Cradle Cap: What is it? And How Do I Get Rid of it?

Photo Credit AWHonn Editorial Staff, Healthy Mom and Baby. (2014)

Cradle cap is a very common thing for babies to have. First, don’t freak out if your baby has cradle cap. Second, make sure you take them to their pediatrician to make sure there isn’t something more going on.

What The Heck is Cradle Cap? And Why Does My Baby Have it?

cradle cap
Photo Credit Mustella.com, nhs.uk. (2018)

According to dictionary.com cradle cap is “an inflammation of the scalp, occurring in infants and characterized by greasy, yellowish scales; seborrheic dermatitis of infants (Dictionary.com., 2018). It is basically infant dandruff. Still not alarming though.

What Does it Look Like

Cradle cap looks like dandruff, as I said earlier. It can be yellow and crusty. Sometimes it even oozes (yummy right?). It can also present as brown scaling and flaking. Surprisingly enough, cradle cap doesn’t just happen on the scalp. It can happen on other areas on baby’s body. It can be on their forehead, eyebrows and ears as well (Mustela., 2017).

sebaceous gland
Photo Credit Dreamstime.com. (2018)

Okay, so now that we’ve established what it is, and what it looks like let’s talk about why it’s there. How do babies get this? Everyone has sebaceous glands. These are the glands that help keep your skin and hair oily and well moisturized. Over oiling can lead to…you guessed it…dandruff. For babies their bodies are still trying to develop for the most part. This can be problematic for babies and their skin.

Just because a baby has cradle cap does NOT mean they are not being taken care of. It does NOT mean there’s something wrong with them. It means they have normal skin like you and me. We all get dandruff at some point in our life time. Some more than others. It doesn’t make them a dirty, unkempt person/baby.

How Do I Get Rid of Cradle Cap?

Although it is a skin flaking rash, it does not normally bother baby. It can feel itchy sometimes though. Cradle cap is so common, so there is a lot you can do to help your baby and relieve their symptoms. It should go away by baby’s first birthday. But if you can’t wait there are things you can do. They actually make body washes specifically for cradle cap. Make sure you brush baby’s scalp with a soft bristled brush after you wash them. You can also use baby oil.

Remember to be patient. Cradle cap will go away on it’s own. Give it time (a lot of time). Don’t try these products a couple times and decide they’re not working. You have to give your baby’s body time to react to the treatment(s).

 

My favorite product for getting rid of dry, irritated, flaky skin is the Aveeno Baby Eczema Collection. We have had really good luck with that brand and collection. My daughter has eczema, along with some food allergies. When she is having a flare up, especially with the cold weather, we always pull out the trusty Aveeno Baby wash and cream. I love their oatmeal bath as well. She usually notices a difference after just 1 wash of the Aveeno Baby oatmeal bath. Aveeno Baby is completely safe for babies of all ages as well. My sister swears by the Aveeno Baby balm. She loves it for her little one. She notices a difference with just one use as well. I’m pretty sure I have her hooked on the oatmeal bath for her little one as well. My nephew’s skin cleared up after one soak in the Aveeno Baby oatmeal bath.

Some other brands I trust completely include Cetaphil Baby. They have the same type of products as Aveeno. You can buy lotion, body wash, body butter, and moisturizing cream. I have not personally used the Cetaphil Baby collection products. I use the “regular” kind for myself, and I like the results. It’s very moisturizing for dry skin. My mom loves Cetaphil too for her dry, older skin.

Things to be on the Look Our For: When Should I Call the Pediatrician?

call pediatrician
Photo Credit Cafepress.com (2018)

Even though cradle cap is very common there are some signs that it is time to contact the pediatrician. If your baby’s cradle cap starts to look infected (red and/or swollen) or inflamed it is definitely time to call your pediatrician. If it becomes red and warm to the touch, if there is any bleeding, or it develops a smell then it’s time to call the pediatrician. Another thing to be on the look out for is if it spreads to an out of control state (BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board., 2015).

While cradle cap is very common among new babies it is important to talk to your doctor if you suspect it is more than just cradle cap.

 

 

Resources:

Kids Health. (2018). Cradle Cap (Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis). Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cradle-cap.html

BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. (2015). Cradle Cap (Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis). Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_cradle-cap-infantile-seborrheic-dermatitis_80.bc

WebMd.com. (2018). Cradle Cap-Topic Overview. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/tc/cradle-cap-topic-overview

Mustela. (2017). The 6 Best Ways to Prevent & Treat Cradle Cap. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/tc/cradle-cap-topic-overview

 

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Breastfeeding: The Struggle is Real

Photo Credit Kristie, themomlifechronnicles.com. (2017)

I want to start this article off by saying it doesn’t matter how you feed your baby, as long as you feed your baby. I support breastfeeding, formula feeding, and supplemental feeding.

clock
Photo Credit Cafe Press, cafepress.com. (1999-2018)

There’s so much that goes in to breastfeeding. Commitment, time, dedication, and practice are all just a few of the things that go in to it. You constantly have to feed every 1-2 hours to keep your supply up. Supply and demand at it’s finest! You also have to get over the notion of “This is going to be easy.” It’s not. I know there are moms that leak like cows when it comes to pumping and breastfeeding. It didn’t come over night for them though. They worked for it and their bodies allowed it. I am so happy for you that you are able to do that. There are so many moms out there that can’t.

first time mom
Photo Credit Duck Duck Goose, duckduckgoosesale.com. (2010)

We all go in to pregnancy thinking “I am going to breastfeed. That’s what I’m doing and I’m not even going to consider the possibility that I can’t do it.” Those moms are the ones who refuse to buy bottles, nipples, formula, formula accessories, etc. News flash first time moms: It doesn’t work that way. No, I am not mom shaming. I love first time moms, and there is NOTHING wrong with being a first time mom. They have no idea yet what parenting really feels like, and they have so much joy to spread. You get to be excited with them. I was a first time mom at one point too. Don’t forget that. I love that you have the mentality to go forward with such hope and positivity. It will hopefully get you where you want to go. I know so many women who go in to that mentality (I was definitely one of them) and then were not able to produce the milk like they wanted. Don’t think just because you say you are going to that you are actually going to be able to. Your body decides. Not your brain.

Did you know your full milk supply doesn’t come in until a few days AFTER your delivery? So you won’t be able to pump that full bottle (if your body allows you to) until after you leave the hospital. They work with you so much at the hospital to help you have the tools for when you go home to be able to breastfeed your baby. They try to set you up for success. Not failure.

I highly encourage those who are struggling to try to go to the lactation classes. Try everything you can. If you are not able to don’t stress it! Stress is bad for you and recovery. Plus baby feels that anxiety and in turn starts responding to that. Both are not healthy choices. Don’t get discouraged just because you have to use formula. If you are able to breast feed (give it a few months before you quit completely) then that is fantastic! That is great for you and your healing, plus it’s great for baby too.

fenugreek

As a first time/new mom I was struggling to feed my baby. I kept on the breastfeeding bandwagon from day one. I went to all the lactation classes. I met with a lactation nurse several times a week to try to get my milk supply up. I started taking Fenugreek as well to help increase my milk production naturally. I pumped constantly. Nothing worked. I was starting to feel like a failure as a mother. I felt like “I am supposed to be able to feed my baby and I can’t. What kind of mother am I?”

got milk

Did you ever feel like that while trying to breastfeed?

When we got home from the hospital with our first born we had to go to the store immediately to buy formula to supplement feeding for her. My milk production had not come in yet. I had to make sure my baby was getting fed via breast and formula. Again, there is nothing wrong with how you feed your baby. Just please feed your baby.

10 Things to Bring to the Hospital

Photo Credit The KCD Blog, Kansas City Doulas. (2014)

Ever wonder what you should bring to the hospital after having a baby? I get asked that so much, so I thought I would put together a list of things that I brought that really made a difference. Your stay there should be about comfort and bonding with your baby. You shouldn’t have to worry about other things while you are there.

1) Pillow and Blanket From Home

pillow and blanket
Photo Credit Kamp Right, kampright.com. (2016)

 

I thought being told to bring my own pillow and blanket was one of the best pieces of advice I received while packing for the hospital. I’ll tell you what: it made a huge difference. It helped me feel more calm and secure. My baby could also smell our smell from home. Plus, let’s be honest about the “comfiness” of the hospital bed and bedding. It is just not as comfy as my huge king sized Sleep Number Bed, down feathered covers and pillows. Bring your own pillow and blanket.

 

2) Your Own Clothes (don’t forget your nursing bras and pads either)

pregnant yoga clothes
Photo Credit Unknown.

Okay first, I highly recommend if having a c-section that you pack yoga pants. I don’t recommend just any clothes though. I recommend Lane Bryant‘s yoga pants. These were a life saver. It felt like my insides were trying to come out after I had my c-section. Wearing these pants made me feel more secure in my stomach region. They also prevented things from rubbing on my incision. The pants come up passed the incision site, so it was perfect. It also helped train my tummy to tuck after giving birth.

 

lane bryant yoga pants
Photo Credit Shop Fitness, Meredith Corp, fitnessmagazine.com. (2018)

If you aren’t big enough to fit in to Lane Bryant sizes that’s okay. I put a picture in this section of what style of pants to bring. They are tummy tucking yoga pants. They’re amazing for every body shape/size, and will change your life. I promise!

Don’t forget your nursing bras and pads to go in your bra. If you have a nursing cover you can bring that too. I never used a nursing cover at the hospital, but if you are expecting a lot of visitors you can bring one to help with coverage.

 

 

3) Baby’s Clothes/Bottles/Nipples/Pacifiers/Blankets/Diaper Bag

packed diaper bag
Photo Credit Laura, laurasplans.com. (Unknown)

Don’t forget your baby will be born in the nude. He/She does not come with a little suitcase ready to wear their clothes (but wouldn’t that be nice if they did). Don’t forget to pack baby clothes. Remember the hospital is probably going to be a little cold no matter what the weather is doing outside. I recommend packing warmer things. Don’t forget too baby has been in your warm belly for 9 months. Being cold is a shock to them. Bring sleepers, sleep sacks, long sleeved onsies, blanket, etc.

nuk bottles and nipples
Photo Credit target.com. (Unknown)

If you plan on trying to bottle feed along with pumping don’t forget your bottles and nipples. I am so particular about what nipples and bottles I use, so that’s why I would recommend packing them. Are you using a pacifier? Great. Don’t forget to bring it. Again, I’m very brand specific. They give you the plain ones at the hospital and who the heck knows if your baby will even take it. My daughter latched on to her NUK pacifier right away. The nurses told me they were glad I brought it.

 

4) Nipple Shield

nipple shield
Photo Credit nuk-usa.com. (2018)

If you’re planning to breastfeed (and you’ve already had your first baby) then don’t forget your nipple shield. You remember how important it was the first time around? Good. Me too! That thing is a life saver!

If this is your first baby and you plan on breastfeeding I highly recommend getting a nipple shield. It helps with dry/cracked nipples. Plus it helps baby learn to latch on more efficiently. I prefer NUK brand, so you can find the nipple shield here.

 

5) Nipple Cream

lanolin
Photo Credit lansinoh.com. (2017)

Speaking of your nipples getting dry and cracked have you thought about looking in to nipple cream? Again, I am so picky about products. I use only creams that I can understand everything I read on the back (the ingredients). Make sure you invest in one that is safe for baby to ingest as well. Applying that cream before and after breastfeeding is important. I used the Lansinoh HPA Lanolin cream.

 

 

 

6) Shampoo and Conditioner/Personal Grooming Products (soaps, lotions, etc.)

bathroom bag
Photo Credit Pinterst, everyday-simple.blogspot.com. (Unknown)

Don’t forget your personal belongings. I don’t remember if they provided shampoo and conditioner at the hospital (and I’m sure every hospital is different). I don’t want to find out the second time around. Just bring your own. It will also help you feel more “at home” given your surroundings are the hospital. Don’t forget your hair brush, hair ties, lotion, soap, nail clippers/filer (I hate when I have a snag and I don’t have a filer on me), deodorant, tooth brush, tooth paste, etc. These will be a life saver later on when you’re ready to get up and have visitors come see your new perfect bundle of joy.

 

7) Slippers/Socks

slippers
Photo Credit Etsy, etsy.com. (2018)

The hospital (for liability reasons) provides those ugly non-slip socks. Albeit they’re so fancy and stylish (yeah right) I still recommend bringing your own slippers. If you have non-slip socks you can bring those too. I brought my own socks and slippers to the hospital with my first born. They helped add to my feeling at home during my stay there. The floors are slippery, so make sure you are wearing something with grip. It would be tragic if you were holding baby and slipped and fell.

 

8) Electronics and Chargers (cell phones, video cameras, etc.)

chargers
Photo Credit Karen, sewmanyways.blogspot.com. (2014)

You don’t want to miss that special day. Don’t forget your video camera. More importantly, don’t forget the charger! After baby is born your phone will be blowing up with family, friends, and social media wanting to see your beautiful new baby. Nothing would be worse than not being able to charge your phone for days while you are at the hospital and not being able to be in touch with the outside world. Don’t forget to bring the chargers!

9) Magazines/Books/Puzzle (thing to do)

stack of magazines
Photo Credit Bobeh, creativemarket.com. (2018)

If you are getting induced sitting there and waiting is so boring. You get antsy. “What am I going to do now?” The anticipation makes time seem like it is the slowest day of your life. You’ll want something to keep you busy.

 

After baby is born you are stuck in the hospital for a couple days. You are going to be so busy taking care of baby. Nurses help you SO MUCH in the hospital, so you will get some down time too while baby is sleeping. Bring something to do.

10) Snacks

snacks
Photo Credit Blue Ribbon Snacks, Amazon.com. (2018)

Okay, who doesn’t like to snack? You are going to get hungry in between meals at the hospital. You are going to want snacks that don’t taste like they’re from a hospital cafeteria either. Bring some yummy snacks. Don’t forget you can have extra calories if you’re breastfeeding (who doesn’t love an excuse to eat more).

*Bonus 11) Towels

towels
Photo Credit hsn.com. (2018)

I don’t remember if the hospital provides towels. I am guessing they do. However, who wants to use the hospital towels when you can use your own? I use Snuggles fabric softener and I’ll tell you what. It makes a difference with the softness of the towels and on our skin at home.

*Bonus 12) An Extra Bag to Take Home Stuff They Give You at the Hospital

You get so much stuff given to you from the hospital for having baby. You get a TON of paperwork. You also get a pacifier, formulas, bottles, and some hospitals give you a gift basket. My point is make sure whatever bag(s) you bring there is enough room for extra stuff to be packed at the end of your stay. You can either bring an extra bag, or you can just pack an oversized bag from the beginning.

I hope this helps all you mamas out there trying to figure out what to pack for that special day. Please comment below and let me know if there was something that was not on this list that made a difference. I would love to hear from you.

Formula: What Should I Look For?

Photo Credit Admin, IMGtoys.com, 2017

There are so many different brands of formula on the market today. There’s so many categories too. Should I get soy? Should I get extra iron? Should I get advanced? Should I just get the cheapest? These are all great questions to ask yourself. I want to talk more in depth about that today.

This is not a bias article saying you should feed your kid formula. Feeding your child, however you may do that, is what matters. Breast, formula, baby food, etc. Just feed your child.

Okay, let’s jump right in.

How is Formula Made?

I want to start this article off with talking about how formula is made. 1) I find it interesting, and 2) it will help you, the consumer, understand what you are getting in to.

I recommend going here to the FDA website and reading more in depth about the process and how it works. I am only going to give you a general idea of how the process works. There’s 2 general processes for making baby formula. There’s dry blending and wet blending, or spray blending.

Dry Blending

dry blending
Photo Credit baanmu.com, 2013

You can read more about here.

“The dry blending process begins with the receipt of the ingredients. The ingredients are typically stored until they are tested for conformance to specifications, including microbiological contamination. Since microbiological contaminants may be present in low numbers and may be non-randomly distributed within the lot, it is difficult to assure microbiological quality by lot testing alone. Therefore, manufacturers of dry-blended products try to develop and maintain close relationships with their ingredient suppliers. Each supplier must produce their product in a manner that assures that harmful bacteria will not contaminate the finished ingredient. This is usually accomplished by a combination of appropriate process controls and strict adherence to good manufacturing practices” (FDA.gov., Unknown).

“Dry ingredients are blended in large batches (1, 000 to 5,000 lbs.) in a ribbon blender or other large scale blending equipment. The ingredients must be blended until the nutrients are uniformly distributed throughout the batch. The blended product is then passed through a sifter to remove oversize particles and extraneous material. The sifted product is then transferred to bags, totes or lined fiberboard drums for storage. In some cases, the powder is transferred directly to the powder packaging line. At the packaging line, the powder is transferred to a filler hopper that feeds powder into the can filling line. Filled cans are flushed with inert gas, seamed, labeled, coded and packed into cartons. Typically, finished product is held until it undergoes a final check for conformance to specifications, including testing for microbiological contaminants” (FDA.gov., Unknown).

Wet Blending

wet blending
Photo Credit ausnutrients, 2011

“The wet blending – spray drying process begins with the receipt of ingredients from suppliers. As with the dry blending process, ingredients are stored until they are tested for conformance to specifications. Ingredients are blended with water in large batches (1,000 – 5,000 gallons) then pumped to a heat exchanger for pasteurization. The severity of the pasteurization process varies among manufacturers, but it is always sufficient to destroy the vegetative cells of harmful bacteria. After pasteurization, the liquid is homogenized. [Note: Some manufacturers homogenize product prior to pasteurization.] After pasteurization, certain heat sensitive micro nutrients (e.g., vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids) are added to the product. The microbiological quality of these nutrients is critical, since the product may not receive further heating sufficient to destroy harmful bacteria. After the addition of micro-nutrients, the liquid may be concentrated by passing it through an evaporator or it may be pumped directly to the spray dryer. If the product is evaporated, it is heated to 145 – 170°F during the process. In some cases, the concentrated liquid may be cooled to less than 45°F and stored in a large tank (10,000 – 30,000 gallons) until needed. Prior to spray drying, the product is pre-heated to 160 – 200°F and passed through a high pressure pump to the spray dryer nozzles. The product is atomized into the spray dryer where the inlet air temperature ranges from 280 – 400°F, depending on the dryer model and process requirements. The spray dryer may be either a horizontal box-type dryer or a vertical funnel shaped dryer. As the droplets of product pass through the dryer, water is evaporated and the dry powder falls to the bottom of the spray dryer. The outlet temperature of the dryer is approximately 220°F. The temperature of the powder at the spray dryer outlet ranges from 110 – 175°F. The warm powder is passed through a fluidized bed where it is cooled by a stream of chilled air. At the end of the fluidized bed, the powder has cooled to approximately 70°F. Typically, HEPA-filtered air is supplied to the spray dryer and fluidized bed to minimize the risk of product contamination. After spray drying, the product may be agglomerated to increase the particle size and to improve its solubility. The finished powder is passed through a sifter then transferred to bags, totes or silos for storage. In some cases, the powder may be transferred directly to the powder packaging line. At the packaging line, the powder is transferred to a filler hopper that feeds powder into the can filling line. Filled cans are flushed with inert gas, seamed, labeled, coded and packed into cartons. Typically, finished product is held until it undergoes a final check for conformance to specifications, including microbiological contaminants” (FDA.gov., Unknown).

 

What are the Most Common Brands out There?

common forms of formula
Photo Credit Eduardo Cantoral, Newborn Care. (2012)

In my area the most common brands that come to mind are Similac, Enfamil, Parents Choice, Gerber, Nestle Good Start, the other generic brands per each super store’s brand.

How Do I Know Which one to Choose?

I’m so glad you asked! There are so many brands out there to choose from. Did you know not all brands are a safe choice? There are so many things to take in to consideration. My biggest thing is if you read the ingredients and you have no idea what even ONE of the ingredients is then PUT IT BACK ON THE SHELF. Yuck. Why would I want to feed my child something that I can’t even pronounce the name of, let alone know what it is. Yes, we can pull out our handy dandy smart phones and look it up. But realistically do you want to feed your kid something that you don’t even know what it is? Now, I know a lot of you are going to say “Well there’s so much in formula. I looked it up and it says it’s safe.” Okay good! I’m glad you did your research. If it’s safe, per formula guidelines with research, then yes. Pick it up and buy it if it’s what you are looking for.

There is a fantastic article by the Mayo Clinic about the different types of formula (soy, cow milk protein, protein hydrolysate formula). You can find that article here.

Cow’s Milk Protein Formula: This is the “normal” formula you can buy from the store. It is made of cow’s milk protein. It most closely resembles breast milk. It provides nutrients that your baby would get from breast milk.

Soy Based Formula: Soy based formulas are for babies who are lactose intolerant. You can also use it if you are trying to avoid any kind of animal in your formula (nutrition preferences).

Protein Hydrolysate Formula: This formula is for babies who have a hard time digesting the protein found in cow’s milk. They can’t digest the soy or the cow’s milk. They usually have a protein allergy as well.

I Want to Know More:

Some other things I want to mention really quickly is your baby needs iron fortified formula. Your baby needs iron to grow and develop (Mayo Clinic Staff., 2016). There is a lot of concerns about DHA/ARA in formulas as well. Some studies suggest it helps with developing eye sight. There have been other studies though that have said no this is not the case. If you are unsure about the possible safety of this I would just recommend avoiding it.

Don’t use used formula. Don’t buy contaminated (opened) formula. Don’t use expired formula.

If you want to buy the generic formula from your local super store make sure you look at the ingredients. It should also say something on the front like “Compared to (insert brand)”. Make sure you look and make sure it is actually comparable.

I really like the video below. It’s very informative! She goes in depth in a more visual aspect.

Make sure you talk to your doctor before you make any final decisions.

 

 

Resources:

FDA.gov. (Unknown). Powdered Infant Formula: An Overview of Manufacturing Processes. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/03/briefing/3939b1_tab4b.htm

The Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Infant Formula: Your Questions Answered. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/infant-formula/art-20045782

 

Natural Birth? C-Section?: Which is Right for Me?

Photo Credit http://www.stylehuntworld.blogspot.com

First, I want to say you are no less of a mother if you have a cesarean section (c-section) birth or a natural birth, or if you have a natural birth and decide to use drugs to help in the process. I see mom shaming going on about this topic all the time. It’s so controversial. I just want to set the topic straight on this. I am a c-section mommy and proud of it. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of birth, so please don’t judge another mother just because she had a different birthing experience than you.

Let’s dive right in!

Natural Birth

natural birth
Photo Credit Baby Center Medical Advisory Board

A natural birth is exactly that. However, there’s so many ways to have a natural birth. Do you want to use drugs to help along the process? Do you want to be pumped with any inducing drugs (Pitocin) or use an epidural? Do you think you’ll need an episiotomy? What is your birthing plan? Do you have one in mind?

Okay, great! You have thought about a birthing plan. Now throw it out the window. You can plan whatever birthing plan you want, but baby is still the one making the shots. Baby makes the shots for the rest of your life, so you better get used to it now.

Natural Birthing Advantages

The number one thing as a mom of having an all natural birth (no drugs necessary) is that you did it. You birthed that beautiful bundle of joy all by yourself, no drugs necessary. I’ve been there. I went in with the mindset of “I’m doing this all by myself and I am a woman. Hear me roar.” Now, this is not a bad mind set to have going in to your delivery.

Advantages of if you are able to do it all natural is that you are completely involved, in control. You get to mentally be involved as well as physically. You get to call the shots of how you position yourself. You get to mentally push yourself to accomplish the greatest thing you’ve ever done with your life. You have no loss of sensation of your nervous system. All those things they taught you in your birthing classes get to come in handy while you push powerfully to birth your baby.

forceps vacuum
Photo Credit Parent Resource Network

You are also less likely to have the need for forceps or a vacuum to help with your deliver (Baby Center Medical Advisory Board, 2017). These are to name a few of the wonderful advantages of having a drug free, natural delivery.

There’s also the fact that you don’t run the risks of having surgery because there is no surgery, unlike that of a c-section. You don’t run the risks of drug reactions either. Recovery time for a natural birth is significantly lower than that of a c-section as well (Nierenberg, C., 2015).

Natural Birthing Disadvantages

The number one thing that comes immediately to my mind is drugs they give you to help you birth. Are they safe? Will they effect my baby? Well yes, but not in the way you might think. The disadvantages to having things like the epidural is you are so numb you can not feel what is going on down there. Trust me, I know. Been there, done that. I was numb all the way up to my chest and could not feel my arms. It was the weirdest feeling I’ve ever felt in my life. If you are a control freak and want to have every involvement with your deliver then using drugs to help is probably not a good idea for you. I am THAT control freak, so don’t feel bad.

episiotomy
Photo Credit The LBC Health Group

With a natural birth you run the risk of tearing your lady parts. I know a lot of patients and women who ripped open before the doctor had a chance to do the epesiotomy. That results in a lot of scarring. It does not look the same after that. Even if your doctor is able to do the epesiotomy in time the stitches and the tearing from that is still going to leave a scar forever. Some women don’t care, and some do. I cared. Really though how big is that concern for you when the alternative could be a huge c-section scar?

pitocin

Some women get induced using Pitocin, and labor for hours and hours. This can exhaust mom and baby. Eventually if things aren’t moving along they will decide to do a C-section. Again, you run even more risks with a c-section surgery.

There is also the involvement with your partner to consider. I labored for 15 hours and then had to have an emergency c-section. When I was laboring I was ready to rip a rail off the hospital bed. I was in so much pain. I did not want anyone, not even my husband, to talk to me, look at me, ask me any questions, or especially touch me. That can hinder the birthing experience for your partner, to say the least. When they did the epidural to start the process of a c-section the room felt more calm. It felt like I could relax, and enjoy what was going on. I felt nicer as a person too. The pain was no longer there. I was able to let go and let my husband hold my hand, touch me, and tell me everything was going to be okay.

Natural Birth and Drugs

I’ve touched a little bit on it already, but I want to go more in depth for anyone who has any more questions about the drugs used during delivery. Let’s start with Pitocin. This drug is usually used to jump start labor. If you get scheduled to be induced they’re more than likely giving you Pitocin. “Pitocin, a brand name drug, is the synthetic version of Oxytocin, a natural hormone that helps your uterus contract during labor” (Rolano, R., 2017). With that being said it is a synthetic way they can jump start those contractions to get labor moving right along. Depending on how you feel about synthetic drugs and inducing labor, Pitocin is the way to go. Don’t forget about the risks with any medication or drug used though. Talk to your doctor first.

epidural

Another thing they use during delivery is an epidural. “Epidural medications fall into a class of drugs called local anesthetics, such as bupivacaine, chloroprocaine, or lidocaine. They are often delivered in combination with opioids or narcotics such as fentanyl and sufentanil in order to decrease the required dose of local anesthetic” (American Pregnancy Association, 2017). An epidural is given through IV to your spine. “For a spinal block, narcotics or anesthetic is injected once with a needle. For a spinal epidural or combined spinal epidural, a catheter is placed in the epidural space to allow continuous anesthesia (American Pregnancy Association, 2015). The photo located towards the left shows the different areas the needles are inserted. Again, talk to your doctor to make sure this is the right choice for your birthing plan if you are considering drugs during delivery.

Cesarean Section (C-Section) Birth

csection
Photo Credit Reiter and Walsh

The cesarean section birth is something I am all too familiar with. The c-section has a long list of advantages and disadvantages. It’s a surgery, a major surgery. A c-section is not to be taken lightly. If considering this as your birthing plan please talk to your doctor first. There is a lot of prepping for this surgery, as well as prepping mentally for this.

Advantages of a C-Section Birth

There are only a few advantages to mention about a c-section birth. You get to plan exactly when your baby is coming. There are no in the middle of the night surprises (as long as baby decides to stay in long enough for the scheduled surgery to happen). Doctors also perform c-sections at 38-39 weeks, so you do not have to be pregnant a full 40 weeks term.

Another thing I want to talk about is partner involvement. Like I said previously, as soon as they gave me that epidural the room seemed more calm. I was able to think about other things. I was able to allow my husband to be involved. After they cut me open and took out our gorgeous, perfect little daughter he was the sole parent for her the first few hours of her life while I was in recovery. If I had a natural birth, I would have been there the first few hours of her life. I think the c-section gives a chance for your partner to really bond with the baby. After that you are the one feeding and rocking the baby most of the time. It’s hard sometimes for the partners, and they end up not feeling as involved with the baby.

Disadvantages of a C-Section

I know I touched on it earlier, but drugs for a c-section birth are a must. They have to do an epidural anesthesia. The risks include blood pressure dropping, headaches caused by spinal fluid leaking, and shivering sensations. There’s also nausea, backaches, ringing in ears, and difficulty urinating. You are not allowed to get out of bed, so going to the bathroom is not an option. They catheterize your bladder so you are able to empty your bladder and not get out of bed.

I remember having the shivering sensations pretty badly. I felt cold and was shaking, but I was not cold. I also remember just wanting to get out of bed to go to the bathroom by myself instead of having what seemed like the whole world watch me go to the bathroom in a bag connected to my urethra.

There have been issues reported of permanent nerve damage where the epidural was placed in the spine.

There have also been studies that say babies have a harder time latching on when birthed via c-section. “Other studies suggest that a baby might experience respiratory depression, fetal malpositioning, and an increase in fetal heart rate variability (American Pregnancy Association, 2017). I highly encourage you to go to the American Pregnancy Association website and read the article on epidurals. It is very informative, especially if you are considering a c-section birth.

The recovery time for a c-section is a lot longer than a natural birth. Again, this is a real surgery. Movement will be limited, so that makes taking care of baby a little harder as well. I was barely able to walk for months. After about 10 weeks I still had trouble walking long periods at a time. I would have to take a lot of breaks in between walking.

The more obvious disadvantage of a c-section delivery is the scar. The scar is huge. I know it’s low in your groin area, but it also bothers me a lot. I notice when the weather is changing my scar tends to hurt. It’s been 5 years since I had my c-section and the scar still acts up.

In Conclusion

Please be aware that any birthing plan you choose is yours. It also needs to be discussed with your doctor. Not only will it be recognized by your doctor and the nursing staff, but also so they can make sure your birthing plan goes as according to plan as it possibly can. If there are options that are better for you and baby your doctor will be able to tell you. Make sure you write down all your questions to take to your next doctor’s appointment.

Birthing your baby via natural birth or cesarean birth is a personal experience. It does not mean you made a wrong choice if your birthing plan does not go how you hoped it would have. It does not make you less of a mother if you wanted a natural birth, but the doctor had to intervene to help protect your baby via drugs, medications, or a surgery.

*I would love to hear about your birthing story below in the comments section. If you have more to add to help other moms with choosing their birthing plan please comment below. Thank you so much.*

Resources:

Mena, Katie. (2016). Pitocin Induction: The Risks and Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/pitocin-induction

Baby Center Medical Advisory Board. (2017). Natural Childbirth. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/natural-childbirth

Nierenberg, Cari, Live Science Contributor. (2015). Vaginal Birth Vs. C-Section: Pros and Cons. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/45681-vaginal-birth-vs-c-section.html

Rolano, Rose, The Bump Contributor. (2017). The Lowdown on Using Pitocin During Labor. Retrieved from https://www.thebump.com/a/pitocin

American Pregnancy Association. (2017). Epidural Anesthesia. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/epidural/

American Pregnancy Association. (2015). Spinal Block. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/spinal-block/

Help! My Child is Scared to Leave me When She Goes to School.

Photo Illustrated by Pixar Wiki

I want to start this article off with letting all the parents out there know YOU ARE doing a great job. Don’t get discouraged with anything you read. Don’t hesitate to get help when needed. You are fantastic, beautiful and doing great!

My Child is Scared to Leave me to go to School.

Have you ever felt like this: I’ve noticed lately my 5 years old daughter is having anxiety about leaving me and our family dog to go to school. Today she broke down in tears when I asked her to pick up her laundry. She started tearing up saying “I just know what to do.” She was getting frustrated. Then I asked her “What’s wrong honey?” She replied with “I just don’t know what’s wrong with me.” So I got down on her level and gave her a huge hug. She started crying telling me how much she missed me while she was at school today, and she worries about the dog while she’s at school too. I asked her why she is scared to leave the dog. I thought that was kind of a weird fear honestly. She told me because I leave her home alone by herself. I reassured her that our dog lays on the couch snoring all day. I also reassured her that I am home all day long waiting until I can pick her up from school. I told her I miss her so much too while she is at school.

Okay, So What’s Going on?

According to Parents.com, which you can read about here, it is important to address those fears. There’s a natural spike in anxiety in this age group (Mann, J., Unknown). Kids start to worry about death, injury, etc. They realize that something bad could possibly happen to them or their loved ones. I remember as a child, probably around this age, being terrified to leave my mom while I went off to school. I constantly thought about what if something happened to my mom or dad. What if they died?

I am not saying your child, or mine, has an anxiety disorder (they might), but I want to discuss what that means. According to an article on Brain Connection, which you can read about here, anxiety develops around 8 months of age. That is pretty early. This is the stage where they begin to start to cry when they do not see mom or dad in sight. They learn by crying you will come back to essentially save them. “According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistics Manual-IV (DSM-IV), “the anxiety or fear must cause distress or affect social, academic, or job functioning and must last at least one month.” (Brain Connection, Unknown). Is this anxiety or fear effecting your child’s social, academic or job functioning abilities? How long has your child’s anxiety gone on for?

So My Child has Separation Anxiety. Now What?

No let’s talk about solutions. Make sure you address the fears. Comfort your child. Lots of hugs and reassurance that this is normal and everything will be alright. Make sure when you address these fears that there is nothing bigger going on. According to an article in healthychildren.org make sure there is nothing bigger like bullying, teasing, abuse, fear of the teacher, fear of failure, or fear of going to the bathroom in public going on (Unknown, 2017). These are just to name a few. What kind of anxieties does your child have?

You can try to reduce these fears by giving them something special to leave in their cubby or backpack. A nice family photo is a great solution. I remember when I was in kindergarten my mom put a blanky in my backpack so whenever I felt anxious or scared I could open my backpack and look inside to feel secure again. Honestly, as ridiculous as that sounds it worked.

Today I sent her to school with a poncho I crocheted. She has been holding on to this poncho since day one of starting her new school. I think it helps self-soothe her. On the way to school this morning we talked about there is nothing to worry about because mommy and doggy are at home all day and safe. I reminded her the sweater was in her backpack and she can put it on any time she misses her mommy. She asked a ton of follow up questions about being able to wear it. I reassured her to just put it on for every scenario running through her head. She finally let it go, and didn’t seem anxious when I dropped her off.

When my daughter switched schools in the middle of the school year we read A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn and Barbara Leonard Gibson. You can order it here. This book is so great for times like this. It is about a child raccoon who is getting ready to start his first day of school, but is scared he will miss Mama Racoon. Mama Racoon put a bunch of kisses in his pocket so when he needed a kiss from his mother they were there. The mother then kissed his hand over and over and told him to put them in his pocket for safe keeping for whenever he felt scared. We did this with my daughter her first day of school at the new school. She pulled out her “kisses” whenever she needed them to feel close to home. It worked great!

Another great book to try is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak. You can order that book here. I like this book too. It is about the same premise where the little raccoon is scared to start school.

When do I get Help?

Please note that the time to get help for your child and to seek a professional depends a lot on the child. If they are inconsolable at school that is not a good situation for everyone around them. If they are peeing themselves at school that is another sign to look out for. Insomnia, headaches, constant stomach aches, and chest pains are all signs that there is a bigger issue going on that needs to be addressed by a professional.

If your child is having separation anxiety I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment with your story below.

Other Sources:

Mann, J. (Unknown). When Your Child Doesn’t Want to go to School. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/kids/education/elementary-school/when-your-child-doesnt-want-to-go-to-school/

Unknown. (2017). School Avoidance: Tips for Concerned Parents. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/emotional-problems/Pages/School-Avoidance.aspx

Brain Connections. (Unknown). Afraid to Leave Mom: Separation Anxiety in Children. Retrieved from https://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2000/11/20/afraid-to-leave-mom-separation-anxiety-in-children/

 

My Baby Won’t Stop Crying!: How to Deal With the Colic Baby

Photo Credit Naturopathic Pediatrics

What is Colic and What Does it Mean?

I understand all babies cry. They cry for various reasons, and yes because their tummies hurt is a very common reason. I’m talking about a baby who cries with what seems to be constant for no reason. When your baby seems to cry for no reason and nothing helps that is colic. I’ve been there. It is no fun. My daughter’s nick name is “Bear.” When she was little we would jokingly say “Oh the bear is awake.” Or we would say “Oh the bear is growling again.” The definition of colic is “a condition characterized by acute spasmodic abdominal pain, esp that caused by inflammation, distention, etc, of the gastrointestinal tract.” (Dictionary.com, 2018).

With colicky babies they cry out a painful cry randomly for long periods at a time. When I say long periods at a time I really mean hours at a time. Nothing will console them. The only thing you can do is just hold them and cling to your sanity as you try to figure out what is wrong. Their eating and sleeping gets disrupted from the crying from what is going on. When they are crying they may throw their legs up in the air towards their chest. They might make fists and clench their hands. They might get a concerned look on their face. Your baby may get really gassy, or start spitting up. There are several signs your baby might have colic. Keep an eye out.

And What is Causing My Baby to be Colicky?

colic chart

Photo Credit Karlapalem

There is no exact evidence pointing to why babies get colic. There are several reasons babies could develop colic though. These include an under developed digestive tract, baby acid reflux, food allergies or sensitivity to foods, or tobacco exposure. Some other theories include the baby not being used to his/her surroundings yet. They will eventually learn to tune out noises and not be so over stimulated and scared (Murkoff, H., 2017). It could also be from their nervous system still developing. Please do not ignore your baby’s crying. There could be something even more serious going on. They could have colic though. It is your job as a parent to see what you can do to help them if you are able to. If it’s a food allergy or sensitivity to food that is something that can be fixed.

About 20%-25% of babies have colic. That makes my heart break. The colicky crying seems to be worse at night. If your baby is colic that does not mean your baby is unhealthy. “Many colicky babies may pull up their legs or extend their legs, clench their fists, and pass gas. Some may have hardened or distended tummies filled with gas. (Gas does not cause colic, but seems to be a symptom of colic from babies swallowing too much air when they are crying.)” (American Pregnancy Association, 2017).

Help!: How Do I Help My Colic Baby?

If you suspect your baby is colic you should take them to the doctor to make sure there isn’t a serious underlying condition. Also, you should try changing things one thing at a time to see if something helps your baby. It might be an easy fix. Instead of using a high iron baby formula, switch to a sensitive type of formula. If you are breast feeding maybe you are ingesting something that is hurting your baby. Is your baby having issues with stooling? If your baby is maybe try a little bit of watered down apple juice in their bottle to help them pass the stool. The pediatrician will point you in the correct direction depending on the reason your baby might be colic.

There are things you can buy over the counter. These include gripe water, probiotics, and anything else you can buy over the counter that promises to help with colic. Please consult your pediatrician first. I have used these over the counter remedies and you should get more information first. I did not have any luck with these things, but I know parents who swear by them.

mom holding baby

Photo Credit Shutterstock

If you get overwhelmed with your colic baby please remember it is okay to put your baby in their crib and let them cry for a few minutes so you can pull yourself back together and get a break. There is not shame in that. It is common to feel resentful or angry towards your little one when dealing with this. Don’t feel guilty or shameful. It is better for you to walk away and take a break than you shake your baby or do something like hurt them from being overwhelmed. It is so easy to not even realize your are about to do something like that.

What Babies Are More at Risk to Have Colic?

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Babies of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at a higher risk to have colic after they are born. Babies who take formula have a higher risk. Some other risk factors include over feeding, and a low birth weight. Please also be aware that every baby is at risk for being colic.

If you went through colic with your baby already there is a funny article here about being a “colic baby survivor.” It made me giggle, and it is pretty funny.

Resources

Dictionary.com. (2018). Colic. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/colic?s=t

The Fussy Baby Site. (2018). The Aftermath of Colic: Are You ‘Over It’? Retrieved from http://www.thefussybabysite.com/blog/the-aftermath-of-colic-are-you-over-it/

Murkoff, H. (2017). Colic in Babies: Signs, Causes and Tips for Parents. Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/health-and-safety/what-is-colic/

American Pregnancy Association. (2017). Colic. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/colic/

Brennan, D. (2017). Could Your Baby’s Crying be Colic? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/what-is-colic#1