Let’s get this out in the open…

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I’ve struggled with writing this post for more than half a year now. Wondering what words are right, fearing the emotions that would come with it, and being utterly ashamed of the way I felt, even if only briefly.

I struggled to get pregnant. TTC (trying to conceive, for anyone unfamiliar with the infertility world,) for 1.5 years. I had a hard pregnancy, where my OB thought my son might come early (too early.) My labor was straight from a dramatic scene you would see in Grey’s Anatomy, where my son’s heart rate was dropping low because he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. And post partum? Sheesh. My son had bad reflux– the kind where they choke on their own spit up and you’re terrified that they could do it in the middle of the night and you can’t get to them quickly enough.

My first week home was fine. No major problems. Typical insomnia, but OH so much love for that tiny human of mine. I cried happy tears, because the outcome of my labor could have been vastly different. I came home with a happy, healthy little baby. I was beyond thankful.

After a week or so I noticed my hormones tanking. I was upset all the time. I was sleep deprived to the point of psychosis. I didn’t eat. I didn’t do anything. I was paralyzed with the crippling fear of keeping my son happy and healthy. He ate all the time, slept on a crazy schedule. He spit up more than he ate. I had lost interest in everything other than taking care of my guy.

I lost my identity completely.

I went from being this strong, independent woman… to being afraid to leave the house for fear of strangers with germs, car accidents, my child throwing a fit in the store, etc etc etc. There was so much unknown.

And while I can say that I never had thoughts of harming my child, I did sit rocking him with tears flowing (often on him,) wondering what I was doing wrong. Googling all hours of the night ways to help him sleep, and feel content and not be so refluxy. Untitled.png

I didn’t want company. I didn’t want to talk, hang, let other people hold him. I didn’t want their germs, their advice, their opinions. I didn’t want it.

My mom helped often, and I went to check-ups with my OB to make sure my hormones were getting balanced out. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I would have made it through.

Dealing with the baby blues and postpartum depression absolutely does not correlate with whether or not you love your child. Anyone that knows me can tell you that my world revolves around my little boy. I love him more than I could ever put into words. I would do anything for him. I need him all the time, and I miss him when I’m away from him for even a few minutes.

But PPD takes over your mind completely. Thoughts become irrational and finite, and looking past the temporary situation is near impossible. There is an immense struggle to adapt, because it all happens so quickly.

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Post partum depression is still a taboo topic. If you have a happy, healthy baby… then you should just be happy. But the brain doesn’t understand that. It just doesn’t. And while PPD usually subsides within a few months when hormones level out, sometimes it requires medication and lasts a much longer span of time (a really amazing crusader that has spoken out about her long battle with PPD is Hayden Panettiere. Also, Brooke Shields wrote a great book on her PPD.) Not saying that it takes a celebrity to realize that this is a problem, but I’m glad that a few celebrities are using their fame to open up about their struggles.)

Realizing that there is a problem is important. Letting people know that you need a support system is the best way through it. Go to your doctor and get a check-up. Talk to other women that have had PPD and the baby blues. Get out. Seriously… don’t worry about strangers at Target when you’re waltzing through in your yoga pants, mom bun, and your child is screaming. And baby wear— baby wearing helped me SO much. I felt like I gained some independence back when I started wearing my son around everywhere. It’s great bonding, and allows you to move around freely.

If you have a spouse/significant other, make sure you explain to them how you are feeling so that they know when and where they can help. Take all the help you can get. Make parenting a bonding experience, and try to avoid frustration in times of chaos. This is a learning experience for him as much as it is for you. My husband was a wonderful support. And while he wasn’t always as quick to run to our crying baby, he helped and he really stepped up when I asked for extra support with taking care of our newborn. I am forever thankful to him for being such a wonderful dad.

And lastly… don’t be ashamed. As moms we are entirely too hard on ourselves. We created and gave life, and we’re putting another human’s needs above our own. Most of us have insane hormonal imbalances after having our little ones, so we need to give ourselves some credit. Take care of yourself! You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

I’d also like to reach out to adoptive parents here, because it’s totally possible to have PPD as an adoptive parent! There are a ton of articles out there on this, but here is one that I liked.

If you have a severe form of PPD that leads to unusual anger/rage, I encourage you to get help as soon as possible. There are all kinds of agencies that specialize in getting women with PPD the help that they need.

PPD/Baby Blues lasted roughly 3 months for me. After which point, I noticed my hormones leveling back out. I was able to resume normal life activities, and being a mother finally felt natural. I have a happy one year old son who is my everything. “This too shall pass” was my happy motto, and I’m so glad that I was right. Life has never been better.

-Katie

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Lansinoh Momma Bottle (medium flow) Product Review

Bottle_5oz_Triple_Pack_540_405_c1Pros: For starters, this bottle is pretty in-expensive! If you are looking for a good, quality bottle, without shelling out a TON you can start here.

Bottle_TLD_Picture1The nipple silicon in this bottle is pretty realistic giving it an actual skin feel, which is nice. There are only 3 parts to keep up with so that makes it easier to clean, and prevents any leaking from parts not fitting exactly as they should.

This bottle is a great bottle to keep in your diaper bag for a bottle fed baby!

Cons: Unfortunately, our mothers with breastfed babies weren’t too fond of this bottle.

The flow from this nipple is way too fast, making it extremely easy for the baby to chug their milk too quickly. In turn, causing a lot of gas. Not only was the flow so fast that it was causing my baby to choke, but you could see the air bubbles when he wasn’t choking. From what our mothers have said “This bottle doesn’t regulate air very well in comparison to others”. So, there are other bottles out there that do the job for ‘fluxy babies!

In regards to the construction of the bottle, it seems rather thin, like it could break easily. So, I wouldn’t let a toddler roam the house with it or anything.

This bottle only comes in purple, it looks cute, but if you want a more boy-ish look you’re not going to get it.

All in all, this bottle averaged a 3 star with our mommies. If you have a breastfed baby, chances are this bottle won’t work well for your baby. But, if you have a baby with no eating or gas issues, and or is bottle fed, then this bottle would be a great fit for you!

This product is a great grab if you have a super easy baby and you need a bottle on the run, but I wouldn’t recommend putting it on your baby registry without knowing your baby yet.

~Amanda

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a postive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

TummyGize by Young Living Product review

5305PROS: This is by far one of my favorite essential oils! I have tried many, and have become pretty obsessed, but they don’t always work for what you want them to. TummyGize is spot on though! BK#2 has some pretty rough reflux and tummy issues. He is on prescription medication and it’s somewhat manageable, but there some days when little mister is just miserable. After trying, many different over the counter solutions we decided to try this oil. Let me tell you, it works like a charm!!!! The crying, grunting and flailing stop almost immediately. This oil is safe on kids and babies, and is specifically made for them. It is 100% pure therapeutic grade EO, but it is pre-diluted so you don’t have to waste time mixing with a carrier oil! I take off his shirt and rub a drop or two on his stomach and let it work its magic! This EO is a blend of spearmint, peppermint, tangerine, fennel, anise, ginger, and cardamom.

CONS: The only thing that I don’t like about this oil is that its an orange color and stained a shirt when I didn’t rub in well enough. (The orange color is from the tangerine) That was my own fault though. I like the smell, but it is a little strong and some might not like it.

This is a great product. It makes me feel good that I can instantaneously make my LO feel better! It’s one of the more affordable oils, the best quality and does what it claims

Reflux Tips that Helped Us

baby-uneven-cribOur LO was diagnosed with reflux & silent reflux at just a few weeks old. The first few weeks of his life were marked with frequent clothing changes, totally sleepless nights, switching formulas and medicines, choking episodes, and Googling all night to see how other parents survived and got their LO regulated and comfortable. We spent a solid month or more trying to get Lucas comfortable so that he could sleep for more than 2 hours in any one period of time. Some of the things that helped us:

  1. Be ready to make feeding changes.
    1. Expect that if you’re breastfeeding, you will likely be on an elimination diet. Your doctor can help you coordinate this to figure out what to get rid of first; most often, the first step is eliminating dairy. Be open to supplementing in some formula if necessary– some babies have reflux that requires soy, neocate, alimentum, nutramigen or otherwise.
    2. Also, if formula feeding, expect to test several before you find the right one for your LO. We ended up using a sensitive solution formula during the day, and Enfamil AR with added rice starch at night to really prevent any of that silent reflux so he could sleep. It was the safest solution for us, since we weren’t ready to venture into oatmeals or thickeners.
    3. When using a formula with added rice starch, you will often need to add in some kind of juice to your LOs diet to keep them regular. For us, it was 2 ounces of apple juice mixed in the bottle in the morning and again at night.
  2. Talk to other moms, doctors, and nurses.
    1. RefluxRebels is a great place to start. These are moms battling the same issues day in and day out. For us, it was our go-to. http://www.refluxrebels.com/
    2. Call your doctor. And call again. And again. Sometimes their solution won’t be the right one for your baby.
    3. Talk to the nurses. Often they’ll be more candid and willing to tell you what other moms have done to help.
  3. Incline incline incline! 
    1. After your LO eats, hold them upright. Most recommend 30 minutes, but I found 10-15 to be enough (and really, it’s difficult to stay awake for an additional 30 minutes when you’re sleep deprived. By the time you feed your LO, hold them upright, and get yourself back to sleep… you’re getting maybe 45 minutes of sleep.)
    2. Invest in something to keep your LO propped up when sleeping. I highly recommend the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play, but other options include the Dex Wedge and crib elevation, and an inclined bassinet. I’ve written up product reviews of both on this site. There are also hospital-grade products that help keep your LO inclined in the crib… none of which we tried. Most are beyond expensive, and we were lucky that other inclining options worked well for us.
    3. Get a baby carrier. I recommend the Tula of the Ergo 360. It’s an easy way to keep your LO upright and still get things done. I wear my Tula all the time.
  4. Get the facts, and don’t be afraid to medicate/do testing.
    1. I was exceptionally skeptical when my pediatrician said we needed to medicate. Medicine for a tiny baby? Ah! I just didn’t know. I did so much research, and finally decided that the benefits outweighed the risks.
    2. Keep in mind, most reflux medications are weight sensitive. Meaning, if you think you’re LO has gained some weight, call in and get the prescription changed.
  5. Buy clothes that are easy to change.
    1. Zipper outfits for days. One piece, easy to change. You’ll go through many in a day.
    2. Burp clothes? Try the cloth diaper clothes that come in packs of 10 instead. Larger, more absorbent. Gerber makes great ones that you grab at Babies R Us http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12378513&cp=2255957.2273443.3242082.4083668.4083670&parentPage=family
  6. Invest in some good bottles, even if breastfeeding.
    1. Keeping air out of a reflux baby’s tummy is so important. Many moms choose Dr. Brown or Mam bottles. (We prefer Mam.)
    2. Even if EBF, many moms choose to feed from a bottle that is designed to help the refluxers.
    3. Get a lot… as many as you can afford to get. Sometime reflux babies “cluster feed” where they’ll want small meals many times close together. Other times their reflux pains make them think they’re hungry. Either way… lots of babas.
  7. Know your limits.
    1. Being a new parent is hard. Being a new parent of a baby with reflux is totally draining. Know when you need a break and take it.
    2. It’s hard to leave reflux babies in the care of others. They have routines, very specific important routines. They also have choking episodes. It’s so so crucial to have at least one person that knows the routines and the ins and outs of your baby. Have someone come over for a day or two and spend the entire day with you guys to learn the ropes. (For me, this was my mom. She knew Lucas as well as I did, and could handle anything he threw at her.)
  8. Know that reflux is beyond your control.
    1. You can do everything right, and sometimes you’ll still end up in the hospital. Your LO can “fail to thrive” or stop eating, or just be totally beyond consolable. Remember that you are still a good parent and doing everything in your power to help them.
    2. Snuggle those babies. Sometimes they just need to be held. They don’t understand why they don’t feel well, and sometimes some extra snuggles just help to keep them content.
  9. Eventually, it will stop.
    1. It might not be this week, or next month, or within the year, but eventually your LOs reflux will stop. For us, it was 6 months. For others, it’s two years. Rest assured, this too shall pass.
    2. Use all the resources you need to get through it. Everyone constantly told me to stop researching online, but in reality my research was what finally got my LO regulated and comfortable. Sure, it makes for some sleepless nights, but as parents we just want to help our babies as much as possible.
  10. Reflux and food allergies can go hand-in-hand…
    1. Unfortunately, reflux and food allergies are often synonymous. Our LO had a lactose issue, but as you’ll see on the forums– the food allergies are limitless.
    2. This doesn’t mean your LO will ALWAYS have a food allergy. Our pediatrician advised us that most infants with lactose problems will outgrow it by the age of 2. Only about 10% continue to have sensitivities.

Good luck, mommas! It’s a hard road. Network and talk to others, because it’s the only way that we got through reflux with any sanity left. 

-Katie

The Snuza!

I hate when people say “oh, you’re a first time parent. You won’t stress as much with the second.” 1. That implies you know I’m having a second, which is silly considering you don’t know my mindset on having a second or my reproductive ability to necessarily have a second. 2. You assume that I wouldn’t care about a second as much as I cared about my first. I totally get that adding more children means adding more chaos, but I want a happy, healthy child no matter the circumstances. *Steps off soap box.*

So, as a parent, I wanted to take every precaution possible. We all are told about SIDS and “back to sleep” to keep babies on their backs when sleeping/napping during the day. It’s absolutely terrifying. We do everything in our control to keep our babies safe… and you’re telling me my baby could just STOP BREATHING for not good reason in the middle of the night?! AH! So, I did some research and found that there are several things to help us parents sleep without worry. There are hospital grade baby monitors, but they are expensive and usually require a medical condition to obtain. I had heard of an AngelCare monitor– essentially a pad that lays under you LO as they sleep to monitor breathing. The reviews are mixed, at best, with customers saying that the monitor pad doesn’t cover enough surface area.

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So, I continued on with my search and finally stumbled upon the Snuza. A tiny device that clips onto your LOs diaper, under their clothing. It has a soft silicon end that rests against the baby’s belly and monitors each breath. The light on the Snuza flashes each time your LO takes a breath, pretty cool. There are two versions: The Snuza Go! and the Snuza Hero. The difference? Once the Snuza detects no breathing motions for 15 seconds the Hero will vibrate to alert baby before sounding the alarm. The Go sounds the alarm immediately after 15 seconds. The Hero comes in slightly more expensive at $119 vs. the $86 Snuza Go (via Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=snuza).

My mom purchased the Go! for us as a Christmas gift. It was possibly one of the best gifts we received. $86 for some peace of mind? Yes 100 times over. Our LO came home and immediately began wearing his Snuza at night and during naps. The biggest risk of SIDS is within the first 30 days, and then the first 6 weeks (the SIDS risk reduces greatly after 6 months.)

-Our LO never coslept. Was never sleeping with blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, or loose clothing. Always laid on his back to sleep.(All of which our pediatrician advises against. I am not a doctor, and as such… I go with my pediatrician’s advice on most things.)

-Always slept in something sleep approved (crib, pack n play, or the Rock n’ Play.)

Our guy had reflux pretty horribly. We were constantly fearful of him choking, and with good reason. It happened twice, and they were the scariest nights of our lives. Before we started inclining our guy to help with the reflux, he laid flat on his back and choked twice. We got to him in time, and while scary, he was okay each time. We were so steadfast in making sure he wore his Snuza every night, and we are so thankful for the extra security it provided us.

We used our Snuza until Lucas was about 4 months old, at which point he was rolling all over and the Snuza came loose too often. Thankfully, by this point he was outgrowing his reflux and could lift his head with no issue. We were comfortable and confident at that point in packing up the Snuza.

A few times, we did get a false alarm. Talk about hopping out of your bed quickly… nothing compounds chaos like a beeping alarm and a screaming baby. We quickly got this figured out, and realized that making his diaper tighter kept the Snuza in place successfully throughout the night.

Snuza batteries are pricey, but you can get them on Ebay instead of ordering them through Snuza. I’ve seen many reviews saying they have a short battery life, but we didn’t have to change ours even once. We ensured to turn it off after each use.

The company does offer an extended warranty free to anyone that reviews their product. Pretty cool.

The Snuza comes highly recommended from this household.

First time parent or not, some peace of mind is definitely worth $86 in my opinion.

-Katie

Babas for the ‘Fluxers

Any reflux momma will tell you how important it is for reflux babies to avoid air in their bottles. Both a proper suction, and regular burping can significantly help being thrown up on moments after a bottle/nursing.

So– my reflux guy was bottle fed. It was easier for me to control how/what he was eating. Our first bottle was Avent, and let me tell you, those suckers filled my little guy with bubbles. You could actually see the bubbles he was sucking in while he was eating.

We switched to a Dr. Brown bottle very quickly. These bottles WORK, but the pieces and cleaning process is seriously daunting. I had to have 20 bottles just to get through two days, because each time you go to wash these bottles you’re easily devoting about an hour of your day. It’s not just the number of pieces, but also the complexity in cleaning. You take the bottle apart and have to use a small brush to get into all of those nooks and crannies. Even after scrubbing, I never fully felt like the bottles were clean because there are areas you can’t easily see. Below is an example of all of the pieces. The “disk” is just for travel to keep fluids in the bottle, so you’re not necessarily cleaning that piece every time.

Here are the inner workings of the Dr. Brown bottle (we just used the plastic version. Anywhere from $7-$8 each, or sometimes you can find 3 packs for $15-$17.) These also come in a smaller, 4 ounce size– but we used the 8 ounce.

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So while the Dr. Brown bottle worked and helped reduce the air, I was seeking a solution for the hour spent at the kitchen sink washing these suckers. After some research and time spent on the Reflux Rebels page, I discovered MAM bottles. I’d never heard of them. Thankfully, I had a friend that let me try one free before purchasing them. The bottle has several pieces, as well. However, they are vastly easier to clean. No pipe brush to get into crevices. It was straightforward and the inner workings made bottle making much faster. The bottle appears very similar to your typical one, the difference is that MAM controls air with a seal in the bottom to suction out the excess air. I LOVE these bottles and use them every day now. I ended up purchasing 8 of the 9 ounce bottles, which gets me through about 2 days now. The really cool feature about these? They can self-sterilize if you’re travelling and need to quickly clean one. You need access to a microwave, and it takes about 2 minutes to clean and another 3-5 to cool down. Here is how to sterilize if you aren’t washing them:

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You can also see all of the parts in this image. The base has the suction, and the collar and nipple are standard. So no air vent or air vent cap.

These bottles are about the same price as Dr. Brown’s. Running anywhere from $6-$7 a bottle most often.

The cons of Mam: I’ve found that if you don’t get the base screwed on really well, it can leak. Easy solution? Make sure you use some torque and you’ll be in good shape.

There are some other bottles out there on the market for reflux babies, but these are the two most proven, reviewed bottles out there. We will use our Mam bottles until we switch over to whole milk this winter!

Fisher Price Rock N’ Play

Alright, I said I’d do a review of the Rock N’ Play later… so here we go.

This may be one of the best gifts we received at our shower. Not only is it good for reflux babies, but for babies in general.

When your LO is little, you want them close by. Pack n’ Plays and cribs are huge for them! Babies aren’t used to being in wide open spaces. So, for the babies that struggle to adjust, and for the parents that want a few minutes more sleep… I give you the rock n’ play!

This rocker sits up higher than most infant seats. It has breathable mesh lining on the sides, so no worries of SIDS risk. It also has a vibrator (and I’ll be honest here… I think that rocking motions are far more soothing to babies than vibrations. But, that’s just in my experience.)

We kept the Rock n’ Play right next to the bed for the first several weeks. When Lucas would cry, and we knew he’d just been fed and diapered, we’d rock him in this until he went back to sleep.

The cons: Most of them are manual rocking, unless you spend some additional money for an auto-rocker. Secondly, I’m not sure how much “play” there really is to the Rock n’ Play. They have a weight limit of 25lbs, meaning that most infants will grow out of it before they’re playing too much.

The only other big con to me: the straps to buckle them in don’t tuck in if you don’t want to use them. We didn’t use the buckle for the first several weeks because our LO wasn’t squirmy (and this is a deep rocker.) They are nice to strap them in when they’re moving, but I wish they’d tucked in (similar to how the Fisher Price Infant to Toddler seat does.)

For reflux: many babies with reflux need to be elevated when laid down. This rocker is about a 45 degree angle, which is perfect to help acid stay down. It folds up easily, so it can be carried from room to room if needed (which we definitely did.)

The fabric is easy to take off and wash. There are tons of patterns to choose from.

Batteries in this lasted 6-8 weeks for me. Not great, but not terrible. Like I said, the vibration feature in this is an extra I could take or leave.

The Rock N’ Play will cost you anywhere from $40-$60 (more if you choose the auto-rocker.)

Definitely money well-spent. I would recommend this to any parent— but particularly those babies that are struggling with reflux/GERD.

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The Dex Wedge

**Preface. I am NOT a medical expert. I can only advise what worked for us, and what was approved with our pediatrician. Ask your doctor before doing any of these things.

Having a baby with reflux often means getting your baby to fall asleep, and then waking them up instantly by laying them down flat. Just like adults, babies with reflux have a harder time when they aren’t propped up to aid in keeping that acid down. (If your LO is on a medication, Zantac, PPI, etc. you’ve likely solved the pain problem, but not the underlying reflux problem.)

When your little one is small, it’s easy to use a Rock N’ Play (review on that later) to help keep them elevated. The problem occurs when it’s time to transition into the crib.

For us, it was crucial to get our guy sleeping in his crib when I went back to work (at 8 weeks.)

The first few nights were horrible. Very. Little. Sleep.

After Googling like a psycho, I found several solutions to incline his crib safely. Some much more expensive than others. So as a momma on a budget, I tried the most fiscally responsible option first, the Dex Wedge.

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The Dex wedge is just a slight incline. We ended up putting the Dex under the crib sheet. We rolled two towels and rubber-banded them on both ends and put them under the end of the mattress (safer than propping the crib legs.)

So, the first night: it worked O.K. But, having an LO that is a little stronger than what is typical at his age caused some problems. He slid down the wedge and was sideways within minutes (prompting me to rush in like a crazy person to make sure all was well.)

Solution? We nested him onto the wedge. They do this in hospitals quite often. But, I wanted the safest way possible (SIDS terrifies me, as it should any parent.)

We pulled up the crib sheet and made a “U” shape with rolled towels. Taped it down to the mattress and onto the wedge with packaging tape, and then pulled the crib sheet tight over it (keep in mind, you can’t have a super tight fitting sheet if you want the wedge and the nesting to fit under it.) The baby’s butt should rest in the bottom of the U, and armpits should be about where the rolled towels stop. It should be close to their body so that they can’t roll around. Outcome? Sleep. For all. The incline helped astronomically.

We gradually took the incline off from 4-5 months, because our little guy started rolling. As soon as your LO can flip, I’d recommend doing away with anything in their crib unless their reflux is still acting up.

Here is how we worked ours. As our LO grew, we had to adjust it here and there.

The Dex Wedge is very affordable. You can grab one on Amazon for about $25, or at your local Babies R Us or Walmart from $14-$16.