Guest Post by Laura Langham
My son and I struggled with breastfeeding from the get-go. I heard about lip and tongue ties and I suspected he had one from the very beginning, but a fellow mom assured me he didn’t.
We became dependent on a nipple shield, though I never wanted to use it in the first place. I was so desperate to make our nursing relationship last that I kept with it. After about 6-7 months, my son stopped practically gaining weight and even lost a few oz. I had a nagging feeling inside me that it was the tie I had suspected all along.
I took him to his pediatrician and he told me that my son had normal frenulum and insisted so much that I was doing something wrong and starving my child that he reported us to the local child protective services. Their investigation concluded that his claims were unfounded and that we were taking good care of our son, but it led me to some amazing IBCLCs that referred me to an ENT. The ENT’s visit finally came and the doctor confirmed what I had insisted was the problem all along—a tongue and upper lip tie.
Within 2 weeks, we had them both cut through electrocautery, and within 2 weeks, my son had started gaining more than adequate weight. The months of breastfeeding through the ties (and with the nipple shield) did a number to my milk supply because proper suction was never established, but his nursing got so much stronger and more frequent after having his ties taken care of.
About The Author:
Laura Langham is a mother to two amazing children, with one on the way, wife to her awesome husband and a friend to anyone in need.
There are many decisions that we make as parents. We have to decide how many sweets we keep in the house, how much TV time our kids get, and we have to decide if we will be following the CDC’s vaccine schedule or use an alternative schedule.
While the majority of the public does not stop to consider their options in vaccines but follow the doctors schedule, some of us choose to question how much and how often we are willing to give our children vaccinations.
Neither route is wrong.
There are people, of course, on both sides of the argument who will vehemently argue that the other party is wrong. Either wrong for questioning the safety or practice of vaccines or wrong that the parent doesn’t do more of their own research on vaccines, it is important to state that neither option is right or wrong. It is only what is right for YOUR family and the only thing wrong is assuming your family’s method is best for every family.
Vaccinations is a touchy subject. People feel very strongly on it one way or another. It can be hard to have cool, mellow discussions on vaccines with others, especially when one is searching for more information and looking to their peers to see what they chose to do.
Families choosing to research vaccines and find studies are often left disappointed with the amount of (or lack of) well done studies that exist.
In the end the choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate does exist and is the parents to make, despite how those around feel about it.
First, All states in the US have vaccine exemptions for school children who are not vaccinated.
-All states have the standard medical exemption, which is only accessible to a child with an established, medically proven, allergy to vaccine ingredients that has been documented by the pediatrician (or other medical facility like a hospital) and the doctor can show that information to the school system.
-Most states have the option of a religious exemption. By religious, it means that vaccinating conflicts with your families personal (or religious) beliefs.
-Some states have the option of a philosophical exemption- where the reason for not vaccinating can be further removed from the “religious” aspect and more just because the parent isn’t comfortable with it or has a personal reason for not agreeing with vaccines.
It’s important to look up your specific states laws on how to register an unvaccinated (or not fully vaccinated, if doing an alternative schedule) child into school for any families planning on public school.
When thinking about doing an alternative vaccine schedule, there are multiple ways to approach the subject.
-One can choose to Fully vaccinate but administer the vaccines more spread out. Many parents are concerned about how many vaccines their child is given at one time and how that can overwhelm their tiny bodies. They instead make arrangements with their pediatrician where they only get one vaccine at an appointment and make more frequent appointments to get all the vaccines administered in the “correct” time frame still. This method is also great for those who are also watching their child for potential allergies and want to know exactly what vaccine their child is reacting to.
– A Parent may also choose to selectively vaccinate depending on issues like ingredients in the vaccine or the risk of the vaccine vs the risk of the illness it is for. For example, One parent may decide to not use any vaccines that include aborted fetal cells because of their personal discomfort or religious stance on the ingredient. Or a parent may decide to skip vaccines like rotavirus vaccine or the chickenpox vaccine because they feel the vaccine itself carries more potential problems than the illness’s it’s suppose to prevent or that it’s protection rates are not high enough to be worth exposing the child to the ingredients it contains.
– Parents may also choose to decline all vaccines, which is what we refer to as “unvaccinated”. There are just as many reasons for families to choose this option as there are families who choose it. Sometimes it’s because of ingredients in the vaccines, sometimes fear of vaccine reactions, and sometimes it’s purely because they feel a healthy natural immune system is more effective than a vaccine induced immune system.
Rarely, if ever, do families choose not to vaccinate because of autism fears. Despite how many articles and “professionals” claim that autism is the (poor) reason for not vaccinating, most families who choose not to vaccinate have reasons that have nothing to do with the risks (whether real or not) of autism.
Blaming “trends” and “lack of education”
I hear a lot of people accusing unvaccinating parents of just being sheep and blindly following other ignorant people. This is an offensive assumption and is not winning over anyone to the “vaccine team”. While there may be a small percentage of parents who follow others in not vaccinating without properly educating themselves on vaccines, illnesses, risks, benefits, studies- ect, the majority of families who choose not to vaccinate or follow an alternative vaccine schedule do not make that decision lightly or info-less. Actually, the majority have passionately and maybe borderline obsessively studied and researched before coming to a final decisions.
We know how to identify illness. We know that a dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, red eyes..ect could mean measles. We also know that 95% of children with polio show no symptoms and in the 4-8% of children who are symptomatic, it shows itself as a mild flu and about .1% of those cases can be the more severe paralytic form of polio. We can also tell you about 60,000 cases of polio that occurred in 1952 and that about 3,000 children died that year from it. We are not blindly following trends or uneducated. This decision weighed on us and we chose to take the path that best fit our family’s beliefs and lifestyle and felt right for us. Before assuming any nonvaccinating family chose to avoid vaccines for shallow reasons or because of blind, uneducated fear- try talking to them and opening up a conversation with them in a nonjudgmental way. Or, just accept that whatever their reasons are that it was still their legal right to make them- because in the end- whether your reasons are good or poor or based on education or following the crowd – vaccinate or not vaccinate- the decision is still yours to make, as the parent of your child.
– Nonvaccinating families have always existed. Not vaccinating is no new trend. What has become more widespread is knowing that the family next door, or your cousin or that child in your kids class is not vaccinated, due to social media and people sharing more private information in a more public way. The unvaccinated families have always been here, though. We are not a new trend. We are now just more public, thanks to twitter and facebook and other forms of media sharing.
I respect your decision, whatever it is. It is not an easy one to make and the results can be unpredictable no matter what path you choose. You can be the vaccinating parent whose child ends up with a permanent seizure disorder from the HPV vaccine or the unvaccinating parent whose child gets Pertussis (whooping cough). Or you more than likely will be the parent who chose whichever path felt right for their family and it all worked out fine and your family grew healthy and happily. Either way, it’s a major decision to make and one we should never assume others took lightly.
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!
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****