Archive for August, 2011

Classic Starts

Story Time

While the boys and I were at the lake earlier this summer and Greg was home, managing our Chiropractic office he came up with a great idea!  I think he was missing his family and it inspired him to come up with a valuable, educational, and fun way we could spend some time together, and at no cost too!  Greg decided he would like to read classic stories to us every night.  Most of them book that he had never read but always wanted too.  Classic stories in literature such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, “Treasure Island”, “Oliver Twist”, “Black Beauty”, and more.  He told me his idea over the phone one night and I thought it was perfect.

He went to the library and checked out “Gulliver’s Travels” from the library.  The first night we were back he tried to read from the book with Jack, Walt, and I.  It was a fabulous idea but the book he checked out was the original written in old english and slow to start.  Jack was off the couch, wondering the room and talking about his trains after a few minutes.  However it was still a great idea for some quality family time so I got on the library’s website and looked for a juvenile version of that story.  I reserved it along with Greg’s choice for our second book, “Around the World in 80 Days”.

photo from amazon

When the books arrived a few days later Greg chose to start with “Around the World in 80 Days” because he continued to read the adult version of “Gulliver’s Travels” himself and didn’t want to spoil the ending.  The Juvenile books we checked out were from a series called Classic Starts.  They are chapter books, maybe a reading level of 4th-6th grade (just guessing).  They are about 150 pages.  They were perfect for Jack.  He could understand the story line.  It moved fast enough that he could follow but not too fast.  Greg read 1-3 chapters a night of “Around the World in 80 Days” until he finished.  We asked Jack questions throughout the story to make sure he understood what was going on.  We all really enjoyed it.  Upon finishing the story we checked out the movie and watched it.  It was great to see Jack remembering various scenes from the book and he enjoyed watching the show.

We have now started Gulliver’s Travels.  I think this one is a little harder to follow but Jack is hanging in there (he is only 3).  I have been really impressed that he has been able to sit there through several chapters listening.  We thought it would be good for him to listen to the story and use his imagination.  A nice change from the picture books he also enjoys.  I am looking forward to Greg reading us the rest of the Classic Starts and following up with the movies.

The library is such a great resource for families.  My family didn’t frequent the library much and it is something I definitely want to take advantage of with my kids.  Besides kids books there are story time’s for kids, interactive computer games, and adult books and movies too.

Do you visit your local library?  What is your favorite thing about the library?

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Breastfeeding Foe’s: Mastitis and Plugged Ducts, My Experience

PART 2:  The Second Time Around – New Challenges

Ok, so I will warn you, this is REALLY long!  I tried real hard to condense it but I wasn’t very successful.  So read on if you like!  It is very interesting in the end though!

When I found out we were expecting our second, I didn’t think twice about the decision to breastfeed, it was a given.  I also thought it would be much easier this time.  I thought I could prevent any mastitis/plugged duct issues by using the hand pump if I had some engorgement in the first weeks.  I felt confidant that I knew what I was doing the second time around.  I had both a hand and electric pump, plenty of breast cold packs if needed, and Greg made sure to check Walt after birth for any vertebral fixations/subluxations and soft tissue inflammation to ensure he would be comfortable nursing on both sides and to avoid the problem Jack had.

However, it wasn’t that simple.  Nursing was going pretty well the first few days, then, when my milk came in, just like with Jack, I had quite a bit of engorgement.  At least I knew what it was this time and some methods to try to control it.  Although, I wasn’t expecting the engorgement to be so bad the second time around.  I thought my body would know what to do by now.  I think some women, me included, just produce A LOT of milk!  However, I did find out later there was another variable this time causing the problem (keep reading to find out what).

EPISODE 1

During these early days of milk and engorgement I tried to nurse as often as I could but Walt was very sleepy all the time.  It was hard to keep him alert as often as I needed him to nurse.  I  also tried not allowing Walt to sleep long periods without nursing.  Well, I did allow him to go 4 hours at night (this kid wanted to sleep and after 2 yrs of sleep deprivation with Jack I really didn’t want to interrupt that) yet I didn’t want mastitis either but I thought 4 hours would be ok at night.   I tried to nurse on both sides at each feeding.   I mistakenly cut him off  early on the first side and switched sides for fear he would fall asleep and not nurse on the 2nd side.  I was using the hand pump a little to relieve some pressure but I didn’t use it to empty my breasts completely (mistake again).  I also tried hand expressing in the shower and using cold pack’s to decrease inflammation and prevent inflamed ducts.  However, I was a milk producing machine and my efforts could not keep the engorgement under control.  I felt like Walt was latching on alright and to me, appeared to be sucking the same as Jack did (although that was 3 yrs ago).  I didn’t think the problem was Walt.  Also, he didn’t have trouble being uncomfortable while nursing thanks to Daddy’s adjustments.

I was getting desperate though.  The engorgement was getting out of control very quickly despite my efforts and experience. I talked to my midwives and told them I was struggling with the engorgement.  Abby gave me several articles on different nursing techniques and info on mastitis and plugged ducts all from La Leche League.  It was great to have so much info but it was a little overwhelming because I didn’t know which of the many tips to try first, but it was all great info to have! (I will share some more of that in a future post).  It reaffirmed I was doing some things right, a few things I needed to change and it gave me new techniques to try for relief of the engorgement.  I did try some of the suggestions in the articles but continued to be engorged.  I was really worried I would end up with a fever and the whole cascade of symptoms that followed with Jack.  I had already started to get a small headache, the first sign I had with mastitis with Jack. Midwife Kelley then suggested calling Jessica Buell, a lactation consultant-in-training (and apprentice midwife, and doula – lady of many talents).  I was feeling VERY desperate by the time I called her, and probably hormonal and emotional from just having given birth less than a week prior.  She was fabulous on the phone.  She listened, asked me questions, then gave me a regimen to follow for 24 hours then I was to check back in with her.   I felt so much better after talking to Jessica.  I think the 24 hr. regimen gave me a focus and she seemed very confidant in it on the phone which made me feel confidant and a little more in control of things.  I followed her  instructions exactly and started to feel some relief.  I checked in with Jessica the next day and she modified my regimen slightly for the next 24 hours (I was better but still over-producing milk).  By the third day I felt back in control, engorgement was nearly gone and Jessica gave me some tip’s to continue doing and said to call if I had a future problem.  I was SOOOOO thankful to have avoided mastitis, fever, aches, ect.

EPISODE 2

A week or 2 passed and then it started again, UGH!!!  I know many moms out there would love to be overproducing so I shouldn’t complain so much.  I woke up in the middle of the night with mild engorgement (yep, Walt was sleeping through the night woo hoo!). I immediately got up and pumped, emptied my breasts and felt much better and went back to bed.  I thought it wouldn’t be a problem since I pumped as soon as I noticed the mild engorgement.  Well, I have a really sensitive system apparently!  The next evening, even thought the engorgement was gone, I started to get a headache and slight fever this time, Whaaat?!  One little mild engorgement and I was proud of myself for pumping right away…I did not expect this at all!  I wasn’t even engorged anymore after pumping but I still was having the familiar unpleasant symptoms.  I immediately went back to Jessica’s 24 hr regimen she gave me a few weeks prior (I should have called her).  I continued this for several days but continued to feel worse.  I thought there was no use calling her since I already had what I thought was mastitis and couldn’t prevent it anymore, it was here.  Well, that was a bad idea, should have called her.  Should have looked up natural remedies, should have asked friends.  I wasn’t thinking and gave up too soon.  I figured it would just go away after a week like the episodes I had with Jack.  I started taking ibuprofen to reduce the fever which was going on 7 days now.  I REALLY did not want to take any medication while nursing.  I felt defeated and desperate.  But I wanted to avoid an antibiotic even more so I tried the ibuprofen.  It did control the fever but any time I tried to get off of it the fever was right back there.  Man, this thing was stubborn.  And all along I should have called Jessica, don’t know what I was thinking.  By day 11, still with a fever and been on ibuprofen for way too long in my opinion, I did finally contact Jessica.  I didn’t give her a fair chance at helping me by calling her so late in in the game.  But she tried and gave me a regime to follow.  I did but I think it was just too late. I also gathered some tips from friends at this point too and tried lecithin supplements (supposed to possibly thin out the milk) and Poke Root Salve, but neither helped me (you will learn why if you continue reading).  By 14 days straight with a fever and completely worn out, Jessica and I  decided I had to go to the doc for an antibiotic.  I was extremely disappointed that I had to do this but it was necessary.  I actually hadn’t taken an antibiotic in 8 years, which I was very proud of!  It killed me to make that appointment and drive to the doctor’s office.  I was so mad at myself and I felt HORRIBLE that Walt would be exposed to an antibiotic at such a young age but I also had no choice at this point.  I did not expect to be in this position being what I thought, a breastfeeding veteran.  I took the antibiotic and the fever and symptoms improved in a day or 2.  I did wonder if they would have improved anyway without the antibiotic but I was just torturing myself by thinking that way.  I did need it after 14 days of a fever, maybe should have gone in a little sooner.

EPISODE 3

I was so confused as to why I was having so many problems.  I felt like I was doing everything right by now and didn’t understand how one mild engorgement could lead to 14 straight days with a fever and mastitis/plugged duct.   About 1-2 weeks after taking the antibiotic it was deja vu!  How on Earth could this be possible, I was incredibly annoyed!  Again, I woke one night with very mild engorgement and a day later the dreaded headache followed by fever a few hours later.  I went back to the frequent nursing and Icing, pumping when needed and gave it a day or 2 before I called in the troops.  I emailed Jessica to tell her it was starting again.  I told her exactly what was going on and shared my frustration, wondering why I continue to have problems despite following all the recommendations.  I also mentioned to her that at Walt’s postpartum midwife visit, we were told he may be borderline Tongue Tied.

Tongue tie can be defined as a structural abnormality of the lingual frenum.   When the frenum is normal, it is elastic and does not interfere with the movements of the tongue in sucking, eating, clearing food off the teeth in preparation for swallowing and, of course, in speech. When it is short, thick, tight or broad it has an adverse effect on oromuscular function, feeding and speech. It can also cause problems when it extends from the margin of the tongue and across the floor of the mouth to finish at the base of the teeth.” – http://www.tonguetie.net

Our midwives weren’t too concerned because Walt appeared to be nursing fine and was WAY ahead of the game in the weight gaining department.  Most babies with tongue tie have A LOT of trouble nursing and gaining weight.  They did suggest we talk to Dr. Hazelbaker (more about her below) or our pediatrician about it.  We planned to ask our pediatrician to look at his tongue at his appointment in a few weeks.  In the mean time we also Asked 2 dentists and both took a look and said it looked mild at worst and probably wouldn’t need treated.  Jessica responded and recommended the same regimen that helped before but also suggested I schedule an appointment with Dr. Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, a lactation consultant who does lymphatic drainage, and happens to be an expert on the condition of Tongue Tie.  She also is a CranioSacral Therapist.  I promptly contacted Dr. Hazelbaker and scheduled an appointment for Monday.  It was friday and Dr. Hazelbaker was kind enough to give me her cell phone number in case I ran into problems over the weekend before my appointment (which I did).  Despite the icing and frequent nursing my fever was climbing Saturday evening.  I took a hot shower to calm the body chills I was getting and that hot shower really spiked the fever, 104.2!  I typically like to let fever’s run their course.  The body is smart and creates a fever for a purpose – to kill an infection.  But this was a bit high for my liking (damage can start to occur above 105 deg).  I took 2 Ibuprofen but the fever was still holding strong.  I wanted to take a cold bath (well didn’t really want to but needed to) but just my luck, a thunderstorm was in our area so that was out.  I could have called my doctor but it was Saturday evening and I figured they would just have a recording saying something to the effect of “In case of emergency call 911, otherwise call back during business hours”, neither of which I thought sounded good.  I decided to take a 3rd Ibuprofen and started icing my neck and groin areas where a lot of superficial blood vessels exist.  It appeared to be working because I was starting to sweat!  Within 20 minutes the fever was down below 102 and dropping, wheeew!  I was so glad when Monday finally arrived and I could get to my appointment.  Dr. Hazelbaker was great!  Right away she noticed a very deep plugged duct.  She did a lymphatic drainage technique and I could feel immediate relief!  She also observed me nursing Walt and gave me some tips on how to hold him so he stays latched on (I didn’t even realize he wasn’t staying on appropriately).  She then checked Walt with her own Tongue Tie Assessment method (Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function (ATLFF)) and determined he was Tongue Tied.

Tongue Tied

Photo from tonguetie.co.uk

There was a definitive deficit in the function and range of motion of his tongue, despite his tongue appearance not scoring too bad.  This is why we weren’t in a hurry to get his tongue looked at initially.  2 dentists and 2 midwives, 4 practitioners had looked at his tongue already and it appeared to be mild tongue tie if that.  They all had seen much worse cases with many more obvious symptoms so Walt’s was tricky and not that obvious even to a trained eye.  Dr. Hazelbaker has done extensive studies on this condition including writing a book.  She concluded the Tongue Tie was not allowing Walt to suck appropriately and he was unable to empty those deeper ducts causing the frequent plugged ducts and all of my symptoms.  She mentioned it could also cause him to have large belches and increased drooling, both of which I had noticed – some monster burps and drooling at 10 weeks like a teething baby!  It all made sense and I was relieved to finally know what was causing all the engorgement.  If left untreated it could cause speech problems in the future. The solution was simple, to have his tongue clipped.  It was a vary simple procedure and was quick and painless (for Walt, but harder for me watching).  He is now 4 months and we haven’t had a problem sense!  I hope to write more about tongue tie and the clipping procedure in the future.  I am so grateful to have figured out the cause of my nursing challenges and to have it all taken care of now.  Thanks to Jessica for all of her help and Dr. Hazelbaker for her expertise and care, and of course to our wonderful midwives who gave me info and directed me Jessica and Dr. H.

Lessons Learned – Quick tips if you are getting engorged

  1. Before giving birth, find a lactation consultant to have incase you need help.  Ask them questions before birth and don’t be afraid to call them if you have a question. 
  2. Nurse often if – every 2 hours – 24 hours/day when engorgement is bad
  3. Completely empty one side before switching to the second
  4. If needed, pump to get both sides emptied
  5. Ice your breasts if you have signs of inflammation/plugged ducts/mastitis i.e. redness, heat, hard nodules, pain, swelling.  Intense icing 15 minutes EVERY hour may be needed for 24-48 hours or longer
  6. Anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen may be needed.
  7. Monitor your temperature
  8. Lymphatic drainage works!  Find a practitioner in your area if you get plugged ducts
  9. If your baby might be Tongue Tied have it checked out sooner rather than later.  (some cases can look mild but still be problematic!)

Resources

http://www.llli.org/

http://kellymom.com/

http://www.tongue-tie.aidanandevapress.com/index.html

http://tongue-tied.net/

http://birthwithpassion.com/

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Breastfeeding Foe’s: Mastitis and Plugged Ducts

PART 1 – Be More Prepared than I was!

First of all, I have so many experiences to share with you on this topic that it was getting WAY too long for one post so I had to split it up (and probably will have many more to come)!  And, before I start, you should know I am a huge fan of breastfeeding!  I think it’s sad that so many moms out there either don’t do it or stop after a short time.  This post is not intended to scare anyone away from breastfeeding but to help you be better prepared for challenges than I was.  I hope this post will help prepare moms-to-be and help those who have had similar troubles to get through them successfully.  I nursed Jack about 26 months (my initial goal was 12 months).  I am now nursing my 2nd baby, Walt, who is 3 months old.

After Jack, my first born, I had 3 uncomfortable and frustrating bouts of what I thought was mastitis.  Breastfeeding was something I knew I wanted to do and would do but I just thought you put baby to breast and voila, thats it.  I didn’t read up on the topic, techniques, didn’t ask anyone for tips or advice on breastfeeding while I was pregnant.   I didn’t know anything about how to hold baby, what engorgement was, mastitis, that it could be challenging.  I think I just thought breastfeeding, you just do it and thats that.  I didn’t expect it to be hard or to run into any problems.

So when Jack was born, I tried to let him nurse right away, which he wasn’t interested in at first but an hour after birth he figured it out.  The first few days were a piece of cake.   It might sound weird but I was excited for my milk to come in.  It was all very intriguing to me, everything that was happening with my body related to pregnancy, birth and now breastfeeding.  It was empowering and amazing to me how my body would produce nourishing food, milk, that my baby would thrive on exclusively for some time and I was eager for it to come in and to nurse my baby boy!  However, when my milk did come in it was chaos!  Jack started becoming partial to the left side and avoided the right like the plague!  We later discovered it was due to his C1 vertebrae being fixed and tissue around it inflamed and it was easily corrected by chiropractic adjustments (by mom and dad).  This lead to engorgement.  All of the sudden my right breast just got huge.  I thought I was going to explode!  It became very painful.  I did have an electric pump and figured, that must be what those things are for!  Pumping gave me some temporary relief.  However I didn’t know anything about pumping either.  I don’t think I completely emptied the breast.  I just continued to pump when I started to get huge and painful again and did that repeatedly (it took a day or 2 to figure out why Jack wouldn’t nurse on my right side and to get it corrected).  The frequent pumping with my electric pump seemed to cause me to just produce more (supply and demand) and I was really getting fed up and could not get things under control for the life of me!  At our postpartum visit with our CHOICE midwives they suggested a hand pump (which they had several available in their awesome resource room) and to have Jack nurse on both sides each feeding and to nurse often.  I WAS only feeding Jack on one side per feeding (don’t know why, I guess I just thought that was how it was done and don’t know where that thought came from) and if he fell asleep for long periods (he only did that the first few days, then I don’t think he slept a full night until 2 yrs old!) I didn’t wake him to nurse.  So I would go sometimes 6+hours before nursing on one side, ya, no wonder I had problems!  Like I said, I knew nothing about techniques or protocol for breastfeeding.  Hint, hint, if you’r pregnant get advice, read, go to La Leche League website to get info BEFORE your baby is born.

After Jack was adjusted and willing to nurse on both sides and once I started nursing on both sides each feeding, nursing about every 2 hours, icing to reduce inflammation, and using the hand pump to relieve pressure if he didn’t empty both sides everything cleared up.  By everything I mean the flu-like symptoms I experienced including: fever, head ache, body ache, and extreme fatigue.  These symptoms came on shortly after the initial major engorgement I experienced.  I was never checked out by a doctor or lactation consultant to determine if it was a plugged duct or mastitis but whatever it was, it was resolved within a week thankfully (no meds required).  I had a similar experience 2 more times while breastfeeding Jack.  Both of which I believe followed weekend trips I made in which I had to bring my pump and not my baby.  I really felt that electric pump caused an increase in demand and therefore supply followed by engorgement and the rest of those “fun” symptoms.  While each episode I experienced was not fun at all, they all did manage to resolve themselves in about a week by nursing often, using the hand pump and icing when my breasts felt hot and sore.  I also did go to a few local La Leche League meetings.  It was nice to be around other nursing moms, many with years of experience.  I enjoyed talking with them and listening to their advice.  The rest of the 26 months of breastfeeding Jack went very smoothly!

Come back soon for Part 2:  The Second Time Around – New Challenges-  I thought it would be easier but new challenges presented themselves.  Come back to learn what they were!

I am also planing more posts on the benefits of breastfeeding, what exactly is mastitis and plugged ducts, natural remedies, and more!  So don’t forget to subscribe so don’t miss a post!

What challenges have you faced while breastfeeding and what did you do?

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Staying Cool in the Heat: The Green Way

Weather you are without air conditioning or simply trying to be green and conservative  and use a limited amount of electricity and resources to stay cool, this list will help you out!

 

Simple Ways to stay cool during the summer heat wave?  Please share!

 

  1. Drink lots of water!  Avoid too much caffeine which can dehydrate you and caus the body to overheat
  2. Limit cooking:  Choose cool options.  Grill when you can.  Avoid using the oven and if you have to, turn it on in the early morning or late evening.  Consider a small toaster oven which won’t heat the house as much and although I don’t like microwaves, if it is really hot for a long period of time and you need to heat something up they might be warranted.
    1. Breakfast –  nutritious smoothies (add ingredients such as coconut milk, green leafy vegetables, or ground flax or egg yokes to make them filling and nutrient dense), slice of sour dough or sprouted wheat bread with butter, cream cheese, homemade jam or local honey with a glass of milk and fruit.  Yogurt or kefir with oats, ground flax seed and fruit.  Avoid processed cereals though
    2. Lunch – tuna, hummus with veggies, cheese, fresh fruit, dried fruit, all kinds of salads (you can really get creative here, greens, add nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, avocado, different dressings, mozzarella capries salad and so much more !)
    3. Dinner – Grill, Grill, Grill!  You can grill meat, fish and veggies many different ways. Salads make a nice addition to a meal.  Try spaghetti with spaghetti squash instead of boiling noodles.
    4. Snacks and Other – try frozen fruit such as grapes, cherries, and other berries.  Make sun tea instead of boiling water.  Use a french press instead of a coffee pot.  Make homemade popsicles!  Puree fruit in your blender, sneak in greens, coconut water, juice some veggies if you have a juicer to add to the fruit puree, let your imagination go and make your own healthy popsicle creation!  Try “Raw Food” deserts or other meals.  Walnuts with a touch of honey or maple syrup make a nice snack too!
  3. Close your blinds or shades when the sun is up
  4. Do your errands or shopping during the heat of the day if you need to get cooled off indoors outside of your house
  5. Hit up your local splash pad, there are several that you can go to for free around columbus.  They can be found in Dublin, Hilliard, and Powell, plus Easton and Polaris  malls
  6. Indoor activities to get out of the heat such as the play areas at local mall’s or Firefly Play Cafe in Columbus
  7. Pull out your kiddy pool and put it in a shaded area of your yard.  Then in the evening fill your watering can with the pool water to water your garden!
  8. Fan’s can help, try an energy efficient model.
  9. Hang your laundry on the line rather than running your dryer which can heat up the house.
  10. If possible, store your spare freezer or fridge (if you have one) in your basement instead of the garage where it will need more energy to run on hot days

 

What other things do you do to stay cool during the summer?

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