baby frequently and work on recovering.  A wise midwife, who “caught” my third baby (Lisa Lehrer in Corvallis, Oregon), encouraged me to stay down as much as I was able in the first 2-4 weeks postpartum and promised me that if I did I would feel much better at 6 months postpartum than if I had been running errands, doing chores, etc.  She was absolutely correct.  I felt MUCH better with her at six months postpartum than I did with my first two children.

helpinglistthumbnail

Check out my FREE printable helping list!

At this point your baby may begin sleeping up to a 4 hour stretch during the day or night (maybe, it’s totally normal not to have a stretch for a while though).  If baby is gaining well and having enough diapers letting baby sleep is usually ok.  You may need to wake up a sleepy baby though if your baby is not up to birth weight by 10 days or has lost more than 10% of their birth weight, is jaundiced, or was premature or has special circumstances.  If you need to wake baby up, and baby is difficult to arouse, here are some ideas to help:

Ideas to help wake baby up

One other note that is important in the first two weeks.  Babies lose weight after birth.  It should be 7% of their birth weight or less.  It can be up to a 10% weight loss.  More than this and it’s very important to get immediate help from an IBCLC and your doctor to figure out if there is an issue with breastfeeding (even if you aren’t having any pain).  If you received IV fluids during labor baby may lose more weight than if no IV fluids were given.  Baby should be back up to birth weight by 10 days, 2 weeks at the latest.  If baby is not back up to birth weight by 2 weeks it’s important to see an IBCLC right away to assess for any breastfeeding issues.

Who was the biggest help to you postpartum?

If you live in the Oklahoma City, Mustang, or Yukon area and need breastfeeding help or would like to attend breastfeeding classes please see my website for more information.  You may also contact me here.

What to Expect When Your Baby is 2-7 Days Old

2to7days

Whether you are breastfeeding or not your breasts will begin to transition from colostrum to mature milk at about 2-5 days postpartum.  This post is geared toward breastfeeding mothers.  If you choose to feed artificial breast milk (formula) it’s a good idea to manage the swelling in your breasts with expressing your milk to comfort for the first few days and slowly expressing less milk each day after the first couple of days to prevent mastitis (a painful breast infection which can cause you to be very sick).

To learn more about getting breastfeeding off to a good start and know what to expect in the first two hours postpartum please see my earlier post in this What to Expect series.  You can also learn more about what to expect that first night home from the hospital (regardless of the timing of that due to a normal vaginal birth, surgical birth, or bringing a preemie home) here.

In the first 24 hours after birth, your baby is receiving colostrum which is a thick breast milk that is extremely high in antibodies and vitamins because baby has such a small tummy.  The average a baby receives is about 0.35-3.68 oz in the first 24 hours (based on a 7 lb 8 oz baby) (Source: Counseling the Nursing Mother, Fifth Edition).  Your body begins producing this liquid gold breast milk during pregnancy and it protects baby against bacteria and helps jump start baby’s immune system and GI system to living in the world outside of the womb.

Beb mamando

Sometime in the first 2-5 days your body will begin producing more milk as it begins transitioning to mature milk.  I don’t like to use the phrase “milk coming in” because colostrum is also breast milk.  It’s all important and vital to baby’s survival and optimal growth and development.

You may notice some engorgement in your breasts at this time.  Not all mothers experience this and those who do notice varying degrees of this engorgement and time that it lasts.  It typically resolves in about 2 days but it may take about 7 days after milk transitions for it to resolve but it will get better each day.  Not all of this fluid in your breasts is breast milk.  Much of it is lymphatic fluid and blood from which milk is synthesized.  Like if you have an injury, ice packs can be very helpful after a feeding to help take this engorgement down.  The very best way to resolve this is by putting your baby to your breast frequently-a minimum of 8-12 times per day, many babies like to nurse more frequently.

ping pong ball.jpg

Your baby’s stomach has increased to the size of a ping pong ball (like in the picture above).  Baby will take an average of 14-19 oz per day of breast milk.  Your milk will slowly transition over the first two weeks postpartum but the components quickly resemble those in mature milk.

Things to Watch For:

  • Baby should be on the breast 8-12 times per 24 hours (or more frequently).  Feedings may last 7 minutes up to an hour or possibly longer.  Expect to spend lots of time feeding your baby and recovering from birth.  Your baby will get more efficient at nursing over time.
  • You should notice your milk increasing in volume and transitioning between day 2-5.  If by day 5 you do not notice your milk increasing in volume or baby has lost more than 10% of birth weight (7% is the number where we really start watching babies closely but if you received IV fluids during labor your baby may lose more) contact your doctor and your baby’s doctor right away and seek help right away from an IBCLC. 
  • Follow the care instructions from the hospital regarding cord care, body temperature for you and baby, and other discharge directions.
  • If you have any breastfeeding questions contact a breastfeeding professional right away.
  • Baby’s stools should become more green in this timeframe as your milk transitions.  Baby should have at least 1 wet diaper in the first 24 hours, 2 the second day, 3 the third day, and so on until baby is having at least 6-8 wet diapers and 3 yellow seedy poopy diapers by the end of the first week. Baby’s stool should be the consistency and color of French’s mustard with sesame seeds in it (the seeds are the curding milk from digestion).
  • Skin-to-skin contact helps babies to breastfeed better.  Many issues can be resolved by making the breast a happy place to be even if baby isn’t latching.  Getting help from a breastfeeding professional is also very important in this process.  If you don’t feel the care plan that you and your professional work out together is working you can always seek extra help or seek a second opinion.  Like doctors, breastfeeding professionals all have different areas of expertise and unfortunately not all are on the same page with evidence-based information because we are continually learning more and more about breastfeeding.

 

What did you find most helpful in the first 7 days postpartum?

If you have breastfeeding questions in the Oklahoma City, Mustang, or Yukon areas I am happy to help.  I offer breastfeeding classes and consultations.  You can find out more on my website or contact me here.

Wearing a Newborn

babywearing-newborn-oklahoma

Newborn babies are so tiny and precious.  There are a few things we need to watch out for when wearing them.  It’s important to keep in mind that they start out so tiny but grow SO rapidly (doubling their lowest weight by 6 months and tripling by a year).  A carrier that would fit a newborn well will not fit a 6 month old unless it’s a less structured carrier that you have to form to fit the baby.  It’s of special importance to be sure that the carrier supports baby’s legs and hips well, spine, and neck to set baby up for the most optimal circumstances.  While carriers can’t be directly attributed to causing hip dysplasia we do know that baby’s hips are cartilage until they are toddlers and that the femur cartilage is harder and will win in a battle.  Any wear and tear can cause issues down the road-whether this is immediate or when your child is very old or somewhere in between.  I promote best practices so all of my posts reflect this.  Best practices include supporting the spread squat positioning mentioned on the Babywearing Institute’s page here.  And in Dr. Evelin Kirkilionis book A Baby Wants to Be Carried: Everything You Need to Know about Baby Carriers and the Advantages of Babywearing (available on Amazon and through other book suppliers and book stores-link is an affiliate link to Amazon and funds received through the affiliate link helps purchase homeschooling books for my children’s education).

mshapenewborn

I have traced my newborn daughter’s legs and bottom in this picture.  This wrap is supporting the spread squat position.  You can see how her body makes a capital M shape.  In this position her femur is sitting in the ball and socket of the hip per the research done by hip dysplasia doctors in Germany.  She does not have hip dysplasia but if she did this would be the position they would keep her in because they have determined that this is the best possible position for baby’s hips to be in to heal if baby does have an issue.  I’m exhausted in the picture and it’s not my favorite of me by a long shot but my daughter is only 2 days old in this and she was enjoying an wonderful nap on me.  She is close enough to kiss and the back of her neck is supported by the carrier being tight and smooth on her neck.  The carrier is smooth across her back and if this shot was taken sideways you could see the c-shape curve that a newborn’s spine is in.  (She should be straight up right but had a tendency to lean-I could have further supported her head and body by pulling one of the sides around the back of her head to support her more).

too loose AdobeStock_73712092.jpeg

This is a stock image.  The mother and baby are beautiful but this wrap is MUCH too loose.  It’s natural to snuggle and cuddle your newborn however I think this mom doesn’t feel very secure and in all images that I saw of this mother and baby she’s pulling her baby closer.  This can easily be adjusted by tightening the carrier by pulling very snuggly when wrapping the carrier (I will demonstrate this in a video in a later post).  The shoulders and arms are also very loose and the wrap is likely to slip down mom’s arms.  This is why in person help with a carrier is very important because once you FEEL and SEE how it’s supposed to be on your body you will always get it right and you are able to apply the feeling to any carry that you do.

This same looseness can occur with other carriers such as a ring sling, mei tai (I don’t recommend most mei tais for newborns though because they have to be adjusted quite a bit and don’t support the spine as well because of this unless they’re specifically made to size down to a newborn), or a soft structure carrier at any age or stage.  This looseness is not recommended no matter how old your baby is.

cspineroxysling10814

My daughter is a week old in this photo. She is in a ring sling.  This picture shows the c-shape curve better (I have traced it to point it out better).  Her chin is off of her chest so she can breathe but the carrier is flexible so that her spine is allowed to do what it needs to do.

Now that we know more about what position baby should be in let’s talk about newborn carriers specifically.  These are my favorite carriers for newborns (with links back to my previous posts about these classes of carriers):

  • Ring Slings (not pouches)
  • Wraps-especially the front wrap cross carry
  • Gauze or hybrid wraps
  • Possibly stretchy wraps if they are wrapped very tightly (I don’t recommend them after 12-15 lbs though because baby’s legs will start to pull down out of the spread squat position and baby will become too heavy to stay in the right position on your body-they should NEVER be worn in a back carry)
  • Mei Tais that are specifically designed to adjust down both vertically and horizontally so that it fits snuggly around a newborn (no fabric going below the knee and fabric emulating the tightness from my first picture above).
  • Some infant soft structure carriers.  There should be absolutely no gapping between the back of your baby’s neck and the carrier.  If there is baby needs to grow larger to fit in the carrier well.  Many manufacturers of soft structure carriers say that baby can fit in the carrier from birth however there’s often not enough support until baby is a couple of months old.

If you are in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on help to prepare for wearing your newborn during pregnancy or after your baby has arrived please feel free to contact me or check out my website.

What is/was your favorite carrier for a newborn?

Where to Purchase a Baby Carrier

purchasecarrier

This is a question that comes up a lot from my readers and people who visit my website.  Where can I purchase a baby carrier?  I am here today to share some local resources for purchasing a carrier in Oklahoma City and some sources on the web.  I’m also sharing some places that you can purchase a used carrier as well.  I will mention that it’s a good idea to protect yourself when purchasing used.  I will share some tips later on in this post.  I would love to keep this updated so please let me know if you find a broken link or want me to add another shop on here!

Where you can buy a baby carrier in Oklahoma City:

  • The Worn Baby: (Piper of Babywearing Support of OKC on Facebook and local meetings)  Offers local pick up, payment plans, and a trade in program.
    • Didymos, Diva Milano, Ellaroo, Emeibaby, Ethos, Fidella, Girasol, Lenny Lamb, Little Frog, Ovolo, Storchenweige, Yaro
  • Babies R Us: 1731 Bell Isle Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
    • Ergo, Boba Wrap, Several others site to store
  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative

Tulsa Area:

  • Bottoms and Beyond: 400 E. Broadway St., Sand Springs, OK 74063
    • Lenny Lamb, Lillebaby, MJ, Tula
  • Oui Oui: 1405 E Kenosha St, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
    • Bella Bonilla Onbus, Hero Slings, Tula

Where you can buy a baby carrier online (not an exhaustive list by any means!):

I just want to mention to ask your local babywearing group if they have an affiliate account with an retailers because often groups will have a special discount or receive a portion of sales.

Stores I have shopped with or know owners and can personally recommend:

Other Great Online Shops:

  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative
  • Risaroo
  • Mom’s Milk Boutique
  • Purple Elm Baby
  • Ergo (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Natibaby (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Lenny Lamb (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Little Frog (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Maya Wrap (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Storchenwiege (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Girasol (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)

Tips to keep in mind when purchasing a used carrier (especially online):

  • Be sure to use Paypal and pay through “goods” so that you’re protected.
  • Be sure that you get lots of pictures in good light.  If the seller isn’t providing enough pictures (especially of any flaws they mention) ask for more.  If they won’t provide them it may not be worth the risk purchasing the carrier.
  • Speaking of flaws-if the seller doesn’t mention any or doesn’t have a good description of the carrier, how it was used, if it was used in a smoking/non-smoking home, if it comes from a home with animals (or was ever used to hold an animal), etc ask them.  Don’t ever assume because something is left off or is vague.  Asking lots of questions is super important even if a carrier is your “unicorn” (something you’ve really wanted for a very long time or even a short time).
  • Get insurance.  If you can afford to be out the package don’t worry about this one but most of us really can’t be out the carrier and what we paid for it.  Paypal does protect you but making sure to pay extra for insurance is a really good idea because the post office does lose packages.
  • Watch tracking.  Make sure the seller is willing to get tracking on the package and watch it.  USPS doesn’t always update so don’t panic if it hasn’t moved in a few days.  Sometimes packages run late as well but it’s a good idea to get tracking and to check it every couple of days.

Where you can purchase a used carrier:

Facebook:

Others:

  • The Babywearer (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers)
  • Diaperswappers (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers-this site is mainly for cloth diapers but there’s a great section for carriers)

If you need help finding a carrier I offer sessions that I can sit down with you and help you shop for a carrier that you will love.  Feel free to contact me on via email with any questions or book a time with me.  You can also find out more about my breastfeeding and babywearing classes on my website.

Where have you purchased a carrier online?