I know Ive been too quiet lately. Honestly, I’m surprised every time I log on and see I’m still getting blog views. Thanks people, for checking in still! Lately I have been…pre-occupied. And a bit scatter brained.
I’ve decided to make more changes and those changes have kept me from blogging. For one, I’m getting my kids out a lot more. We fill our mornings just with getting ready, getting dressed, a million diaper changes, feeding everyone, getting shoes on everyone, fighting toddlers over brushing their hair..ect. It’s amazing how *long* it takes just to get ready to leave the house when there are 3 kids who totally need your help. Eve had been putting her own socks and shoes but is, annoyingly, going through a stage where she says she forgot how and wants me to do it. By the time I just get the kids in a condition to leave the house, Ive run a marathon and a half. So, I’ve been bringing them to the library, parks, the indoor play options (the very few we have), playdates, my LLLi meetings, free trial Karate classes. We’ve been keeping busy. It’s been nice to not be in the house so much.
On top of that I signed up for a 5K. No biggie for runners like my husband who thinks of a 5K as a lil fun run but for me- itrequires a lot of prepping and.. well.. running. I don’t run. I’m not good at running. But I’m working on it. I have untill May 11th (Mothers Day Weekend) to get properly prepared for it. So far I’m FAR from 5K distance. My last run was 1.36 miles so I need to get myself doing that x3 in the next 5 ish weeks. I also joined a (2wk free trial) muay thai kickboxing group. I’ll probably be using my birthday money to try to keep going for at least a couple months, when the funds I’m sure will run too low. but that’s life and I’m excited just to have the experience even if just for a short time. And maybe I’ll get some muscles.
My husband and I have also been busy planning our next few months. We have quite a few plans for runs and camping trips. I got a new tent for my birthday and I cant wait for the weather to warm up enough to take it out. If it was just us grownups, I would now, but it’s WAY too cold out there for itty bitty girlies. So we are waiting for some more mild weather and then we will be off and traveling around to campground and state parks that have camping areas. Cannot wait!
I plan to start blogging about some of these adventures since they all add up to part of who I am, and, while Im sometimes inspired to write an “educational” post, This blog is really about what I do and who I am. and write now, I’m busy trying to make myself a better, stronger, woman.
This is an account of our experience finding out about my daughter’s upper lip tie (with the focus on my youngest) and some Q&A on Frenectomy’s. This post also is a guest post on Ask The Lactation Consultant.
When my youngest daughter was 8 months old I discovered, through my 2 year old’s speech therapist, that both my younger two daughters had upper lip ties. This area of the mouth is called the frenulum labii superioris and it is an area I had never heard of being an issue. I was well versed in tongue ties, having known plenty of people whose infants had them- some of which pursued having it clipped while others worked with a lactation consultant to have the latch corrected and left the tie intact. This issue with a lip tie was new to me, though, and it got the wheels in my mind churning about breastfeeding.
Grace was already 8 months old at this point and she was growing and thriving on an exclusively breastfed diet (with a few solids beginning to be thrown in the mix now). Nursing was not excruciating and if her latch was shallow, it was not shallow enough to cause any real pain for me or prevent her from receiving a sufficient supply of milk. Yet, I could not help but think about how whenever she nursed for an extended period of time, there was pain. I would get sharp pains after ten minutes of nursing on one side. I always excused it as her latch getting lazy as she drifted to sleep and I changed sides frequently to be comfortable. I studied for a couple weeks and spent many hours on the phone with dentists, ENT’s, and other pediatric specialists. In the end, We chose to have a laser frenectomy done to release her lip. Since having had the procedure done, many parents have contacted me asking why I chose to have the procedure done, where I went, why I went there, how it was done, and an array of other questions. Here is some of the info I gathered in my time on lip ties and the frenectomy procedure.
What is a Lip Tie?
A lip tie is when the lip is attached to the gums. This can really range in severity and there are degree’s that define how severe of a lip tie it is. It is really common for people to have some kind of lip tie but only when it is severe or causing medical issues (or for older, consenting aged people, perhaps cosmetic issues that they want corrected) does it need to be corrected. What problems can it cause? Problems are mostly seen by the breastfeeding mom. A severe upper lip tie can cause a shallow latch, the inability to flail lip out adequately (incorrect latch), slow growth (due to poor nursing), and pain for the mom while nursing. In addition to this, it can cause a severe gap between the front teeth when the tie comes down between them, tooth decay in the front teeth, speech difficulties from the limited mobility of the upper lip, and problems with it tearing and causing pain in rough play or accidents.
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is the procedure done to correct a lip or tongue tie. Many of you may already be familiar with it from tongue ties but for an upper lip tie it can be a bit more than the “snip” we think of for the tongue tie, especially for the most severe degree where it goes into the palate of the gums. There are two ways a frenectomy can be performed and for young children, most dentists are more comfortable with the scalpel method. When using a scalpel, the procedure is commonly performed in a hospital and the child undergoes anesthesia. The tie is cut out and stitches are used to mend the area back together. Then there is the laser frenectomy (this is what my daughters had done). For the laser procedure the child is just numbed in the area, no anesthesia. The procedure can be done right in the doctors office in under 10 minutes. It is a less painful procedure and easier to recover from and does not leave behind the scar tissue that the scalpel version can cause.
Where Do you go for a Laser Frenectomy?
This is the hard part. Many doctors are not practiced at using a laser on a small, awake child and fear its safety level. I started reading the articles by Dr. Kotlow in Albany, NY who has been doing laser frenectomy on children from infancy through their teen years with no complications and decided I felt confident that it could be safely done. While there are other practices all around the country that perform the laser procedure for young kids, they need to be searched for. His office is very friendly and they are willing to give advice and recommend doctors they know from around the country if his office is out of reach.
Do all Upper Lip Ties need to be corrected?
No. Many people have some degree of a lip tie and it does not cause any problems. The only time it is a concern is when it is causing breastfeeding difficulties or, later on if it is causing other issues. If a newborn has an upper lip tie but mom is experiencing no breastfeeding difficulties and they are growing well, there is no reason to rush out for medical intervention. A frenectomy can be performed at any age so it is fine to wait and just see how it plays out for the child and leave it be if it causes no problems for them. Also, if an infant is experiencing breastfeeding issues, it is always recommended to try working out their latch with an IBCLC first, as it is never pleasant for the parents or baby to go through medical procedures if it is not necessary.
My daughters had the frenectomy performed a month ago and are doing incredibly well. The first week following was harder and they were uncomfortable but healing went well and they were able to eat (and nurse) fantastically. Since having the frenectomy done, I have not experienced pain or discomfort while nursing Grace even once (and I have left her on to nurse in her sleep for long periods of time). Her lip flails out while nursing when it never could before and while it was never horribly uncomfortable to nurse her before, it is 100 times more comfortable to nurse her now. Please note, this info is based on my own research and experience as a mother who has been through this procedure with my children, and I am not a medical professional
No matter what, people cost money. Whether they are a 1 month old or a 99 yr old, they have expenses. But there are ways to save major money when you have a baby. Here are some basic, practical ways to save money if you are having (or have) a baby-
- Breastfeed- It’s way more affordable than formula. Formula is insanely expensive and just making this one choice to breastfeed saves you a ridiculous amount of money.
- Cosleep- Want to get rid of a huge piece of equipment? Skip the crib! Cosleeping is great for nursing moms and babies tend to sleep better anyways.
- Cloth Diaper- You can spend $80 per month for 2-3 years on diapers OR you can spend $200-$300 ONCE on diapers and never buy diapers again. Want to save even MORE on diaper cost- try Elimination Communication
- Consignment Shop shop- There are tons of great children’s consignment shops out there for clothing. Also, outlet stores are fantastic for affordable baby clothing.
- Convertible Carseat- Instead of getting an infant bucket carseat that has to be replaced in a year or less, skip to a convertible carseat. Something like a Graco Myride 65 is awesome for infants and rearfaces for a long time and forward faces to 65 lbs. It will last awhile!
- Babywear- A good babycarrier, like an Ergo Carrier or a Babyhawk Carrier can be used from infancy through toddlerhood. It is great for moms who skip on the bucket seat and eliminates the need for a stroller (at least for the first year if not longer!)
- BLW- Instead of buying jars of babyfood, make your own food for baby (whether you do purees of skip to solid solids). It’s more affordable and you know exactly what baby is being fed
- SAHM Daycare- If you are like most moms who have to return to work, find a stay-at-home mom who opens her house up for childcare. Not only is it more personable, it is often way more affordable than a big childcare.
- Toy Minimalist- We tend to go way overboard on toys and baby supplies. Babies are plenty happy with some stacking cups and a spoon. There’s no reason to go crazy with stuff.
How many of us with breastfed babies have gone to a wellness visit to find out our little ones are really low on their growth charts? From how many moms I’ve heard talk about this, I’m guessing there is a good show of hands! And for first time moms, or first time breastfeeding moms, or- heck- even us experienced mom, it can be startling to have a pediatrician look at your baby and think they are underfed! Rest assure, though, if your breastfed baby is low on the growth chart- there could be a good reason for it. Your doctor may be using the wrong chart!
There are two charts widely used in the US. The CDC’s growth chart is the more widely used chart and reflects mostly formula fed babies. Then there is the WHO growth chart that uses Exclusively breastfed babies. It may not seem like it would be a big deal which chart a pediatrician uses but breastfed and formula fed babies grow and thrive differently. Formula fed babies grow more rapidly and growth doesn’t slow down as drastically for them after 6 months of age, while the breastfed baby has slow steady weight gain that decreases even more as they get more mobile. So, when using the CDC chart on a breastfed baby, it’s quite easy for the baby to look like they are having insufficient growth or irregular growth patterns.
The problem with breastfed babies falling on the growth charts is that the moms will often get pressured to use formula very early on. Milk Supply goes into question and pediatricians, who are often lacking in sufficient breastfeeding knowledge, give misguided advice to the mom, like pumping to see how much milk she has or giving formula after each nursing session. Or the pediatrician may quickly recommend a visit to an endocrinologist, where baby will have to undergo intrusive testing, when it may not even be necessary. Even my own pediatrician was giving out booby-trap information and saying that babies urine output had nothing to do with if they got enough milk (which is incorrect)
Many pediatricians also do not take size of the parents and their family genetics into account. I have known mothers who barely skim 5 feet tall and are married to 5 foot 6 inch tall men that are concerned because their doctor said their breastfed baby is only at the 5% line. Typically, tiny couples do not have enormous babies. Many families have told me that their doctors didn’t even take the size of the parents or their families into account when decided that their baby was suffering.
While doctors are being urged to switch to the WHO chart, since breast milk has been universally agreed upon to be the healthier option and should be the standard for infant diet, many doctors have not yet gotten on board since the AAP has not made any updated guidelines specifying chart use. Some pediatricians have begun tracking BMI, which seems to be a balanced way of measuring all babies, whether breastfed or formula fed but it has continued to give parents stress about their child being in a healthy range for their age, since a toddler at 50% for weight and 10% at height will now fall under obese.
Try not to stress too much. Ask your pediatrician what chart he/she is using and what other factors he is taking into consideration before getting worried about baby size. And If you breastfed infants health is in question- please, Go to a Lactation Consultant! IBCLC’s are 10x more trained to deal with and help you with breastfeeding issues, including evaluating your milk supply, over the pediatrician. Good Luck mama!
If you are hoping to some day have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) here are some tips from a mom who has been there and had two successful VBACs
1) Find Provider who really believes in VBAC
Do not just go to a doctor (or midwife) who “is nice” or already has your records or is closest to your home. Sometimes, having a VBAC is not convenient. Sometimes we have to go out of our way and research birth providers and hospitals and homebirth midwives. We have to schedule consult appointments and bring long lists of interview questions. We have to not just hear his answers to our VBAC questions but read the look in his eyes while he answers and read between the lines of what he is saying. Find someone who does not just allow VBAC or will permit you a “trial of labor” but who says “YES! We believe in VBAC! We love VBACs. We have excellent VBAC stats- here, let me show you just how great our VBAC success is…..”. Also, the hospital they deliver at, if it is a hospital delivery, should reflect that they have good VBAC stats too. If they have a high Cesarean Rate, question that. Is it because there’s a large high risk practice delivering there? ect..
2) Read Positive VBAC Stories
Read Read and Read some more about other moms who have had VBACs. Read positive hospital VBAC stories, birth center stories, and HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) stories. Wash your mind in positive experiences of others. Take mental notes on what helped each mom, what didn’t help them, what made her birth a success. Anytime fear or thoughts of failure come into your mind, pull out those awesome success stories and go over your positive birth affirmations. Believe in yourself. Believe in your body. Trust your body and your baby that as a team- you can healthily, and awesomely deliver vaginally.
3) Get a Doula
Times this by a thousand if planning a hospital birth. She is worth the price to have on your side. A doula is someone who will stand by you and remind you that you CAN do this. She knows how to set the mood, where to add pressure to relieve your pain, what words to speak to keep your motivation up and, though she cannot make any medical decisions for you, she can make sure you are hearing and understanding the situation before you agree to any changes in your birth plan. Though many of you will have your spouse with you, it is still a great benefit to have a doula. A spouse can often get overwhelmed by the experience (remember, they are going through this birth with you) and a doula can be there to support you both as you go through this together. Also, mom can know there is someone with her when her spouse goes to the restroom or runs for some coffee or dozes off during a resting period. She is never left alone, which, when we read stories from others, is often when a mom gets pressured by a nurse/OB/midwife into changing from her plan.
4) Stay Clear of Interventions & Restrictions
In most cases, interventions like inductions, epidurals, not being allowed mobility are huge factors keeping a mom from having a successful VBAC. Get in the mindset of having a natural birth from naturally start of labor to drug-free, to being permitted to move about, get in a tub or shower, ect. The less restrictive the labor process is, the better the chances are that a VBAC will be successful. There are always those stories and times where moms do have interference and still have a successful VBAC (my first VBAC, for instance, ended in an epidural and it was still a successful VBAC) but for the most part, any step up in medicalizing the birth is a step down in success rates for both non-VBAC and VBAC moms when striving for vaginal births.
5) Take a Class
Take a non-hospital birthing class. There are tons of great options from Lamaze, to The Bradley Method, to Hypnobabies. Research the different classes and see which one sounds like the best fit for you and take the course. Birthing Classes like these help give you methods for managing labor pain, give you the info on what to expect, and help instill confidence. These are invaluable for any mom, but especially for the VBAC hopeful mother.
6) Love Yourself
No matter what happens or how your last birth was or how your next birth ends, love yourself. You are not a failure. Your body is not broken. You are an amazing mother and had a beautiful baby. Whether that baby leaves your body vaginally or surgically, hold him or her to yourself and let yourself feel loved. Your baby adores you no matter how your birth was and you deserve to feel and know that. I know how heartbreaking it can be to not have *that* birth experience. That one you dream of. That birth you read about on other blogs and see in documentaries. You are a great mother, though and as long as your do everything you can, know that you have done the best with what you have been given and that is all you can ask for from yourself.
I believe in you. I believe in your body and I believe that you CAN and WILL get your VBAC if you want it. You’ve got this. Your body knows what to do. Your baby is fantastic. You’ve done your homework and you are ready. Trust yourself.
One thing most parents have to deal with at one time or another is a baby with a cold. A cold is very probable if they are around older kids, attend any kind of child care (even if it is just at the gym or church) but even the stay-at-home babies without much time with other germy kids occasional catch colds. Even for an experienced mom it can be difficult to remember everything to do and what we CAN do for these little booger babies but for a first time mom it can be down right over whelming. So here are some “what to expects” and what you can do to help-
- Breastfeeding Can Become Difficult
This is due to having a stuffed nose. Ever try to drink down a big old gulp of water while your nose is completely stuffed? Or spend too much time swimming under water and have to come up gasping for air? That’s what eating is like now for your nursling. Every second on the breast is a moment of struggling for breath. Moms will notice baby to unlatch every few seconds. This can make nursing really frustrating for mom and baby. Not only is baby having a hard time eating and getting his or her belly full of milk, mom may start feeling a bit on the engorged side. While non of this is fun, it is normal and as soon as baby can breathe a bit easier, he or she should nurse normally again and make up for being a light nurser during that period of time.
- Try nursing baby in a more upright position. Being upright helps open the airways and makes breathing through the nose easier.
- Hand express or use a pump to ease engorgement and keep breast stimulated so these is no dip in supply from the slow nursing days.
- Stay patient and relaxed. Speak comfortingly to your baby. It can be stressful for them to struggle to nurse too.
- Sleeping Becomes Difficult
Again, laying down flat stuffs baby’s nose right up. Frequent night waking can be an understatement of what night time is like with a sick baby. There may also be an increased amount of coughing occuring during the night, as a result of post nasal drip. A sleep deprived mommy and baby is another one of those obnoxious normals when sickness is brewing
- If baby is sleeping in their ow bassinet or crib, the mattress can be propped in an incline to keep baby from lying completely flat.
- If cosleeping, mom will probably find herself needing to prop baby up while craddling him or her in her arm. This can be more comfortable if mom props several pillows up behind herself so she is sitting up a bit herself.
- Another sleep option is a recliner for mom to sit in and hold baby on her chest.
- In whatever room baby is sleeping in- there should be a cool mist humidifier running to keep the air moist, and help loosen mucous in baby’s airways. A few drops of peppermint oil can be helpful too.
- Some parents claim that Vicks vapo rub on baby’s feet with socks over also helps baby sleep and helps breathing.
***cosleeping disclaimer- While I fully support (and practice) cosleeping myself, be safe while cosleeping! Do not place baby on the edge of a bed, chair or otherwise. If parent is too tired to remain self aware of baby while resting together, find another sleeping arrangement, please.
- There Will Be Boogers
Oh the boogers! They will probably begin with just a little clear drip and then can turn yellow or green. Hopefully, they stay clear, though! They will run them, sneeze them, blow nose bubbles with them, get them on you shirt and if it’s really glamorous, you’ll even get some on your breast while nursing. The joys of motherhood.
- Keep the boogers coming out! Out may not be pretty but it’s a ton better than not running out for their health.
- Use breastmilk as saline (Or use a baby Saline). IT can be sprayed right up the nose from the breast (messy but can work) or use some expressed milk and a dropper to get the milk right up there. This is great because not only will it help loosen mucous, breastmilk is full of antibodies that fight illness and infections.
- Suction the nose! While most people are more familiar with the bulbs for nose suctioning, these do not really work amazing and they breed germs. Getting a Nosefrida is the best for clearing out baby mucous! While it can look a bit disturbing, there is a filter in it and nothing actually goes to the parents mouth!
- Keep the humidifier running during day time house too to keep moisture in the air and prevent mucous from drying and crusting and clogging up baby
It is always a little alarming when our little one starts running hot but it typically is not something to worry about. Fever is the bodies way of killing the germs in it. If baby runs a fever for a day or two of a cold, this is just baby dealing with illness properly and efficiently. If fever gets high, baby gets lethargic, or fever doesnt go away after a day or so (or if you have any feeling that baby needs to be checked on) call your doctor
- For low grade fevers that do not seem to be bothering baby- it’s good to let it run its course, but if fever is bothersome- rotating between tylenol and motrin can be helpful (be careful with dosage. If baby has never had it or unsure of how much, get a hold of doctor first)
- Plan For Poop
I’m sure parents deal with enough poop from their babies but now it may become a lot more mucousy. After a few days of lots of mucous, it’s normal to start noticing very mucousy stools. They may be greener, or more yellow than normal and runnier, and way more frequent than their normal amount of pooping. Also, the frequent bowel movements can cause some diaper rash as well.
- Check the diaper often! Even if there is no smell or full feeling diaper, the mucous can change the bowel movements so that it does not give off it’s normal clues that a diaper change is needed.
- Keep all diaper supplies on hand a plenty of them. Diapers, wipes, outfit changes and lotion (or Coconut oil) for any rash that occurs
- Follow Your Gut
As silly as it sometimes feels to bring a baby to the doctor for a cold (I mean, there is not much that can be done for colds but wait them out) If your gut feels there is something wrong or the baby should be checked out, then bring them to be checked out. Peace of mind is worth the copay. If you have a hunch that your baby should be checked on, have them checked on!
**Medical Disclosure** I am not a doctor, nurse, or any kind of health professional. These tips are purely experience based & advice I have received in the past from my own pediatrician and friends- from their personal experiences****
I am in no way associated with any companys. My reviews are pure opinion pieces. I payed full price for this product and was not at all bribed or influenced to lie or exaggerate about my experiences.
You may have heard of the Babyhawk mei tai carrier. Maybe you have one already and know all of this that I’m about to tell you. But in case you havent heard of them or had the pleasure of using one of their carriers, you should know, they are not lieing when they say they are “the cure to the common carrier”!
First, when you get on the babyhawk website , you will find OPTIONS. More fabric designs than you can think up are available. And for those of us who are super indecisive (or just in love with too many designs to pick only one), there is the option of a double sided carrier. That was a major win for me, who likes my carrier to somewhat match my outfit. I am wearing it after all, it should match! So, I spend approximately 3 hours deciding what design I want with what color carrier. OH, I should say- I very enjoyable 3 hours. After I finally got settled on what I was content to be my carrier- I spent another hour deciding what the perfect design would be for my BFF if she ever has a baby. And what I would get my neighbor if they ever have a baby. And what I would get myself if I got a second carrier. I guess you can say, I enjoyed designing carriers on their site!
If you don’t like spending hours designing custom carriers, or you want to get the carrier quicker and not wait for it to be made (not that they take that long but custom always takes longer than premade) they do have a premade section and from what I can see- it looks like that are pretty awesome at putting designs together as well. So that is also an option.
I got my babyhawk for my second daughter. I didnt use it with her until she was already a good solid, sitting up sized baby. There was a slight learning curve to getting it put on just right and learning to get baby safely in and out of it but I already had experience with baby wraps and these were way easier and quicker than a wrap carrier. I quickly learned that the X on my chest while doing a back carrier was NOT a flattering look for my milk engorged self and checked their website and found in their instructions that they have fantastic picture with written out instructions for a back carry that is more like a backpack and doesn’t mark my chest like there is buried treasure down there. And for those like me who really need to SEE what to do, they even have video footage of how to do their carries.
In this picture of me babywearing Ariel, I was just learning how to use my babyhawk. She was a little too low and I figured out how to strap her in better after this but even with still being in the learning stages and not having a perfect tie, we were both comfortable, happy and she was 150% safe. Babyhawks website and talking to others who had been using mei tai’s longer helped me perfect my carry quickly.
I continued to use and enjoy my babyhawk for some time. I even used it quite a bit after I got pregnant again, finding a snug way to strap Ariel in without getting in the way of my growing baby belly. It was absolutely on my list of top 3 favorite carriers.
And then I had Grace.
When Grace was born I was curious about how the babyhawk would work out for a newborn. I had heard of people using mei tai’s for infants but I was definitely leery and thought that it could be dangerous, imagining the sides of it just giving her too much space and allowing her to plop right out of it. I looked up some photos of others using mei tai carriers for newborns and decided to give it a careful try.
I placed it a little higher to keep her on my chest, just like I would hold her without a carrier and carefully froggy-legged her in there and oh my! Perfection. The carrier snuggly closed in around her body as I tied it and held her securely to me. She was comfy and happy in there and fell right to sleep on me and I was free to move and play with my toddlers and make meals and do all the mom duties I had to do, all while getting to hold my newborn close to me. My Babyhawk quickly upgraded to being my number 1 favorite carrier for being able to so nicely accommodate my newborn.
Grace is now 9 months old and my babyhawk is still my go to carrier whether I’m home or going shopping and I’m sure it will continue to be for many years, since it still holds my toddlers so comfortably as well. I have recommended this carrier to friends with toddlers, older babies, and young babies and if there’s one thing we all end up having in common, it’s a love for babyhawk. I have used some mom made and off brand mei tai’s, and while their basic design is the same, they are never as comfortable as my babyhawk, which is full of padding for shoulders. Even the other brands that have some shoulder padding, it just is never done as well as theirs.
I know a lot of moms are often hesitant to buy this carrier for a young baby, but I cannot say enough good things. For many of us, buying a carrier that will only last a few months and then switching to another carrier isn’t always an affordable option and this carrier is the solution! Not to mention, it is on the low end of carrier cost when comparing high quality carriers. Many of the good, seated carriers cannot be found for under $100 but if you keep your babyhawks design simplictic and don’t add too many extra features, it’s easy to keep the carrier cost under $100. That really cannot be beat for a carrier that gets such long use! As they say, it’s the cure to the common carrier. After using mine for 2 years now, my babyhawk is in just as good of shape as it was when it first arrived. I feel confident in telling you that this is a fantastic product that will last a long time and get good use!
and here for a little gallery of me and some other babyhawk loving moms and dads-