Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Category: Pregnancy

The first 30 days of Breastfeeding – why new moms need to see success

I spent almost a decade in the Human Resource function and of that a considerable portion in recruitment and staffing. Please don’t be disappointed to see a very unusual analogy here. I can explain. Almost every HR specialist has read a book title “The first 90 days” and how it impacts the success of a new recruit or a newly elevated leader. And I live by this book. Most of your lives early experiences will largely determine how well you fare in those areas. And the same goes for the early breastfeeding days.

New mothers need to see successes in their early breastfeeding days in order to have a journey that is fulfilling and satisfying to both her newborn child and herself.

And of course, as you would have with most things in life, it is the early breastfeeding days which are most challenging and sadly, when most people tend to give up. While it is true that a little perseverance and determination can get most people through any challenge life throws at them, breastfeeding is different. It is combined with a woman who is bearing the severe trauma of childbirth, is a muddle of hormones and is probably fielding a myriad of opinions & statements on how she should be raising that little being that may be less than a day old even.  Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally and is hard.

Looking back at my personal journey, I recall very vividly how I would writhe in pain every time babyT latched on. And this was in the hospital on day 2 of his arrival. In those moments my mother held me close. Yes literally. She held me tight as my body twisted in pain while my newborn son sucked. Inside me, I was hating myself. Why could my body not bear to feed this tiny little being with petal soft lips, no teeth in his mouth? Surely I “sucked” at this. No pun intended. Beginning of #MomGuilt.

Breastfeeding is not just about supply dynamics or sheer will power. Problems don’t always correct themselves either. They can, in fact, take an ugly turn and new moms need all the help they can get. Thankfully I had a good support system and I sought professional help at the right time. Or my story may have turned out very differently.

Latching pain/ cracked or bleeding nipples

This is the most common experience of new mothers who start breastfeeding. They experience mild to severe pain when the baby latches on for a feed and as result end up with bleeding & sore nipples. First-time mothers also experience this more as they are not quite used to a baby feeding at the breast. The pain that comes with this, can be severe enough to discourage many mothers from feeding at the breast. Some may resort to pumping and within those, some may see similar outcomes again. 

Solution:
Most often a good latch helps solve all the problems faced in early breastfeeding. A good latch is half the job done.

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A deep latch

As this graphic illustrates the baby’s mouth must open like a loud shout and cover as much as possible of the areola than just the nipple. Watching YouTube videos really helped prepare me for the big latch on.

I was also a complete clutz with a wriggly and tiny new baby. Most of the time I was scared I would hurt him and so my position for breastfeeding was all wrong. However, relief came in the form of a lactation counselor who was allotted to me in the hospital where I had babyT.

She told me about the various positions for breastfeeding and soon the football hold became a big favourite. I used around 3 pillows to rest babyT on while I held him in a football hold. It amused people around me to no end. But hey, if you want to watch then be prepared to see something really interesting and unique here. 🙂

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Source: https://www.allinahealth.org

Most nipple soreness and bleeding can be healed with constant applications of Lanolin cream. I thank my stars for a new mommy friend from the US who recommended Lansinoh to me.

I got myself a pack of this and it arrived just before I was to deliver and applied Lansinoh after every breastfeeding session. Lansinoh is also safe for babies to consume so you don’t always have to rub it off before feeding. Frequent washing and rubbing off may cause more discomfort to an already sore nipple so I preferred leaving this on. I highly recommend you get this one product if nothing else. You are welcome, in advance. 🙂

I have also seen many new moms recommend leaving breast milk on the nipple. This also aids to moisturize and soften the sensitive skin after a breastfeeding session.

Clogged Ducts 

Clogged ducts appear when the breast has not drained completely over feeding sessions or if the breasts have been constrained in a tight or ill fitting bra. They manifest in the form of hard lumps on the breasts. Clogged ducts can be very painful and need urgent attention if accompanied with fever and flu like symptoms (See below section on Engorgement & Mastitis too)

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Source: http://loveandbreastmilk.com/

It is very common for this to be dismissed as “Milk Fever” a literal translation in the local language here. But it really should not be taken so lightly.

Solution:

Try and identify if the problem lies in tight bras.  Please invest in good nursing bras. They will do good to your lactating breasts.

The solution to clogged ducts, especially if it is in the early breastfeeding stage is to ensure the breasts are drained completely. And who better to do that than the baby. Let baby feed extensively at the problem breast. You can also gently massage the lump area so as to allow any milk to loosen out and drain completely during a feed.

Rest assured that any milk inside the breasts whether in the case of clogged ducts or other issues as will be discussed below is safe for baby to consume.

If the baby is not able to drain the breast completely, you can express milk by massaging the problem area.

Engorgement 

This one is another ugly monster which visits almost every newly breastfeeding mother. Engorgement happens when they breasts fill up with milk and it is in turn not getting drained just as quickly. The most common times this happens is when milk comes in after the early colostrum or when baby starts sleeping for longer hours or if you are away from a new baby for a long period of time.

Engorgement results in the breasts becoming rock hard and is incredibly painful. The baby also finds it difficult to latch on and drink, which in turn makes the engorgement problem worse.

Solution:

The best way to drain breasts is to get baby to latch on the affected side and drink away to glory. However, in cases where baby is finding it difficult to latch on you may find the need to try and express a little bit of milk first. This may be incredibly painful but you will glad to be relieved of the pain soon enough. To aid the process have a warm/ hot shower and massage the affected breast under the shower if possible. It makes the expression process easier. You can even try pumping if not expression (not under the shower though. 🙂 )

Once you feel a bit relieved you can try to get baby to latch on and drain it completely till done. Do remember it is not mandatory to switch sides during a normal breastfeeding session. Let baby and your body deal with that between themselves. 🙂

Read my post from World Breastfeeding Week 2016 on tips that worked for me. 

Some people also recommend cold cabbage leaves to relieve the pain. I tried that once but the cabbage leaves did not stay cold for very long and so did not help much. But companies like Lansinoh make this great breast therapy pad which can be used hot or cold to give relief during engorgement or clogged ducts.

 

Mastitis 

Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands caused by bacterial infection from a sore bleeding nipple. Most commonly it is preceded by clogged ducts or engorgement which don’t get remedied early.  Breasts not getting drained completely also can result in mastitis. So stop watching the clock and follow baby’s cues instead. So they develop into flu like symptoms and are very painful.

Mastitis usually carries with it flu like symptoms and can be very painful. However, it is still safe to breastfeed if you are suffering.

Solution:

While it is important to seek medical help, the mother can also try home remedies like hot compress, draining the breast and letting baby empty it. If the doctor finds it to be severe you will be prescribed a dose of antibiotics. Do make sure you remind the doctor that you are breastfeeding so as to be prescribed breastfeeding friendly medication.

Growth Spurts

Especially the early growth spurts. I still shudder at my first experience with these. This was the one time I truly doubted my supply and we almost decided to feed alternate milk to babyT. But we read up and understood the monsters that are growth spurts. We learned that it would be a small phase and would pass soon. I also upped my nutrition intake and nursed constantly without thinking if there was milk or not. This was only building the demand – supply equation between babyT and my body and they were bargaining hard. BabyT won of course, as is the case always. If you stick it out, it will be free flowing from then on. Once more pun intended. 🙂

I blogged about growth spurts last year too. You can read about how to manage yourself during growth spurts here.

“Are you sure there is any milk?”

Saving the best one for last. This is not meant to be funny. It is a stark reality of what has shot down many early breastfeeding attempts. Breastfeeding is as much a mental task as it is a physical one. And constant statements like this one keep undermining the determination of the mother. It pushes the mother to doubt herself and that she has been bestowed the ability to feed and nourish her child.

Of course, there is milk. Milk glands start being active right from the time of pregnancy and this could be as early as week 14 of pregnancy. So believe in yourself momma and learn to give a deaf ear to all the ill suited advice you receive.

Also, remember that babies cry for a variety of reasons. And hunger is not it every time. My fellow mom blogger at Baby and Beyond lists just a few reasons why babies nurse around the clock. Read all about it here.

Most early breastfeeding experiences should be about the new mother and child. Together they have it in them to build a synergetic relationship. The basic principle of life, demand equals supply, is nowhere more evident than it is with breastfeeding. Early growth spurts, challenges are all indicators to your body of how much milk it needs to produce.

If you are a new mother or soon to be one, do read up about breastfeeding. Do watch lots of latching videos on YouTube (Keyword: Deep latch for breastfeeding), ensure your own nutrition is balanced and healthy, get rest and above all relax. You got this mamma.

What were some of the challenges you saw in the period of early breastfeeding? Did you try any remedies or therapies which helped you along your journey?

MomsCo – Pamper time for Moms

Raise your hand if the moment you discovered you were pregnant you decided that you would do everything possible to care for and protect the little bean slowly growing inside you. And now raise your other hand if you suddenly found that none of the bath and body products you were using felt safe or natural to be used during pregnancy. Hey you look a little silly with both your hands up. You can relax and let me tell you about these wonderful company which makes great products. Its called The MomsCo and its one of the first Indian companies which makes bath and body products for Moms to be and new moms.

Why is it important to use safe products on your body? 

It is not just what you put inside your body but also what you put outside it that matters. Many seemingly innocent products contain ingredients which can seep in through skin and the air we breathe. Some of these when exposed to in large enough quantities can pose a risk to the foetus. In extreme cases, some may cause severe birth and mental defects to the baby.

Nature In, Toxins Out 

The MomsCo promise is Nature In, Toxins Out. They bring you India’s first all-natural, toxin free range of pregnancy care products. They say that there is no power greater than a moms who wishes to do the best for her child. And a similar story lies at the heart of The MomsCo. Born out of a mother’s need to give only the best to her babies,  the team at The Moms Co., worked hard to help moms-to-be and new moms make safe, natural, effective choices for themselves and their families.

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Source: TheMomsCo.com

They followed a rigorous process of selection of natural ingredients to meet safety standards across the globe. Further they validated & tested their ingredients against several toxicity databases to ensure 100% safety.

All in all, Malika & Mohit Sadani the parents behind The MomsCo, bring us products that are safe, natural and toxin free. All The MomsCo products are free from toxins such as Mineral Oils, Parabens, Sulphates, SLS/SLEs, Phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrances and more.

My first brush with The MomsCo products was when they contacted me to use and review their products. I received the sampler set of body wash and body butter.

Once you are a #mother, you tend to forget you exist. Life revolves entirely around baby and mommy's well being takes a back seat. #momhair and "30 second showers" (if you're lucky – daily) take over the scene. 😿🙅🤦 . . Until one day when the team from @themomsco called to talk about their products for pregnant & new moms. Finally someone who was thinking of us moms too. 🤰👰💁👸 . . Pic 1 – The products came in this #ecofriendly ♻ cardboard box which has since been used to store babyT's stones 🎱 (don't ask!😣😅) Inside the box was this cute little drawstring jute bag (pic 2) which contained the body wash & body butter (pic 3) . . . So they sent me a sampler set of products . .☝️) Natural Body Wash & . .✌) Natural Body Butter. . . . 💆The Natural Body Wash – is a toxin-free combination of coconut based mild cleansers & natural moisturizers that help skin restore its natural balance & essential oils that help with morning sickness. I love the ginger & orange fragrance it has. The first few washes did leave my skin a tad bit dry, but then I do shower with hot water which tends to dry the skin. 🛀🛁🚿 . . 💆Natural Body Butter – contains shea & cocoa butter, seabuckthorn oil for skin regeneration & vitamin C rich rosehip oil. It smooths in to the skin effortlessly, leaving it supple without being heavy. The tiny sampler has now become a constant companion in my handbag. 😉 . . What's also good to note is that all #TheMomsCo products are without Mineral Oil, Sulphates (SLS, SLES), Parabens, DEA/TEA, Phenoxyethanol, Synthetic Fragrances, PEGs & many other potentially harmful chemicals. They are certified Toxin Free and Made Safe by Safe Cosmetics Australia. ❌☠☡❌ . . You can order a set of free samplers for yourself to test the products out first and see if they suit you. Sounds really great right? . . #mommyingbabyT #mommyTsTips #productreview #freesamplers #newkidsontheblock #momproducts #bodywash #bodybutter #toxinfree #safeandnatural #naturalmama #naturalproducts #earthfriendly #mombloggerindia #momlife #childhoodunplugged #indianmoms #indianparents #parenting101 #naturalparenting #mumbaimom #indianmomblogger #mommyblogger #mumbaimoms #mumbaiinstagrammers

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I fell in love with the products. Very soon I received the bigger retail pack of Natural Body Wash, Body Butter and Foot Cream to review. I have now used the products extensively over a month and reviewing them basis this experience.

Natural Body Wash

The MomsCo, Body wash, body butter, foot cream, natural products, products during pregnancy, safe, natural, toxin free, pregnancy products india, pregnancy india, pregnancy mumbai, lactation products, nausea during pregnancy, ginger essential oilThe MomsCo Body Wash contains coconut based mild cleansers and natural moisturizers. Together they help your skin restore its natural balance. The USP of this product is that it contains essential oils of ginger & orange. Ginger helps combat morning sickness – that much hated monster that rears its ugly head during pregnancy. I have also used ginger whenever I had nausea during my monthly migraine episodes. Orange essential oils gives us a pleasant & refreshing aroma to this body wash. This Body Wash also has naturally occuring pro-vitamin B5 which provides  the moisturizing effect.

I love the Body Wash. I actually look forward to bath times now that I have the MomsCo body wash. It is truly refreshing and energizing. And I love that the smell lingers on for some time after the bath too.

The Natural Body Wash is priced at Rs. 348 for a 200 ml bottle. Total value for money. 

My rating for The MomsCo’s Natural Body Wash – 5/5 I highly do recommend this one. 

Natural Body Butter

The MomsCo, Body wash, body butter, foot cream, natural products, products during pregnancy, safe, natural, toxin free, pregnancy products india, pregnancy india, pregnancy mumbai, lactation products, body lotion pregnancy, body butter, safe body lotion, products safe during pregnancyThe MomsCo Natural Body Butter contains cocoa and shea butter. It also has Seabuckthorn oil which is renowned for improving skin elasticity & regeneration. Other ingredients in this are Vitamin E and Vitamin C both of which are great for skin regeneration. This makes this Body Butter great for the pregnant body’s expanding girth. Dry skin on the tummy was something I experienced a lot during my pregnancy. I am sure this product would have been great then.

I use the Body Butter immediately after my shower with the Natural Body Wash. This way it holds all the moisture in and keeps skin soft and supple throughout the day. It is thick and only a small quantity is enough to spread onto the entire hands or legs. The butter is really thick and I am sure works great for people with dry skin. However I have pretty oily skin and don’t have the need for such a rich moisturiser right now post pregnancy.

The Body Butter is of course safe and toxin free, so you can safely use it even when you are breastfeeding.

The Natural Body Butter is priced at Rs. 699 for a 200 gms tub.

My rating for this product is 4/5.  

Natural Foot Cream 

The MomsCo, Body wash, body butter, foot cream, natural products, products during pregnancy, safe, natural, toxin free, pregnancy products india, pregnancy india, pregnancy mumbai, lactation products, nausea during pregnancy, ginger essential oil, foot cream, pregnancy foot care, aching ankles, ankles, feetIt made me really happy to know that the MomsCo has a foot cream. My pain point during pregnancy were my achy, tired feet. And I would look forward to foot massages. Sadly I had no safe products to use. This product then is like manna from heaven for pregnant women.

The MomsCo calls this product a ‘cooling’ foot cream. This can be attributed to the essential oils of peppermint which it contains. It has a nice tingly feel to it when applied. Shea butter in the cream helps to moisturize those sore and tired ankles and feet. It also contains Argan, Sweet Almond and Extra Virgin Olive Oils which hydrate and nourish the otherwise tough skin on the feet. Some other foot creams I have tried in the past leave skin sticky and slippery once shoes are worn. I really liked that the MomsCo foot cream did not do this.

This product is great not just for pregnant women or new moms but for anyone in the family. Feet are the most neglected parts of our body. Some pampering by way of this cream would be most beneficial for anyone at home.

A 50 gm tube of the Foot cream costs Rs. 249. 

My rating for the Natural Foot Cream is 4/5 

My ratings for The MomsCo products:
  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Appearance: 5/5 I love the brand logo and the colours used for the product. They are elegant and classy.
  • Value for money: 5/5 The prices are really great value for money. 
  • Functionality:  4/5 I really do wish these products were released when I was pregnant. I would have loved to pamper my pregnant bump with their products. Oh well, for now I am very happy with their Body Wash and will continue using it. 

What products did you find hard to come by during your pregnancy? Did you switch to using any natural or toxin free products? Have you used The MomsCo products. What was your experience like?

 

10 things no one told you about being a mother

Last weekend #BabyT’s daddy and I requested my MIL to take care of the little tyke and we sneaked out for dinner. The real reason was my husband wanted to buy some office wear. I decided to invite myself to the event. 🙂 I made real effort to dress up for this mundane task of buying crisp, white shirts & socks (bleh). I dug deep into my closet and yanked out a short dress which, wait for it, this is going to be Leg-En-Darydid not open from the front. No baby in tow, no breasts need freedom. Hurray!! Small joys. These are the things no one told you about being a mother. Why, kind pregnant people, who went before me, didn’t you tell me I will never wear a simple dress with no buttons, zips or loose fits in the front? Why will I spend the first year or more of my life as a new mother in loose fitting T-shirts or ugly looking maternity gowns with frills & flares & just ugh.

But the dress is not all there is to it. There are many things no one told you about being a mother. So here I present to you, the other side of being a mother.
  1. You will never wear a dress – You will never wear a dress which is closed from the front  and doesn’t release your breasts with minimum effort. Breastfeeding is not easy. But when you want to stick it out for the bare minimum and then want to continue with extended breastfeeding, remember you will never wear any outfit where it is a task to feed baby. As it is, fashionable maternity and breastfeeding friendly dresses are a rarity.
    So it has been 18 months of wearing nothing but loose T-shirts for me. Shopping for me means buying yet another T-shirt, maybe in a new colour.
    breastfeeding, nursing gown,nursing dress, things no one told you about being a motherWhen the cold shoulder trend hit the catwalks and the high street stores I could do nothing but cry. They are so gorgeous. I so wanted to try one, but no – breasts did not come out. So all I could do was sulk. Until a dear friend decided to design some beautiful nursing friendly dresses just for me. 🙂
  2. Going out to dinner – We were very particular that babyT develop a good sleep routine. So right from the time he was born till he was about 1 year old he was put to bed latest by 8 pm. His bed time was a religiously followed routine of warm sponging, baby lotion massage, diaper change, story and nursing to sleep. He then slept only to wake up hourly or so to nurse in the early days. This meant we never went out anywhere in the evenings. Even if we were out we would be back home by 5. The first time I was out after the sun had set (somewhere around when babyT was 11 months) I felt a new sense of joy of seeing the twilight skies. It was surreal. I am sure this is one of the things no one told you about being a mother.
  3. Enjoying a leisurely meal – All meals are gulped down these days. Irrespective of whether babyT is awake, sleeping or with someone else. Adult meal times seem like a chore which must be completed rather than savoured. This is because there are usually ten things lined up to do and eating is the least of the indulgences I would like to spend time on. Oh and beverages are always had only cold. 🙂
  4. Bathrooming in peace – Just this week, Facebook Memories threw this post from last year up for me to see.
    So yes ever since I have been managing babyT on my own to this day, going to restroom in peace has been a forgone conclusion. I really don’t know what it is with babies but the moment their moms enter the bathroom they get so insecure and will bang endlessly on the door until she is out.
  5. Doing laundry all the time – Morning or night, rain or shine I am forever doing laundry. There is a lot of adult clothes, baby clothes, cloth diapers and other clothes. Sometimes these 4 loads run on a single day. There is also separate detergent for babies, hot water for cloth diapers and an extra spin cycle in the monsoon. You can hear me tell my laundry tales here.
  6. Doing anything on time – be it a wedding or a party or a Doctor’s appointment or just plain simple watching the 9 pm serial. You will never make it to any of these on time ever. Because getting a baby or worse a toddler dressed and ready to go is a task which you will never accomplish with even the most precise of plans. And even if you do everything right, just as you are about to step out the door – baby is going to poop or puke and you are back at Start.
  7. You will be surprised how you remember all the nursery rhymes from your own childhood with actions – This was a huge surprise to me. With no babies and small children around in my immediate environment in the last decade or so, I felt I may be at a loss to remember the nursery rhymes. But when babyT needed entertainment I don’t know from where they erupted.. Incy Wincy spider with all the steps and Do Re Mi too. I did not even know that Do Re Mi had steps.
  8. You can kiss goodbye to clean anything: house, car and yourself too – You have a baby. You don’t clean up often. Maybe only once the baby is asleep. Yourself included. My record for number of days without a bath stands at 3 days. They were bleak days (hahah) but I survived. And even if you do have a bath regularly (hair wash not included) you probably save a ton of water because your baths are actually showers and are done in 30 seconds. 🙂
  9. You have newfound respect and admiration for your parents – This happens during the early stages of motherhood. With the endless sleep deprivation, combined with growth spurts and colic you wonder how they did it. Then add the frustration of not being able to understand what baby wants – too hot, too cold, too tired, over slept, hungry or just bored. You suddenly realise what you must have been like as a baby.
  10. You suddenly have a ton of mom friends and don’t see much of your regular friends – Motherhood leaves you with no time. Before I had a baby I used to wonder why some women disappeared from the social circuit for a few years. And soon it was my turn. I haven’t met or even spoken to some friends on the phone (we do chat) friends from pre-pregnancy days. But I have made countless mom friends – cloth diapering moms, baby wearing moms, blogger mom friends, facebook group mom, whatsapp group mom friends and then groups within those groups. You have loads of virtual friends who may meet once in a while, but your real relationships are put on a back-burner for a while.

If you are a pregnant or waiting to conceive mother, you may find this list useful. You may not relate to it now. I mean who can fathom that I did not see the moon and the dark skies apart from the time I saw them from the windows. Right? But your time will come and you may remember me then. hahah. But we are all in this together. We all go through it, irrespective of our age, race, colour, country, support systems, parenting philosophies and what have you.

If you are a new parent, what were some of the things that you experienced but were quite unprepared for? Did they surprise you and how did you recover?  I would love to know. Leave me a comment and I will come back to see all the #MomLife tales.

10 Things I Miss about being Pregnant

Sundays are reserved for cleaning and tidying up and when I was doing that I chanced upon a diary from 2015. A quick glance landed me on the page for 25th April 2015. The words written on it tugged at my heart strings…

“So it begins.. we are pregnant”

This was the day in 2015, when our lab technician called me to tell me about the HcG blood test report we did. I didn’t understand the values she rattled off and asked her what does it mean.. and I still remember her little laugh and her saying “Congratulations!” (oops, I’m have a lump in my throat here.)

It got me reminiscing about that beautiful year in my life. After a lot of bad years, missed chances, depression, failures & tears, and almost giving up, we had 2015. The year of our pregnancy! 

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Loved my pregnancy – somehow we were team Blue without knowing it!

I enjoyed my pregnancy so so much, that I was sad that babyT had to come out. Of course, I couldn’t have waited any longer to have in my arms. Bu tI did get thinking about those days and what I miss about being pregnant.  Continue reading

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