Welcome to parenthood! Hmmn. Let me try that again. Welcome to PARENTHOOD!! Have a wonderful time, grow a lot, learn some patience! And ... get some sleep, would you?
[Ed. Note. This page was originally designed with new parents and babies in mind, but that structure is changing. Give us a while; we're working on it. And don't forget that there's a Pediatric page too.]
The Best Parenting Sites Around
Hospitals, clinics and doctors
Well, I don't know much about this, but since I live in the Palo Alto area, I'll just provide some information to the LOCAL hospitals.
Unfortunately I live a bit too far North to make a trek to El Camino Hospital in Mountain View viable. But it seems to be the coolest, most up-to-date and most comfortable place to have kids that I've seen. They have a new maternity building, my old gyn (who was great) is down there, and they just seem to have a very nice, patient-centric approach and attitude. Frankly, I was a bit surprised at Stanford. It felt like an old dentist's office. I walked in and looked for the cushy "birthing room," the music, the showers. Ha! Fat chance. Then also insist that you put a monitor on, which certainly doesn't give you an earth mother feeling. At any rate, I don't know if this is true, but El Camino just seemed as though they might have a softer atmosphere. And don't get me wrong: Stanford was OK. Just fine.
So you're just about to have a child!
So you're just about to have a kid! What do you keep around? What do you need? Here is the Berkeley Parent's Network advice page on Pregnancy and Childbirth.
So you just had a child
Any mom tips out there for someone who has just had a child? Yup, in my files! I'll stick some in in a while.
Here is the Berkeley Parent's Network advice page on babies.
You know, I had organized breastfeeding so that it was subordinate to "so you just had a child," but then I realized the breastfeeding is BIG! So it gets its own section. (I know, I know. Infrastructure issue. Who cares?)
Breastfeeding and drugs
This Breastfeeding Pharmacology site, by Dr. Tom Hale, gets really high marks. Plus it has discussion forums. Dr. Hale is professor of pediatrics at the Texas Tech. University School of Medicine. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine people have developed medical protocols for hypoglycemia, discharge from the hospital, mastitis, cosleeping and breastfeeding, and so forth. The mastitis one (linked below in the infamous mastitis section) is very comprehensive, and the organization impresses me. Hey, maybe your doctor wants to join? To see the protocols, click on "protocols" in the left column of text. You might also want to click on their "links" section, which is comprehensive and global.
Advice from mom
My mother gave me the best advice on nursing that I got. When I had my son, I kept having these gruff nurses stick their noses in, say (quickly) "how's it going there? Oh, well, just do this," at which point they'd pinch the heck out of my poor, inflated breast, position Simon as though he were a chicken, and just cram the whole breast down his mouth. "There," they'd say approvingly, moving back and smiling before jetting out the door.
Yes, I understand that you need to get the baby's mouth the whole way over the aureole of the breast, so that they're clamping on the white, not the brown part. OK. But it was always really hard to pinch with my two fingers and cram at the same time.
My mother taught me "her" hold, which worked wonders. Take your hand and hold it flat, right in front of your breast, with the fingers pointing toward the middle of your chest. You should look as though you're shielding your breast from something. Now open the index and second fingers in a V, leaving the rest of the fingers flat. Move your hand toward your breast so that it rests quite a bit up, say 3 inches or so, then close the V, leaving the hand flat. Hold the baby's head with your other hand, feet facing the same direction as your fingers, and place the baby onto the breast. It helps when you start this if you put the baby on a cushion or two, so that they are at the proper height and you're not HOLDING then with your left hand as much as guiding them. So there you have it. Worked like a charm for me, since it gets the hand out of the way.
Use Lansinoh religiously, don't use soap on your breasts, and if you get any little cuts or scrapes, use breastmilk on 'em -- it's awesome stuff!
But more than anything, in these rushed times, realize that, when you're sitting there, getting more physical connection than most of us ever do in our lives, that you're doing the absolutely most important thing that you can be doing right now. And relax. May I also suggest a small book?
If you're having trouble, do NOT just stop doing it. Find a support group and give it some time, ok? It's not hard. You can do it. Honest.
Increasing milk production
See? I told you that this warrants an entire section on its own. Next, I'll write about getting a glossy coat and hooves!
This is what people say (and doctors don't disagree) increases milk production:
beer! yes. One a day. Many of the people from Mexico say that some oatmeal every day will also stimulate production. If you breastfeed often, say every three hours, it will stimulate your milk.
And when you DO change your bf times, etc., it takes three to four days to affect your milk production.
Breastfeeding support groups and links
Everybody mentions La Leche League, but I've also heard people say that they are a bit too militant (Although I have never been able to figure out what that means. Sloganeering? Fists raised while they nurse? The mind boggles.) I presume that Dr Sears has some stuff posted about breastfeeding. Yup. Lots of justification stuff too, which amuses me. Like, if you were on the fence, why would you be reading his site. But perhaps when little junior is juuuust learning how to bite, it helps to read all of the reasons why this was a GREAT choice, hmmmn? And perhaps it's that slight whiff of sanctimony that turns so many people off? Ah, but motherhood itself carries real sainthood moments, so perhaps it's natural to confuse the two. Moral: eschew righteousness. Oh I'm so sorry. For some reason, the Dr. Sears thing always sets me off. Speaking of which, there is a lovely group, aimed mostly toward the northern part of the San Francisco bay area (that's south of San Francisco and Pacifica, north of Palo Alto). It's called Bay Area Attachment Parenting San Mateo County (BACAPSMC) and it has wonderful moms in it, all of whom follow the attachment parenting approach (see the Dr. Sears site, above.) To join BACAPSMC, go to Yahoogroups and search for their name, then just email them.
Now I may make fun of it a bit (not being a natural adherent type), but it turns out that I breastfed my son for as long as he wanted it (14 months, until it was clear that I was doing it to lie in bed longer in the mornings, whereas he'd be ecstatic with oatmeal). I also held him a lot, and so forth. Read the Dr. Sears stuff. If you like it, feel free to sign up for this group. If you want the best breastfeeding tips and support around, an attachment parenting group cannot be beat. That's BACAPSMCemail@example.com. In my opinion, right now, the attachment parenting groups, while a bit extreme in some ways, are the most sane and supportive parenting groups around.
Breastfeeding adopted children
Breastfeeding a Preemie
Someone just told me about a really neat site called www.babycolic.com which was created by a dad named Brad Towle when he figured out how to deal with his daughter's colic. It's lovely. VERY well-written, very detailed.
Want to rent something that turns your kid's crib into a simulated car driving at 55 miles per hour? I found this site by accident when searching for babycolic.com, but the product really seems as though it might be a lifesaver. Beats driving an inconsolable child around for hours when you've only had two hours of sleep. Lulla-band, anyone? Here's another product for colic. What the heck, I'll include it. Desperate? Try the Colic Shop! Wow. I never knew that this stuff was out there.
Ouch. This bane of the nursing mother can happen if you compress the milk flow too much while nursing. Or if the baby only nurses in one site. Or if it's a full moon...
So, do you have a plugged duct, mastitis, or an abscess? Jeez. And you thought that Jeapardy was fun! OK, here's a site that will help you try to figure out what's going on. Here's something called mastitis protocols from (I kid you not) the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.
Some tips from friends::
Reposition your baby.
If you feel as though you're getting a clogged duct, put the baby's mouth right over it and try to get rid of the clog.
Soak in a hot shower dicloxacillin is a good antibiotic