Dads Out There

Hi everyone!

 

I took a few days off to travel with my family to see my parents and spend Father’s Day with my husband and dad.  This year was my husband’s first Father’s Day.  It was a pretty special day and I hope he enjoyed it.

 

My post today is going to be pretty short.  I just wanted to take a few minutes to post some positive things to the dads out there that may not get recognition on the wonderful things they do for their children.  Sometimes we forget (I know I do) that the special men in our lives do so much for us.  We get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle and get busy with ourselves, our kids, our jobs and all the other things that come with life and we forget to tell our men thank-you.  So here’s a big THANK-YOU for them:

 

Thank-you for doing your best.  You work hard every day to take care of your kids and provide for them and we want to say thank-you for doing that.  Thank-you for getting up each day, even though it’s something that you probably don’t want to do, thanks for doing it anyway.  It’s appreciated.

Thank-you for helping out, even when it goes unrecognized.  Even when we constantly criticize you for not taking enough initiative in parenting or housework.  Even when we nag you to do more, or to do it our way, thanks for still doing it.

Thank-you for continuing to voice your opinion and trying your best to be the best dad that you can be, even when we don’t treat you as an equal or a true partner, but instead as just another child.

Thanks for taking time to spend with your children as often as possible.  It may not always be doing what we think you should do or how we think you should do it, but you are taking time to spend with them, and it’s important to them.  All dads share unique individual time with their children, and we love you for it.

 

So for all the dads out there, I hope you had a fantastic Father’s Day.  And I hope you were celebrated!

Baby Reflux

Acid Reflux.  I never really understood much about this until my son was born with it.  It was just something that I knew that was kind of like heart burn, except this acid like substance came up when you would burp.  I know, it’s kind of gross.

 

When my son was born, he was born on a Tuesday.  We left the hospital on that Thursday and we were at our pediatrician’s office on that Friday because he couldn’t keep his milk down.  I remember calling the 24 hour nurse line at their office on Thursday night and telling them was what happening.  I remember telling them that I knew babies spit up, but he’s spitting up more than what I would consider normal.  We were at their office Friday morning and the pediatrician (whom I absolutely love) told us he was pretty sure he knew what was going on with him, but he needed to be positive.  So he sent us home and told us to call him when he started refusing the bottle.  That night, that started happening.  We were back at the pediatrician’s office the next morning explaining what he was doing.  He then started him on Zantac twice a day.

 

That seems pretty simple, right?  For the most part, it was.  But what made this even harder was when the Zantac stopped working.  Then we had to start taking it three times a day.  Then he grew a little bit, like all babies do, and the Zantac stopped working.  We then had to swap over to Prilosec.  Each time we changed dosage or medications we had to wait a week to see if it was working.  Which was a nightmare.  So I had to let my baby scream and cry when he would eat and burp until it had time to get into his system and work.  Then, when he was around 3 months old, Prilosec didn’t work anymore.  We actually only used it for a week and he was not any better.  That’s when we swapped him over to Nexium.  This was done by his GI doctor (who we saw for his formula sensitivity).  This medicine has worked like a charm.

 

I wanted to tell that story to let parent’s out there know that I’ve been there.  I know what it’s like.  Besides the medicine changes, there were so many other things we had to do and still have to do with him, that work.  Just small changes that are second nature to us now, but at the beginning, they were big changes.  Things like after he ate, he had to sit up for 30 minutes at a vertical incline.  Our pediatrician told us 15-30 minutes and sit at a 45 degree angle afterwards, so we could sit him in his car seat or his rock n’ play afterwards and that should suffice.  Well, that didn’t work for our baby.  He literally had to sit almost straight up for 30 minutes after, anything less made him spit up a ton.
Then there were sleeping arrangements.  He had to not only sit up for 30 minutes, but then he had to sleep at about a 45 degree angle.  All these things to new, first time parents were so overwhelming.  So in the middle of the night for his feedings, when he was waking up every 3 hours to eat, he would wake up, eat, sit up for 30 minutes and then go to sleep.  So a feedings that should take around 20-30 minutes took us that much time, plus an additional 30 minutes.  So feedings for us took an hour.  Then he was waking up 2 hours later to eat again.  Talk about exhaustion!

 

So I wanted to share with the parents out there the things that we did that helped us so much with our baby’s acid reflux.  I’m hoping that it may work and help some other babies out there, too.

  • We held our babies almost completely straight up when he ate. We still do the same thing now, but he’s almost 6 months old so he can actually sit on our lap to eat, which makes it a little easier.  We held him on our shoulder in the middle of the night.  Or, when he got older, we would feed him and then sit him in a bouncy seat.  Helps give you a little relief from constantly holding him all the time, because let’s be real, we all love holding our babies, but it’s exhausting!
  • After he ate, we didn’t, and still don’t, burp him immediately. We let him sit and rest and burp on his own.  Now, he does that so much easier than he did when he was a little bity guy.  Back then, he would fall asleep before he would burp and if we didn’t get him to burp before that, he would be restless in his sleep.  So back then, we would feed him and let him sit for a few minutes, but we would ALWAYS make sure he burped before we laid him down.
  • Sleeping at an elevation was tricky. When he was a newborn, he slept in our room in his rock n’ play.  That was easy.  It was at the perfect elevation that he didn’t spit up once we laid him down.  When he got a little bigger, we transitioned him into a bassinet.  We stuck blankets under the mattress of the bassinet to elevate it.  He slept in this bassinet until he outgrew it.  Now, we finally have him in his crib.  His crib was elevated on one end by putting pillows under the mattress.  Now, my dad (love him for this) built a platform to raise the mattress up (we don’t have the kind of baby bed where you can move the mattress up and down for their age requirements) and when he made it, he made it at an angle so it automatically is elevated on one side.  It’s the best thing ever!
  • We changed our bottles until we found one that worked for him. He had a hard time latching to a bottle correctly (he left gaps on both sides of his mouth which made him suck in too much air).  I know what you’re thinking, “did he have a lip tie”.    But his ENT doctor said that it wasn’t bad enough to fix.  He was eating and gaining weight so he wouldn’t correct it.

 

 

I hope some of those tips help.

 

One last thing I want to leave you guys with is this.  Remember, it’s not about the amount that they spit up, it’s about whether or not they cry when it happens.  As long as they’re gaining weight, let them spit up, if they do it without tears.

For me, that was a hard thing to get used to.  And I know it was hard for his grandmother’s (they keep him during the while my husband and I work).

One more last thing… it does get better.  I know you’ve probably heard that a million times for a million different things, because I remember feeling that way.  But it really does get better.  About 98% of babies grow out of it by the time they’re a year old.  And once they hit about 5 months of age, it starts getting better from there on out.  So you can do it!

It’s All Going To Be Okay

I wanted to write my second blog on an experience on being a parent again.

 

As a new mom, there are so many times that I’ve felt like a failure or felt like I wasn’t doing enough.  I always felt like the clothes needed to be washed, dinner wasn’t made yet, the cat needed my attention, my baby needed my attention, I needed to shower… so many things that needed to be done, but I always felt like there wasn’t enough time in the day to do it.  I’ve also been that mom that never stopped going and doing things from the time she got up, until the time she went to bed.

 

I’m pretty sure most of us have been in these situations before.  Then there have been those nights that I’ve laid in bed thinking to myself, “Why didn’t you do that today?” or “How come you didn’t get all of these things accomplished today?”  And I would beat myself up about it because I never thought what I was doing was enough.  I always thought there could be more.  I could do more.  Even though, most nights, when I would finally get a chance to sit down, it wasn’t until right before I would go to bed, and I would sit down to eat.  Or lying down in bed would be the first time I would lay down.  It was crazy!  I was always exhausted night after night.

 

I think as humans we are our own worst critics.  We are always so hard on ourselves to be the best and to do the best even when we’re tired and we can’t go on any more.  Why is that?  Why do we do that to ourselves?  Why do we beat ourselves up when the dishes aren’t washed, the laundry isn’t folded and dinner isn’t made on time?

 

So for myself, I decided to stop.  Stop trying to do it all.  Stop killing myself.  Stop exhausting myself.  Because it’s all okay.  It’s okay that I can’t do it all.  Or that I have to ask for help.  Or that some things just have to be done tomorrow.  It’s all okay.

 

Some days I don’t get all the dishes and bottles washed in the sink, and maybe I don’t get a chance to sit down with my husband for dinner, and maybe I have to drink a glass of wine in the bathtub, and stuff a sandwich down my throat before I hop into bed for the night.  But at the end of the day, it’s all okay.  Because my family is fed, and we are safe, and everyone is loved.  And that’s all that really matters.

Speak Up!

Being a new mom is one of the hardest and most rewarding things that I have ever done.  I’m sure most of you have heard that at one point or another.  I know I had heard it so many times before I actually became a mother that it made me less nervous to welcome my little one into the world last December.  But I never really understood until I started making decisions for this little guy that impacted his whole life.

 

I remember after my son was born, I had planned on breast feeding him.  I had always heard “breast is best!” and “being able to breastfeed is a special bonding experience between you and your baby that compares to no other experience.”  But when we found out that Sawyer had acid reflux about two days after we brought him home, breastfeeding became almost impossible for us to achieve.

 

My son had acid reflux that was so bad the first couple of days of his life, the breast milk was too thin for him to keep it down.  We even tried mixing it with formula to try and get it thick enough for him to be able to hold it down, but it still wasn’t working.  He was losing weight pretty rapidly and that was scary.  We ended up, with the help of our pediatrician, finding a formula that was thick enough for him to keep it in his stomach because it was mixed with rice cereal.  So we tried that and it worked like a charm.  He was gaining weight, and sleeping pretty well, everything was working… or so we thought.

 

When he was about two weeks old, he started getting symptoms of colic.  He was very gassy all the time, and his tummy hurt him most days and it was hard to tell if it was his acid reflux that was making it hurt or the gas.  He was just screaming for hours at a time.  Sometimes it didn’t matter what we did, he would just scream.  And when I say scream, I mean high-pitched, red-faced, losing his breath, screaming.  It was awful.  I felt so bad for the little guy.  I think what made me feel the worst was the fact that I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.  I felt so helpless.  I remember one day specifically, he started screaming around 1:00pm and I was holding him, rocking him, bouncing him, and nothing was working.  He was just so miserable.  I called a friend of mine who lived close to come over to see if she could help me.  When she got there, I was standing in my living room, holding my son, he was crying and I was crying and I didn’t know what to do.  I felt like a failure as a mother.  I didn’t know that this was not the norm for new babies.  I didn’t know how other new moms could do this.

 

After this day, I knew that something had to change with him.  We took him to a gastrointestinal doctor that next week and he immediately knew what was going on with him.  I remember my husband laying my son down on his stomach on the table in the room at the doctor’s office and he just squirmed all over that table.  And I remember the doctor asking us if he was always like this, always unsettled.  He quickly began to explain to us what was going on with his stomach and how it was still underdeveloped because he was such a young age.  Before we left that day, the doctor changed Sawyer’s formula to a different brand and a different kind.  Basically the new brand was extremely broken down and it didn’t contain a lot of the extra additives and proteins that most other formulas contained.  You guys, after one bottle, my son was a completely different baby.  It was like I had a brand new baby.  I remember calling my mom and telling her about it and being so excited.  I remember saying to her that I was hoping that it wasn’t just a coincidence, that I was hoping that this was really what was working for him.  And it’s been the same ever since.

 

I was lucky enough to have family and friends that reminded me all the time that being formula fed was okay.  It was okay that my son couldn’t breastfeed.  It was okay that he had to take formula.  Because at the end of the day, breast isn’t always best.  Fed is best.  And those simple words mattered so much to me as a new mom.  It reminded me that I wasn’t a failure.  It reminded me that maybe I was stronger than I realized because we figured it out and we did what was best for our son.

 

I wanted to tell you guys that story because I feel like “mom-shaming” is a subject that needs to be talked about more.  I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until I became a mother and had friends that were new moms at the same time, or moms that had small children, and heard about it more.  I find myself hearing more and more about it and it just blows my mind.  I think what is the most hard about it to me is that mom-shaming doesn’t always come from strangers.  It can come from people that you know.  I have a friend that was exclusively breast feeding and her baby was not gaining weight.  She and her husband were trying to make the best decision for him as to whether they should supplement formula or not.  I remember her telling me that her close friends were encouraging her to continue to breast feed and telling her not to supplement that it was always hard and she just needed to keep going.  I thought that was so bizarre.  I told her that she needed to do what was best for her baby because he wasn’t gaining weight.  He was a couple of months old and hadn’t gained any weight.  I just couldn’t believe that really close friends of hers would tell her those things and tell her not to supplement formula.  I just felt like they either weren’t listening to what she was telling them or that they were so caught up in “breast is best” that her baby’s needs didn’t matter to them.

 

I read stories on social media all the time about strangers walking up to women and saying things to them about choosing formula.  Or even something completely different like when a mom has a baby or a toddler that is screaming or throwing a tantrum and complete strangers are making comments to them or standing back and judging them on what is happening.  I just can’t imagine what that would feel like being a mom and being on the receiving side of that.  It’s embarrassing enough to have your child screaming in front of all these people without having others stand back and stare.

 

The bottom line to all of this is I just think that we as parents, and just people in general, need to start being nicer to each other.  Start trying to help each other.  Instead of standing back and completely judging someone, offer to help.  You never know what’s going on in that mom’s world or what struggles she’s going through.  And you never know what offering a little help to her might do.  You might just change her life.