Tips & Tricks

Those are the little things that worked for us – they are either tips that were shared with us, which we are sharing forward, or tricks that we figured out through trial and error, which we would love for you to try! From one parent to another!

Why is breastfeeding so magical?

I would like to discuss one aspect of breastfeeding, which I find so magical, it is almost surreal.

Benefits to baby

You will often hear that breastfed babies are less likely to get sick. They experience lower rates of asthma, allergies, ear infections, respiratory illnesses… and the list goes on. What I found while breastfeeding my babies, is that they would not really get sick at all – no runny noses, no coughing. All that while their older siblings coughed right above their little heads and I would experience colds myself. But they seemed safe up until they’d stop breastfeeding. At that point, all 3 almost instantly started several months of colds…

One of the most claimed benefits of breastfeeding is the ability for the Mom to pass on antibodies to her baby, which will help her baby fight the viruses and bacterias around him. But how does that work? I wondered how Moms miraculously knew which antibodies to produce to cure their babies…

What truly happens when baby breastfeeds

This is how the miracle happens.

As babies latch on and start nursing from their Mother’s breast, they create a suction so hard, it is nearly impossible to pull them off. With this vacuum effect in place, the process of pulling milk involves sucking, followed by the swallowing phase. As the baby swallows milk, her saliva gets pulled back into the nursing Mom’s breast – this process is called backwash. As the saliva travels back to the mammary gland, the breast milk instantly adjusts its immunological composition. The Mom is now producing the antibodies necessary to fight the pathogens detected in baby’s saliva and administering it to her baby through her milk.

Does it get any more magical?

Another amazing function of breast milk is its ability to adjust to baby’s needs. As babies start nursing, they are generally hungry. The start of the feeding will be rich milk with its main purpose of feeding the child – think liquid meal. As the baby gets fuller, the milk will become more fluid as its new function is to hydrate the baby – think drinking. During any given breastfeeding session, the milk will transform itself to adjust to baby’s needs at that precise moment.

The more I learn about breastfeeding, the more impressed I get. For those of us who decided to breastfeed our children and were fortunate enough to be able to, breastfeeding truly is a magical process, not just for the bond created with the child, but for all those amazing functionalities in place, which allow our children to survive and strive on breast milk. It can be a struggle, many of us will cry over it, but every drop of milk will be worth it for both Baby and Mom. If you are experiencing difficulties and pain with breastfeeding, head over here to read my tips to Breastfeeding Breast Care!

Posted by ourgranny.com in Tips & Tricks, 1 comment

HypnoBirthing – Why you should give it a try

I remember, from a very young age, being terrified of giving birth. I grew up hearing my mom and grandma tell me how much they had suffered through childbirth. My mom, doctor by profession, had 5 children and I was her first one. She swore that the pain was so intense that she could have thrown herself out of the window. I heard things such as: “childbirth can be as pain free as possible for some women, and as painful as getting dismembered without anesthesia for others. See… my family was of the “others” category and my little self was certain of one thing – giving birth was going to be the most terrifying and painful experience of my life.

Naturally, when I finally got pregnant (after several months of trying), I was overjoyed! We had been dreaming of that line on the pregnancy test and I could already picture my husband and I holding our first born. Within hours however, I started panicking. Oh no, it wasn’t the first-time-mom type of panic. I was not worried about my life changing. Had no fear of caring for a baby – I was the oldest of 5 children and had pretty much raised my youngest sister the first 3 years of her life. No…. I was terrified of giving birth.

I kept everything inside. While my husband was ecstatic. I was regretting getting pregnant and felt that I could not share that feeling with him. I could not imagine giving birth to that child – the immeasurable pain I was going to live through – but felt stupid for it. I tried rationalizing myself. I started looking at everyone in the street, telling myself that they all had a mom who’d given birth to them. I was going to be fine. Our race wouldn’t have made it otherwise, right? Yet… I could not imagine a positive birthing experience. Fear was invading my mind and body.

Then came another terrifying thought…. My mom had spent over 24 hours in labor twice. While a common occurrence in Europe, they would probably wheel me in for a c-section in the US…

That is when I decided to get up and find a solution to my anxiety. I was going to get my acts together and give myself the best odds for success. I researched options and alternatives, until I came across HypnoBirthing. I knew this was right for me. I was going to learn to control my mind. That was the root of my problem. My mind was anxious, worried, and lacked confidence. My body was strong, healthy, and made to procreate. HypnoBirthing seemed like the perfect choice for me. While the technique preaches natural birthing, I knew that I wanted an epidural. I saw no reason to put myself through more pain than needed. My HypnoBirthing childbirth educator was very understanding and never tried to dissuade me.

I signed up for a class in my 4th month of pregnancy and asked my husband to join me. We were signed up for three 1.5 hour sessions with a doula who had been assisting moms with all aspects of pregnancy and birth. She spent a fair amount of time explaining the mechanics of birth during our first visit. By doing so, she helped me visualize the changes that would happen inside of me, and the journey my baby was going to take. This would be a joint experience where I would be in synch with my unborn child. She then went on to hypnotizing me.

This is where I am losing many of you… you are thinking black magic, trance, etc. My doula explained it best: have you ever driven down the highway and reached an exit sign but don’t remember how you got there? You might remember a moment 1 or 2 minutes prior to that exit. But you don’t remember actively driving your car down the road. If that ever happened to you, you are the perfect subject for HypnoBirthing. Without knowing it, you drove in a hypnotic state, where your mind controlled your body’s actions.

Now that I have you back, let me tell you what makes HypnoBirthing the most wonderful birthing technique in my opinion. The training you will receive, will give you the tools to approach birth with a calming mindset. You will learn to control your mind and let it pour positivity and relaxation into your body. You will be in full control and empower your body to give birth in a calm and gentle manner. The tension will be released through a set of practiced techniques, allowing your body to do the work in a natural manner.

Let’s be honest – that will require work. My doula gave me a set of tracks when I first met her. While she and I only met 3 times, I worked on my self-hypnosis skills every . single . night, from 4 months until the day my first daughter was born. The skills required practice. As I worked on it, I built up trust. I was in control of my emotions and my mind was going to enable my body to have that positive birthing experience. I listened to my 20 to 45-minute tracks in bed each night. While I always fell like I was falling asleep during the session, I somehow woke up at the end of each track to turn off my iPod. Once I had mastered the skill, I could not tell you what the voice had said. I remember the overwhelming well-being pouring down on me. I remember letting go and zoning out. I remember being woken up very gently at the end of the track. This was working!!

As we headed to the hospital that night, the first thing I did when I got there was to plug myself in. I had the lights dimmed down, requested minimal intrusion from nurses, and went on to relax and breathe. I did receive an epidural, which greatly helped the labor for my first daughter. I went on to delivering 2 more babies totally naturally after that. Simply using the power of my mind on the pain. No, giving birth was not pain free. I wasn’t even uncomfortable. I did feel pain and I did live in the moment. I don’t clearly remember the entire journey, but I very vividly remember delivering my children. I could not have asked for better experiences and attribute my success to HypnoBirthing. I only wish this was a more recognized option for women, as early as possible in their pregnancies.

Your first step will be to find a HypnoBirthing childbirth educator. Head over here to find one near you!

Today, I use my HypnoBirthing tracks before going to bed when I feel stressed, or am going through a rough time. The skills I developed will forever be with me. I know that I have the power to bring calm and quiet to my mind and body!

Please, let me know of your HypnoBirthing experience, or any other technique that carried you through a positive birthing experience! If you have any questions, please ask them here or use the Contact button to remain anonymous. I am passionate about birthing and would love to help answer any questions or concerns you may have!!

Happy birthing!

 

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Breastfeeding Moms – Breast Care Tips

Newborn breastfeeding

To all the breastfeeding Mommies out there, you are doing a fabulous job! Whether you breastfed a minute, a week, a month, or a year – give yourself a pad in the back! This post is not about the benefits of breastfeeding. It is not trying to convince anyone to breastfeed, and definitely does not bring any judgment of Moms bottle-feeding their babies. Being a Mom is difficult enough and we are all doing the best job we can for our babies!

Having breastfed three babies for a total of two and a half years, my breasts have bled, blistered, ripped, hurt, engorged, and made me cry numerous times. Breastfeeding is not easy. Both Mommy and baby need to adapt and learn. After baby #1, once you are confident to have mastered the skill, do not feel disappointed when baby #2 gives you just as much struggle. That baby needs to learn, just as your first one did. Your breasts need to get used to the suction again. Each one of my babies was very different. They ate differently, approached the breast and feeding in their very own little ways, and my experience has been totally different from one child to the next. And while you will struggle at first, if you are able to hang in there and don’t hit major roadblocks, you will both adjust in your due time and enjoy the close relationship (did I mention convenience?) between you and your baby.

We all know that the first few days and weeks will bring challenges and pain. As babies learn how to properly latch and suck, your breast will likely tear and bleed. Since there is no rest from hungry babies, you will need to find a way to heal your nipples between feeds. I would like to share with you my 4 tips on caring for your breast while breastfeeding:

Lanolin


It all started the day after our first daughter was born. The pain started and I sent my husband to the hospital’s shop to get something – anything – to apply to my nipples. He came back up with Lanolin breastfeeding salve. After feeding your baby, apply to the nipple. A protective layer will protect your breast and repair the skin between feeds. Free of harmful chemicals, it does not need to be removed before your baby’s next feed. My babies never seemed to feel a difference, while I truly did. It brought me much relief and I used as acute treatment in my worst days. When you are done breastfeeding, you can finish off your tube as moisturizer for your lips, heels, elbows, and cuticles!

Yogurt

My third child gave me the hardest time. I breastfed her for over a year and I would get random pains throughout the year. While the other 2 gave me trouble in the first few weeks, I just seemed to have more problems with her. One night as we lived in Germany and I was in so much pain that I could not bare the touch of a bra or shirt, I called a good friend of mine. The Germans always have natural remedies in mind and sure enough, she told me to open my fridge and get plain yogurt out. Put a teaspoon of it on a tissue and apply to your breast, she said. The immediate relief was incredible! The pain literally vanished as soon as I applied the cold yogurt to my breast. I strongly encourage all of you to give this a try. It is the easiest way to treat for acute pain! I never used this method on open sores and would recommend Lanolin on skin tears. Yogurt will bring you most comfort with shooting pain and overall discomfort and hyper-sensibility!

Natural Wool 


There goes another German remedy. As I took my newborn to one of her first doctor visits and pointed out to her sore butt, he wrote the following words on a piece of paper as he sent me off to the closest pharmacy: Heilwolle. That translates into Healing Wool. I was surprised that all pharmacies in Germany seem to carry pure  and natural sheep wool. I opened the box and the air filled with the smell of sheep. That stuff was real! I applied a thin layer on my baby’s butt and it worked like magic! No cream had been able to heal her and wool took only a couple of days to full recovery! Until a friend advised that I apply it to my breast when in pain! The basics of wool is to keep the area dry by absorbing the excess moisture. I was sold after the first try. I put a thin layer of wool and applied it directly to the tip of my nipple. It acted as a protector against the rubbing and started the healing process. I actually started keeping some wool inside my bra for days at a time when going through painful weeks. The relief was nearly instantaneous! You can change the wool every second feed and enjoy the benefits throughout the whole day.

Wool and Bamboo Breast Pads


Once I discovered the benefits of wool and because I am not a big fan of disposable items, I looked into wool nursing pads. I found several options on the market and purchased two different sets. I also got bamboo nursing pads to try. Having 3 sets was more than enough to never have to use the disposable kind again, which I thought were irritating anyways… I started with the wool pads and found them to be very comfortable and to bring some of the soothing benefits of the wool. On tough days, I would double up with actual wool. The rest of the time, the pads were enough on their own and very protecting. The Bamboo nursing pads felt even more comfortable to me, and I am sure this is a personal preference but I preferred the kinds that were a bit thicker as they seemed to offer more protection. While you will find them more expensive that the disposable pads, they are totally reusable. I have used mine for all three kids and they sustained the heavy use without decreasing in quality!

We would love to hear from you – please share your tips and advice on how to care of your breast when breastfeeding!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information

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