Friday, October 26, 2007

Cosleeping and Crying it Out

A recent Harvard Medical School study reports that letting your baby "cry it out" can cause brain damage! The authors of this study say that parents should respond to their infant's cries quickly, keep them close to them and they also advocate co-sleeping with parents.

I have to admit that before I became a parent I sometimes gave out some unsolicited parenting advice (sorry to you recipients of that) and that having a baby of my own has definitely changed a lot of my ideas about parenting. First of all I think that parents just have to do what works for them. It is a lot easier to give advice about how to raise a kid than it is to follow it ;) .

before Lily, I was pretty much in the anti-cosleeping camp. I thought it would be hard on the parents' relationship etc... Now we practice cosleeping with Lily (with her cosleeping bed) and I can't imagine not doing so. I think sleeping together feels more natural and also makes all of us feel more secure.

I also used to think it was ok to let a baby cry it out :) it is kinda funny to me now that I think about the fact that in Lily's nearly 4 weeks of life she has never cried unattended (unheld and uncomforted) for more than like 30 seconds.

Admittedly she is not a crier anyway, but I have found that I really cannot stand it when she does cry. It stresses me out and makes me very nervous... so I get to her right away and luckily she calms down easily.

Now that I see this study I'm glad that I am already sleeping next to her and attending to her cries. Whether or not the study is right I'd have to say that taking care of her and not letting her just cry instinctively feels right and I'm pretty sure it can not harm her as much as letting her cry might.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Attachment vs. Other Parenting Philosophies

Lately I've been reading through the message boards on a site called "Mothering dot commune" it is an attachment parenting/breastfeeding/ co-sleeping etc sort of site and I find the message boards quite interesting. if you want to check it out the URL is

While some of the parents who post there seem to be pretty reasonable and intelligent, I think this is a great place to find some very far out ideas about parenting. One common theme that I find there, that interests me, is that of attachment parenting.

I don't know that I am at all interested in finding some particular style of parenting and sticking to it. I doubt that there is ever a one size fits all; or even one style that fits my family in every aspect. I would say that there are many AP ideas that I like. First, I am a big fan of not implementing a cry it out (cio) policy. Honestly, I don't think I could handle letting Lily cry it out and I want her to know that she is not alone when she is distressed, whatever the problem might be. Attachment parenting is also against the CIO idea, so we agree there.

Eric and I have also found that co-sleeping is an arrangement that works really well for us. This is also a big AP thing, but that was not the impetus for us making this choice. The thing is that when Lily was born she sometimes would choke (on leftover amniotic fluid in her lungs they said) while she was sleeping. When this happened she could not breathe until we suctioned her out or turned her upside down and helped clear her airway. Needless to say, this scared the bejesus out of us. The first time it happened was when she was maybe 2 days old. It was the middle of the night and Lily was sleeping in the plastic hospital crib next to my hospital bed. Eric was sleeping on the couch they provide for partners. In the middle of the night I am woken up by the sound of Lily chocking and, having just had abdominal surgery, was unable to get to her quickly. I yelled for Eric to grab her, and he did, but it took longer than I was comfortable with.

After that I was way too worried to even consider having her sleep anywhere than with me. At that time there was zero risk of me rolling over on her (you can't roll over without waking up when you have an abdominal incision) and since then she still shares our bed. Now, though she has her own bed inside of ours. It has hard sides so that we couldn't roll over on her and still she is close enough that we can attend to her if she has a problem or wakes up. This is working well for us.

In all I think AP has some good ideas. I think it is a great thing to make sure that your child knows that you are there when they want or need you. I don't believe it is possible to "spoil" an infant and I believe that being held and cuddled with will help our child develop properly and feel like she is loved (not that she wouldn't otherwise).

The thing is that, as in all things, I see some people who take this too far. People who say they are breastfeeding 40 times a day (that must be hell on the mommy) and never put their baby down. Yeah, we hold Lily for the greater part of the day, and other than during tummy time we hold her whenever she's awake, but we put her down when she is napping and make sure that she has at least some alone playtime (not much at 3 weeks of course). I just wonder how, if you hold your baby ALL of the time, they will get the chance to learn to crawl and play independently. IMO babies and children need some time to play on their own, even if it is right beside you, so that they can develop their sense of independence on their own schedule. If you never give them a chance to walk/crawl away from you then how will they learn to explore their world?

I guess I will refer back to what I hope to achieve as a parent (something I think Eric and I completely agree on). I really hope that I/we are able to find a balance as parents and avoid getting too fanatical about anything. While I think I'll lean a bit closer to the AP ideals I think I hope we can maintain a flexible and laid back attitude about what we end up doing and figuring out what works best for Lily and for us.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Caesarian Recovery and Breastfeeding Sleepyhead

I was really nervous about the surgery. I read a lot of board postings and articles about recovering from a section and everything seemed to say that it was horrible, painful and long. I was ready, but scared, for a lot of pain and weakness. I'm happy to say it really wasn't too bad.

For the first 36 hours or so I had no real pain. They put some long lasting drug into the spinal before removing it and it kept me from feeling too much. After they removed the IV and Cath (24 hours post-delivery) I was able to get out of bed and sit in the glider next to it. Yeah, it hurt a little to stand up, but it wasn't even close to unbearable.

By the next day I was taking pain killers (percoset and motrin) but was up and around, walking the halls. We went with Lily to the nursery to watch as they weighed her and checked her temp. Every day was a little better than the one before. By monday I was able to take a short walk outside with a friend, and by Wed. when we were released I was able to walk up the Stairs to Eric's apartment without any pain at all.

I'm happy to say that I didn't have any of the horrible gas pains I'd been warned about by so many people. The incision ached a little, and still does from time to time, but nothing more than an irritation. In all I'd say recovery has been probably easier than I would have ever dreamed it might be... maybe too easy since it seems I may have become too active too soon and it may be affecting my milk supply.

And about Breastfeeding... I REALLY want to be able to breastfeed Lily for at least 6 months, and hopefully a year. We had a bit of a rough start. While she was awake and latched on easily right after she was born, she soon became what is often called a "sleepy baby."

It is apparently somewhat common for infants born a little early (she was called near term) to be extra sleepy afterward. Lily would have slept 24 hours a day for the first week or so, if we'd let her, and while many people dream of a newborn that will let them sleep through the night, she wouldn't even wake up to eat.

In the hospital she lost 10% of her birthweight pretty quickly and, unfortunately we had to supplement her a bit with formula. Since then, while she nurses ok most of the time, it's been really tough trying to maintain a good milk supply for her :(

Once she woke up (more) she began to eat a little better. At her 2 week appointment she was still an ounce under her BW but the Dr. doesn't seem too concerned. We just have to take her in for another visit at 1 month to make sure she's gaining ok.

So now, even though she seems to be growing, I am worried about having enough to feed her. It kind of sux to not be able to tell how much she's getting at a feeding and I still worry that she's not interested enough in eating to complain if she's getting too little. Luckily, the dr said I can stop by and have her weighed anytime I want, I just hope that I am able to keep breastfeeding her exclusively (or nearly anyway) for at least that 6 months.

Adding to the problem, it seems, of my supply is the fact that I've been pretty active, not slept enough, am taking Buproprion, smoking 3-4 cigarettes a day (couldn't quite quit :( ) and am more than a little stressed out about it. All of these things are bad for supply and even with taking a lot of Fenugreek I still feel like my supply is dwindling (I am getting less and less when I pump) and I'm nearly desperate enough to check in with a Lactation Consultant or La Leche person.

The good news is that she's now alert for several hours a day and seems to be pretty good at eating when we nurse. She's also (just today) come to realize that I am the food source and will stop crying (for a sec) when she's hungry and given to me :) .

It's amazing how much they change every day. I know I will enjoy raising her and will get over my disappointment if the nursing doesn't work out ( :( ) but for right now I'm going to do my best to keep things up and make sure I'm taking every measure to be able to bf.

Happy Birthday to Us!

^^Eric and Lily sleeping^^

On the morning of September 29th I felt like something was going to happen. Throughout the day I was feeling some contractions, but they didn't really hurt. I began timing them in the early afternoon and then, after lunch, around 2pm I called my doctor. They were coming about 2 minutes apart.

It was a Saturday, my regular OB was not on call but his partner got back to me quickly. Since Lily was still breech and he was worried about cord prolapse in case my water broke he told me to go into the hospital. Once there we found that I was having real contractions (even though they didn't hurt and I didn't even always feel them) and I was dilated to 2cm (was at 1 cm on thursday). The doctor decided that it was too dangerous to chance sending me home (again in case of water breaking/prolapse) and told me I'd be having a C-section as soon as I was ready for a spinal (had to be 6 hours post eating) at about 9pm.

It was closer to 10 when they had the OR ready and took me back. I was by this time pretty nervous. I've never had a "real" surgery before (I'm not counting my tonsillectomy at 5) and had read a lot about how painful recovering from a section is. I was also scared about the spinal and if it would hurt badly or if I might move and end up with serious problems.

They shaved me, gave Eric a cool white paper outfit and surgical hat and footies to wear then I went alone to the or for my spinal. It was scary but didn't hurt too bad (actually the IV hurt as bad). Once I was numb they put up drapes and let Eric come in. He was up near my head for the surgery.

Once they started the section Lily was born in a matter of minutes. They held her up for us to see (and Eric was able to see her actually born) and then took her over to be weighed, suctioned and wrapped up. She was pretty heavily covered with Vernix when she was born and looked a little icky with all of the white stuff all over her (it was heavier than it would have been if she'd have waited till her due date) but still beautiful. She had a full head of hair and was bigger than I'd expected.

She weighed 7lbs and 7oz. I'd expected her to be much smaller since she was 2 and a half weeks early. Once swaddled and wiped down they handed her to Eric and he held her while the doctor sewed me up. Before the section he came and talked to me about the surgery and we'd decided a couple of things. First that he would "milk" her cord to help get more of the cord blood into her. If she'd come naturally we would have had them wait to cut the cord until after it had stopped pulsing, but the dr. said he couldn't wait since I'd be open and bleeding and they needed to get my bleeding stopped. Also, the doctor explained to me that while my incision would be bigger than usual (harder to get out a breech baby) there was this little thing he customarily doues with his section patients. While repairing my wound he would stitch the abdominal muscles the same way they do for the internal part of a tummy tuck. This, he says, will help me not have a baby pooch once the swelling goes down and I lose the weight. I was pretty excited about that :)

In all the repair took about 45 minutes. After that Lily was placed on my chest and we were taken down to the recovery room where my mom and new step-dad were waiting. I was a little tired but not in any pain. While in recovery I started nursing Lily, who was awake and alert, and she latched on easily. We were there for about 2 hours before being taken to the room where we would spend the rest of our stay.

Lily came at 10:19pm. I turned 32 at midnight. I kept thinking, and still do, that she is the best birthday present that I've ever gotten. Many people have said that it would have been cool if she'd have waited to be born on my birthday but I think it's close enough. We'll always have birthdays to share together but she has her own...

I've felt (since I was maybe a teenager) that 32 was going to be when my life would "really" start. I'm not a superstitious type of person but I find it an interesting coincidence that she arrived just in time to make that feeling come true. In the past 22 days I have found that I love being a mother much more than I thought I would. While she still doesn't do a whole lot, she already has both Eric and I completely charmed. I really look forward to watching her grow and develop into her own person... I can't wait to see what kind of person that will be.

And I do feel like my life has finally "really" begun. I've led a pretty full life so far. I've done a lot of things and had a lot of experiences. I feel, though, that in having Lily I have accomplished the greatest achievement that I will ever undertake (unless/until we give her a sibling). I don't believe anything I ever create could compare to her perfection and beauty... I look forward to dedicating the large part of the next 18 or so years to her, and hope I am able to give her the kind of life that she deserves to have.

So this was my happy birthday, and hopefully hers. Welcome Lily... we love you!