Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mastitis

There is this not so wonderful risk that comes along with breastfeeding, Mastitis.  Mastitis is an infection that can occur because of a clogged duct, or bacteria.  I have had mastitis four times since starting to nurse Charlotte.  I nursed Owen for almost five months and did not once have mastitis.  Recently within two days of each other, two of my friends have been feeling under the weather.  One of them thought she was feeling crappy because she started birth control. She assumed it was just the hormones in the pill affecting her body.  After asking her what was wrong and some symptoms she had, I told her to take her temperature and check for redness on her breast.  She had all the symptoms.  My cousin asked me about symptoms because she knew I have had mastitis a few times. 

So, what are the symptoms? 
  • Breast has redness, is warm to the touch, and tender.
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

There are a couple options when you have mastitis.  The first is to see a doctor and take antibiotics.  The antibiotics will typically take the fever, chills, and fatigue away within the first 24 hours.  If it is more than 48 hours and the symptoms have not started to go away it is best to contact the doctor.  

There are also other remedies for mastitis.  Taking warm showers and massaging the breast, hand express, nurse as often as baby will nurse, nurse in a variety of positions, drink plenty of fluids, get adequate rest.  

After having mastitis once, you are more prone to having mastitis again, as I have had it four times now. 

Preventing Mastitis
  • Wear a supportive bra that is not tight fitting.
  • Nurse in a variety of positions
  • Alternate breasts at each feeding
  • Fully drain your breasts
 Aside from the first time I had mastitis, the three other times all occurred right after traveling.  More than likely because I was not properly draining the breasts every time and positions were not as varied as they maybe should have been.  

Here is to hoping I do not get it again.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Diapers!!! Stash update

 I do not think I have ever seen all of the diapers in one pile before.  Sometimes I forget how many I really have.

The list includes:
30 Sunbaby, OS, pockets
6 Fuzzibunz, Small, Pocket
5 Fuzzibunz, OS Elite, Pocket
1 OS pocket,  I made
8 Kawaii, OS, pocket
2 SoftBums, OS, Omni
4 Rumparooz, OS, Pocket
1 Cocalo, Medium, AI2
13 BumGenus
2 Blueberry, OS, pocket
1 Simplex, OS, pocket
2 Simplex, OS, AIO
2 Little Owl, Medium, snap in
12 misc. China Cheapies, pocket
13 BumGenus, OS, 4.0 pocket
12 OsoCozy unbleached flats
4 OsoCozy Organic Flats
5 Flour Sack Towels
1 Kawaii OS cover
2 Thirsties Duo wrap
1 Rumparooz cover



I have a pretty busy schedule coming up, but I plan on doing a review for all of these diapers in August.

Softbum Omni

Flats and covers

6 FuzziBunz small, 5 FB Elite, 2 Little Owl, 1 Softbum

8 Kawaii, 1 Blueberry, 2 Simplex, 4 Rumparooz

China cheapies, Kawaii, SunBaby


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Comments

Hey everyone.  I didn't want to do this but, I am now requiring a verification for comments.  After sifting through about 60 a week I decided it is something that needs to be done.  I hope this does not prevent you from commenting.  Just trying to weed out the spam.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cortisol and Labor: What you need to know

I have several friends that are pregnant with due dates quickly approaching.  This post is for them, and many other women who have a baby on the way.  Whether you plan a natural birth, an induction, or an epidural, this information applies to you.  As you will all feel the pain pressure of contractions.  Throughout your pregnancy you probably researched circumcision, pediatricians, labor positions, or different birthing techniques.  However, I imagine one thing that never crossed your mind was Cortisol.

Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands, and involved in many functions. It helps keep proper glucose metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, insulin release, immune function, and inflammatory response, to name a few. Cortisol levels are raised by stress, and high levels are secreted during the body’s flight or fight response to stress. Raised levels can cause suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalances, decreased bone density, decrease in muscle tissue, high blood pressure, low immunity, inflammatory response, lack of ability to heal, and other problems that can contribute to health complications, short term, or possibly long term. Due to these reasons, a high cortisol level is one of the things that should be avoided during labor.

Humans, and other mammals, often experience fight or flight when faced with a stressful situation.  Either run from it or fight it.  During labor and childbirth is another one of those situations.  Cortisol, in addition to many other hormones, is released by the adrenal glands.  It triggers your body to fight or run.  The negative of this is that it can send a rush of blood to your legs, preparing you to run.  During pregnancy your body releases inhibitors that block most of the stress hormones; as we all know planning for a new baby may be stressful.  The body blocks the stress hormones to keep the mom and baby healthy.  However, in the last trimester the amount of inhibitors decrease and the body is affected by the level of cortisol.  During labor the cortisol levels may increase.  This is not want you want.  It is taking blood away from the uterus in addition to preparing your leg muscles rather than focusing on uterine contractions.

The key here is to focus on something else, relax your body one muscle at a time, listen to soothing music, and most importantly breathe. Some women focus on something simple like a nail in the wall.  When I was in labor with my son I focused on his clothes.  Thinking about holding him and bringing him home in that cute little outfit.  With the labor of my daughter I focused on my son.  How great of a big brother he would be.  How I had to be strong for him and this new baby.  Imagining holding her and having my family complete.

A woman that has done her research on procedures during labor and birth is able to make more informed decisions.  She is able to understand and prepare herself for what is about to happen.  She is able to make choices on how she wants her baby to enter the world.  Some women may choose to give birth at home because it is an environment they know.  They are able to have more control over the birth of their babies.  They can play music or relax in a tub or pool.  At a hospital there are unfamiliar faces, bright lights, medical interventions, the fear of the unknown.

With my first birth I had some knowledge.  I met some of the nurses, I attended a birthing class and a lactation class.  I thought I was prepared.   I went in to the hospital thinking I knew exactly what to expect and what would happen.  However, when things changed, I did not know what to do.  So, I just did whatever the nurse told me to.  "Your blood pressure is rising and causing your baby stress. ... You need an epidural or we may have to perform an emergency cesarean."  I will never forget this conversation.  I became scared.  I thought my baby was in immediate danger.  I of course chose the epidural.  Not long after my son was born.  Why?  Because I finally relaxed.  I let my body do what it was supposed to, give birth.

With Charlotte I had contractions for a couple days.  I knew what to expect.  I was mentally prepared for the journey.  I remembered to breathe.  I did not stress.  I knew how to relax myself. And when I forgot, my husband was there to remind me to breathe and relax. He reminded me to think about holding my sweet girl in my arms.



Birth can be painful, yes.  However, it can also be the most amazing experience in your life.  It does not have to be painful if you do not let it.  One step in helping your body is to relax and reduce your cortisol levels.  Reduce the stress.  Build a better relationship with your midwife, doctor, maternity nurses.  Do your research.  Know what to expect, and understand that what you expect may differ from what actually happens.  Create a birth plan that will create a more relaxed environment for you and your baby.  Hire a doula.  What you may have forgot, did not research, or need support, she will be there for you.  Give your body and baby the best chance, from the beginning.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reuse

I have dedicated this year to create less waste, replace paper with cloth, and recycle more.  Before we usually only recycled glass, cans, or bottles.  I now also recycle paper products as well.  Cardboard boxes, boxes from food, newspapers, junk mail, it all goes in to the recycling bin.  Other items that I re-use or recycle include gift bags.


The only time I use wrapping paper is for Christmas.  Any other time I use a gift bag.  Gift bags can be re-used and gifted to someone else.  I had saved all of the gift bags from my baby shower with Owen and my baby shower with Charlotte.  In addition to saving and re-using the gift bags, I also try not to use tissue paper.  Recently one of my friends had a baby shower and I pulled out my stash of bags and found one to hold all the presents.  I also found a bow to add to it.  Instead of using tissue paper I wrapped the gifts in receiving blankets, burp cloths, and topped it off with a crochet blanket.  These double as gifts and reduce waste.

 My stash of gift bags is slowly getting smaller and I will eventually have to buy more.  But at least these bags did not end up in the trash.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Doula!

Since having Owen I have done my share of research on pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the weeks after.  Then I had an amazing pregnancy and birth experience with Charlotte.  It made me want to help other women experience the same euphoria that I experienced.  

I looked up certifications classes in the area and unfortunately I missed the last class.  However, this gives me the opportunity to finish reading all of the required material plus some.  I bought several books on Amazon and downloaded some on the Kindle app.  Some of the books I have read before but I want to brush up my skills and add to my knowledge.  I hope to read a bunch more books as I go to learn a variety of techniques, procedures, and experiences.  I plan on taking the certification class next year when they host it again in Charlotte.  Until then I hope to find women who are willing to open up to me and let me assist them through their pregnancy and hopefully with their labor and the birth of their babies.  

In the mean time, I get to read, read, read!  



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cloth Diapering at a Hotel

Two weeks ago my family and I went to Florida for a little vacation.  I was a little nervous at first about taking cloth diapers.  How/where would I wash them?  Will sand be an issue? Can I even fit the diapers in to the luggage?

I called the hotel and they did say they have a coin operated washer and dryer.  I thought, ok this is great, I can continue to wash them without having to worry about anything.  That was, until I got to the hotel and saw the machines.  $1.75 per load.  We were away from home for 8 1/2 days.  I would need to wash diapers three times.  This would quickly get expensive.

After the Flats and Handwashing Challenge I have been exclusively using flats and hemp inside of the pockets.  We no longer use the microfiber inserts.  Taking the challenge prepared me for staying at the hotel without the need for a washing machine.  I packed the detergent and a bunch of pants hangers.



On Tuesday I washed diapers from Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday morning.  The rest of the week I washed the diapers daily.  It was easier to just wash the day's worth of diapers.  Not to mention it took a little over 24 hours for the diapers and flats to dry.  This ensured I had clean diapers while the others were drying.  I even ironed the flats!  That is something I never thought I would say.  After hanging they were a bit wrinkled and did not lay inside of the diapers nicely, so I ironed them.  A couple of the pockets I even took to the pool with us to sun them while we were swimming. 

At the end of the week we did wash our regular laundry.  I thought about hand-washing those too, but Martin's clothes were a bit dirty from fishing all week so I wanted them to get a good clean in the wash. Washing our clothes cost $7.  That is insane.  I cannot imagine having to go to a laundromat.  I give you ladies credit that have to.  

The real test will be in a couple weeks when I go camping.  No tubs, heating water on a fire, and plenty of line to hang diapers.   Super excited for the adventure.