My Pros and Cons of Co-sleeping

Everybody has their own vision or idea of how their newborn will sleep. This vision starts well before ever having a child. “When I have a kid I’m going to make sure they sleep through the night in their crib!” Welcome to expectation vs reality after your kid is born! 
  
I have spent many sleepless night since day one, trying to get my LO to sleep. Every sleep training method you could think of, we tried. 

When she was a newborn we actually had a co-sleeper meant to be placed on the bed and keep us divided. Seemed so smart and like such a beautiful idea. 

I demand proof that thats not a doll!   
She hatedddd it! Finally I opted to co sleep on the couch with her. I had her propped so there was no risk of her falling below me to where she couldnt breathe and that is how we spent the next couple of months. A friend of mine informed me of a sleep rocker and said it had worked for her friend. The desperate for sleep new mom in me agreed and I finally slept!!!  

Her first time in it

I got a solid 2 or 3 months of her getting real sleep in there! Im talking 7-10 STRAIGHT hours at night and 3-5 hr naps. All of which I took for granted come the 4 month regretion. :/ 

She had pretty much out grown the sleeper and we were transitioning her to her crib. Every sleep training or sleep inducing thing we tried. Even our doctor was at a loss. As soon as mama hokds her though she was out like a light. Well if you cant beat em right? 

Shes 7 months old now and some days i have to sleep with her still and some days i have to hold her to sleep or maybe shell sleep on her own. She will always always sleep longer when I’m holding her though. 

Here are some pros and cons from my experience of co-sleeping

Pros

  1. Your child feels secure and safe with you. How can that ever really be a bad thing?? How amazing is it to know that your baby trusts you in their most vulnerable moment? What an honor. I have not actually looked it up but from what I can tell most animals, in general, will sleep with their young. Judging by the fact my daughter is not ready to run away from me out of the womb, I would assume human babies were not meant to sleep away from their mothers for quite some time either.  
  2. Moments you cant get back. This is a time that, even though youre exhausted, will pass quickly and once its gone, its gone forever. Your LO will be little and only want to sleep with you for a short period of time and you will look back on these moments forgetting the exhaustion and only remembering the quiet beautiful moments between you and her. 
  3. If you breastfeed there is also convenience. This will let me stay in bed for extra hours which helps when mommy isnt feeling well or just too tired to fully function. Quick popping out of boob and baby is fed and all is right with the world again!
  4. Increased milk supply!! If youre worried about your supply than co sleep, baby wear and do skin to skin. Boom! Helloooo milkkkkk!
  5. Immediately meeting your kids needs. As I held my daughter I heard her nose sound stuffy and I could tell breathing with her pacifier in her mouth was a challenge. I would not have known that if she were in her crib. I unclogged it and she slept great! I have also felt her having a nightmare and I was also able to quickly calm her down and she went right back to sleep. 

Cons

  1. It is a lot harder to transition them into their own bed later on, because you are their most comfortable bed, pillow and security blanket. If someone took my favorite matress away from me I would not be a happy camper either! 
  2. Sleeping is a lot harder for you. Waking up to random baby limbs in your face or feeling every body movement is not the best way to get a good nights rest. I also will only sleep on the couch with her, so I usually ended up with a stiff neck or back. 
  3. Its not the safest route. If you are going to co-sleep please, please be veryyyy cautious!! I know I am very aware of my surroundings while sleeping and I am also a very light sleeper. Years of having pet cats sleep all over me had trained me for not being able to roll over in my sleep. I also usually have her propped up so she is somewhat above me and will not slip into, lets say my armpit or something and suffocate. Please make sure there are no pillows blankets or yourself (armpit, chest, breasts) around that may block the babys nose or mouth. My SO is a horrible sleeper and twitches a lot, so I havent trusted him sleeping with her unless he is napping sitting up and I will sleep on the couch with her. Ive taken a few flying elbows from him in his sleep, so I didnt want to risk it. Safe enviroment is key! 
  4. Its also a lot harder to get stuff done when your childs sleep is dependent on you. Good luck getting anything done now. This is where a supportive SO comes in handy to help you around the house or to occupy the baby later on so you can finish your tasks. 
  5. This last one is based purely on my own experience. My mother was a single mom of two kids and did not have a ton of money so we always had only 2 bedroom apartments. If youre good at math you can probably tell this meant my brother had his own room and I coslept with my mother. This was until I was 10 before we moved in with my stepfamily where my stepsister and I shared a room for a few years. As an adult, still I cant sleep comfortably without having someone else there even if it was just my cats. (Also why I had pets in my single adult years) it takes me a very long time if at all to sleep alone. The only way I can really sleep alone is with ambien. Again, this is not based on any research just my own experience. 

Dont let any stigmas stop you from doing what you feel is best for your family. If you can sleep train and that works for you then great and if co-sleeping is better for you then do that. Just dont let anyone make you feel like there is a set way to this parenting thing. As long as your child is happy and healthy then you are doing a great job!!! 
Do you find co-sleeping works for you? 

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Clogged Duct Survival Guide!!!

If you’re a nursing mama, it is bound to happen at some point and lord is it painful!!! Very important to note, aside from pain being a reason to want it gone, make sure it is not left ignore because you could turn into Mastitis and you do NOT want that! 

 In no particular order!! 
Whenever you have a clogged duct, heat, massage and releasing the milk will be your absolute go to! 

Nurse as often as you can starting from that side and when you cant nurse…PUMP! Breast massage will move around the milk and aide in unclogging the duct. In general its a great practice to massage while pumping or before a feeding anyway. 

Apply heat!! A nice hot shower while massaging or hand expressing will work great and is also very relaxing. If thats not possible at the moment then Therapearl 3-in-1 breast therapy pads are for you! These things are amazingggg. Pop them in the microwave for about 12 seconds and pop them on the affected breast. Feels lovelyyy. Again massage and nurse as often as possible. 

Your baby is the best defense against a clogged duct, so despite the pain, woman up and nurse, nurse, nurse! 

What do you guys find is the best method for treating a clogged duct?? 

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5 ways your SO can help during breastfeeding!

I bet you thought feedings meant your in this alone, unless you pump. WRONG! Granted, there is only so much they can do, but trust me, take the help where you can. 

  

  1. Have water waiting for you: you will absolutely get thirsty and you will absolutely wish you have something within reach to drink. 
  2. Get you burping cloth: sometimes in the rush of making sure your LO isnt crying too long, you may have forgotten you get a burping blanket. Once you start the feeding session, its a bit hard to stop for these things. 
  3. Get you a snack: you will also get hungry! Have snacks waiting. If you dont have access to your hands let your SO feed you, so make sure the snack isnt messy. Granola bars are probably the easiest. 
  4. Burpings: let your SO handle the burpings in between sessions to really make them feel like a part of it. Of course you could do it yourself, but you work hard take a break before switching sides! 
  5. Keep you company: and lastly, just let them keep you company. Lets face it, these sessions get long and feel like forever. Once your LO starts to be aware of their surroundings, it will be hard having the tv on to keep yourself entertained, without distracting them. A nice conversation is go to pass the time. 
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10 Breast feeding essentials!

My little girl is 6 months old and in this period of time, so far I have found these 10 things crutial during my journey!! 

  

  1. Pump!!!- some women will chose to breast feed from the breast exclusively which is fine. From my experience, in the beginning especially, you will feel so engorged you will need to pump at some point. This will also help if you’re trying to increase your supply. If you are going back to work you will need to pump as well. My advice is to check with your insurance company before even attempting to purchase one. Many providers actually cover them. I would also get a manual pump, but they will not be as strong as an electric, of course, and your hand will hurt. It is good to have this for when you are out and feeling engorged but your little one is not ready for a feeding or any time you can not carry your electric pump.
  2. Boppy: trust me on this especially when they are still little or during your recovery. The one I used was Brest friend. The beauty of this one is the back support. Love itttt!!!
  3. Nipple shield: Medela nipple shield when youre first starting out it can be a shock to the system. A lot of women give up on breast feeding from pain. (Make sure your LO is properly latched as well) for me the nipple shield was a life saver. It creates a barrier between baby and nipple making it easier to deal with until you get more used to the feeling. It does get easier, I promise!!
  4. Storage system: some women perfer the bags and store it in the freezer like that. I personally liked these a bit better, because each cube is one ounce and they are elongated to fit in a bottle. Milkies milk trays
  5. Heat/cold pack: just OMG….when you have a clogged duct you will thank me. Microwave 10-15 seconds each one and put them on your breast and you will feel so much better. They also help to make a more productive pump session. I havent tried them cold yet though. Lansinoh therapearl
  6. Nip cream: you can of course use breast milk on cracked chapped nipples, but I find the cream to be more soothing and it creates a barrier come shower time or juse between you and your clothes. Nipple cream
  7. Breast pad- theres a few options here. You can use cloth, silicone lily pad, or disposable. I havent tried cloth, but I have tried the Lily padz and the Disposables. Disposables hold a lottttttt. The Lily padz are great, because they really do work and clothes wont bother you. I also wore these for the majority of my shower and took them off at the end. My only issue is overnight they really wont help much for super leaks, so here I would use a combo of Lily padz and disposable for overnight. 
  8. Gel pad: Soothies gel pads its like a little bit of heaven cupping your nipples! Pop these in the fridge and use them after feedings. Sooo good! 
  9. Nursing bras/tops: clothes for nursing will make your life tramendously easier. At least have a few staple clothes like a bra, night gown and a top. For going out there is a double shirt option I am fond of. You can take an old tank top thats a bit long (used for layering so pick a neutral color) and cup two holes where your breasts are and wear these as under shirts that way you can nurse and not have your belly showing. Works great and is a very cheap option seeing as how nursing clothes can be costly!  
  10. Shower hug: ok heres something most noobies dont think about. Shower time with sensitive breasts!! The water felt like razers on my nipples until I figured out how to cover them and shower, which is not as easy as it sounds. Theres a few at home options you can try like putting wash clothes over your breasts as you shower. This is a little bit of a pain because they fall off. The lily padz helped but once theyre wet they have to be completely dry in order to be adhesive again. Shower hug this product is just genius! 

Ok ladies these are the items I found i could not live without! What are your staple items that you must have?? 

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How my cesarean stole my postpartum bliss

I’m sure like me, every woman has an imagine in their head of what the moments after labor will look like. For me it was that picture you always see of the mother in her hospital gown, newborn on her chest during skin to skin and the dads arms wrapped around both of them, all with big smiles. 

As soon as I was told I needed an emergency C-Section, I knew this moment was gone, but I didnt realize how much I NEEDED it. 

In the moments leading to birthing I made sure I was ready. I had my bags packed, baby’s crib and everything set up ready to go, “padsicles” made and in my freezer and no birthplan made other than wanting our hour of bonding time after. This was very important to me. I had researched the benefits, I looked up videos of newborns doing A breast crawl, and this was my only request. 

Instead I had my daughter cut from my belly and rushed away before I could even see her face. Everyone held her and saw her before I did. It was 7 hours before I was finally allowed to meet the person that had grown inside of me for so many months. By this time I was in so much pain and so sick from all the drugs I was given, not only could I not have the emotional reaction I expected, but I could barely hold her. After a few minutes, all I wanted was to be brought back to my room and left alone so I could sleep. While my SO fed the baby all I could think about was how long is this going to take? Couldnt he have wheeled me back to my room and done this after? Sounds selfish I know, but when you’re ready to throw up and in pain from being damn near cut in half, its hard to enjoy anything for longer than a couple of minutes. 

 Our first meeting. Before then i had only seen pictures of her.  
I stayed in the hospital for 5 days. My daughter was in NICU due to the fever and infection we both had from childbirth. Every day I wanted to see her and I resented the fact that it was so hard for me to walk down the hall to NICU and that my daughter felt a mile away from me. Something I didnt know was that from the c-section and epidural, it makes breast feeding very difficult. I tried everyday but she didnt want to latch, because she wasnt getting anything from me, so of course she was formula fed. This was another prebirth expectation I had. Breast fed only, no bottles or pacifiers for the first month! Yea that didnt work out well. 

They wanted to hold my daughter two days longer than I was allowed to stay, so reluctantly I went home. I tried sleeping in my own bed, but I have a high bed and trying to climb in and out just not realistic, so the couch was my home until I was recovered enough to handle that climb. Keep in mind I’m about 5’2 on a good day, so yes for me it is indeed a climb! The next morning I got a call from the hospital that they were releasing her that day and finally I was the happiest I had been all week. 

Here’s the funny thing about the human body, it knows what to do before you do. Right after the call my milk finally came in! My body was ready for my little ones arrival! How exciting?! 

My first pump:  
The car ride there, my SO seemed to hit every pot hole. All I could do was hold my stomach and brace myself. By the time we got there I was in so much pain I couldnt wait to grab her and go. Turns out thats not how it works. We had to wait for the nurse on duty assigned to her to come back from lunch, I had more paperwork to sign that I didnt pay attention to. (Ended up not coming home with her footprints which, 6 months later still upsets me) and then I forgot I had signed us up for the hospital pictures. Three hours later our family was finally together and home! 

  
When you’re discharged from the hospital after a cesarean, you are sent with a list of things NOT to do. Basically all you’re expected to do is recover and walk (Walking is said to speed up the process) and lift no heavier than your child. Here is where my version of Postpartum depression set in. As you figured, I’m a breastfeeding mama. Since this c-section was unplanned, there were so many things I did not know like how to properly hold her while feeding. (In a seperate post I will go over all that fun stuff). Every feeding was painful on my stomach from the weight of her or the pressure of the pillow I tried to hold her on. For the first weeks of her life I couldn’t do the things I felt make a mother, which was comfort and take care of my child. I felt no bond to her because of this. I was essentially only a dairy cow. As she cried all I could do was look at her crying until my SO was able to pick her up. I couldnt stand long enough to change her diapers or hold her on me or rock her to sleep or really anything I instinctively wanted to do. I tried to hold her on my chest once and the weight of her and placement of her little kicking feet was too much for me and I couldnt help but breakdown crying and hand her to my SO. Every day I felt like a horrible mother, because the only thing I could physically contribute to were feedings.
I felt robbed. I felt robbed of bonding with my daughter. I felt robbed of what should have been our moments as a family after birthing. I also felt robbed of being there for my daughter the way I wanted to be. I cried so many times over this and even now when I think about it or see pictures of my friends and their hospital, post birth family pictures it upsets me that I never got that. At the end of the day the important thing is we are all here as a happy healthy happy and things could have ended so much worse. Later on I found out that there are mothers that lose their babies to the infection my daughter was born with. Believe me when I say I am beyond grateful for my miracle baby and beyond thankful to the staff that made sure we were both taken care of as well as my supportive SO for being there for our daughter in the ways I couldnt be and helping me with everything I needed. He was my rock and pulled me through my depression. When I find myself getting upset again, he still reminds me of what we have and grounds me. So just know that when you feel depressed or upset, it is normal and very common. Also know you are an excellent mother no matter the circumstances because you are doing all you can. PPD does generally go away, but if you feel it getting worse or unbareable please speak to your doctor and dont be ashamed to get help. Do not feel ashamed to speak about it no matter the severity of it. Other moms have been there, but again if those conversations are not enough, then speak to your doctor. Thats what they get paid for, so put them to work! 

Share your stories please and let me know how you handled any PPD you may have felt. 

My birthing story…the ugly truth!

26 hours of labor and 103 fever, all to end in an emergency c-section. What a fun few days. 

I was dilated from 38 weeks and effacted. My doctor told me chances are I would be welcoming my little girl earlier than expected. He also did a membrane sweep to speed things along a bit. Right after my appointment, I went indunction crazyyyyyy. Tried all the tricks. Walking, jumping, bouncing, spicy food, balsamic vinager, eggplant parm, sex of course. You name it, I tried it. My next appt came up, dr walks in and asks me why am I still pregnant?? I dunno doc, she seems to be comfy. Does a membrane sweep again. A couple days later I started getting pretty bad consistant contractions, but I refused to be the type of woman that was sent home for false labor pains, so i stuck it out and eventually (3 hrs later) they went away. I went to my 40 week OB appointment and again, why are you still pregnant??? Sweep again! Third time was definately a charm because as soon as we left I started feeling contractions. They were very light and I figured it was just from the exam so I ignored them. 

 Right before my appointment: 
We got home and my SO went to take a nap (he had work in a few hours). My mother lives in the house upstairs, so while he slept I went upstairs to have breakfast with her. By this time my contractions had started to increase in pain, but again I basically ignored it and finished my food. Towards the end of my meal they started getting pretty bad, so like the genius I am, I took this as a sign to go back to my apartment and try and sleep it off. In the amount of time it took me to walk over to my apartment they were so intense I didnt know what to do with myself, but I wasnt quite ready to accept it as labor pains. Again, like a genius I figured a hot shower would help relax me. If you didnt know….hot showers increase contractions. Yep, found out this news after the fact at which point I officially could not stand straight from the pain. My sister told me when you’re in labor you just know. Until that moment, I didnt understand that phrase, but oh boy, when you are in labor you KNOW! I called the doctors office and my mother, then woke up my SO and told him hes going to need to call out because we have to go! 

Of course we hit every red light and pothole along the half hour drive, which felt like 19 hours. None of this experience was how they showed in literally every movie I have ever watched! There was no wheel chair waiting, no water breaking, no baby attempting to pop out while stopped at a red light. Just pain, an elevator ride, paper work and waiting. Sooo much waiting…. Filling out paperwork I wasnt allowed to have prefilled, waiting for a room, having to get changed, waiting for an epidural then just waiting. I never really made a birth plan which I will explain why in a separate post, so I was iffy about epidurals…until the pain set in then I NEEDEDDDDD one! I suffer from chronic pain, which again is a separate post, but I have never had pain bring me to my breaking point like this. I cant even imagine 26 hours without the epidural. 

 Thanks epidural!! 
From here you would imagine smooth sailing until it was time to push, right? You would be wrong. Once youre in labor you cant eat or drink. You can only have ice chips. Empty stomach + heavy meds =excessive vomiting! I know what youre thinking, “but Angela you had breakfast” I had a small thing of eggs, already a few hours ago at this point and threw it all up the first go. The rest of the rounds it was pure water from the ice chips. Miracle of childbirth is beautiful… Cue fever and uncontrollable shaking. I went into labor at 12pm. They broke my water at 9pm. I wasnt checked on until 3am when they noticed my lovely daughter had pooped inside of me….a LOT! Next time I was checked on was 9am. I had 103 fever and was now, finally on an antibiotic drip. Still feeling like death and still shaking uncontrollably. Around about 1pm, two nurses came in and said ok lets try to push. Again nowhere near the way it was in any movie and/or tv show I have ever seen!!! I had one random nurse hold one leg, my SO hold my other leg which was completelyyyy numb and my mother was holding my hand. I had another nurse on vagina watch and a third nurse just yelling at me to push. My doctor wasnt even there yet. After 20 minutes of pushing he finally comes in and clever him says why arent you crowning yet??? I dunno I havent even seen my feet in months you expect me to know whats going on there??? He goes in there like a quarter back ready to catch the snap. I push once….I push twice and then he steps back and pauses. From his face I knew something was wrong. He tells me, “I’m sorry, but your cervix closed back up and hardened and with your fever we need to get the baby out now, so were going to have to do a c-section”. My heart sank. I have never had any surgery, not even on my teeth. Seriously, 30 years old and no cavities. I also knew the only thing I did want out of my birthing experience, I wouldn’t have. Post birth skin to skin and an hour of just us three. 

I was so nervous and still shaking and sick and the only thing I could think is, “this is how I go”. They immediately wheeled me into the OR. No one was allowed in until after everything was prepped. I was soooo scared I would feel being cut open or something. C-section is a very intimidating process especially if you have never had one before. I will say the part now that I would still be upset with for my next child (if i have a second) would be everything postpartum. Again…another topic for another post. They made sure I was nice and numb and did a check to see if I felt anything by poking me with a scalpel until I stopped saying ouch. Your arms are strapped down to your side like a cross and now the curtain is up and you officially cannot see a damn thing past your neck. Finally my SO was allowed to come in which was very helpful. Truthfully, without him I dont think, mentally I would able to handle the whole thing. We finally heard our baby girl cry and I knew, at least she was fine. I couldnt help but cry…until I remembered I was still sawed in half and needed to control myself. I will say they did try and at least show me her before taking her away, but I didnt have my glasses and couldnt see her anyway. Just like that, this little person I carried and grew, for damn near 10 months, was out and taken away from me and I had no idea what she even looked like. I instructed my SO to go with the baby and make sure she was OK. I am still open….still shaking, dry heaving and my arms are still strapped down so all I can do is turn my head and hope I throw up somewhere its not too messy. 

 The face I didnt get to see yet:  
They kept me in recovery until a room became available in the maternity wing and until my fever broke. I was told I couldnt see my daugter for two days because of it. You can imagine how “well” this went over with me. Thank god for my sister. She is an ER nurse and was there as soon as I was taken out of the OR. She is also a mother of two herself and helped be my voice for whatever was going on with the fever and finding out if I can see my daughter sooner. My SO was still with her, now in NICU being treated for her own infection and fever. Once a room became available it was a lot easier to try and convince the nurses to let me see my baby girl sooner. She was born at 2pm, I was finally allowed to meet my daughter at 9pm.

Meeting her for the first time:  
 I am very gratefully my daughter and I made it out healthy, but boy did I not expect any of that and wish there were so many things differently. In my next post I will speak on my C section recovery, physically and emotionally as well as postpartum depression. Feel free to share your birth stories, hopefully you ladies had it a bit easier! :)