Don’t make these common mistakes with your baby!

Don't

Ooh…click-bait-y. Sorry.

Some days, I feel like a broken record. There are so many things that have become so ingrained into our parenting culture that very few people question it any more. And I’ve written before about how some things seem very subjective, but when it comes to health and safety, the truth is pretty black or white. So, dear interwebs….it’s time to break some bad habits and burst some bubbles.

When you know better, you do better.

1) No baby should ever be fed 8 ounces of anything in a bottle.

This has nothing to do with formula or breastmilk. A baby’s stomach is only as big as his fist, which means that realistically speaking, a baby should really only be fed 2-4 ounces from a  bottle. Any more than that is overfeeding, plain and simple. And it turns out that it doesn’t matter if it’s breastmilk or formula in a bottle– overfeeding leads to obesity.

Here’s info on how much breastmilk a baby should be given via bottle.

Here’s some info on how much to feed a formula-fed baby.

2) Limit the amount of time your baby spends in “containers”

More than half of babies now have a flat head by age 1. And truth be told, I’m not shocked. I see too many flat heads when I’m around babies. While some of it may be caused by tight neck muscles (some times caused by a tongue tie), the use of too many baby containers is primarily to blame. Parents move their babies from a bouncy seat…to a swing…to one of those magical baby moving chairs….to a car seat…..and so on.

Limit the amount of time your baby spends in these containers. Do more “tummy time”. And find a way to carry your baby in a sling or wrap or other carrier that works for you and your budget. Babies who spend too much time in containers can also end up with under-developed stomach and back muscles, learn fewer words, and not have a chance to learn how to interact with other people.

When you need to start making meals, need to take a shower, etc, then the swing or seat for a short about of time is perfectly safe, though.

3) Car seats are for cars

Want to hear something staggering?

“An estimated 43,562 car seat–related injuries [EXCLUDING AUTO-CRASHES] were treated in emergency departments from 2003 to 2007.”

Stunning, yes? Over 40,000 babies ended up being injured from falls and other accidents while they were in a car seat that wasn’t in the car. I’m sure if a newer study was done they’d have similar findings. The rules for safe car seat use are black and white. Your baby is either safe or in danger.

  • Car seats should never be placed on top of shopping carts in the seat area. The basket is OK, but not in the small shopping carts (and see above).
  • Car seats should NEVER be placed on restaurant high chairs.
  • Car seats should not be placed on tables, chairs, beds, in cribs, in those sling things the restaurant was suckered into buying….your baby should NEVER be left in a car seat on an elevated surface.
  • If your baby is in the car seat that’s been placed in a compatible stroller, baby MUST be strapped in. Babies wiggle and fall out more than you want to know.
  • Behind falls, the other cause or injuries or worse is suffocation—which is why you should never leave a child of ANY age strapped into a car seat to sleep unattended.

4) It’s normal for breastfed babies to poop anywhere from more than 7 times a day or once every 7 days…or more.

Breastmilk does not cause constipation. Some times I forget to warn moms that it’s totally normal for exclusively breastfed babies to get super efficient about breastmilk digestion and just not poop very often. Hey, as a new mom I freaked out about it too….until I found my trusty breastfeeding book that told me it was totally normal. That experience inspired the phrase “fro-yo poo.”

I’m sure there’s more that I can think of….there’s always more. But 4 things is plenty for now, yes?

I hope this is helpful!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

5 changes after my frenectomy

Adult Tongue Tie

Well, last week I got really brave and took the plunge: I finally was able to find a dentist who was willing to take me on as a test case to have my tongue tie released. I’ve read only the tiniest of handful of accounts from adults who had revisions, so I wanted to share with you some things that I’ve noticed one week out. PLEASE NOTE: Since I was a test case, it turned out that I had a lot to release, so we know I need more revision. 30-something-year-old tongues turn out to be a little bit more apt to bleed. It was done bleeding within 5 minutes, but I’ll be going back for more revision once this heals.

First, a bit of background: I’ve been told I was a very colicky baby for the first 4 months of my life. My mother swears it only got better when I got put on some antibiotics, but I was also having weight-gain issues. I wasn’t really gaining weight at all. I looked like a tiny, translucent bird in all of my pictures. But God bless my mother, she didn’t give up on breastfeeding. She did the best she could.

I have a wire that has been holding my front two teeth together since I got my braces off as a teenager. At some point, I did otherwise break my lip tie, but the tissue between the front teeth is thick enough that there would be a gap there if left unwired. I haven’t gone back to look at pictures from childhood to see if I can detect a lip tie. And, as we often say, almost always is there a tongue tie when there is a lip tie. And my tongue (especially now that I’m 30-something) had a VERY thick frenulum.

Just one aside: I’ve been a little stunned to see the turn that the conversation has taken in recent months on the issue of tongue ties. Specifically, there have been some very vitriolic conversations online by lactation professionals that have taken on tones of blaming parents for MAKING tongue ties an issue. I’ve seen the phrase “parents want the easy fix” pop up over and over again. I’ve read as IBCLCs INSIST that the parents just didn’t try hard enough to work with a lactation consultant on positioning and latch. Unfortunately, some of these IBCLCs have built up a wide audience, and their views can be their views, but what I keep pointing out (and it keeps falling on deaf ears), is that parents don’t get to the tongue tie conclusion easily. Some may, if they are lucky enough to give birth in a hospital with an educated pediatrician who routinely revises tongue ties. Beyond that, by the time I see families join my group, they are at a point of crisis. Real, real crisis. Telling moms they need to “try harder” and see ANOTHER lactation consultant (when often they’ve seen 2-3, or when there literally isn’t one for miles and miles around) is mean at best and unethical at worst (if a care provider can’t provide appropriate care, they are under an ethical obligation to refer to a provider who can.) I was VERY tempted to screen shot some of the very negative posts that I was reading last week and every time they ranted about tongue ties, I would replace the mentions with the phrase “Artificial Baby Milk”; the results would be interesting. (As in: “Parents who are too lazy to work with a lactation consultant look at tongue ties Artificial Baby Milk as the easy fix.” See what I did there?)

Anyway.

Here are the 5 things I’ve noticed in the last 7 days after my release:

1) The tension headaches are largely gone- If you’ve seen my video on how everything in the head is connected, you’d know that the muscles around the skull can hold a lot of tension as a result of having a tongue tightly tethered to the bottom of the mouth. I did go in for some body work with my favorite chiro right after the revision to help release the tension, and it has largely stayed away (well, until yesterday, when I had a train wreck of a day, but I’m already feeling better.)

2) I don’t carry my tension in my shoulders day in and day out- I’ve had so many massages, so many adjustments through the years, and I’ve never had any luck eliminating the tension in my shoulders for more than an hour or two. Well, now I feel like I can. Muscle memory is strong, so I have to be very conscious of my shoulders, but it’s easy to get them to relax when I try.

3) My jaw doesn’t click- OK, so this did take a couple of adjustments to get addressed, but as of now, my jaw is, for the first time ever, click-free and EVEN. I have to imagine I had this same jaw issue when I was born–and I’m pretty sure, even with the perfect latch, my jaw movement would have made it difficult to transfer milk.

4) My tongue sits on the roof of my mouth- Again, I’m still retraining myself to do this, but I can actually keep my tongue where it belongs, whereas before my tongue rested on the back of my teeth and pushed outward on them, essentially ruining the thousands of dollars paid to correct my overbite.

5) My Eustachian tubes moved- Seriously. I felt them move upward over the weekend. Not only that, but I felt them clear out, like they could drain finally. Like EVERYTHING else, it wasn’t until things had changed that I could notice how much of an impact this all made on my body.

Other adults have reported changes in their gaits, posture, and even improved thyroid function.  Time will tell if I see some of those improvements, too. It would have been nice to have this fixed as a baby, but….we all do the best we can with what we have at the time.

Have questions? Let me know!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

What your baby wants you to know…

what a baby needs

Dear parents of mine,

Thanks to brainwave to text technology, I’ve been give a chance to write down some of the things babies like myself really want you to know.

First of all, we have no idea what year it is or where we are. That comes later. To us, at the time of birth we only know a few things–we need mommy there or we could die, we need to stay warm, we need to start nursing really soon, and we can manage to find the breast on our own, if we have to.

Second, despite many years of people saying otherwise, we’re a lot like adults in many ways–only, we’re BETTER. We don’t lie. We don’t cheat. We can’t manipulate (no matter what anyone says). Our brains, for most of the first year, are designed to make sure we live. and as babies, survival means being around mom, it means being fed when we are hungry AND thirsty, and it means sleeping close to mom help us learn healthy sleep habits.

And you know all of those things you had people buy you before I was born? The ones that are still piled up in the living room? I really hate the ones meant to keep me away from you, my parents or other caregivers, for a really long time. I am a carry mammal. I need to be carried to make sure my brain develops correctly. I need to be carried because, unlike horse babies, I can’t walk right after birth.  So all those “must have” baby items are a scam. They aren’t for me. They make millions of dollars for multinational corporations. (Look at my awesome vocab. Ivy League, here I come!)

Then, we need to talk about eating. I mean, come ON! Do you like to have to swallow your entire cup of coffee while lying perfectly horizontal? Do YOU like it  if someone tickles your lips with a sandwich and then shoves it in to you mouth? Or, let’s say you’re thirsty, you ask for a drink of water, and you boss tells you to wait another two hours. Not cool, right? Then why are these things OK for me? I’m going to do the best when I’m comfortable. relaxed, and it’s on my own time. Hey, you get to eat or drink when you want! Just because I can’t walk to the fridge doesn’t mean I don’t have needs.

And, finally, some times I have bad days. Some times, when I just start to crawl, I may fall down. You’ll laugh, but my shoulder will stay sore for awhile. Or sometimes I have a headache, which can lead to sleeping and breastfeeding issues. I can feel pain, and it affects everything I do. Please, I need you to pay attention to me when I’m having an off day. Help me fix it. I promise, I’m not trying to piss you off.

You are good parents, really. There are a lot of people who have made millions and millions of dollars on manipulating parents and preying on their fear. But if you just think for a moment how YOU would react if you were in my onesie–my cries may make more sense.

I love you. <BURP>

-Your baby

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Choosing a Pediatrician…or Not

How to choose a pediatrician

Just as the language that we use when discussing birth tends to favor the term “OB” instead of “Doctor,” or “Midwife,” or “Care Provider,” when we talk to parents about finding someone to take their new baby to, the default term for this person is “Pediatrician.” These word choices leave out wide swaths of care providers. For births, it’s not uncommon for people to forget that there are Family Medicine doctors who also provide maternity services (and often they are the one kind of care provider where you can reasonably expect to see the person who did your prenatal care to also attend your birth), or they don’t understand that Certified Nurse Midwives are qualified, appropriate options in many places. For children, Family Medicine doctors are an alternative to Pediatricians, but there are also Advanced Practice Nurses who can do well-child (and sick child) care, such as Pediatric Nurse Practitioners or Family Nurse Practitioners. So, while there are things you need to think about finding a care provider for your baby, keep in mind that there are more options than just choosing a pediatrician.

1) Location- When you have a sick baby or a sick child, that ride to get things checked out can be very stressful. And while the best choice for you may not be the closest option, be realistic about choosing a provider who is 45 minutes away. The distance may become too much to manage. If your child is going to daycare, keep that location in mind when narrowing down options, too. Sometimes finding something largely between your home and daycare makes the most sense.

2) Access- This may be obvious, but if a clinic or provider has a full practice, it’s disappointing, but would mean that you’d have a very hard time getting appointments, especially for urgent issues. Every clinic has different arrangements for after-hour care, too. Find out what they do when parents have a sick child at 2am. Not everything is Emergency Department-worthy. Case in point: When my son had to have a pre-op checkup to have his tonsils taken out, the clinic we had been going to since he was born could not, would not find me any appointment within the 7 day window the surgeon required. I only got an appointment after escalating the issue to a manager and explaining that this was very important that he get in, because it’s hard to get surgeries scheduled. We’d had other issues with being able to get appointments, but this was the absolute last straw.

3) Bedside Manner- When you have a new, tiny baby, it can be overwhelming, and you need to find a care provider for your child who is kind, listens, takes the time to answer questions, and takes your thoughts and goals seriously. We all have bad days, but if you aren’t being treated well or respected on a consistent basis, then you need to look for another provider.  You usually have lots of options– find them!

4) Breastfeeding Knowledge- Again, moms face huge hurdles to make it to the 2 week mark with breastfeeding, much less to make it to 6 weeks or 6 months. Your baby’s care provider should be an ally to help you, not to try to discourage you. Unfortunately, not all pediatricians or other providers understand breastfeeding that well, and that lack of comfort on the subject may make them less likely to help a mom meet her breastfeeding goals. And just as study after study has found that when doctors have free samples of a medication to hand out, they are more likely to prescribe those medications to pateints, the same is true for breastfeeding.  A care provider who has free samples of infant feeding products may be more likely to default to that as the solution to a wide array of concerns, when it may not be necessary to go that route.  There are providers out there who really get breastfeeding, and if your goal is to breastfeed for any amount of time, pick someone who wants to and can help you meet that goal.

5) Are they up to date?-This is the car seat tech in me saying this, but if your baby’s care provider tells you that you can turn your baby forward facing at one year and 20 pounds, please know that that has not been an appropriate practice for at least a few years. Guess what? Best practices for car seats, medications, and everything else do change over time as we gather more and more information. I consider the car seat thing a canary in a coal mine, and I get concerned whenever I find care providers who are so blase about serious issues like car seats.

So, remember your options:

  • Pediatricians
  • Family Med Doctors
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • Family Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants

And I also like to point out that even if you do a lot of research, think you made the right choice, but start to have any of the issues I listed above, or if your gut tells you that something is just not right, don’t be afraid to switch. It’s easy, and it’s worth it.

Anything you’d add? Let me know in the comments below!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Urban Myths of Pumping

Pumping myths

Somehow, mothers are more worried about pumping in breastfeeding class than they are about breastfeeding itself. That’s OK. Pumps are external, foreign objects that, when you think about them on the most basic levels, are kind of weird. I’ll avoid spelling it out for you, but there are some things I want to cover to help dispel the myths that float around out there about breast pumps.

1) “Pump and dump” isn’t real if you imbibe: If you search various websites for information about drinking and breastfeeding, you’ll get page after page of warnings telling you that even though the amount of alcohol in breastmilk is minuscule, your baby is little, so…it might be dangerous. I, on the other hand, really like science, I think things like osmosis are real, so when I saw actual calculations of the levels of alcohol in breastmilk, I thought that was pretty cool. ( Side note: This blog post was actually copied and pasted on the Dr. Jack Newman website from the original author without attribution, which is a really jerk thing to do.) Bottom line? Don’t pump and dump. Oh, and for all the bluster about booze and breastfeeding, we tend to forget that the really dangerous thing is parenting while drunk.

2) You should start pumping in the hospital: One of the dumbest things a nurse can do is to hand a mom a pump an hour after delivery to see if mom is “making any milk.” Colostrum is milk, but it’s thick, and trying to pump colostrum is like trying to suck honey through a straw. It just doesn’t work very well. Hand expression does seem to work better, though. (Actually, all moms should learn how to hand express, because technology sometimes breaks or you forget a part, or life happens and you can’t have a pump with you 24/7.)

3) You need a gigantic stash of breast milk in the freezer before you go back to work: For one thing, you’ll be pumping milk for your baby while you’re at work. In Minnesota, you have both state and federal law protecting your right to do so. The milk you pump today will feed your baby tomorrow.  Is it a good idea to have 40 ounces or so in the freezer before you go back to work? Sure, but take it easy on the pumping. Pump a few ounces in the morning, and save that. Don’t pump after every feeding just so you have have a ton of milk. Your body will think you’ve picked up an extra baby somewhere and will start making enough milk for 2. As much as we talk about low supply, lots of problems can stem from oversupply, such as infections, baby spitting up copious amounts of milk, and baby choking on the fast flow on milk.

4) The amount you can pump is proof of the amount of milk you’re making: Simply put, the amount of milk you can pump is proof of…the amount of milk you can pump. There are a myriad of reasons why moms have a hard time pumping, be they due to poor-fitting flanges, a motor that dies quickly, or just not being able to respond to the pump the way your body responds to your baby. Any time a mom tells me they have a sudden drop in pumping output. my thought is immediately the pump broke, not that the breast broke.

5) You should pump so that your partner can feed the baby one feeding a night so you can sleep: Supply meets demand, and if you aren’t getting up for a feeding that your baby needs and you’re not pumping while someone else is bottle feeding baby, your body will stop making as much milk and potentially lead to an infection. Oh, and numerous studies have actually found that breastfeeding moms actually get MORE sleep than moms who bottle feed.

I’ve got more myths on my list, but 5 is a good number. Anything you think needs to be added?

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

When it comes to tongue ties and lip ties, it’s time we get our act together

Ok, I’ll admit I’m feeling really raw on this subject. The last few weeks have seen some good steps forward, such as the amazing success of the interview with Dr. Ghaheri I posted last week, now approaching 600 views in the last week. Posting the video put me in touch with professionals in the US and Canada who are as passionate about this subject as I am, which is good. It also got me plugged in to start a Facebook group  for families and providers in Minnesota. But, I’ve also had some incidents that leave me feeling absolutely heartbroken and feeling helpless for the families I work with and even my own daughter.

tongue tie blog post smalltongue tie tongue tie

Dear community,

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that we are letting moms and babies down. I know there is largely still a collective shrug when it comes to tongue ties and lip ties, and so little understanding of the issue that care providers can’t manage to recognize even the most glaringly obvious ties. Yes, I realize there’s not a lot of research on it, but there is SOME research. Please. It’s not like health procedures get put into place only after thorough review. (Case in point? Colonoscopies. There’s actually a much cheaper, less risky, less invasive test…it’s just that once people realized they could make more money off of colonoscopies, patients largely stopped getting offered flexible sigmoidoscopy, a viable and safer option.) And yet, moms and babies are suffering, but the drive and compassion just isn’t there to take the initiative on this issue.

I have spent well over 12 hours in the last 3 weeks calling pretty much any dentist, ENT, oral maxillofacial surgeon office I can find. Every call had one of two outcomes: Either I was told by provider a to call provider b, only to call provider b and get told to call provider a, or I would get such a firm, vehement dismissal that such issues could exist (and don’t even get me started on the ignorance with regards to lasers) that I wondered if these people actually gave any thought about keeping up on current practice. After a certain point, it got almost (almost) comical; think of this scene, but add the sounds of mothers and babies crying instead:

Really, truly, I am sick and tired of seeing such obvious ties that they are visible from 15 feet away, yet those moms were told by pediatricians and lactation consultants that no tie exists. I am furious for these moms; they knew something was wrong, yet their health care providers failed them. I’m tired of hearing about moms getting nipple shields to help with bloody nipples, when in reality a quick peek under the tongue and snip would solve the issue in mere minutes.  I should not have to comfort so many crying mothers just because the IBCLC she went to doesn’t have the drive to investigate further once she declares “the latch is good”. That’s great that you can see that much, but (and I’m sorry this is harsh) stop being intellectually lazy. Do you have a lot of moms coming to you with the same exact issue, yet you can’t figure out the cause? Start searching on Pub Med (as I did) and you’ll start to get some answers.

Even Wisconsin is doing far better on this subject than we are in Minnesota.  We view ourselves and being so progressive when it comes to medical treatments, yet when it comes to this issue we’re almost dead last in awareness and access to treatment. So I beg you with every ounce of strength I can muster: please, learn about how to correctly diagnose ties (and it involves looking with your eyes, not just using your finger, FYI). Please, for the love of humanity, when a mom has done research and suspects a tie, LISTEN TO HER, DAMN IT!

Because, really, moms and babies deserve much, much better.

Veronica

 

tongue tie blog posttongue tie

tongue tie blog post

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Interview with Dr. Ghaheri, ENT on tongue ties

For more information on Dr. Ghaheri, breastfeeding, and tongue and lip ties, visit his website at www.drghaheri.com

For more information on Veronica and BabyLove, visit www.babylovemn.com

Find support and resources at: www.facebook.com/groups/tonguetiebabies/

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The real co-sleeping dangers

dangerous baby sleep

Today is Friday. I don’t usually blog on a Friday, but I saw something this morning on social media that was so blatantly dangerous and disturbing, I needed to speak up.

If I had dug around my box of old family pictures for awhile, I could have posted, for #ThrowbackThursday, one picture that still upsets me to this day: it’s a picture of my dad, sleeping on the couch, with me as a teeny tiny baby on his chest. It’s not like he knew it was dangerous, but as I always tell parents a) He did the best he could with the information he had and b) Now we know better, so we do better.

So, here’s the thing: While maybe their message is well meaning, when the “never sleep with your baby”, “back to sleep”, and “don’t breastfeed while drunk” messages get pushed and pushed and pushed by the powers that be, it discourages and blurs the lines about what is safe and what really isn’t. If you pay attention to the headlines, you’ll notice that two things ARE truly leading to the deaths of babies: Parents sleeping with babies in couches and chairs, and parents falling asleep on a couches or chairs while drunk or on drugs (legal or not).

What, really then, is dangerous?

Never fall asleep with your baby while on a couch or in a chair

Never share bed space with your baby if you smoke

Do not fall asleep with your baby if you’ve been drinking

Do not share sleep space with your baby if you are on any kind of sleep medication

Waterbeds and sagging mattresses are very dangerous sleep spaces for babies

Do not share sleep space with your baby on a bed that is pushed up against a wall

Do not allow pets or older children to share the same sleep space with you and your baby

If you want a good handout to share with patients or family members, the always-amazing Kathleen Kendall-Tackett has a PDF on her website on safe sleep. She also has this really great video you can watch:

The reality is, it’s not uncommon for mothers to fall asleep while breastfeeding at 3am. They are exhausted, eyelids droop shut, and….zzzzzzzzz.  It happens. BUT…if you’re going to fall asleep while nursing, make sure that if it does happen it’s in the safest situation possible: On a firm mattress without heavy blankets, no pets, that your hair is tied back, and you are not under the influence of anything.

Listen, accidents can and do happen. It’s imperative that parents make safe choices for their kids. While so much of parenting seems like you can just make whatever choice you want, there are a few things that are not negotiable:

Always use properly-installed car seats and seat belts for your child, and make sure whatever method of child restraint you are using is appropriate for his or her age, height, and developmental stage.

Lock up your guns if you have young children. (Yeah, I went there. I don’t care.)

Don’t leave a baby or toddler unattended in the bathtub or around pools, lakes, or rivers.

Don’t put infant car seats on top of shopping carts, restaurant high chairs, chairs, tables, or anything else that’s not the car seat base in the car or compatible stroller.

Don’t parent while very intoxicated.

Don’t sleep with your baby on the couch.

Don’t sleep with your baby while sitting in the chair.

OK. Sorry. Soapbox done. Carry on, and make safe choices. Your child’s life depends on it.

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

4 Combination Car Seats to Consider

Combination Car Seat Recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the “ask and ye shall receive” category, I was asked last week about combination seats, aka “harnessed boosters.” Since I’ve already posted about the convertible seats I like, I figured that this would be an easy post to put together.

I was wrong.

Parents, I get why you get so frustrated when it comes to this subject. There really aren’t a lot of combination seats out there!  I did poke around for awhile, and I used the IIHS booster seat ratings to help guide my picks; all of these seats were given a “best bet” rating for use as a belt-positioning booster. Here are the four seats I would suggest you consider:

#1) The Evenflo Maestro

Full disclosure: this was the combination car seat I bought for my son after he outgrew his convertible car seat. He was able to stay in in with a 5 point harness until November of last year, and he was 5 years old then. He’s still using it now as a booster seat. I don’t love it as a booster (I don’t like how the shoulder portion of the seat belt is threaded), but I do like that you can secure it with the LATCH as a booster to keep it in place in case you have to stop suddenly or get in a crash.

  • Cost: $70
  • Harnessed limits: 22 – 50 lbs and 28 – 50 inches
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 43.3 – 57 inches
  • Dimensions: 19” W x 20.5” D x 27” H inches
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#2) Evenflo SecureKid DLX

For a step up in price from the Maestro, the Evenflo SecureKid has some really great extra features to make it more comfortable for your child and easier for you to install.  The headrest is adjustable, and the lower anchors have retractors that automatically tighten the install as you push on the seat. As far as I can tell, you can only get the seat from BabiesRUs, and as of the date this post was published, is only available for preorder.

  • Cost: $160
  • Harnessed limits: 22 – 65 lbs and 28 – 50  inches, or 17 inches when seated
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 43.3 – 57 inches
  • Dimensions: 26” High x 19” Wide x 21” Deep
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#3) Recaro Performance Sport

If you read my post on convertible car seats, you know that I really love the Recaro ProRide. For a combination car seat, the Recaro Performance Sport is really great too.  You can’t use it rear-facing, but if your child has outgrown his or her convertible car seat, this is another great option. This seat has an adjustable headrest, has memory foam cushions, and has some extra features, like color-coding slots and a white stripe on the edge of the harness, to make sure the straps aren’t being threaded incorrectly. Also, the seat meets both US and European crash test standards; the requirements to pass European tests are more stringent than in the US.

  • Cost: $200
  • Harnessed limits: 20 – 65 lbs and 27 – 50  inches
  • Highback booster limits: 30 – 120 lbs and 37-59 inches
  • Dimensions: 25” High x 1.5” Wide x 14” Deep
  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#4) Britax Pioneer 70

The Britax Pioneer is also on the higher side for price, but it’s long life means that you’ll get your money’s worth. As with the Recaro, Britax seats pass European and US crash test standards. One feature this has that the other seats don’t is a harness that you can adjust the height of without rethreading. My only quibble with Britax seats is that they can a little tricky to install using the vehicle seat belt; though as always, if you read the manual and follow the directions, you should be fine. Unlike the other seats above, this seat got a “check fit” rating from the IIHS for use as a belt-positioning booster; this means you’ll have to take extra care to teach your child what proper belt placement is.

  • Cost: $185
  • Harnessed limits: 25-70 lbs and 30-54  inches, 18.5 inches seated
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 45-59 inches
  • Dimensions: 19″ W x 34″ H x 21″ D
  • Weight: 21 lbs.
  • Expiration: 9 years from date of manufacture

Hopefully this will help you narrow down your choices. Do you have a seat you love that I missed? Share it below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The Best Trick to Heal Sore Nipples…Ever

 

No...the answer isn't to fill these with vodka and drink.
No…the answer isn’t to fill these with vodka and drink.

For years, I’ve been telling parents that evidence shows that warm water soaks are the most effective way to treat sore, cracked, and bleeding nipples. The water promotes healing and healthy tissue. I had been telling parents to use bowls of water or a deep tub to accomplish these soaks.

Two new parents revealed the BRILLIANT trick they stumbled across while talking to me this morning after Mama Cafe.  They had been tipped off by a friend.  So, it’s not MY idea, but you need to know about it.The secret to easier nipple soaking?  Shot glasses.

Fill the shot glasses with warm water.  Then lean forward, positioning your nipples so they rest inside the shot glasses. Firmly (but not too firmly) hold the glasses against your breasts, and sit up. The gentle pressure should keep the water from leaking out while you hold them.  You will still have to hold the glasses, but at least the water is right where it needs to be. Soak for 10-15 minutes, 3-4 times a day.

You’re welcome. And thanks again, Maggie and Chris.

Learning about breastfeeding before your baby is born can truly be one of the best ways to prevent so many breastfeeding problems. BabyLove offers an updated, evidence- based class that makes breastfeeding makes sense.  Find out more about the Better Breastfeeding class and register.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.