Baby Stuff: Must Haves

As our third child, June really shouldn’t need anything. I saved EVERYTHING from Reese and James’s baby days. Clothes, shoes, toys, bassinets, cribs, rockers, literally everything. When I was pregnant I was determined not to buy anything else, baby stuff has a way of slowly taking over your house until you are drowning in it. And baby instagrams, blogs, and advertisers make you think that you need EVERYTHING! I mean how did the pilgrims ever have all those children without an HD video monitor that could connect to Wifi so they could share snapshots with their friends?? Times were trying.

However, after our first sleepless night in the hospital (June had a marathon night where she was awake and fussing from 11 PM until 5 AM), Andrew and I would have paid any amount of money for any magic sleep suit, dock a kid, miracle bed, whatever! We have softened in our old age and one sleepless night had us Amazon Priming it up at 5:30 AM, in search of some baby sleep trick gimmick.

Since being home, there are a few things that have made these first few weeks easier, and a few that I could not have lived without.

Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play Sleeper

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I know I am late to the party on this one, but this thing has been saving us at night. We got a hand me down rock and play from my sister and June has slept in it almost every night since we got home. She sleeps so much better in this than in the co-sleeper that we have. The co-sleeper was initially attractive to me because it kept the baby close to me and was also recommended for moms who had c-sections because you wouldn’t have to get out of the bed to get the baby. I didn’t find it easier though, I still had to completely sit up then kneel and reach into the bassinet to get her and lift her out. It was an awkward motion and after the first night I was in pain from all the moving. I don’t know if it was just our bed, but the sleeper never lined up directly with our bed, so I couldn’t just roll the baby into my bed and feed her, which is what I had imagined. The downside of the rock and play is that I did have to get completely out of bed to get the baby when she woke, but it cradled her, and she wasn’t just lying flat on a firm mattress like in a crib or bassinet. June loves it, and right now, she sleeps for 3 and sometimes even 4 hour stretches in it at night. I wish I had had this for Reese and James!

Swaddle Me Blankets
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I have used these with all of my kids and they are the best, especially in the first few weeks when the babies are itty bitty and still craving that womb-like feeling. Having their hands cuddled inside stopped their startle reflex from constantly waking them, and since you can’t use blankets, I never had to worry about them being cold. Also, the SwaddleMe brand was my favorite because the newborn sizes fit June perfectly and they never creep up around her face and mouth like some of the other brands do.

Reusable Nursing Pads
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I love reusable things. With the first two kids, I used disposable nursing pads, which were fine, but if I ran out of them I was screwed would have to stuff toilet paper in my bra all day long. I also hated how fast I went through them. This time I tried some organic bamboo nursing pads that I found on Amazon and I LOVE them. They are super absorbent and soft, you can wear them longer than the disposable ones and you can use them over and over. They are a little more bulky, so sometimes they can show through a thinner bra and shirt, but for the most part I love these. They are machine washable (I just throw them in with our regular laundry) and even come with a washing bag so they don’t get lost in the black holes that are my washer and dryer.

If You’re Nursing, A Good Pump
normalInsurance will now give you a free breast pump (holler!) but I still use the one that I got when Reese was born, the Medela Freestyle. My insurance didn’t provide a pump when Reese was born, but I was working at the time, pumping three times a day, and needed something that was easy. I bought the Freestyle and I don’t think I could have lasted a year of breastfeeding without it. It’s hands-free so I could continue working while I was pumping and the pump itself is small enough to hold in one hand and walk around with if needed. The battery life is long, so you aren’t tied to a plug the whole time you’re pumping, and the bag and cooler that are provided are small and make transporting everything easy. When I had James I got the free pump that insurance provided but ended up donating it because I just continued to use the Freestyle. This time, after hearing that my pump was 5 years old the nurses at the hospital basically insisted that I get a new one through insurance. The Freestyle isn’t covered completely, so you still have to pay out-of-pocket for a portion of it (I’m not exactly sure how much.) But because of that, I just got one that was free, the Medela Pump in Style. I still prefer the Freestyle though and continue to use it, and after two years of pumping it still works great. If you are working and planning on breastfeeding I would definitely recommend paying more for the Freestyle; the bag, the hands-free option and the small size make everything SO much easier. If you won’t need something every day, I would just use the free one through insurance; the Pump In Style gets the job done it’s just harder to tote around and doesn’t come with a bag to carry all that crap in.

And We’re Done

A few months ago I would have told you that I couldn’t wait until Reese was fully transitioned to milk and I could stop breastfeeding. Dragging my pump to and from work each day, leaking, engorgement, the anxiety of wondering if I would produce enough milk for Reese to have while I was at work, staying up late to pump, waking up early to pump, nursing pads, nursing bras, sterilizing, washing, forgetting my pump at home and having to leave work early (and in some cases making Andrew drive it in to me), clogged milk ducts, the list goes on. I was anxious to kiss all of these things goodbye, to wear a normal bra again and to be free of the reoccurring fear that someone would somehow open my locked office door while I was pumping and see me, shirt lifted, looking ridic.

Now that the time is here, these feelings have changed a little and I find myself experiencing the twinge of sadness that I have heard mothers can feel when baby stops nursing.

It turns out that it is the moments that nursing brought us that I will miss the most; stealing Reese away from a party to feed her in the quiet of an upstairs bedroom, or her first meal of the day in the early morning light of her nursery.

After eleven months of breastfeeding, Reese is taking to whole milk like a champ and doesn’t seem all that phased by the weaning process. I had anticipated a struggle from her; many tears, sleepless nights etc., but she has moved effortlessly into the next phase of babyhood while I am left wishing she would stay in this moment just a little longer.

But when I’m thinking wistfully of the moments I’ll miss with my girl, I remind myself that I’ll never again have to awkwardly leave someone’s office mid-sentence because my boob is leaking through my dress, or remove a nursing pad that staggering amounts of people  failed to mention was stuck to my back  all day long.

These moments I can do without.

Fenugreek Review

In just about three months my little Reesie pants will hit a major milestone. She will turn one year old!

With the first birthday will come a change that has been on my mind for a while now.

Weaning.

After almost 10 months of nursing, Reese is slowly starting to nurse less and eat solids more. Can you blame her? She knows whats good.  

Because she is nursing so little lately, my milk supply has slowly been decreasing. She still needs some milk while I am at work Monday-Thursday (I work from home on Fridays) and some days I don’t pump enough for her to have the following day.

I wanted to continue exclusively breastfeeding until her first birthday, so after some research I decided to try the Fenugreek supplements. Supposably (just kidding) Supposedly, the Fenugreek seed  increases milk supply, so I picked up a bottle of Fenugreek capsules at Whole Foods (100 pills for $8.99.)

Here’s the verdict.

Effectiveness: It works.I saw an increase in supply in about 3 days; although it was not as much as I had expected. I have been getting about 1 oz more per pumping session. I’m satisfied with this. At this point, Reese is not drinking that much milk so every little bit counts.

Dosage: I took 2 pills (610 mg each) three times a day with meals. Doesn’t that seem like a ton?? It’s the suggested dosage on the bottle.  KellyMom says that studies showed no difference in a mother’s milk supply unless at least 3500 mg of Fenugreek a day is taken, so I guess this is a good amount. FYI bottle says these are not safe to take if prego.

Side Effects: I haven’t experienced any side effects except for smelling like maple syrup (surprisingly, not necessarily in a good way.) Reese’s diaper even smelled like maple syrup when I took it off of her the other morning. Ha!

Overall I would recommend it if you need a boost. Although I didn’t see a huge difference , there definitely was some increase, and it helped catch me up on my supply a little bit.

Next up: The dreaded weaning from the pacifier.  We’re a little nervous about this one.