Moms Don’t Take Sick Days…

Mom's Don't Take Sick Days via https://muddybootsanddiamonds.com

Moms don’t take sick days. Moms take DayQuil.

At least the marketing team of Vicks seems to believe so.

Do you remember these commercials from this past cold and flu season? I thought there were cute until I got sick and had the pleasure of parenting two children, one of which was breastfeeding.

According to Vicks, Moms take DayQuil so they can function enough to keep up with their children during the day.

Dads should take NyQuil so they can get a good night’s sleep.

Wait! Dad can have a good night sleep? What about Mom? She took Dayquil to keep up with the kids, but she doesn’t get the opportunity to take some Nyquil for a good night’s rest? Personally, I find this unfair.

Mom doesn’t need to sleep, right? She needs to keep being everything to everyone all the time.

Moms don’t get sick days! Moms are on call 24/7!

But my biggest gripe with these commercials?

As a breastfeeding mother I couldn’t take DayQuil or NyQuil. Is isn’t on the approved list. So while these parents felt decent enough to play with their kids during the day or sleep through the night, I had to suffer through the awful colds and viruses I continually came down with this winter.

When I made an appointment with my doctor out of desperation for something to help me feel better, I was told I could only take plain Tylenol or Advil. Anything for multiple symptoms was out.

Do you know what kind of effect plain old Tylenol and Advil has in my aches and pains?

Nothing.

Nada.

Zip.

As a breastfeeding mother there isn’t anything that will give me several hours of relief. Nothing to help me function during the day. Nothing to help me sleep during the night.

It isn’t fair. No matter which way you present it, as a parent there is no winning when it comes to being sick.

The Vicks marketing team do have one thing right though. When you try to explain to your kids you’re sick and really need to rest, they answer with a blank stare.

Am I the only one who got annoyed with these commercials? I mean, yes, I know these were meant to be cute and humorous , and overall they are. But they made me cranky since I desperately wanted to take DayQuil but couldn’t while breastfeeding.




Weaning L

Breastfeeding-Journey-Weaning-Muddybootsanddiamonds.com

I wanted to wean slowly with L. Since he pretty much dropped the first breastfeeding session of the day around the beginning of January (I think it was a mix between being sick and wanting to play with his brother who would barge in on our morning session most days), I gave L pumped milk in a sippy cup at breakfast. My hope was to nurse him 3-4 times a day through his original due date at the end of February,  but the visit to the allergist sort of cut that short. He wasn’t allergic to cows milk and I didn’t know what was in my pumped milk. After his allergist appointment mid-January, I decided it was time to begin weaning more seriously.

If I had asked, I’m sure the allergist would have told me to not to give L any of the saved breast milk I had stashed away in our freezer. However, I just couldn’t get myself to throw it away. Or wait and see if being peanut-free would really help L’s eczema. So, despite not knowing what foods I ate when I pumped, I decided to mix  in one bag a day with the cows milk. I came up with, what I felt were, valid reasons, however unscientific they are:

  • I just couldn’t get myself to throw it away. Liquid gold. My precious. I just can’t do it.
  • I couldn’t donate it because of my antidepressant.
  • Because L was a preemie, I feel it was more beneficial to give him the pumped milk through his due date.
  • I only had one box of pouches left.

My weaning plan was the same as the one I had when I weaned G: take one feed away each week. I started with the one before L’s morning nap. Since he didn’t always finish the sippy cup I gave him at breakfast, I’d offer it to him before I took him upstairs. I replaced nursing with a book, which he wasn’t into at all at first. Luckily he was content with sticking his thumb into his mouth and falling asleep as soon as I laid him in the crib.

The boys spent the day at their grandparent’s house at the end of that week, so I used that opportunity to begin phasing out the nursing session before L’s second nap. Again, I read a book before I put him down for a nap. By now he seemed to be a little more into reading and even began favoring certain books. This was also when we introduced cows milk.

The beginning of the next week, I had a therapy appointment which meant I’d be gone most of the day. I used this to drop the feed L wanted before dinner, and it was the hardest one as it’s Witching Hour. Since he’d usually snack during this session I didn’t feel L really needed it and having him pop on and off the boob numerous times when I am trying to put dinner on the table wasn’t working. If Hubby isn’t around to keep L entertained while I make dinner I hand him a sippy cup of milk and that usually quiets him down for a moment or two.

A few days into getting down to one nursing session a day, L began to to get pretty fussy and clingy. I’m not sure if that’s directly related to weaning, or that he was sick again, or he was teething. Then one day he freaked out every time I turned my back or put him down and he had a fever that wasn’t going down with Tylenol. A trip to the doctor indicated both of L’s ears were infected. Once the antibiotics kicked in a few days later, he wasn’t as clingy and I wasn’t wondering if I had made a mistake by cutting out the Witching Hour feed when I did. It also meant I would

I nursed L for the last time on Thursday night. I was surprised to find I was feeling sad about it. I wasn’t this sad when I weaned G. With him I couldn’t wait for our year-long breastfeeding journey to be over. I honestly don’t think I was ready to wean L. He keeps getting sick (a follow-up visit yesterday determined that one of his ears is still infected) and it would have been nice to continue until spring so he could continue to get some health benefits. But his frenectomy is scheduled for Tuesday. It didn’t make sense to go cold turkey on him the night of having a medical procedure. And it doesn’t make sense to continue after the frenectomy because his latch will be different and why spend time trying to remaster nursing technique when I’d be quitting in several more weeks? I know I don’t need that stress.Nursing-Baby

I’m super proud of what L and I accomplished:

  • We nursed a little over 13 months!
  • No formula — a goal I’d had with G, but it didn’t work out.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding the first six months. I kept a human nourished all by myself! I can’t even keep a plant alive half that long.
  • L and I participated in World Breastfeeding Week. This was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.

World-Breastfeeding-Week-Awareness

So, it’s with bitter sweet feelings that I can say L and I are done with this phase in his life.  Now I can focus on sending both boys on overnight trips to their grandparent’s house so Hubby and I can have a weekend alone here and there. And eating peanuts (mmmmmmm, Snickers).

 

Recycling My Old Breast Pump

What do I do with my breast pump now that I don’t need it?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself for about a year and a half, and now thanks to my bloggy friend Josey, I know!

Recycle it.

If you've completed your breastfeeding or pumping journey, consider recycling your breast pump! Two companies offer recycling programs that help moms and babies in need while keeping old breast pumps out of land fills | Recycling My Old Breast Pump via muddybootsanddiamonds.com

I’ve only ever used Medela pumps. I was lucky enough to receive a Medela Pump in Style Advanced as a gift before G was born. It didn’t even last a year before the suction on the right side started slowing. I am sure I could have asked for a replacement motor (Medela backs the motor with a one year warranty), but feeling as overwhelmed as I did about my day-to-day routine, I felt I didn’t have time for that. I managed, but knew I would need a new pump if we had another baby. So what do I do with the old one knowing it probably wasn’t going to last through another breast feeding journey?

I had considered selling my old pump. Goodness knows we need the money, even if I sold it for $50-$100. I have a few friends who bought their Medelas off Craig’s List or at local consignment sales. But I felt weird selling mine, as Medela pumps aren’t closed systems, meaning breast milk can enter the pump and contaminate it. Plus, the motor isn’t in the greatest shape. I felt that would be a shitty thing for me to do.

After reading Josey’s post about recycling her Medela pumps, I dug a little deeper into Medela’s recycling program. I was feeling a little silly that I had never heard of this program before; however, it turns out, this is a new program. Medela didn’t start their program until late 2014/early 2015. In fact, I found a petition at Change.org from late 2014 asking Medela to accept old pumps to keep them out of landfills. And that probably explains why only 600-odd pumps have been donated so far.

I received a new electric pump though my health insurance when L was born. If you’re wondering how in the world you’re going to afford a pump, know that the Affordable Care Act now requires many insurance companies to provide you a breast pump free of charge. Your insurance may have rules dictating what kind you get and if you receive it before or after the birth of your baby, but electric pumps are so expensive it’s worth looking into. If you’ve already bought one, you can even get reimbursed! I wasn’t sure I’d qualify, since I wasn’t planning on going back to work, but it didn’t matter. My insurance provided me with another Medela pump, which was awesome because I didn’t want to buy new parts and pieces should I find myself pumping more often than I thought I would. It arrived shortly after my request for a pump was approved.

Still not quite sure what to do with my original pump, I decided to keep it as a back up. I actually didn’t use it. I rarely used the new one, usually opting for my Medela Harmony manual breast pump (affiliate).

Medela only wants your pump motor, which makes me happy because I wanted to keep the bag my Pump in Style came with (way more stylish than the small cooler-looking bag my newer one came in). Their guidelines suggest tossing the other parts (shields, tubing, etc.) into the recycling, which is also good to know. I wasn’t sure what to do with everything else if I couldn’t sell it. (A lot of the consignment store sand sales around me are now banning anyone from selling pumps and their parts now.) Only electric Medela pumps are accepted; if you have a hand pump they suggest recycling it. (Seriously, I’m so glad I can recycle all this other stuff!)

Shipping is free, just go to the website to get your shipping label. Stick the label on the box with your motor inside and hand it over to the post office. Medela says they will email you when your pump arrives at their facility.

Medela doesn’t actually reuse the pump, rather for each pump they receive they donate one to the Ronald McDonald House, helping moms whose babies are in the NICU. Since G spent some time in the NICU, I totally understand how hard and frustrating it can be when you want to give your baby breast milk but you aren’t able to nurse when you need/want to. It makes me very happy to help out mamas going through situations like that. The returned pump is taken apart and the different pieces are recycled.If you've completed your breastfeeding or pumping journey, consider recycling your breast pump! Two companies offer recycling programs that help moms and babies in need while keeping old breast pumps out of land fills | Recycling My Old Breast Pump via muddybootsanddiamonds.com

I looked to see if any other companies offer a recycling program for breast pumps. The only other company I found with a recycle program is Hygeia. Their pumps are made so they can be used by multiple mothers, making them more acceptable to resell or donate. The new user just needs to buy their own accessory kit. But if you are unable to find another mom to take it off your hands, you can contact them and they will send you information on how to send it to them to recycle or refurbish.

Would you consider recycling your breast pump?



If you have a pump other than a Medela or Hygeia, does the manufacturer have a recycle program? If so, please share in the comments. This is information worth knowing!

The Second Lip-Tie Consultation

I’m finally getting around to posting the update on L’s second lip-tie consultation with pediatric dentist #2. You can read about my whirlwind of a week here, but the short version goes like this:

I was feeling deer caught in headlights about the second consult. Hubby couldn’t take off work to go with me, and I was taken aback by the possibility of the frenectomy being done that same day. Then there was the feeling of sticker shock over the possible $1600 it would cost to get the frenectomy completed.

Friday morning I packed the boys and a ton of gear into my car and we drove to my parent’s house to drop G off. My sister met us there and she came with L and I to the dentist. She wanted to provide moral support, though I wasn’t sure I would need it.

This dentist office was awesome! Huge! Modern! Complete opposite of the dentist office the boys go to here at home.

I’m sure my sister and I looked and sounded like the little kids coming in for their check-ups as we told each other in wide-eyed amazement, “Look at that!” and “How neat is this?”

There was a play area in the shape of a tree. There were bean bags in the middle of the floor. Tons of books that weren’t falling apart. Huge stuffed animals to cuddle with. An air hockey table. Video games. And a room with amphitheater seating where you could watch a movie of your choice. The receptionist offered us water and coffee.

We didn’t have to wait long before a dental assistant came out and introduced herself. Then she offered to carry my diaper bag and push the stroller for me.

Between that and being offered something to drink, I felt like a princess.

As we walked out of the reception area, the assistant said we’d be going to a room in the back. I half-jokingly told L that we were being put in the back so no one could hear his screams. Sure enough, we were taken to a room (with a door) in the very back.

The dental assistant asked me a bunch of questions about why I was there, L’s birth, and how was nursing going for both of us. She seemed impressed that I had done my homework on lip-ties and knew the reasons why the revision with a laser was better. Then she explained how they would perform the frenectomy: swaddle L up and another staff member would hold him while the dentist used the laser to cut the tie. She asked if I was willing to perform exercises on L to prevent the tie from forming again, stating that if I wasn’t then there was no point to getting the frenectomy done. I told her I didn’t really have a choice; I knew he needed the lip tie revised. Then she got another dental assistant (she called him a “friend” — I’m sure to keep things from being too scary for their little patients) who took pictures of L’s gums and tongue while the first dental assistant and I held him down. L was pretty compliant having his gums photographed, but wanted nothing to do with his tongue being lifted for it to be photographed.

After the pictures were taken, the first dental assistant put her notes into a computer and told us she was going to get the dentist. On her way out she told me not to nurse, just in case they could perform the surgery after our consult. I was glad she told me that because L was getting hungry and I would have nursed him while we waited for the dentist to come in.

As soon as the dentist walked through the door, L flashed her a huge smile. This took me by surprise because L never does this to people he doesn’t know. The dentist and L spent a few minutes getting acquainted (mostly L patting hitting her face while she got down on his level to make small talk) and then she asked some of the same questions the dental assistant asked me.

Then she inspected L’s gums and tongue. She rattled off numbers to the dental assistant who typed them into the computer. Again, L was okay with having his gums checked, but hated having his tongue played with. While she was doing her exam, the dentist commented on how wiggly and strong L was.

Once she completed the exam, she gave me her diagnosis. L had a Class 4 lip-tie on his upper lip (out of 4), a Class 4 tongue tie (posterior), and a class 2 lip-tie on his lower lip (out of 4). I knew from my readings L’s upper lip-tie was bad, so I felt better knowing the dentist agreed with me. I had read about posterior tongue ties and learned they were hard to diagnose, and were often misdiagnosed if found at all. I had to do some research later to find out what a Class 4 tongue tie was, and thankfully it had nothing to do with how bad it is, just the part of the tongue it is found. I never thought about L having a lower lip tie, but was glad that wasn’t too bad.

Kotlow classification of lip ties
source

The dentist also went over why it would be good for L to get the revision on his lips and tongue and how she would perform the frenectomy, saying they’d do both in the same visit, and there would be two follow up appointments after that.

Then she gave me news I didn’t really want to hear. Unfortunately, L is too old to be swaddled and held. She mentioned how wiggly and strong he was during her examination of his mouth. That meant they’d need to sedate him; however, he is too young for that.

The dentist went on to explain that the time to relearn how to latch and nurse properly is about half the child’s age. This meant it would take about 4.5 months for L to (hopefully) learn how to suck correctly. This also meant that our last few months of breastfeeding could be stressful. L clearly isn’t failing to thrive and the discomfort I’m feeling while nursing him isn’t unbearable, so the dentist advised it would make more sense to wait until L turned a year before getting his ties revised, that way he could be sedated.

I hate that he needs to be sedated, but I feel better about sedating him after he turns one. By then the pros of the frenectomy will outweigh the con on sedation. The dentist also said that they would perform L’s first routine exam, complete with cleaning and x-rays, during that time since he wouldn’t be able to fight them.

When asked if I had any questions, I only had one: how much is all this going to cost?

Since they would revise both the lip and tongue ties and L would need to be sedated, our grand total was about $2,000. And since this was considered medical, they wouldn’t file it for us. And since we don’t have out of network benefits, we won’t get anything back. Yikes.

I figured we could use next year’s flex spending to cover most of it. However, when I went to schedule L’s surgery the receptionist told me that I needed to put a deposit down to hold the spot. That deposit was nearly $1500.

The room slowly started melting away when I looked at the deposit total. This would put me very close to maxing out my credit card. And it was nearly the entire cost of the frenectomy!

I handed over my credit card. I knew L needed to have this done, and I didn’t want the first appointment of the day to slip through our fingers. The sooner we could get this over with the better. I told myself at least it’s mostly paid for now, even if it will take a long time before it’s paid off.

I think my sister got sticker shock when she heard what I needed to pay. She wanted to know if I would get any of that money back. Unfortunately, I told her, it was a slim chance. We don’t have out of network medical benefits and I wasn’t sure if we could get reimbursed by our dental insurance.

I reviewed all of this with Hubby that night. To my surprise (and complete relief!) he said when I told him it was an expensive procedure, he figured it would be around $5000, so the $2000, while it’s still a lot, didn’t seem too bad to him. Since more than 50% of this has already gone on my credit card, it’s pretty much done. If I get reimbursed, AWESOME! If not, it’s done. It’ll get paid eventually.

I realized on the way home that open enrollment would be coming up. Who knows what our insurance will be like next year. But at least we have a plan of action in place for the lip and tongue ties. I liked this practice, despite it being nearly two hours away, and I felt better cared for there than at the first dentist. They explained things. They took their time with us. They went over the pros and cons of performing the frenectomy now (like the first dentist was willing to do) and waiting. They’re able to perform the procedure with the laser like I want. It should be worth the $2000 to get it done, especially if it means less oral health problems down the road.

L’s frenectomy is scheduled for the end of February. In the mean time I’m wiping up an insane amount of drool, battling eczema around his mouth, and trying not to get bitten while nursing. I’ll be glad when it’s all finally over with.

Did your child have a lip or tongue tie? How was it diagnosed?




My Favorite Part about the Virginia State Fair Wasn’t the Food

My first time going to the Virginia State Fair was five years ago, a week before Hubby and I got engaged.

We saw a duck race, pig race, lumberjacks, I got my picture taken with Lady Luck of the Virginia Lottery (she made my wish come true!), watched a demolition derby, we rode the Ferris wheel, pigged out on fried goodies, and saw a lot of farm animals.

Fast forward five years and two kids later and a visit to the State Fair was a lot different.

I realized I forgot to pack my nursing cover for L and extra pull ups for G (I was willing to leave him in underwear because I knew the bathroom situation, but Hubby changed him).

My in-laws were meeting us there, so I wasn’t happy about forgetting the cover, especially because I didn’t want to nurse in front of them in the first place.

When we made it through the gate, my MIL handed me a list of events happening that day, which ended up getting shoved into the diaper bag because I couldn’t read and push a stroller. I really needed a map because there were two things I wanted watch with G: the pig race and the duck race.

My in-laws had been to the fair earlier in the week so they had an idea of where everything was. We took a pit stop at the restrooms and I got to take a look at a map. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw “19. Mom’s Nursing Station.”
 
 Woooo!

We saw the pig race first. By the end L was very hungry, so we tracked down the building section 19 was supposed to be in.

It was actually a booth belonging to a group of lactation consultants. The nursing station wasn’t fancy; it was fashioned out of cloth panels that were clipped together. But! They had comfortable foldable rocking chairs, nursing stools, a fan, relaxing music, and two pack-n-plays with the newborn insert so we could change our babies. The ladies manning the booth offered me water as they held the curtain back for me as I walked in.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was my favorite part of the Virginia State Fair.

When I needed to nurse L a second time my MIL suggested I use a bench nearby. It would have been more convenient, but being able to be in a quieter place was better for L to focus on eating. Plus, by the time he wanted to eat, I was ready for a break.

It surprised me that I was able to relax. I wanted to take pictures, but there was at least one other mother in there when I was and I didn’t want to seem creepy. I think the nursing station also gave L a chance to relax and take a break from being overstimulated. The little guy was exhausted both times I nursed him and both times he nodded off during his feed, only to be woken up again when I put him in the stroller and met up with our group.

Every time I spoke with one of the ladies manning the booth, I told them how awesome having a place to nurse was.

I wish I could say I enjoyed myself at the fair this time. I had more fun at Day Out with Thomas. I don’t know if that was because our Thomas trip wasn’t as overwhelming or if it was because we didn’t have extra people with us. Or maybe it was because I was able to participate in all the events on our Thomas trip and it was harder to do so at a huge fair with a stroller and a nursing baby and extra people who wanted to do certain things too.

The pig race was fun to do with G. His grandparents treated him to a pony ride. He also touched a snake and watched a live alligator show. As far as we knew, the duck race wasn’t there this year, which was a bummer. G was able to pet a descendant of Secretariat (Hubby and I had no idea the fair’s location was the birthplace of Secretariat until that day). I really wasn’t that into looking at all the animals this time, but G enjoyed the ducks and cows. The rest of the group would get snacks/eat when I nursed, so I missed out on eating a whole lot (good and bad; I didn’t eat a bunch of crap but was starving when we got home due to nursing and walking!). G stayed dry the entire time too!

It was a good experience for G, and I think Hubby had a good time showing G around the fair. It was his idea to take G in the first place, so I was glad the two of them were able to enjoy it. But I think the nursing station is the thing I’ll remember about this visit most fondly.

G on his pony ride
secretariat's grandson Virginia State Fair
one of Secretariat’s descendants
We barely made it out of the parking lot before G fell asleep