Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

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Breastfeeding the Newborn May 9, 2009

Filed under: Breastfeeding — Rachel @ 7:01 pm
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My mom is lucky enough to be in California right now, helping out my sister who gave birth to a newborn on Monday.  We just chatted about how everything is going, and she asked me some questions about breastfeeding.  My sister hopes to breastfeed this little one longer than she’s managed before.  Here is some advice I gave her in response to her questions:

  • Skip the Night Bottle idea.  Although it sounds so nice, letting your partner feed baby at night while you get some much-needed sleep isn’t usually a good idea.  In reality, mom will awaken when baby cries for that 3 am feeding.  She’ll have to wake her partner (who is likely to sleep right through it all) to remind him to go fix that bottle.  Off he goes to the kitchen to measure, pour, warm and return.  All the while, baby is crying and mother is… what?  Sleeping while her baby cries?  Probably not.  Holding the baby?  Maybe.  Whether holding or lying still, her milk is definitely letting down and filling up those nursing pads.  All that milk is wasted while she tries to sleep through baby’s noisy gulps.  Now, even if she manages to get into a sleep-through-it-all routine, this itself is still a potential problem.  In order to keep up her breastmilk supply, she needs to be feeding baby or pumping every time baby wants to eat.   By sleeping through one feeding every night, she sets herself up for milk supply problems, all the while allowing her frozen milk supply to dwindle. 
  • Introduce the Bottle around 2 Weeks.  It’s smart to allow mom and baby to grow good and dependent on regular breastfeeding before introducing the bottle.  2 weeks of feeding on demand, with no breaks, will set mom up for a good milk supply.  It also gives baby plenty of time to learn how to latch on before introducing a whole new skill – bottle feeding.  But, don’t wait too long.  By 3 weeks old, introduce the bottle!  Bottle feeding early on lessens your chances of ending up with a baby who won’t take any bottle.
  • Start stocking up on milk now.  Where does the breastmilk for that first bottle come from?  Mom can pump, in addition to her regular on-demand feeding.  But, that’s going to be a lot of hard work!  The easiest way to get a few bottles of milk stowed away is to collect milk during feedings those first few weeks (and beyond, if it works for you).  To do this, place a breast shell on one breast before starting to feed baby.  Feed baby on the opposite side, and watch as your letdown fills up that shell.  Keep cleaning the breast shell between feedings and emptying it into a refrigerated bottle.  At the end of the day, freeze what you’ve collected, which may be a half to a full bottle, depending on your letdown.
  • It’s fine to use a pacifier.  Although experts used to worry that early pacifier use may interfere with establishing breastfeeding, studies have shown that this is not the case.  Apparently, even a newborn gets the difference between an object used for self-soothing, non-nutritional sucking and mom’s breasts – the source of food.  If you plan to use a pacifier, don’t hold back.  Go ahead and let baby suck to sleep!
 

Pacifiers: A no-tear “Phase out” Solution July 5, 2008

Filed under: Baby & Toddler — Rachel @ 5:21 pm
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First-time moms often wonder if they should try pacifiers at all.  Both my babies loved pacifiers, and we found them so helpful for soothing baby when we couldn’t be near (in the car) or when we were trying to teach baby to self soothe (fall asleep without being rocked/held/nursed).  Yet, we had no trouble at all phasing out the pacifier.  This was not because my babies were ready to move on. 

We stopped using the pacifier at 12 months with both of my children.  At the time, they still loved the paci, but we had limited pacifier use to sleepytimes and car rides.  I suggest that you start trying to limit pacifier use and frequency around 4-6 months when the sucking urge is starting to diminish.  And, from the beginning, only offer the pacifier when other methods of soothing (rocking, talking, playing) are not working or are impractical, such as in the car.  At 12 months, you’ll have a child who does depend upon the pacifier to go to sleep and settle down.  But, the secret is, that your child is ready to move on.  He just needs your help.

My super-easy, totally awesome trick for ditching that pacifier at 12 months… Take one pacifier and cut off the tip of the nipple.  Leave a bit of the nipple “trunk”.  Just use scissors to cut off the tip.  Put all of the other pacifiers away where your child will not find them.  Now, give this chopped pacifier to your child when you’re ready to go cold turkey.  Baby will pop it in and then give it a suck, only it won’t “work”.  It just doesn’t suck the same, though it feels pretty much the same to baby’s mouth.  Most babies will take it back out and look at it.  Put it back in.  Fuss a little, but as if to say “what’s going on here?”  The beauty of this moment is that the child does not feel that you withheld anything.  Mommy is not to blame, it’s the pacifier that’s not working. 

Both of my children fussed and cried a little bit the first time I gave them the chopped pacifier.  They were frustrated, not distraught or emotionally affected.  Continue to offer the chopped pacifier at appropriate moments (next naptime, car ride, etc).  After offering this “broken” pacifier 2-4 times, your baby will not want it.  She may even it hand it back to you!  On day 2 or 3 of operation “Phase-out Pacifier” do not offer the pacifier at all at a critical moment.  See what happens.  If you’ve succeeded, your child will not even notice.  With both of my children, we transitioned from pacifier-dependent to totally pacifier free in 2 days, with no traumatic upsets for baby or mommy! 

Note: I began to incorporate “lovey” blankets into my babies’ sleep routines at around 6 months old.  By the time they reached 12 months, they had some affection for the blanket.  I believe that allowing them to maintain the lovey blanket at sleepytimes made it much easier for them to phase out the pacifier.  Now, my 3 1/2-year-old still sleeps with her lovey.  I certainly have no plans to phase out the blankie.  I mean, if she still wants to bring it to sleepovers when she’s 6, that’s her choice!  

 

 

Non-toxic, BPA-free Pacifiers July 3, 2008

Filed under: Baby & Toddler — Rachel @ 5:27 pm
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Pacifiers are not immune to the BPA toxicity issue.  I used Avent pacifiers, which had BPA contaminated plastic backings.  Sigh….  My baby no longer uses pacifiers, but I decided to do some research into safe, non-toxic pacifiers to share with my readers.

If you’re going to buy a conventional pacifier, choose one with a clear silicone nipple.  Silicone is healthier than the synthetic rubber nipples.  Next, check the backing (the hard plastic part to which the nipple attaches).  If it’s clear, hard plastic, it’s probably contaminated with bisphenol-A.  Since baby will treat the pacifier like a toy, mouthing it all over, and breath against the backing when she’s sucking, you do not want to risk the health damages associated with products that contain BPA. 

Now, if you’re looking for the ultimate, non-toxic and eco-friendly pacifier, I definitely recommend those by Natursutten.  Natursutten is a European company that manufactures products in Germany.  Their baby pacifiers and teethers are certified to European safety standards, which are far more progressive and strict than US ones.  EuphoriaBaby.com just started stocking Natursutten’s all natural rubber pacifiers.  They’re molded in one piece, which is super-hygienic.  Mamas know who conventional pacifiers have all those cracks and joints that trap gunk.  Best of all, they’re made from real tree rubber and are completely free of BPA, phthalates, and any chemical nasties. 

Check back later for another post with tips on:

  • How to use pacifiers without creating total dependency
  • How to stop using pacifiers at 12 months old without causing emotional distress