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Thread: First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

  1. #1

    Default First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

    Hello. First time mom here with lots of questions, concerns, and overall looking for support and encouragement.
    My baby is 2 weeks old today. I had a c section and my milk supply took a few days to come in. While in the hospital, baby's sugar went down and they had to give her the bottle. Luckily, the hospital was offering donor breast milk so we went with that option. Once we got home, my milk came in so I'm breastfeeding 100% like I planned. My concerns are that baby loves the breast so much that sometimes she nurses even more frequent than every 2 hours, and most of the times she falls asleep on the breast. I don't mind having her on my breast that often, I enjoy it as much as she does, but the pediatrician keeps saying that she has to burp and sit up for 20 Minutes after each feed, and that's hard to do. I'm hearing conflicting stories on burping after breastfeeding and sitting up, I'm not sure who to believe. Also, I think sometimes she's only using the breast to calm down and fall asleep, is there something bad about that? I don't want to give her a pacifier, they gave her one in the hospital but I don't want to do it at home.

    My second question/concern is about her sleeping habits. I strongly believe that a baby likes to feel close to another human body and I honestly don't see anything wrong in that. Maybe I did exaggerate a little, but as a first time mom, it was so hard for me to see my baby go to NICU, that once I had her back in my arms, I didn't want to let her go. So now she only sleeps in my arms (or my husband's or my mom's). I'm not worried about creating a bad habit or what other people have to say about it, is it safe for her to sleep like that from a medical point of view? Am I harming her in any way? We tried the crib, we don't have a bassinet, but she doesn't sleep for more than 30 minutes, and she moves around and makes noises every 5 minutes. And honestly I can't sleep at all when I hear her. We tried the swaddling, everybody is telling me to do it, but she doesn't seem to like it, and I don't like to see her struggle. I was born and raised in Europe and swaddling is not at common as in the US. I didn't say no, I just don't think it's working for her.
    When is it ok to use baby lotion and diaper cream? I'm also hearing conflicting stories on this topic as well. Baby's skin is peeling on her hands and feet and the pediatrician said to use baby lotion. I thought we were supposed to wait at least one month before doing that.
    And finally, so sorry for all the questions, unfortunately I have to go back to work when baby is 10 weeks old, I work from home so they makes it a little easier, but I am on calls a lot and I'm afraid I won't be able to breastfeed as much as I want. And what will I do about her sleeping in our arms then? I'm just trying to plan ahead and at the same time enjoy every minute I have with her. I know people criticize my choices but I just want what's best for my baby. Thank you so much for your help and your support. Just reading what other moms are going through helps a lot.
    Last edited by @llli*mandra; June 5th, 2017 at 10:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

    First off, congrats on the new baby! 2 weeks in is really still so early. There is absolutely nothing wrong with baby wanting to nurse more frequently than every 2 hours. The general rule is 10-12 times per 24 hours, if I remember correctly, and many babies will 'cluster feed' at some point during the day, meaning they might want to nurse every 45 minutes for a couple hours, and then as baby gets a bit older she might give you a bit of a longer stretch at night (that's the idea, anyway!). I've never heard of having to keep a baby upright for 20 minutes after each feed and frankly would not have been able to keep up with anything like that. Both my babies fell asleep at the breast for a very long time. Why would you wake a sleeping baby just to be upright? Unless she's having issues with reflux, that sounds strange to me. As for burping, I never bothered in the middle of the night, or if they fell asleep while nursing, but I would usually just hold them upright over my shoulder if I was switching sides during the day and they were awake. I found that in general there just tended to be less spit up if I burped them. But I don't think it's anything that would cause damage if you skipped it and just played it by ear. The breast is the original pacifier btw, so nothing wrong with baby getting comforted at the breast

    With regards to the sleep, are you cosleeping at night? If so, there are some safety precautions that you need to follow, here's a good bunch http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/ There are also cosleepers that you can get to place in the bed with you that might be worth a try if you're concerned. Or do you mean that someone is literally sitting up all night long holding her? I think the big concern there would be if the person holding her were to fall asleep and she got wedged somewhere or dropped. No matter what, the safest way for a baby to sleep is on her back.

    I'm not sure about when it's safe to use baby lotion. Could you try something like coconut oil?

    It's normal to be concerned about how things will go when you go back to work. Women in the States have to go back pitifully early! Do you have plans for a caregiver while you are working? Are you going to be pumping? These are things you can start to think about in order to plan. As for the sleep thing, many moms (myself included) found that a baby swing is a nice way to transition baby to sleeping somewhere other than your arms. Or you could try putting her in a baby sling or carrier for sleeps so she is still close to you but you're still able to get stuff done.

    Sorry if this is kind of rambly! Best of luck with everything

  3. #3
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    Default Re: First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

    Hi Mandra, welcome to the forum! Congratulations on your new baby! I am not sure I have an answer for everything but I will give it a try.

    My concerns are that baby loves the breast so much that sometimes she nurses even more frequent than every 2 hours, and most of the times she falls asleep on the breast.
    Assuming baby is gaining normally, this is completely normal and fine. You WANT your baby to nurse very often part of the time, even more than once an hour. This is called cluster nursing and is great because when a baby does this, baby often can take a longer stretch of 3 hours or so here and there...and may even give you a stretch of 4 or 5 hours once a day at some point. This is WAY better than a baby who is only nursing every 2 hours, as those babies will have to nurse every 2 hours around the clock! Much more tiring for mom. Babies need to nurse at least 10-12 times total every day in the early months so better they do that in a way that mom might get a chance to sleep at least a little! Nursing is comforting, so of course a baby falls asleep nursing, again, normal and fine. The only concern again is if baby is not getting enough to eat. You tell if a baby is getting enough by weight gain and output (poops) and NOT by how often they nurse- the only problem is if baby does not nurse enough. Baby can not nurse too often.

    but the pediatrician keeps saying that she has to burp and sit up for 20 Minutes after each feed, and that's hard to do.
    Sigh. This is absurd. Of course this is not true, it does not even make sense. Most babies burp just fine on their own IF they even need to, and If they need to burp, they may burp 30 minutes or an hour after eating or any other time. What then? ... If a baby needs help burping, (usually just by being held upright, or maybe a few pats on the back) they will have a little pain and will say "please help me burp" by crying.

    Also, I think sometimes she's only using the breast to calm down and fall asleep, is there something bad about that?
    Nothing bad at all. This is Nature's gift to mom, that she can nurse her child for comfort and to sleep and solve so many problems so simply.

    Maybe I did exaggerate a little, but as a first time mom, it was so hard for me to see my baby go to NICU, that once I had her back in my arms, I didn't want to let her go.
    of course you do not want to let your baby go. This is instinctual and of course, good for both you and your baby to bond and be physically close most of the time. This is how it is meant to be.

    We tried the swaddling, everybody is telling me to do it, but she doesn't seem to like it, and I don't like to see her struggle. I was born and raised in Europe and swaddling is not at common as in the US. I didn't say no, I just don't think it's working for her.
    Absolutely no need to swaddle, and if you are sleeping beside baby, you do not want to swaddle as it is not considered safe to bedshare with a swaddled baby.
    So now she only sleeps in my arms (or my husband's or my mom's). I'm not worried about creating a bad habit or what other people have to say about it, is it safe for her to sleep like that from a medical point of view? Am I harming her in any way?
    Your baby being held by an awake, alert adult while they sleep is entirely safe and not doing any harm at all. But the fact is, it is likely you will not be all that awake or alert all the time...if ever. So, safety depends on where you are and how you are positioned while you hold sleeping baby. Because it is very likely you will fall asleep as well, it is important to understand how to sleep safely with a newborn. If you are in a chair or on a couch or in that type of sitting position - more or less upright- and fall asleep, it is possible that you and baby might get into positions that are not safe. You could trap baby with your body, or baby could possibly become entrapped between you and the furniture. It is rare, but it happens.

    What would be safer in most cases would be for you to not sit up but instead, to lay back, reclined but not flat on your back, and have baby snuggled on your chest, secure (not able to fall either way) and that way, if you fall asleep, baby is on your chest, completely secure, with their head slightly elevated above their body which helps with their breathing. (Because you are not flat on your back, but reclined with your upper body raised a bit.)

    Additionally you could sleep lying beside your baby on a bed or mattress, just make sure you are not impaired and the bed or mattress has been made into a safe bedsharing surface. Safest for baby to be with you in this situation, although your husband can lie on the other side of you. Again it is rare for there to be a problem, but when the bedsharing adult is not the baby's breastfeeding, biological mom, it is a little less safe to share a sleep surface. After baby is older- over 4 months, then it matters much less who sleeps beside baby as long as they are a responsible adult and not impaired.

    For more on this, I strongly suggest the book Sweet Sleep. It explains in detail the science of infant sleep, what circumstances are more risky and what are safer and WHY. Also lots of tips and help and reassurance for tired parents. There is so much misinformation around this subject. This book will help you tremendously.

    In the meantime, here is quick info on making sleep sharing safer, start with bedsharing quickstart. http://www.llli.org/sweetsleepbook/tearsheets


    When is it ok to use baby lotion and diaper cream? I'm also hearing conflicting stories on this topic as well. Baby's skin is peeling on her hands and feet and the pediatrician said to use baby lotion. I thought we were supposed to wait at least one month before doing that.
    I found that the best thing for my baby's skin was to refrain from bathing baby. Bottom areas got cleaned every diaper change, spit up got mopped up when it happened, but actual baths...maybe weekly? Twice a week? Something like that. Newborns tend to lose a top layer (after all they were in a warm bath for 9 months) and that may be all you are seeing? If there is a true irritation what you want is to speed healing, and that means a barrier ointment to protect the skin and seal in baby's own oils. In that case, you can use something very mild and clearly safe for a newborn, such as purified lanolin or some other type of nipple ointment? I figure if it is safe for mom's sore nipples and consequently, for inside baby, it is also safe for outside baby.

    And finally, so sorry for all the questions, unfortunately I have to go back to work when baby is 10 weeks old, I work from home so they makes it a little easier, but I am on calls a lot and I'm afraid I won't be able to breastfeed as much as I want. And what will I do about her sleeping in our arms then? I'm just trying to plan ahead and at the same time enjoy every minute I have with her. I know people criticize my choices but I just want what's best for my baby. Thank you so much for your help and your support. Just reading what other moms are going through helps a lot.
    My best suggestion is to hold off on this concern for at least a month. First, you want time to relax and enjoy your baby and try to get a little sleep here and there, also, comparing a 2 week old to a 10 week old is like comparing an apple seed to an apple. But I would suggest that many work at home moms have some kind of caregiver there to help, or figure out how to hold and nurse baby while they work. Babies need what they need, when they need it, and that is just a fact of life.

  4. #4

    Default Re: First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

    Thank you both for your feedback, it has helped A LOT!!!
    We made it to 2 months! My baby will be 2 months tomorrow, but it turns out she does have reflux. After not getting any real answers or help from our pediatrician (other than suggesting to give formula - not sure why so many doctors do that), we decided to go see a pediatric GI. We just came back from seeing her. I like how she explained everything to us, but I still have concerns. Baby will be put on a different medicine (the one the pediatrician gave us didn't help at all), and although I am not very happy about giving her any medication at this age, I can't see her in pain anymore so I am willing to try it. GI also told me to stop eating dairy and soy, not a problem, I will do it. My big concern is that she wanted me to pump 100% so I can add a thickener to the milk. This I kind of have a problem with because my baby and I both enjoy the time we have together, breastfeeding, and I don't want to give that up. It's good for both of us, and it's not just the milk, it's everything else, the cuddling, the comfort, the looking into each other's eyes etc. I understand why the GI wants me to do it. Baby has been nursing fine, but recently I can see she is in pain, especially after she eats on one breast and I move her to the second one, she sometimes pulls away and cries. I have tried different nursing positions but when she's in pain, none of them work. Any suggestions here? I told the GI I will not stop breastfeeding 100% but I will try to do maybe 50-50. The problem is that I feed her on cue, we don't have a schedule, whenever she's hungry I feed her, or whenever she needs to be comforted I put her on the breast. It will be so hard to start giving her the bottle.
    The other big problem is that I will go back to work in 10 days . I do work from home and I have my mom living with us full time so she will take care of the baby. I was planning on breastfeeding as much as I can, morning, evening, lunch break, in between conference calls and whatnot, and maybe only pump and give the bottle once or twice a day, but now that I kind of have to pump I don't know what to do. When do I pump, do I put the milk in the fridge or freezer? when do I take it out and warm it up? how long can I keep it out of the fridge/freezer if the baby won't take it right away? Like I said, we don't have a feeding schedule, I nurse whenever she shows me she is hungry, but that will be very difficult to do once I'll be back at work.
    A few more questions: when freezing breast milk, can I add to the bag? what about when storing the milk in the fridge? can I mix fresh milk with 1 day old milk to make it the needed amount? I'm supposed to add the thickener so that's why I kind of need to know.
    I would really appreciate any advice you guys could give me!
    thank you!!!
    Last edited by @llli*mandra; July 21st, 2017 at 09:31 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

    Hi, thanks for the update! I am sorry you are having this reflux concern.

    Maybe you understand the value of thickener but I am not sure I do...is your baby gaining very poorly or for some other reason risking serious health issues due to the reflux, and is there any proof the thickener will help? Also why are so many interventions being given at once? If you are fine to give up dairy and soy, that is one intervention. Meds are another. Shouldn't those be tried (perhaps consecutively) for a while before taking the extreme step of no longer breastfeeding?

    I would suggest not giving up breastfeeding or even going 50/50. There are so many drawbacks to pumping/bottles even 50% of the time as far as longevity of breastfeeding and milk production that it should only be done when there are no other options. How much have you researched this on your own? This seems like a very extreme intervention to me for reflux.

    My oldest was also diagnosed with reflux, meds did not really help (we tried zantac, then prevacid) The upshot is we kept exclusively breastfeeding on cue and he simply outgrew the reflux. In the meantime we held him upright as much as possible, and he nursed very frequently. Frequent meals helped a great deal. Also he usually nursed one side at a time.

    Baby has been nursing fine, but recently I can see she is in pain, especially after she eats on one breast and I move her to the second one, she sometimes pulls away and cries. I have tried different nursing positions but when she's in pain, none of them work.
    What happens if you just let baby nurse one side at a time?

    I am happy to guide you to information on bottle feeding and all that, but again I would strongly suggest consider the idea that the GI specialist is not giving your breastfeeding appropriate advice. Doctors often fail to look at the larger picture when it comes to advice that is potentially detrimental to breastfeeding, in other words they fail to factor in the great benefits for mom and baby that are lost if mom is told she has to pump and bottle feed. So they give this kind of advice far to easily and in many cases when it is not at all needed. Also they often have very little experience with breastfed babies.
    Like I said, we don't have a feeding schedule, I nurse whenever she shows me she is hungry, but that will be very difficult to do once I'll be back at work.
    This you can just figure out. If baby is getting bottles, baby can be given those on cue, and if it is easier for you to schedule your pumping, you can schedule that. If you are also nursing during the day of course that means you need not pump so much and while it may seem more complicated at first to balance nursing, bottles and pumping, ultimately it will become easier as you figure out what works and would almost surely be simpler than needing to exclusively pump all day.

    Here is info about milk storage, bottles for breastfed baby etc.:

    Milk storage: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...toringmilk.pdf

    Bottles for the breastfed baby and safe milk handling (2 pages) http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...fyour_milk.pdf

    Paced bottle feeding video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxpIzcitLc8

    I would suggest do NOT premix if you are putting thickener in the milk. Mix at the point baby is given the bottle and keep bottles small as any leftovers that have thickener added would have to be immediately discarded- this is not the case when the bottle only has breastmilk in it, in that case leftovers can be kept in the fridge for the next feeding. The thickener will make the milk as fragile as formula, and that changes the rules on storage and safe handling. Formula is less safe because it contains no internal protection against bacterial growth as human milk does.

    Also I suggest freeze expressed milk in small amounts of 2-3 ounces, and having some single ounce bags as well for a back up is helpful...in other words, I would suggest not adding to bags to make large storage amounts, because bottle meals should be small and better to be in the position of needing to combine bags if needed than to defrost 5 or 6 ounces at once, and having to throw half of it away.

    Have to run, if I missed something or you need more clarity let me know.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 21st, 2017 at 01:06 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

    Thank you for your prompt response!
    No, I don't understand the "value" of thickeners. The only reason I said I was willing to try it was because the GI told us it will help with the chocking. That's the scariest thing about my baby's reflux. Today we were driving and I had to pull over because she was choking so bad, out of nowhere. That happens at night too, and I am so worried that I don't get much sleep, for fear she will choke. She sleeps in a co-sleeper in our bed, in between our pillows, and we elevated her a little to help with the reflux but she still grunts very often and does't sleep for more than 1.5-2 hours at a time, and the choking is the worst. So when I heard that the thickener would help with that of course I was excited. But the more research I do about it, the more worried I am and will not probably not use it, at least for now. I will try the new medicine, and be dairy and soy free and see if there are any changes. Baby is gaining good and there are no other serious health problems, other than the pain (I can tell she is in a lot of pain sometimes, she is a very happy, chatty baby otherwise), the choking, and the spitting up.
    When did your little one outgrow his reflux, if you don't mind me asking? The GI told us that it will get worse and she will vomit a lot more, and it won't get better until 12-18 months.
    I forgot to mention, we also give our baby vitamin D (pediatrician said all breastfed babies should take 1ml/day) and Gerber probiotic drops (5 drops a day). I honestly don't see any difference since we started the gerber drops and I don't really like to give her unnecessary stuff. Do you have any experience/knowledge on those?
    Thanks again for everything!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: First time mom - lots of questions/concerns

    Reflux: Our experience with reflux is that my son had frequent and large spitups, painful "burps" and also that he hated being laid on his back and was generally quite fussy lots of the time.

    We tried reclining where he slept too- we had a "wedge" under him when he slept in our bed, put books under one side of the legs of his crib and basinet- none of that did much. He just slid down!
    By far what helped the most was holding him pretty much upright most of the time, in particular for a while after nursing, but really as much as possible. When he was about 3 or 4 months I finally got a sling and that helped tremendously, both husband and I "wore" him most of the time.

    The spitting up etc. etc. was going on for a long time before doctor said it was reflux and we should try meds. That was when he was about 4 months old. We discontinued the meds after about 2 months, so he was then about 6 months. Somewhere around when he could start to stay sitting up on his own and crawl the symptoms began to alleviate, which makes sense if you think about it. So, maybe 8 months or so? The issues tapered off slowly, so it is hard to remember exactly, but it was certainly well before he was a year old. He still spit up at times and had some occasional painful burps, but it was much less. Also he was a "short" sleeper (nursed lots overnight) until well after his second birthday. But that is just the way some babies are and does not mean baby has reflux or anything else wrong.

    One thing I do not remember is choking. I suppose it must have happened sometimes when he spat up, but I do not recall it being as scary as you are describing. I would suggest try keeping a log of when that happens. Maybe you will see a pattern based on what baby is doing at the time...for example car seats are notorious for worsening reflux issues. Oh my little guy hated the car! Or maybe something will become evident if you see a pattern of how long after nursing this happens, or whatever.

    C Vitamins: There is much debate about vitamin c for ALL babies (formula has the vitamin already added.) But the LLLI position is that the science suggests C supplements are generally a good idea because of the many lifestyle changes, big and small, that lead to much of the population being low in this important vitamin. Basically if you and your baby are getting enough C and GOT enough C from the sun and the few foods that have it before becoming pregnant and while pregnant, then your baby would probably not need C vitamin. The problem is to actually test everyone to see if they are actually low in C is expensive and ordering vitamin drops is not, so instead the general recommendation is to just give the C supplement to all kids and be sure. Not all doctors agree, (my daughter's pediatrician said we do not need them and later, I had myself tested for C and my levels were good (and I never take any supplements just because I never remember. Ever.) But that may be because of where I live in relation to the equator, my lifestyle, and my skin pigment, all of which impact how well the sun will give you want your need. Basically, it is complicated and very individual. Vitamin C supplement can come in a single drop per day dose, and that is what I suggest.

    Probiotics? According to Livestrong.com, There is some evidence that they are helpful for intestinal issues- gas. At least more helpful than gas drop or gripewater than have no evidence backing them up at all. I have not heard they make any difference when it comes to reflux but I suppose it is possible. The way I look at it, a baby's system is meant for breastmilk and breastmilk only, and if a baby is getting breast milk only best to not give them anything else. However if a baby needed to take antibiotic, or even the nursing mom did, then taking probiotics in that case would make sense to me, also if there was any other reason to think that something had caused a bacterial imbalance in the gut. Not sure that reflux reflects that or not. I suppose it could.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 21st, 2017 at 05:26 PM.

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